Office Phone: 217-357-6056

WCAZ Radio News Archives for 2022-03

Sandburg Criminal Justice Program to Purchase VR System

GALESBURG — Students in Carl Sandburg College’s criminal justice program will soon be able to use a simulator to help them experience scenarios that law enforcement officials may encounter.


Sandburg’s Board of Trustees during its regular monthly meeting Thursday approved a quote to purchase an Apex Officer Pro Training Simulator System, an immersive training tool that allows users to place themselves in a virtual reality to work through officer-involved situations. System operators can guide users through scenarios that include law enforcement official, creating situations ranging from traffic stops to domestic violence calls to active shooters. The simulator allows users to practice de-escalation tactics that help reduce the potential for higher levels of force to subdue a suspect.


“It is important to have such a tool available for students to experience being a virtual police officer, especially for those who are unsure if this is the right career field for them,” said Dr. Christopher Barber, coordinator of Sandburg’s criminal justice program. “In using this system, our students can gain a better understanding of law enforcement and what makes it such a demanding career.”


Barber said the system also could be used for training by local law enforcement, corrections officers and security agencies in addition to holding public awareness demonstrations for community members.


Funds used to purchase the new technology will be from a $100,000 Innovative Bridge and Transitions grant from the Illinois Community College Board. Sandburg’s funded project will focus on easing workforce transitions for students in its criminal justice program.


The Board also approved a quote of $88,426 from Thomas P. Miller & Associates as a consultant to assist Sandburg’s Perkins team in its Perkins Program of Study Approval Process. Using the comprehensive local needs assessment and Perkins Data Dashboard, Miller & Associates will create an equity report and develop an action plan to bridge any uncovered equity gaps in Sandburg’s approval process. The grant-funded support for the consultant’s activities is from the Illinois Community College Board’s Perkins reserve funding for fiscal year 2022.


The Board approved a master services agreement with River City Construction of East Peoria for its construction management services. RCC had previously been selected by the Board at its December meeting to serve as the College’s construction manager for future projects, including the new science and technology center on the Main Campus in Galesburg.


A bid of $247,798 from D&L Excavating of Liberty was accepted to complete repairs to the parking lot at the Branch Campus in Carthage.


In other business, the Board approved the following:

  • Employment of Stewart Ferrell as full-time physics instructor, effective July 1.
  • Employment of Krista Winters as full-time biology instructor, effective July 1.
  • Employment of Laura Rider as full-time radiologic technology instructor, effective July 1.
  • Resignation/retirement of Donald McCoy as grounds assistant, effective April 30.
  • Unpaid leave of absence with non-accrual of benefits for Dean Blust, effective April 28-June 17.


The Board’s next scheduled meeting is 7 p.m. April 28.

Illini West Chargers defeat West Prairie 13-1 in 5 innings at LaHarpe March 29th 2022

Illini West Chargers defeat West Prairie 13-1 in 5 innings at LaHarpe on March 29th 2022

Madalyn Boyer pitched all innings for IW and struck out 9. 

Elly Krieg went 2 for 3 with a double, and inside the park homerun-getting 3 RBI's. Reagan Reed went 2 for 4 with a triple and 3 RBI's, and Rachel James went 1 for 1 with a triple. 



(Macomb, Illinois, March 25, 2022) – The Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) is a federal grant program that helps eligible homeowners and renters with paying their winter home heating bills. The social service program is only available certain months out of the year, and local program managers say that households should apply as soon as possible because there are no plans at this time for a summer assistance program.

Macomb-based nonprofit Western Illinois Regional Council-Community Action Agency (WIRC-CAA) manages LIHEAP in Hancock, Henderson, McDonough, and Warren counties. The program is set to close for the season at 4:00 p.m. on May 31, 2022. While the deadline is still over a month away, WIRC-CAA team members say that it is important to call the agency now to schedule an appointment.

“Appointments, which are held by phone, are filled on a first-come, first-served basis, and we typically schedule a few weeks out during busier times,” said WIRC-CAA Public Relations Manager Jamie Roth. “When your application is complete, it could take an additional 30 to 40 days before you see a credit on your utility bill.”

Households must be at or below 200% of the federal poverty level to qualify, and each applicant must provide documentation about their current financial situation before their application is considered complete. The current 30-day income guidelines are as follows: $2,147 for a one-person household; $2,903 for a two-person household; $3,660 for a three-person household; and $4,417 for a four-person household. Contact WIRC-CAA to learn about income limits for larger households.

If all of the guidelines and requirements are met, a one-time payment will be made directly to the applicant’s utility company. The amount awarded varies depending on each household’s specific situation, and, because it is a grant, the award does not have to be paid back. Households can apply once per program season.

Roth continued that elderly and disabled individuals who are on a fixed income are strongly encouraged to apply, and that there are plenty of program funds to go around. “Several elderly applicants have told our team that they are worried about taking money away from people who really need it,” said Roth. “We want to assure people that is not going to happen. This federal program is here to give you one less thing to worry about. Please contact the agency to apply if you fit within our income guidelines.”

To apply for LIHEAP or learn more about it, call WIRC-CAA at 309-837-2997 between 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. Additional information can be found on their website at After the May 31 deadline, the next season of the program is expected to begin in Fall 2022.

WIRC & CAA are multifaceted agencies that serve multiple counties in western Illinois. The Community Action Agency provides a wide range of social service programs for people in need, including a food pantry, an energy assistance program, and more. For more information about WIRC & CAA, visit, find Western Illinois Regional Council & Community Action Agency on social media, or call (309) 837-2997. WIRC & CAA are Equal Housing Opportunity and Equal Opportunity Employers.


2022 Sandburg Student Art Show Opening Reception April 1

GALESBURG — The annual Carl Sandburg College Student Art Show returns to the Lonnie Eugene Stewart Art Gallery from March 28-May 9, with an opening reception from 5:30-7:30 April 1 in the gallery on Sandburg’s Main Campus in Galesburg, 2400 Tom L. Wilson Blvd.


This year marks the first in-person reception for the show since 2019. It was completely virtual in 2020, and patrons were encouraged to view it virtually last year as well because of COVID-19.


The juror for this year’s show is 2013 Sandburg graduate Josh Niles. A working artist and instructor at Tidewater Community College in Norfolk, Va., Niles’ work primarily focuses on the investigation of empathy and experience through the lens of color across the landscapes of rural Illinois and the Midwest.


After graduating from Sandburg with his Associate in Fine Arts, Niles went on to earn a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Western Illinois University in 2015 and a Master of Fine Arts from Southern Illinois University in 2021. His work has been displayed in several collections, including spaces in Chicago, California and Virginia as well as published in magazines such as Beyond Words.


Awards will be given for Best of Show, Best Print/Graphic, Best Photo, Best Drawing, Best Painting, Best Ceramic and Best 3D as well as two Juror’s Choice awards. Winners will receive gift certificates courtesy of Blick Art Materials. There also will be several special merit awards consisting of artist materials and supplies.


Established in 2006 and named for area artist Lonnie Eugene Stewart in 2015, the Lonnie Eugene Stewart Art Gallery has hosted group faculty exhibits, juried student exhibits and the works of area professional artists. For more information, contact art program coordinator Lisa Walker at 309.341.5303 or


Hancock County Sherriff's Department - Press Release

Sheriff Travis Duffy reports the following incidents from this past weekend.


On Saturday March 19, 2022, at approximately 9:55 PM a Sheriff’s Deputy on patrol conducted a traffic stop at the intersection of 10th and Oak Streets in Hamilton, IL. A RED 2006 Dodge Caravan had failed to stop at the intersection of 10th and Broadway Streets. The driver was identified as Andrew D. Baker (M/W age 53) of Keokuk, IA, and the passenger was identified as Amada J. Picton (F/W Age 32) of Keokuk, IA. 


The Deputy deployed his K9 partner. After a positive alert the vehicle was searched. Inside of the passenger’s purse the Deputy discovered a baggie with a small amount of methamphetamine as well as hypodermic syringes and other drug paraphernalia. Picton was placed under arrest and transported to the Hancock County Jail. She was released the following day on a recognizance bond. 


On Sunday March 20, 2022, at approximately 10:40 PM a Sheriff’s Deputy on patrol conducted a traffic stop at the intersection of 8th and Walnut Streets in Hamilton, IL for an equipment violation. The driver, Ike L. Byers (M/W Age 28) of LaHarpe, IL was operating a WHITE 2003 Chrysler Van. Byers was driving on a suspended Illinois license and had a warrant for his arrest in Hancock County for Failure to Pay – Unlawful Possession of Methamphetamine. Byers was transported to the Hancock County Jail. 


On Monday March 21, 2022, at approximately 1:15 AM a Sheriff’s Deputy attempted to make a traffic stop in rural Carthage on a SILVER Infiniti Q30. The Infiniti had registration on it which belonged on a Ford truck. 


The driver, Scot A. Flora (M/W Age 53) of Carthage, IL, did not pull over and fled from the Deputy. The Deputy apprehended Flora after he eventually stopped at a rural Carthage, IL address. 


Flora was transported to the Hancock County Jail where he was charged with Fleeing or Attempting to Elude a Peace Office, Operating Uninsured Vehicle, and Improper Display of Registration. 


All persons arrested are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. 

Countywide Health Initiative holds the KEY to good health

Countywide Health Initiative holds the KEY to good health 


Carthage, IL – March 23, 2022 – Hancock County will soon be seeing keys everywhere. A committee representing a number of Hancock County businesses has been formed with the goal of helping all Hancock County residents attain better health. This committee is called KEY, which stands for Keep Encouraging Yourself to good health. 


In 2019, the Illinois Critical Access Hospital Network (ICAHN) presented information on a healthcare study in New Ulm, Minnesota, that intrigued Memorial Hospital CEO Ada Bair. The program was called The Hearts Beat Back: The Heart of New Ulm Project. A core group of individuals representing numerous businesses, organizations, and the healthcare industry in New Ulm came together to create a community-driven initiative. Their goal consisted of achieving the Triple Aim of healthcare: experience better care, improve health across the population, and lower the costs of care. As part of a research project with the Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation, New Ulm Medical Center, and Allina Health, The Heart of New Ulm Project has created the gold standard model for an effective, successful community health initiative. 


With the hopes of incorporating a similar community initiative in Hancock County and after receiving an ICAHN grant that will help guide the initiative, a steering committee was assembled in 2020. Due to Covid, the team was met with a delayed start. At the end of 2021, a reorganized group of individuals representing Carthage Veterinary Services & Professional Swine Management (CVS/PSM), the Hancock County Health Department, the Area Health Education Center (AHEC), Memorial Hospital, Memorial Hospital Foundation, MORE Medical Supplies, Carthage Parks and Recreation, and the Carthage Elementary School District came together for planning purposes. The committee is excited to announce that on March 26, 2022, they will officially launch KEY to the public.  


Joseph Goetz, Controller, Professional Swine Management, said yes to serving on the KEY committee after reviewing the impressive data of the New Ulm research project. “New Ulm’s success in promoting health and wellness is inspiring, and as an accountant, it is great to see the data behind their success. The transformation that the community of New Ulm had is inspiring, and it is my hope that we can promote that same culture of wellness here in Hancock County.” 

The mission statement of KEY reads as follows: “Encourage healthy lifestyles to prevent and reduce chronic disease through community engagement and support. Embrace physical, social, and mental wellness through screenings, education, and experiences to improve health outcomes together.”  Goals for KEY include implementing healthy KEY codes at restaurants, sharing links to healthy recipes, tips, and ideas for additional movement, and improving the infrastructure for safe cycling and walking in our Hancock County communities. A major benefit of improving the population health of the community is an enhanced quality of life. When asked why KEY is an important endeavor, Melita Finney, Community Health Director at the Hancock County Health Department stated “Life is busy and we all need extra support and encouragement, especially if it is something we are trying to build on and make a part of our daily routine.” KEY is being piloted in Carthage throughout 2022. Several committee members will be on the Carthage square with health information during the Hop Around the Block event. Watch for sandwich boards with QR codes linking you to better health. 


The KEY committee wants the residents of Hancock County to be involved in this effort. The Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) in 2021 highlighted cancer, mental health issues, and the need and desire for overall better health as three areas with which most residents are concerned. KEY recognizes that small, consistent changes lead to sustainable health improvements. The intent of KEY is to introduce simple yet effective approaches to life which will lead to healthier lifestyles. KEY wants to educate you to make the best choice for your health! 


Action teams will be created as KEY development plans evolve. KEY needs enthusiastic community members to help implement these programs. If you have a desire to improve your health, or if you have ideas that might work in any of your communities, please reach out to Ashlyn Housewright at  for more information. KEY can also be reached on Facebook at @keepencouragingyourself. KEY looks forward to creating numerous partnerships across the county as residents find their key to good health. 





Carthage, IL – March 17, 2022 - The Carthage Golf Club Women’s League is looking for tri-state women interested in learning, improving their game, brushing up on, or just playing golf.


You don’t have clubs, or you have NEVER played? Not a problem! There will be clubs to borrow and women to help you learn The Carthage Women’s Golf League is offering a “Women’s” golf boot camp on Tuesdays during the month of April. No need to sign up in advance; just come on out to the course on APRIL 5, APRIL 12, and APRIL 19 (rain date April 26); sessions begin at 5:00 pm, at Carthage Club House. There will be short coaching instructional presentations, and there will be seasoned golfers on hand to help anyone get acquainted with the course. Then women will be able to head out to the course to take in some holes.


The cost is only $15, which includes all three nights and an additional three free passes for 9 holes of golf (extra fee for cart) to be used at any time during the year that the course is open. If you have any questions, contact the golf course at 217-357-3625 after April 1.


Hancock County Sheriff Travis Duffy reports the following activities for the week of March 7th, 2022 through March 13th, 2022

Hancock County Sheriff Travis Duffy reports the following activities for the week of March 7th, 2022 through 

March 13th, 2022 


Joel N Heavin, age 31, cf Warsaw, IL was arrested on a Hancock County Warrant charging him with Failure to Appear/Failure to Pay on original charges of Unlawful Possession of Methamphetamine. Heavin was released after posting the required bond and given a future court date. 


Douglas G Evans, age 61, of Warsaw, IL was arrested on a Hancock County Warrant charging him Petition to Revoke or Modify Probation, Burglary, and Criminal Trespass to Real Property. Evans remains lodged in the Hancock County Jail in lieu of bond. 

Ashley Rose Prewett, age 25, of Warsaw, IL was arrested and charged with Domestic Battery. Prewett was released after posting the required bond and given a future court date. 


(Any questions or requests reference this news release, please call the Sheriff's Office at the number listed on 

the letter head. Thank You!) 

Carl Sandburg College Athletics Launches

GALESBURG — Carl Sandburg College fans now have a new home for Chargers news.
Sandburg has partnered with PrestoSports to launch , the official home
for Carl Sandburg College Athletics. The new website serves as the go-to place for fans
searching for Chargers news, event recaps, photo galleries, box scores, schedules, statistics and
more for all 11 of Sandburg’s NJCAA teams.
“We couldn’t be more excited to work with PrestoSports and bring this website to life for our
fans, alumni, coaches and student-athletes,” Sandburg athletic director Jerry Thor said. “With, we’re thrilled to be able to offer a place that is totally dedicated to
highlighting all of the fantastic accomplishments of our teams and athletes.”
Supported by PrestoSports — a national leader in athletics website development with more
than 1,400 clients — the user-friendly site is designed for both desktop and mobile devices. It
also has a page where prospective recruits can submit information about themselves to
Chargers coaches, and fans can support Sandburg athletics in just a few clicks by going to .
The brand-new is the latest place where fans can follow Chargers sports.
Carl Sandburg College Athletics also has a Facebook page as well as accounts on Twitter
(@SandburgNJCAA) and Instagram (@sandburgchargers) . Sandburg also partners with Sport
Reporting to allow fans to sign up to get Chargers scores sent straight to their phone and email.

Edge Dairy Farmer Cooperative: Canada's TRQ proposal continues unfair treatment of US exports

? Edge Dairy Farmer Cooperative, one of the largest dairy co-ops in the U.S., said today the proposed changes by the Canadian government to how it administers its tariff-rate quotas (TRQs) for U.S. dairy would continue to block key export opportunities. Edge urged U.S. officials to work with the country to bring about fair reforms.

A dispute settlement panel earlier had found Canada was noncompliant with the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) in its use of the quotas, unfairly limiting export opportunities for America’s dairy farmers and processors. Among other things, the proposed changes, released this week, would not allow U.S. exporters to ship directly to the lucrative retail sector ? a major concern for Edge’s members throughout the Midwest.

It’s clear that Canada is not seeking to provide actual market-based allocations,” Edge President Brody Stapel, a Wisconsin dairy farmer, said. “With passage of the USMCA, Edge was hopeful that the expanded quotas for dairy would get us closer to having real access to the Canadian market, including for high-value retail products. Excluding retailers from the new proposal will continue to keep out an important and growing segment of U.S. dairy. We urge the U.S. government to continue to work with Canada in seeking meaningful reforms that bring our important trading partner into compliance with its USMCA obligations.” 


Under the USMCA, U.S. dairy producers were granted increased market access to Canada by way of preferential tariff rates for in-quota quantities of certain products. Less than a year after implementation of the agreement, the Biden administration requested a dispute settlement panel be established to consider Canada’s failure to comply with the dairy TRQ provisions.


The panel determined that Canada’s implementation of the TRQs restricted access of U.S. dairy products by setting aside quotas specifically for Canadian processors. Per the findings of the panel, Canada is required to come into compliance, and the country submitted the proposed changes to the U.S. government on Feb. 2. The proposal was not made public until this week.


The U.S. government is in the process of deciding whether the proposal brings Canada into compliance and has not indicated when there will be a decision on next steps.

Hancock County Fights Cancer teams are gearing up for 2022 fundraising.

“We are working on plans for an event on the courthouse square in Carthage on Saturday, June 4, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.” explained Kris Pilkington, event chairman for HCFC. The date coincides with the running of the Strawberry Strut, earlier that day.

“Our goal is to raise money for these two wonderful groups, to celebrate cancer survivors, and to honor those who are in treatment or have been lost to cancer,” Pilkington said.

There will be food, entertainment, activities for kids, a car show, silent auction, “Hearts of Hope”, and more.  

HCFC webpage is Team members can sign up,  and post information about fundraising. As of March 15, team captains or members can download a packet from the HCFC website. 


Carthage, IL – Tuesday, March 1, 2022 – Memorial Hospital is Honoring National Nutrition Month by providing a free culturally themed meal prepared by the hospital's chef and food and nutrition team to our entire staff. The 2022 National theme is Celebrate a World of Flavors, by acknowledging the diversity of different cultures, ethnic cuisines and providing the public with insightful information. There will be an online live-streamed event on Tuesday, March 29, from 12:15 pm to 1:00 pm; the event is accessible on Memorial Hospital's Facebook page. 


Memorial Hospital's registered dietitian & culinary chef will be enlightening the public on the importance of celebrating flavors from cultures around the world to nourish our bodies and appreciate our diversity. We are all unique with different bodies, goals, backgrounds, and tastes! The online event will be presented from 12:15 pm - 1:00 pm on Tuesday, March 29. Those who join will be entered into a drawing to receive a $50.00 Amazon gift card. The public is encouraged to join to learn more about creating healthy habits that celebrate your heritage and introduce you to new foods and flavors.


Memorial Hospital and Hancock Village will highlight nutrition month by sharing culturally diverse foods with employees, such as cashew coconut curry, tofu banh mi bowl, and mango chia seed. Chef Jake and the Memorial Hospital Food and Nutrition Team will offer additional cultural dishes in the hospital’s Courtyard Café throughout the month of March to expand our horizons.  The additional items include a honey pistachio greek cup originating from Greece, arepas with spicy black beans originating from South America, a chicken ramen bowl originating from Japan, and a buckwheat porridge bowl originating from Russia. Additionally, the organization will hold a contest that encourages staff to eat the recommended five servings of fruits and vegetables daily. 

Ashlyn Housewright, Memorial Hospital Registered Dietitian stated, "Memorial Hospital is excited to honor National Nutrition Month! We believe nutrition education is important for the health of our staff and community. Celebrating National Nutrition Month is one way to increase awareness around the important role nutrition plays in our health and wellness journies."

Memorial Hospital is exceedingly proud to incorporate unique cuisines from across the globe to promote healthy lifestyle changes cooking techniques and provide helpful recommendations, to potentially incorporate these dishes in the comfort of your own home. 

Memorial Hospital strives to increase the health and wellness of Hancock County and the surrounding region by offering nutrition and wellness services. 

Carl Sandburg College Tuition Rates to Remain Same for 2022-23

March 2, 2022

GALESBURG — Tuition at Carl Sandburg College will remain the same for the 2022-23 academic year.


The Sandburg Board of Trustees approved the tuition rates for the upcoming academic year during its regular monthly meeting Thursday on the Main Campus in Galesburg. Tuition will remain $175 per credit hour for in-district students, $262 per credit hour for out-of-district students and $292 per credit hour for students from out of state. This is the second time in three years Sandburg has kept tuition rates unchanged.


Carl Sandburg College Tuition Rates Per Credit Hour







In District






Out of district






Out of state







The Board also approved the acceptance of a grant from the US Department of Agriculture’s North Central Region Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education program to support a youth agriculture camp on the Main Campus this summer. The grant will assist “Rooted in the Community,” a two-day camp that will host 60 participants and focus on sustainable/local agriculture concepts, careers in the ag industry and nutrition. Campers will interact with farmers, master gardeners and grocers, and they’ll each receive a garden tool kit as well as a voucher for purchasing produce.


Faculty members Renee Eickman (sociology), Sharon Trotter-Martin (English) and Marla Turgeon (library instructional services) were granted tenure, effective with the 2022-23 academic year.


The contracts of non-tenured faculty members Jeremy Bohrer (mathematics), Tina Braun-Smith (associate degree nursing), Nicole Lepper (associate degree nursing), Ian Milligan (manufacturing technology), Sonrisa Nolan (speech) and Joshua Seifert (business and economics) were renewed for the 2022-23 academic year.


The probationary terms of non-tenured faculty members Tammi Lewis (associate degree nursing) and Robert Thompson (theater) were extended for a fourth year for the 2022-23 academic year.


In other business, the Board approved the following:

  • A quote of $33,638.16 from CDW to replace the current computer server backup battery.
  • A quote of $29,100 from AMP Electrical Services to complete a distribution assessment of the College’s electrical systems.
  • Employment of Eric Johnson as chief advancement officer, effective March 1.
  • Employment of Stefani Gillen as academic support services/Americans with Disabilities Act & Section 504 coordinator, effective March 1.
  • Resignation of Emma Thompson as data/program assistant for TRIO Upward Bound, effective Feb. 4.
  • Resignation/retirement of Jan Lundeen as full-time associate degree nursing faculty, effective June 30.


The Board’s next scheduled meeting is 7 p.m. March 24.

LaHood Statement on President Biden's SOTU Address

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Darin LaHood (IL-18) released the following statement after President Joe Biden delivered his State of the Union Address: 

"Tonight, President Joe Biden delivered his State of the Union Address and I join with Americans in condemning Vladimir Putin's horrific war on Ukraine. America can and should do more to provide support to the Ukrainian people through lethal aid, weapons support, and humanitarian assistance. I am committed to working with my colleagues in Congress and our allies to provide additional support to Ukraine and ensure Putin and his enablers pay for Russia's unjustified and unprovoked attack on a sovereign democracy.

"America faces an increasing number of challenges. We have an economic crisis with inflation surging past wage growth as Democrats double down on their flawed tax and spend 'Build Back Better' agenda. Instead of expanding economic opportunities for American small businesses and workers, Democrats refuse to support a much needed, robust trade agenda and instead have focused on failed domestic priorities. Violent crime is on the rise, with Democrats across the country advocating for soft-on-crime policies. Gas prices are skyrocketing as Democrats push forward Green New Deal policies and refuse to prioritize U.S. energy independence. Open border policies have led to a record number of illegal border crossings and deadly fentanyl continues to flow into our communities. And, President Biden's weak display in the Afghanistan withdrawal has emboldened our adversaries, including Russia, Iran, China, and North Korea.

"Now is the time to show American leadership. President Biden needs to recognize that his policies and agenda have led to the crises our nation faces today. Instead of resetting his agenda to address these challenges, the vision President Biden's outlined tonight is just more of the same - failed policies that have taken our economy and our country backward."






Carthage, IL – Tuesday, March 01, 2022 – The Kiwanis Club of Carthage is thrilled to announce that Gary Waddell has been chosen as Carthage’s 2021 Citizen of the Year. 

In a recent surprise ceremony, Waddell, surrounded by his family and friends, was presented this great honor. Waddell was nominated and chosen as Citizen of the Year for his incredible work both professionally and through his volunteerism.  Gary Waddell protected the citizens of Carthage for 31 years through his work in law enforcement and also served as Carthage’s Chief of Police. 

Waddell is also constantly involved in community projects and volunteer opportunities such as 2x4’s For Hope, an organization that helps build homes for homeless and at-risk veterans. Waddell was even integral in building the first tiny home in Carthage through these efforts. Gary Waddell also spearheaded the involvement of Pink Heals in the Carthage area. Pink Heals, known for its pink firetruck, is an organization which raises funds and awareness for those in need, especially those who have suffered or are suffering from cancer.

It’s clear through his continued service that Waddell strives to give back and improve his community whenever possible. The Kiwanis Club of Carthage is therefore incredibly proud to name Gary Waddell as the 2021 Citizen of the Year. 

The Western Illinois Threshers will hold their 55th annual show this summer on Friday to Sunday, Aug. 5, 6, and 7, at their grounds two miles north of Hamilton

The Western Illinois Threshers will hold their 55th annual show this summer on Friday to Sunday, Aug. 5, 6, and  7, at their grounds two miles north of Hamilton. 

During their recent annual meeting, directors were elected and plans were made for the summer event. 

The featured tractor for the 2022 show is the  Allis Chalmer line.  An antique  tractor will be given away at the end of the show, as well as a quilt, AC toys and other items.  

After setting the date for this year’s show, members gave the board authority to pursue local teams to continue the annual pony event held Saturday morning of the show. Bingo games, held for the first time at the 2019, will continue in 2022.  

On Friday evening, there will be a ribeye steak supper, antique tractor pull and music by Bocephus Wayne. Saturday night will feature a pork chop supper, quilt auction and music by On Stage Band.

Directors elected for three-year terms were  Mark Wierather, Alvin Metternich and Buck Cameron.  Other board members are  Lester Harnetiaux, Matthew Starr,  Ken Buckert, Ed Hartweg, Dan Buckert and Raymond Siegrist.

Officers elected for the year include Hartweg as president,  Metternich as vice president, Starr as secretary and Dan Buckert as treasurer.

The Western Illinois Threshers members meet regularly on the third Thursday of each month, at 7 p.m. (8 p.m. during Daylight Savings Time), at the Golden’s Point Church at 900E County Road 1800N, or at the threshers’ grounds north of Hamilton.

See information about the show at or on Facebook.

LaHood Statement on Developments in Ukraine

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Darin LaHood (IL-18), a member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, released the following statement on the developments in Ukraine:

"For too long, the Biden Administration has appeased Vladimir Putin and his regime as they amassed troops along the Ukrainian border and escalated tensions with our allies in Europe. By recognizing the fake "People's Republics" of Luhansk and Donetsk and ordering troops into the region as "peacekeepers," Putin is clearly violating international law and Ukrainian sovereignty. President Biden and the United States must act swiftly to impose crippling sanctions on the Russian economy, permanently end the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, and ensure Putin understands there will be severe consequences for his invasion of Ukraine."

Illinois Rules of the Road Traffic Safety


Carthage ~ The Illinois Secretary of State’s Office will host Illinois Rules of the Road course on Thursday, March 10, 2022, beginning at 9:30 AM.  Location is Carthage Community Center, 301 E. Main Street, Carthage.  This class is appropriate for all residents anticipating a renewal of their driver’s license.  No registration required.  For qu

Illinois Rules of the Road Traffic Safetyestions, please contact Chris at (217) 557-5190.

Hancock County Independence Day weekend

Carthage ~ The schedule for the Hancock County Independence Day weekend has been set with 2 bands on Saturday, July 2, 2022, for the Annual Street Dance on Main located one block west of the square. Gates open at 7 PM with “Fast and Easy,” the “reunion” of a band that originated from Carthage High School in 1986-87.  Scheduled to perform are Jimmy Gelhaar, Clayton Huston, Rick Bentzinger, and Travis Wilhite.

At approximately 8:30 PM, “SOUTH 35”, a popular hard rocking country band based in Des Moines, will take the stage, and play until midnight.  “SOUTH 35” mainly performs new country with a mixture of classic rock.  Travis Wilhite, originally from Carthage, is the drummer for “SOUTH 35”. The dance is the major fundraiser for the annual fireworks display in Carthage.

Monday, July 4, 2022, will be a full day of activities on the square in Carthage with a 10 AM Independence Day Parade, NOON Presentation of Colors, afternoon entertainment, games, activities, and FIREWORKS AT DUSK near Illini West High School.  Food and other vendors will be available all day.



The 2022 Women Changing the Face of Agriculture career exploration event will be held in- person at Carl Sandburg College located in Galesburg, Illinois this coming Friday, March 4th, 2022. We invite the media to join us for this event. We have a media room available. You can view a map of the campus and schedule for the event at


We have over 200 students, 50 professionals, and 40 volunteers registered to attend. This year’s event will include a rotation through career panels, opportunities to network with professionals, and a keynote speaker. In addition, WCFA will recognize scholarship recipients as well as other award winners. We always appreciate the great support we get from the agricultural industry and our sponsors.


Our 2022 event keynote speaker is Amanda Radke from Mitchell, South Dakota. Amanda is a fifth-generation rancher who has dedicated her career to serve as a voice for the beef industry as well as agriculture as a whole. She will share her thoughts on mindset development, agriculture advocacy, youth development, and dynamics on multi-generational family agribusinesses.   


Women Changing the Face of Agriculture event was first held in 2010. In the last 12 years, more than $50,000 in scholarships have been awarded and more than 6,500 high school girls have attended. Penny Lauritzen, Illinois Agri-Women member and chair of the event has been involved in the event since its inception. She said, “We are excited to meet back in-person with professionals and students this year. The event's impact has historically brought about phenomenal career opportunities for young women, and we look forward to continuing this legacy”.


Women Changing the Face of Agriculture is a project of Illinois Agri-Women (IAW) which showcases a career exploration event for young women interested in agriculture. This event strives to give women the opportunity to explore different career paths, interact with industry professionals, and receive accurate information first hand from women in agriculture. For more information visit WCFA – Interact, Learn, Network (


Masks are no longer required to attend this event. Reduced capacities and social distances will be followed. Carl Sandburg continues to follow current guidance from the CDC and state. If you plan to attend the event, a form must be filled out indicating if you have one of the following: been vaccinated for COVID-19, has received a negative COVID-19 PCR or rapid test taken within 7 days, or has a government-issued documentation of the date of the positive test and clearly stating the individual's isolation return date. Documentation to support the response will NOT BE requested. We will only be reviewing that you have responded affirmatively. The entry survey can be found here:

Jesse White Recognizes State Leaders in a Video honoring African American Heritage Month

Jesse White Recognizes State Leaders in a Video honoring African American Heritage


Honorees include Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike, Illinois Poet
Laureate Angela Jackson and Apostolic Church of God Pastor Dr. Byron Brazier
Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White recognized African American Heritage Month with a video
honoring three of the state’s leaders, including the Director of the Illinois Department of Public
Health, Dr. Ngozi Ezike, Illinois Poet Laureate Angela Jackson and Apostolic Church of God in
Chicago Pastor Dr. Byron Brazier.
Secretary White honored the following individuals:
? Illinois Department of Public Health Dr. Ngozi Ezike –the first African American Director of the
Department of Public Health in its more than 140-year history — received the Distinguished
Leadership Award. She has helped lead Illinois to reach a 70% vaccination rate during the
COVID-19 pandemic.
? Illinois Poet Laureate Angela Jackson, the fifth Illinois Poet Laureate, received the Excellence in
Arts Award. She joins the list of prestigious authors, including Carl Sandburg and Gwendolyn
? Apostolic Church of God Pastor Dr. Byron Brazier received the Excellence in Community
Service Award. He established The Network of Woodlawn in Chicago to foster transformation
through education, public safety and economic development.
“This year, we wanted to honor Dr. Ezike, who has been a source of information, inspiration and
comfort to our state during this pandemic,” said White. “We also wanted to celebrate our state’s
newest Poet Laureate Angela Jackson, a protégé of Gwendolyn Brooks, as well as Pastor Dr. Brazier,
who has helped many people in the community during these difficult times.”
Previous honorees include Blues legend Buddy Guy, Chicago Cubs Hall of Fame baseball player
Ernie Banks, Chicago Bears superstar Otis Wilson, Jazz great Ramsey Lewis, legendary DJ Herb
Kent, Grammy award-winning artist Lupe Fiasco, Destiny’s Child’s Michelle Williams, and Ariel
Investments chair and co-CEO John Rogers Jr.
“This month we celebrate the amazing contributions made to society by African Americans,” said
White. “Take the time to learn more about African American culture and do something good for
someone every day,” said White. When you have done those things and more, this world is a better
place for all of us.”
To watch the video, visit

Prairie Farmer Names 2022 Master Farmers

MARIETTA, Ill. (February 28, 2022) – Four Illinois producers will be honored as 2022 Master Farmers at Prairie Farmer magazine’s annual event in Springfield, Ill., on Thursday, March 17. The award recognizes exceptional agricultural production skills, commitment to family and service to community.


The 2022 Master Farmers are: 

  • Darryl Brinkmann, Carlyle

  • Jim Raben, Ridgway

  • Doug Schroeder, Mahomet

  • Curt Zehr, Washington


Look for profiles of each winner in the March 2022 Prairie Farmer and online at during the week of Feb. 28.  


“The Master Farmer award is Illinois agriculture’s lifetime achievement award,” says Holly Spangler, Prairie Farmer editor. “These farmers are at the top of their game, and they’ve received this award because they raise good crops and even better families, and they’ve built their communities along the way.”


Prairie Farmer first offered the Master Farmer award 97 years ago, in 1925. Editors have continued the tradition annually since 1968, following a pause initially caused by the Depression. When Editor Clifford Gregory established the Master Farmer program, he felt the award would help give farm people a greater sense of “pride and permanence.” Nearly 350 Illinois producers have been inducted as Master Farmers or Honorary Master Farmers over the program’s history.


Candidates are nominated by farmers, neighbors, agribusiness leaders and farm organizations throughout the state. Judges for the 2022 awards were Karen Corrigan, McGillicuddy Corrigan Agronomics; Ed McMillan, former University of Illinois board of trustees; Linnea Kooistra, 2011 Master Farmer; Dwight Raab, First Midwest Bank agribusiness vice president; Steve Carson, Farm Credit Illinois; and Holly Spangler, Prairie Farmer editor.


Some Master Farmers serve in state and national farm leadership positions. Others chair prestigious boards or serve with honor at the highest levels of government. Still others build their farms or businesses to regional or national prominence.


However, all serve their communities — building churches, chairing little-known but important committees, raising money for children’s organizations — and continue the service-minded commitment that earned them the Master Farmer distinction in the first place.


“There’s a saying that if you want something done, ask a busy person to do it – because they’ll get it done,” Spangler says. “These four Master Farmers are busy people who just keep finding more capacity to give back and work hard. They’re leveraging every ounce of skill they have for the greater good.”


Prairie Farmer is published 11 times a year for Illinois farm families. Established in 1841, it is the oldest continuously published farm periodical in the United States. GROWMARK Inc. is a financial sponsor of the award. Like the Master Farmer award, the GROWMARK system was born during the 1920s, when farmer cooperatives first organized the Illinois Farm Supply Co. Today, the brand is known as FS.


To nominate a farmer for the 2023 Master Farmer award, email or go to


To download high-resolution photos of the group and of individual Master Farmers, please go to:





It was May of 1981 when Darryl Brinkmann graduated with an agriculture economics degree from the University of Illinois and came back home to work on the farm full time. This made Darryl, now a 2022 Prairie Farmer Master Farmer, the third generation to join the farm.


“I don't ever hate getting up in the morning and going out to farm,” Darryl says. “I like what I'm doing and I'm not counting the days to retirement.”


To help make room on the then-560-acre operation for Darryl, his father, Willard, retired from the livestock operation and Darryl created a partnership with his younger brother, Kent, using their father’s facilities to finish nearly 100 head of beef cattle and 400 hogs. 


Darryl married Jean in 1990. The couple has one daughter: Danielle Brinkmann, 24.


Over the years, the brothers have inherited, bought and rented farmland together, while also buying land separately. Today, Darryl’s portion of the operation includes 930 tillable acres. Plus, he helps with the daily chores of Danielle’s 30-head Angus cattle herd while she is away from the farm. 


“Darryl has excelled with his farming operation, in his engagement and association with his community, as well as his devotion and stewardship of being called to provide leadership to the organizations with which he is associated,” says Greg Webb, ADM state government relations vice president, who worked with Darryl through the Illinois Soybean Association. 


Over the last five years, Darryl began experimenting with cover crops, specifically cereal rye and crimson clover, as a conservation measure on his farm.


“I do like the appearance of a growing crop over the winter, and such growth does reduce erosion,” he says. “I feel a responsibility to be a good environmental steward while conserving soil and water.”


Darryl was nominated by 2001 Master Farmer Philip Nelson. 

Photo caption: Darryl Brinkmann


For more information, contact:

Darryl Brinkmann

618-920-0386 (cell)



Jim Raben has been involved in the family farm his entire life, but it was 1974 when his dad became ill and Jim left his agriculture teacher position at Mount Vernon High School to return to the family farm full time. 


“Farming full time was probably always something in my future to start with, but the time to come back was then,” says Jim, a 2022 Master Farmer who farms near Ridgway, Ill. “It was really hard to leave the ag program I had built up into a two-man teacher program and not being able to be a part of it more.”


At that point, Jim’s father owned 2,000 acres near Ridgway. Jim also was farming 100 acres of his own that he purchased while still teaching high school ag. He was the fourth generation to join the family farm, and married Marilyn in 1975. The couple has four children and nine grandchildren.


After his father passed away in 2006, Jim and his brother, Bill, who was named a Prairie Farmer Master Farmer in 2016, inherited their father’s 2,000 acres. Over the years, Jim has worked hard to purchase more farmland. Today, the farm consists of nearly 7,500 acres of corn and soybeans here in Illinois, and 800 acres in Arkansas, which rotates between sweet potatoes and corn. 


Sons Matt and Joe both hold jobs in the ag industry and work on the farm part time, using their experiences to help Jim make operation decisions. Daughters Christina and Jordan help on the farm when they can.


Jim’s educational background in ag economics has helped shape his philosophy on farm expansion: If you can buy ground, buy it, because you don’t know what it will be worth in the future. 


Jim is chairman of the U.S. Grains Council, was chairman of the Illinois Corn Marketing Board, and has served the local school board, the Gallatin County Farm Bureau board and many others.


Jim was nominated by IL Corn. 


Photo caption: Jim Raben


For more information, contact:

Jim Raben

812-455-5621 (cell)

618-272-7452 (home)




Doug Schroeder took his college professor’s question seriously: “How are you gonna farm better than the guy across the road?” Forty years and forty crops later, Doug says he’s never forgotten that question. And he’s worked hard at the answer.


“Back in the day, we no-tilled. Later we tiled and improved the land. Today it’s drainage tile, seed production and non-GM corn. No matter what, you have to figure out how you’re going to do it better,” says the 2022 Prairie Farmer Master Farmer from Mahomet, Ill. 


Doug started farming with his father and brother following his 1983 University of Illinois graduation. Since then, he’s grown the operation from 800 acres to 5,400 acres. And while he and his father began farming together, today the operation includes the next generation: son Bob Schroeder and son-in-law Matt Turner.


“Slow and steady growth adds up over time,” Doug says. 


The Schroeders were early adopters of no-till soybeans and strip till corn and continued to no-till for 10 years. Yield mapping showed a small amount of tillage increased yields substantially. So they switched to minimum tillage, and still analyze every tillage pass to make sure it’s necessary. They’ve also pattern-tiled 3,500 acres over the past 10 years, laying nearly 2 million feet of drainage tile themselves, often with water control devices.


Doug most recently served as president of the Illinois Soybean Association, steering the organization through the hiring process of a new executive director. Back home, he and wife Stacy raise funds for an annual youth fundraiser, and he manages assets for a child welfare organization and serves many other local groups, as well. They have three children and four grandchildren. 


Their mission is clear, right on the back of their farm sweatshirts: “Faith, family, farming.” 


“That’s one of the things we’re really proud of on our farm,” Doug says. “It’s been a fun ride.”


Doug was nominated by the Illinois Soybean Association.


Photo caption: Doug Schroeder


For more information, contact:

Doug Schroeder

217-202-3066 (cell) 



Curt Zehr loves farming – and pigs – so much that he skipped school on the first day of kindergarten to show pigs. And ever since, he’s been in the barn raising hogs. And then he started selling meat.


“It’s a big deal to be a part of somebody’s Christmas dinner when they use a Zehr Farms ham,” says the 2022 Master Farmer from Washington, Ill. 


Curt farms with the help of his wife, Sue, who acts as comptroller for the farm and manages their branded meat business, and longtime employee Kevin Balducci, plus seasonal help. Their operation is divided into four profit centers: grain, market hogs, local branded meat and internationally marketed genetics. 


Curt started farming full time with his father and grandfather following his graduation from Goshen College and the University of Illinois in 1981. Initially, he rented 150 acres from his grandfather and traded labor for machinery use for a couple of years, until he and his dad, Dean, formed a partnership. Over the years, the father and son gradually transferred more of the partnership to Curt. 


On the hog side of his operation, Curt has embraced three different production strategies. They operate a 140-head farrow-to-finish Duroc herd, producing 2,500 pigs per year. They also sell branded meat in central Illinois as Zehr Premium Pork, and they market their Duroc-based genetics through the U.S. as Zehr Farms Genetics. 


“This award is a recognition not only of what I’ve done, but of what my father and grandfather and great-grandfather have done,” Curt says. “I didn’t start this. Hopefully I’ve built on it. They afforded me the opportunity to farm. 


Curt and Sue were honored as the Illinois Pork Producers Family of the Year in 2017, and Curt was also inducted into the Illinois Purebred Breeders Hall of Fame in 2016. He served as 2015 president of Illinois Pork Producers, and volunteers throughout his community.


Curt was nominated by the Illinois Pork Producers Association. 


Photo caption: Curt Zehr


For more information, contact:

Curt Zehr

309-251-7447 (cell) 


Hancock County Reports 24 COVID Cases During the Week of February 20-26, 2022

The Hancock County Health Department and Memorial Hospital report twenty-four (24) laboratory-confirmed cases during the week of February 20-26, 2022.   Of the 24 cases, seven (7) cases were males and seventeen (17) were females.  Of the twenty-four (24) cases nine (9) were vaccinated.  There have been a total of four-thousand-four-hundred-five (4405) COVID-19 cases in Hancock County; four-thousand-three-hundred forty-five (4345) people have recovered, fifteen (15) people are currently isolated, and forty-five (45) have passed.   

Beginning March 1, 2022, the Hancock County Health Department and Memorial Hospital will no longer be issuing a formal press release announcing Hancock County's weekly lab-confirmed COVID-19 cases.  COVID surveillance based on lab-confirmed positive tests will continue to be monitored through the Hancock County Health Department and can be obtained by calling the health department at 217-357-2171 ext 114.  



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