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Illinois State Fair to Host Inaugural Corn Dog Kickoff Party

Thomas Clatterbuck



The State Fair might still be months away, but the festivities are already gearing up. On June 9th, the Fair will be hosting its inaugural Corn Dog Kickoff. This event will feature live music, fair food, giveaways, and many other activities. Broseph, one of the hottest up-and-coming bands from the Midwest, will also be playing from 12:00 to 2:30 PM.

There is a new 3K walk and 5K run this year. The races will trace through some of the fairgrounds’ most prominent attractions, including the Conservation World and the world’s fastest dirt track. Registration is currently underway and costs $25 per race with a free t-shirt for those who sign up before May 23rd.  100% of the proceeds from the race will benefit the Illinois Fairgrounds Foundation.  Registration can be done online:

The Corn Dog Kickoff Party will be held from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM and is free of charge. The State Fair Box Office will also be open that day from 9 am – 1 pm.  Attendees can purchase tickets to the fair’s Grandstand Summer Concert Series or our exclusive Stage Side pre-concert parties.

The 2018 Illinois State Fair will be from August 9th to 19th. Stay up to date with all the latest news and announcements from the Illinois State Fair by connecting with us via Facebook, Twitterand Instagram.

Senior strategist, statehouse reporter and political correspondent for Springfield Daily. Graduate of District 117 and UIS. Thomas covers stories in both Morgan and Sangamon Counties, as well as statewide politics.


Layne Zimmers to present on Galápagos expedition

Staff Contributor



Lincoln Magnet School teacher Layne Zimmers will be giving a presentation on her experience in the Galápagos Islands as a National Geographic and Lindblad Grosvenor Fellow 2017. Her talk, 10 Astonishing Days in the Galápagos Islands, details her time on the islands and how it has enhanced her teaching.

The talk will be held at 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, May 23, at Memorial Center for Learning and Innovation Auditorium, Floor 1, 228 W. Miller Street, and is free and open to the public.

The 2017 Fellows, a group of 35 highly respected educators from the United States and Canada, embarked on global expeditions onboard the Lindblad expedition ships—National Geographic Explorer, National Geographic Endeavour ll and National Geographic Sea Lion—for a hands-on experience for professional development.

Each year, pre-K–12 educators are encouraged to apply for this one-of-a-kind professional development opportunity. Fellows enhance their geographic learning through direct, hands-on field experience and bring that knowledge back to their classrooms and professional communities. Before their voyages, the Fellows traveled to National Geographic Society headquarters in Washington, D.C., where they participated in hands-on, pre-expedition workshops covering photography and outreach planning and had the opportunity to network with Lindblad Expeditions naturalists and past Fellows.

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DIPG Awareness Day Bill Passes House

Thomas Clatterbuck



The Illinois Legislature has declared May 17th DIPG Awareness Day. Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma, or DIPG, is a rare brain cancer that strikes children. Overall the fight against childhood cancers is going extremely well. Survival rates for most childhood cancers has been steadily climbing for decades. However, DIPG still has no effective treatment and is virtually always fatal. Around 300 children in the US are affected by DIPG each year.

What is DIPG?

DIPG is a tumor that develops in the brainstem. The brainstem is the connection between the brain and the body, and controls many of the basic functions that keep a person alive. DIPG tumors typically develop in children between the ages of five and ten, although they can develop at any age.

Symptoms usually first appear in the face. These include double vision, difficulty moving the eyes, and facial asymmetry. Other symptoms include difficulty chewing or swallowing, and problems with balance.

Why DIPG it so dangerous?

This cancer is particularly hard to treat for several reasons. Because the tumor is in the brainstem, it cannot be safely accessed for biopsies or removal. It is simply too deep in a highly sensitive area. Moreover, as its name suggests, DIPG is a diffuse tumor, meaning it is not as concentrated as other types of tumors. Even if doctors can get to it, it is usually impossible to fully remove the cancerous growths. Radiation treatments can provide some temporary relief, but the symptoms usually return after six to nine months.

DIPG Awareness day

Bunker Hill resident Kimberly Skief helped bring DIPG to the attention of her state legislators in the House and Senate. Skief lost her daughter Grace to this disease in 2015. Senator Andy Manar (D-48) brought the awareness bill to the Senate; it was cosponsored by Rep. Avery Bourne (R-95) in the House.

SB 2254 unanimously passed out of the Senate and House. It now awaits the Governor’s signature before becoming law.

To learn more about DIPG, please check out the following links:

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2018 Election

With union backing, McCann joins race for Illinois governor



Sen. Sam McCann and Family in photo from his official YouTube page.

Illinois state Sen. Sam McCann, R-Plainview, announced Thursday that he plans run as a third-party candidate for governor – a move that likely would siphon votes from incumbent Gov. Bruce Rauner.

The first-term governor is widely viewed as an underdog in the race for the state’s highest office against billionaire J.B. Pritzker. McCann’s campaign with the Conservative Party stands to draw votes away from Rauner, who has alienated many conservative voters. Rauner narrowly defeated state Rep. Jeanne Ives in the Republican primary last month.

“When I announced I was not going to run for Senate, I said the Republican Party under Rauner was unrecognizable to me,” McCann said in a statement. “Rauner has smeared the reputations of proven conservatives and abandoned the principles that millions of Illinois’ working families hold dear: economic liberty, traditional values, and law and order.”

McCann, first elected in 2010, is known for bucking his party and siding with Democrats. His state Senate campaign has accepted more than $100,000 from union groups in recent months. International Union of Operating Engineers Local 150 gave the campaign $50,000 this week.

Rauner touts that he has never accepted union donations.

Local 150 has given money to Republicans in the past, but more commonly supports Democrats.

In a campaign video released Thursday morning, McCann blames Rauner and Chicago Democrats for high taxes and corruption in the state.

“As conservatives, we believe that you can’t spend money that you don’t have,” McCann said. “As your governor, I will work with the General Assembly to appeal Rauner’s tax increase.”

Rauner vetoed the $5 billion tax increase. A group of Republicans joined Democrats in 2017 to override Rauner’s veto. The move raised the state’s personal income tax rate to 4.95 percent from 3.75 percent and the corporate rate to 7 percent from 5.25 percent.

Republicans, including Rauner’s campaign, are bashing McCann for using union donations to try and spoil the matchup between Pritzker and the incumbent Republican.

Rauner’s campaign dismissed McCann’s bid as self serving.

“Sam McCann is the worst kind of political opportunist who is only running for governor to line his own pockets,” Rauner campaign spokesman Will Allison said in a statement. “McCann’s unethical record speaks for itself: he failed to pay his taxes, racked up massive debts, lied about serving in the Marine Corps, and used his campaign account as a personal piggy bank, even buying himself an SUV. Public service should not be for personal gain and Sam McCann’s new ‘campaign’ is just a thinly veiled attempt to profit off of politics.”

Rauner is in Germany on a business-courting trip.

Pritzker welcomed McCann’s candidacy.

“I welcome another voice to the race for governor at this critical time for our state,” Pritzker said in a statement. “Bruce Rauner is a failed governor who has done untold damage to communities throughout Illinois, and people from across the political spectrum are ready for change.”

Pritzker is running on implementing a progressive income tax that could increase taxes on many Illinoisans. He’s not saying what rates he seeks to impose on which income brackets.

McCann also resigned from the Illinois Senate Republican Caucus.

McCann has sided with Democrats and public unions in attempts to grow the size of government several times, most notably in a 2016 attempt to override Rauner’s veto of a union-supported arbitration bill that would have placed labor negotiations between the state and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 31, it’s largest public union, into the hands of an arbitrator. The veto was narrowly upheld in the House.

Rauner had fought the bill, saying it would have removed his ability to negotiate a better deal for taxpayers.

Senate Minority Leader Bill Brady, R-Bloomington, disputed McCann’s conservative credentials.

“The Illinois Republican Party didn’t leave Sam McCann,” Brady said in a Tweet on Thursday. “He left the Republican Party with his lockstep votes to support Mike Madigan’s agenda of unbalanced budgets and putting the interests of public sector unions ahead of Illinois taxpayers.”

The Democratic Governors Association said Thursday in a release that voters who supported Rauner’s conservative primary challenger, Rep. Jeanne Ives, now have another conservative choice.

Ives declined to respond to the comment. The election is Nov. 6th

Article by the Illinois News Network, for more INN News visit


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