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Macomb Local News Archives for 2016-08

Fatal Accident in Brown County

On Monday evening, there was a fatal accident in Brown County. At around 4:00pm, Troy Dolen, 43, of Winchester, IL was standing in front of the rear tire of a low boy heavy machinery flatbed trailer, parked on the side of Brown County Road 675 E., about one mile south of Mt. Sterling. At this time, another man got into the vehicle, and started pulling forward, trapping Dolen under the tire. He was airlifted to St. John's Hospital in Springfield, but ultimately died of his injuries. The preliminary investigation is ruling this event an accident, and no charges have been filed.

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Piece to Peace Featured in Quilt Sampler Magazine

Piece to Peace Treasures, a quilt shop in Macomb, has been chosen by Quilt Sampler magazine as one of their 10 featured shops for the Fall/Winter of 2016. This magazine, published twice annually by Better Homes and Gardens, has been profiling quilt shops all over the country for 21 years, and to be featured in an issue is no small feat. Almost 3,000 shops across the United States are eligible to be featured, and the fact that a Macomb store is one of only 10 is an outstanding achievement. To celebrate, Piece to Peace Treasures is inviting everyone in to their shop at 1508 W. Jackson St. on September 9th from 4 to 7pm. There will be door prizes, refreshments, quilt discounts, and a magic show by Jim Percy from Quincy.

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Juvenile Justice Initiative Praises New Justice System Overhaul

The Juvenile Justice Initiative is praising Governor Bruce Rauner's recent overhaul of the justice system, with the implementation of the new protections for young and first time offenders. In particular, the group says that the recently signed Senate Bill 2370 is a good step in the right direction. The bill raises the age from 13 to 15 for requiring that a child be represented by an attorney during interrogations for murder or sex crimes. Elizabeth Clarke, the group's president, says that the new law will help protect young people's constitutional rights. 
 
"I think this is a key measure to ensure that the youngest in our society receive particular protections, especially in light of the 50-year anniversary of Miranda."
-Elizabeth Clarke, The Juvenile Justice Initiative
 
Clarke is referring to the "Miranda rights" read to those being taken into custody, and rights that, she says, are often waived by young people who don't have full understanding of their weight. According to a Chicago Police Accountability Task Force report from last year, less than 1% of children and adults had lawyers during police interrogations, and Clarke says the state could do much more for juveniles in the future. 
 
"We do believe that every child deserves the protection of a lawyer during interrogation, and certainly every child that faces any potential of adult prosecution. But we think this is a really significant step forward."
-Elizabeth Clarke, The Juvenile Justice Initiative
 
The new law will go in to effect state-wide in January. 

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Attorney General Petitions for Easier Student Loan Relief

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan is taking steps to ensure that the victims of fraudulent college claims can properly receive loan forgiveness. On Friday, Madigan and Attorney Generals from 13 other states and the District of Columbia, submitted paperwork to the Department of Education calling for a universal process when it comes to applying for student loan relief after being victimized by an institution operating outside of state laws. Madigan's fight is prevalent here in Illinois, as Everest College did just that, and was the subject of numerous lawsuits. However, though the Department of Education found multiple instances of fraud within Everest and its parent company, only 7% of students who are eligible for relief actually applied for it. Madigan says that the lack of a clear process and universal form is oftentimes the major factor. This is only one part of a fight that Madigan has been fighting when it comes to student loans. She's currently battling against debt relief scams and she's also set up a free Student Loan Helpline, which you can call at 800-455-2456

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Fatal Accident in Warren County

On Friday morning, there was a fatal single-vehicle crash in Warren County. Just before noon, 44 year old Blake Westlake of Browning, IL was traveling northbound on U.S. Route 67 at 225th Avenue in a Mack Truck. He veered off the road, drove into an embankment, and struck a tree head on. Westlake was pronounced dead on the scene. He was not wearing his seatbelt. His trailer and the tree that was hit both fell into the roadway, blocking off access to U.S. Route 67 for approximately 4 hours, but the area is clear as of now. 

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McDonough Power Co-op Sends Out "Round-Up" Donations

McDonough Power Cooperative has issued a number of grants to local organizations, for a total donation of over $7,500. McDonough County United Way was given $1,000 to go toward their Change the Story campaign. The Jamieson Community Center was given $1,550 for the purchase of two-gondola style shelving units for their Thrift Store. The final beneficiary was the Emmet-Chalmers Fire Protection District, who received $5,000 for an FLIR Thermal Imaging Camera. The Operation Round-Up program is funded through customers who have their bills rounded up to the nearest dollar, with the extra cents supporting local causes like these. Since the programs beginning in January, a total of $11,867.96 has gone to support various local organizations.

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Ribbon Cutting - U.S. Cellular

The Ambassador Committee of the Macomb Area Chamber of Commerce held a ribbon cutting on Thursday to celebrate the recently remodeled US Cellular store at 1690 E. Jackson St in Macomb. For store hours and more information, you can call 309-836-2409 or go to www.uscellular.com 

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Fulton County Sheriff's Respond to Country Club Break-In

The Fulton County Sheriff's responded Sunday to a burglary in progress at the Wee-Ma-Tuk Country Club. They arrived to discover Rushville resident Jefferson Callaghan attempting to break into the building. After a short chase on foot, Callaghan was arrested. Sheriff's also found tools commonly used in break-ins near the country club, as well as two guns in his vehicle, one of which appeared to be stolen. Callaghan was arrested on charges of attempted burglary, possession of burglary tools, criminal damage to property, possession of a firearm by a felon, and possession of a stolen firearm. Callaghan is currently being held at the Fulton County Jail on a $100,000 bond. If you have any information about this incident, please contact the Fulton County Sheriff's Department. 

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Casey's Donates $1K to MDH Women's Center

Casey's General Store has donated $1,000 to the Dolores Kator Switzer Women's Center at McDonough District Hospital. Once completed, the women's center will provide modernized suites and state of the art labor, delivery, and recovery rooms for women in the area. With over 1,800 locations, Casey's is a proud supporter of local community services, including MDH. 

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Fatal Shooting in Glasford

On Tuesday (8/23) morning, Fulton County Sheriff's Deputies responded to a report of a residential shooting on E. County Highway 27 in Glasford, IL. Upon arriving at the scene, deputies found a dead male, later identified as 61 year old Gregory Clendenny who lived at the address. Upon further investigation, the deputies arrested the victim's brother, 57 year old Kevin Clendenny, who also lived at the address, and lodged him in the Fulton County Jail on First Degree Murder charges. No other information has been released at this time. 

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Rauner Reforms Criminal Justice System

On Monday, Governor Bruce Rauner signed a number of bills aimed at reforming the state's criminal justice system into law. According to Rauner, these 5 bills are meant to focus on rehabilitation, and reducing the recidivism rates of incarcerated offenders. SB 3164 adds a review process to the pre-sentencing report, which is meant to combat the unusually high rate of incarceration for first time offenders. HB 6291 will reduce the minimum probation period for delinquent youth, and HB 5017 will allow a juvenile who's charged with a offense that is dismissed to immediately petition for expungement, so that the false charge is never held against them. SB 3005 will work to make it easier for proven reformed criminals to find work, and HB 6200 will decrease the costs of phone calls for inmates. Rauner said of the bills that he wants "to explore new avenues so that we're balancing punishment with rehabilitation and not needlessly tearing families and lives apart."

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Ribbon Cutting - Revive Salon

The Ambassador Committee of the Macomb Area Chamber of Commerce held a ribbon cutting on Monday, August 22nd, for Revive Salon at 501 W. Jackson St. in Macomb. Revive offers hair services, waxing, makeup, and eyelash extensions, and you can find more information about them on Facebook or by calling 309-833-5438. 

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Immigrants - Integral to Illinois' Economy

Immigrants are an important aspect to any economy, but new data shows that immigrants are filling vital roles in Illinois, and significantly impacting the state. The Partnership for a New American Economy report shows the state's immigrant population of about 1.7 million is crucial to the service and technology sectors. In fact, in 2014, nearly 30% of software developers were from abroad. Chicago-based immigration lawyer Tejas Shah says the science and tech sectors, along with the service industry, are facing shortages of trained workers - and in Illinois, there simply aren't enough to fill the gap. 
 
"I work with employers in various industries that have highly-specialized needs, where they struggle to find American workers. I think people need to recognize the contributions that immigrants are making on a daily basis to life in Illinois."
-Tejas Shah, Lawyer
 
The study ranks Illinois sixth on largest immigrant population, and in this state, those residents are 35% more likely to be employed than native-born citizens. These immigrants have also helped to create and preserve more than 80,000 manufacturing jobs, one of the key pillars of the state's economy. Shah believes that they could contribute even more if the country passes comprehensive federal immigration reform. 
 
"We make it so difficult for entrepreneurs to get visas to stay here. And some of these folks are starting some of the most exciting businesses out there - that are going to create jobs, and are creating jobs for plenty of American workers."
-Tejas Shah, Lawyer
 
Jeremy Robbins with the Partnership for a New American Economy says that these immigrants are paying their share of taxes, netting the state $15 Billion in tax revenue in 2014. 
 
"That is a huge boon for the fiscal health of the state, it's also a huge boon through their consumption and the money that they're pouring into the economy; they're creating jobs."
-Jeremy Robbins, Partnership for a New American Economy

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Ribbon Cutting - Lakeview Labyrinth Path

The Ambassador Committee of the Macomb Area Chamber of Commerce held a ribbon cutting on August 18th at Lakeview Nature Center to celebrate the recent opening of the Labyrinth Path. Designed to help spread Suicide awareness and promote prevention, the path is open to the public from dawn to dusk, Monday through Sunday. For more information, you can call the Macomb Park District at 309-833-4562

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Open Hearing to Discuss IL Route 336 Macomb Bypass

An open house hearing has been scheduled to discuss the protected corridor for the proposed IL Route 336 N.E. Macomb Bypass. Anyone that would like to attend is welcome to come out to Macomb City Hall at 232 East Jackson Street anytime between 4:30 and 6:30pm on Tuesday, August 30th. There will be exhibits, drawings, and aerial photos available for review, as well as Illinois Department of Transportation staff to answer any questions. There will be no formal presentation, but written and oral comments are accepted. If you're not able to attend, you can submit your comments in writing before Tuesday, September 27th, and they will still be included in the official records. The mailing address for these is - 
Illinois Department of Transportation
401 Main Street
Peoria, IL
61602
 

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"Bee Friendly" Plants are Making a Big Difference

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Illinois beekeepers reported losing more than 60% of their colonies back in 2014. Researchers blame this mainly on on harmful pesticides and varroa mites, that can be deadly toward bees. Bees are an integral part of our society, and Tiffany Finck-Haynes with the group Friends of the Earth says that retailers need to be aware of what plants they're selling, and how they're treated.
 
"Over 50% of Americans are more likely to shop at Lowe's or a Home Deport because they've made that commitment to stop selling these bee killing pesticides. So, this really demonstrates to Walmart, Ace, and True Value that they could potentially lose their customers if they don't make these formal commitments."
-Tiffany Finck-Haynes, Friends of the Earth
 
These "bee friendly" plants that are going around are certainly making a difference. Recent data collected shows that in 2013 and 2014, 50% of tested plants around the state contained harmful neonicotinoid insecticides, while only 23% currently do. Finck-Haynes adds that more than 100 businesses, cities, universities, states, and countries have restricted the use of pesticides that are lethal to bees. A survey by Greenhouse Grower magazine found that nearly 3/4 of growers who supply mass merchants and home-improvement chains said they will not use neonicotinoids this year. 
 

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New Family Clinic Opening in Colchester

The Memorial Medical Group will be opening up a new clinic in Colchester on September 6th, and they're inviting the public in early to see the facilities and meet the staff. On Friday, you can come out to the clinic at 110 Market Street from 5pm to 7pm to enjoy appetizers and speak with staff members, like Nurse Practitioner Kristy Wisslead
 
"We're going to have multiple free screening including blood pressure checks, A1Cs for non-diabetics. We're going to have tours of our new facility, refreshments, and meet and greet with both myself and our other provider Ashley Martin."
-Kristy Wisslead, Memorial Medical Group

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Illinois Tourism Up Nearly 3%

Though the population of Illinois continues to drop as people leave the state, many are still coming in, they're just not sticking around. Illinois' tourism industry is actually doing fairly well. In 2015, over 10,000 new jobs were created in tourism throughout the state, and travel expenditures reached over $37 Billion, a 2.6% increase from the year prior. This isn't just referring to Chicago, either. We've seen these effects locally. Data shows that in 2015, McDonough County brought in nearly a million dollars in tax revenue from tourism, and overall visitor expenditures brought in more than $37 Million. And these numbers are only from preliminary reports, the final statistics will be released later in the year from the Illinois Office of Tourism. 

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Madigan and Durbin call for Student Loan Reform

On Monday, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan and U.S. Senator Dick Durbin called on the U.S. Department of Education to revamp student loan servicing. The two have long been pushing for increased protections for student borrowers, citing numbers that show a huge increase in student load debt. In the last 40 years, student debt has tripled, totaling about $1.2 Trillion across approximately 40 Million borrowers. This is an average debt of nearly $30,000, and Durbin says that it's no surprise many are struggling to repay. He's made a list of 6 basic rights that should be afforded to all borrowers - 
 
-The right to have options such as alternative payment plans to avoid default.
 
-The right to be informed about key terms and conditions of the loan and any repayment options to ensure changing plans won’t cost more.
 
-The right to know your loan’s servicer and who to reach out to when there is a problem.
 
-The right to consistency when it comes to how monthly payments are applied. Lenders and servicers should also honor promotions and promises that are advertised or offered. 
 
-The right to fairness, like grace periods when loans are transferred or debt cancelation when the borrower dies or becomes disabled.
 
-The right to accountability, including timely resolution of errors and certification of private loans.
 
The U.S. Department of Education is using these ideas to come up with a set of principles with which to base their overhaul of student loan programs. In addition to lobbying the department, Madigan and Durbin also called for the passage of legislation that would allow current federal borrowers to refinance at lower interest rates, and allow private borrowers to refinance federally. 

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Arrests Made in WIU Sign Vandalism

Arrests have been made in connection with the recent theft of four letters that were stolen last week from the Western Illinois University sign on the corner of Lafayette Street and University Drive. The letters were initially valued at about $1,500, but the total loss has now been set at approximately $3,300. The letters have not yet been recovered, but three arrests were made. 20 year-olds Jacob Trotter and Jacob Robbins, both of Machesney Park IL, and 21 year-old Jackson McNamara of Rockford IL were picked up by Winnebago County police officers on Friday, August 12th, on a McDonough County warrant. The arrests come after an investigation and a Crimestoppers tip. If you have any information about the potential whereabouts of the missing letters, you can contact the WIU Office of Public Safety or the Macomb Area Crime Stoppers at 309-836-3222. 
 

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"Social Security and Women Summit" Coming to Chicago

Proponents of Social Security have long been debating on how best to maintain the program's strength into the future. However, a number of advocates point out that women's issues have largely been missing from talks on the subject. Social Security is the primary source of income for about one in four retired women in Illinois, and a summit in Chicago this week is making their voice's heard. Experts are saying that the Social Security system is facing serious solvency issues, and if nothing changes, future retirees could lose up to $10,000 a year. Ryan Gruenenfelder with AARP Illinois says retirement income options are limited, especially for older women who made career sacrifices early on to take care of their families. 
 
"Women earn less money throughout their careers, so they're likely to have gaps in employment due to childbearing and care-giving, and they live longer. So, that makes Social Security more important to them than men."
-Ryan Gruenenfelder, AARP Illinois
 
The "Social Security and Women Summit" is taking place on Wednesday in Chicago, and policy experts will be discussing reform options that may be on the table in Washington D.C. As it stands right now, the Social Security fund could run dry by 2034, and Gruenenfelder argues that both candidates should be making this a top priority.
 
"The longer we keep putting this off, the harder it will be to make changes to the program. If we start now, there is still 15, 18 years to implement those solutions."
-Ryan Gruenenfelder, AARP Illinois
 
According to AARP Illinois, Social Security currently helps about 1/3 of the state's retired women stay out of poverty. 

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WIU Move-In Weekend Approaches

Students are about to head back to Western Illinois University, and as such, move in weekend is coming up! All residence halls will be opening up at 8am on Friday, August 19th, with the highest traffic expected between 10am and 3pm. There will likely be significantly increased activity on University Drive, W. Adams Street, and Western Avenue for both Friday and Saturday of move-in weekend. If you're a student or parent of a student that's moving in, you can find a map HERE to give you the proper route to your residence hall. 

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Fatal Crash in Henderson County

On Friday afternoon there was a fatal car accident in Henderson County. At approximately 3:25pm, 55 year-old Rebecca Cook of Canton was traveling west on IL Rt. 116, about 1/2 a mile east of Henderson County Road 1500E. She lost control of her vehicle and crossed into the oncoming lane, striking an eastbound semi truck. Cook died as a result of her injuries. Pavement was wet from rain, and all parties were wearing their seatbelts. An investigation is currently pending.

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Macomb Preparing for Back to School

This Sunday, the Maple Avenue Christian Church is hosting their Back to School Bash from 6pm to 9pm, at the church at 1300 Maple Avenue in Macomb. This event is totally free and anyone entering into grades 6 through 12 is welcome to come out and enjoy the many activities going on.  
 
"We've got three different inflatables. We're going to have free food, we're going to have games there, prizes that you can win and, probably most importantly, our church happens to be a Pokemon GO stop. So we're going to have a lure module set up all night long."
Alex Foltz, Maple Avenue Christian Church
 
That's not the only event in town that's preparing kids for school this weekend. The Macomb Assembly of God Church is also having their annual  "Back-2-School" picnic on Saturday starting at 11am. 
 
"So we have over 300 backpacks to give away, school supplies, free haircuts, free lunch. This year we bought an obstacle course with a 30-foot slide on it, a lot of other games, a lot of fun...So it's a great event and we want to invite everyone to come out and enjoy that."
-Devin Carlile, Macomb Assembly of God

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McDonough County Sheriffs Searching for a Local Fugitive

The McDonough County Sheriff's Office is asking for your help in locating a wanted fugitive in the area. 33 year-old Michael Donaldson of LaHarpe is wanted by the Hancock County Sheriff's Department on charges of Burglary and Possession of Methamphetamine, and by the McDonough County Sheriff's Department for Attempted Burglary, Criminal Damage to Property, and Criminal Trespass to Property. Donaldson is known to frequent the area, as well as the area around Burlington, IA. He may be driving at Dark Blue Ford F-250 with lower tan trim, and he is listed as being armed and dangerous, so please exercise caution. If you have any information on the whereabouts of this man, please call the McDonough County Sheriff's Office and ask to speak to a detective.

McDonough County Sheriff's Office - (309)-833- 2323

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Macomb Begins Mosquito Spraying

The City of Macomb has announced plans to spray for mosquitos beginning this week. In the right conditions, spraying will commence every Tuesday throughout the summer starting one hour before sunset, and conclude around Midnight. When weather conditions aren't favorable, spraying will be rescheduled to the next available day. The proper spraying conditions include evening temperatures between 60 and 85 degrees, and a wind speed no greater than 8mph. 
 

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Road Construction - I-74 Near Knoxville

Throughout today (8/10/16) and tomorrow morning, lane closures will be possible on eastbound I-74 at Exit 51 near Knoxville. According to the Illinois Department of Transportation, intermittent 15-minute full closures will be possible during this construction period as crews work to install steel bridge girders. Please slow down and use extreme caution while driving through all work zones. 

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Road Construction - East Jackson in Macomb

Starting today, (Wednesday, August 10th) there will be some road construction on Prairie Avenue from Jackson Street to 300 Feet North, and that area will be closed to all traffic for approximately 5 weeks. If you have any questions or concerns, you may contact the Macomb Public Works Department at 309-833-2821

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Regional Media Macomb Announces Promotion

Regional Media Virden Broadcasting announces promotion of longtime Macomb, IL employee.

 

(Macomb, IL) The longtime morning man and Sports Director Kipp Jones, has been promoted to Chief Operator of the Macomb facility.

 

Mr. Jones’s new role will take him out of the K100 studio on a day to day basis. Mr. Jones (Kipp) went on to say,"Working on-air in Macomb has been an absolute pleasure for the past nearly 16 years. The countless friendships I've made through morning show interviews, call-ins and live on location broadcasts have been incredibly humbling.”

 

Regional Media Virden Broadcasting President and CEO Fletcher M. Ford said: “Kipp is one of the most talented and down to earth guys I have worked with. Hearing him on the air is always a wonderful treat. I am incredibly pleased to name Kipp our new Chief Operator.”

 

“Calling high school sports games has felt more like a hobby than a job. I'm looking forward to my new role within the Regional Media family and continuing to serve Western Illinois."  said Mr. Jones when discussing local sports and his new role.

 

Regional Media is in the process of naming a replacement for the K100 Morning show. No date for the transition has been announced.

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A Plan to Save the Lake Michigan Shoreline

The Lake Michigan shoreline along the northern Illinois border is an iconic part of the state, but it's been a bit of a hindrance as well. For awhile now, there's been a sand erosion problem that's been making commercial shipping difficult and threatening natural habitats. However, there is a new plan that could help. For about 200 years now, man-made structures have been interrupting the southward drift of sand along the shoreline, and that's the main cause of this erosion problem. Towns along the lakefront have worked individually to combat it, but have had limited success. Now, Ethan Brown with the Alliance for the Great Lakes says his group and the state's Department of Natural Resources are working with north shore towns on a more coordinated plan. 
 
"Places like Illinois State Beach Park, that beach front's been eroded quite a bit. And in places like Waukegan, with their harbor, a lot of that sand gets deposited into that harbor, which they have to dredge out. And all of these things cost a lot of money."
-Ethan Brown, Alliance for the Great Lakes
 
The new effort is called the Illinois North Shore Sand Management Strategy. One idea is to take the sand from Waukegan harbor and shift it to the Illinois State Beach Park. But Brown says there are a number of legal hurdles to cross before that can happen, and they'll be easier to tackle with a regional, cost-effective approach. 
 
"There's definitely an economic benefit to the entire region working together. And Illinois State Beach Park really is a statewide resource for tourism, for people to enjoy Lake Michigan and to feel like they're back in nature."
-Ethan Brown, Alliance for the Great Lakes
 
In the coming weeks, the sand management group will be collecting more data while looking for ways to overhaul the current regulations. Their next official meeting takes place in the fall when they hope to talk with local policymakers.

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The Clean Power Plan Could Reduce Pollution and Save Millions of Dollars

The Georgia Institute of Technology released new research last week that shows commercial building owners could save more $100 Million a year in power costs less than 15 years down the road if the state were to adopt President Obama's Clean Power Plan. Though this would affect people statewide, the largest notable changes would come in heavily populated area, namely Chicago. Late last week, the EPA held a hearing to discuss the plan, and Kelly Nichols with Moms Clean Air Force of Illinois says that her group was one that testified in support of it. 
 
"And I think that's an amazing resource to have for communities that are bearing the brunt of pollution, and also don't have the same kinds of resources as other communities. It's very difficult to get solar panels on top of an apartment building, and this kind of a program makes it easier and more accessible."
-Kelly Nichols, Moms Clean Air Force
 
The report's author, Dr. Marilyn Brown of Georgia Tech, says that the CPP's goals would help reduce costs and pollution by setting federal limits on carbon emissions from power plants. She points out that, currently, commercial buildings use so much power that they account for roughly one third of all carbon emissions. 
 
"Most electricity is used to heat and cool and light buildings, and about half of that building's electricity goes to businesses. So, it's a really important source for climate mitigation, CO2 emissions reductions."
-Dr. Marilyn Brown, Georgia Tech
 
The CPP is currently on hold while it's being challenged in the U.S. Supreme Court by two dozen states, although Illinois is not one of them. 

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Bird Infected with West Nile Found in McDonough County

The McDonough County Health Department has reported the finding of a bird infected with West Nile Virus. This is the first finding in the area, and makes McDonough County one of only 27 counties nationwide to have experienced this in 2016. Anybody who sees a dying crow, blue jay, robin, or other perching bird should report the sighting to MCHD to determine if the bird needs to be tested. Additionally, it is important to reduce your exposure to mosquitos during this time by keeping your homes properly sealed, avoiding peak activity times, and/or utilizing repellents. You can contact the McDonough County Health Department Monday through Thursday from 7:30am to 5:00pm at 309-837-9951

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Overtime Ban for Home-Health Workers Overturned

Home health care workers and their advocates are celebrating now that the Governor's administration has reversed course on a no-overtime policy instituted earlier in the year. The decision by the Illinois Department of Human Services came on Wednesday, just hours before SEIU Healthcare Illinois planned to file a class-action lawsuit challenging the overtime limits on the Home Services Program. Gary Arnold with Access Living says that the policy, if not reversed, could have left about 30,000 state residents at risk of losing their in-home care providers. 
 
"So, even if a personal assistant worked 41 hours, they would be issued one of these warnings. We could have seen hundreds, if not thousands of people get their third strike and get their termination notice."
-Gary Arnold, Access Living
 
Earlier this year the federal government passed legislation that was in direct contrast, saying that all workers deserve time-and-a-half pay for working more than 40 hours a week, a change that will go into effect on the first of December. According to the Associated Press, the state's Human Services department will seek a new overtime policy through the Illinois Legislature to better serve these home-health care workers. 

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Redneck Fishin' Returns!

The 11th Annual Redneck Fishing Tournament is ready to get underway this weekend in Bath, IL. There will be two heats on fishing on both Friday and Saturday, and the goal is to catch as many Asian Carp as possible. There are no fishing lines though, because these fish will be jumping all around, and you just have to get them to land in your boat. The winning teams often bring back hundreds of fish from only two hours on the water. For those not wishing to get a face full of flying fish, there will also be a number of bands performing at the event as well as costume contests, karaoke, a bags tournament, and royalty competitions. You can find all of the information at www.originalredneckfishin.com 

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Local Teacher Accused of Possessing Child Pornography

On Tuesday, a local High School teacher was arrested on charges that he allegedly possessed and disseminated child pornography. John Winebright, age 50 of Kirkwood, is a teacher for the Monmouth/Roseville School District. He was apprehended and taken to the Warren County jail, where bail was set at $25,000. His court date is scheduled for August 9th at 10am, and he is considered innocent until proven guilty on all charges. Dissemination of Child Pornography is a class 1 felony which could garner a sentence of 4 to 15 years in prison, and Possession of Child Pornography is a class 3 felony, with a sentence of 2 to 5 years. Both charges also carry fines up to $100,000. 

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New Laws Will Increase Women's Access to Medical Care

Some Illinois reproductive-rights advocates are claiming a win after Governor Bruce Rauner recently signed new laws aimed at improving women's access to health care. One of these laws, House Bill 5576, requires that insurance companies in Illinois to provide coverage for nearly all forms of birth control. That law will go into effect at the beginning of next year. Currently, coverage is limited to just a few options for contraception. Lorie Chaiten heads up the ACLU of Illinois' Reproductive Rights Project. She says women who have had to try out multiple forms of birth control have been negatively affected because of out-of-pocket costs and stress on their bodies. 
 
"The insurance companies cannot make me wait months and months before I can get the contraception that my doctor says will be best for me in terms of my health and my well being, and in terms of avoiding unintended pregnancy."
-Lorie Chaiten, ACLU of Illinois
 
The bill also requires insurance companies to provide 12 months of birth control at one time. In addition to these measures, Rauner approved a new amendment to the state's Health Care Right of Conscience Act. That move will now require Catholic hospitals to tell patients where they can get the services that would go against Catholic church teachings. Chaiten says that this is, again, a good step forward, as it balances the needs of patients and religious health-care providers.
 
"Under our new law, patients will be told about all of their options, and then they will be able to make their own health-care decisions based on full information. Health-care providers who have religious objections to providing certain kinds of health-care services can continue to raise those objections."
-Lorie Chaiten, ACLU of Illinois
 
According to the ACLU, Catholic hospitals provide more than a quarter of hospital admissions throughout the state. Chaiten says this new law will cut down on medical costs for both patients and the state by lowering the number of overall doctor visits. 

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Syngenta Lawsuit Could Pay Out to Local Growers

A number of years ago Syngenta, a Swiss-based company, released a genetically engineered corn seed called Viptera. Approved for release in the United States in 2009, the seed was still under review in China. Sometime in 2012, as Syngenta introduced Viptera to the US market, some made its way into China, despite not having proper approval to do so. Within a few years, China discovered the non-approved corn seeds and halted all imports and exports with the US in mid-2013. At that time, over 545,000 tons of corn was destroyed and US farmers were down billions of dollars. With the disapproval of corn entry, the corn was forcibly distributed elsewhere. This lead  to a surplus of corn and not enough people to buy it, and by the laws of supply and demand, corn prices began to fall rapidly. In total, prices dropped from about $7 to just over $3, economically burdening any transporter, grain operator, or person of involvement within the corn business. Sean Fagan, of Mauro Archer & Associates, invites anyone involved in the corn business to come to a town meeting at the Bushnell Recreation Center on August 2nd, at 5:30pm and September 6th, at the Red Ox in Macomb. Anyone who works, or has worked, in the corn business from 2013-2015 and was affected by the price drop could be eligible to receive a settlement from this lawsuit.
 
"We're promoting our meeting so that farmers can get on board, before the deadline, which is December 11th, 2016."
-Sean Fagan, Mauro Archer & Associates
 
Though no payout is guaranteed, the lawsuit already has a sizeable following, garnering over 50,000 people involved at this time. Though the majority of these are from Minnesota, where the U.S. Branch of Syngenta is spearheaded, many are from across the country, as this price drop affected all people involved. If you think that you may qualify, you can find more information up at www.MidwestLawsuit.com
 

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2 Vehicle Collision in Hancock County

On Thursday, two vehicles collided on County Road 900 in Hancock County after one lost control and skidded into the other lane. The first vehicle, driven by a 16-year old male and carrying another teenage passenger, then struck the passenger front door of the other vehicle, driven by 32 year old Cara Farris of Donnellson, IA. All occupants involved were seriously injured and airlifted to hospitals.  Seatbelts were used and the conditions were clear and dry. The incident is currently under investigation.

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Maple Ave. Christian Church Kicks of V.B.S. Tonight

The Maple Avenue Christian Church will be holding their Vacation Bible School next week, August first through the fourth, from 6 to 8pm.  In addition to Bible lessons, there will be a wide variety of other activities for the kids.  
 
"We have crafts, snacks, we have games.  I do want to let parents know, dress your kids to get wet.  We're going to try to beat the heat so there will be a lot of water games."  
-Jason Seggelke, Maple Avenue Christian Church.
 
The Vacation Bible School is completely free and is open to kids from preschool to sixth grade.  Jason Seggelke from the Maple Avenue Christian Church does however encourage parents to pre register on their website connectgrowserveshare.com in order to beat the lines.

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