Woodford County news briefs

Eureka College theater will be holding various workshops for youth theater in cooperation with the Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts. (Photo courtesy of Eureka College)


Illinois Prairie libraries to hold workshop on Fake News

The Illinois Prairie District Public Library is collaborating with New York City-based startup NewsGuard to provide library patrons with a news literacy tool to help them assess the reliability of the news and information websites they see while using library computers.

With NewsGuard’s browser extension installed, visitors to the library’s six branches, Benson, Germantown Hills, Metamora, Roanoke, Spring Bay, and Washburn, serving more than 22,000 area residents will have access to Nutrition Label reviews of thousands of news and information websites, which show up next to links in search results and on social media feeds

Ahead of downloading NewsGuard’s browser extension on all patron computers, the library’s Germantown Hills branch will host a workshop entitled “Fighting Fake News with Nutrition Labels for Websites: Learn How to be Your Own NewsGuard.”

The workshop, which is free and open to the public, will take place on Thursday, Aug. 29, from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m., led by NewsGuard’s Director of News Literacy Partnerships Macaela Bennett, who is a Central Illinois native.

“We’re delighted to be partnering with NewsGuard, which does with online content what librarians have been doing with printed content since the invention of libraries — give readers the basic information they need about what they are about to read,” said Illinois Prairie District Public Library Director Joel Shoemaker. “We’re proud to be taking the lead in deploying NewsGuard’s news literacy tool in Illinois.”

NewsGuard analysts, who are trained journalists with varied backgrounds, rate websites based on nine binary, apolitical criteria of journalistic practice, including whether a site repeatedly publishes false content, regularly corrects or clarifies errors, avoids deceptive headlines, and whether it discloses ownership and management.

For more information, contact Joel Shoemaker, library director, at joel@ipdpl.org, or at 309-367- 4594.


 Fall youth BCPA theater programs available  

A workshop for upcoming auditions for the Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts’ production of “Frozen Jr.” will be held on Saturday, Aug. 24 from 11 a.m. to noon at Eureka College.

Get a sneak peak of the audition music and dance routine. Learn from the directors what they are looking for in each character and everything you need to know for your audition on the first day of “Frozen Jr.” This workshop is only $5 cash at the door. Register online at http://www.nitschtheatrearts.org.

Rising Stars Community Group

Sing and Dance in our Community Performance Group. Perform all around the community as well as travel. Perform group numbers as well as solos and duets. Ages 5-18. $80

Mondays, 4:30 to 5 p.m.

​Broadway Dance

Ballet, tap, jazz, hip-hop and various Broadway styles all covered.  Learn how to “wow” the directors at dance auditions. Ages 6-18. $80

Mondays, 5:45 to 6:15 p.m.


Be a part of our new acapella performance group that will truly learn what it means to blend with fellow performers. Auditions will be Saturday, Aug. 24, at 12:15 p.m. at Eureka College. Ages 10-21. Cost-$80

Group will meet Sundays, 3:30 to 4 p.m.

​Register for Eureka’s offerings http://www.nitschtheatrearts.org.


Free family activities highlight Illinois’ outdoors

Visitors to the Illinois State Fair can take an easy hike and sample Illinois’ great outdoors with a stop at Conservation World on the Illinois State Fairgrounds, Aug. 9-18 in Springfield.
“There are so many wonderful things for families to do outdoors in Illinois, and we’re providing them with some samples at Conservation World at the Illinois State Fair,” said Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) Director Colleen Callahan.  “From our state parks to great trail hikes, to fishing and hunting opportunities, and improving wildlife habitat in your own backyard, a visit to Conservation World can help your family plan a great outdoors adventure.”
Conservation World is a 30-acre venue on the northwest corner of the Illinois State Fairgrounds with park benches, ponds, grass, and shade trees adjacent to the IDNR headquarters.

Some of the events and attractions:

  • The famous “Paul Bunyan Lumberjack Show” has performances every day Aug. 9-18:  Monday – Thursday at 12 p.m., 3 p.m., 6 p.m., and Friday – Sunday at 12 p.m., 2 p.m., 4 p.m., 6 p.m.
  • Voyageur canoe rides on the Conservation World pond, Aug. 9-11 and Aug. 16-18 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Kids fishing opportunities include hands-on fishing clinics at the pond inside the Conservation World gate five times each day, with all bait and tackle provided, at 10:30 a.m., 12 p.m., 1:30 p.m., 3 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. Kids aged 10 and younger also can sign up at the Fisheries Tent and participate in free bowfishing daily at 11 a.m., 2 p.m., and 4 p.m.
  • Fly fishing demonstrations for anglers of all ages are scheduled for Aug. 9-11 and Aug. 16-18 at 11 a.m., 1:30 p.m., and 4:30 p.m.  Sporting retrieving dog demonstrations are planned at the Conservation World pond for Aug. 9 at 2:30 p.m. and Aug. 10-11 at 12:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m., courtesy of Green Acres Sportsmen’s Club.
  • Youth Archery and BB Gun hands-on instruction is available daily at the Conservation World youth practice ranges, hosted by shooting sports experts and safety education instructors and volunteers.
  • Fishing opportunities abound in Illinois, and some of the state’s best sport fish will be on display in the Fisheries Tent in a 2,800-gallon aquarium, providing visitors a chance to see some keepers up-close.
  • Smokey Bear is celebrating his 75th birthday and is scheduled to visit Conservation World daily. IDNR Forest Resources specialists will promote forest health, tree care and forest protection at Conservation World. Additionally, IDNR’s Mason State Nursery will be selling native plants and pollinator seed mix.

IDNR wildlife and natural heritage staffs will host displays and answer questions about hunting prospects, wildlife watching, helping threatened and endangered species, and habitat enhancement projects.


 Gov. Pritzker signs law improving kennel safety

Governor J.B. Pritzker signed a new law today to ensure that dogs or cats that are placed in a kennel are safe at all times.
“This commonsense law will protect pets from senseless tragedies and further our state’s commitment to animal welfare,” said Governor J.B. Pritzker. “We’re putting safety first and making sure the tragedy that West Chicago experienced in January will never happen again.”
The new law, which takes effect immediately, requires kennels to either be staffed at all times or install a fire alarm or sprinkler system in every building where animals are housed that notifies local fire departments. House Bill 3390 was introduced and passed after the tragic death of 31 dogs in a West Chicago kennel fire in January 2019. Fire investigators say there were working smoke detectors but likely no one there to hear them.