Woodford County news briefs

Chives, red veined Sorrel and Peppermint are thriving at the Woodford County Master Gardener project at the County Courthouse. (Photo courtesy of Woodford Master Gardeners)


New scholarship offered in name of Nancy Reagan

Historian, Ronald Reagan biographer and Eureka College Trustee Craig Shirley has established a Eureka College scholarship in the name of his mother, Barbara Shirley Eckert, and former First Lady of the United States Nancy Davis Reagan.

The Barbara Shirley Eckert and Nancy Davis Reagan Scholarship will be given to a student studying and planning to launch careers in either economics or communication — one of the fields Ronald Reagan studied at Eureka and one that he became known for in his political career.

Long before he was the 40th president of the United States, Ronald Reagan was a member of the Eureka College community and a graduate of the 1932 class.

Shirley is the author of six books, including four bestsellers on Reagan, “Reagan’s Revolution: The Untold Story of the Campaign that Started It All” (2005), “Rendezvous with Destiny (Ronald Reagan and the Campaign That Changed America” (2009), Last Act: The Finals Years and Emerging Legacy of Ronald Reagan” (2015) and “Reagan Rising: The Decisive Years, 1976-1980” (2017).

He is also the founder of Shirley & Banister Public Affairs, a member of the Board of Governors of the Reagan Ranch and has lectured at Reagan Library, the FDR Library in Hyde Park, and the Dole Institute in Kansas.


Take a tour of the old county farm in Metamora

The Woodford County Historical Society is organizing a tour of the former Woodford County Farm (A.K.A. the Poor Farm) at 1263 Mennonite Road near Metamora on Saturday June 22. The society and Jack Heinz are offering private, small-group guided tours at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m.

The 240-acre farm was established in 1867 and was a place for indigents to live and work.  It ceased operations in the 1970s.

The cost of the tickets is $5 each. This includes your tour and a copy of the group’s recently printed booklet on the history of the farm. Tickets are limited to 50.

Since the home is not air conditioned, further tours will be postponed until September

Call Karen Fyke at 309-360-6772 for tickets reservations and information.

The Woodford County Home was a working farm for the county’s indigent. (Photo courtesy of Woodford County Historical & Genealogical Society)


Poetry art exhibit extended, expanded at Heartland

The Joe McCauley Art Gallery at Heartland Community College presents “Summer Typo(etry)”, an interactive exhibit of art, graphic design, poetry, and typewriters, through Thursday, July 25.

The gallery is located on the second floor of the Instructional Commons Building (ICB) in room 2507 on Heartland’s Normal campus, 1500 W. Raab Road

“Summer Typo(etry)” is an expansion of the gallery’s spring exhibit, redesigned with additional graphics, poetry, manual typewriters, vintage ads and ephemera, and an expanded typewriter station. Visitors are invited to type on manual typewriters, and post their poems, drawings, designs and thoughts on the community response wall.

The exhibit includes:

  • Artworks by Matt Erickson and Lisa Lofgren
  • Blackout poetry by students
  • Community wall responses by spring contributors
  • Ekphrastic poems by Cathy Gilbert paired with source photographs
  • Graphics by marketing and design interns Quinnie Calvert and Bree Evans
  • Typewriters, ephemera, and reproductions of vintage typewriter ads and manuals
  • Typewritten poems by faculty, staff, and students, selected by Cathy Gilbert and Jennifer Pauken

The Joe McCauley Gallery’s summer hours are Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on days the college is open. Exhibits, events, and parking are free.

For more information about this exhibit, contact Danell Dvorak, gallery coordinator, at danell.dvorak@heartland.edu, or call Heartland’s Liberal Arts and Social Sciences Department at 309-268-8620.

ICC has openings in select apprenticeships

Illinois Central College is seeking interested individuals to fill select career and technical programs with openings for summer and fall enrollment.

Programs with openings for additional students include the Industrial Maintenance and Computer Numerical Control (CNC) Machining apprenticeship programs, as well as a Pre-Apprenticeship/Workforce Ready Program.

Potential students who are currently unemployed or under-employed are encouraged to apply.

ICC’s apprenticeship programs provide a mix of 300 to 450 hours of coursework per year, in addition to on-the-job training with local companies, to train for a specific career.

The partnering companies hire the apprentices and pay their tuition/fees and books plus a salary while they learn.

Successful students can complete the apprenticeship program with an associate degree debt-free and commit to work an additional two years for the sponsoring company.  Candidates first apply to ICC and then are screened and pre-qualified prior to company interviews.

Openings also are available for the Pre-Apprenticeship/Workforce Ready Program, which helps prepare students with the Math, English and other essential skills to become college-ready apprentices.

All participants are paid while attending training. This eight-week program has immediate openings for June/July and August/September.

ICC is aligning its programs and partnering with businesses to fill regional skills gaps reported in the areas of manufacturing, information technology and health care, while providing individuals a credential leading to jobs with a living wage.

To apply or for more information, contact the ICC Workforce Development Division at 309-690-6863 or visit icc.edu/earnandlearn.


Officials caution of blue-green algae on waterways

As temperatures begin to rise, the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Public Health are reminding residents to be cautious if they are planning activities on Illinois lakes and rivers, now and throughout the summer.

Water conditions are ideal for blue-green algae growth. Blue-green algae (also known as cyanobacteria) are microscopic organisms that naturally occur in lakes and streams. Rapid growth of algae is referred to as a “bloom.”

While most blue-green algae are harmless, some can produce toxic chemicals that cause sickness or other health effects in people and pets, depending on the amount and type of exposure.

Sensitive individuals, including young children, the elderly, and people with compromised immune systems are most at risk to adverse health effects attributable to algal toxins. Individuals are most often exposed to algal toxins while swimming or participating in other recreational activities in and on the water.

The most common routes of exposure are direct skin contact, accidental ingestion of contaminated water, or accidental inhalation of water droplets in the air.

Symptoms of exposure to algal toxins include rashes, hives, diarrhea, vomiting, coughing, or wheezing. More severe symptoms may result from longer or greater amounts of exposure.

People who plan to recreate in or on Illinois lakes or rivers this summer are advised to avoid contact with water that:

  • looks like spilled, green or blue-green paint;
  • has surface scums, mats, or films;
  • is discolored or has green-colored streaks; or
  • has greenish globs suspended in the water below the surface.

People are also advised to keep children and pets out of the water. Do not allow pets to drink from the water and do not allow them to lick their fur after swimming in water containing a blue-green algae bloom. If you or your pet has contact with water you suspect may have a blue-green algae bloom, rinse off with clean, fresh water as soon as possible.