Woodford County news briefs

Eureka College is working with high schools in the region to offer and expand upon tuition-free programs. (Photo courtesy of Eureka College)


 Library schedules holiday hours

The Eureka Public Library, 202 S. Main, will be closed on the following days for the Christmas and New Year’s holidays: Dec. 24, 25, 26, 31; and Jan. 1.

For more information, call the library at 309-467-2922.

College expanding tuition-free program with local high schools

Eureka College is collaborating with a trio of local high schools — Eureka High School, East Peoria Community High School and Washington Community High School —  to give students in financial need an opportunity to earn a bachelor’s degree tuition-free.

All graduates from these schools who meet the requirements are eligible to apply as a part of Eureka’s growing Uniquely Eureka Promise Program.

This promise scholarship is designed to cover the remaining tuition charge for incoming students who have both graduated from these schools and meet specific academic and financial aid requirements.

The Uniquely Eureka Promise is a promise to assist students in a financial need, who have proven themselves successfully academically. Since 2018, this EC program has provided in-state community college transfer students financial relief, and allowed them to stay focused on their academic achievements without the worry of financing a full-time tuition charge.

“We’re excited and proud to be able to offer the Promise Scholarship to students from these three great high schools,” Dean of Enrollment Management Mac Ingmire said. “This scholarship is an opportunity for finances to no longer be a hurdle for students who have proven themselves academically and have wanted to pursue one of the best liberal arts educations in the state.”

The eligibility requirements for the students from these schools are as follows: a 3.0 cumulative GPA or higher; current residency in the state of Illinois and U.S. citizenship for at least a year; eligible to receive State of Illinois MAP grant and Federal Pell grant as determined by the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and have a FAFSA EFC of 1,000 or less; enrollment at EC in a minimum of 15 credit hours per semester; acceptance and use of all federal and state grants each year of the program before Eureka College makes up the difference for tuition cost; and a commitment to volunteer 40 hours with the college over the course of four school years.

“As principal at Eureka High School, I’m always looking for ways to help students be successful after high school.” Eureka High School Principal Kirk Edwards said. “The ‘Uniquely Eureka Promise’ program is a great opportunity for our students who qualify. I believe that this program will grow in the years to come, and I’m excited that Eureka High School will be part of it.”

Applicants must also meet all deadline dates. To be eligible for the fall semester, admission applications must be submitted by July 1, 2020.

For more information, contact the Eureka College Admissions Office at admissions@eureka.edu or 1-888-438-7352.


 Public invited to take IDOT traveler survey

The Illinois Department of Transportation is seeking feedback on the state’s transportation system through its annual Illinois Traveler Opinion Survey, available today through Dec. 31. The survey is available online by clicking here or visiting idot.illinois.gov.

“The public’s input is vital for the health of our transportation system. We look forward to learning about your travel preferences, what you think we are doing well and how you’d like us to improve,” said Acting Illinois Transportation Secretary Omer Osman. “Illinois is the heart of this country’s transportation network, its importance to national commerce as well as safe travel for the motoring public can’t be understated. We want to hear from you.”

The annual survey, conducted in partnership with the University of Illinois Springfield, seeks feedback on topics ranging from road conditions and ice-and-snow removal to commuting habits and driving behaviors. Questions also ask travelers for feedback about the IDOT website, the state’s rest areas and passenger rail use.

The Illinois Traveler Opinion Survey has been conducted annually since 2001. A copy of the 2018 survey and results, as well as data collected from past years, can be viewed here.

For IDOT updates, follow us on Twitter at @IDOT_Illinois or view area construction details on IDOT’s traveler information map on GettingAroundIllinois.com.

  Having a safe holiday in terms of food handling, prep

Many people look forward holiday gatherings centered around gift-giving and special meals, whether those are casual buffets or a sit-down holiday meal.

But one thing you do not want to go with your meal is bacteria that could cause food poisoning.

“While most healthy people recover from foodborne illness, typically called food poisoning, in a day or two, others can suffer severe illness, including a condition where the kidneys stop working,” said Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike. “This holiday season, I recommend following several food safety steps to help prevent foodborne illness.”

The four main steps for food safety are:

  • Clean – Clean your hands, surfaces, and utensils with soap and water before cooking. After cleaning surfaces where raw poultry has touched, also use a sanitizer.
  • Separate – Use separate cutting boards, plates, and utensils to avoid cross-contamination between raw meat and foods that are ready to eat.
  • Cook – Use a thermometer to check if the turkey is cooked. You cannot tell just by looking if it is fully cooked. Turkey should be cooked to 165° F
  • Chill – Do not leave foods at room temperature more than two hours. After you are done eating, divide the remaining food into small containers and either refrigerate or freeze. Leftovers are safe in the refrigerator for up to four days.

An easy rule to remember is to keep hot foods hot, and cold foods cold. After being cooked to a safe temperature, hot foods should not be allowed to get cooler than 140° F.

Cold foods should not be allowed to become warmer than 40° F. Bacteria grow most rapidly in the range of temperatures between 40° F and 140°F. This range of temperatures is commonly referred to as the “Danger Zone.”

Typical symptoms of foodborne illness include vomiting, diarrhea, and flu-like symptoms, which can start anywhere from hours to days after consuming contaminated food or drinks. Symptoms can last anywhere from a few hours to a few days. Those at risk of more severe and even life-threatening foodborne illness include older adults, infants, young children, pregnant women, and people with weakened immune systems.

If you become ill, especially with severe symptoms, or if you are at risk for more severe disease, seek care from a medical provider to ensure a proper diagnosis and appropriate management.

More information on Food Safety During The Holidays can be found on the IDPH website.