EMA Director says Franklin County showing sharp increase in COVID-19 cases

Statement from Franklin County EMA Director Ryan Buckingham:

(BENTON-ILLINOIS) In just a short amount of time the number of laboratory confirmed positive COVID-19 cases have risen significantly in Franklin County. I want to encourage everyone to continue to protect yourself and your family by following the recommendations of the CDC and local public health officials. Personal protection is an individual responsibility, however everyone plays a key role in protecting our communities and reducing the risk of community spread. It is up to you to protect yourself and those around you. Please utilize the common recommended practices that will help us reduce the risk to those that are most vulnerable; our elders and persons with existing health conditions.

In partnership with the Franklin Williamson Bi-County Health Department, Williamson County Emergency Management Agency and State of Illinois Emergency Operations Center in Springfield, officials from my office have distributed thousands of items of personal protective equipment and supplies to first responders, healthcare providers and other critical services. We will continue to support the response to this pandemic until the threat of this disease has significantly diminished. Additionally, in conjunction with local public health officials, we will continue to distribute accurate and timely public information as needed.

I again highly encourage all citizens to continue to follow the CDC and public health guidelines to reduce your risk and slow the community spread of COVID-19. If you would like more information on Franklin County’s response to COVID-19 including updated recommendations for protection please visit www.franklincountyil.gov/EOC

Pritzker knocks neighboring states amid uptick in COVID-19 cases in Illinois

(The Center Square) – Gov. J.B. Pritzker is talking up Illinois’ COVID-19 response by criticizing neighboring states amid an uptick in infection rates in Illinois.

Here’s a link to the story at Illinois News Network.

Madigan faces mounting pressure to step down

(The Center Square) – The pressure on longtime Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan to step down is mounting.

Here’s a link to the story at Illinois News Network.

Thoughts on quality, quantity and the kind words of a dying man

During a time of lock-downs, quarantines, rampant violence and troubling uncertainty I hope you will find a measure of solace in these words.

One year ago, my book “Offerings” was released, and what an exciting day that was for me. In fact, I saw a post on Facebook that June 1 was the one-year anniversary of my first book signing. A friend of mine posted some pictures of that happy day, a day filled with smiles, handshakes and pats on the back. The book is a faith-based, motivational book with 365 entries, one for each day of the year.

However, in honesty I have to say the experience with my book during the past year has been a mix of feelings – rewarding at times and very frustrating at others. It’s been exhilarating on some days, aggravating on others and at times downright confusing.

I have to admit that early-on I got caught up in the numbers game. How many books would I sell? How many books could I sell? I suppose every author, if they are honest, has let their mind wander and had those thoughts. I also had to fight through feelings that the number of books I sold somehow equated to the quality of my work, which involved a lot of hours and a lot of very early mornings. To date, I have sold approximately 1,500 books, far less than I thought I would sell. Again, the number of books sold was always on my mind, so this is where the frustration and aggravation come into play. Hindsight always being 20/20, I clearly lost my focus and direction on why I wrote the book.

I have shared these feelings and sought advice from some author friends of mine (David Kroese and Gary Moore) who both assured me that I am far ahead of the average for books sold for a self-published author. I was astonished to learn during out conversations that most people who self-publish sell less than 25 books, primarily to family members only. Based on that, I have done well, but the feelings of failure and frustration, based on the quantity of books I sold, still persisted.

I pray daily, and one of those prayers was that my book would reach the right hands, that it would bless people and that it would be successful. My logic was that if folks in my neck of the woods loved the book – and many, many tell me they do – other people across the country would too. When sales were not what I wanted them to be I was frustrated and confused because I felt like, and often spoke, that I believe the words of my book are God-given words, yet the sales never, ever measured up in my mind. I have struggled mightily with those feelings daily during the past year.

I admit to these deep, heartfelt feelings and struggles and I bare my soul a little today because of a text message I received, ironically on June 1 that left me (literally) without words after I read it.
Here’s the story.

On several occasions I have had people buy five or six books to give to friends. One of those instances was several months ago from a friend of mine who lives in the northwest part of the United States. I received a text message from my friend and he told me that one of the books he gave away was to a man he knows – a man I learned yesterday that has a terminal illness. The man, who is in the last days of his life, sent a text message to my friend and asked him to reach out to me.

My friend forwarded me the dying man’s text. Here’s what it said:
“Please convey to your friend Jim Muir how much his book and writings have meant to me. Other than “The Word” his book has helped me so much in these last days. It has truly been a blessing.”

I read his comments over and over, and in a rarity for me, I was speechless. His words have weighed heavily on my mind since I read them and certainly caused me to do some serious soul-searching, and also to ask God’s forgiveness about my petty fixation on book sales. Consider this: here is a man I will never meet in this life. I will never know his name, his family or his ‘story.’ Yet, on his deathbed he felt compelled to reach out to let me know that my humble book – the one that has sold ‘only’ 1,500 copies – has, in his words, “truly been a blessing” and helped him during his transition from this life to a face-to-face meeting with his Savior. His words make book sales seem very irrelevant … don’t they?

Without a thought about book sales, let me conclude with this thought. If all those long early morning hours, all the writing, re-writing, editing and proof-reading were accomplished solely to help this unknown man during the final days of his mortal life – then I can honestly tell you it was well-worth the effort. And while I don’t know this man, God certainly does!

In facing death, this man taught me a valuable lesson about life. That lesson is that “quality” always exceeds “quantity” and there is not a single thing more important than sharing the love and grace of Jesus and being a blessing in somebody’s life, even if it’s a total stranger.

Thank you for taking the time to read this and God Bless You!

Rend Lake College Board meeting highlights

INA, Ill. — The Academic Building at Rend Lake College will be getting a new roof, and the Board of Trustees have approved a contractor to do the job. At Tuesday night’s meeting, trustees approved a bid for the project submitted by D7 Roofing of New Baden at a cost of $120,450. Five contractors submitted bids for the project, which is being paid through Public Health & Safety funds.

Stipend changes
The Rend Lake College Board of Trustees updated its list of stipends to accommodate the creation of a new Early Childhood Education Facilitator stipend and a recent hire in the Men’s Head Basketball Coach position. The creation of the new facilitator position allows RLC to remain in compliance with Gateways to Opportunity Illinois Professional Development System for Early Childhood Programs.

Handbook updates
The board approved handbooks for the 2020-21 school year for RLC’s Certified Nursing Assistant, Emergency Medical Technician-Basic, Emergency Medical Technician-Paramedic, Medical Assistant, Pharmacy Technician, Phlebotomy, Radiologic Technology, Culinary Arts and Medical Coding programs.

Leadership teams defined

The board created policy concerning the President’s Executive Leadership Team and approved revisions to policy concerning President’s Cabinet and Presidents Council (first readings). The changes better reflect RLC’s organization and needs. Per policy, the President’s Executive Leadership Team serves as the senior administrative decision-making body at RLC. Members are selected by the college President, who leads the team and may delegate decision-making authority as deemed appropriate.

Agreement with EIU
Rend Lake College Visual Communication Design students have an easier path to continue their education thanks to a new articulation agreement between RLC and Eastern Illinois University. This agreement allows students to complete an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Visual Communication Design at RLC and transfer into EIU’s bachelor’s degree program in Graphic Design or Organizational Development. The agreements are effective in the 2020-21 academic year and are subject to renewal quadrennially.

Analysis shows outside of Chicago area, most COVID-19 deaths are in nursing homes

(The Center Square) – An independent analysis of the state’s COVID-19 data found a significant difference in the numbers of COVID-19-related deaths in the Chicago area compared with the rest of the state.

Here’s a link to the story at Illinois News Network.

Pritzker says he’ll consider withholding federal funds from local governments that don’t follow his reopening plan

(The Center Square) – Some communities around the state have made it known they plan to open for business soon, despite a stay-at-home order and the governor’s reopening plan.

Here’s a link to the story at Illinois News Network.

Pritzker says he wants to see schools open in the fall

(The Center Square) – Gov. J.B. Pritzker said he hopes to see schools in Illinois welcome students back in the fall.

Here’s a link to the story at Illinois News Network.

Some Illinois counties draft their own reopening plans

(The Center Square) – Some local elected officials want local businesses to open safely far sooner than Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s reopening plan would allow.

Here’s a link to the story at Illinois News Network.

Restaurant owners frustrated with Pritzker’s reopening plan

(The Center Square) – With the prospect of waiting until June 26, many Illinois restaurant owners are wondering if their businesses will be able to stay afloat through the pandemic and Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s five-phase plan to reopen the state.

Here’s a link to the story at Illinois News Network.

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!