18th Annual WSOY Food Drive Announced

18th Annual WSOY Food Drive Announced

September 5, 2019– The 18th Annual WSOY Community Food Drive to help stock local food pantries will be held on Friday, October 4th at the Airport Plaza Kroger grocery store in Decatur (more details).

Details of the event were announced Thursday morning during a news conference at St Pats School. Last year, the drive collected 1.5 million pounds of food during the 12-hour event.  St Pats was the winning school from last year, raising over 250,000 pounds of food.

People are encouraged to give non-perishable goods or make monetary donations. Giving non-perishable canned goods allows for safe offsite storage helps the supply to last as long as possible.

“We want everyone to give and there’s a way for everyone to give,” said Brian Byers, Vice President of Development for Neuhoff Media and host of Byers & Co. on WSOY. “But we want to heavily concentrate on non-perishable goods and cash or check or credit card donations. We’re running into storage problems and running into perishable goods expiring.”

Through monetary donations, food banks are able to purchase goods on an as needed basis and at a tremendous discount through the Central Illinois Foodbank.

The food drive itself has come a long way as well, collected more than 10.8 million pounds of food over the past 17 years. Byers said the 35,000 pounds collected in the first year was dwarfed by last year’s 1.5 million.

Groups assisted last year were: Catholic Charities Food Pantry, The Salvation Army Food Pantry, Good Samaritan Inn, Northeast Community Fund, The Judy Mason Thanksgiving Basket Project, Extended Hands/Reasonable Services, Crossing Healthcare Prescription Gardens, The Grayson Basket Project, Big Blue Backpacks, Mt Zion Food Pantry, AMELCA, Helping Hands Food Pantry, Moundford Food Pantry, Gods Shelter of Love, Blue Mound Food Pantry and the Cops and Gobblers Program.  

WSOY’s community partners for the food drive are: ADM; First Mid Bank and Trust,  J.L. Hubbard Insurance and Bonds (A First Mid Insurance Group); Skeff Distributing; Jones & Thomas/JTnet; Decatur Back & Neck Center; Tickets N Trips; First Christian Church; Dale’s Southlake Pharmacy & Colee’s Corner Drugs; DynaGraphics/Wood Printing; The United Way, Kroger; The Herald & Review; and WAND-TV.

Once again, cash prizes will go to the top five local schools that collect the most food. Individuals and groups can collect food ahead of time or come out to Kroger that day and donate food or cash in the name of a particular school.

All Macon County Schools grades K-12 are eligible to participate. Prizes are $2,500 for first place, $1,500 for second, $1,000 for third, $750 for fourth and $500 for fifth. Cash donations are converted to pounds and end up weighing more than food donations, so schools are also encouraged to concentrate on canned goods and cash.

Byers said the proceeds from the food drive start serving the community right away.

“It’s not just throwing money at a problem,” he said. “You know you can go to bed that Friday night and Saturday morning food’s going to go to families or hungry children in this community. It immediately goes to work the next day.”

For more information, contact: Overall questions – Lindsay Romano at 217-423-9744; Questions about getting your school involved – Pete Vercellino at 217-520-5098; Questions about getting your company involved – Karin Betzer at 217-877-3344; Questions regarding volunteering  – Debbie Bogle 217-422-8537

How to help the 18th Annual WSOY Community Food Drive:

Participate by making a monetary donation. Checks can be made to “WSOY Community Food Drive”. (Tax deductible donations should be made to The United Way c/o WSOY Community Food drive.)

  • Companies and organizations interested in participating can call to sign up to have “how to” package delivered. This package will include fliers and grocery bags to send home with their employees to fill up and bring back to work. These bags will then need to be delivered to Kroger the day of the food drive (pick-up service is available). These donations will also be designated to individual schools.
  • Consider an employee match contribution.
  • If your business has a marquee, show your support by displaying “WSOY Community Food Drive, October 4th, 2019. 6am-6pm Kroger Rt. 36 East”
  • Assist by donating an hourly incentive such as sporting event tickets and gift cards to use as giveaways to encourage giving.
  • Let us know if your company is doing a special promotion or fundraiser for the food drive so we can share it. You can email details to lindsayromano@neuhoffmedia.com
Snow Emergency Announced for Mt. Zion

Snow Emergency Announced for Mt. Zion

January 18 – The Village of Mt. Zion will be under a snow emergency from 11:59 p.m. Friday until 6 a.m. Sunday.

During the snow emergency, parking is prohibited on all village streets, and no one is allowed to leave any vehicle unattended.

The Mt. Zion Police will tow vehicles in violation of the snow emergency at the owners’ expense. Violators will be subject to associated parking fines and fees.

In other winter weather-related announcements, Richland Community College has canceled New Student Orientation planned for Saturday and the Freshman Placement Test at St. Teresa High School has been rescheduled to February 9.

NWS Issues Winter Storm Warning for Saturday

NWS Issues Winter Storm Warning for Saturday

January 18 – The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Warning for the entire day Saturday.

The warning covers Macon, Piatt, Champaign and Vermilion counties and will be in effect from midnight Friday and until midnight Saturday. Precipitation may begin as a mix of rain, snow, and freezing rain between Interstates 72 and 70.

Heavy snowfall is expected with total snow accumulation between 4 and 6 inches and winds gusting as high as 35 mph, causing significant drifts possible. The wind will reduce visibility and create hazardous travel conditions with slippery roads. The latest road conditions can be found at www.gettingaroundillinois.com.

Cold air and low wind chills will follow this weather system, and another storm has the potential for more accumulating snow on Tuesday.

Hickory Street Fire Damages Residence

Hickory Street Fire Damages Residence

January 18 – A kitchen fire at a Hickory Street residence Thursday caused significant smoke damage and displaced a woman and her two children.

Decatur Fire Department crews arrived at 1212 E. Hickory Street shortly after 11 p.m. Thursday and found heavy smoke coming from the kitchen. Firefighters had the blaze under control in about 10 minutes.

No one was injured; a smoke alarm alerted the woman to the fire and she and her kids were able to exit the building safely. They are being assisted by the Red Cross.

Damage to the home was estimated at around $6,000.

IEMA Urges Residents to Prepare for Winter Storm

IEMA Urges Residents to Prepare for Winter Storm

January 18 – The Illinois Emergency Management Agency encourages all Illinoisans to prepare for another blast of winter weather.

The National Weather Service forecast calls for a winter storm with accumulating snow to arrive Illinois beginning today, followed by a blast of cold arctic air that will bring single digit wind chills to our state.

“Being unprepared for winter weather is not only inconvenient, it’s dangerous,” said IEMA Chief of Staff Jennifer Ricker. “With more snow and dangerously cold temperatures on tap for much of the state, the time to act is now to ensure you and your family are prepared for everything from a dusting of snow to a major winter storm.”

The Illinois Emergency Management Agency maintains the Ready Illinois website (ready.illinois.gov) which includes critical safety information to help Illinoisans before, during and after any hazard, manmade or natural.

Winter Weather Preparedness tips include:

  • Familiarize yourself with the various weather alert definitions, so you know how to keep your family safe;
  • Winterize your home and take steps to prevent frozen water pipes;
  • Don’t wait. Communicate. Create and discuss emergency plans for you and your family;
  • Charge your mobile devices before any storm;
  • Build a home emergency kit with items such as a food, water, medications, NOAA weather radio, flashlight and spare batteries;
  • Stock your vehicle with the emergency items such as a first aid kit, phone charger, blankets, extra clothes, jumper cables, kitty litter or sand, a flashlight and snow scraper in the event you must travel;
  • If you lose power, seek out a warming center in your area until the power can be restored.

A list of warming centers can be found on the Ready Illinois website.

As the winter storm approaches, public safety officials urge residents to stay ahead of the storm by following the watches and warnings issued by the National Weather Service.

When possible, stay off the roads during and immediately after a storm to allow crews to effectively clear and appropriately treat area roadways. Those who must travel during a storm should remember to share the road. Illinois law requires drivers to change lanes when approaching police or other emergency vehicles.

More tips for staying safe at home and on the road are available in a Winter Weather Preparedness guide developed by IEMA and the National Weather Service, available in digital form on the Ready Illinois website.

Davis Named Ranking Member for Subcommittee on Highways and Transit

Davis Named Ranking Member for Subcommittee on Highways and Transit

January 17 – U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis today has been named one of the six ranking members for the Subcommittee on Highways and Transit.

As a subcommittee ranking member, Davis will help craft a national infrastructure package.

Davis was appointed by U.S. Rep. Sam Graves (R-Mo.), ranking member of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. Davis has served on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee since 2013.

“It’s been an honor to serve on this committee for my tenure in Congress, and I’m thankful to Ranking Member Graves for this incredible leadership opportunity,” said Davis.

“We have an opportunity for true bipartisanship and to actually get something done. Roads and bridges impact every single American and are critical to our economy.”

Decatur Sees Significant Decrease in Crime

Decatur Sees Significant Decrease in Crime

January 17 – Violent crimes in Decatur were down nearly 20 percent and property crimes dropped by nearly 15 percent according to statistics released Thursday by Decatur Police Chief Jim Getz.

In a media release, Getz said “officers should be commended for their hard work in bringing these crimes down. The citizens should also be commended for taking steps to help the city become a safer and more secure place.”

Gets reported total violent crimes were down 19.4 percent and property crimes fell 14.5 percent. A breakdown showed a 10 percent drop in homicides, a 42.3 percent drop in sexual assaults, a 23.3 percent drop in arson and a 20.8 percent decline in robbery. Dropoffs in aggravated assault and battery, vehicle theft, retail theft and burglary ranged from 14.9-16.3 percent.

“The Decatur Police Department will continue to work very hard and remain proactive in reducing crime in 2019,” said Getz.

State Unemployment Up Slightly Amid Job Growth

State Unemployment Up Slightly Amid Job Growth

January 17 – Unemployment in Illinois ticked up in December while the state added more than 13,000 jobs, according to preliminary data released Thursday by the Illinois Department of Employment Security.

The figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics showed the unemployment rate at 4.3 percent after standing at 4.2 percent in November. Job growth over the three month period from October to December saw an average monthly increase of 9,500.

“It’s clear there is room to both grow the Illinois economy and create opportunity for working families,” said Deputy Governor Dan Hynes.

November’s job gain was revised upward to 8,000 from the preliminary figure of 5,900. Over the year in 2018, nonfarm payrolls increased by 71,000 jobs.

The state’s unemployment figure is 0.4 percent above the national rate for December. Illinois unemployment is down 0.6 percent from December 2017.

Pritzker Signs Oft-rejected Gun-dealer Licensing

Pritzker Signs Oft-rejected Gun-dealer Licensing

January 17 – Gov. J.B. Pritzker authorized state regulation of firearms dealers Thursday in a reversal of his predecessor’s policy and prompting a gun owners group to threaten legal action against Illinois.

Pritzker, sworn in on Monday, chose an elementary school in Chicago to sign legislation meant to cut down on illegal purchases of firearms through video monitoring, tighter inventory control and gun-shop employee training.

“We can prevent someone from buying a gun for someone else who is not legally allowed to own a gun,” said Pritzker, standing next to Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson, whose force confiscated 10,000 illegal guns last year. “Many of the incidents of gun violence that occur in our city and all across our state occur with illegal guns.”

The law affects about 2,400 firearms dealers and its provisions take effect in six months. Each must show it is licensed with the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and purchase a five-year state permit — $1,500 for retail shops and $300 for independent dealers. Each must install videotaping in retail sections of the store, maintain an electronic inventory and require annual employee training in spotting so-called straw purchases.

The Illinois State Rifle Association promised a lawsuit challenging the plan.

“The federal government already licenses gun dealers. There is no need to add yet another layer of bureaucracy on gun dealers,” executive director Richard Pearson said in a statement. “The only thing this measure is going to do is make it cost more money for gun dealers to do business in Illinois, which is going to hurt the smaller dealers.

“The action taken today is another assault on our 2nd Amendment rights.”

Pritzker, who already this week reversed course on GOP Gov. Bruce Rauner’s policies toward labor with pro-union action, said gun-rights organizations are “just wrong” in their criticism of the licensing bill. He added, “I’m going to continue to make sure that we’re standing up to the voices like the Illinois State Rifle Association and the National Rifle Association to protect our families and our children.”

Lawmakers endorsed the idea twice last year. Rauner vetoed the first version in March. Democrats who control the General Assembly, led by Sen. Don Harmon of Oak Park, OK’d it again in May but never sent it to Rauner for consideration.

“Thank you for figuring out in four days what some other people couldn’t figure out in four years,” Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said to Pritzker. “You don’t need a Ph.D. from Harvard to figure out that if you’re going to regulate a barber shop and a bar, maybe you should regulate a gun dealer.”

SOURCE: Associated Press

MLK Banquet Set for Friday

MLK Banquet Set for Friday

January 17 – The 33rd annual Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Banquet presented by the City of Decatur Human Relations Commission will be held Friday at the Decatur Conference Center and Hotel.

Journalist and political pundit Roland Martin will be the guest speaker. Doors open at 6:15 p.m., with dinner served at 7 o’clock.

The annual banquet is organized by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Steering Committee, a subcomittee of the Decatur Human Relations Commission.

A Texas native who lives in Virginia, Martin has reached national audiences on television, radio and online as a news commentator and analyst. He spent six years with CNN as a contributor from 2007-13.

Tickets cost $45 and are available online through a link on the City of Decatur website (here).