Girl Scouts Of Central IL Announce New Badges Aimed At STEM

Girl Scouts Of Central IL Announce New Badges Aimed At STEM

July 22, 2020 –  Girl Scouts of Central Illinois and Girl Scouts of the USA have announced 24 new badges centered around engineering and STEM. 

The new badges place emphasis on automotive engineering, STEM career exploration, entrepreneurship, and civics, many of which remain male-dominated according to GSCI.

The new Girl Scout badges include:

·        Entrepreneurship (grades K–12). Girls develop an entrepreneurial mindset as they engage in age-appropriate exercises that help them create and pitch a product or service that solves a problem. They build their own business plan and think about topics like production, cost, profit, marketing, and competition.

·        STEM Career Exploration (grades 2–8). Girls explore their career interests and connect them to STEM fields—particularly computer science, nature/environmental science, engineering, design, health, and agriculture—that can help them address the pressing issues of our time and change the world.

·        Automotive Engineering (grades K–5). Girls learn about designing, engineering, and manufacturing vehicles, as well as the future of mobility. They design their own vehicles, test prototypes, learn about design thinking, create their own assembly line manufacturing process, and more.

·        Civics (grades K–12). Girls gain an in-depth understanding of how local, state, and federal government works, preparing them to be voters, activists, and even political leaders. They research laws and how they’re created, voting, and the electoral college, the representation of women in government, and more.

“Now more than ever we need to make sure girls have the support and resources to become strong leaders,” GSCI CEO Pam Kovacevich said. “These new badge experiences in STEM, entrepreneurship, and the critically important subject of civics, gives us the educational tools to continuously evolve our effort to build transformational female leaders of today and the future. We’re showing girls they have the power to truly change the world.”


WATCH: ICAT Training with the Decatur Police

WATCH: ICAT Training with the Decatur Police

July 19, 2020 – The Decatur Police Department is undergoing training this month in de-escalation as part of a program with the Police Executive Research Forum. Law enforcement experts from around the country were brought to Decatur specifically to train officers in ICAT, or Integrating Communications, Assessment, and Tactics. The specialized training is an extremely unique opportunity not available to most law enforcement and is designed especially for situations involving people who may be experiencing mental health or other crisis. The training includes classwork as well as role-played scenarios. The training was made possible thanks to the Howard G Buffett Foundation through the Police Executive Research Forum. Watch the video now!

FTC Warns of Contact Tracing Scams

FTC Warns of Contact Tracing Scams

July 6th, 2020- The state of Illinois is hoping to hire about 4,000 contact tracers in the fight against COVID-19, but the Federal Trade Commission is warning about scams related to contact tracing.

Contact tracing is kind of like being a COVID-19 detective. Contact tracing involves calling people infected with the virus to see who they have had contact with in recent days. It also means reaching out to those who may have been exposed to people with COVID-19.

The Federal Trade Commission reported scammers pretending to be coronavirus contact tracers are sending text messages to falsely warn people they’ve been exposed to someone with the virus and need to click a link to learn more. The link downloads malicious software onto a person’s smartphone, giving hackers access to private information.

Shameka Walker, an attorney for the FTC’s Division of Consumer & Business Education, said tracers should beware.

“They may ask you for payment, they may ask you for your Social Security number or your financial information, they may ask you for your immigration status, they may ask you to click on a link or download something,” Walker said. “You shouldn’t do any of those things.”

Walker said a legitimate tracer will only require certain information.

“They are going to ask you for your name and address, your health information, and possibly the names of places and people that you visited, so those are the kinds of things you should be looking for someone asking you about,” she said.

For information about the latest scams, go to

Salvation Army Welcomes New Officers

Salvation Army Welcomes New Officers

June 29th, 2020- New officers will be taking the helm at the Salvation Army in Decatur.  Starting July 1st, Lieutenants Kenesa & Shanell Debela will take over the Decatur operations for Majors Greg and Carla Voeller as they move their appointment to Chicago.  The Voellers have served at the Decatur Salvation army for 2 years.

Kenesa holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration/Information Systems and a Master’s degree in Theological Studies/Interfaith Relationships. He has experience as Director of IT at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago.

Shanell holds a Bachelor’s degree in Communications and Sociology and a Master’s degree in Theological Studies with a focus in urban ministry. Before becoming an officer, she was the Leadership gift representative for the Metropolitan Division. She was also in her past a television news reporter.

LISTEN: Tanya Andricks of Crossing Healthcare

LISTEN: Tanya Andricks of Crossing Healthcare

June 29th, 2020- Tanya Andricks of Crossing Healthcare joins Byers & Co. to talk about how she is tracking local COVID-19 numbers for trends as well the numbers in states that are seeing spikes, her concern about mask usage and availability, and the alarming positive tests for people of color and of younger ages. Listen to the podcast now.

Macon County Environmental Management Hold Paint Disposal Event

Macon County Environmental Management Hold Paint Disposal Event

June 9th, 2020-Do you have unwanted paint in your garage?  Need a safe way to get rid of it? The Macon County Environmental Management will be collecting and properly disposing of any unwanted paint on June 27th. The event will be held in the parking lot of the Macon County Environmental Management Recycling Center at 1750 N. 21st St., Decatur, Illinois 62526.

If you want to participate you must register for an appointment to drop off unwanted paint. Appointment times are almost full. Times still available included 8:30-8:45 am and 10:30-10:45 am. Up to twenty containers of paint at no charge can be dropped off during appointment time. Latex-paint, oil-based paint, and most stains and varnishes in originally labeled containers will be accepted.

Due to regulatory directives, specialty paints and paints other than those generated from a household cannot be accepted. Environmental management says empty or dry paint cans do not need to be brought to the drop-off and can be thrown away at home.

Registrations can be made either online at or by calling the Macon County Environmental Management Department at 217-425-4505.

The Environmental Management staff will be practicing social distancing during the event. Staff will be wearing facial coverings or masks, and request everyone to do the same. Residents will be asked to stay in their cars at all times. To maximize social distancing efforts residents are asked to have their paints prepared in the beds or trunks of their cars allowing for easy access.

Conservation District Updates Guidelines For Phase 3

Conservation District Updates Guidelines For Phase 3

June 4, 2020 –  The Macon County Conservation District is continuing to exercise caution in an effort to help control the spread of COVID-19. As Macon County and its region moves into Phase 3 of the Restore Illinois Plan, the status of the Conservation District’s amenities are as follows (as of June 1, 2020):

· All Conservation Areas (Rock Springs Conservation Area, Fort Daniel Conservation Area, Friend Creek Conservation Area, Sand Creek Conservation Area, and Griswold Conservation Area) continue to remain open for hiking, walking, and nature exploration. As you visit these areas, you must continue to follow all social distancing guidelines. Pets are welcome to enjoy the conservation areas with you, but all pets must be leashed at all times.

· At the conservation areas, outdoor restrooms are now open. Drinking fountains and playgrounds remain closed.

· Sometimes trails close due to flooding. You may check the status of trails at any time, on the homepage of the District’s website, under “News & Announcements”:

· For the time being, Rock Springs Nature Center is open by appointment, for conducting office business. For example, you may make an appointment to come in person if you are unable to make an activity transaction by phone or

online. To schedule an appointment, call 217-423-7708. All those entering the building will be required to wear a mask, if they can medically tolerate doing so.

· Friends Creek Campground is now open, with the exception of the single large group campsite. The campground offers both electric and non-electric campsites. Daily fees for electric sites are $17 for Macon County residents, $20 for non-residents. Non-electric sites are $10 for Macon County residents and $12 for non-residents. You may reserve campsites over the phone by calling 217-423-7708. Campsites are otherwise allotted on a first-come, first-served basis.

· Pavilions at conservation areas are once again available for rent. However, the maximum number of occupants has been reduced to 10 people, and groups are expected to follow social distancing guidelines during their gatherings. Unless a pavilion has a reservation sign posted, they are otherwise available for free on a first-come, first-served basis. To rent a pavilion call 217-423-7708.

· Programs: This year’s Summer Concert Series will be streamed live on Facebook, beginning Sunday, June 7 at 7pm. Staff are planning additional educational activities for families and individuals this summer. Watch for these to be announced on and on the Conservation District’s Facebook page:

For more information about the Macon County Conservation District, visit

15 Second PSA – All Macon County Conservation Areas continue to remain open for hiking, walking, and nature exploration. When you visit, continue to follow all social distancing guidelines. Pets are welcome, but must be leashed at all times

Park District Offering Picnic Tables To Re-opening Restaurants

Park District Offering Picnic Tables To Re-opening Restaurants

May 28, 2020 – The Park District, in cooperation with the City of Decatur, will be offering use of picnic tables for local Decatur restaurants as they seek to reopen in compliance with the State of Illinois and City COVID-19 guidance. The Park District says they to provide assistance as these small businesses seek to come out of this most difficult time.

Tables will be available by calling 422-5911 or emailing Monday – Friday 8 A.M. – 5 P.M. Pick-up site will be determined at the time of the request. Delivery and pick-up will be available for a nominal charge. Individuals will be required to sign a waiver and provide a $100 per table (FULLY REFUNDABLE) damage deposit.