Department Of Agriculture Announces New State Fair Manager

SPRINGFIELD, IL – Illinois Department of Agriculture Director Raymond Poe has appointed Luke Sailer the new Division Manager of Fair and Promotional Services. The Division of Fairs & Promotional Services oversees the bureaus of Illinois State Fair, Du Quoin State Fair, Business Services and County Fairs & Horse Racing.

“Luke’s management experience combined with his southern Illinois agricultural background makes for a winning combination when it comes to the management of state and county agricultural fairs. His familiarity with non-fair events and the need to utilize these facilities throughout the year will also serve him well in this position,” said Ag Director Raymond Poe. “His enthusiasm and leadership experience make him a great fit and we look forward to working with him to create successful fairs and events in the future.”

Sailer, a Carmi native, has been with the Department of Agriculture for three years.  In that time, he has served as the Bureau Chief of Business Services and the Assistant Illinois State Fair Manager under previous Division Manager Kevin Gordon.

“I’m very honored and excited for this opportunity.  I have a passion for our state and county fairs and want them to continue to grow and be successful,” said Sailer.  “These fairs showcase our state’s number one industry.  These events are great economic drivers for the State of Illinois and local communities. I want to continue to build on the successes of the past while continuing to modernize our events going forward.”

Mark your calendars for the 2018 Illinois State Fair, August 9th – 19th, in Springfield, IL and the 2018 Du Quoin State Fair, August 24th – September 3rd in Du Quoin, IL.

Route 51 Cairo Bridge closing at 6:00 p.m. this evening

From the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, District 1 


Photo at the 7 mile marker between Cairo and Wickliffe, KY, KYTC District 1 photo

 PADUCAH, KY –The US 51 Ohio River “Cairo” Bridge will close promptly at 6 p.m., tonight.

Once the bridge closes this evening, river predictions indicate it will likely remain closed for about eight days. If there is additional rainfall in the area and upstream, the closure could be longer.


Illinois Statehood Forever Stamp Dedicated Today

From the U.S. Postal Service, St. Louis Region 

SPRINGFIELD, IL — Illinois, our nation’s 21st state, will celebrate its bicentennial Dec. 3, 2018. To celebrate this milestone, the U.S. Postal Service dedicated the Illinois Statehood Forever stamp today at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library in Springfield.

“We are thrilled to honor Illinois as a state that has been instrumental to American ingenuity and the American spirit,” said U.S. Postal Service Acting Customer and Marketing Officer and Executive Vice President Jacqueline Krage Strako in dedicating the stamp. “The truth is: Illinois defies simple definition. It’s cosmopolitan and quaint, tough and nurturing — all at the same time. It’s a state with broad shoulders, a caring heart and Midwestern grit and values. Illinois is where the heartland calls home.”

Joining Krage Strako in the dedication were Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner (via video), Deputy Governor Leslie Munger, Springfield Mayor James Langfelder, Illinois Bicentennial Commission Co-Chair Randy Dunn and Illinois State Historian Sam Wheeler.

“The U.S. Postal Service has designed a remarkable stamp to commemorate our Bicentennial,” said Rauner. “This Statehood Stamp reminds us of the many great contributions Illinois has made to the country and society over the past 200 years. We’re grateful to stamp designer and Illinois artist Michael Konetzka for his creativity.”

“We thank the United States Postal Service for The Illinois Statehood Stamp, an important and exciting piece of our Bicentennial celebration,” said Munger.” This national recognition of our state’s 200th birthday is a tribute to Illinois’ rich history and makes us all Illinois proud.”

Stamp ideas welcome
The public is encouraged to submit stamp suggestions. Visit the Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee website for details on the stamp selection process and instructions for submitting suggestions in writing. Due to the time required for research and approval, ideas for stamp subjects should be received at least three years prior to the proposed release. Each submission should include pertinent historical information and important dates associated with the subject.

 Ordering First-Day-of-Issue Postmarks

Customers have 60 days to obtain first-day-of-issue postmarks by mail. They may purchase new stamps at Post Office locations, at the Postal Store or by calling 800-782-6724. Customers must affix the stamps to envelopes of their choice, address the envelopes to themselves or others and place them in larger envelopes addressed to:

FDOI –Illinois Statehood Stamp
USPS Stamp Fulfillment Services

8300 NE Underground Drive, Suite 300
Kansas City, MO  64144-9900

After applying the first-day-of-issue postmark, the Postal Service will return the envelopes through the mail. There is no charge for postmarks up to a quantity of 50. For more than 50, customers are charged 5 cents each. All orders must be postmarked by July 5, 2018.

IEMA Urges People to Prepare for Severe Weather

IEMA, IESMA Sponsor Online Weather Alert Radio Contest in March


SPRINGFIELD, IL – As recent widespread flooding demonstrates, severe weather can happen any time of the year. To help people prepare for weather emergencies, IEMA and local emergency management agencies will be promoting Severe Weather Preparedness Month throughout March.

“We want to make sure families have a plan in advance, just in case they’re ever impacted by severe weather,” said IEMA Acting Director Jennifer Ricker. “Throughout the month of March, we’ll help people understand where they should take shelter, the importance of having a family communications plan, and what should be included in their preparedness kit.”

IEMA and the Illinois Emergency Services Management Association (IESMA) are also sponsoring an online contest that offers Illinois residents a chance to win a weather alert radio. The “Weather Alert Radios Save Lives” contest will be available on the Ready Illinois website at through March 31.

A total of 100 weather alert radios will be awarded to randomly selected participants who register after reading information about the radios and successfully completing a five-question quiz. Winners will be notified in April. The radios were purchased by IESMA to increase the use of the devices throughout Illinois.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) weather alert radios can be programmed to sound an alarm and provide information when a weather warning has been issued for your county. Other ways to receive severe weather warnings include Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA), weather alert apps, TV and radio broadcasts, the Internet, outdoor warning sirens and more.

“Standing among the ruins of their Saline County home, a man, woman and their infant child told me they were thankful for the precious time their NOAA weather alert radio gave them to take shelter,” said McHenry County Emergency Management Director and IESMA Board Member David Christensen, referring to the Feb. 29, 2012, pre-dawn tornado that struck Saline County. “Those three lives saved convinced me of the value of these radios.”

A Severe Weather Preparedness Guide, which provides tips on how to prepare for weather emergencies is available on the Ready Illinois website. Additional tips and information are available on the Ready Illinois Facebook Page ( and Twitter Page (

“Please keep in mind, if there are flooded roads it is very simple, don’t drive through flood waters. Turn Around, Don’t Drown,” said Chris Miller, warning coordination meteorologist with the NWS office in Lincoln. “Nearly all of the people who have died in floods across Illinois were in vehicles.”

Flags to be flown at half-staff tomorrow in honor of Evangelist Billy Graham

United States and State flags at half-staff from Sunrise to Sunset on Friday, March 2, 2018

The Illinois Department of Central Management Services has received notice from President Donald Trump, that all persons or entities covered by the Illinois Flag Display Act are to fly the flags at half-staff in honor of:

Reverend Billy Graham

Please lower the United States flags and the State flags at all buildings occupied by your agency’s personnel from:

Sunrise to Sunset on Friday, March 2, 2018

Illinois EPA Announces Draft Plan to Fund $108 Million in Alternate Fuel, Electric and Related Infrastructure Projects

Agency Seeks Public Input on Draft Plan to Spend Volkswagen Settlement Funds

SPRINGFIELD — The state is unveiling its plan to spend its share of a multi-billion dollar Volkswagen Settlement. Illinois has been allocated more than $108 million dollars after it was discovered Volkswagen installed emissions cheating software in certain diesel vehicles.

Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (Illinois EPA) Director Alec Messina announced today that the state’s draft plan will use the money to fund mobile source projects such as locomotives, large and medium trucks, buses that reduce nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions in Illinois, and related infrastructure – including electric charging stations.

“The substantial funding from the Volkswagen Settlement provides Illinois with the opportunity to achieve significant NOx emission reductions from mobile sources in areas that need it the most and to realize air quality benefits for its citizens,” said Director Messina.  “We look forward to public review of the draft Beneficiary Mitigation Plan and to the administration of Volkswagen funds in Illinois.”

The draft Beneficiary Mitigation Plan (BMP) was developed after a thorough review of settlement requirements and after numerous meetings, discussions and communications with stakeholders. The draft is available on the Illinois EPA website. The Agency will accept formal public input through April 13, 2018.

Illinois seeks to achieve the maximum reduction of NOx emissions possible.  Funds can be used to replace old diesel engines with new cleaner diesel, alternate fueled or electric engines.  Illinois EPA anticipates a minimum of three rounds of funding.

The draft BMP seeks to maximize NOx reductions by focusing on:

• reducing NOx emissions in areas where the affected Volkswagen vehicles are registered, while considering areas that bear a disproportionate share of the air pollution burden, including environmental justice areas; and
• maximizing emission reductions and funding.

To this end, Illinois’ draft BMP has identified three priority areas as well as categories and types of eligible projects.  Eligible projects include on-road cleaner diesel, alternate fueled and electric trucks and buses, and non-road freight switchers, locomotives and tugboats/ferries.  To promote electric vehicle adoption, Illinois will fund electric vehicle infrastructure in all eligible projects.  Following public input, the Agency will submit a final BMP to the Trustee.

The Volkswagen Settlement consists of three programs:  a vehicle recall and repair program ($10 billion); a zero emission vehicle investment commitment ($2 billion); and an environmental mitigation trust fund ($2.84 billion to be dispersed to the states).  The draft BMP, required by the Volkswagen Settlement, is Illinois’ plan to allocate the funds.

Input on the draft plan, available at, should be sent to  In addition to the draft plan, Illinois EPA has also developed a survey, available on the webpage, to help inform the Agency on projects and administration of funds.  Survey responses are in addition to any public input received on the draft plan, but are likewise due by April 13, 2018.  Illinois EPA will also continue to meet with interested groups throughout the public input period.  Requests for such meetings should be submitted to


Simon Poll shows Rauner, Pritzker lead in primary elections

From Southern Illinois University News Service

CARBONDALE, Ill. — Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s Paul Simon Public Policy Institute has released its first poll for 2018. The most recent version of the Simon Poll™ shows Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner and Democrat businessman JB Pritzker leading their respective party’s primaries.

Rauner leads challenger Jeanne Ives, a state representative from Wheaton, by 20 points, 51 percent to 31 percent. Pritzker leads State Sen. Daniel Biss of Evanston in the crowded Democratic primary by 10 points, 31 percent to 21 percent. Former University of Illinois Board of Trustees Chairman Chris Kennedy trails in third place at 17 percent.

Rauner trails both Democrats in general election

Peoria Public Radio image

In hypothetical general election matchups, Rauner trails both leading Democratic candidates by similar margins: Pritzker leads Rauner 50 percent to 35 percent; Biss leads Rauner 48 percent to 34 percent.

“It’s interesting that Pritzker’s and Biss’s margins over Rauner are essentially the same in The Simon Poll,” Charlie Leonard, an institute visiting professor involved in the polling, said. “One explanation may be that in the minds of voters — who may know little about either Biss or Pritzker — the decision may come down to ‘Rauner versus not-Rauner.’ If the election were held today, I’d rather be ‘not-Rauner.’”

Rauner has slight lead among downstate voters

Both Pritzker and Biss lead the governor by wide margins in the City of Chicago and the Chicago suburbs (see Table 9), while downstate, Rauner leads Pritzer by three points and leads Biss by eight points — keeping in mind the smaller sample sizes and wider margins for error in the geographic subgroups.

“It is three weeks to go until the March 20 primary and major events could still move these numbers,” said John S. Jackson, another designer of this poll. “However, for all the money and attention these two races have garnered, the results so far fairly faithfully reflect the bedrock strength of these two parties in the state of Illinois, and this advantages the Democrats.”

Harold, Raoul lead in Illinois Attorney General primaries

In the Republican primary for attorney general, Harvard Law graduate and Champaign-Urbana attorney Erika Harold, who is well known in Republican political circles, leads the lesser-known Gary Grasso, a DuPage County board member, 18 percent to 14 percent, with almost two-thirds undecided.

Eight candidates are vying for the Democratic party nomination for attorney general. State Sen. Kwame Raoul of Chicago leads the pack with 22 percent of those responding, with former Gov. Pat Quinn with 18 percent. None of the other candidates register double-digit support and 39 percent are undecided.

Detailed poll results are available online. 

Sample size and margin of error

The margin of error for the entire sample of 1,001 voters is plus or minus 3.1 percentage points. This means that if we conducted the survey 100 times, in 95 of those instances, the population proportion would be within plus or minus the reported margin of error for each subsample.

For subsamples, the margin of error increases as the sample size goes down. The margin of error was not adjusted for design effects. Among self-identified primary election voters, the margin is plus or minus 6 percentage points in the 259-voter sample of Republicans, and 4.5 percentage points in the sample of 472 Democrats.

Polling methodology

Live telephone interviews were conducted by Customer Research International of San Marcos, Texas using the random digit dialing method. The telephone sample was provided to Customer Research International by Scientific Telephone Samples.

Potential interviewees were screened based on whether they were registered voters and with quotas based on area code and sex (< 60 percent female). The sample obtained 51 percent male and 49 percent female respondents.

Interviewers asked to speak to the youngest registered voter at home at the time of the call. Cellphone interviews accounted for 60 percent of the sample. A Spanish language version of the questionnaire and a Spanish-speaking interviewer were made available.

Fieldwork was from Feb. 19 through Feb. 25. No auto-dial or “robo” polling is included. Customer Research International reports no Illinois political clients. The survey was paid for with non-tax dollars from the institute’s endowment fund.

The data was not weighted in any way. Crosstabs for the referenced questions will be on the institute’s polling website,

Polling data available for use by scholars and the public

The institute is a member of the American Association for Public Opinion Research’s (AAPOR) Transparency Initiative. AAPOR works to encourage objective survey standards for practice and disclosure. Membership in the Transparency Initiative reflects a pledge to practice transparency in reporting survey-based findings.

The Institute’s polling data are also archived by four academic institutions for use by scholars and the public. The four open source data repositories are:


Illinois Governor’s Mansion Association announces re-opening date

102 works of ‘Art in Illinois’ highlight renovated Mansion’s mission of history and education


KMOX – St. Louis image

CHICAGO  – After two years of an extensive privately-funded renovation, the Illinois Governor’s Mansion will reopen to the public on July 14, 2018, Illinois’ First Lady Diana Rauner announced today at the annual Illinois Governor’s Conference on Travel & Tourism.

“Bruce and I made a promise to the people of Illinois to renovate the Governor’s Mansion to restore the pride in this historic building,” said First Lady Diana Rauner, chair of the Illinois Governor’s Mansion Association. “With an all new visitor experience, expanded accessibility, and updated programming, we know the Governor’s Mansion will be a must-see destination for tourists and Illinois residents to visit again and again.”

The renovation, funded entirely with private dollars, makes the Mansion a usable residence for Illinois Governors. When it reopens this summer, the Mansion will also offer visitors a completely reimagined experience. It has a new look that is both stately and richly inviting in keeping with the Midwest hospitality of Illinois people.

The Mansion’s new mission is focused on history education and appreciation and that is reflected in the newly renovated space. Visitors will be able to gather and learn from period art and exhibits featuring the 1893 Columbian Exposition. There is space to showcase Illinois fine and decorative arts. There a visitor’s center and trained docents will lead tours 7 days a week. For the first time, the Mansion is ADA accessible.

“Our work to renovate the mansion focuses on so much more than just an updated façade and interior design,” said John Bryan, Illinois Governor’s Mansion Association board member. “I am very pleased to be part of a project that highlights the rich history of Illinois and brings art by local artists to the forefront of our state’s capitol.”

The Illinois Governor’s Mansion Association received a grant from the Terra Foundation of American Art to support the inaugural art exhibit, ‘Art in Illinois.’ The exhibition brings together fine and decorative art from Illinois artists and features 102 works from mid-nineteenth century to present day. Twenty of the pieces have never been seen before and are on loan from private collections. ‘Art in Illinois’ will run through January 2019.

About the Governor’s Mansion Association

Built in 1855, the Illinois Governor’s Mansion is one of the oldest and most historic governor’s mansions in the United States. The Mansion serves as the official residence of the Governor of Illinois and as a symbol of the executive branch of state government. The Illinois Governor’s Mansion Association (previously known as the Illinois Executive Mansion Association) is a non-profit organization created in 1972 to preserve and oversee the restoration of the People’s House. In 2015, the Association began an extensive renovation process that will open to the public in July 2018.

CASA groups in Franklin and Williamson Counties receive grant money

CHICAGO—February 27, 2018: Seventeen counties in Illinois are getting a share of $2.7 million to serve children who are victims of violence.

Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority (ICJIA) Executive Director John Maki announced the grant awards today. The money will help fund organizations whose advocates are trained in trauma-informed practices and offer emotional support to those who have been victimized.

“We know that less than 10-percent of children who are victims of violent crimes, such as rape, robbery, or aggravated assault, get the emotional support they need,” Maki said. “These awards will help us engage them more quickly, get them connected with someone who will help them navigate through the court process, and pave the way to more positive outcomes.”

The grants are funded with federal fiscal year 2016 Victim of Crime Act funds and were awarded through a competitive process.  Franklin County CASA was awarded $41,396, and Williamson County CASA was awarded $54,187.

ICJIA is dedicated to improving the administration of criminal justice through work in the areas of grants administration, research and analysis, policy and planning, and information systems and technology. Visit




IDOT worker was hit while pothole patching in Jacksonville Monday

From the Illinois Department of Transportation 

JACKSONVILLE – The Illinois Department of Transportation employee who was part of a crew patching potholes on Morton Avenue in Jacksonville when he was struck by another vehicle is in critical condition at a local hospital.

We continue to cooperate with Illinois State Police in their investigation.

Yesterday’s tragic incident is yet another sad, unfortunate reminder of the dangers of working and traveling in work zones. We strongly urge the public to remain alert at all times, avoid distractions, slow down and proceed with extreme caution when approaching workers out in the field. In Illinois, motorists are required to change lanes, if possible, and provide extra distance between them and workers, first responders and disabled vehicles. It’s the law.

Benton, West Frankfort, Illinois News | Franklin County News