• 07/27/18 Remembering the Korean War Veterans and more Northern Illinois Successes

    65 years ago this past Friday, the United States and South Korea signed an armistice with the People’s Republic of China and North Korea, ending the Korean War. Millions of Koreans and Chinese lost their lives alongside 50,000 Americans.

  • 07/20/18 Hunter Haven Farms and Pearl Valley Eggs

    Oprah Winfrey once said, “The more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate.” I believe this is also true for our communities.  It is so easy to focus on the challenges we must overcome that we often lose sight of the victories we have won.

  • 07/13/18 A Potential National Historic Landmark and an F-4 Fighter Jet

    There’s an African proverb that says, “If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go fast, go together.”  Whether it’s events like Workation in Lanark every June, or the Pecatonica River Clean Up at the end of this month, there are good things happening throughout Northern Illinois.

  • 07/06/18 - Freedom is a chance to be better

    ***"Freedom is nothing but a chance to be better"***

    As I shared last week, we celebrate our nation’s birthday on July 4th because it is the date at the top of the Declaration of Independence.  Choosing Independence Day serves as a reminder that the American experiment is most of all about freedom.  Our second President, John Adams, when writing about the Declaration of Independence and its anniversary, said, “It will be celebrated … with pomp and parade … bonfires and illuminations from one end of this continent to the other.”  He was right!

  • 06/29/18 - "No Act of Kindness... Is Ever Wasted."

    "No Act of Kindness... is ever wasted." - Aesop

    On a quiet street in the city of Lanark, Illinois sits a quaint white building. The bell and sign in the front herald the Lanark First Brethren Church.  This small community congregation has a history of serving Lanark for 130 years even raising funds to send a team of volunteers to minister in Alaska until 2015.

    In 2016, the Church was at a crossroads. The congregation chose to try a different sort of ministry project right in their own backyard.  They called it Workation - giving volunteers an opportunity to take a week to volunteer right in their own proverbial backyard while still having the opportunity to sleep in their own beds every night.

    Organizers wanted three things. First, they wanted to provide the opportunity to volunteer to more people.  Second, they wanted to help more people.  And third,...

  • 06/22/18 FFA, Festivals and Vehicle Insurance

    On Thursday June 14th, the Illinois FFA made history at the State Convention.  Delegates to the Convention elected five young women to each of the state chapter offices.  I wish a hearty congratulations to the new President Sophia Hortin of the Fisher FFA Chapter in Champaign County, Vice President Eliza Petry of the Rochelle FFA Chapter in Ogle County, Reporter Shaylee Clinton of the Mount Vernon FFA Chapter in Jefferson County, Secretary Miriam Hoffman of the Earlville FFA Chapter in LaSalle County, and Treasurer Taylor Hartke of the Teutopolis FFA Chapter in Effingham County.  I look forward to the great work they will do this term.

    It was author Charles Bowden who wrote, “Summertime is always the best of what might be.” Summer definitely is the best time to enjoy weekends full of festivals and parades throughout Northern Illinois.

    Last weekend, many counties enjoyed “Ag Breakfasts” sponsored by...

  • 06/15/18 Our Flag and Everyone is Entitled to Hope

    In 1981, President Ronald Reagan said, “When we honor our flag we honor what we stand for as a Nation – freedom, equality, justice, and hope.” In case you were wondering why you saw so many flags this week, June 14th was Flag Day.

    Honoring our flag dates back to our own Revolutionary War. The first President to proclaim Flag Day on June 14th was Woodrow Wilson in 1916.  Congress established National Flag Day on June 14th in 1946.  If you pass by a flag, take a moment to remember what it stands for and think about the brave men and women who fought so that flag might still wave.

    One of the challenges in a legislative district as large as the 89th is its size.  The 89th District covers all or part of six counties in Northwestern Illinois.  Many...

  • 06/8/18 - Summer Parades and More Taxation

    Many enjoyed the parades over the past few weeks, despite the sweltering heat on Memorial Day. Those who marched in Pecatonica’s Memorial Day Parade may have seen a Main Street mainstay, Pecatonica Hardware.  Ted Kramer is the owner of Pecatonica Hardware.  Ted has owned and operated his hardware store for 51 years.  His hard work was recently honored by the BestinIL.com website when they ranked Pecatonica Hardware in the Top 10 Best Hardware Stores in Illinois.  Ted, you make Northern Illinois proud.  Thank you for your hard work.

    June is National Dairy Month. Beginning as National Milk Month in 1937, it was originally an effort to stabilize the demand for milk. Today, National Dairy Month is a celebration of the dairy industry’s history as well as a glimpse into its future.

  • 06/01/18 Student Athletes and the Budget Bamboozle

    It was the great UCLA men’s basketball Coach John Wooden who said, “The most powerful leadership tool you have is your own example.” Several area student-athletes set a tremendous example at the IHSA Class 1A State Track and Field Finals.

    Carmen DeVries from Lena-Winslow/Pearl City claimed the State title in the 400m dash, and also finished 3rd in the triple jump. Emily Offenheiser from Stockton/Warren took home 1st in discus, and 2nd in shot put.  Milledgeville’s Rebecca Waite finished 3rd in the 200m dash.

  • 05/25/18 Memorial Day and Opportunity Zones

    This past week was National Emergency Medical Services Week (EMS). Many of us can’t imagine not being able to call 9-1-1 for an ambulance during an emergency. That wasn’t always the case.

    EMS services did not become a national priority until 1966, when President Lyndon Johnson read the report Accidental Death and Disability: The Neglected Disease of Modern Society, in which he learned that more people in America died in vehicle accidents in 1965 than the total number of American casualties in the Korean War.

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