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Local News Archives for 2021-10

Spike in Covid Cases at Hillsboro Schools

Covid cases are going down but that doesn’t mean it’s losing its potency or power to spread.  in Hillsboro schools there are 9 new cases of covid this week among students, one among staffers.  Supt David Powell says the spike is a concentrated one. Five of the cases this week were in one kindergarten classroom. Four students and the teacher have tested positive in the last few days. The classroom has been shut down for a brief period. Testing will also be provided for these students. This is the first school associated outbreak in any of our schools since the pandemic began. 

Volunteers Sought for Hillsboro Tree Planting Event

The City of Hillsboro is about to add to its already impressive tree population, but they need your help.  The city has received a grant from Trees Forever to purchase trees. There will be a volunteer planting event on Saturday. Those interested in helping should meet at the Challacombe House at 9 am and bring shovels, spades, gloves, etc. for plantings, mulching, and watering. They will be planting 37 trees of 28 different species in an effort to add beauty and diversification to the trees in our parks and public spaces.

Litchfield School District Breaks Ground for New Elementary

A great turnout last (Tuesday) night as the Litchfield School District was joined by Litchfield City Leaders and Poettker Construction for the groundbreaking of the new Litchfield Elementary School on St John Street.  Superintendent Dr Greg Furstenau says going with a new building instead of adding band aids to existing ones has made a bold statement about how much Litchfield prioritizes quality education.  The new school will be a nice addition to Downtown’s southern footprint, right across from the towering Brown Shoe Apartments.  School Board President Julie Abel says the rise of the new school building will be good news for its neighbors.  In these strange times, there seems to be a shortage of everything and the district is not escaping that trend. Steel supply chain issues have made district officials wary of offering a construction completion date. In a sign of how the district has worked with the community, future students who weren’t on the groundbreaking schedule were among those who got to take part in the groundbreaking ceremony. 

Urgent! Route 185 Closed Between Hillsboro and Coffeen Till Further Notice

If your commute takes you between Hillsboro and Coffeen and you know day to day how long it will take to get from point A to point B, you may get that sinking feeling.  That’s because Route 185 will be closed for up to a month between Hillsboro and Coffeen for road construction tied to mine subsidence issues.  IDOT announced last night 185 will be closed for a number of days, but no later than November 24th.    

Area Trick or Treat Dates & Times

Area Trick or Treating will be held this weekend in local communities. Dates and times are as follows.

Butler - Oct 30 & 31 from 6 to 8 pm

Coffeen - Oct 30 & 31 from 6 to 8 pm

Donnellson - Oct 31 from 5 to 7 pm

Farmersville - Oct 31 from 6 to 9 pm

Fillmore - Oct 31 from 6 to 8 pm

Harvel - Oct 30 & 31 from 5:30 to 8 pm

Hillsboro - Oct 30 & 31 from 6 to 8 pm

Irving  - Oct 30 & 31 from 6 to 8 pm

Litchfield - Oct 30 & 31 from 6 to 9 pm

Nokomis - Oct 30 & 31 from 5 to 8 pm

Panama - Oct 30 & 31 from 5:30 to 8:30 pm

Raymond - October 30 & 31 from 5 to 8 pm

Schram City - October 30 & 31 from 6 to 8 pm

Sorento - Oct 31 from 5 to 8 pm

Taylor Springs - Oct 30 & 31 from 6 to 9 pm

Waggoner - Oct 30 from 6 to 8 pm

Witt - Oct 30 & 31 from 6 to 8 pm

Patients Counting on Blood and Platelet Donors as Shortage Continues

With Thanksgiving and the holidays approaching, the American Red Cross urges donors to continue to make and keep appointments now and in the weeks ahead to help overcome the ongoing emergency blood and platelet shortage that has significantly impacted the nation’s blood supply. In fact, the current blood supply is the lowest the Red Cross has seen this time of year in more than a decade.


Since declaring an emergency need for donors last month, thousands of people have come to Red Cross blood drives across the country to roll up a sleeve and help patients who are counting on lifesaving transfusions. The Red Cross is incredibly grateful for the kindness and generosity of these blood and platelet donors, but hospital demand remains strong. At least 10,000 more donations are needed each week in the coming weeks to meet patient needs – ahead of the upcoming holiday season, which always presents seasonal challenges to blood collection.


Donors are urged to schedule an appointment now by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting, or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). 



Students Locally & Nationally Prepare for the 94th National FFA Convention & Expo

FFA members and supporters from across the country will celebrate agriculture and agricultural education this week during the 94th National FFA Convention & Expo in Indianapolis.

This time-honored tradition, which was held virtually last year, will once again be held in-person and hosted by the city of Indianapolis, Oct. 27-30, with some virtual components.

FFA members from across the country, Puerto Rico, and U.S. Virgin Islands are expected to participate in the event. Those who will not be able to participate in person will have an option to participate in online components – ranging from the virtual FFA Blue Room to student and teacher workshops to general sessions. The FFA Blue Room will allow members to see how sustainability and innovation from the world’s brightest minds solve critical agriculture challenges. Students and teachers will be able to hear from industry leaders and more during workshops. They will be able to celebrate the achievements of their fellow FFA members as they watch the general sessions online.

Those attending in person will be able to participate in general convention sessions hosted at Lucas Oil Stadium, where they will be inspired by their peers who will be recognized for their accomplishments. They will be able to attend the expo, located in the Indiana Convention Center, and explore various career paths open to them. In addition, they can explore various careers by participating in career success tours and so much more! In addition, they will have a variety of entertainment opportunities open to them – from watching Brett Young, with special guest Alex Miller perform at the concert on Wednesday night to attending the rodeos on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday nights.

FFA members attending convention will also be able to participate in student and teacher workshops in person. They will hear from industry leaders, motivational speakers, and more. Service has always been a part of the National FFA motto, and members will be able to participate in two new onsite service projects. The first will be the building of Little Free Pantries, which will be placed in and around Indianapolis to help improve access to food for those in need. The second opportunity will be to paint the Little Free Pantries or create uplifting cards for Meals on Wheels of Central Indiana. 

FFA members who are unable to attend the convention will still be able to participate in National Days of Service in their local communities through a virtual project that will last through the month of October. Chapters will need to register their chapter and report their service project and its impact on their community.

General convention sessions will be aired live on RFD-TV and The Cowboy Channel and streamed on FFA members and supporters can tune in and watch gavel-to-gavel coverage of the event. To learn more, visit

The National FFA Organization is a school-based national youth leadership development organization of more than 735,000 student members as part of 8,817 local FFA chapters in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

HSHS St Francis Hospital Celebrates a Half Century at Current Location

It’s a momentous occasion in Litchfield, as HSHS St Francis Hospital celebrates a half century of service at their current building.  The move from the old facility to the current one was completed October 25, 1971 thanks to a successful community fundraising effort.  Using vehicles provided by local funeral directors, the police and other civic and health care groups, 55 patients were transferred from the old hospital to the new one beginning at 8 a.m. that morning.   Unfortunately, the celebration is somewhat muted with restrictions tied to Covid 19. The hospital is also collecting memories from the public from those who may have taken part in any of the facility opening events in 1971 or were one of the patients who moved on opening day to the new hospital. Visit to find a link to submit a story, email or mail story to HSHS St. Francis Hospital, c/o Marketing, 1215 Franciscan Drive, Litchfield, IL 62056. 

Covid Booster Sign-up, Now Available in Montgomery County

As the CDC and IDPH have now given the approval and guidance for booster shots of the COVID-19 vaccines, it is once again time for you to call the Montgomery County Health Department to be placed on the list of those wanting a vaccination. MCHD will give you a call when a clinic is scheduled and a time for you to show up. In doing this, you will know there will be a dose available to you and the wait time will hopefully be minimal. The Health Department has ordered additional vaccines from IDPH and will hopefully be able to schedule a clinic as early as this week. You will have the option to receive a booster of any of the three approved vaccines at each clinic. To be placed on the list or you have further questions, please call 217-532-2001 and tell them you would like to be put on the booster list.

Litchfield to offer Brush Pickup starting November 1st

FALL BRUSH PICK-UP will be offered by the City of Litchfield during the week of November 1st if weather permits. Pick-up will begin in Ward 1 on Monday, November 1st, and progress through each of the four wards accordingly. The Staff will make a single pass on each street. ONCE THEY PASS, THE STAFF WILL NOT COME BACK. Please have your brush out at the boulevard by 7:00 AM, Monday, November 1st. BRUSH MAY NOT BE PLACED AT THE BOULEVARD BEFORE October 25th FOR PICK-UP as it will be subject to a code violation and a citation. Violators may be cited. Yard waste, big logs, whole trees, limbs, or any trees/limbs cut down by a contractor will not be picked up. Residents may also drop off their brush at the City burn area; it is open 24/7. For questions or clarifications on Brush Pick-up, please call 217-324-5253. 

Bourne Will Likely Avoid Battle with Fellow Republican Inumbent

Redistricting often leads to cannibalism for the minority party when new legislative maps come out.  Longtime colleagues and friends are often forced to fight one another to stay in office.  As we mentioned in recent days, that has become more unlikely for State Representative Avery Bourne who is set to enter a new legislative district that will also be occupied by Springfield incumbent Mike Murphy.  He has previously indicated that he would likely choose not to face Bourne if proposed maps remained in place and  he made the language more clear than ever.  He told a Springfield radio station he will not run against Bourne.  Murphy, the longtime owner of Springfield’s legendary Charlie Parker’s Diner, joined he legislature in 2019. 

Tips for a Healthy Halloween

This Halloween, HSHS St. Francis Hospital is recommending parents take precautions due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Although trick-or-treating is mostly an outdoor activity, there is still an opportunity for close contact with neighbors. Local providers note it is important to remember that we are still dealing with a pandemic and need to continue wearing facemasks, washing our hands, and maintaining social distance.

The Illinois Department of Health (IDPH) recommends that if you are trick-or-treating it should be outdoors and in small groups. Parents around the world have had to make adjustments for their children as the pandemic continues, but there are some fun alternatives to consider this Halloween.

A few trick-or-treating alternatives include:

  • Create a scavenger hunt around your backyard using flashlights to find hidden candy and other goodies.
  • Decorate an area in your house, turn on scary music, wear costumes and record a Halloween family greeting to share on social media or via text to friends and family.
  • Have a movie night watching some of mom or dad’s favorite Halloween classics.
  • Plan a special Halloween-themed meal with people who live with you.
  • Host a virtual Halloween party to show off your costume and play virtual games.

Contact-less trick-or-treating is possible by creating individual treat bags and leaving them on a table on your front walkways, sidewalks, or any outdoor space that allows for at least 6 feet of social distance from the door.

Costume and traffic safety are also important. According to the National Safety Council, Halloween brings about more risks for children than any other day of the year.

The organization recommends the following:

·         Use flashlights, glow sticks, and reflective tape on costumes so you are visible in the dark.

·         Stay on sidewalks, cross at designated intersections, and stay in well-lit areas.

·         Alcohol-based hand sanitizer should be carried and used frequently.

·         Candy collected during trick-or-treating should not be consumed until after handwashing. As always, a parent/guardian should check all candy to make sure it is wrapped and discard any unwrapped candy.

·         Wear a cloth mask instead of plastic, latex, or silicone. A costume mask, such as those worn for Halloween, is not a substitute for a face covering.

The best way to keep safe this holiday season is by getting vaccinated against COVID-19 and the flu. For more tips on how to celebrate the holidays safely, visit or the IDPH website.

St. Francis Hospital Celebrates 50 years on Monday

October 25, 2021, will be the 50th anniversary of HSHS St. Francis Hospital’s current building, marking half a decade of delivering high-quality care and dedicated service from this facility to the residents of Litchfield and surrounding communities.

Due to current COVID-19 restrictions, the hospital is unable to host large-scale public celebrations, but a Mass will be held on Friday, October 22, in the Chapel. Other colleague activities are also planned along with ongoing social media postings highlighting photos and stories from the past 50 years.

The hospital is also collecting memories from the public from those who may have taken part in any of the facility opening events in 1971 or were one of the patients who moved on opening day to the new hospital. Click this link to submit a story.

“The Hospital Sisters have been providing health care in this area for 146 years and we are proud to be able to carry on the mission at St. Francis,” St. Francis Hospital President and Chief Executive Officer Jim Timpe said. “We also greatly thank the entire community for its ongoing support of the hospital. It was through community support that this facility was built and because of you our services continue to grow.”

In 1966, a fund drive was announced to help build a new hospital and the community exceeded the anticipated goal of $500,000. These funds, along with a federal grant of $3,444,000, made the construction project possible.

Construction began in April of 1968 when groundbreaking was held at the site and the building was completed in 1971.

On October 15, 1971, a copper box containing numerous items was blessed and placed in the cornerstone, and on October 17, there was a ribbon-cutting and public open house held for the community to tour the hospital before it officially opened.

Using vehicles provided by local funeral directors, the police, and other civic and health care groups, 55 patients were transferred from the old hospital to the new one beginning at 8 a.m. the morning of October 25, 1971.

In a speech at the groundbreaking in 1968, Mother M. Noel said, “The value of Catholic hospitals is being challenged today from many avenues and the challenge is in our hands, not only to provide top-notch health facilities, and comprehensive health care but also to provide apostolic health services to the people of Litchfield and the surrounding communities.”

Timpe noted, “Challenges are numerous today, as well, as we face a pandemic, personnel shortages, competitive markets, and many social and economic issues. Colleagues at St. Francis face these challenges, just as the Hospital Sisters did, with confidence and faith and we remain committed to reveal and embody Christ’s healing love for all people and to the health care ministry established here.”

New Covid Cases in Hillsboro Schools Continue to stay low

The latest weekly Covid case report from the Hillsboro School District, shows cases of Covid within the district continue to stay low, according to Superintendent David Powell. In the past seven days, October 14th - 21st, the district has seen two cases of Covid in students and none within staff and teachers. Over the course of the school year, 73 students and 10 staff members have tested positive for Covid. 

Lemons to Resign as Montgomery County Circuit Clerk

After serving in the office for 12 years, Montgomery County Circuit Clerk Holly Lemons has resigned from her position, effective at the end of the day on Friday, Nov. 5.

She will begin a new position the following Monday as the learning and development manager for the Illinois Judicial College with the administrative office of Illinois Courts.  She will work out of an office in Springfield, but the job will often require her to be in Chicago.

Before her appointment and subsequent election as circuit clerk, Lemons worked as a probation officer in Montgomery County for three years.

According to Illinois statute, Montgomery County Board Chairman Evan Young must notify the chairs of both political parties in the county of the vacancy in the elected office. He then has 60 days to fill the vacancy, with the consent of the county board, with a nominee of the same political party as Lemons, a Republican.

USDA grants disaster declaration to 44 Illinois counties for June storm damage

Farmers in nearly half of Illinois' 102 counties are eligible for federal emergency aid for losses stemming from extreme rains and flash flooding that swept through the state in June. 

USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack on Monday granted a primary natural disaster designation for 12 counties and a contiguous natural disaster designation for 32 counties.

The designations allow farmers impacted by the storms to apply for funds from the Farm Service Agency, including emergency loans. Eligible farmers have until June 18, 2022, to apply for the loans, and can contact their local FSA office for more information. 


The 12 primary counties are Calhoun, Cass, Edgar, Jefferson, Jersey, Macoupin, McLean, Monroe, Morgan, Moultrie, Sangamon, and St. Clair. 

The 32 contiguous counties are Brown, Champaign, Christian, Clark, Clinton, Coles, DeWitt, Douglas, Ford, Franklin, Greene, Hamilton, Livingston, Logan, Macon, Madison, Marion, Mason, Menard, Montgomery, Perry, Piatt, Pike, Randolph, Schuyler, Scott, Shelby, Tazewell, Vermilion, Washington, Wayne, and Woodford. 

Dan Puccetti, acting Illinois FSA state executive director, first requested the declarations from USDA on Sept. 29, according to a letter Vilsack sent Monday to Gov. J.B. Pritzker.

"USDA reviewed the Loss Assessment Reports and determined that there were sufficient production losses to warrant a Secretarial natural disaster designation," Vilsack wrote.

Puccetti's ask came after weeks of intense storms dropped multiple inches of rain, produced powerful winds and resulted in flooding across portions of the state.

 Download PDFDownload: Vilsack's letter approving the disaster declaration


In central Illinois, for instance, a three-day storm event in late June left behind 3 to 5 inches of rain and in some areas, up to 11 inches of rain. 

Storms this August also generated 10 tornadoes across northern Illinois, leaving behind severe damage to crops and farm buildings. 

The 44 county declarations follow a set of declarations USDA granted to 14 counties in June related to drought conditions in northern Illinois. 

Scenic Postcards now Available at the Carlinville Public Library

A selection of postcards with scenic photos of popular Carlinville area landmarks is now on sale at the Carlinville Public Library. Postcards for a Cause are the production of Andrea Duncan, a longtime Carlinville resident who is active in numerous efforts to promote the history and tourism of the Carlinville area. The postcards feature eye-catching photography by Duncan of some of Carlinvile's best-loved attractions, including the new depot, the gazebo on the square, and a variety of Christmas-themed shots. The cards, which are a quick and easy holiday gift, sell for $5 each. All proceeds go to benefit the Carlinville Public Library roof Fund. Area residents are invited to stop by the library and take a look at the cards, and for more information, contact the library at 854-3505 or email

Weekly Illinois Crop Progress and Conditions Report

There were 2.7 days suitable for fieldwork during the week ending October 17, 2021. Statewide, the average temperature was 61.4 degrees, 5.5 above normal. Precipitation averaged 1.83 inches, 1.23 above normal. Topsoil moisture supply was rated 1 percent very short, 6 percent short, 72 percent adequate, and 21 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture supply was rated 10 percent very short, 17 percent short, 68 percent adequate, and 5 percent surplus. Corn harvested for grain reached 62 percent, compared to the 5-year average of 59 percent. Soybeans dropping leaves reached 92 percent, compared to the 5-year average of 95 percent. Soybeans harvested reached 51 percent, compared to the 5-year average of 62 percent. Soybeans condition was rated 6 percent very poor, 12 percent poor, 12 percent fair, 49 percent good, and 21 percent excellent. Winter wheat planted reached 51 percent, compared to the 5-year average of 54 percent. Winter wheat emerged reached 34 percent, compared to the 5-year average of 21 percent. 

Hillsboro Man Pleads Guilty to Enticement of a Minor

Federal prosecutors reveal a Hillsboro man has pleaded guilty to enticement of a minor charges.  32-year-old Andrew Collins of the 200 block of Main Street entered his plea in federal court in Springfield Friday.  During change of plea proceedings before U.S. Magistrate Judge Tom Schanzle-Haskins, Collins admitted enticing a 16-year-old boy to engage in sexually explicit contact.   Prosecutors say in online chats, Collins persuaded the minor to engage in intercourse by offering monetary and nonmonetary gifts as well as a chance to live together in the future.  Collins faces anywhere from ten years in federal prison to life behind bars and a fine of $250,000.  The Secret Service and the Southern Illinois University Police Department played central roles in the investigation.  

Proposed Map Offers Headaches for GOP Members of Congress

The proposed U.S. House map would bring a game of musical chairs to these parts as current members of Congress will scramble for one less spot.  If the current proposal goes through, Rodney Davis would be moved from the 13th to the new 15th and if he’s elected in that district, he might work his car into an early grave.  The new 15th features  large chunks of rural areas from northern Illinois to Effingham. Davis has said he would consider running for Governor depending on how his district is drawn. He would keep much of Montgomery County in the new map. Meanwhile, Congressman Mike Bost would not be lumped into a district with a Republican challenger. The new map takes Democratic strongholds Belleville and East St. Louis out of the 12th and moves them to the new 13th,  which would stretch diagonally from Champaign to East St. Louis..  The proposed 12th district would include most of the southern third of Illinois.  Mary Miller, who represents parts of Bond and Madison Counties as well as all of Clinton and Fayette Counties, would be moved into  the proposed 16th, where she would face a tough opponent, Peoria based Republican incumbent Darin LaHood, the son of former Congressman and Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.  

U.S. Representative Rodney Davis (R-IL) issued the following statement after Governor J.B. Pritzker and Illinois Democrats released their partisan Congressional redistricting proposal: 

“As expected, our lying Governor teamed up with state Democrats to draw a shameful, partisan gerrymander in a desperate attempt to keep Nancy Pelosi in power. This proposed map, along with this entire redistricting process, is a complete joke. It’s clear Governor Pritzker and the Democrats will stoop to any low if it means they can keep their corrupt system going.” 

Montgomery County Clerk Leitheiser Expands Mine Information on Website

Montgomery County Clerk/Recorder Sandy Leitheiser is making it easier to mine key information about the Deer Run mine.  She recently added links to four important Illinois state websites on the County Clerk Public Filings “Mine Information” page of the Montgomery County Clerk website located at The links offer the kind of mine public information many constituents have requested when they  utilize office services on-site, and these links will offer better and more up-to-date accessibility to these services on-line rather than on a limited basis when requested on-site only during county business hours. Leitheiser says her office often hears from citizens seeking mine subsidence maps and related mine information pertaining to their property or other areas in Montgomery County, as well as for final and pending IDNR mine permit information,”  She hopes  these new on-line resources will provide this information at their fingertips.  According to Leitheiser, the first new internet link on the website will take searchers to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources Pending Mine Permit Applications/Decisions page, which provides citizens a more timely review of applications for coal mining permits. She said applications for surface coal mining and reclamation operations will continue to be available for review on-site at the County Clerk/Recorder’s office as well as at the Illinois Department of Natural Resources Springfield, Illinois office, but this option is an excellent resource for a statewide view of pending Coal Mine Permit applications, maps and findings. The second, third and fourth new internet links on the County Clerk’s website lead citizens to key websites provided by the Illinois State Geological Survey state agency providing location maps for surface and underground mines throughout Illinois; for mine subsidence information and related maps; and for various state and county maps pertaining to surface geology, bedrock geology and topography, among other maps.  Those seeking more information regarding the new website mine information links are encouraged to contact Leitheiser by phone at 217-532-9530 or by email at 

Montgomery County Reports New COVID Death

The Delta variant of Covid 19 may appear to be slowing down but Coronavirus continues to prove deadly. Montgomery County Health officials reported their fourth death of the month on Friday, pushing the death toll to 80.  Last week, the health department reported 54 new COVID-19 cases for a local positivity rate of 5.8 percent.  Montgomery County EMA Chief Kevin Schott is encouraged by decreasing COVID numbers of late but wary of COVID’s resilience and adaptability.   

HSHS Employees Minimum Wage Moves to $15

Hospital Sisters Health System (HSHS) is increasing the minimum wage for its colleagues to $15 an hour. This change will provide a rate increase to approximately 3,000 HSHS colleagues across Wisconsin and Illinois and is a multi-million-dollar annual investment from HSHS. Only about half of those positions, however, are currently at the HSHS minimum wage rate. The other half of these colleagues are already earning above $15/hour. Springfield based HSHS operates St. Francis Hospital in Litchfield, Holy Family in Greenville and St. Joseph's Hospitals in Breese and Highland.  In total across the system HSHS employs approximately 13,000 individuals across two states – 8,600 in Illinois and 4,400 in Wisconsin.


“We feel it’s important to raise the HSHS minimum wage rate even a step higher right now so that we can better retain and attract the most engaged, committed and talented people to fulfill our healing mission,” said HSHS President and CEO Damond Boatwright. “HSHS is committed to investing in our colleagues by providing a total compensation and benefits package that recognizes each individual for their personal contribution to the exceptional service our patients expect.”


This HSHS minimum wage increase will apply to a number of entry level positions. “We truly hope this rate increase helps reinforce how much we respect and care about the important work these colleagues are doing around the clock,” said Boatwright. “Some of these colleagues are the ones helping keep patient rooms clean. Some help nourish our patients and their loved ones by preparing and serving food in our ministries. They help get our patients registered and checked-in when they arrive for care. And others help with important clinical work that truly makes our organization able to provide the great care that we do. We need more caring people in these roles at HSHS.”


Jobs in entry level roles have become increasingly competitive in the US over the last year. This rate increase continues to position HSHS to be highly competitive in the labor market, To search for open positions at HSHS, please visit  


The minimum wage rate increase will start on October 31, 2021. Salary increases for nearly all 13,000 HSHS employees will be occurring around this same time.

No Worries Walshville, This Is Only a Drill

Montgomery County Emergency Management Agency will be supporting and participating in a Ground Search Rescue training and exercise this Saturday (October 16) near Walshville. The training event will be from 8:30a – 2:30p. Additional County Response Agencies will also be participating. St Clair Special Emergency Services Association will be the lead Agency for this training. Ground Searchers will be working with multiple Dog Search Teams and will include loading and unloading the teams onto and from a helicopter.  The event will take place along Longbridge Trail. Signage will be in the area indicating the site.

Person posing as a Nurse Contacting Seniors in Macoupin County

It has been brought to our attention that Macoupin County residents are being contacted in person, in their homes, by someone posing as a nurse from the health department. This individual is telling residents that they are doing well-check visits for individuals age 80 and older.

Please be advised that MCPHD nurses ARE NOT visiting/entering homes to conduct well-check visits for individuals age 80 and older. Please share this information with your senior neighbors and family members.


MCPHD does have Public Health Navigators who provide specific households with care packages, which they drop off on doorsteps. The Public Health Navigators DO NOT enter the homes, nor do they ask to speak to the residents in the home.


If you have any questions or if you have been approached by someone posing as a nurse from the health department conducting in-home well checks, please email us at or call us at 217-313-5078. 

A Generation Says Goodbye to Longtime Nokomis Ag Teacher

Many young men and women who passed through the doors of Nokomis High School saw their lives impacted greatly by one Randy Meyer.  The Rural Witt man passed away last week after a courageous battle with cancer.  He spent a third of a century teaching agriculture at Nokomis then retired last year.  With an overflow crowd expected for funeral services this afternoon at First Baptist Church in Nokomis, Nokomis High is opening the new gym for a livestream of the services.  The doors will open at 1:30 with the services set for 2 p.m.  Whether you're at the church or school, attendees are encouraged to wear their FFA jackets of the past or present.   

Lincoln Land Offering a Helping Hand Through Financial Aid Process Tonight

Lincoln Land Community College-Litchfield, 1 Lincoln Land Drive, will host Financial Aid Night today ( Oct. 13) from 4-8 p.m. to assist high school seniors and their parents/guardians in completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).  An online registration form and more information on documents to bring to the event are available at Registration is also available by calling 217-786-3401.  Current LLCC students who will be attending college next year are invited to attend as well. Prospective students may take a tour of the facilities and get assistance with enrollment steps. 

Bourne May Avoid Faceoff Against Fellow Republican

Redistricting can exact an ugly toll, with party allies forced to become opponents.  There are indications that may not happen for State Representative Avery Bourne. As redistricting stands right now, Bourne would be placed in a district with Springfield based State Rep. Mike Murphy, the former owner of Springfield’s iconic Charlie Parker’s Diner.   Murphy has said that he will not seek reelection in 2022 if the new legislative maps are upheld by the courts.  The Springfield Business Journal reports Murphy has applied to serve as the next President of the Springfield Chamber of Commerce.  While Springfield radio host Sam Madonia reports Murphy will be the next leader of the chamber, chamber officials say no final decision has been made.  

Pritzker Administration Highlights Grain Bin Safety this Harvest Season

SPRINGFIELD – Harvest is in full swing around Illinois. As the crops come out of the field the grain bins fill up and so too does the risk for grain bin accidents.

While essential to Illinois’ harvests, grain handling equipment, and storage containers can quickly become deadly. In fact, Illinois reported the most incidents involving agricultural confined spaces, including grain bins, in 2020. Illinois also had the most grain-entrapment cases – 10 – in 2020, as documented by the University of Purdue’s Agricultural Safety and Health Program.

While the report says these numbers may be attributable to greater efforts to bring attention to these incidents, the total number of cases may have been underreported due to inadequate reporting structures.

“It’s crucial for farmers and other agricultural workers to put safety first during harvest season. Carelessness can cause injury or death. First responders must also be properly trained on the procedures for safely rescuing a worker from a grain bin,” said Illinois Department of Labor Director Michael Kleinik.

“Harvest is often a time where our farmers are up against a clock and rush through ordinary tasks like going in and out of grain bins. People often think they are big enough, strong enough, or fast enough to get out of flowing grain. Unfortunately, problems can snowball quickly,” said Illinois Department of Agriculture Director, Jerry Costello II.

Because moving grain acts similarly to quicksand, tragedy can strike in seconds. The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) says a worker standing in moving grain will be trapped within five seconds and covered by grain in less than 30 seconds.

“There are three things you need to emphasize: don’t go into bins alone; number two is turn off anything that can make the grain move, so we can keep it static; and lockout, tag out,” said Dave Newcomb, the Agriculture Program Manager with the Illinois Fire Service.

According to OSHA, the most common situations leading to grain entrapment include:

  • A worker standing on moving/flowing grain is typically caused by a running auger or grain being moved out of the bin by gravity.
  • A worker stands on or below a grain bridging situation. Bridging happens when damp grain clumps together, creating an empty space beneath the grain as it is unloaded. A worker above or below this bridge of grain is at risk should the bridge collapse.
  • A worker stands next to a pile of grain on the side of the bin and attempts to dislodge it. It can collapse onto the worker.

While workers should avoid entering grain bins – if possible – safety measures can greatly reduce the risk if they must enter. One of the most important measures is to turn off and lockout all powered equipment to the grain bin and tag it to remain off – known as Lock Out/Tag Out – so the grain is not being emptied or moving out or into the bin. The following can also be done to reduce the risk in grain bins:

  • Prohibit walking on grain to make it flow.
  • Provide all employees a body harness with a lifeline, or a boatswain’s chair, and ensure it’s secured prior to the employee entering the bin.
  • Provide an observer outside the bin or silo being entered by an employee. Ensure the observer is equipped to help and their only task is to continuously track the employee in the bin. Prohibit workers from entry into bins or silos underneath a bridging condition, or where a build-up of grain products on the sides could fall and bury them.
  • Train all workers for the specific hazardous work operations they are to perform when entering and working inside of grain bins.
  • Test the air within a bin or silo prior to entry for the presence of combustible and toxic gases, and to determine if there’s sufficient oxygen.
  • If detected by testing, vent the silo or grain bin to ensure combustible and toxic gas levels are reduced to non-hazardous levels, and sufficient oxygen levels are maintained.
  • Ensure a permit is issued for each instance a worker enters a bin or silo, certifying the precautions listed above have been implemented.

OSHA notes that more than half of deaths in grain entrapment cases are would-be rescuers and about seven in 10 occur on family farms.

Gillespie Cemetery & Public Library Looking for Volunteers

The Gillespie Cemetery & Public Library are looking for volunteers to lay brick in the Gilespie Cemetery on Saturday morning October 16th & 23rd starting at 9 each morning. They ask you to bring spades, shovels, and buckets for the work to be done, and there are 150 bricks that need to be laid. If you have any questions call the Gillespie Library at 839-2839.

Montgomery County Health Dept. Closed for Columbus Day

The Montgomery County Health Dept. will be closed on Monday, October 11th in observance of the Columbus Day holiday. There will be no in-office Flu or Covid vaccines available as a result. 

Litchfield Pickers Market Finale Set for this Weekend

This Sunday is the grand season finale for the Litchfield Pickers Market. The Litchfield Pickers Market returns Sunday from 9 AM – 3 PM in Downtown Litchfield (Starting at 400 N. State Street). This is the last market of the 2021 season, and we are excited to welcome visitors and vendors to Litchfield, IL. The Litchfield Pickers Market is the largest open-air pickers market in the region and is located less than 3 miles off Interstate 55. This market specializes in antiques, collectibles, vintage items, and refurbished items, and occurs every second Sunday of the month May through October. This month only will be a shopping extravaganza. Complete with Artists, Crafters, and Antique vendors, the Litchfield Pickers Market is your one stop shop for all of your holiday gifting needs. Knock out your holiday shopping early and visit the Litchfield Pickers Market this Sunday, October 10 from 9 AM to 3 PM in downtown Litchfield, IL (400 N. State Street). 


Each month the Litchfield Pickers Market welcomes musicians to perform at the Carnegie Park stage. During Sunday's market, 29 Junction, will kick off the day and perform live from 9 AM to 11:30 AM. 29 Junction is a band from Central Illinois that plays all of your favorite varieties of music representing every decade from the 50’s all the way to today! Following 29 Junction, the final performer of the 2021 season will be the Silver Creek Bluegrass Band. They will perform from Noon – 3 PM. The Silver Creek Bluegrass Band is a traditional bluegrass group from Edwardsville, Illinois. They focus on bringing the high lonesome sounds of Bill Monroe, Flatt & Scruggs, Jimmy Martin, The Stanley Brothers, and many more. The Silver Creek Boys, are continuing the long standing tradition of bluegrass pickers in America- keeping the tradition alive one show at a time. They have played over a hundred different shows in the Southern Illinois and St. Louis area. Silver Creek has opened up for headlining groups like The Travelin’ McCourys and the Jerry Garcia Band. These boys bring you that hard drivin’, flat pickin’, yeehawin’, high lonesome sound of the generations that came before them. Both performances are free to attend. Please make sure to bring your own lawn chair or picnic blanket so you can sit back, relax, and enjoy these free concerts. 


In 2021, there are a few other structural changes to the Litchfield Pickers Market to ensure public safety and sanitation standards for visitors, vendors, and staff. Vendor areas have expanded to ensure adequate social distancing. There will be one empty space between each vendor booth, and on narrower streets, vendors will only be located on one side of the street. To aid in public sanitation efforts, everyone will be asked to directly dispose of their own trash into provided dumpsters located on each block of the market. Frequently touched surfaces have been eliminated. Bring your own lawn chair or picnic table so you can relax in the park and listen to the bands! The Litchfield Pickers Market is appreciative of the public’s understanding and cooperation in implementing these changes throughout the season. 


To make the most of your Pickers Market experience, it is recommended to bring totes, wagons, carts, pick-up trucks, and anything that will help haul all the great treasures you will find at the Litchfield Pickers Market. There is no cost to enter the market. With multiple entry points, visitors can park around the perimeter and enter the market (just be sure to adhere to applicable parking signage). Remember, animals are not permitted at the Litchfield Pickers Market, and this event is RAIN OR SHINE! 


While you are exploring the market, please check out the exclusive 2021 Litchfield Pickers Market t-shirt found at the Litchfield Tourism Information Booth. This t-shirt was created by fans of the market and will only be available in 2021. Visitors can also purchase additional Litchfield Pickers Market gear (shirts, hats, and tote bags) at the Tourism Information Booth, which is located in front of the flagpole in the park! At this booth, volunteers supply visitors with Litchfield information, answer questions about the market and the City of Litchfield. Food will be available along State Street located at every intersection. Food vendors and their locations are listed at the Tourism Information booth as well as on the Litchfield Pickers website :


The following roads will be closed on Sunday from 4 AM to 5:30 PM for the Litchfield Pickers Market: State Street from Union Ave./Route 16 to the south entrance of the Brown Shoe Apartments, Kirkham Street and Ryder Street from Monroe Street to Madison Street, and Edwards Street from Monroe Street to Jefferson Street. Any vehicles left in these areas during this time, will be towed at the owner’s expense. 


For more information please follow the “Litchfield Pickers Market” Facebook page or log onto the website: or call the Litchfield Tourism Office Monday through Friday from 8 AM to 5 PM 

Montgomery County to have its inaugural Baby Shower

If there’s one job in the world you can’t get too much training, it’s the role of parent for first timers.  On Wednesday, The Regional Office of Education #3 Learning Express Program is hosting the First Annual Montgomery County Baby Shower  at the Hillsboro Moose Lodge from 10:00am - 2:00pm. Our goal is to provide a one stop shop for expecting mothers and families with young children so they have access to the community resources and services available to them. This will also serve as a great educational experience for parents, as there will be agencies there discussing some important topics.    The ROE#3 Learning Express Program is a birth to three home visiting program. We provide weekly in-home visits where we share and discuss developmentally appropriate activities and topics; offer information, support, and encouragement; assist in setting and meeting goals; and prepare the family and child for the transition to a 3 to 5 year old program. We also host monthly group connections, which offers educational activities, family fun, and the chance to meet other Learning Express families. Another added benefit of our program is that we deliver free developmental screenings and help connect our families to local community resources.  


We will be promoting our program at this Community Baby Shower, and we are asking other local community agencies to do the same! We will be donating a "At Home Library Starter Kit" and a diaper bag with goodies inside of it as a door prize. We will also be providing a light healthy snack and refreshment, "grab and go" style. Some of the other agencies we have joining us are: 

  • Sara Burris from St. Francis Hospital - She will be promoting car seat and prenatal education. They have kindly donated a car seat and a bag of baby items (diapers, wipes, books, onesies, etc). 

  • SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) of Illinois - Nancy Maruyama, Executive Director, has kindly donated a Cribette, infant kimonos, and educational materials for us to hand out. The infant kimonos are in goodie bags for attendees to take as they please. The Cribette will be a door prize. 

  • Rachel Walker, IDOT Traffic Safety Liaison - She will be discussing the importance of car seat safety. 

  • Lighthouse Pregnancy & Health Services - They will be showcasing their brand new Mobile Medical Unit, which allows them to provide free and confidential ultrasounds, pregnancy tests, and STI testing while on the road. 

  • Community Child Care Connections will have representatives discussing how they can help families locate child care and in some cases, reimburse them for the cost. 

  • CEFS Head Start - Promoting their birth-three home visiting program 

  • Coffeen First Steps - Promoting their birth-three program 

  • LLCC - They will be discussing adult education programs and they will have PLINKO for giveaways at their table 

  • Central Illinois Public Transit - They will be answering FAQs and promoting their services! 

  • Fusion 

Here is the link to the event on Facebook. I have posted some photos of the door prizes that we have so far! 

Litchfield Fall Cleanup Set

The City of Litchfield will offer FALL CLEAN-UP the week of October 18 th . Pick-up will begin in Ward 1 and continue through each of the additional wards accordingly. Residents are asked to have their items at the boulevard by 7:00 am on Monday, October 18 th . Appliances will be picked up once staff has completed the rotation through all four wards. NO BUILDING MATERIALS, TIRES, BRUSH, RAILROAD TIES, PAINT,  HOUSEHOLD TRASH OR ELECTRONICS will be taken. Items should be placed in a central location; disposable containers should be used and must weigh less than 70 pounds.  If trash cans are used, they will be disposed of. Items may be no larger than a household couch or mattress. Staff will not pick up torn down structures, fire damaged structures or out of town trash. Crews will make only one pass on each street. All items left on the boulevard that are not eligible for pick-up are a code violation and may be subject to a citation. Items may not be placed on the boulevard before October 11 th as it is a code violation. Residents are encouraged to use their regular trash service to dispose of unwanted items other than larger ones. Most items put out for clean-up can be handled by your regular trash pick-up service provider. The City appreciates the cooperation of the citizens to abide by these guidelines. For questions or clarifications, please call 217-324-5253. 

Carlinville, Greenville and Breese Central Battling for Football Pork Chop Bragging Rights

If Pork Chops are a part of your Friday Night Football routine, some of the best can be found in Carlinville, Greenville and Breese's Central High School.  The three schools are among those competing in the IHSA and Illinois Pork Producers Pork and Pigskins Championship.  It's a battle between concession stands across the state.  You can vote for the Cavalier, Comet and Cougar classics through Friday (October 8th) right here.


Litchfield Traffic Stop Leads to Suspect in Multiple Burglaries

One traffic stop yielded a lot more than your typical moving violation and the individual stopped has a lot more to worry about than his insurance premiums.  Litchfield Police say 44-year-old Larry Baker of Mt Olive was arrested while at the wheel of a stolen vehicle Tuesday morning in the 500 block of North Old Route 66.  But that’s the tip of the iceberg.  He is accused in several burglaries in Litchfield and across the county border, in Macoupin County. During the traffic stop, other agencies investigating Baker were called to the scene, State Police, the Macoupin County Sheriff’s Office and the Central Illinois Drug Task Force.  Police were able to recover a number of stolen items from the stolen vehicle and led police to other locations where additional stolen property was recovered. Preliminary charges against Baker in Litchfield include two counts of burglary, three counts of forgery for fraudulent use of a credit card at Litchfield businesses, possession of less than five grams of methamphetamine, two counts of theft of a motor vehicle and possession of a firearm by a felon and possession of ammunition by a felon.  More than $20,000 worth of stolen property was recovered.  Additional charges are expected in Macoupin County, where Baker is labeled as a primary suspect in several burglaries.  

Turner Urges Businesses to Apply for Back to Business Grants

 State Senator Doris Turner (D-Springfield) is urging local businesses to take advantage of Back to Business grants before the Wednesday Oct. 13 deadline. 
Turner and the General Assembly allocated $250 million in American Rescue Plan funding to the B2B program for small businesses experiencing COVID-19 losses, and the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity will continue to award grants on a rolling basis. 
“I’m extremely proud of the work done by the General Assembly to invest dollars in our most vulnerable communities,” said Turner. “The Back to Business Program will act as a stimulus to give our businesses the resources to come back stronger and more resilient.” 
Eligible businesses are encouraged to apply by visiting the DCEO website<>. To help restore operational losses incurred during the pandemic, the B2B program will provide grants ranging in size from $5,000 to $150,000, commensurate with losses experienced. The administration will continue to accept applications for B2B grants through Oct. 13, 2021. 
“I am excited to see businesses in our district receive nearly $606,000 in B2B grants during the first wave,” Turner said. “I encourage those in need of additional assistance to take advantage of this opportunity before it’s too late.” 
To highlight and support local businesses in the 48th District, Turner has launched a small business tour series and encourages entrepreneurs to invite her to visit their businesses. So far she’s met with a variety of business owners from workers in retail shops, farms, manufacturing businesses to businesses in the service industry. 



Red Cross Blood Drive Today (Tues Oct 5) at Litchfield Moose

The Red Cross is in Litchfield, seeking your help in replenishing a challenged blood supply. The Red Cross national blood inventory is the lowest it’s been at this time of year since 2015, with less than a day’s supply of certain blood types in recent weeks. They're working around the clock to meet hospital & patient blood needs – but can’t do it alone.  The Red Cross Blood Drive runs from noon until six p.m. at the Litchfield Moose Lodge at 221 North Madison....  For more details, call 1-800-RED-CROSS or log on to  

Montgomery County Health Dept Ramps Up Flu Vaccine Clinics

The Montgomery County Health Dept has declared war on the flubug and they want to wipe out the enemy before it shows up.   Flu vaccine clinics return today with the Covid 19 vaccines available at all of the stops.  You can get both vaccines at the County Health Dept from 8:30 until 3:30 Thursday with a walk In clinic on Route 185 in Hillsboro.  Today, a clinic will be held at the Witt Lions Club from  5:00 pm to 7:00 pm.  On Wednesday, it’s off to Nokomis at The Park House from  9:00 am to 12:00 pm.  Then the department will pack up and head to Raymond for a clinic at the Lincolnwood High School parking lot from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm.  On Thursday evening, the department will offer the vaccines at Hillsboro High School’s lower parking lot from  5:00 pm to 7:00 pm.  Then Saturday will bring a drive in matinee at the Skyview in Litchfield from 9am to noon.  The cost of the regular adult vaccine is $30. The cost of the high dose 65+ vaccine is $65. The Health Department accepts cash and checks, and is also able to bill insurance companies, Medicare, Medicaid, and Medicaid MCOs for the vaccination. 

MCHD would also like to invite any business that is interested in providing immunizations to its employees (minimum of 5) to contact its Hillsboro office to make arrangements for a nurse to come to the business and administer these shots.  More clinics are set through the end of the month.  We’ll keep you up to date on WSMI.  

Montgomery County Reports New Covid Death

The latest Covid 19 numbers for Montgomery County include the worst number change of them all, a new death has been reported in the county, pushing the death toll to 77.  There’s no information on age, gender or hometown in a policy that been in place from the start of the pandemic.  There are 69 new cases from the period of Friday September 24th and last Friday, October 1st.    

Litchfield Lake Drawdown Date Set

The annual drawdown of Lake Lou Yaeger will begin on December 1 st this year. All members of the public should be advised that any watercraft stored on the lake should be removed no later than December 1 st to avoid being stranded on the lake. The level of Lake Lou Yaeger will drop rapidly making it more difficult to remove boats from the lake at the public boat ramps. Any watercraft stranded on the lake should expect to remain in place until the Spring of 2022. Improperly winterized watercraft stranded on Lake Lou Yaeger could suffer severe damage during the winter season. If you are storing a watercraft on Lake Lou Yaeger, please plan accordingly. Lake residents and Lakefront Camping Lot Leaseholders may wish to capitalize on this opportunity do shoreline maintenance and make dock repairs while the lake is dropped to these levels during the off-season. Smaller fishing vessels and other small watercraft may still utilize the lake at their own risk as is common practice during the winter season while the lake level is drawn down. The Lake Department expects Lake Lou Yaeger to be drawn down approximately 4 to 6 feet below the normal full-pool levels. While 6-feet below full-pool is the intended goal, this level could be affected by excessive precipitation. If you would like more information about this topic, please contact the Litchfield Lake Department at (217) 324-5832 or email 

Hillsboro Fall Market Returns with a Vengeance

It’s an event that mixes all of the charm of fall with some haunting creations.  Imagine Hillsboro is bringing back the Fall Harvest Market after a pandemic induced one year hiatus.. A big part of the event two years ago was the new MONSTER building competition.  The event will run from 9 to 3 Saturday (October 2nd) in front of the Orpheum Theater.  You can find more details at   


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