IEMA, National Weather Service Remind People, “When Thunder Roars, Go Indoors”
Lightning Safety Awareness Week is June 23-29
Officials with the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) and the National Weather Service (NWS) want you to remember, "When Thunder Roars, Go Indoors," so your fun times won't end in tragedy. The slogan is an important reminder that if you can hear thunder you're close enough to be struck by lightning, even if the thunderstorm isn't directly overhead.
The two agencies will be promoting this theme as part of national Lightning Safety Awareness Week June 23-29.
"Lightning can be fascinating to watch but it can also be deadly," said IEMA Director Jonathon Monken. "While a thunderstorm may disrupt our outdoor fun, there's really no safe place outside when lightning is in the area. We urge people to play it safe and go indoors when thunder roars."
For additional tips on lightning safety visit the Ready Illinois website at www.Ready.Illinois.gov
The Illinois Farm Bureau is expressing its disappointment in the failure of the U.S. House to pass a farm bill.
The House rejected a five year, half-trillion-dollar farm bill that would have cut $2 billion annually from food stamps and let states impose broad new work requirements on those who receive them. Illinois Farm Bureau National Legislative Director Adam Nielsen said leadership needs to emerge for any solution to be enacted.
"It's obviously very disappointing for those of us in the agriculture community who have been working for the better part of two years trying to get a five-year farm bill enacted," Nielsen said. "The hope is that we won't see days and days of finger pointing and blame game." The vote was 234-195 against the bill. 62 Republicans voted no, while 24 Democrats voted in favor of the bill. Members of both parties had signaled opposition to the food stamp cuts in the bill.
"I'm extremely disappointed in the vote, but I knew we faced an uphill battle," Congressman Rodney Davis said. "This vote should serve as a reminder of how far we've come, but how far we still have to go, and I believe if we continue to work we can get there. We owe it to our farmers to pass a responsible, long-term Farm Bill that cuts spending, makes common sense reforms and maintains a strong crop insurance program."
Nielsen said he doesn't know where the action will go next. The defeat was highly unexpected.
"This is in uncharted waters for the most part," he said. "Leadership doesn't put a bill on the floor of the House unless it has the votes; they don't take chances in this day and age. I think it may have been easier to vote against it once lawmakers saw it wasn't going to get to 218."
Democrats objected to a proposed cut of two-billion a year in food stamps. Some in the GOP said the cuts didn't go far enough.
Nielsen said the Farm Bureau was excited to have crop insurance provisions in the bill and a reduced food program attached. He credited Central Illinois lawmakers like Davis, Adam Kinzinger, and Aaron Schock for their understanding of what the bill needed and hopes better organization can find a solution soon.
Ballistics testing set for Andrew Condon murder case
A defense expert will render ballistics testing on a bullet fragment in the Andrew Condon murder case in Iroquois County. That test may lead to a trial date for Condon, who's jailed and charged with murder for last year's shooting death of gas station attendant Jonathan Rubin.
Judge Gordon Lustfeldt (Thurs) set an August 6th court date to get a status check on the ballistic test and schedule a trial date for Condon.
Condon faces two-counts of 2nd-degree murder for the October 27, 2012 shooting death of Rubin at the Gilman Shell Station, just off Route 24.
It was a search warrant last November 1 at Condon's Ashkum residence that led to his arrest for the shooting death of Rubin. Investigators recovered ballistics evidence at a shooting grounds at the rural Ashkum site. Police and prosecutors say the ballistics match those involved in the gas station shooting.
MELVIN — This year's Ford County Fair, running June 23-29 at the fairgrounds in Melvin, may look different than in the past. The fair has added numerous new events to its schedule, while keeping some old favorites, as well.
"We try each year to plan a fair that will interest the entire family," said Kirk Miller, fair board president. "The fair board and volunteers have tried to change things up a bit this year and hope they've added some excitement to this year's fair."
The biggest addition to this year's fair is the Tuesday night concert featuring Nashville recording artist Dustin Lynch. Lynch's hits "Cowboys and Angels" and "She Cranks My Tractor" topped the country charts earlier this year. Lynch goes on tour with Keith Urban in mid-July.
"We were fortunate to be able to book Dustin Lynch for the fair this year," added Scott Harden, fair board member. "Having Brushfire as the opening act brings two outstanding country artists to the area. We hope this is just the beginning of several years of country concerts at the fair."
The concert will be at 7 p.m. Tuesday, June 25. Tickets for the concert, with opening act Brushfire, can be purchased at the gate. On the day of the concert, no one will be able to enter the fairgrounds after 3 p.m. without a concert ticket.
Also new to this year's fair is the C-Bar Rodeo, scheduled for 7 p.m. Friday, June 28. The rodeo not only features bull riding and barrel racing, but also a competition for area youngsters.
"We've added a mutton busting competition to the rodeo," explained Roger Wycoff, fair board member and rodeo committee chairman. "The competition is open to area youngsters who want to try their hand at being in a rodeo. The only difference is instead of riding a bull, they'll be riding sheep. You don't want to wait to sign up though as we will only be able to take the first 20 youngsters who enter."
The Miss Ford County Pageant begins at 7 p.m. Monday, June 24, in the dance building. Contestants are Kirsten Batte of Paxton, Elise Chriss of Gibson City and Alexandra Percy of Gibson City. Mistress of ceremonies will be Nicole Kirkpatrick, with broadcasting by WGCY-Radio in Gibson City.
The Little Mister and Miss Pageant will also be held, at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 26, in the dance building. The registration deadline was June 17.
The annual talent show is scheduled for 7 p.m. Wednesday, June 26. Entries were due June 14. Registration will be from 6 to 6:30 p.m. June 26.
There will be two age divisions. The winner of each division will represent Ford County in Springfield at the Illinois Association of Agricultural Fairs Convention in January, 2014. The Ford County Fair will pay the $75 entry fee to sponsor the winners of this competition. There will be a kids' dance immediately after the talent show until 11:30 p.m.
Barickman Says Legislature Can’t Put Off Pension Reform Any Longer
SPRINGFIELD- State Senator Jason Barickman (R-Bloomington) criticized Democrat leaders in Springfield following a special session Wednesday for continuing to delay action on meaningful public pension reform.
Members of the House and Senate voted during the special session to send two competing pension reform proposals to a conference committee made up of five senators and five representatives.
Barickman says Democrat leaders like Governor Pat Quinn, House Speaker Michael Madigan, and Senate President John Cullerton have had months to resolve the issue. But, instead, they have failed to show leadership and have left taxpayers on the hook as the pension debt grows by $17 million a day.
The state's unfunded pension liability is already estimated to be nearly $100 billion. Just since the legislature adjourned on May 31, the pension debt has grown by over $300 million that, eventually, taxpayers will be forced to cover.
Barickman says taxpayers were also on the hook for about $40,000 to bring the legislature back to Springfield for one day simply to form the conference committee.
"I continually shake my head at each failure after failure by the leaders on pension reform," said Barickman. "The people of Illinois deserve better. And it's not fair to retirees, active workers, or taxpayers to put this problem off any longer."
Barickman says he is specifically disappointed in Governor Quinn during recent pension negotiations.
"All the Governor has done is say that he'll sign whatever bill the legislature passes," said Barickman. "He needs to stop leading from behind, get his hands dirty, and engage himself in the process."
Barickman says he's hopeful the conference committee will finish its work quickly so meaningful pension reform may be enacted as soon as possible.