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Illinois Coalition Urges Congressional Action, Rewrite of WOTUS Rule
Business and farm groups object to federal agencies’ illegal PR campaign, “gotcha” regulation
Last year, Illinois business and farm groups came together to oppose the proposed Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule, issued by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) and the Army Corps of Engineers (Corps). The final rule, published on June 29, is far worse than the proposed rule.
The farm and business coalition comprised of Illinois Farm Bureau, Home Builders Association of Illinois and many others, remains intact and is still adamantly opposed to the rule. While their objections are numerous, their main concerns are three-fold: 1) the agencies embarked on an illegal PR campaign in favor of the rule; 2) the rule’s all-encompassing definitions; and 3) its ambiguity.
EPA and the Corps dismissed comments filed in opposition to the proposed rule, suggesting that the comments equaled opposition to clean water. Further, EPA continually misled the public with positive comments and an unprecedented social media public relations campaign in favor of the rule rather than simply issuing the rule and allowing for public comment.
The rule’s vague definitions make it easy for the federal government to regulate not only water, but land as well. The agencies can identify land as a tributary – which is subject to regulation – based on past, rather than current, conditions. From their Washington, D.C. offices, regulators can use “desktop tools” to establish the presence of a tributary on private land.
“In the end, the final rule creates a “gotcha” regulation for farmers and land owners in Illinois and across the country. Even if the landowners know their land like the back of their hand, it will be difficult to immediately recognize features that the federal government will categorize as a tributary, potentially costing them thousands of dollars in fines if enforcement action is taken,” said Lauren Lurkins, director of natural and environmental resources for the Illinois Farm Bureau.
The coalition urges U.S. Senators Richard Durbin and Mark Kirk to support S. 1140. The proposed legislation specifically and reasonably spells out what can and cannot be considered “waters of the United States.” It would require EPA and the Corps to fully consult state agencies and local officials. Further, S. 1140 asks the agencies to follow a process that they ignored during the first go-round. It calls for a final rule no later than December 31, 2015.
“We’ve had several hundred comments put in to both senators and we’re going to encourage more of our members to make those comments and use our Legislative Action Center in the coming days to drive home the point that the final rule is not any better than the proposed rule. In fact, it’s worse. We need some relief from Congress. It’s time for Congress to reassert itself on Waters of the United States,” said Adam Nielsen, director of national legislation and policy development for the Illinois Farm Bureau.
Miracle League dedicates new field
behind North end of the CornCrib
The Twin Cities has been part of the Miracle League for five years now. The Miracle League, according to its website, “provides physically and mentally challenged children a safe and spirited program in which they can play on a baseball field just like other kids. Every player has the opportunity to run the bases, score and win at every Miracle League game inning.” Players who need help with hitting, catching and throwing the ball are paired with a “buddy” who helps out.
Miracle League of Central Illinois got its own field to play on after spending the last few years playing Sundays at the PONY League Complex in Bloomington. The new complex is located just north of The Corn Crib in Normal’s north end. Miracle League of Central Illinois has been raising funds and received donations to make this possible, explained Mike Holley, the group’s president. Those donations have included the land the new field sits on, courtesy of the CornBelters and Heartland Community College, as well as a corporate donation of $350,000 from State Farm Insurance.
The first games were played on the new field on Saturday, June 27, beginning with a dedication ceremony.
Sue Albee-Grant named Public Health Worker of the Year by the Illinois Public Health Association
Sue Albee-Grant, Community Health Services Supervisor at the McLean County Health Department, was named Public Health Worker of the Year by the Illinois Public Health Association (IPHA). The award was presented on June 17, during the annual Friends of Public Health dinner at the 2015 Integrated Public Health and Medical Preparedness Summit in Schaumburg, IL. The Public Health Worker of the Year Award is given to an individual who has made an outstanding contribution of major significance to public health in the preceding calendar year, is a member of IPHA, and is actively involved in public health in Illinois.
Grant was recognized for her efforts in the area of oral health. Her strong grasp of oral health concerns, local statistics, and public health initiatives to improve oral health, have been universally recognized within the McLean County community. Grant is also often targeted for input on oral health program development by health professionals in the region and the state.
Also of note, Grant had a role assisting Illinois State University – Mennonite College of Nursing, as it implemented the America’s Promise School Project. Grant helped design a plan to place local student nurses in K-12 schools as part of their pediatric clinic rotation. The nursing students gained critical job experience and were also instrumental in promoting oral health programs within local public schools to improve pediatric oral health and reduce cavities among children.
Grant has been a prominent member of the community’s health landscape; is associated with many local public health achievements; and through her commitment to America’s Promise, has introduced many students to the importance of public health.
Self-Service Electronics Recycling to be July 11 due to 4th of July
Self-service electronics recycling drop off is available Saturday, July 11th from 8 a.m. to Noon (this event is being held on the 2nd Saturday rather than the 1st Saturday due to the holiday) at the Town of Normal Public Works facility located at 1301 Warriner St. This is in addition to the regular self-service electronics recycling drop off available Monday – Friday from 6 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. (Summer Hours).
Drop off is not available for businesses.
Drop offs may include computers, monitors, electronic keyboards, televisions, scanners, fax machines as well as copiers, phone systems, video recorders, microwaves, cameras, blenders, vacuum cleaners, and more (generally, most items with cords). The items do not need to be in working order to be recycled. Items containing Freon, such as mini refrigerators and dehumidifiers are not accepted.
For more information on the Town of Normal’s electronics’ recycling program visit our website at www.normal.org/publicworks or contact the Public Works office at 309-454-9571, Monday – Friday, 7 a.m. – 3 p.m.
2nd Annual Craft Beer and Jazz Street Fair to be held July 18 in Uptown Normal
Medici is hosting the 2nd Annual Craft Beer and Jazz Street Fair on North Street on Saturday, July 18 from 4:00 to 10:00 p.m.
The fair will feature 30 or more craft beers. Many are limited release or products not typically available in Central Illinois. All of the beer will be served in a four ounce pour so attendees are able to sample different selections.
“Medici’s is known for our beer culture and our clientele has discriminating taste. We look forward to bringing unique selections to the community,” said Medici General Manager Joe Slane.
In addition to the beer tasting, a wonderful line up of jazz will be featured on the stage. Kevin Hart and the Vibe Tribe will perform from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. Hart is a jazz vibraphonist with an eclectic style.
From 7:00 to 10:00 p.m., trumpeter Simon Burke will take the stage. His repertoire embraces the classic composers of jazz, including Cole Porter, Gershwin and Jobim.
There is no charge to attend the fair, but there is a $3 suggested donation. Proceeds will benefit the Children’s Discovery Museum and Uptown Partners.
“We are excited about partnering with these organizations,” said Slane. “We have great neighbors in Uptown Normal and hope to involve many of them in the fair. There will be food available in the street during the event—both from Medici’s and other Uptown restaurants.”
“We pride ourselves on offering a family friendly atmosphere and are happy to support the Children’s Discovery Museum. Funds raised at the fair will help the Museum build new exhibits, provide free passes and scholarships to families in need and develop new programs.”
The fair is not limited to the drinking-age crowd. Families are invited to attend the event to listen to the music and enjoy dinner.
For more information, visit Medici’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/MediciInNormal or call 452-6334.
In July 2 2015
Helen J. Leake's Gardeners Tips
The Spectator by Jim Bennett
Capitol Facts by Rich Miller
Commentary from Senator Bill Brady
Statehouse Update from Jason Barickman
Publisher Ed Pyne - Pyne Needles
Chimperscage - by Alan
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Relay For Life of McLean County Shortens Event, Adds 5K Run, Surpasses $7.8 Million Mark
The name of the 15-person team Heather Brown, Normal, belonged to that participated in the 21st Annual Relay For Life of McLean County said it all. Her team, which included cousins, kids, and friends is called “Walk To Remember.”
This year’s event raised a total of $270,000 with a total of 1,000 participants on teams of between 12 to 15 people each circling Normal Community High School’s large gym for a full 18-hours, and enjoying numerous activities. For the first time in its history, this year, Relay For Life incorporated a 5K Run and 111 people participated. Event organizers also opted to shorten the overall event from 24 hours as it had been since it began to 18 hours.
Because of heavy rains the morning of Friday, June 26, the event was moved to the school’s large gym.
Members of “Walk To Remember,” ranging in age from 2 to in their 60s, has been around for the last few years and seen even the youngest members take part in one of the event’s specific events, a “Youth Lap.”
Brown, a former Oncology nurse at Advocate BroMenn Medical Center for 16 years, said she learned about the Relay through that employment.
“By then, over the years, taking care of many cancer patients and seeing all the good things the American Cancer Society does provide for the patients was something that made me want to do more and be involved,” she explained.
Brown added her family also wanted to be involved with event “because we’ve been touched by cancer because we’ve had many people in our family who were diagnosed with it. My family and friends were all compelled to become part of Relay because we’ve all been caregivers for cancer patients in some way.”
“Walk To Remember” team members participated in fundraisers practically year-round to raise around $2,000 of the grand total announced at the end of the event on Saturday morning, Brown said.
“I think it’s really exciting to see everybody really excited to come together and celebrate the survivors, raise money, and make people more aware of what the American Cancer Society does as far as education to patients, providing support, and doing programs to help patients,” Brown added.
“It’s just great to know McLean County has one of the biggest Relays and that we have such a great group of people in our community that comes together. It’s so heart-warming.”
Brown’s sister, Melinda Malone, and their cousin, Karen Durham of Normal, were also part of “Walk To Remember,” as well. Malone, Downs, said she was on board with the team without much convincing by her sister.
“I saw Heather’s passion for this and wanted to get involved right away,” Malone explained. “We’ve always been a close knit family, cousins and all. So this was just one more thing we could do as a family.”
Event Debuts 5K Run: Organizers also added a 5K run that began outside of Ironmen Field, wound its way up Raab Rd. and around Eastview Christian Church, and then back to the school, ending at the stadium’s track finish line. There were 111 runners who joined the inaugural event. One of them was Bob Dennis.
Dennis said he’d trained for this event having been away from running regularly for three years. “I’d never been to a Relay For Life event and wanted to see what it was like,” Dennis said. “I wanted to see what it was like, and like everyone else, I’ve had close family affected by cancer.”
Dennis said his wife, Barbi, has walked with co-workers in previous years. Dennis’ sons, Patrick and Sean, both members of NCHS’ Marching Band, were present for this year’s event when the band took part in the Survivor Walk, helping lead survivors into the large gym.
Kimberly Wright, a Community Manager for American Cancer Society’s Peoria Office, was present to oversee the event, and said ACS “is ecstatic about what we’ve raised this year. We still have two more months to reach our annual goal of $400,000. We’re so close, so it’s really exciting.” ACS’ fiscal year for Relay For Life ends on Aug. 31. All monies donated after the event but turned in by Aug. 31 will be credited toward this year’s money raised, she added. Team members with money to bank will receive an opportunity to do so on July 7.
The feeling all of this year’s participants had from being part of the event was best summed up by Brown as she explained, “the rains may have dampened the grounds, but not our spirits.”
The Talberts Got Local Event Started: When Bill & Freida Talbert put the very first Relay For Life event together in McLean County in 1995, they raised $63,894.45 thanks to 22 teams of 12-14 people, and were able to honor 26 survivors. This year’s event honored nearly 400 survivors with a dinner and during a moving “Survivor Walk” around the track surrounding Wildcat Field.
With the total announced at the end of this year’s event, Relay For Life of McLean County has raised $7,883,633 since the first Relay event was held here in 1995This year’s Relay For Life of McLean County event had four co-chairs at its helm, guiding an organizing committee of roughly 30-35 people putting the event together. The co-chairs for this year’s event were Christopher Lay, Alexis Anderson, Mary Keener, and Sandi McBurney.
David Davis Mansion presents Civil War Days on July 18-19
Roaring cannons, colorful uniforms, solemn presentations and stirring music – they’ll all be part of Civil War Days on July 18 and 19 as the David Davis Mansion State Historic Site looks back 150 years to the nation’s greatest crisis.
The free event will have the mansion grounds buzzing with activity. Soldiers will set up camp, conduct training drills and demonstrate surgical tools and methods of the period. Sutlers will sell Civil War-era goods, while artisans will make rope and root beer. Food and drinks will be for sale to hungry visitors.
In addition to the day-long activity, there will be specific presentations both Saturday and Sunday:
• “Surrender at Appomattox” with historic interpreters portraying Robert E. Lee and Ulysses S. Grant
• “With Pen in Hand,” a depiction of letters home from a soldier
• “Lincoln and the Children” with Max and Donna Daniels as Abraham and Mary Lincoln
• “In Memory of My Dear One,” a look at Victorian mourning customs
• Re-enactments of skirmishes between North and South.
Saturday also offers a military ball and music by the 33rd Illinois Volunteer Regiment Band, while Sunday brings a church service at 9 a.m.
For more information, visit www.daviddavismansion.org.
Civil War Days is presented in conjunction with “Lincoln’s Festival in Bloomington,” a citywide celebration of Lincoln in Bloomington. For information on other Lincoln’s Festival activities, visit www.lincolnsfestival.com.
The David Davis Mansion State Historic Site, administered by the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency, was built in 1872 for Judge David Davis and his wife, Sarah. Davis helped his friend, Abraham Lincoln, win the presidency and was rewarded with an appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court. He also represented Illinois in the Senate.
The mansion is open Wednesday through Saturday for free public tours, and is located at 1000 Monroe Drive in Bloomington.
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Historic North Street
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Doors open 6:30 pm • Showtime 7:00 pm
Prize drawing every night
Great cartoons before classic movies
Fri & Sun • July 3 & 5 • 7 PM
Sat, July 4 • 2 PM
Steven Spielberg’s classic, celebrating its 40th anniversary. When a gigantic great white shark begins to menace the small island community of Amity, a police chief, a marine scientist and grizzled fisherman set out to stop it. PG / 124 min
May issue of Best Look Magazine Available
Best Look Magazine is a quarterly sports and leisure magazine featuring sports, events, and people primarily from McLean County. Every story has a photo and every photo has a story. The magazine is published by Alan Look Photography. Please check it out at your convenience at http://bestlookmag.com.
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Deadlines Approaching For 2015 Illinois State Fair Competitions
Entry deadlines for the many competitions to be held by the 2015 Illinois State Fair (ISF) are quickly approaching.
Every year the fair hosts more than 8,700 contests, ranging from livestock and horticulture competitions to judged art shows and culinary showdowns.
New competitive events are added annually. Information about all the offerings for the 2015 Illinois State Fair can be found in the ISF premium books, which are available online as well as in print. These books contain not only descriptions of each event, but also specify their rules and regulations. They can be found online at www.illinoisstatefair.info under the “Competitions” tab. Print copies are available by calling the Competitive Events office at (217) 782-0786.
Entry deadlines for various competitions are listed in the table below. If the deadline falls on a weekend, all entries postmarked by the following Monday will be accepted.
Competitions and Entry Deadline
Livestock (except Poultry and Rabbits) - July 1
Rabbits and Poultry - July 10
General Entries (except Floriculture, Blue Ribbon, Dairy Products, Bee Culture) - July 15
Floriculture (except Horticulture-Roses) - Aug. 1
Horticulture (Roses) - Aug. 12, 9 a.m.
Dairy Products - Aug. 12, 12 p.m.
Bee Culture-Professional - Aug. 13
Bee Culture-Open - Until judging begins
The 2015 Illinois State Fair will be held Aug. 13-23
Fell Park Neighborhood Association Solicits Fell Park Memories
In conjuction with Fell Fest to be Saturday, July 25
Fell Park is the oldest park in Normal and was established as a park in the mid-1850s by Jesse Fell. The Fell Park Neighborhood Association and the Town of Normal are planning Fell Fest, a fun historic afternoon on Saturday, July 25. In conjunction with that celebration, the Association is soliciting memories from Fell Park.
Residents are encouraged to share stories, past memories, pictures and why they love Fell Park via email (Fellparkmemories@gmail.com) or on the Fell Park Memories public Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/711718975601190/. Submissions will be shared at Fell Fest.
Fell Park is located at the 300 block of East Willow Street in Normal. Fell Fest will take place on Saturday, July 25 from 1-5 pm and is part of the Normal 1-5-0 celebration. Activities will include a children’s patriotic parade, games, giveaways, historical presentations, Carl’s Ice Cream and more! Additional details will be released at a later date.
For more information on the Fell Park Memories program, email the Fell Park Neighborhood Association at Fellparkmemories@gmail.com.
Downtown sites to host ‘Encounters with Lincoln’s Bloomington’
The end of the Civil War and the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln will be the focus of theatrical vignettes presented in Downtown Bloomington as the opening event for this year’s Lincoln’s Festival in Bloomington. “Encounters with Lincoln’s Bloomington” will be hosted between the hours of 5 and 8 p.m., Friday, July 17, to kick off a weekend of events at various locations honoring Lincoln’s legacy in Bloomington.
During Friday evening’s free event, actors will portray local citizens who experienced the war on the battlefield and the home front, and who later mourned and honored Lincoln as his funeral train passed through town. Simultaneous performances will be hosted in the McLean County Museum of History, Heritage Plaza, Monroe Centre, the office of Francois Associates Architects, and the Ensenberger Condominiums between 5 and 8 p.m. In order to see the entire program, visitors should begin making the rounds of the sites by 6 p.m. The last performances will begin at 7:40 p.m.
The interpreters are members of the local Historic Acting Troupe. With assistance from the McLean County Museum of History, researchers have collected details of local history and biographical information about 12 fascinating individuals featured in this year’s program. Owners of downtown buildings have generously allowed the use of space for this program, and the Downtown Bloomington Association has also assisted with the project.
Visitors are encouraged to stay downtown to enjoy dinner, refreshments or dessert after the performances. Free parking is available after 4:30 p.m. in the Lincoln Parking Deck (corner of Front and East Streets) and the Market Street Parking Deck, with entrances from Market and Monroe Streets.
Funding for “Encounters with Lincoln’s Bloomington” was obtained through grants from the Looking for Lincoln Heritage Coalition, The Abraham Lincoln National Heritage Area, the Heritage Association of McLean County, and the Illinois Prairie Community Foundation – Mirza Arts and Culture Fund.
For more information about “Encounters with Lincoln’s Bloomington,” call (309) 824-6924 or (309) 662-7786.
Sugar Creek Arts Festival to be held July 11 & 12 in Uptown
The Sugar Creek Arts Festival will be held on Saturday & Sunday, July 11 and 12 on the beautiful streets of uptown Normal. The festival will be presenting one hundred and thirty exhibitors from across the nation in a variety of disciplines. The returning award winners from last year’s festival will be: Best in Show- Lisa Slodki, (Chicago, IL, Jewelry), First Place,;Fine Art- Fernando Cornejo (Bloomington, IL, Painting), First Place Fine Craft- Vic Barr (St. Louis, MO, Woodworking); Second Place Fine Craft- Dwight Crane (Rantoul, IL, Woodworking).
This year’s festival will be judged by Michael Meyer (BFA Creighton University, MFA Cranbrook Academy, and Adjunct Professor of Art at Illinois Wesleyan University) and Kelly White (Executive Director of the Champaign County Arts Council, MFA Painting and MA Art History Savannah College of Art and Design).
The festival features free art activities for children including painting and printmaking techniques.
The event will have live music on both days. The acts will include the Illinois Symphony Orchestra Quintet, The Old Men Boys and many other local musicians. The singer and songwriter Bria Kelly from NBC’s The Voice will also be featured at the Connie Link stage on Saturday evening (7 pm, July 12, 2015).
A map the event and a complete listing of scheduled artists is available here at http://www.mcac.wildapricot.org/SCAF
The Sugar Creek Arts Festival is presented by the McLean County Arts Center, one of the oldest community arts organizations in the Midwest, and the Town of Normal.
Phil Vassar, Matthew Curry to headline Bloomington Beer Fest
National touring Country singer/songwriter Phil Vassar will headline the opening night of the Bloomington Beer Fest Friday, August 21. Other artists scheduled to appear on Friday include regional favorites Robin Crowe, Righteous Hillbillies, Robert Brown Band, and Sean Costanza.Gates open and music will begin at 5 pm onFriday.
Matthew Curry will headline Saturday, August 22, the second night of the Bloomington Beer Fest at the Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts (BCPA). Other artists scheduled to appear on Saturday, August 22 include regional favorites AKA, Full Circle, Chris Corkery, The Fire, Who Cares?, Highway J., and Bill Porter Project. Gates open and music will begin at 2 pm on Saturday.
Tickets for the Bloomington Beer Fest can be purchased online at www.artsblooming.org, or by calling the BCPA Ticket Office at 309-434-2777; toll-free at 866-686-9541.Tickets may also be purchased at the BCPA Ticket Office, Monday through Friday, during their regular 10 am – 6 pm business hours. Tickets will also be available for purchase during the event with cash at the gate.
Fall Out Boy rounds out 2015 Illinois State Fair Grandstand schedule
They’ve sold millions of records, they’ve been nominated for prestigious awards, their songs have topped the music charts, and they got their start right here in the Land of Lincoln. Now, Fall Out Boy will return to Illinois to take the Grandstand stage at the 2015 Illinois State Fair.
The pop-punk band will perform on Saturday, August 15th. Best known for songs such as, “Sugar, We’re Goin Down,” “Dance, Dance,” and “Centuries,” Fall Out Boy is widely considered an influence on punk music in the 2000s.
The addition of Fall Out Boy completes the headlining acts for the 2015 Grandstand stage. “This is a well-rounded line-up,” said State Fair Manager Patrick Buchen. “From country to rock and even teen pop, we’ve got all the genres covered at this year’s fair.”
The following tickets can be purchased through Ticketmaster and the Grandstand Box Office:
August 14: Sammy Hagar and The Circle / Collective Soul
VIP - $48 / Track $36 / Tier 1 - $36 / Tier 2 - $31 / Tier 3 - $26
August 15: Fall Out Boy (tickets go on sale 6/29/15 at 8:00 am)
VIP - $62 / Track $50 / Tier 1 - $50 / Tier 2 - $45 / Tier 3 - $40
August 16: Justin Moore / Josh Thompson / Jon Pardi
VIP - $46 / Track $31 / Tier 1 - $31 / Tier 2 - $26 / Tier 3 - $21
August 18: Rascal Flatts / Scotty McCreery / Raelynn
VIP - $65 / Track $50 / Tier 1 - $50 / Tier 2 - $45 / Tier 3 - $40
August 19: Styx / Tesla
VIP - $35 / Track $23 / Tier 1 - $23 / Tier 2 - $18 / Tier 3 - $13
August 20: The Fray / Andy Grammer
VIP - $37 / Track $25 / Tier 1 - $25 / Tier 3 - $20 / Tier 3 - $15
August 21: Hank Williams, Jr / .38 Special
VIP - $47 / Track $35 / Tier 1 - $35 / Tier 2 - $30 / Tier 3 - $25
August 22: Austin Mahone/ Kalin & Myles / Laura Marano
VIP - $48 / Track $36 / Tier 1 - $36 / Tier 2 - $31 / Tier 3 - $26
August 23: Brantley Gilbert / Colt Ford / Michael Ray
VIP - $54 / Track $39 / Tier 1 - $39 / Tier 2 - $34 / Tier 3 - $29
The 2015 Illinois State Fair runs August 13th - 23rd in Springfield.
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