News Briefs

Winter Weather Get it Together

•November 30, 2016•

As snow and ice season looms over Illinois, the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT), Illinois State Police (ISP) and the Illinois Tollway are teaming up to remind motorists to be prepared and remember: “Winter Weather – Get it Together.” By taking steps to prepare for wintry driving conditions, the motoring public can do their part to make this a safe and successful winter driving season.

“Winter driving in Illinois comes with challenges that can be met if you are prepared,” said Illinois Transportation Secretary Randy Blankenhorn. “Our snow and ice teams, as always, are ready for the worst this winter. We’re counting on the public to do its part as well by keeping safety a top priority when traveling.”

Throughout the winter, especially during adverse conditions, motorists should be practicing basic winter driving skills and building extra time into their schedules. As part of the “Winter Weather – Get it Together” campaign, all travelers are encouraged to follow a few simple rules and tips during the coming months:

• Always wear a seat belt. It’s the law in Illinois.

• Slow down. Slower speeds, slower acceleration, slower steering and slower braking all are required in winter driving conditions.

• Drop it and drive. Put down the handheld devices – it, too, is the law in Illinois.  Read More

Mattoon Arts Council Accepts Quilts for Show

•November 30, 2016•

The Mattoon Arts Council is now accepting entries for its 2017 quilt show with the theme of “Stitches of the Seasons.” Quilts, wall hangings, table runners, pillows and garments are eligible for exhibition.

This is not a juried quilt show, and all ages of quilters are accepted. The MAC wishes to showcase the talents of area artists and quilters alike. Read More

Remember When? 11-30-2016

Compiled by Bekki Ferguson-Stevens

25 Years Ago This Week

The Lovington High School junior varsity volleyball team finished the 1991 season at 18-0 to become the first LHS athletic team in at least 20 years to complete a season undefeated. The team members include Michelle Geiling, Tara Traxler, manager, Heather Stoerger, Jamie Coon, Shanon Phillips, Christy Franklin, Kara Bolsen, Jenny Uphoff, statistician Kristy Minor, Lynette Eads, Tracy Mancha, Leslie Mosier, Michelle Smith, Casee Mechling and Alyssa Gilmore.

Lovington junior Brisyn Morrison was chosen to be a member of the All-Meridian Conference volleyball squad during recent voting of conference coaches. Junior Jill Cochran was also a unanimous selection to receive honorable mention honors.

Many area residents visited the grand opening of Coast to Coast Hardware in Sullivan over the weekend. The store, owned by Kurt VanDeursen, was celebrating its recent expansion and remodeling. Read More

IASB Upholds School Polling Place Policy

•November 30, 2016•

A proposal that would have prohibited school buildings from being used as polling places did not gain sufficient support to change a position held by the Illinois Association of School Boards since 2007.

Representatives from 357 school boards considered resolutions on a variety of public school issues at the Association’s annual Delegate Assembly. The assembly was held Nov. 19 in conjunction with the 2016 Joint Annual Conference in Chicago.

IASB’s existing position statement supports legislation that allows school districts the right to refuse the use of their school buildings as polling places. The resolution that would have changed this position, submitted by Indian Prairie CUSD 204 in Naperville, failed by a vote of 143 for to 173 against. The Association has long held that the safety of students should be considered in the decision to use school buildings as polling places.

A total of 16 resolutions as part of 27 recommendations were heard by delegates. Two were debated and voted on separately. The others were approved as part of a consent agenda, involving topics such as early childhood education, school finance reform, standardized testing, healthier schools, and student readiness.  Read More

Thinking About Health: What You Need To Know About Choosing Health Insurance

TrudyLieberman-Photo•November 30, 2016•

By Trudy Lieberman,
Rural Health News Service

Even though the election is over and Republicans are in a position to repeal and replace Obamacare as they’ve been vowing to do for several years that doesn’t mean you should avoid signing up for 2017 insurance coverage.

If you’re eligible and need insurance, the state shopping exchanges are open for business even if options this year are limited in many counties, particularly in rural areas. More than 40 percent of the counties where residents may buy an Obamacare policy have just one insurer selling them. That’s not a lot of choice, and policies that are offered are likely to have high premiums and limited options for doctors and hospitals.

Still, some careful shopping is in order to minimize any surprise bills. After the election, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest urged Americans to sign up and announced “the vast majority” of eligible consumers would be able to buy insurance for a monthly premium of $75 or less which has been the administration’s sales pitch.

Assuming the White House math is correct, that doesn’t mean the vast majority should automatically buy a policy with a $75 premium. That strategy can mean expensive trouble later on. Reviewing the basics before wading into the Obamacare marketplace this year is essential. Read More

Civic Women’s Club Learns About Counseling Center

•November 30, 2016•

The Sullivan Civic Women’s Club met  November 14 in the Moultrie County Senior Center. The guest speaker was Dave Cole, director of Moultrie County Counseling Center. He related that one of the services offered is an employment program to help match people to jobs. They also work with Lake Land College to help people learn trade skills.  Read More

Mexican Doctoral Students Brought to U of I

Research partnership on diabetes, obesity also approved

•November 30, 2016•

The University of Illinois System signed an agreement that will bring doctoral students funded by Mexico to U of I System universities and approved a partnership for diabetes and obesity research during a visit to Mexico last week by President Tim Killeen and a delegation of senior leaders.

Agreements also were signed that will provide a foundation for new academic and research partnerships with Mexico’s largest university and the country’s leading research institute.

The four-day trip, from Nov. 14-17, was arranged to explore new educational and research collaborations in Mexico, and included meetings with government agencies and two of the nation’s top universities.

Killeen said the outreach effort is rooted in a new strategic framework adopted earlier this year, a roadmap to the future that seeks to build on the U of I System’s service to students and the public good, and its global impact. Read More

Deer Take Over 50,000 First Firearm Week

•November 30, 2016•

Hunters in Illinois harvested a preliminary total of 54,452 deer during the first weekend of the Illinois Firearm Deer Season Nov. 18-20. Hunters took 57,870 deer during the first firearm weekend in 2015.

Illinois’ seven-day Firearm Deer Season will conclude Dec. 1-4.

Other deer hunting opportunities in the weeks ahead include:

• Muzzleloader-Only Deer Season Dec. 9-11; Read More

42nd Annual Barbershop Christmas Concert Sunday

Photo furnished

Photo furnished

•November 30, 2016•

The Coles County Barbershop Chorus will present their 42nd Annual Christmas Benefit Concert(s) Sunday, Dec. 4.

The 3 p.m. concert will be held at Wesley United Methodist Church in Charleston, and the 7 p.m. program will be held at First Presbyterian Church in Mattoon. The concert lasts one hour and is free to the public. A free will offering is taken, and annually more than $5,000 is generated for area food pantry and homeless shelter programs.  Read More

Moultrie Douglas Farm Bureau Update

Training and Traveling with the Farm Bureau

•November 23, 2016•

By Annaleah Emm
Illinois Farm Bureau Manager Trainee

My name is Annaleah Emm, and I am a manager trainee with Illinois Farm Bureau. I have been training in the county for the past two weeks. The training program is a unique program that allows me to train and travel with Farm Bureau managers from around the state. I have currently trained in Livingston, Bureau, Knox, Cass- Morgan, Lawrence, Piatt and Douglas-Moultrie counties.

The holiday season is among us. While most are preparing for the holiday festivities, farmers are still hoping for good weather to finish their last-minute field work. As 2016 harvest is wrapping up, we see many farmers making the most out of the few good weather days. Many are applying anhydrous ammonia, while others are disking. Service companies such as South Central FS are also busy with end of the year activities. They are applying lime and other dry fertilizer. Tiling is also big right now. As of Sunday November 13, the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) reads Illinois as 100% harvested for the 2016 corn crop. This is above the five- year average of 96%. Soybeans are also 100% harvested and above the five- year average of 97%. A general census with farmers from around the area is corn harvest will be better than 2015 but not as good as the harvest of 2014. Soybeans of 2016 are the best many have seen in years. Final yield numbers will be released at a later date. Read More