Fifth Warmest November, Second Warmest Fall in Illinois

•December 7, 2016•

November 2016 was the fifth warmest November on record for Illinois, according to Illinois State Climatologist Jim Angel, Illinois State Water Survey, University of Illinois.

The statewide average temperature in November was 47.4 degrees, 4.9 degrees above normal. The warmest November in Illinois was in 2001 with an average of 49.9 degrees. Read More

Visit with Santa at Lake Shelbyville

•December 7, 2016•

Santa Claus is coming Saturday, December 10 from 9 a.m. to noon to the Lake Shelbyville Visitor Center. Children of all ages and their families are welcome to stop in and see Santa. All who attend will receive a free photo print with Santa as well as some water safety items from Bobber the Water Safety Dog. Photos will also be made available for download on the Lake Shelbyville U.S. Army Corps of Engineers facebook page following the event. Read More

Remember When? 12-7-2016

Compiled by Bekki Ferguson-Stevens

25 Years Ago This Week

Lovington returns three starters and five lettermen from the 1990-91 squad which finished last season 12-13. Four seniors lead the lineup with 6-foot-2 Brian McGregor the most experienced. The Panthers point guard will be senior Heath Wilson who went out for high school basketball for the first time last year and came on strong for the team toward the end of the season. Also experienced is off-guard Justin Mechling who saw playing time in his sophomore year and started last season.

Bethany lost three lettermen but returns nine players coach Brent Philips feels comfortable he can play and rely on. “We’re small, but we are very quick. If we play tough defense, I think we can overcome our height problems,” said Phillips about the 1991-92 Mustang squad. Seniors Sean Harshman, Ben Osman, Chris Smith, Dave Snyder, Ryan Martin and Steve VanLoon and juniors Phillip Dickens, Ben Yarnell and Justin Ozee are expected to lead the Mustangs. They are joined by more talent in seniors Greg Dickens and Wes Russell and junior Rob Trussell. Read More

Get Your Flu Shot During National Influenza Vaccination Week And Stay Healthy For The Holidays

•December 7, 2016•

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) urges anyone who has not yet received a flu shot to get one as soon as possible. December 4-10 is National Influenza Vaccination Week, a national observance to highlight the importance of influenza vaccination. While many people typically get the flu vaccine in early fall, flu activity usually peaks between December and March, a time when people are with families and out in their communities.

“During the holidays, friends and families often come together to celebrate,” said IDPH Director Nirav D. Shah, M.D., J.D. “Although you may be in good health, people around you, like young children and grandparents, may be at higher risk of suffering serious complications from the flu. A flu vaccine is the best defense against getting the flu. If you don’t get the vaccine to protect yourself, do it to protect the loved ones around you.” Read More

Lovington Grade School Honor Rolls Announced

•December 7, 2016•

Lovington Grade School’s first quarter honor rolls include the following students who earned straight As: Max Allen, Quentin Day, Reggie Edmonds, Delaney Gillis, Gavin Mechling, Michaela Powell and Kaitlyn Zander, seventh grade; Kaci Beachy, Connor Edmonds, Chloe Franklin and Josie Hale, sixth grade and Marilyn Hill and Peyton Newberry, fifth grade. Read More

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