Woodford County news briefs

Angela Roberts


 Library names new youth services manager

The Eureka Public Library is pleased to announce that Angela Roberts has been selected as the new Youth Services Manager. Before being hired at the library, Roberts has spent the last 20 years raising her sons, Wade and Reuben, and cleaning and caring for people in the area.

Roberts has lived in Eureka since childhood. She recently graduated from Illinois State University with a bachelor of science degree in university studies. She is a member of the Eureka High School Booster Club, president of the Hornet Football 12th Man, and leads a storytelling group for older adults.

Outside of work she enjoys spending time with family and friends, volunteering for the EHS football team, helping others, storytelling, and working in her flowerbeds.


Gardening webinars offer inspiration for warmer weather

Even though it is cold outside, there is still a chance to get involved in gardening. University of Illinois Extension offers webinars that help everyone learn more and inspire us to prepare for spring.

Four Seasons Gardening webinars are taught by horticulture experts and can be attended from the comfort of your own home computer or phone. The classes are live and attendees can ask questions of the presenters. They are also recorded and can be reviewed at any time.

The winter series includes the following topics:

Planning your Garden for Seed Saving, Tuesday, Jan. 14, at 1:30 p.m.

Join Illinois Extension, Horticulture Educator Gemini Bhalsod in a webinar to learn important concepts and techniques for seed saving such as open pollination and variety isolation to get the best quality seeds for your garden.

Harvesting and seed storage will also be discussed.

Sowing of Seeds, January 28, 2020 at 1:30 p.m.

Learn how to start some types of seeds outdoors this winter. Join Illinois Extension, Horticulture Educator Nicole Flowers-Kimmerle in a webinar to learn important concepts and techniques for winter sowing seeds outdoors as a cost-effective way of growing your own seedlings for your garden.

Register at go.illinois.edu/fourseasons. The U of I Extension, Fulton-Mason-Peoria-Tazewell Unit offers the webinars for free. Some counties may also have the option to attend a viewing at the local Extension office. If that is of interest to you, contact your nearest Extension office to inquire. For additional Extension events and information visit our website at https://extension.illinois.edu/fmpt.

Nature Center hosts winter photography show 

Celebrate the beauty of nature with the Peoria Park District’s annual winter photography contest and show.  It runs from Jan. 17 through Feb. 14 at the Forest Park Nature Center, 5809 N. Forest Park Drive, Peoria Heights.

Visit Forest Park or call 309-686-3360 for more information.  Forest Park Nature Center is open Tuesday through Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.


January is National Radon Action Month

The Partnership for a Healthy Community is encouraging residents to test the radon level in their home. The best time to test for radon is during cold weather when windows and doors are closed. Radon is a radioactive gas that occurs naturally in most soil. As radon travels through the soil, it can easily move through small spaces in a foundation and enter a building, where it becomes trapped and accumulates in the air.

Most radon exposure occurs in the home, where people spend the most time. Radon has no taste, smell, or color. Testing is the only way to find out if there is a dangerous level of radon in your home.

When people breathe in radon, it damages the lungs, which can cause lung cancer. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer after cigarette smoking. Radon can be found throughout Illinois and levels can vary from one home to another, even in the same neighborhood.

Radon mitigation is the only effective way to reduce levels and decrease the risk of lung cancer. The most common radon reduction system involves the installation of a vent pipe and fan, which draws air from underneath a building and displaces it outside. The cost of a system varies depending on the reduction method chosen and building size.

According to current professional recommendations, households should test for radon every two years. Test kits can be purchased at Peoria City/County Health Department, Tazewell County Health Department and Woodford County Health Department.

Test kits can also be purchased at area hardware stores. For more detailed information about radon measurements and radon mitigation, visit www.radon.illinois.gov.

For more information regarding the Partnership for a Healthy Community, please visit www.healthyhoi.org, or “Like” Healthy HOI on Facebook.

Horticulture Educator Gemini Bhalsod


IDNR seeks pollinator-friendly habitat on solar sites

As part of a comprehensive effort to expand pollinator-friendly habitat in Illinois, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) is launching a new initiative involving planting pollinator habitat on solar energy sites in the state.
Opportunities to create and enhance pollinator habitat exist statewide — from private yards to roadways, and from farms to parks and natural areas. The new initiative to encourage pollinator friendly-habitat on solar energy sites is intended to complement those efforts.
In 2018, the State of Illinois enacted the Pollinator-Friendly Solar Site Act (525 ILCS 55/). This law required the IDNR to create a scorecard, with consultation from the University of Illinois. Before an owner of a solar site can claim to be pollinator friendly, they must achieve a passing score on the scorecard, make the scorecard available to the public, and provide a copy of the scorecard and vegetation management plan to the IDNR and a nonprofit solar industry trade association of the state.
Illinois Pollinator-Friendly Solar Site Act creates two different scorecards to support the planning of habitat and the evaluation of established habitat. Both scorecards include factors like the number of flowering plants and amount of the solar site that is covered in native species.
The planning scorecard is based on what is planned to be on the site and gives the owner preliminary recognition as “Pollinator-Friendly” for the first three years, giving the habitat time to grow and be used by pollinators. The second scorecard is used to evaluate established habitat to ensure what was planned is what is on the ground.

This established habitat scorecard must be completed every five years for a site to retain recognition as pollinator-friendly.
The IDNR is providing Solar Site Pollinator Establishment Guidelines and the Illinois Solar Site Pollinator Habitat Planning Form to help owners and managers of solar sites meet the requirements of the scorecards.

 Pritzker expands benefit opportunities to more seniors

Starting Jan. 1, the Illinois Department on Aging (IDOA) will implement new annual income limits, making it possible for more individuals to qualify for the Secretary of State License Plate Discount, Seniors Ride Free Transit Benefit, and Persons with Disabilities Free Transit Ride.

Specifically, as part of the bipartisan budget implementation bill, SB 1814, which was passed in May by the General Assembly and signed into law by Gov. J.B. Pritzker in June, it will now be easier for some to receive benefits from the Benefit Access Program, the formal name of the program that includes the Secretary of State License Plate Discount, Seniors Ride Free Transit Benefit, and Persons with Disabilities Free Transit Ride.

Any application submitted Jan. 1 through April 15 will continue to use 2018 income but will be subjected to the new income limits. Applications submitted on or after April 16 must use 2019 income to file.

If an applicant applied in 2019 and was denied based on 2018 income using the current income limits, they will be afforded an opportunity to re-apply. Once approved, benefits are valid for two years.