Hunters are encouraged to donate their entire deer harvest to food banks and charities. Participating meat processors will grind the venison into two-pound packages of burger. Please watch a short (30 second) video for a summary of the program.
The US has officially welcomed its latest Virginia class nuclear submarine to the fleet, which the Navy believes has the capabilities required to maintain the US “undersea supremacy” in the 21st century.

The Navy called the ‘USS Illinois’ the “next-generation attack submarine” when the ship was commissioned Saturday in Groton, Connecticut.

The $2.7 billion black behemoth is the 13th ship in the Virginia class of attack submarines to be included in the US fleet of just over 70 subs stationed around the globe. The vessel weighs nearly 8,000 tons and is slightly longer than a football field at 114.9 meters (377ft) in length. It has a 10.3 meters diameter and accommodates a crew of over 130. (Read the complete story from RT by clicking HERE.)
Officials with the Illinois State Police remind motorists and parents that children in many communities will be trick-or-treating during the upcoming Halloween weekend and on Halloween night. The ISP encourages motorists and parents to take special safety precautions during the Halloween festivities.

Motorists should refrain from wearing a mask or bulky costume while driving as both can reduce efforts to safely operate a vehicle. Pedestrians should only cross streets at designated cross walks and make extra efforts to ensure it is safe to cross. Children should be reminded not to cross the street between parked vehicles and to look left, right, and left again before crossing the street. (read the full WGEL Radio article HERE)
Representative John Cavaletto (R-Salem) toured the Beck's Hybrid Seeds facility in Effingham this morning along with Mayor Jeff Bloemker and the economic development team.

In 1901, Lawrence Beck purchased an 80 acre farm in Hamilton County, which is the headquarters of Beck's Hybrids. Then, in 1937, he and his son Francis each planted a three-acre allotment of hybrid parent seed corn offered by the Purdue Botany Department. They planted the crop with a two row, horse-drawn planter and harvested it by hand. This became the first crop of Beck's Superior Hybrids.

The interactive museum walks visitors through the development of our company and corn hybrids starting in 1833.

Beck's Hybrids seed company provides high yield corn, soybeans, wheat and elite alfalfa. All seed products are protected by the Escalate™ yield enhancement system delivering higher yields, insect protection, improved stand, and seedling health. (Learn more about the Beck's family business by clicking HERE.)
First Seed House
The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) Region 5, District 8 has announced that public webinars on the Multi-Year Program (2017-2022) Highway Improvement Program have been scheduled for this week. Click HERE to sign up to join the webinar on Tuesday October 25 at 5:30 p.m.or Thursday, October 27 at 6:00 p.m.

People are encouraged to visit the Multi-Year Program (MYP) Outreach link to learn further details and submit inquiries and comments on the Program Development Input Form by clicking HERE.

The presentations will be recorded and available at

Governor orders statewide review of all rules, regulations

OAK BROOK – Governor Bruce Rauner today announced a comprehensive plan to promote economic growth and job creation by cutting the red tape in Illinois. He signed Executive Order 16-13 to review all agency rules and regulations by the newly-created Illinois Competiveness Council.

“For years, Illinois has added layers and layers of burdensome rules and regulations to a never-ending bureaucracy,” Governor Rauner said. “It’s an endless line of red tape that creates a barrier for small businesses and entrepreneurs. By cutting the red tape, we are creating an environment where they can succeed.”
The two counties impacted by these seminars in Representative John Cavaletto's area include Effingham and Fayette Counties.

The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) will hold Multi-Year Public Information Webinars, conducted over the internet, on the proposed IDOT, District Seven, Multi-Year Program for Highway Improvements for fiscal Years 2018-2023 at the following times:

* October 25, 2016 at 5:30 p.m.

* October 27, 2016 at 6:00 p.m.

The purpose of the Public Information Webinars is to provide the public an opportunity to review and comment on the Multi-Year Road Program Highway Improvements, current programming procedures, and other statistical information. Public feedback from these webinars will help IDOT in the development of the program. All interested persons are invited to participate.

Representatives of IDOT will be presenters of the webinar and you may sign up HERE to participate or make a comment HERE if you are unable to participate on either of the two days and times.

The Illinois Department of Agriculture is awarding more than $520,000 to projects aimed at strengthening the state's specialty crop industry, from horseradish to pumpkins and gourds.

Agriculture Director Raymond Poe says in a news release that the money comes from the federal Specialty Crop Block Grant Program.

Among those receiving grants is a professor at Southern Illinois University who's developing new horseradish varieties. A University of Illinois professor will use grant money to study ways to combat mildew on gourds.

Illinois is the nation's largest producer of horseradish and pumpkins, and has a flourishing grape and wine market. A recent Census of Agriculture found more than 106,000 acres are used to grow specialty crops in Illinois, with sales totaling almost $470 million annually.
Compliance, or movement toward compliance, is required for a state ID card (such as a driver’s license) to be seen as adequate identification for federal security purposes, such as entering an armed forces base or the boarding area of an airport. Illinois is one of 14 states that have been officially ruled as out of compliance with the 2005 federal law. Congress enacted, and former President George W. Bush signed, the REAL ID Act after the events of September 11.

Under the terms of the federal law, applicants for a drivers’ license or official ID equivalent are required to present a variety of official documentation to confirm and re-confirm their legal status within the United States. In addition, the drivers’ licenses or equivalent state documentation must be produced in physically secure facilities and must comply with a series of federal mandates intended to reduce and eliminate counterfeiting. The eventual goal is to bring the 50 states’ drivers’ licenses closer to the level of identification and security that are imposed upon applicants for a U.S. passport. After a ten-year transition period, the federal government has begun to impose penalties upon the residents of states that remain out of compliance with the REAL ID Act.

The General Assembly responded to federal compliance issues in spring 2016 by enacting new legislation (SB 637) intended to move toward compliance with the REAL ID Act. Under this legislation, the offices of the Illinois Secretary of State are no longer allowed to print out and distribute plastic drivers’ license cards. Starting in summer 2016, Secretary of State employees who have undergone criminal background checks are now allowed to collect information from an Illinois resident. The State employee will then send digital information over a secure phone line to a facility in a secure location. The new drivers’ licenses, which are mailed to their recipients, are similar to the old drivers’ licenses in some ways and different from them in others. They contain features that are difficult to counterfeit.

Under the new legislation and technology, Illinois has now been re-ruled to be 84% in compliance with the REAL ID Act. This status will be valid until October 10, 2017. During the 12-month period preceding this deadline, Illinois drivers’ licenses and ID-card equivalents will be viewed as adequate to enter federal security-secured areas, such as federal facilities and airport boarding areas. The Department of Homeland Security is warning Illinois and 13 other states that they must take further actions in spring 2017 in order to move closer toward complete compliance with the REAL ID Act. Eight other states, including Kentucky and Missouri, have been ruled noncompliant with the REAL ID Act. Their residents could face identification-related sanctions as soon as January 30, 2017.
The Rauner administration announced a new data-driven push to encourage businesses to stay and expand in Illinois, and while it looks like the main focus will be downstate, it could bring jobs to a state that needs them everywhere.

Likening the effort to "a modern-age concierge service" for business, the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity and Intersect Illinois, Gov. Bruce Rauner's new public-private economic development corporation, announced a new program called Core, which stands for Creating Opportunities for Retention and Expansion.

The bad news came in the monthly revenue report from the Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability (COGFA), the General Assembly’s nonpartisan budget watchdog office. Overall base general funds revenues continued to fall in September, with base revenues down $119 million below the levels of funds brought in during September 2015. The decline was entirely due to changes in income tax cash flows, with personal income tax receipts down $136 million and corporate income tax receipts down $87 million. The corporate income tax revenue picture was particularly dramatic, with payments of corporate income taxes down 22% from a year ago.

Poor Illinois cash flow patterns are an underlying factor behind the slow payments and unpaid bills imposed by Illinois upon its creditors and vendors throughout the state. As of Tuesday, October 4, Comptroller Leslie Munger estimates that the State owes more than $8.5 billion in unpaid bills.

"The Champions of Free Enterprise are exactly the types of lawmakers who will encourage investment in Illinois and help it become more competitive with other states."  

--Todd Maisch, president and CEO, Illinois Chamber of Commerce.
Illinois Student Assistance Commission and Partners Support Students in Filing College Applications and FAFSA Completion

In Illinois, October is College Changes Everything® (CCE) Month, a campaign launched by the Illinois Student Assistance Commission(ISAC) to address the change to “early FAFSA” and assist students who will be completing college applications at the same time they are filing financial aid forms. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the form used to apply for all federal and some state financial aid; filing it is an important first step to maximizing financial aid. This year, students will be able to file their 2017-18 beginning October 1, 2016, instead of having to wait until January, as in previous years.

Because some financial aid programs—including the state's Monetary Award Program (MAP grant)–are awarded on a first-come first-served basis, eligible students should file their FAFSAs as soon as possible after October 1st in order to have the best chance of receiving funding. Students should check with their college for all school-specific deadlines.

During CCE Month, ISAC will partner with schools and communities to help students navigate these changes, and will offer support for students and families with both college application and FAFSA completion. (Learn more here.)
The Traveling Vietnam Wall will be in Salem, October 5-9. The wall will be on the softball diamond at Bryan Memorial Park and will be open 24 hours a day. There is no charge to view the wall to honor, respect, and remember those who served in the Vietnam War. For more information, visit the
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) — University of Illinois researchers say an invasive variety of stink bug is spreading in the state.

Kelly Estes is cooperative agricultural pest survey coordinator at the university's Prairie Research Institute. She said in a news release Friday that brown marmorated stink bugs have been found in five new, widely scattered Illinois counties. The bugs' presence was recently confirmed in Macon, Winnebago, Clinton, Effingham and Stephenson counties.

The stink bugs were first found in the state in 2010 in Cook County and in the East St. Louis area.

The bugs feed on a wide variety of host plants in gardens, orchards and fields.

Estes said the bugs often winter in homes and with the onset of cooler weather may be seen on houses looking for winter shelter.