Soil Temperatures in Illinois Normal So Far This Winter

March 4, 2015

Soil temperatures across the state have been near normal on average so far this winter, according to Jennie Atkins, Water and Atmospheric Resources Manager at the Illinois State Water Survey, Prairie Research Institute, University of Illinois.
Soil temperatures at four inches under sod averaged 38.6 degrees F across Illinois for the period of November 1 to February 15, normal for the time period. Temperatures at eight inches averaged 38.4 degrees F, 1.2 degrees below normal. Read More

USDA Announces Funding for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Projects

March 4, 2015

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that rural agricultural producers and small business owners may now apply for resources to purchase and install renewable energy systems or make energy efficiency improvements. These efforts help farmers, ranchers and other small business owners save money on their energy bills, reduce America’s dependence on foreign oil, support America’s clean energy economy, and cut carbon pollution. The resources are made possible by the 2014 Farm Bill.
“This funding allows rural Illinois farmers and small businesses to realize significant economic benefits,” said Colleen Callahan, Illinois Director for Rural Development. “It’s an opportunity to use today’s technology to be more energy and cost-efficient. That’s one way we can help our producers save money and our rural businesses create more jobs.” Read More

Lake Shelbyville Fish Habitat Improvement Day Postponed

March 4, 2015

The Fish Habitat Improvement Day scheduled for Saturday, March 7 has been postponed due to unseasonably thick ice still covering most of Lake Shelbyville. It has been rescheduled for Saturday, March 21.
Volunteer registration begins at 8:45 a.m. at the Wilborn Creek boat ramp parking lot, and the work will begin at 9 a.m. Following the event, a free lunch is available for work day volunteers.
Once again, volunteers are welcome to bring pontoon boats as well as jon boats. The artificial fish attractors are approximately five feet in diameter and are more easily transported on a pontoon boat. If there is a shortage of boats, it will slow down placement of the structures. Anyone interested in volunteering their boat is advised to contact Park Ranger Tyler Goble at (217) 774-3951, ext. 7019 before the work day for planning purposes. Read More

Crop Insurance Deadline Nears in Illinois

March 4, 2015

The USDA’s Risk Management Agency (RMA) reminds producers in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Ohio that the final date to purchase or modify crop insurance coverage on most insurable spring-planted crops is March 15.
Crop insurance protects producers from natural disasters which affect crop yields and revenues. Producers have a number of coverage choices, including yield coverage, revenue protection, and area risk policies.
“Farmers have several new insurance options to consider for the 2015 crop year, as well as improvements to the farm safety net for beginning farmers and those with diversified operations,” said Brian Friedan, RMA Springfield Regional Office director. Many of the new options are provisions of the 2014 Farm Bill that RMA was able to implement in time for spring crops this year. Read More

National Groundwater Awareness Week: March 8-14

March 4, 2015

About half the U.S. population receives its drinking water from wells. Many cities in Illinois, including Champaign-Urbana, Normal, and most of the western and southern suburbs of Chicago, get some or all of their drinking water from groundwater sources. In addition, almost all rural residents use groundwater. During National Groundwater Awareness Week, the goal is to promote stewardship of this important resource, to protect and conserve it.
If you own a well, it is your responsibility to keep it in good working order, according to Walt Kelly, head of the Groundwater Science Section at the Illinois State Water Survey (ISWS), Prairie Research Institute, University of Illinois. Read More

Domestic Violence Education, Volunteer Training

March 4, 2015

Training is available for individuals interested in educating themselves on the issues surrounding domestic violence. The training will take place May 4-20, Monday through Thursday afternoons from 1-5 p.m., in Decatur at Dove, 302 S. Union, Dean Simcox Conference Center. This 40 hour training is approved by ICADV (Illinois Coalition Against Domestic Violence) and facilitated by Dove and other community agencies’ staff members. There is a fee for the training and some scholarships available.
To register, contact Barbara Blakey at (217) 428-6616. A pre-registration phone interview needs to take place by noon Monday, April 27 and there is a meeting to complete the registration on Tuesday, April 28 at noon. Read More

Business Expo & Taste of Sullivan Set for May 2nd

March 4, 2015

The Sullivan Chamber and Economic Development is hosting a business expo from 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. and Taste of Sullivan will be from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. May 2 at the First United Methodist Church.
The expo, which is scheduled every other year, gives businesses a chance to meet with the public and promote their goods and services. Non-SCED businesses and non-profit organizations may also participate in the event. Read More

Applications Available for Lake Shelbyville Deer Hunt for People with Disabilities and Wounded Warriors

March 4, 2015

The 26th Annual Deer Hunt for People with Disabilities, hosted by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Wolf Creek State Park will be held November 20 through November 22. Applications are available for pickup at the Lake Shelbyville Project Office, online at, or mail by contacting the Environmental Stewardship Department at 217-774-3951 Ext. 7049. Read More

Longhorns Restore Purvis Cemetery

Submitted Pictured, from left to right, are a few of the Moultrie County Longhorn 4H club members along with their new sign for the Purvis Cemetery: Alexa Hauser, Sydney Mulligan, Tim Hauser, Coen Foster, Makayla Graston-Garland, Brett Bushue, Dawson Foster & Brad Foster

Pictured, from left to right, are a few of the Moultrie County Longhorn 4H club members along with their new sign for the Purvis Cemetery: Alexa Hauser, Sydney Mulligan, Tim Hauser, Coen Foster, Makayla Graston-Garland, Brett Bushue, Dawson Foster & Brad Foster

February 25, 2015

As part of the values that 4-H routinely teaches, the Moultrie County Longhorns 4-H club is carrying on the tradition with their current service project, restoring the Purvis Cemetary near Allenville.
The club was recently awarded a grant from Farm Credit Illinois (FCI).  FCI awards grants to 4-H clubs and FFA chapters throughout central and southern Illinois to implement valuable improvement projects in their communities. FCI awarded 38 4-H clubs and FFA chapters with $250 grants this year to establish projects that will make their communities better places to live.
Purvis Cemetary, established in 1818, is located southwest of Allenville on corps ground next to Lake Shelbyville. Many who wonder upon it, may not even notice the overturned stones because of the weeds. After creating a new sign for the cemetary and cleaning up some of the trash and debris, the club’s goal is to research the graves and restore or replace some of the more damaged markers.  The club has divided into two workgroups, those working on the landscaping and others doing the research.
The group has also, so far, compared a list of graves at the site to an online database and discovered nine names listed are not online. The 1820’s were a big era for the start-up of organized burials in graveyards in America.  Many times the graves from that period are in the middle and radiate from the center outward as the years progress.  A reading is a listing of who is buried in a graveyard.  Many are now listed online.  The earliest markers are made of field stone or wood, a trend that lasted into the 1830’s. Before that, limestone was used, but in 1855, marble became fashionable with the advancement of the railroad across America. In turn, graveyards tend to be near water, a symbol of peacefulness and continued life.   Read More