Woodford County News Briefs

Chronicle Media

The Land of Lincoln has seen a drop in population for the fourth consecutive year, allowing Pennsylvania to push Illinois from fifth to sixth largest state, accord to new census figures.


Pennsylvania surpasses Illinois as 5th largest

For the fourth consecutive year, Illinois has lost population; this time, losing the most number of residents of any state in America, according to newly released U.S. Census data.

Illinois lost 33,703 residents, dropping the total population to 12,802,023, the greatest numeric population loss of any state. Pennsylvania saw a slight increase, and now with a total population of 12,805,537, has outranked Illinois for the first time in years, based on U.S. Census Bureau figures from July 1, 2016, to July 1, 2017.

Illinois’ population drop represents a loss of 0.26 percent, which allowed Pennsylvania to slide ahead of Illinois into the No. 5 spot for the most-populous states.

Idaho was the nation’s fastest-growing state over the last year, the census said. Its population increased 2.2 percent to 1.7 million. Following Idaho for the largest percentage increases in population were Nevada (2 percent), Utah (1.9), Washington (1.7), Florida and Arizona (1.6 each).

Overall, the country’s population grew by 2.3 million during the one-year period, representing a 0.72 percent increase to 325.7 million.

New website gives detailed road conditions

The Illinois Department of Transportation has announced its newly redesigned GettingAroundIllinois.com, which will have continually updated information on road conditions.

“The new-and-improved GettingAroundIllinois.com is a great resource any time of the year, but especially during winter when road conditions can quickly change,” IDOT Secretary Randy Blankenhorn said recently in a news release. “Illinois has the third-largest highway system in the nation, so we know it is important to provide the public with a convenient way to access information they know they can trust.”

Available on computers and mobile devices, the website includes the ability to identify and zoom in to a location, travel route or destination. Road conditions are recorded by IDOT plow drivers out in the field and relayed through GettingAroundIllinois.com through a cloud-based system.

Recent updates to this map include more detailed reports of snow coverage and a color scheme that aligns with map technology used by surrounding states.


New volume of Downstate Story available free on the web

Ten new short stories by Illinois and Midwestern writers are featured in the 2017 edition of Downstate Story, Peoria’s only literary magazine for fiction. Downstate Story is now published only on the web at downstatestory.com.

The writers in this issue include central Illinois authors Dennis Shannon of Morton and Loren Logsdon of Eureka.

Other authors are Pepper Bauer of Mapleton, IL; Jim Courter of Macomb, IL; Margaret Lisle of Lisle, IL; Marie Anderson of LaGrange, IL Grace Kuikman of Chicago, IL; Don Mauer of Fontata, WI; Alyssa Murphy of Lawrenceburg, IN; and Paul Bowman of New Albany, IN. Most of these writers have long lists of publications in other literary magazines, and some have written books.

Published by Downstate Story, Inc., an Illinois not-for-profit corporation, the annual publication aims to present original fiction by Illinois writers and writers with ties to Illinois and the Midwest as a quality alternative to today’s mass-market publishing. None of the stories have been published elsewhere. Stories reflect diversity of authors, and include romance, horror, fantasy, science fiction and mainstream fiction.

For this Web edition, readers are asked for donations to help defray publishing costs. All writers are paid for their work.

Downstate Story’s Facebook page can be accessed at facebook.com/downstatestory.


New federal tax bill prompts early property tax payments

In a reaction to the new federal tax bill, the Woodford County Treasurer’s Office is accepting 2018 property tax payments the next few days.

County officials are letting residents pre-pay their property taxes that are due next year, because the new tax bill has a cap on deductions people can take on real estate taxes they’ve paid – making it more financially desirable for some people to pay ahead this year. Individual taxpayers have to weigh their options to ensure it would actually benefit them enough to make a difference on their taxes payable April 15, 2018.

Residents have to sign agreements about the advance payments. Because next year’s bills have not been calculated yet, it’s possible that people may still owe money, or they may overpay. They’ll receive refunds for underpayment, and will have to cover any underpayment by the time the first installment would usually be due.

Information is available at woodford-county.org

County officials are recommending that people pay in person, and payments must be processed by 5 p.m. Dec. 29.

–Woodford County News Briefs–