The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), Office of Justice Programs (OJP), and Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) is seeking applications for funding under the Student, Teachers, and Officers Preventing (STOP) School Violence Act Program. This program furthers the Department’s mission by supporting and assisting state, local, territorial, and tribal jurisdictions in improving efforts to reduce violent crime through the creation of school threat assessment teams and the use of technology for anonymously reporting suspicious activity as it relates to violence in schools.

The U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, and Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), recently published two notices for competitive grant programs for the recently approved STOP School Violence Act. Eligible applicants are limited to states, units of local government, and federally recognized Indian tribes. School districts interested in these funds should work with their counties and municipalities to apply.

STOP School Violence Threat Assessment and Technology Reporting Program
Funds available for this grant program may be used to address the development and operation of school threat assessment and crisis intervention teams, and the development of technology for local or regional anonymous reporting systems. Applications for grants are due July 23, 2018. Further information about this grant program is available here.

STOP School Violence Prevention and Mental Health Training Program
Funds available for this grant program may be used to address training school personnel and educating students to prevent student violence, and training school officials in responding to related mental health crises. Grant applications are due July 23, 2018. Further information about this program is available here.
Salem....State Rep. John Cavaletto (R - Salem) honored local State champion members of the Franklin Park middle school in Salem by presenting the student-athletes with a congratulatory House Resolution on Monday. Cavaletto remarked during the ceremony that as a Salem resident, he was particularly proud to honor home-grown State champions.
Rep. John Cavaletto recently presented Franklin Park State champion track student-athletes with a congratulatory
House Resolution.
"You should all be very proud of your accomplishments in the 2018 season," Cavaletto said. "To cap off a remarkable year with these kinds of performances and successes at the State meet shows that your hard work and dedication really paid off. Congratulations."

HR 1096 passed the Illinois House unanimously on May 21, 2018. Here is a text of the resolution: 

WHEREAS, The member of the Illinois House of Representatives would like to congratulate the members of the Franklin Park Bobcat Track and Field teams for their finishes at the SIJHSAA Class L state track meet on May 12th. The boys track and field team finished second in the state and the girls team finished eleventh ; and

WHEREAS, The Franklin Park boys Track and Field team went undefeated in 2018 regular season competition, including a regional championship; and

WHEREAS, 8th grader Caden Bee won the state championship in the 110m hurdles and 400 meters, setting new school and state records in both races. He also set a new school record in the 200m race, in which he finished second; and

WHEREAS, 8th grader Caden Bee went undefeated in the 100m hurdles and the 400m over the course of the 2018 season, in addition to his three separate state championships. He was also undefeated in the 200m race until his second place finish at the state meet; and

WHEREAS, The team of Caden Bee, Caden Inlow, Cayden Harris, and Brayden Smith won the state championship in the 4x100m relay, finishing with a school-record time of 46.45. This relay team was undefeated for the entire 2018 season; and

WHEREAS, The 4x200m relay team consisting of Jonny Eyman, Caden Inlow, Eli Davis, and Brayden Smith finished second in the state, also setting a new school record time of 1:39.58

WHEREAS, The 4x400m relay team of Brayden Smith, Josh Guenard, Jonny Eyman, and Cayden Harris placed eighth in the state with a time of 3:57.89 and Bryson Quinn finished fifth in the pole vault, leaping 9’6”; and

WHEREAS, The 7th grade 4x200m relay team of Jervace Mayes, Isaak Williams, Griffin Day, and Aden Susmena placed fourth in the state with a time of 1:46.81; and

WHEREAS, Katelyn Biegeleisen won the state championship in the high jump, leaping an impressive five feet; and

WHEREAS, Katie Allen finished second in the pole vault, vaulting 8’6”. Prior to her second place finish at the state meet, Katie was undefeated in 2018; and

WHEREAS, Teyah Cape finished fifth in the 7th grade 100m race with a time of 13.15; and

WHEREAS, The Bobcats Track Team is coached by Franklin Park Athletic Director Suzie Worman, Head Coaches Alex Koebele, Tyson Moore, and Amy Brubaker, and Assistant Coaches Cory Harris, Elizabeth Smith, Andrew Miller, and Jamie Powless; therefore, be it

RESOLVED, BY THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVE OF THE ONE HUNDRETH GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, that we congratulate the boys and girls track teams of Franklin Park Middle School for all of their accomplishments at the SIJHSAA state track and field meet on May 12th; and be it further

RESOLVED, That suitable a suitable copy of this resolution be presented to Franklin Park Middle School as a symbol of our esteem and respect.
Funding will foster future of Illinois agriculture

Gov. Bruce Rauner joined the Director of the Illinois Department of Agriculture Raymond Poe to announce the release of $16M in agriculture grants. The funds being released from the fiscal year 2018 budget will fund soil & water districts, county fairs and agriculture societies, and the University of Illinois Extension services.

“These three entities provide services that are vital for the future of Illinois agriculture,” Rauner said. “From protecting our farmland for future generations to fostering agriculture careers and educating consumers, these organizations support Illinois agriculture, the backbone of our state’s economy.”

“Funding for these organizations comes at a critical time,” said Ag Director Raymond Poe. “We must continue to fund these organizations in order to sustain their key programs. I want to thank our agricultural partners for commitment to Illinois agriculture and for their cooperation in these fiscally challenging times.”

More than $54,000 will be sent to each of the 92 county fairs across the state. It will help operations at the fairs and may be used to support critical facility rehabilitation needs. Illinois county fairs are economic drivers for rural Illinois. A study from the University of Illinois shows county fairs generate more than $90 million annually and create more than 1,000 jobs each summer. In addition to providing family friendly entertainment, county fairs provide an outlet for our state’s youth to become involved and engaged in Illinois agriculture. 

Soil and Water Conservation Districts, which protects our state’s farmland through strategic conservation efforts, will receive $6 million. The 97 districts around the state play a central role in efforts to protect and sustain the viability of Illinois soil and water resources in order to preserve our farmland for future generations. The Department will be issuing more than $61,000 to each of the districts to help fund operations.

“As a result of this funding, the SWCD’s of Illinois will be better positioned to support important conservation efforts such as the statewide Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy,” said Steve Stierwalt, President of the Association of Illinois Soil and Water Conservation Districts. “This funding also ensures that SWCD’s have the resources needed to continue to provide important technical expertise, assistance, and cost-share agreements to not only farmers for the installation of conservation practices such as grassed waterways, filter strips, and cover crops – but also urban, suburban, and other rural landowners.”

More than 1.5 million Illinois residents take part in programs offered by the University of Illinois Extension Service. Extension provides educational assistance in the areas of energy and environmental stewardship, food safety and security, economic development and workforce preparedness, family health, financial security and wellness, and youth development. The Department of Agriculture will disperse $5 million dollars to assist the organization with its core mission.

To learn more about agriculture programs in Illinois, please visit the IL Dept. of Agriculture web site here. Remember to visit our local county fairs:

Bond County (Aug. 2 - 7)
Clinton County (July 15 - 21)
Effingham County (July 28 - Aug. 4)
Fayette County (July 15 - 21)
Marion County (July 29 - Aug. 5)

Illinois State Fair (Aug. 9 - 19)
DuQuoin State Fair (Aug. 24 - Sept. 3)

State Rep. John Cavaletto, the former basketball coach who took his Breese Mater Dei Basketball Team to the Illinois finals tournament in 1974, welcomed the Loyola University Ramblers Basketball Coach Porter Moser, Team Chaplain Sister Jean and some of the players to the Illinois House Chamber this week.

"I remember well the excitement and hard work of taking an underdog team all the way to the finals," said State Representative 'Coach' John Cavaletto. Cavaletto's colleagues in the Illinois Legislature call him 'Coach' as a respectful acknowledgement of his past work as a basketball coach at Mater Dei Catholic High School in Breese, Illinois. "These young men and Coach Moser will remember this season for the rest of their lives, and I join our entire state in congratulating them on a job well done!"

Coach Porter Moser just completed his seventh season, one of the most historic in Loyola history, as the Ramblers' head coach and has guided the team to a pair of postseason appearances in his tenure in Rogers Park, along with a No. 7 ranking in the final 2017-18 USA Today Coaches Poll. In 2015, Moser piloted Loyola to the College Basketball Invitational title in the program's first postseason berth of any kind in 30 years before steering this year's squad to the Final Four, the first time it had advanced that deep into the NCAA tournament since winning the national championship in 1963.

Also 98-year-old nun, Sister Jean Dolores-Schmidt, who acts as the chaplain for the Loyola University Chicago Ramblers, became one the most recognizable figures in U.S. sports following the team’s back-to-back upset wins in the NCAA Tournament this year. Sister Jean, who has fond memories of celebrating Loyola’s last championship win in 1963, was a cult figure in Chicago sports even before she became the team’s chaplain in 1994. But she’s no mere mascot and she offers more than just thoughts and prayers. The former player and coach herself provides scouting reports, pregame speeches and post-game analysis by email, along with more spiritual guidance. Learn more about Sister Jean by clicking here to read an article by The Guardian.
State Representative John Cavaletto discusses his legislation to address the teacher shortage in Illinois schools.
Click here for the interview.
Illinois State Police Director Leo Schmitz is urging Illinois firearms owners to file paperwork early as the first wave of the 10-year Firearm Owners Identification cards come due for renewal.

"We expect tens of thousands of renewal applications to come in over the next few months," Schmitz said. "We recommend gun owners get their renewal applications in at least one to two months in advance so we have adequate time to process them and get a new card out before expiration."

More than 50,000 FOID cards are due for renewal between June 1 and Aug. 1. The General Assembly amended state law in 2008, allowing FOID cards to be valid for 10 years. The timing of the law change creates a glut of renewals this summer.

FOID card applications involve state and federal background checks, as well as review of the database from the Illinois Department of Human Services to confirm that applicants have not been in a mental institution in the past five years. The Illinois State Police oversees the FOID card system and issues the cards that are needed to buy or possess a firearm or ammunition.

State Police already have sent renewal notices to people whose cards will expire June 1.

Applicants can visit the ISP's Firearm Services Bureau website at to renew online. The cost of the card is $10. Applicants must be Illinois residents and include their Illinois Drivers License or State ID card number. Applicants under the age of 21 must have a parents' signature on the application.

Anyone who needs assistance with FOID card renewal, and those who prefer paper applications, can call 217-782-7980 and select menu option 0.

Applicants should make sure the name and address on FOID applications match the records on file for them at the Secretary of State's Office, otherwise the renewal process will be delayed.

To read the full article by Doug Wilson at the Herald-Whig, click here.
State Representative John Cavaletto (R-Salem) announced that ten libraries in the 107th District are receiving grants through the Illinois Secretary of State ‘Per Capita’ Grant program totaling $97,912.50. Per Capita Grant funding can be used for a variety of expenses such as materials, personnel, equipment, electronic access, telecommunications and technology.

“Congratulations to all of the libraries in our area who applied and are being awarded these grants,” said Rep. John Cavaletto, a member of the Appropriations – Elementary & Secondary Education Committee. “The interesting and adventurous world of literature exposes children to science, nature, history and poetry. Parents and experts agree that reading makes a big difference in the development of a child’s intellect, artistic skills and imagination.”

The libraries receiving grants are:

Altamont Public Library for $2,898.75 

Centralia Regional Library District for $36,415.00 

Effingham Public Library for $15,410.00 

Greenville Public Library for $8,750.00

Kinmundy Public Library for $995.00

Patoka Public Library for $730.00

Ramsey Public Library for $1,296.25

Saint Elmo Public Library District for $7,710.00

Bryan-Bennett Library for $9,356.25

Evans Public Library District for $14,351.25

The Public Library Per Capita Grants Program was established to assist public libraries to improve and increase library services within their service areas. Grant amounts of up to $1.25 per person served are available, on an annual basis, to all Illinois, local public libraries.

Applications for the Public Library Per Capita Grant program must be submitted via email to Percap-grant@ilsos.neton or before January 15th each year.
State Representative John Cavaletto (R-Salem) announced that one of the schools in his district, Centralia Junior High School (grades 5-8), applied and was granted a biodiversity field trip grant for $1,765.42 in 2018. This privately funded program will assist more than 9,800 students from 35 counties around the state in learning about Illinois’ natural heritage.

“I am pleased to know that students from Centralia Junior High will get a chance to visit Touch of Nature Environmental Center in the Shawnee National Forest to learn about nature and conservation,” commented Rep. John Cavaletto, a member of the Environment Committee. “I was fortunate to spend some summers in that area in high school and college and have very fond memories,” Cavaletto added.

Gov. Bruce Rauner and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) announced $107,000 in Biodiversity Field Trip Grants for this year to be coordinated by the Illinois Conservation Foundation (ICF). The grants will pay for 148 field trips in 2018 and offer Illinois students more opportunities to learn about the wealth of species and habitats in our state.

"We are pleased to be able to support learning outside the classroom with these grants. This program allows students to visit locations throughout the state to see firsthand what they've been learning about in the classroom," IDNR Director Wayne Rosenthal said. "Our future conservation leaders need the opportunity to experience Illinois' natural resources in-person."

The United State Department of Agriculture (USDA) has projected that through the next few years there will be increasing job growth in environmental occupations and renewable natural resources. Field trip experiences like these can interest students in potential career paths with high employment opportunities.

The competitive grant program allows Illinois teachers to apply for funds to take students on field trips to study Illinois' biodiversity. Learning activities must directly relate to the school's curriculum. The annual application deadline is January 31. Funding administered by the ICF covers expenses such as the costs of transportation and substitute teachers.

For more information about the Illinois Biodiversity Field Trip Grant Program, contact the IDNR Division of Education at or 217-524-4126. Visit for additional information. The 2019 application form is available at
Kaskaskia College and Eastern Illinois University signed an articulation agreement that will allow for smooth transfer for KC students to five EIU Bachelor Programs. Pictured (L to R) Standing, KC Board Chair Bill Hawley, Vice President of Instructional Services Dr. Greg Labyak, Dean of Arts and Science Kellie Henegar. Seated (L to R) Eastern Illinois University President David Glassman and Kaskaskia College Interim President George Evans

Students who wish to transfer from Kaskaskia College to Eastern Illinois University for certain programs can now take advantage of a new guaranteed admission agreement signed by officials from the two institutions. During the board meeting KC and EIU formally signed 2 + 2 articulation agreements which will allow KC graduates to smoothly transfer into five of EIU’s Bachelor of Arts programs: History, Psychology, Psychology and Sociology, Sociology and Communication Studies. These agreements will minimize duplication of instruction for students entering these programs.
Read the full WGEL Radio article by clicking here.
Rep. John Cavaletto testifying for Grandparents’ Rights
bill (HB 4607) in the Judiciary - Criminal Committee.

Taking a Grandchild

to a Hospital

is Not ‘Kidnapping’ 

State Representative John Cavaletto (R-Salem) announced that his bill to give grandparents the right to take grandchildren across state line for medical treatment has been resurrected.

Unexpectedly, House Bill 4607 was released and received a hearing in the Judiciary – Criminal Committee in the Illinois House this week and this morning it passed unanimously out of the House.

“I guess it’s true when they say nothing is ever really dead in the Illinois legislature,” commented Rep. John Cavaletto, Republican Spokesperson for the Elementary & Secondary Education: Licensing, Administration & Oversight Committee. “I have been working on this issue for six years on behalf of the grandparents’ group in my area who have custody of grandchildren for various reasons but are not allowed to care for them properly because taking them to St. Louis for medical care makes them criminals.”

This legislation would amend the Criminal Code of 2012 and establish that a grandparent may not be criminally or civilly liable for a violation of the Kidnaping and Related Offenses Article of the Code when the grandparent transports a child to another state for medical care or treatment if the grandparent reasonably believes that:

(1) the child needs emergency medical care or treatment because of injury or illness;
(2) a medical provider is not located within a short distance from the child's residence in this State; and
(3) failure to transport the child to another state will risk further illness or injury to the child.

The law would also provide that the Department of Children and Family Services may not place a child described in this provision in its custody or foster care on the basis that the child is transported to another state under circumstances described in this provision.

“There have been cases where the state has taken custody away from grandparents using a ‘kidnapping’ charge against a grandparent when all they were doing was providing the best medical care they could by taking their grandchild across the state line to a hospital or medical specialist not available in Illinois,” added Rep. Cavaletto. “This bill is about keeping families together and keeping children out of ‘the system,’” concluded Cavaletto.
State Representative John Cavaletto (R-Salem) announced that House Bill 4954 passed the full House on Friday to amend the State Commemorative Dates Act to include November 4 each year as “G.I. Bill of Rights Day” to recognize the date when eight men met in Salem Illinois at the American Legion Post 128 to discuss ideas for helping returning veterans from World War II.

“This commemorative date is an important historical date not only for Salem and our Local American Legion Post 128, but every community represented at that meeting on November 4, 1943 can share in this pride,” said Rep. John Cavaletto. “There were Legionnaires from Effingham, Olney, McLeansboro, Springfield, Lemont, and Chicago. We can all be proud of the huge impact of the G.I. Bill on our veterans, schools, and communities.”

Rep. John Cavaletto explains his bill to designate November 4th
each year as "G.I. Bill of Rights Day" in Illinois
“We appreciate Rep. Cavaletto sponsoring this legislation to recognize that November 4 is the date in history when the G.I. Bill of Rights was ‘born’ at the Luther B. Easley Post 128 right here in Salem, Illinois,” commented American Legion Post 128 Commander Harold Kocher. “Every year we can remind people that Legion members from both here and around the state were instrumental in getting this idea off the ground. This legislation helped our soldiers readjust to civilian life after the war and it all started with notes jotted down on napkins at the American Legion on Main Street.”

Officially known as “The Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944,” and signed into law by President Franklin D. Roosevelt on June 22, 1944, this legislation established programs and support for returning soldiers in the areas of education, home loans and small business loans.

House Bill 4954 now goes to the Senate for consideration. If it passes there, it would go to the Governor for his consideration.
SSM Health St. Mary's Hospital in Centralia has been named one of the thirty-seven Illinois hospitals designated with the highest grade for patient safety in the latest Leapfrog Group assessment. Leapfrog, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit, grades acute-care hospitals across the country twice annually on 30 patient safety measures. The assessment does not include children's hospitals.

"I am proud that one of the local hospitals in our area has been designated as a top hospital for patient safety," said Rep. John Cavaletto (R-Salem).

Of the 107 Illinois hospitals included in the current survey, 37 earned an A grade. Nationally, Illinois is No. 15 this spring, up from No. 26 in fall 2017. Leapfrog calculates national rankings based on the percentage of A's in each state.

The survey uses data from the federal government and from the American Hospital Association to produce a letter grade representing a hospital's overall performance in keeping patients safe from preventable harm and medical errors, according to Leapfrog.

"With more than 200,000 people dying due to errors in hospitals every year, communities must be vigilant in monitoring the safety records of their local facilities," Leah Binder, CEO of Leapfrog Group, said in a statement announcing the grades.

Leapfrog includes only hospitals that respond to its surveys. If a hospital does not have enough data available for all the measures in the survey, it is excluded from the report.

Please click HERE to read the full Crain's Chicago Business article and see the full list of Illinois hospitals that received an A for spring 2018.

Rep. John Cavaletto (Dist. 107) from Salem signs an Illinois Bicentennial Flag on the House Floor
for fellow Rep. Grant Wehrli (Dist. 41) from Naperville, IL.
Illinois Top 200 survey names Wrigley Field as Illinois’ top building. Participants in the Illinois Bicentennial’s Top 200 survey were asked to pick their favorite building in Illinois. The popular choice was Wrigley Field, the century-old Major League Baseball park that became the home of the Chicago Cubs in 1916. After many generations of mixed results, the storied Friendly Confines became the home of the 2016 World Series Champion Chicago Cubs.

Other Illinois buildings were also supported by survey participants. Coming in second was a building owned by the people of Illinois, Springfield’s Dana-Thomas House. The Prairie Style house contains artistic motifs that celebrate Illinois’s ecology and landscapes, and is fitted with more than 100 pieces of Wright-designed furniture, lights, and art glass. The Wilmette Baha’i Temple, Chicago’s Willis Tower, and Chicago’s Robie House were honored with selection slots #3 through #5.

Illinoisans can join the state’s 200th birthday celebration by choosing the 200 greatest people, places, and things in state history in online voting coordinated by the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, The State Journal-Register, and the Illinois Bicentennial Commission.

Every two weeks through the rest of 2018, the public will get to select the best movies, most inspiring leaders, greatest books, top businesses and much more. By the state’s 200th birthday on Dec. 3, voters will have chosen 10 favorites in 20 different categories – the Illinois Top 200.
Our children’s education remains a top priority for Illinois House Republicans, which is why they have taken action to address the growing teacher shortage in our state. First and foremost, our members are committed to ensuring highly prepared and effective educators are teaching our children. To do that, Illinois must address the teacher shortage. 

The Illinois State Board of Education said the 2017-18 school year began with about 2,000 unfilled teaching positions across the state.* And a recent survey conducted by the Illinois Association of Regional Superintendents of Schools found that school districts were increasingly having difficulty finding qualified candidates to apply for teaching positions.

The results of the survey showed concerns about teacher shortages were more prominent in rural districts in the central part of the state, and substitute teacher shortage concerns were most evident in southern part of the state. The most difficult positions to fill include bilingual, Spanish, special education teachers as well as nurses and school psychologists.

“The reduced candidate pool is likely caused by a combination of factors such as educators leaving Illinois, educators leaving the profession entirely, fewer students enrolled in Illinois approved programs leading to licensure, out-of- state educators choosing not to come to Illinois, and/or out-of-state educators unable to meet Illinois’ licensure standards without substantial delays and additional requirements being met. These issues span across the entire state and are not isolated to rural or urban communities, a particular district type, or geographic location.” **

Legislative solutions
House Republicans have been working closely with educational professionals to devise solutions to increase the number of qualified teachers in Illinois classrooms. Their legislative agenda to address the teacher shortage is outlined below:

*To address the need for substitute teachers, Rep. Lindsay Parkhurst introduced legislation establishing a Short-Term Substitute Teaching License. This special provision requires applicants to have an associates degree and allows them to substitute teach in a classroom for a no more than five consecutive days. This provision would allow more qualified individuals to enter the substitute teaching pool.

*Rep. Bob Pritchard’s measure establishes the Growing Future Educators Program to train qualified high school graduates to become secondary language educators beginning with the 2019-2020 school year. This effort is designed to help meet the need for bilingual and Spanish teachers. Rep. Pritchard also offered legislation to address the shortage of school psychologists by removing the requirements that those who already hold a valid Nationally Certified School Psychologist credential take additional state-mandated tests for licensure. 

*To help future teachers complete their education expeditiously, Rep. John Cavaletto submitted legislation that requires Illinois public universities with an educator preparation program to offer those enrolled in it a three-year degree completion program. This is an effort to feed more teachers into the system as soon as possible.

SPRINGFIELD – Illinois House Republican Leader Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs) is outraged that very important pieces of public safety legislation were not advanced out of the House Judiciary-Criminal committee yesterday. With the committee deadline today, these bills will not advance to the House Chamber this legislative session.

“The message from the House Democrats yesterday is clear – partisan politics are more important to them than protecting the most innocent and vulnerable in our state,” Durkin said. “Our message to them is that the House Republicans will not stand down and will continue to fight for victims of crime, first responders and all the citizens of Illinois.”

Some critical public safety bills that were killed by Democrats in committee yesterday are:

  • House Bill 5649, introduced by Leader Durkin, would deny bail for offenders who commit battery against a police officer while in police custody.
  • House Bill 5079, introduced by State Rep. Patti Bellock (R-Hinsdale), increases the penalties for human traffickers.
  • House Bill 4586, introduced by State Rep. Tony McCombie (R-Savanna), increases a battery charge to aggravated battery if the victim is an employee of the Adult Protective Services Program, the Ombudsman Program or Department of Child and Family Services and the offender knowingly causes great bodily harm, permanent disability or disfigurement of the victim. This bill was the result of the tragic death of DCFS employee Pamela Knight who was murdered while trying to take an abused child into custody.
  • House Bill 4318, introduced by State Rep. Michael Unes (R-East Peoria), would make it illegal for a sex offender to knowingly reside within one mile of the victim of the sex offense. Currently, the law allows sex offenders to live as close as 500 feet to their victims.

“Our single, greatest duty as legislators is to protect our constituents, and these actions by the House Democrats are appalling, egregious and unacceptable,” Durkin said, who previously served as a felony prosecutor at the Cook County State’s Attorney Office. “These bills are responsible, thought out, and will have an immediate impact in providing protections for innocent victims of crime.”

"I was honored to be a part of the Special Olympics 50th Anniversary Kick-Off event at SIU's Touch of Nature Environmental Center on Friday.

Thank you to all of the athletes, volunteers, students, and community members who made this a success!"

--Rep. John Cavaletto

To watch some of the Special Olympics 50th Anniversary Kick-Off,
click here to see the WSIL-ABC Channel 3 video.

Athletes, organizers and volunteers at the Opening Ceremony on April 6, 2018.

Illinois Supreme Court Justice Anne (McGlone) Burke
recounting her memories of visiting Touch of Nature
camps at Southern Illinois University in the 1960's.

Some of the ribbons, pins, medals, and programs
from the past 50 years of Special Olympics.
Justice Anne Burke Lounge at Dr. Freeberg Hall -- Dedicated on April 6, 2018.
The new plaque honoring Justice
Anne Burke donated by one of
the SIU Student groups,
Phi Sigma Kappa Fraternity.

*Contest open to Illinois residents only

*Designs should depict an aspect of Illinois or Illinois history

*One entry per contestant may be submitted at

*Winning design will be minted on Illinois' Bicentennial Medallion

*Final winner will be announced on June 18, 2018
Pictured Members of KC’s Postsecondary Agricultural Student team with members of the KC board of trustees. Front row (L to R) Dr. Dee Boswell, Jack Mays, Linda Stover, Hannah Ehlers, Campbell Hill; Haley Gregson, Waterloo; Taylor Snow, Greenville; Bree Smith, St. Rose; Emilia Langel, Greenville; Cady McGehee, Okeechobee, Florida. Back Row (L to R) Laura Wedekemper, Bill Hawley, KC Interim President, George Evans; Bill Waggoner, KC Ag Instructor; Brock Irwin, Belvidere; Morgan Olbrich, Harvard; Kade Gambill, Sandoval; Shaylee Clinton, Ina; Josh Kelly, Trenton; Aaron Heinzmann, KC Assistant Professor of Agriculture.

The KC Board of Trustees approved a resolution proclaiming the month of April as “Community College Month”, recognizing the role college’s such as KC play in providing high quality educational opportunities at affordable costs in locations accessible to all students. KC interim President George Evans said, “Community colleges like Kaskaskia College are the first step for many students achieving their career goals and beginning their educational journeys, as well as providing workforce training, serve as the engines for economic development and provide numerous social and cultural activities for our residents.” During the month KC will be hosting open houses at its education centers around the district. The public is invited to attend any, and all to learn more about what KC can do for them.
April 2 – Nashville Education Center from 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.
April 11- Greenville Education Center from 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.
April 12 – Trenton Education Center from 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.
April 17 – Vandalia Education Center from 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.
April 18 – Salem Education Center from 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.
April 30 – KC Main Campus from 3:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

Prior to the start of the meeting the board recognized KC’s Postsecondary Agricultural Student team that just competed in the National PAS competition in Louisville, Kentucky, taking home two, team national championships and seven individual national award winners.

Click here to read the complete WGEL story.

Artist: Tejaswi Achanta, age 14, Eighth Grade, Westfield Middle School,
Bloomingdale District 13, Bloomingdale, IL
"The arts and humanities teach us who we are and what we can be. They lie at the very core of the culture of which we're a part." --

Ronald Reagan, 40th U.S. President, Illinois native, 1911-2004

The Illinois State Board of Education is promoting March as "Youth Art Month" with the theme "the ARTS Make History Come Alive" to coincide with the Illinois bicentennial 1818-2018. This year's poster contest winners will be recognized at the 70th Annual Illinois Art Education Association Fall Conference November 10th in Bloomington-Normal. All of the winning artwork can be seen by clicking here.

Some Lessons the Arts Teach:
1. The arts teach children to make GOOD JUDGMENTS about qualitative relationships.
2. That problems can have MORE than ONE solution;
3. Complex forms of problem solving; and
4. Small Differences can have Large Effects.

Photo by Thinkstock

According to an article By Evonne Liu of Crain's Chicago Business, DuPage County remains the healthiest county in Illinois, followed by Kendall, as reported in the annual rankings. Clinton County from our area is ranked number 8. 

The rankings are a collaboration between the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute. This is the ninth year the institute has released them.

The report has two parts: "Health Outcomes" looks at length of life and quality of life, with the length-of-life measurement focusing on premature deaths.

The report's quality-of-life factor is measured by "self-reported health status," which includes the percentage of people reporting poor or fair health conditions and a person's number of physically or mentally unhealthy days in a month, and is also measured by the percentage of newborns of low birth weight, an indicator of infant mortality risk. Another consideration in the report is maternal exposure to health risks.

DuPage scored the No. 1 spot in the health outcome ranking, which it also landed last year.

The collar counties scored higher marks than Cook County in the health outcome ranking: McHenry County landed the No. 5 spot and Kane improved from No. 12 to No. 7. Will County was ranked No. 9, up from No. 11, while Lake County fell to No. 10 from No. 6 last year.

The report also ranks "Health Factors" in each Illinois county, with those factors including health behaviors, clinical care, and social, economic and environmental factors, such as people's drinking and exercising habits. Other factors include obesity, access to health care, crime rates, child poverty and air pollutions.

DuPage also ranked No.1 in this ranking, while Cook County moved up from last year's No. 77 spot to No. 72. Kendall County improved year-over-year from No. 6 to No. 5; Lake County improved from No. 10 to No. 6 this year.

McHenry County dropped from No. 7 to No. 9; Kane County dropped from No. 25 to No. 30.

The report noted that Cook County improved in areas including premature deaths, alcohol-related driving deaths, and child poverty and teen births. Negative trends for Cook County included obesity, sexually transmitted infections and income inequality, according to the ranking.
With an eye towards the Prairie State’s history in the White House, Illinois is prepared to celebrate President’s Day on Monday, February 19.  General Washington’s victories at Yorktown and other battlefields helped force Britain to officially cede Illinois Territory to the new United States in the 1783 Treaty of Paris, making it possible to create the future state of Illinois thirty-five years later.  Washington’s birthday is the ancestor of what is now President’s Day, and 2018 marks the first President’s 286th birthday.  One of Washington’s veterans, James Monroe, as President signed the bill in 1818 that made Illinois the 21st state.   

The first President who lived in Illinois, Abraham Lincoln, was elected in 1869 when Illinois as a state was only 42 years old.  Lincoln, whose 209th birthday was observed last week on February 12, has become a symbol of the State’s bicentennial celebration.  Ronald Reagan is the only President  actually born in Tampico, Illinois while UlyssesS. Grant lived in Galena, Illinois. The most recent President who lived in Illinois was former State Senator Barack Obama who lived in Chicago.
What: Governor Rauner delivers budget address

Where: Illinois State Capitol – House Chamber

Date: Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Time: 12:00 p.m.

The address will be streamed on Facebook Live and at the following links:

HD Satellite Coordinates: 
Slug: Illinois Budget Address Live
Date: February 14, 2018
Time: 11:45 AM (CT) 1:00 PM (CT) 
Satellite: ECHO105K
Transponder: 07
Slot: A9
Downlink Frequency: 11826.5
Downlink Polarization: Vertical
Bandwidth: 9 MHz
Symbol Rate: 7.5
FEC: 5 / 6
Data Rate: 18.589212
Video: MPEG-4 4:2:0
Modulation Scheme: 8PSK

For technical assistance please call IOCI Media Services at 217-785-5499.
Tony Griffith (left), owner of Griffith Trucking, Heartland Peterbilt and Heartland Classics in Effingham and Newton, will be giving out bonuses to his 65 full-time employees as a result of the recent tax law changes.

In President Trump’s State of the Union address Tuesday evening, he made the case that his recent tax law is the reason why companies across the country have announced bonuses, wage increases and other benefits for their employees.

Tony Griffith, who owns three companies in Effingham, agrees wholeheartedly. So much so that this week he announced to his 65 full-time employees that he will be giving each of them a $1,000 bonus.

“I'm excited for my employees," said Griffith, who anticipates he'll save about $100,000 under the new tax law. "This gives them hope that they are not just working at some humdrum job paying them the same until they die."

Griffith owns Griffith Trucking, inside of which is the moving company, Broadway Express. He also owns Heartland Peterbilt and Heartland Classics in Effingham and Newton.

Read the full Effingham Daily News story by Keith Stewart by clicking HERE.

You may watch the live video or listen to the live audio on
the Illinois General Assembly web site (ILGA.GOV) by clicking HERE.

The address will also be streamed on Facebook Live and at the following links:

HD Satellite Coordinates: 

Slug:  State of the State Live
Date: January 31, 2018
Time: 11:45 AM (CT)  1:00 PM (CT) 
Satellite: GAL17K
Transponder: 24
Slot: D
Downlink Frequency: 12193.5000
Downlink Polarization: V
Bandwidth: 9 MHz
Symbol Rate: 7.5
FEC: 5 / 6
Data Rate: 18.589212
Video: MPEG-4 4:2:0
Modulation Scheme: 8PSK
For technical assistance please call IOCI Media Services at 217-785-5499.
WGEL Radio announced that the First National Bank is now accepting scholarship applications from high school seniors in Bond County. Two Greenville High School and two Mulberry Grove High School seniors will be selected to each receive a $500 scholarship. Scholarship applications are available in the guidance offices of each school or may be downloaded at the bank’s website at Scholarships are listed under the Trust tab.

Applicants must have a minimum of 3.0 grade point average and exhibit the willingness to “go the extra mile” in academics, sports, or extra-curricular activities. Applicants will also submit a one page essay on a topic that is outlined in the application package.

Applications must be received no later than April 2, 2018.

If you have any questions about the scholarships, contact Pat Kious at FNB Greenville at 664-0300 or Dianne Siebert at FNB Mulberry Grove at 326-8314.
On Thursday State Representative John Cavaletto joined Lt. Governor Evelyn Sanguinetti for the announcement of a virtual learning pilot program involving students from Altamont Community High School. The 10 students from ACHS will help the State determine the future of the program. The students will be studying Advanced Placement US History and Government.

"The quality of education at Altamont is a good benchmark for evaluating the success of a pilot program like this," said Rep. Cavaletto. "The goal is to help more students from our rural part of the state take these kinds of classes to be able to go on to college."

Read more at the KJ Country web site by clicking here.