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
Law Enforcement Announces ‘Cops and Gobblers’ Event

Law Enforcement Announces ‘Cops and Gobblers’ Event

December 13 – Det. Chad Larner of the Decatur Police Department wants to make sure residents continue to view law enforcement officers positively.

“A lot of times the only time that we’re seen by the public is in a time of crisis or a time that maybe isn’t the most high time for a family,” said Larner, the Department’s K-9 handler and training director for the Macon County Sheriff’s Office K-9 Academy. “I wanted to put us in the community in a different light.”

Larner joined Boys and Girls Club of Decatur executive director Bruce Jeffery and other officers Thursday morning in announcing the second “Cops and Gobblers” event, when officers and their K-9 units will hand out turkeys and $25 Kroger gift cards to families in need.

“Food insecurity is a major problem and it’s something that gets overlooked,” said Larner. “Not knowing where that next meal is going to come from can really cause stress on a lot of families.”

Co-sponsored by Neuhoff Media, the event will take place next Thursday (December 20) from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Boys and Girls Club, 859 N. Jasper Street. The program uses funds raised by the Macon County Sheriff’s Office, the Decatur Police Department and a grant from the WSOY Community Food Drive.

During the event, there will be activities, food and the chance to get to know the men and women who keep our community safe.

“Initially, this wasn’t so much about me merging law enforcement together with people from the inner city, as much as it was ‘hey, we’re people just like them,’” said Larner.

“We’re people 16 hours a day just like the people that we serve and protect. I think it’s important for them to see us outside of that uniform capacity, that enforcement capacity, to see that these guys have kids and families.”

Recipients of the turkeys and Gift Cards are being coordinated on a reservation system and are pre-determined by agencies working with the Boys and Girls Club.

For more information, call the Boys and Girls Club at 1-217-422-9605.

Misner Named Park District’s Director of Marketing

Misner Named Park District’s Director of Marketing

December 12 – Karalee Misner has been named the Director of Marketing for the Decatur Park District following the retirement of Lisa Gillen, who held the position for 12 years.

“I am thrilled to join the Decatur Park District team and continue along the path of success that Lisa has set,” said Misner, an account executive with Neuhoff Media since July of 2017. “It is a very exciting time of new District initiatives for our community that I am looking forward to being a part of.”

Misner, who also previously worked as marketing director at Land of Lincoln Credit Union, holds a bachelor’s degree in public relations from Illinois State. She is board vice president for the Mt. Zion Chamber of Commerce.

She begins her new role Thursday and may be reached at Kmisner@decparks.com or 1-217-422-5911.

St. T’s Caceres, McNamara Named Rotary Athletes of Month

St. T’s Caceres, McNamara Named Rotary Athletes of Month

December 10 – Luis Caceres and Madison McNamara of St. Teresa High School have been named the Rotary Neuhoff Media/Ameren Illinois Scholar Athletes of the Month for November.

McNamara, 17, helped the St. Teresa to a 30-10 record and a third-place state finish in Class 1A. In her career, she has received the Bulldog Award, the junior varsity MVP and the freshman MVP, as well as the “Hustler Award” in softball.

The daughter of Brian and Tammy McNamara, she holds a 4.3 GPA and a class rank of 10. She is involved in Student Council, Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) and Kairos, among other organizations. She is a former National Honor Society Award winner, and she plans to be a nurse anesthetist.

“Maddie is the type of person who is always doing the right thing for the team without being asked,” said Bulldogs coach Brad Dalton. “She’s an exceptional leader and an example for others. It was a pleasure to coach her this year and she is very deserving of recognition.”

Caceres, 18, led the St. T boys soccer team in assists this season, two years after being named the team’s offensive MVP. He recorded 15 goals and 18 assists this year in helping the Bulldogs place third in Class 1A.

The son of Luis J. and Robin Caceres, he owns a 4.42 weighted GPA with a class rank of 4. He is involved in the drama program and serves as a rector for Kairos. He has not made a college decision yet but plans to study computer science and pursue a medical-based career.

Contest Showcases Holiday Lights and Decorations

Contest Showcases Holiday Lights and Decorations

December 7 – Area residents and businesses are encouraged to participate in an outdoor decorating contest to promote, celebrate, and showcase holiday lighting and decorations.

The “Brinkoetter’s Bright Bulbs” contest is a collaborative effort between Brinkoetter and Associates, Neuhoff Media, Macon County Title, Cape Air, Limitless Decatur & Macon County, and the Beautify Decatur Coalition.

“I can remember packing in the car each year to go look at Christmas lights,” said Tom Brinkoetter of Brinkoetter and Associates. “We hope that the Brinkoetter’s Bright Bulbs contest will spur the continuance and growth of this family tradition for years to come.”

Residential contestants will be eligible for multiple awards, including a People’s Choice award of a $500 VISA gift card. Business contestants will compete for a chance to win a marketing package containing a $100 Dynagraphics gift certificate and a $250 Herald & Review gift certificate.

The contest began December 1 and will run through December 15. Winners will be selected by public voting and by celebrity judge selection.

Decatur entered its first America in Bloom competition earlier this year and was the recipient of multiple awards resulting from the beautification efforts and dedication of participants. Those efforts continue with this contest, which aims to help promote and reward community members who do more to make their community merrier during the season.

“It was rewarding to see everyone come together during the America in Bloom contest,” said Ellen Hearn, Chair of Decatur’s America in Bloom committee. “I think this contest will help remind us how far beautification efforts can go.”

Visit brinkoetter.com/brightbulbs to learn more about the contest and to enter.

United Way ‘On Target’ to Meet $1.6M Campaign Goal

United Way ‘On Target’ to Meet $1.6M Campaign Goal

December 5 – The giving nature of the holiday season showed through Wednesday as United Way Executive Director Debbie Bogle announced the organization expects to meet its fundraising expectations.

“We’re on target to meet our $1.6 million goal,” Bogle said. “We have some great things happening in the community with all of our organizations.”

The announcement came during a holiday-themed Greater Decatur Chamber of Commerce Business After Hours celebration at the Neuhoff Media offices, held in conjunction with the annual Christmas Walk in downtown Decatur (VIDEO).

“We always want to have this date with the Chamber,” said Neuhoff Decatur President and CEO Mike Hulvey. “We thank everyone for coming out; it’s always one of the more attended (after hours).”

“This is a great night for all of us to get out and shop local,” said Chamber president Mirinda Rothrock. “We’ve got so many great folks and so many great stores here and we need to patronize them.”

Performers from Debbie’s Dance Studio enhanced the holiday atmosphere with “Hot Chocolate” routine from The Polar Express.

Bogle highlighted some of the notable contributions to this year’s campaign, leading with Caterpillar seeing a $140,000 increase in donations. BKD had 100 percent participation and raised $17,000. Tate & Lyle had a 28 percent participation increase and a 31 percent dollar amount increase, and Jackson Ford brought in more than $3,300 during its “Drive-a-thon” promotion.

“We couldn’t do what we do and the agencies couldn’t do what they do without your help,” said Bogle. “It’s not about just giving to charity; it’s about really investing in your community and making sure that every single dollar is making a difference to move people toward self-sufficiency.”

More evidence of the giving spirit of the season came a day earlier as a three-hour fundraiser to assist relief efforts in Taylorville during the Byers & Co. broadcast collected $50,000 in donations. Host Brian Byers joined Hulvey and Bogle in presenting that check to the Taylorville Food Pantry earlier Wednesday.

“We’ve really been very fortunate this last year to do some major projects in this community, and we’re talking about millions of dollars and millions of dollars,” said Byers, who added that an anonymous donor followed up with a $100,000 contribution. “Sometimes we lose perspective on how important $50,000 can be.

“That food pantry stayed open 18 hours on Sunday and ran out of everything. That $50,000 in cash is going to mean as much to those 11,000 people in Taylorville as some of these million-dollar projects we work on.”

State Agencies, Fundraiser Assisting Taylorville Relief Efforts

State Agencies, Fundraiser Assisting Taylorville Relief Efforts

December 5 – A resource center featuring representatives from several state and local agencies will open in Taylorville this weekend to assist people impacted by the tornado that struck the city on Saturday.

WSOY and Byers & Co. held an on-air fundraiser that collected more than $50,000 in just three hours for the Taylorville Food Pantry. Food pantry volunteers accepted the check from WSOY representatives.

On Tuesday, more than $50,000 was collected for the Taylorville Food Pantry through a fundraiser during the three-hour Byers & Co. broadcast on WSOY, as well as through online contributions.

“This is a great donation from your radio station and it will go a long way to feed our people,” said Taylorville Mayor Bruce Barry. “We appreciate it from the bottom of our hearts.”

Barry called the outpouring of support for his city “amazing.”

“The people from outside the area calling with offers of help, from Chicago, Indianapolis , St. Louis … people that I have no idea who they are asking ‘What can we do? How can we help? How can we send money? How can we donate anything?” he said.

“It’s just amazing the outreach the small town of Taylorville has received from great big communities.”

The Multi-Agency Resource Center will open in the city on Friday and Saturday to make it easier for people affected by the tornadoes. The MARC is a one-stop-shop for tornado survivors to access disaster related relief services and information. The MARC brings together representatives from more than a dozen local and state agencies and essential support organizations.

Christian County residents affected by Saturday’s tornadoes are encouraged to visit the MARC at Taylorville Christian Church, 1124 N Webster Street. The MARC will be open on Friday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Proof of address is requested.

Some of the state and local agencies offering assistance through the Taylorville MARC include:

Department on Aging: Staff representatives will assist older adults and their family caregivers with information on services and public benefits within the community. Evaluate the problems and capacities of individuals to recover from the storm and attempt to address service gaps; provide follow-up services based on the older individual’s and family caregiver’s needs; deliver information regarding the wide range of services offered by the Aging Network.

Department of Human Services: The Division of Rehabilitation Services will provide information to individuals with disabilities regarding housing, wheelchairs, interpreters and services for the blind.

Christian County Family Community Resource Center: Representatives will provide forms to request replacement of SNAP benefits lost due to the storm, information related to services in the community and applications for assistance if someone wants to apply for crisis assistance or other benefits.

Department of Insurance: Representatives will be on hand to answer questions about individual insurance policies or questions about the insurance claim process; Address issues with individual insurance agents or insurance companies.

Christian County Health Department: Staff members will provide information on the essential public health services available in the community, including tetanus vaccines and food safety.

Illinois Attorney General: Representatives will provide information regarding identity theft, how to spot and report home repair scams and explain what residents can do to protect themselves from predators during the recovery process.

Also in attendance will be Christian County CEFS and additional volunteer disaster relief organizations.

Upon arrival at the MARC, residents will be paired with a Service Ambassador who can help the residents navigate the MARC and ensure their needs are addressed. The American Red Cross will provide client casework, information and referrals.

Governor Bruce Rauner declared Christian County a disaster area on Monday. According to the latest information from the National Weather Service, three tornadoes tore through the county. Ameren Illinois estimates more than 100 power poles were destroyed in the storm, and local officials report more than 500 structures were damaged. More than 20 people were injured in the storm, but no lives were lost.

The state disaster proclamation makes available a wide variety of state resources that can help affected communities respond and recover from the storm.  The state of Illinois has personnel and assets that have mobilized to help local government officials with disaster recovery, including heavy equipment and personnel to remove debris, communications equipment and assistance with security and other public safety issues.

For more information about disaster recovery resources, go to www.ready.illinois.gov.

Neuhoff Shares Personal Experience Overcoming Tragedy at Chamber’s Annual Meeting

Neuhoff Shares Personal Experience Overcoming Tragedy at Chamber’s Annual Meeting

November 1 – When unexpected tragedy thrust Beth Neuhoff into a role she never anticipated, she wound up on a path to personal reinvention “in the most difficult times.”

Neuhoff shared her story of overcoming loss with business and community leaders Thursday as the keynote speaker for the Greater Decatur Chamber of Commerce’s  Annual Meeting at the Decatur Conference Center and Hotel.

“It was really important to me to come to the community that helped me recover,” said Neuhoff, who became the President and CEO of Neuhoff Communications following the 2012 death of Geoff Neuhoff, her husband.

“The message I really wanted to convey is that even when the worst things happen, it doesn’t mean that’s the end. As a matter of fact, sometimes the best things happen in the worst of circumstances.”

Prior to Neuhoff’s speech, Chamber Vice Chairman Gary Birschbach made a “year in review” presentation, noting the organization represents nearly 700 businesses and held 27 ribbon cuttings and 20 business after-hours.

“It has been a great year for the Chamber and we’re so blessed to have so many great businesses. Our membership continues to grow,” said Chamber President Mirinda Rothrock.

“Chamber membership now represents over 41,000 employees, over half the city of Decatur. We have a good, powerful voice and we continue to use that and advocate on behalf of our Chamber member businesses.”

Mike Hulvey, President and CEO of Neuhoff Media Decatur, which is owned by Neuhoff Communications and operates WSOY and NowDecatur.com, introduced Neuhoff for her keynote.

“This was the perfect story, the perfect speaker at the perfect time for our community to hear,” he said.

Before getting into her presentation, Neuhoff announced plans to make a donation to the United Way for AED and CPR training for community volunteers. The donation serves as recognition for Kenny Burns and Brenda Burwell, volunteers at this year’s WSOY Community Food Drive who helped save the life of another volunteer who experienced a cardiac event.

Mere months after Geoff died, Beth Neuhoff suffered another personal setback when her mother succumbed to a brain aneurysm. She admitted to not knowing if she had the strength to recover.

“Losing two of the most important people in your life in very short order leaves you wondering,” she told the audience. “But I saw something, and that was other people who had been through an awful lot and they were thriving. So I knew at least it’s possible.”

Neuhoff said the key to recovery is to always move “onward and upward.” She shared what she called three “grief hacks” to moving on from setbacks: “just say yes” to possibilities; “act as if” you have what you need to succeed; and “own your story.”

“What you endure and survive, that’s what makes you who you are,” she said. “I have to say, despite the worst thing I ever could’ve imagined happening, the very best things have happened ever since.”

Neuhoff Media’s Misner Wins Rising Star Award

Neuhoff Media’s Misner Wins Rising Star Award

August 15 – Neuhoff Media account executive Karalee Misner has received the 2018 Rising Star Award presented by Mentoring and Inspiring Women in Radio and Marketron.

Misner claimed the honor during the Rising Through the Ranks Seminar on Wednesday at the BMI offices in Nashville, Tenn. She was one of 23 scholarship winners presented by Radio Advertising Bureau.

The MIW Rising Star is given to one person each year, the top scoring scholarship applicant for the annual Rising Through the Ranks program. Rising Through the Ranks is a women’s radio management training seminar that is dedicated to the support and advancement of women in radio sales management.

As the winner, Misner will attend the 2018 Radio Show next month in Orlando, Fla.