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Local News Archives for 2021-11

Fillmore Woman Named President of the American Agri-Women

Photo: (back row, left to right) Kim Bremmer, Laura Hart, Kathy Goodyke, Rose Tryon Vancott, and (front row, left to right) Karolyn Zurn, Heather Hampton+Knodle, and Jacquie Compston. 


PHOENIX (AgPR) Nov. 30, 2021 — American Agri-Women (AAW) elected its national officers at its 2021 national convention recently in Phoenix, Ariz.  AAW, a national coalition of farm, ranch, and agribusiness women, is in its 47th year of advocating for agriculture.

Heather Hampton+Knodle of Fillmore, Ill; is the new president.  Rose Tyron Vancott of Paradise, Calif; is the first vice president.  Kathy Goodyke of Crookston, Minn; is treasurer.  Laura Hart of Hart, Texas; is vice president of communications.  Karolyn Zurn of Callaway, Minn; former president, will now transition to the past president role.  These women will serve two-year terms.

Continuing on the national board for the second year of their two-year term are Jacquie Compston of Minden, Nev., who serves as vice president of education.  Kim Bremmer of Loyal, Wis., will continue as secretary.

More about the officer team

Heather Hampton+Knodle is a farmer, past communications consultant, and association manager.  She and her family grow corn, soybeans, and wheat and manage a small herd of black Angus cattle.  Knodle is dedicated to developing rural economies through incentivizing investments in telecommunications, innovative workforce development, and enabling entrepreneurship. She was the founding chairman of the Montgomery County Economic Development Corporation, the Central Illinois Economic Development Authority, and the Montgomery CEO (Creating Entrepreneurial Opportunities) program.

Rose Tryon Vancott is a 5th generation farmer who grew up on a beef, dairy, and potato ranch in Northern California. Rose and her family are actively involved in the operation of her family farm in Del Norte County, Cali.  Vancott is a retired district attorney investigator specializing in child abuse, sexual assault, and domestic violence investigations.

Kathy Goodyke has worked as a bookkeeper and tax preparer and worked in community, public, and hospital nursing until her retirement in 2007.  Goodyke then took an active role on the family farm in production and equipment maintenance until her retirement from those duties in 2016.  The family farm raises corn, soybeans, edible beans, and wheat.  Since then, she has been involved with various roles at the local senior center including the financial chairperson, secretary, and grant writer.

Laura Hart and her family raise corn, cotton, wheat, and sorghum. Hart handles all the bookkeeping for the farm as well as other duties.  Their farm, Pioneer Farms, was recognized by the Texas Department of Agriculture Family Land Heritage program, which honors families who have owned and operated a continuous agricultural operation for 100 years or more in 2011. Hart is a vocal advocate of agriculture and has been honored at 4-H and FFA banquets for her parent leadership. She is a past president of the Hart Buyers Club, Hart Athletic Booster Club, and a Hart Independent School District school board member.

Jacquie Compston is a fifth-generation native Nevadan whose roots run deep in the history of ranching. She received a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Education and taught at Smith Valley Schools and Western Nevada College.  Compston’s family-owned and operated a large family ranching and farming operation in Western Nevada that included, registered and commercial cowherds, a commercial feedlot, and production of, seed garlic, small grains, and alfalfa.

Kim Bremmer started Ag Inspirations in 2015 and has been advocating for farmers as a professional speaker, traveling across the country as well as internationally. She is passionate about protecting the use of science, technology, and innovation in how we grow and raise food. Bremmer is also the executive director of Venture Dairy Cooperative, a new third-party milk verification co-op, where she advocates on policy to help protect farmers and promote the future of dairy in Wisconsin. She serves on the executive advisory council for the American Dairy Coalition, is the president of Wisconsin Women for Agriculture, and is a regular contributor on Rural Route Radio.

Karolyn Zurn and her family raise corn, soybeans, sugar beets, and wheat.  Zurn has served on many agriculture boards including Minnesota Ag in the Classroom, Northern Corps Institute Council, Minnesota Soybean Growers, and Becker County Corn and Soybean Growers. Zurn was most recently was appointed to the Minnesota State FSA Board.

Officers held a planning session in mid-November to set priorities for the coming year. "Our officer team is dedicated to advancing our mission to unite women in ag, communicate among ourselves to develop better leaders and accurate messages, and to promote policies that make sense for the production of food, fiber, and renewable fuels and for our consumers,” says Heather Hampton+Knodle.

Rodney Davis Announces 2022 Re-Election Campaign to Congress in New IL-15

Congressman Rodney Davis has cleared the clouds surrounding his political future and he will seek another term in Washington.  Before the first Congressional remap from Illinois state lawmakers, the Taylorville Republican was said to be leaving the option open of running for Governor.  Davis on occasion offered rhetoric in the direction of Governor JB Pritzker, only adding to the speculation. After the first Congressional remap version surfaced, there was still a question about whether Davis would seek an office on Capitol Hill or Springfield because his new district appeared to lean Democratic.  Former Pritzker and Biden Administration official Nikki Budzinski had announced a run against Davis, with the future district boundaries districts unclear. Then the second version was released, which has since been signed into law, Davis found himself in a Republican friendly 15th Congressional District. Budzinski is in the new Democrat friendly 13th extending from the Metro-East to Macoupin County and onto Champaign.    For the moment, Davis is unopposed.   That could change with incumbent Mary Miller in the same district with Murphysboro based Republican Mike Bost.  Under a wrinkle in Illinois law, she could choose to run against Davis, despite being roughly one mile from his district.  Although he isn’t commenting on the potential for facing Miller, Davis made it clear any primary challenger would face an uphill battle with a series of endorsements across the new 15th,   Davis received endorsements from Bost, GOP U.S. Rep. Darin LaHood and former U.S. Rep. John Shimkus. He also gathered support from 31 of 35 Republican county chairmen and 14 Republican state lawmakers in the 15th District. Primary elections in Illinois will be held June 28. Lawmakers pushed back the date from March to account for delays in redistricting caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Suspect Arrested in Farmersville Thanksgiving Day Slaying

The Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office paid a visit to Collinsville and they weren’t there for horse racing, horserasdish or lunch at the Horseshoe Louge.  They were there on serious business, as they paid a visit to the residence of the person of interest in the Farmersville Thanksgiving Day murder of 45-year-old Leslie Reeves of Troy and shooting that critically injured the resident at 104 Nobbie,  48-year-old Christopher Smith.  The person of interest is identified as 48-year-old Robert Tarr of Collinsville.  He had a previous dating relationship with Reeves.  On Friday,   Montgomery County Sheriff’s Deputies located Tarr at his residence and with the assistance of the Montgomery County State’s Attorney, Andrew Affrunti, a search warrant was obtained and executed at Tarr‘s residence. The Collinsville Police Department, the Madison County Sheriff’s Office and the Illinois State Police Crime Scene Services assisted. Tarr was detained on suspicion of First Degree Murder and transported to the Montgomery County Jail, where his initial bond was set at $2,000,000.00. Formal charges of First Degree Murder and Attempt First Degree Murder are expected to be filed when Tarr appears in Circuit Court for arraignment tomorrow (Tuesday November 30th).  The Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office, the Illinois State Police and the Montgomery County Coroner’s Office are continuing the investigation. 

New Hillsboro Library Open House Set

The momentous occasion is drawing near. The new Hillsboro Area Public Library location will soon open its doors.  The Friends of the Library has announced they will host an open house at the former Bank of America Building on Main come December 16th from 5 to 7 p.m.  A ribbon cutting is set for December 20th. 

One Person Dead, One Person Critical After Thanksgiving Double Shooting in Farmersville

When you think of peaceful places to be in America on Thanksgiving, Farmersville would certainly make the cut. While many families had the kind of gatherings that you could fit in a Norman Rockwell painting, at another home emergency personnel and police who had to step away from turkey and pumpkin pie found themselves at the scene of an apparent double shooting that left one person dead.  Arriving authorities performing a welfare check at 104 Nobbie Street at just before 12:45 pm, found 45-year-old Leslie Reeves of Troy unresponsive and pronounced dead at the scene.  The resident of the home, 48-year-old Christopher Smith was critically injured. He was transported to St. John's Hospital in Springfield.  The Illinois State Police Crime Scene Services also responded to assist.  A person of interest has been identified and the incident remains under investigation by the Montgomery County Sherrif's Office, the Illinois State Police and the Montgomery County Coroner's Office. 

Litchfield Voice of Democracy Winners Announced

The Annual Voice of Democracy and the Citizenship Educator Teacher of the Year Awards Program was 

conducted at the Litchfield High School on Monday November 22nd  The Voice of Democracy Scholarship Competition is a 3-5 minute, audio-essay contest that has been sponsored nationwide by the Veterans of Foreign Wars and Auxiliary for the past seventy-five years. The 

title of this year's theme is “America: Where Do We Go From Here?” The top ten essays were selected from 155 essays entered by the Litchfield High School.  

This year’s top 10 are: (listed alphabetically) . Elaan Bader, Ryan Baugher, Cameron Crowe, Emma Diveley, Carly Favre, Audrey Fischer, Emma Hughes, Keagan Marten, Sarah Pence, and Allen Schneider All were honored and received Certificates of Merit at the awards program 


The names of the top three places were announced: The 1st 

 Place Award went to Carly Favre. She received $500 and a gold V.O.D. medal. 2Nd Place Award went to Audrey Fischer, who received $200 and a silver V.O.D. medal. Ryan Baugher was awarded 3rd  

Place. He received $100 and a bronze V.O.D. medal. The top three entries have been entered into the next level of judging in the VFW Twelfth District. 

Also honored at the program were Superintendent of Schools Dr. Greggory Fuerstenau, High School Principal Juletta Ellis, and teachers Joshua Hughes, Dan Carlson, and Dan Stewart. They received Award Citations for their critical roles in conducting the VOD Program at LCHS.   

The VFW and Auxiliary sponsors another program in their attempt to partner with school systems in communities across the country. It is called the Citizenship Educator Teacher of the Year Award. This award is offered in three categories: K-5, Middle School, and High School. Mr. Ellis Henley was honored as this year’s recipient of the award at Litchfield High for his continued ability to integrate citizenship instruction, character building, and academics. Mr Henley has been advanced to the VFW 12th District for the next level of judging. 

HSHS St. Francis Hospital Adds Visitor Limits

HSHS St. Francis Hospital will allow two visitors per patient. 

All visitors must continue to follow hospital-specific processes for entry into the facility. All visitors must have their temperature checked and be screened for COVID-19 symptoms and exposure. In addition, medical grade masks (non-cloth) are mandatory. Visitors must be age 18 or older, unless they are the parent of a child receiving care. 

No visitors are allowed for patients under investigation for possible COVID-19 diagnosis and those confirmed positive for COVID-19. 


Guidelines for specific areas in the hospital are as follows: 

Emergency department: 

  • Adult patient: Two visitors who must remain in the patient’s room for duration of visit. 

  • Pediatric patient: Two parents and/or guardians who must stay in the patient’s room for duration of visit. 


Inpatient units: 

  • Adult inpatients: Two visitors per patient per day during the hours of 8 a.m. - 8 p.m. 

  • Pediatric inpatients: Two parents or guardians allowed. 

  • Women and infants center: Two support persons during delivery who must remain the same for the duration of the hospital stay. 

  • End-of-life patients: Two visitors per patient per day. Please call the hospital for guidance in specific situations. 


Surgery (inpatient and outpatient): 

  • Two visitors in the waiting room only for the duration of the surgical procedure. 


Outpatient diagnostic and therapy services: 

  • Two visitors may accompany the patient or wait in designated waiting areas. 

  • Patients receiving outpatient services are encouraged to come alone whenever possible or have visitors wait outside until services are complete. 


Patients with intellectual and/or developmental disability or cognitive impairments: 

  • Two support persons. 


Visitor guidelines are subject to change at any time to address the health needs of our communities. By putting these guidelines in place, St. Francis Hospital is exemplifying its commitment to the dignity and care of all, especially the most vulnerable among us. 

For more information about the HSHS St. Francis Hospital, please visit:

Bourne Among Backers of Inflation Fueled Tax Credit Plan

State Representative Avery Bourne (R-Morrisonville) is supporting a modest tax relief proposal in the form of a tax credit for individuals who earn less than $75,000 a year to help offset the rising inflation on families that is currently at 6.2%. 

The estimated $1.4 billion estimated cost could be paid for out of the $8 billion Covid-19 Relief Fund since the 6.2% inflation rate has been caused by the covid-19 restrictions on businesses and job losses. 

The current proposal announced today recommends a tax credit applied in the 2022 tax filing of $200 for individuals making up to $75,000; $400 for couples filing jointly; and $200 for head of households making up to $112,500 annually. This one-time tax credit could be established to kick in only when the rate of inflation hits a certain level, like 6 percent or 5 percent and then sunset automatically when it goes back down to a predetermined level like 2 or 3 percent.   

The legislation being drafted could be heard as early as January 4 when the General Assembly is scheduled to convene again. The program to help families with a tax credit could be in place in time for when the tax filing process begins. 



LLCC Ag Club students excel at Professional Agriculture Student contest

SPRINGFIELD — Eight Lincoln Land Community College Agriculture Club members recently competed at the Illinois Professional Agriculture Student (PAS) Employment Interview Contest and will advance to the national competition.


The contest, held virtually again this year, required students to create a resume, cover letter and complete a job application for a position in one of 13 agriculture fields. They then participated in a mock job interview.


Placing first in their respective areas were Luke Adams of Athens, Elizabeth Lee of Springfield, Fuller Anderson of Atwell, Clayton Walch of Raymond, Kylie Schakel, and Carson Lobdell of Springfield. Placing second were Mackenzie Harmon of Morrisonville and Kyle Colwell of Franklin. All are now eligible to compete at the National PAS Conference in Minneapolis, Minn. in March.


“The event helps to better prepare students for real job interviews in the future,” said Bill Harmon, professor of agronomy who serves as adviser to the LLCC Ag Club along with Holly Bauman, agriculture program specialist.


PAS is a nationally recognized student organization that brings education and industry together in agriculture.

Honors Planned for Hillsboro High Grad Who Served With Special Forces, Volunteers Needed

This week, Montgomery County residents will take time to give thanks..... And in 2021 that celebration of Thanksgiving extends to thanks for those who serve our armed forces, in particular a man who represented the area as well as the past celebrities we discussed during this Bicentennial year... one Army Master Sgt Williams Lee Crays, a former Litchfield resident and Hillsboro High graduate.  Hough and Sons Funeral Home will transport the remains of Army Master Sergeant Williams Crays from Lambert Airport in St. Louis back to the funeral home in Hillsboro tomorrow (Wednesday Nov 24).  Hough and Sons will be joined by  the Patriot Guard and the Illinois State Police and local law enforcement.   They anticipate leaving Lambert at 5:00 PM and will travel along interstate 55 north to IL Rte. 16 east. Those wishing to honor Sergeant Crays are encouraged to do so.   The 45-year-old Crays of Holt Florida died unexpectedly on Nov. 13  in Florida. He was a graduate of Hillsboro High School in 1994. He joined the Army National Guard in May 1995, serving 8 years he left the Guard to work for Dobrinich Construction. But he just couldn’t shake the call to serve and he rejoined the Army in 2008. He served on 5 deployments to Afghanistan. Sergeant First Class William Crays was an Army Parachute Rigger in the 7 th Special Forces group (Airborne). His duty was air drop operations NCO. He recently had re-enlisted on July 1, 2021 and following his passing he was promoted to Master Sergeant. He earned several awards and decorations in his time in the Army. 

The Flagman’s Mission Continues wants to salute the life of Master Sgt Crays by filling Montgomery County roadways with flags and they need your help.  On Friday at noon, volunteers can gather at Hough and Sons Funeral Home in the 1100 block of School Street.  They’re setting up some 2000 flags along the 13 mile funeral route.   They need volunteers and people who can bring pick up trucks or empty cargo vans Setup and take down will normally take approximately 3 hours or less with enough volunteers! They ask you to wear work gloves and walking shoes and anyone that is able to walk and carry 10lbs. can help (Prefer over the age of 10 years old ) They will provide all the flags and equipment needed for set up!) ANY questions please call or text CEO Jeff Hastings at 618-409-0323

Litchfield Says No to Business in Residential Neighborhood

The Litchfield Planning Commission and City Council keep the door closed to commercial businesses landing in residential areas.   Last week, the City Council denied a special use permit that would have allowed an auto glass repair business to open in the 700 block of West Kirkham. 

After 116 Years of Service, Carnegie Building's Days as Hillsboro Library Come to a Close

It was built to last and last it did.  The Hillsboro Library has ended operations at the legendary Carnegie Building on School Street after 116 years.  The Hillsboro Area Public Library is set to reopen at its new facility, the former Bank of America on Main, some time next month.  Library Director Shelley Kolb credits the Library's Board of Trustees and the Friends of the Library with making the move possible.  

USDA Funding for Local Communities

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development Office has awarded funding to six projects across rural communities in Christian, Greene, Macoupin, and Montgomery counties. The funding is part of the Community Facilities Direct Loans and Grants Program. It includes $120,400 in grants and a $159,000 low-interest loan for a total of $279,400 in federal support. These grants leverage local match dollars to support $367,714 worth of projects.


"I am excited to announce funding for six different projects in rural communities across Central and Southwestern Illinois,” said Davis. “These grants leverage local dollars to fund much-needed projects and equipment for law enforcement and public works departments. They are a great example of the investments we need to make at the federal level to support our rural communities and I'm proud to support them in Congress."


In Christian County, the Village of Mt. Auburn, $12,600 grant with a $10,400 local match for a total cost of $23,000. This grant will be used to construct a 5-foot reinforced concrete retaining wall along the southern edge of the city hall property parking lot to provide stability for a new 10-foot wide section of the aggregate parking lot along the retaining wall. This project will improve the safety and maintainability of the parking lot.


The city of Pana, $24,400 grant with a $20,034 local match for a total cost of $44,434. This grant will be used to purchase a law enforcement interceptor AWD vehicle to replace a current vehicle with high mileage and is in need of costly repairs. The city has nine full-time officers, seven of which provide full-time patrol duties utilizing six vehicles. This vehicle will ensure the safety of the patrol officers while providing public safety to the residents.


The city of Taylorville, $24,500 grant with a $20,155 local match for a total cost of $44,655. This grant will be used to purchase a law enforcement vehicle. The city's law enforcement department is in need of another vehicle to add to their fleet. They plan to purchase a 2021 law enforcement Interceptor Utility AWD vehicle. This project will provide better public safety.


In Greene County, the City of Carrollton, $9,000 grant with a $16,716 local match for a total cost of $25,716. This grant will enable the city to purchase a pickup truck for use by the city's street department for city projects. Their current 18-year-old truck, which is in need of costly repairs, will be replaced. This project will benefit all residents who utilize city streets.


In Macoupin County, Scottville Township, $25,000 grant with a $159,000 loan for total cost of $184,000. This grant and loan will be used to purchase a replacement road grader. The townships' road grader has reached its useful life and can no longer adequately serve the community. The township will purchase a 2019 road grader, maintaining 46.1 miles of roads and ditches within the township.


In Montgomery County, the city of Witt, a $24,900 grant with a $20,469 local match for a total cost of $45,369. This grant will be used to purchase a replacement law enforcement vehicle with added equipment. This vehicle will replace the city's existing law enforcement vehicle, which has reached its useful life. The new vehicle ensures adequate public safety for the community.

HSHS Hospitals Will Follow Tougher Federal Guidelines on Employee Vaccinations, Jobs on the Line

Hospital Sisters Health System, which operates St Francis in Litchfield, Holy Family in Greenville, and St. Joseph’s Hospitals of Highland and Breese, will follow a new federal requirement that employees get the Covid 19 vaccine.    In a memo to employees, HSHS officials said employees who continue to refuse to use the vaccine will lose their jobs.   The memo said employees who fail to comply with the vaccination requirement will be taken off the schedule and placed on unpaid administrative leave.  Two weeks after that, HSHS officials will consider lack of proof of vaccination or an approved exemption for medical or religious reasons to be a voluntary resignation.  CMS is requiring health care workers to be fully vaccinated by Jan. 4.   Many health care experts expect the federal lawsuits to end up in front of the U.S. Supreme Court. 

Litchfield's Patriot Pen Finalists Named

The names of the top three finalists in this years Patriot’s Pen Essay Contest were 

announced today. They are (listed alphabetically): Melody Ellinger, Ady Fergurson, and Savannah Roach 

They were selected by the judges from a field of 289 students from the Sixth, Seventh, and Eighth Grades at Litchfield Middle School. 

The Patriot’s Pen is a nationwide essay contest which is offered to students in the 6 th , 7 th , and 8 th grades and is sponsored by the Veterans of Foreign Wars and Auxiliary. The title of this year’s theme is: “How Can I be a Good American?”. This was the twelfth year that the program was sponsored by V.F.W. post 3912 and conducted at the LMS. 

The three finalists will be honored at a school assembly at a later date. At that time, they will discover how they finished. First place will receive $100 and a gold medal. Second place will receive $50 and a silver medal. Third Place will receive $25 and bronze medal. 

The program was conducted at the LMS by Principal Russell Tepen, and Language Arts teachers, Shannon Diveley, Jennifer Fleming, and Kelly Eldred. 

Hillsboro Schools Mask Mandate Survives Another Challenge

The Hillsboro School Board and members of the audience who spoke at last week’s meeting were evenly split on a new push to make masks optional again after a previous temporary restraining order against a mask requirement was dismissed in court.  With board member Kassie Greenwood not present, voted on making masks optional and the final verdict was a 3-3 vote that left the state mask mandate in place.  Bryce Rupert, Dan Tester and John Lentz voted in favor of optional masks while Nathan Kirby, Barbara Adams and Matt Lentz voted against.   

Weekly State Crop Progress & Conditions Report

There were 4.6 days suitable for fieldwork during the week ending November 14, 2021. Statewide, the average temperature was 46.3 degrees, 3.9 degrees above normal. Precipitation averaged 0.45 inches, 0.32 inches below normal. Topsoil moisture supply was rated 5 percent short, 84 percent adequate, and 11 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture supply was rated 1 percent very short, 5 percent short, 90 percent adequate, and 4 percent surplus. Corn harvested for grain reached 95 percent, compared to the 5-year average of 92 percent. Soybeans harvested reached 93 percent, compared to the 5-year average of 96 percent. Winter wheat planted reached 86 percent, compared to the 5-year average of 96 percent. Winter wheat emerged reached 71 percent, compared to the 5- year average of 85 percent. Winter wheat condition was 1 percent poor, 11 percent fair, 68 percent good, and 20 percent excellent.

Nokomis Baseball Museum Marks 40 Years with Hall of Fame Induction

The Bottomley, Ruffing, and Schalk Museum marked 40 years with a banquet honoring the members of this year's Hall of Fame class on Saturday, November 13th at the St. Louis Church Parish Hall.  Six of the eight honorees were on hand including Jayson Werth, Dennis Werth, Stan Royer, Kevin Koslofski, Eric Weaver, & Dave Kane. Illinois play-by-play man Brian Barnhart was the emcee! 

State Senator Jason Plummer to Join Colleagues for Edwardsville Town Hall

Illinois State Senator Jason Plummer will join State Senate colleagues Steve McClure of Springfield and Jill Tracy for an in-person regional town hall event Monday at the Edwardsville Gun Club. . The event will run from 6 to 7:30 p.m.  at 4104 Staunton Road. Attendees are asked to RSVP at  Together, the lawmakers are touring the region to get a better understanding of issues faced by communities and residents. 

Missing Person's Advisory

At the request of the Coles County Sherriff's Department, the Illinois State Police is activating an Endangered Missing Person Advisory. The Coles County Sherriff's Department is requesting your assistance in locating Brock Sawyer, who is a 35 year old white male, who is 5 foot 8 inches and weighs 170 pounds. Brock has brown hair and is wearing a long sleeve red and black flannel jacket, white shirt, and athletic basketball shorts. He was last seen at his residence in Rardin at 10:00 pm on November 9th. Mr. Sawyer has a condition that places him in danger. Any person with information regarding the whereabouts of Brock Sawyer should contact the Coles County Sheriff's Department at:217-348-0555. Or contact 911. 

Wreath making workshop with University of Illinois Extension

The University of Illinois Extension is hosting a holiday wreath workshop on Wednesday, Dec. 8 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Montgomery County Extension Office in Hillsboro.


“A wreath can be made from a variety of fresh greenery,” said Andrew Holsinger, University of Illinois Extension horticulture educator. “Some of the plant material used for your wreath may even be found in your own landscape.”


“This workshop will give participants a chance to learn the differences in plant materials used for making holiday wreaths,” Holsinger said.


Register online at or by calling 217-532-3941. The registration deadline is Dec. 1. The cost of the workshop is $15 and includes all materials.


For more information, please contact Andrew Holsinger at or 217-532-3941.


The University of Illinois Extension provides equal opportunities in programs and employment. If you need reasonable accommodation to participate in programming, contact 217-532-3941. Early requests are strongly encouraged to allow sufficient time for meeting participant needs.


ABOUT EXTENSION: Illinois Extension leads public outreach for the University of Illinois by translating research into action plans that allow Illinois families, businesses, and community leaders to solve problems, make informed decisions, and adapt to changes and opportunities.

Montgomery County Board Goes with Status Quo on Committees

While the Montgomery County Board is on the path of shrinking by a third from 21 to 14 members after the next election, they’ll wait to change the committee system.  A proposal to cut the number of committees was soundly defeated.  The board also voted to approve a budget, a spending blueprint that got a key boost in Covid challenged times from royalties generated by the Deer Run Coal Mine.    

Weekly State Crop Progress and Conditions Report

There were 4.7 days suitable for field work during the week ending November 7, 2021. Statewide, the average temperature was 41.3 degrees, 5.5 degrees below normal. Precipitation averaged 0.01 inches, 0.79 inches below normal. Topsoil moisture supply was rated 4 percent short, 87 percent adequate, and 9 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture supply was rated 1 percent very short, 5 percent short, 85 percent adequate, and 9 percent surplus. Corn harvested for grain reached 90 percent, compared to the 5-year average of 87 percent. Soybeans harvested reached 85 percent, compared to the 5-year average of 92 percent. Winter wheat planted reached 80 percent, compared to the 5-year average of 91 percent. Winter wheat emerged reached 59 percent, compared to the 5- year average of 76 percent. Winter wheat condition was 3 percent very poor, 4 percent poor, 12 percent fair, 68 percent good, and 13 percent excellent. 

Madison County Health Preparing to Offer Covid VAX to 5-11 crowd.

Madison County Health Department announces the availability of the COVID-19 vaccine for kids 5-11 years old.  The only manufacturer currently approved through an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for a COVID-19 vaccine for this age group is Pfizer-BioNTech.  


Madison County Health Department’s (MCHD) vaccine clinics will begin including individuals aged 5-11 on November 10th.  Minors 17 and under must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.  All vaccinations are by appointment only.  To schedule an appointment at MCHD, visit and click the green “Appointments for Vaccines are Open” button or call (618) 692-8954 x 2. 


The new COVID-19 vaccine for kids 5-11 years old is also available at several other locations throughout Madison County.  Several pediatrician offices have the vaccine or anticipate receiving it soon.  Some offices will give the vaccine to people who are not their current patients.  For a list of pediatrician offices in Madison County known to have or will be receiving the vaccine and information about who they will give it to, see the chart listed at  


Many local pharmacies have or will be receiving the new vaccine soon as well.  Check with your local pharmacy for availability and scheduling. 


More organizations and locations will be added over the coming weeks as additional vaccine for this population arrives in Madison County. 


CDC has a vaccine finder that lets you select which vaccine you are looking for and gives you all of the locations near you that currently have it.  Visit or call 1-800-232-0233 or text your zip code to 438829.  


Many locations offering the new pediatric (kids 5-11 years old) vaccine also have the COVID-19 vaccine for individuals 12 years and older.  If you would like to get the vaccine or need your booster, check with the location to see if you can schedule your vaccine for the same time as your 5-11 year olds vaccine.  You do not need to go to the same place for your booster that you received your original doses. 

Lamb Returns to Litchfield PD, Search for New Lake Superintendent Underway

Four years after leaving the Litchfield Police to run the Lake Department, Eric Lamb’s career has boomeranged back to the L-P-D.  Lamb was sworn in at Thursday’s city council meeting.The search for his successor is underway and Mayor Steve Dougherty reports interest has already been expressed in the opening.

Shuttered Nokomis Kroger Store Will Be Reborn as Dollar General

EF Hutton is no longer with us but in this area, when Jack Tosetti speaks, people listen.  The former Kroger store will apparently have a new life as a Dollar General.  While that may not wow some at face value, if you travel to enough stores, you’ll quickly learn those stores are not all created equal.  This store would carry more grocery items than a typical Dollar General store.   

Hillsboro Commissioner Robbins Picked to Succeed Lemons as Circuit Clerk

It was no surprise.  The Montgomery County Board has picked a new Circuit Clerk with Friday’s departure of Holly Lemons.  The Board tabbed the choice of the county GOP Central Committee, former Circuit Clerk employee Daniel Robbins.  While the news set off a wave of handshakes at the Historic Courthouse, a couple of blocks down Main, it begins a sports like game of next man up or next woman for that matter.  Unfortunately, unlike sports the Hillsboro City Council doesn’t operate with a farm system, minor leagues or football’s taxi squad system where someone can be promoted.  Mayor Don Downs had quite a hunting expedition in looking for a successor to fill the unexpired remainder of his term on the City Council.  Now Downs is asking interested citizens to reach out to him about the new opening on the council.  Robbins leaves the council with a year and a half left in his term.  Downs says interested residents genuinely need to have the best interests of Hillsboro at heart. 

Blood Drive in Hillsboro Friday

Hillsboro Moose Lodge to host Community Blood Drive Friday, November 5th 

Sponsored by St. Agnes Catholic Church 

Hillsboro Moose Lodge will host a Community Blood Drive from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm on Friday, November 5th at 411 S. Main Street, inside Hillsboro Moose Lodge 

Appointments: To donate, please contact ImpactLife Springfield at (800) 747-5401 or visit and use code 60046 to locate the drive. Masks and appointments are required. 

Donor Eligibility Criteria: Potential donors must be at least 17 years of age (16 with parental permission form available through and weigh more than 110 pounds. A photo I.D. is required to donate. For questions about eligibility, please call ImpactLife at (800) 747-5401. Donors who last gave blood on or before 9/10/21 are eligible to give at this drive. 

Weekly State Crop Progress & Conditions Report

There were 1.2 days suitable for fieldwork during the week ending October 31, 2021. Statewide, the average temperature was 50.0 degrees, 1.6 degrees below normal. Precipitation averaged 2.35 inches, 1.73 inches above normal. Topsoil moisture supply was rated 1 percent very short, 4 percent short, 49 percent adequate, and 46 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture supply was rated 1 percent very short, 4 percent short, 70 percent adequate, and 25 percent surplus. Corn harvested for grain reached 81 percent, compared to the 5-year average of 80 percent. Soybeans harvested reached 75 percent, compared to the 5-year average of 86 percent. Winter wheat planted reached 70 percent, compared to the 5-year average of 84 percent. Winter wheat emerged reached 53 percent, compared to the 5-year average of 63 percent. Winter wheat condition was 1 percent very poor, 3 percent poor, 10 percent fair, 77 percent good, and 9 percent excellent. 

Mask Mandate Set to Return to Hillsboro Schools Tomorrow

Today, the Hillsboro School District announced a return to a school mask mandate starting tomorrow.  It's the result of action in Montgomery County Court.  The following is a release from Supterintendent David Powell. 


"Today a Montgomery County judge dissolved the Temporary Restraining Order which had been precluding the School District from complying with the orders of the Governor, the Illinois Department of Public Health, and the Illinois School Board of Education to require all students to wear masks at school. Since the TRO has been lifted, all students will be required to wear masks while indoors at school and on buses starting tomorrow, Wednesday, November 3. Now that all our students will be wearing masks, I anticipate that our indoor extracurricular contests with other schools will return to normal schedules and locations. In addition, the Test to Stay option in lieu of quarantine for close contacts will be applicable in most cases, greatly reducing the number of students needing to quarantine. We are seeing an upswing in the number of cases in our schools. The last day and a half has brought 12 new cases resulting in over 50 quarantines. Had all students been wearing masks the number of quarantines would have been minimal. Thank you for your patience as we continue to work through these challenging issues. Your cooperation is greatly appreciated."

Local 4H'ers Honoring Veterans at Witt Cemetery, Need Your Help

It’s always powerful to see Wreaths Across America continue its charitable work, decorating veterans' graves in Arlington National Cemetery and national cemeteries closer to home like Camp Butler in Springfield.  But some veterans prefer to be buried in soil closer to home and the Starr Shooters 4-H club is keeping that in mind as they honor soldiers laid to rest on a road less traveled, at Witt Cemetery December 18th.   To sponsor a wreath, please contact Denise Kistner by mail at  16110 Witt Ave, Witt IL or call or text at 217-556-0015. Sponsoring a wreath is $15, and the 4-H club receives five dollars for its club activities. The rest covers the wreaths expenses and supports the Wreaths Across America Foundation. 


Litchfield Ambulance Board Votes to Boost Maximum Tax Rate

It looks like the tax rate for the Litchfield Area Ambulance Special Service Board is headed up.  In a narrow 5-4 vote, the board agreed to triple the maximum rate to 45 cents, generating a potential $648,000 for the service, which is battling a $300,000 deficit.  Critics on the board argued the service should be self-sufficient while supporters were concerned about potential service cuts and a pattern of city revenue supporting ambulance service. Voting for the motion were Dave Hollo, Kassidy Payne, Tim Wright, Woodrow Street and Robert Buda. Voting against it were Marilyn Sisson, Mark Brown, Ray Kellenberger and Dwayne Gerl.  

Robbins GOP Choice for Circuit Clerk

Hillsboro City Council Commissioner Daniel Robbins could soon be switching day jobs.  The Montgomery County Republican Central Committee is recommending Robbins as the successor for outgoing County Circuit Clerk Holly Lemons.  He’s no stranger to the office.  He left a post with the Circuit Clerk’s office for his current role on the first floor of the Historic Courthouse with the County Clerk’s office.  The Montgomery County Board will discuss the issue at a special meeting Wednesday.   


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