Forsyth ad-hoc committee receives feedback on new amenity, talks next steps

Forsyth ad-hoc committee receives feedback on new amenity, talks next steps

January 23 – The Village of Forsyth is continuing their progress with their ad-hoc committee to decide on a new amenity.


The committee was formed in late July after reaching out to the public looking for active members in the community to help decide on what new amenity should come to Forsyth. The committee, to receive the accurate amount of input, sent out questionnaires to village members to have a better understanding of what’s desired.


The committee has since gone through the data and received great feedback from the community on the questionnaire. Village Trustee Dave Wendt says the committee received close to 45 percent of adults within the village respond to the questions.


Wendt says the committee now wants to visit facilities in other communities to see what they’ve done in terms of amenities.


“We want to see what other communities have built and want to receive feedback from those communities about the usage of those facilities and the cost of operating and maintaining them to see what we’d like to do,” says Wendt.


Wendt says some of the feedback received can be used as smaller pieces of separate projects that the board can consider doing in the future. He says it will be important now to get committee members out to other communities to see what amenities they may have.


“We want to be able to put that information and experience of seeing what others have done and learn those lessons instead of having those issues occur ourselves,” says Wendt.

Aaron Schock case assigned to federal judge in Urbana

Aaron Schock case assigned to federal judge in Urbana

January 23 – A former federal prosecutor who became a judge in 2013 has been assigned to handle the corruption case against former U.S. Rep. Aaron Schock.


The (Springfield) State Journal-Register reports U.S. District Court Chief Judge James Shadid assigned the case to Judge Colin Bruce.


Bruce presides over a courtroom in Urbana. He worked in the U.S. attorney’s office in Illinois’ central district from 1989 to 2013, becoming first assistant U.S. attorney.


Schock is scheduled to go to trial July 11. The Republican from Peoria faces charges of fraud, filing a false tax return, theft of government funds and falsification of Federal Election Commission filings.


U.S. District Court Judge Sue Myerscough recused herself on Thursday, agreeing with defense attorneys that several issues could create an appearance of bias.


Source: AP

Children learn more about owls at Rock Springs Nature Center

Children learn more about owls at Rock Springs Nature Center

January 22 – Preschoolers had a chance to learn a little more about owls at the Macon County Conservation District’s Preschool Peepers program.


Weekend Naturalist at Rock Springs Kattina Williams taught all about the different owls in Macon County and Illinois. Williams gave general information about the owl species and went into specifics on each owl species in the state. She also showed the children puppets, pictures, egg replicas, mounts and different feathers of owls.


Williams says there are eight species of owls in Illinois. She says the most common owl you may see in the state is the Great Horned Owl.


“The kids really enjoyed hearing the different sounds that owls make and to get to see the mounts,” says Williams.owls


Williams says while the near twenty children didn’t have too many questions the adults definitely did. She talks about her favorite part of teaching.


“I like to teach the subjects and to see the children actually learn things,” says Williams. “It’s good to know that at some point they’ll get a chance to use the knowledge that I’m teaching. Some of the kids have come back and used the knowledge they learned here.”


Williams says it’s pretty common to see recurring faces both kids and adults at the programs. She says it’s a joy to get to know the parents and the kids.


The next camp at Rock Springs Conservation Area is February 15 and 16 where children can participate in Goodnight Opossum. To learn more about upcoming events hosted by the Macon County Conservation District, you can click here.

Illinois State Police warns of phone scams

Illinois State Police warns of phone scams

January 22 – The Illinois State Police (ISP) is warning the public of a phone scam that is currently circulating throughout the state.


Several individuals have reported to the ISP that they have received automated messages advising them they are under criminal investigation and requesting they send $600. The voice in the automated message appears to be a male with a foreign accent.


The phone number associated with the calls has been faked to appear as a legitimate ISP telephone number of (847) 608-3200, in a practice known as “caller ID spoofing.” The ISP wants to inform the public these calls are not coming from the ISP. Citizens should be wary of calls soliciting money regardless of the phone number the call is made from, particularly if threats are made by the caller or they become pushy.


The ISP will never call to solicit money on behalf of the Department or ask you to send money for any reason. The ISP encourages those that believe they have been the victim of this phone scam to call the ISP at (847)294-4400 to file a report.

Rauner extends tax incentive program

Rauner extends tax incentive program

January 22 – Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner has signed a temporary extension of a corporate tax incentive program which has been criticized as expensive and too favorable to large businesses.


Rauner’s action extends through April the EDGE program — for Economic Development for a Growing Economy.


The Governor supports replacing EDGE with another proposed incentive program which would be less generous.


EDGE provides tax breaks to businesses that create and maintain jobs in Illinois.


Rauner backs a sweetener that gives companies credit for 50 percent of the withholding taxes from jobs created. EDGE gave them 100 percent credit.


Some lawmakers complain that EDGE is too expensive or benefits larger companies over smaller ones.


Source: AP

MU baseball team teaches local boys the basics

MU baseball team teaches local boys the basics

January 21 – Young boys from the area took to the Decatur Indoor Sports Center today to receive some guidance in baseball from the Millikin University baseball team.


Millikin Baseball Assistant Coaches Eric Ignatowski and Sean Beal gave their first of several baseball instructional clinics today. Normally 6-10 kids from the area take part in three days of an hour and a half of camp learning fundamentals like throwing, hitting and fielding. They’ll also get learn some base running and pitching basics.


“I think a lot of new learning for the kids will come from the hitting,” says Ignatowski. “We’ll teach them how to line up to the ball, their contact point and how to get that barrel of the bat in front of their foot so they can get their arms extended.”


Ignatowski says the one major fundamental the coaches like to get through to the players is stance.


“They’re so lackadaisical with their feet,” says Ignatowski. “We like to teach the kids from the ground up. If your footing isn’t right the rest of your batting will suffer. So we try to make sure good footing is achieved.”


Both coaches say that they do get surprised with the talent that comes through. Beal says it all starts with playing catch in the yard.


“Kids just need to learn how to play catch and get in the backyard and throw the ball around,” says Beal. “Some of these kids are really good and it just takes time and practice to get better.”


Beal talks about what it’s like to work with younger kids as opposed to the collegiate individual.


“It’s fun and refreshing to know that kids out there still like playing the game and enjoy it,” says Beal. “To actually enjoy the game and run around and laugh is fun to watch.”


Ignatowski says he agrees with Beal’s sentiments.


“It’s exciting to see when the kids get excited,” says Ignatowski. “This is what we’ve done our whole life and it’s nice to see a new wave of kids pick up the game and enjoy it.”

Illinois Farm Bureau hopeful for Trump’s USDA nominee

Illinois Farm Bureau hopeful for Trump’s USDA nominee

January 20 – Illinois’ agriculture community is hopeful President Donald Trump’s pick to lead the U.S. Department of Agriculture will help cut back regulations and lower taxes for farmers.


Illinois Farm Bureau President Rich Guebert said he and others in the agriculture community were a little worried. They thought the announcement was going to happen last week.


“I think all of agriculture was wondering if we were ever going to get a secretary appointed,” he said. “It was kind of down to the wire.”


News trickled out late Wednesday that former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue would be Trump’s pick for USDA.


Guebert said he is confident Perdue will help work on issues important to farmers like dealing overly burdensome regulations “and bring some common sense back to regulations, whether it has to do with the Clean Water Act or anything else that regulates Illinois agriculture — from water to air.”


Guebert said farmers want clean water and air so they can pass quality land to the next generation. They also want Perdue to work with lawmakers to repeal the estate tax.


“A death tax, you might say, is to pay taxes on that land again,” he said. “We pay taxes throughout our lifetime, property taxes on that land, and we just feel it’s a double taxation.”


Earlier this week, Rep. Peter Roskam, R-Wheaton, told the Illinois News Network he’s been appointed to the subcommittee that will begin the process of repealing the federal estate, gift and generation-skipping transfer taxes.


Perdue will have to be approved by the U.S. Senate.


Source: IRN

Sheriff’s Association awarding scholarships to students pursuing higher education

Sheriff’s Association awarding scholarships to students pursuing higher education

January 20 – The Illinois Sheriff’s Association has announced that it will be awarding $54,500 in college scholarships throughout the State of Illinois to students wishing to pursue higher education during the 2017-2018 academic year.


The scholarships are to be applied to tuition, books and fees only. The student must be enrolled full-time at a certified institution of higher learning within the State of Illinois.


Macon County Sheriff Tom Schneider will be awarding one scholarship in the amount of $500. There will be no restriction on any applicant by reason of race, age, creed, color, sex or national origin. The only limitations are as follows…


– Applicants must be permanent Illinois residents.

– Scholarships must be utilized at institutions of higher learning within the State of Illinois.

– Students must be enrolled as a full-time student during the 2017-2018 school year (excluding summer session).


Applications are now available at your local Sheriff’s office or on the ISA Website by clicking here.


Students must complete the application, answer the essay question and return all documents to the Macon County Sheriff’s Office in their permanent county of residence by March 15, 2017.


For more information, please contact your local Sheriff’s office, Illinois Sheriffs’ Association, high school advising center or college financial aid office. If you are a Macon County resident, call 424-1321.