The big story in Illinois agriculture in 2016 continues to be the 'margin squeeze' faced by crop producers — brought on by low corn, soybean, and wheat prices and costs of production that have yet to fully adjust to the new price realities, according to one U of I agricultural economist. At present prices, further cost of production reductions will be required. Producers and landowners face a series of difficult management challenges as they grapple with how to adjust to the changed environment.

Should cash rents be lowered? If yes, by how much? How much relief will be seen through lower fertilizer and seed prices? What are the prospects for grain prices to recover from current depressed levels? The University of Illinois Extension and members of the farmdoc team from the Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics in the College of ACES is offering a series of five Farm Economics Summit meetings to help producers navigate these difficult times.

Speakers at the summit will explore the farm profitability outlook and management challenges from several perspectives, including the 2017 outlook for prices, farm financial management in tough times, needed changes in farmland leases, updates on the farm program safety net, agricultural credit conditions, and long-term weather and yield trends. The format for the meeting will be fast-paced and allow plenty of time for questions from the audience.

Sponsored by U of I Extension, the farm economics summit will be offered at five different locations during the month of December.

The dates and locations are as follows:

Monday, Dec. 12 -- Champaign, iHotel and Conference Center
Tuesday, Dec. 13 -- Dekalb, Faranda’s Banquet Center
Wednesday, Dec. 14 -- Peoria, Par-A-Dice Hotel Casino
Thursday, Dec. 15 -- Springfield, Crowne Plaza
Friday, Dec. 16 -- Mt. Vernon, Holiday Inn

The sessions will begin at 7:45 a.m. and conclude at 1:30 p.m. The advance registration fee is $70 per person and includes lunch, refreshments, and all meeting materials. Register online at by Dec. 5, which includes a $5 discount. Registration at the door is $75 per person as space permits.

For questions about registration, contact Nancy Simpson ([email protected]; 217-244-9687).

See the website for the complete agenda and list of speakers at .

For more information on University of Illinois Extension programming in Bond, Clinton, Jefferson, Marion & Washington Counties, visit the U of I Extension website at For information on Effingham County visit
Dr. Colleen Bingham front row center.
State Representative John Cavaletto (R-Salem), recently presented a House Resolution to commend Dr. M. Colleen Bingham for her selfless service and for her impact on the improvement of rural health, and to congratulate her on receiving the "2016 Rural Physician of Excellence Award" from the Illinois Rural Health Association.

“One of the biggest healthcare challenges is the shortage of physicians who practice in rural areas,” commented Rep. Cavaletto. “We are lucky to have someone like Dr. Bingham in our community who is exceptional and recognized by her peers as well.”

Dr. Colleen Bingham joined Family Care in 1994. She is a board certified pediatrician with special
interests in asthma management, newborn and adolescent care, and child abuse. Dr. Bingham graduated from St. Louis University in 1990 and completed her residency at Indiana University Hospital.

Since 1994, Dr. Bingham has been practicing with Family Care Associates of Effingham and Dr. Bingham serves on the Board of the Crisis Nursery of Effingham County and was extremely instrumental in garnering the economic support and partnerships of local businesses and the medical community to get the Crisis Nursery operating.

Recognizing their struggles, Dr. Bingham spearheaded the development TAG in 2013, a mentoring program for young mothers; operated by volunteers, the program meets on a regular basis, assisting many mothers through the challenges of young parenthood.

After seeing a pattern of developmental and cognitive delays in at-risk children who were not able to attend preschool, Dr. Bingham and her staff reached out to businesses, transportation companies, and the local school district, leading to the formation of the "Effingham Preschool of All", which offers transportation and preschool education at no cost to eligible families.

Dr. Bingham learned of the plight of many low income children in need of meals when school was not in session, and through her request for donations and assistance from the Central Illinois Public Transit, "Mission Summer Fun" was formed, which provides meals and activities for children during summer break, and she was the lead physician in the Children's Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2009 (CHIPRA) Asthma Collaborative which resulted in improved treatment for children. Her dedication to public health and disease prevention is exemplified through her strong commitment to the Vaccine for Children program.

Through her service and dedication to the community, Dr. Bingham has become a phenomenal asset to the well-being of families in Effingham County. Her selfless service and impact on the improvement of rural health is why she is very deserving of the "2016 Rural Physician of Excellence Award."

Paul Fanning photo by Ted Schurter / The State Journal Register
The new director of the Illinois State Military Museum in Springfield has big plans. Paul Fanning said he'd like to help the museum grow, to expand its outreach program to bring more visitors to the site, and he would also like to increase the exhibits on the Illinois National Guard’s deployments to Afghanistan and Iraq.

Rep. John Cavaletto is working with the Department of Military Affairs to collect the historical information on the National Guard Armory in Salem that is being demolished. The Salem Historical Commission is also working to raise the awareness of the Salem Armory history as well as the G.I. Bill of Rights history with the American Legion Post 128.

Salem Historical Commission Chairman, Jerry Nix with Rep. Cavaletto.

The Illinois Military Museum is at 1301 N. MacArthur Blvd., a few blocks north of North Grand Avenue West. The hours are 1 to 4:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. There is no admission to the museum, but donations are welcome. Read the full story by John Reynolds by clicking here.
(Associated Press) — The Illinois Secretary of State's office plans a statewide sting operation to catch those who illegally park in disabled spots at shopping malls.

Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White plans to announce the tenth-annual effort on Tuesday in Chicago ahead of the Black Friday shopping rush the day after Thanksgiving. Secretary of State police will conduct compliance checks at malls across Illinois during the holiday season.

Fines for parking in a spot reserved for those with disabilities without a placard or special license plate is up to $350. The fine for illegally using a placard or disability license plate is $600 and possible six-month driver's license suspension.

There are more than 630,000 disability placards and nearly 66,000 disability licenses in use in Illinois.

The following violations are Class A misdemeanors for a first offense and may result in a fine of up to $2,500, a one year driver's license suspension and possible confiscation and revocation of the disability parking placard or license plates. Violators may be charged with a Class 4 felony for a second offense which may result in a fine up to $25,000 and possible jail time between one and three years.

      * Using a deceased person's disability license plates or parking placard
      * Altering a parking placard.
      * Possessing a fake, fraudulent, lost or stolen placard.
      * Duplicating or manufacturing a placard.
      * Selling or otherwise distributing a fraudulent placard.
      * Obtaining a placard or plate under false pretenses.

For more information click here for the Illinois Secretary of State web site.
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Bruce Rauner today announced that April 22, 2017, will be the first annual State Day of Service in the state of Illinois. Throughout the past few years, many volunteer groups have expressed an interest in helping out at various state agencies. However, due to the previous AFSCME contract, severe restrictions were placed on the use of volunteers. The recent decision by the Illinois Labor Relations Board will now allow the state greater flexibility in using volunteers.

"We are all residents of Illinois and all working towards the goal of making the state a better place to live and work," said Governor Rauner. "Given the state’s challenging financial circumstances, it is absolutely essential that we engage partners when and where we can. Through the first State Day of Service, we will be able to provide additional services at no cost to taxpayers, while giving volunteers an opportunity to give back and help their fellow Illinois residents."

On the State Day of Service, groups and individuals will be able to come together across the state to assist state agencies through activities like cleaning up state parks, working on projects at the state fairgrounds or even volunteering at the state’s veterans homes. The closest state parks for residents of the 107th District are Carlyle Lake SFWA in Vandalia, Forbes State Park Kinmundy and Ramsey Lake State Park in northern Fayette County.
Secretary of State Jesse White today announced his office will launch an innovative, cost-efficient passenger license plate replacement program beginning in January to replace the oldest license plates with newly designed plates at no additional cost to Illinois taxpayers. B-truck license plate replacement is expected to begin in 2018.

The purpose of the program is to ensure – now and in the future – that older license plates on Illinois roads are replaced. License plates’ reflectivity diminishes with age, which impacts law enforcement’s ability to quickly and accurately identify license plate numbers.

“This is a forward-thinking, long-term solution that does not require a complete replating overhaul, which would cost around $60 million,” said White. “This plan will not cost the state additional money. It removes older plates and replaces them with newly designed plates. This will ensure that plates are appropriately replaced with the ultimate goal being no license plate on the road will be more than 10-years-old.”

Under the program, the oldest license plates will be replaced first. In 2017, passenger plates that were manufactured in 2000 and 2001 will be replaced. In 2018, passenger plates that were manufactured in 2002 and 2003 will be replaced. Each year the office will continue to replace older license plates with the newly issued plate. The process will start again in 2027, replacing the plates issued in 2017.

Vehicle owners will be notified by mail if they qualify for the new license plates. When they renew their vehicle registration, they will be provided with a yellow sticker with a “T’ on it to affix to the rear license plate of their vehicle. Within 60 days they will prednisone receive their newly designed license plates in the mail with a new registration sticker already affixed to the rear license plate.

Owners are encouraged to recycle their old plates by taking them to a Secretary of State facility and disposing of them in the tamper-proof bin.

Motorists who are not up for replacement may still request a new license plate at for a replacement fee of $29. In addition, vehicle owners with license plates manufactured after 2001 that are showing signs of wear and are difficult to read may visit to apply for a newly designed plate at no charge. 

“There are nearly 9 million passenger vehicle owners in Illinois,” said White. “This replacement program is mindful of Illinois’ state budget challenges, while also seeking to replace those plates that are most in need of replacement.”

Vehicle owners may renew their vehicle registration by visiting a Secretary of State facility, going online at, by mail or by calling 800-252-8980.
Future security guards and pharmacy technicians now must go online to submit their initial applications to Illinois regulators.

Officials at the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation announced Wednesday they have launched an online portal for applicants in those two professions.

The portal lets applicants enter required information, pay electronically and keep track of the status of their applications. Department Secretary Bryan Schneider says a paperless process is more convenient and accurate.

Illinois issues licenses to more than a million professionals, including roughly 106,000 security guards and pharmacy technicians. (Associate Press article at the State Journal-Register here.)
After several years of raising private dollars because the State of Illinois is strapped for money, Rep. John Cavaletto joined a meeting this morning in Vandalia to allow potential vendors to inspect the building's windows and ask questions about the bidding process to repair the 36 windows.

In addition to the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency director and architect,  and potential craftsmen, the meeting included the site manager, board members of the Vandalia Historical Society, Inc., and Mayor Ricky Gottman.

These repairs will stop the water damage being done by the rain and snow that has been leaking in to the building and causing the building to deteriorate.

"I am excited that this project is moving along again,” commented Rep. Cavaletto. “One of the possible vendors is a local painter whose father and grandfather also painted on this historic building," said Rep. Cavaletto. “That’s a nice tradition to have in your family when you have multiple generations of family helping to keep this jewel of our Illinois history connected to notable Illinois
figures such as Abe Lincoln and Steven Douglas,” Cavaletto concluded.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016 Rep. Cavaletto made a presentation  for the 50th Anniversary to The Greenville Municipal Airport and the Authority board to recognize their continuing efforts.  They are quite proud of their airport and plan to keep soaring forward as long as they have lift under our wings!

The picture of Airport Authority Board: L-R: David Royer, Larry Suess - Treasurer, Sherry Schaefer - Vice President, State Representative John Cavaletto, Ben Kettlekamp - President, Randy Vasel
- Secretary.