Area Braces for Next Winter Wallop

Area Braces for Next Winter Wallop

January 17 – Illinois residents are beginning to brace themselves for a storm the National Weather Service says could bring a half-foot of snow to parts of the state.

National Weather Service forecasters say the storm is expected to start Friday afternoon. Total snow accumulations of 4 to 6 inches are possible in northern and central Illinois through Saturday, with drifting and blowing snow expected thanks to 30 mph wind gusts.

Forecasters say it’s a complex weather system and accumulation predictions could change. The storm is due a week after parts of Illinois received double-digit snow accumulations.

The National Weather Service’s forecast for the Decatur area on Friday and Saturday anticipates the possibility of 2 to 4 inches of snow both days.

Precipitation may begin Friday evening as a mix of rain, snow, and freezing rain south of Interstate 72. Hazardous driving conditions are expected to develop Friday Night and continue into the weekend.

SOURCE: Associated Press with staff contributions

Sheriff’s Office Announces Scholarships

Sheriff’s Office Announces Scholarships

January 17 – Macon County Sheriff Tony Brown will award two $500 college scholarships for the 2019-20 academic year.

The scholarships are part of more than $50,000 being awarded statewide by the Illinois Sheriffs’ Association. The scholarships can be applied to tuition, books and fees only, and the student must be enrolled full-time at a certified higher learning institution in Illinois.

Applicants must be permanent Illinois residents but there are no restrictions as to race, age, creed, color, sex or national origin.

Applications are available at the Sheriff’s Office or online at the ISA website www.ilsheriff.org. Students must complete the application, answer the essay question and send all documentation to the Sheriff’s Office by March 15.

Davis Bill Would Make Site of Race Riots a National Historic Monument

Davis Bill Would Make Site of Race Riots a National Historic Monument

January 17 – U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis is backing a bill to make the site of the 1908 Springfield Race Riot a National Historic Monument

The riots began after two black men were accused of rape and murder. The victims were white. A mob attacked black neighborhoods, businesses and homes.

Davis, a Taylorville Republican who represents the 13th District, introduced the legislation. He said it is important to recognize the site’s significance.

“After speaking with members of the local NAACP like Teresa Haley and speaking with local officials, we knew we had to honor Springfield’s part in the creation of the NAACP,” Davis said.

The riots and their aftermath played a large role in the organization’s formation.

“If you look back at history and you look back to 1908, the race riots were part of what formed the effort that is now known as the NAACP,” Davis said.

The site and artifacts from homes and businesses that were burned to the ground during the riots were unearthed during construction of the Carpenter Street segment of the Springfield Rail Improvements Project. The Illinois NAACP, the Central Illinois African American Museum and the Library of Congress have been working together to help preserve those artifacts, and the Library of Congress has agreed to display some of them.

“Many complete artifacts that were buried underground for many, many years we believe need to be displayed as part of Springfield’s history,” Davis said.

He said the next step is moving forward with “a monument that’s been proposed by local officials and the local NAACP and how that monument fits into the other National Historic Sites that we have here in Springfield.”

The National Park Service has agreed to conduct a preliminary assessment of the site, which would be required for it to become a National Historic Monument.

SOURCE: Illinois Radio Network

Conservation District Seeks Wildlife Art Contest Entries

Conservation District Seeks Wildlife Art Contest Entries

January 16 – Children and teens can participate in a county-wide Wildlife Art Contest being held this winter by the Macon County Conservation District.

The district announced the contest in December and continues to accept submissions through January 25.

“We look forward to seeing unique submissions and we invite everyone to stop by and view them during the upcoming exhibit from February through May,” said Senior Program Naturalist Alysia Callison.

Students in grades K-12 are encouraged to create original pieces of two-dimensional art depicting native Illinois plants or animals in their natural habitats. Artists can any the medium of their choice, other than photography.

Entries will be divided into four categories, based on grade level: K-3, 4-6, 7-8, and 9-12.  Conservation District staff will choose a first-, second-, and third-place winner in each age group.  Winners will have their work displayed in Rock Springs Nature Center  from February through May in an upcoming exhibit, “Nature through Art.”

Winners will be notified on February 11.

“We want to celebrate and encourage the youth in our area, and bring awareness to local wildlife,” said Callison. “Plus, shorter days can make it tougher to get outside, so we thought this would be a fun way for children and families to engage with nature during the winter.”

Mail or deliver entries to Rock Springs Nature Center, c/o Alysia Callison, 3939 Nearing Lane, Decatur, IL 62521. Be sure to include the artist’s name, age, grade, school (if applicable), and a phone number where the artist’s parent or guardian can be reached.

For more information, contact Callison at 1-217-423-7708 or visit MaconCountyConservation.org.

Girl Scouts Hosting Cookie Rally, College Prep Program

Girl Scouts Hosting Cookie Rally, College Prep Program

January 16 – The Decatur branch of the Girl Scouts of Central Illinois will host a cookie rally Saturday and a six-session college prep program beginning next month.

The cookie rally, one of seven across the Central Illinois region, serves as a chance for girls to prepare their business plans, and rally together for a celebration. The event will be held at the Decatur YMCA and runs from 7-11 p.m., with a fee of $18 per girl and $8 per adult.

The college prep course will meet every other Wednesday from 4:30-5:30 p.m. beginning February 6 at the Decatur Urban Program Center, 1170 E. Pershing Road. Guest speakers, gift card giveaways and snacks will be included, along with the opportunity to earn community service hours.

The free course is designed to give college-bound girls knowledge they will need to succeed. Topics include:

  • Week 1 (Feb. 6) – Let’s Talk College: Learn about the different types of colleges, the application process and things to do on a college visit;
  • Week 2 (Feb. 14) – Dorm Life: Discover items you definitely don’t want to forget to bring and learn about fun activities;
  • Week 3 (March 6) – How Much Does This Cost?: Learn about applying for scholarships and financial aid;
  • Week 4 (March 20) – Job Shadowing and Internships: Learn why these are important and get résumé tips and tricks;
  • Week 5 (April 3) – Adulting 101: Learn about paying bills, taxes, taking care of your car, budgeting, and finding an apartment;
  • Week 6 (April 17) – Question/Answer Panel: Ask anything of a panel of young women.

At the end of the program, attendees will have the opportunity to tour the University of Illinois on April 27.

To register, email Kourtney Pygott at kpygott@girlscouts-gsci.org or RSVP to the event on the GSCI Decatur Service Center’s Facebook Page.

Another Winter Advisory Tonight; Storm This Weekend

Another Winter Advisory Tonight; Storm This Weekend

January 16 – The National Weather Service has issued another Winter Weather Advisory for most of Central Illinois, adding that another storm is expected to arrive over the weekend followed a blast of cold.

The Winter Weather Advisory will be in effect from 9 p.m. Wednesday until 9 a.m. Thursday.

A wintry mix of precipitation will develop across the area, with a period of light freezing rain is possible, followed by snow. A light ice glaze is possible mainly north of Interstate 70, with an inch or less of snow accumulation. This could create slick travel conditions for the Thursday morning commute.

Another winter storm is expected to impact the Midwest this weekend, with several inches of snow likely over much of Central Illinois. This follows last weekend’s storm that produced between 8 and 11 inches of accumulation around Decatur.

The snow coupled with windy conditions will likely lead to blowing and drifting, so motorists should be prepared for winter driving conditions on Saturday.

Following the passage of the weekend winter storm, Arctic air will spill into the central U.S., with temperatures dipping into the single digits by early Sunday morning and only rising slightly during the day. By Sunday night, temperatures will fall to single digits again with wind chills as low as 10-below.

Millikin Offers Chance to View Lunar Eclipse

Millikin Offers Chance to View Lunar Eclipse

January 16 – A special Public Observation Night at Requarth Observatory will give people a chance to witness a rare total lunar eclipse.

Members of the public and the Millikin University community are invited to attend the viewing on Sunday. The eclipse will be visible from 10:41 to 11:43 p.m.; the observatory will be open from 8:30 until midnight. Attendees are encouraged to dress warmly.

A total lunar eclipse occurs when the full moon moves behind and into the shadow of the Earth. Because the light from the sun passes through the Earth’s atmosphere, the moon appears red during a total lunar eclipse, leading to the name “Blood Moon.”

The eclipse will occur during a supermoon and Sunday will be the last total lunar eclipse until May 2021.

The Requarth Observatory is located on the roof of the Leighty-Tabor Science Center located just off Fairview Avenue on the Millikin campus. Guests can use the parking lot located in front of Kirkland Fine Arts Center.

For more information, email Requarth Observatory assistant Justin Craig at jncraig@millikin.edu or contact Department of Physics and Astronomy chair Dr. Casey Watson at 1-217.424.6271 or email crwatson@millikin.edu.

Parks Board OKs Sale of Land to Highway Department

Parks Board OKs Sale of Land to Highway Department

January 16 – A small parcel of real estate will transfer from the Decatur Park District to the Macon County Highway Department to allow for work on the Macon County Beltway project.

The Park District Board of Commissioners approved the sale of the land on Reas Bridge Road to the county during its regular meeting Wednesday. The vote was 4-0 with Bob Brilley absent.

The long-planned, $220 million beltway project will add a 22-mile loop around the eastern and southern edges of Decatur as a way to drive economic growth and address traffic congestion.

The Board also approved a lease agreement for a property on North Country Club Road that it will eventually sell to the lessee. Both votes came after the Board went into a closed session.

Prior to the closed session, the Board voted unanimously in renewing its lease agreement with the Commodore Decatur Yacht Club.

During staff reports, Decatur Airport Director Tim Wright said 11 inches of snow accumulated at the airport over last weekend, with more expected this weekend.

Wright also said enplanements were up 10 percent in 2018 to a total of 9,248. He anticipates Cape Air will be able to achieve the 10,000 enplanement goal in 2019.

BBB Warns Against Bogus Online Retailers

BBB Warns Against Bogus Online Retailers

January 16 – The Better Business Bureaus in Illinois are warning consumers about a variety of bogus online retailers.

Some of the bogus websites are using addresses in Champaign-Urbana and Naperville. Consumers allege that these shops do not deliver purchased merchandise or deliver a product that is crafted from poor quality material that does not resemble what was advertised.

The BBB agencies in Central Illinois and Chicago opened a joint investigation into the operation in November. The investigation discovered at least 35 shops involved in this operation and another 16 that are inactive as of the end of December. The BBBs linked the businesses via shared addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, and connections on social media platforms.

These online retailers advertise discounted merchandise, including hunting and tactical apparel, tapestries, watches, vehicle accessories, and athletic wear, among other products. In addition, the companies advertise that a portion of their sales go to charity. The BBB of Central Illinois requested verification of those claims, but its inquiries went unanswered.

The shops offer a 30-day refund policy for regularly priced items but only advertise discounted merchandise. However, the businesses’ refund policies state that discounted merchandise is not eligible for a refund. Some consumers allege they received their merchandise after 30 days making the order ineligible for return.

The active websites generating the complaints are: Hunteroo, Tactical Deer, Berzerk Athletics, Tapestry King, Urban Mob, Epic Tapestry, Buff Eagle, Vehicle-King, and Dixon Leather.

Mt. Zion Chamber Accepting Scholarship Applications

Mt. Zion Chamber Accepting Scholarship Applications

January 16 – The Scholarship Committee of the Mt. Zion Chamber of Commerce has announced it is accepting applications for its annual scholarship program.

The Mt. Zion Chamber will award a total of $3,500 as part of its annual Scholarship Program. Applications must be received no later than March 1.

Winners will be notified by mail and presented at the Mt. Zion Chamber’s Annual Banquet scheduled for April 18 at the Mt. Zion Convention Center.

For more information about the criteria and application process, visit the link on the Chamber’s website, email admin@mtzchamber.org or call 217-864-2526.