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State Representative Dave Severin and State Senator Dale Fowler will host a Senior Health Fair at the HUB Rec Center, 917 W. Main, Marion, IL on Tuesday, June 26. The event will feature vendors that will assist with a variety of health screenings and provide information on various services available to area seniors.

Doors will open at 9:00 a.m. and the event lasts until 11:00 a.m. Door prizes and refreshments will be available. For those seniors wishing to participate in blood sugar and cholesterol screenings, please note that an 8 hour fast is required in order to receive testing.

For more information, please call Sen. Fowler’s office at 618-294-8951 or Rep. Severin’s office at 618-440-5090.
Funding will foster future of Illinois agriculture

Gov. Bruce Rauner joined the Director of the Illinois Department of Agriculture Raymond Poe to announce the release of $16M in agriculture grants. The funds being released from the fiscal year 2018 budget will fund soil & water districts, county fairs and agriculture societies, and the University of Illinois Extension services.

“These three entities provide services that are vital for the future of Illinois agriculture,” Rauner said. “From protecting our farmland for future generations to fostering agriculture careers and educating consumers, these organizations support Illinois agriculture, the backbone of our state’s economy.”

“Funding for these organizations comes at a critical time,” said Ag Director Raymond Poe. “We must continue to fund these organizations in order to sustain their key programs. I want to thank our agricultural partners for commitment to Illinois agriculture and for their cooperation in these fiscally challenging times.”

More than $54,000 will be sent to each of the 92 county fairs across the state. It will help operations at the fairs and may be used to support critical facility rehabilitation needs. Illinois county fairs are economic drivers for rural Illinois. A study from the University of Illinois shows county fairs generate more than $90 million annually and create more than 1,000 jobs each summer. In addition to providing family friendly entertainment, county fairs provide an outlet for our state’s youth to become involved and engaged in Illinois agriculture. 

Soil and Water Conservation Districts, which protects our state’s farmland through strategic conservation efforts, will receive $6 million. The 97 districts around the state play a central role in efforts to protect and sustain the viability of Illinois soil and water resources in order to preserve our farmland for future generations. The Department will be issuing more than $61,000 to each of the districts to help fund operations.

“As a result of this funding, the SWCD’s of Illinois will be better positioned to support important conservation efforts such as the statewide Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy,” said Steve Stierwalt, President of the Association of Illinois Soil and Water Conservation Districts. “This funding also ensures that SWCD’s have the resources needed to continue to provide important technical expertise, assistance, and cost-share agreements to not only farmers for the installation of conservation practices such as grassed waterways, filter strips, and cover crops – but also urban, suburban, and other rural landowners.”

More than 1.5 million Illinois residents take part in programs offered by the University of Illinois Extension Service. Extension provides educational assistance in the areas of energy and environmental stewardship, food safety and security, economic development and workforce preparedness, family health, financial security and wellness, and youth development. The Department of Agriculture will disperse $5 million dollars to assist the organization with its core mission.

To learn more about agriculture programs in Illinois, please visit the IL Dept. of Agriculture web site here. Remember to visit our local county fairs:


Franklin County Fair (July 5 - 12)

Hamilton County Fair (July 20 -29)

Williamson County Fair (Aug. 7 - 11)

Du Quoin State Fair (Aug 24 - Sept 3)

Illinois State Police Director Leo Schmitz is urging Illinois firearms owners to file paperwork early as the first wave of the 10-year Firearm Owners Identification cards come due for renewal.

"We expect tens of thousands of renewal applications to come in over the next few months," Schmitz said. "We recommend gun owners get their renewal applications in at least one to two months in advance so we have adequate time to process them and get a new card out before expiration."

More than 50,000 FOID cards are due for renewal between June 1 and Aug. 1. The General Assembly amended state law in 2008, allowing FOID cards to be valid for 10 years. The timing of the law change creates a glut of renewals this summer.

FOID card applications involve state and federal background checks, as well as review of the database from the Illinois Department of Human Services to confirm that applicants have not been in a mental institution in the past five years. The Illinois State Police oversees the FOID card system and issues the cards that are needed to buy or possess a firearm or ammunition.

State Police already have sent renewal notices to people whose cards will expire June 1.

Applicants can visit the ISP's Firearm Services Bureau website at ispfsb.com to renew online. The cost of the card is $10. Applicants must be Illinois residents and include their Illinois Drivers License or State ID card number. Applicants under the age of 21 must have a parents' signature on the application.

Anyone who needs assistance with FOID card renewal, and those who prefer paper applications, can call 217-782-7980 and select menu option 0.

Applicants should make sure the name and address on FOID applications match the records on file for them at the Secretary of State's Office, otherwise the renewal process will be delayed.

To read the full article by Doug Wilson at the Herald-Whig, click here.
SPRINGFIELD – Illinois House Republican Leader Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs) along with all members of the House Republican Caucus have filed a resolution demanding an independent redistricting reform solution.

“It is unacceptable that partisan politics involved in the map drawing process have skewed years of election results throughout Illinois,” Durkin said. “We are long overdue for an independent map drawing process that will protect voter rights, create a more transparent process and make legislative races more competitive with more qualified candidates running for office.”

House Resolution 995 shows broad support for maps to be drawn without regard to incumbency and partisanship, and allows voters the opportunity to choose a candidate based on the issues and policies most important to them. Legislative district maps are redrawn every ten years based on the newest census results.

“It is clear that people from both sides of the aisle will not be supporting the current protocol of our inequitable and unfair map-drawing process, making now the time to begin working efficiently towards a new solution to a fair and equitable map across the state,” Durkin said. “A new process will give voters the opportunity to have their own say and involvement in ensuring that the new legislative maps fairly represent each district in Illinois.”

According to a poll from the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute, 72 percent of Illinois residents, including a majority of both Republicans and Democrats, support the creation of an independent commission to draw legislative district maps. Based on the current legislative calendar, the deadlines for passage are April 27 in the House and May 3 in the Senate.
Legislation would put Illinois workers back on the job
and is supported by labor and business

Speaking is Marc Poulos, Executive Director at the Indiana, Illinois and Iowa Foundation for Fair Contracting (Operating Engineers Local 150); Rep. Dave Severin (center - left of podium) with leaders from the Illinois Chamber of Commerce, Illinois Manufacturers Association, and fellow legislators to announce the "Blue Collar Jobs Act" at the Capitol.
State Rep. Dave Severin today joined with labor and business leaders and legislative colleagues to introduce House Bill 5864, the Blue Collar Jobs Act, to incentivize construction projects in the state of Illinois and create jobs for the middle class.

"This bill is good for southern Illinois and good for my district specifically where there are too many buildings sitting empty," commented Rep. Dave Severin, a member of the Business Incentives for Local Communities Committee. "This will help businesses that are here now and help those looking to relocate or start up here."

The Blue Collar Jobs Act is supported by both labor and business groups and offers tax incentives to companies making significant capital improvements in Illinois based on the withholding tax paid to construction workers. It does this through the creation of four new tax credits, including:

- High Impact Business construction jobs credit 

- Enterprise Zone construction jobs credit 

- New Construction EDGE Credit 

- River Edge construction jobs credit


“We support prioritizing Illinois construction workers in our state’s economic development toolset through incentives for new construction, expansion, and rehabilitation projects,” said Marc Poulos, Executive Director IN, IL, IA FFC, the labor-management group of the International Union of Operating Engineers, Local 150.

The program will work under the same structure as the current EDGE program:

- Tax credit value is 50% of Illinois income tax withheld of workers covered under the agreement;

- Tax credit value rises to 75% of Illinois income tax withheld of workers covered under the agreement in areas designated to be in an underserved area that meets certain poverty, unemployment, and federal assistance rates;

- Tax credit is issued to the organization that builds, renovates or expands the building just as the EDGE tax credit goes to the company hiring the workers. The tax credit is meant to incentivize the company to construct new buildings or improve existing buildings which can’t be built without the use of Illinois labor.

“The Blue Collar Jobs Act gives growing businesses another reason to make substantial capital investments in Illinois to bring more jobs and opportunities to our state,” said Todd Maisch, President and CEO of the Illinois Chamber of Commerce.

The tax credits only become available after the work has been fully completed. There is no risk to the state for a company not meeting its requirement as the state has already captured the withholding tax prior to the tax credit being issued.

“Helping the middle class is precisely what the Blue Collar Jobs Act does. It sends a message that Illinois is open for business by putting our highly-skilled construction workers to work,” added Rep. Severin.

HB 5864 has been introduced is waiting to be assigned to committee.
Crab Orchard High School "Top Achievers" for 2017-18

Marion High School "Top Achievers" for 2017-18

Marion High School graduate and current Marion Chief of Police, Dawn Tondini,
receives the "Alumnus of the Year" Award from Bill Swinford.


Retired SIU Football Coach Jerry Kill was the guest speaker an talked about setting goals and working hard.
Congratulations to the "Top Achievers" of the graduating seniors from Crab Orchard High School and Marion High School!

The Marion Star (Swinford-Reppert publishers) annually awards the Top 6 graduating seniors from our high schools in Marion and Crab Orchard. Today, there were seven from Marion because of a set of twin sisters who are top achievers. The luncheon ceremony was hosted at the Artstarts House on Van Buren Street, across from the old jail/history museum.

Former Southern Illinois University football coach Jerry Kill was the guest speaker and spoke about setting goals, working hard, listening to parents and teachers, and making good choices in the face of going off to college and being independent.