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YMCA Leaders Seek Input on Facility Plans

Staff Contributor



Springfield, IL – Jason Knoedler, YMCA of Springfield Board President, confirmed today that the YMCA is actively exploring options to replace the 56-year old facility at Fourth and Cook in downtown Springfield.

In making the announcement, YMCA board volunteer Knoedler noted the YMCA’s strategic plan of 2015 identified eventual replacement of the downtown facility as one of its priorities. “We are committed to our continued service to the downtown community,” said Knoedler. “We know it is vital to our mission to assure we can provide the very best in programming experiences to all of our members. Right now our well-used downtown location doesn’t adequately reflect our unwavering commitment to every segment of the community. The development of our Kerasotes facility in 2011 demonstrates the community will respond to a well-planned initiative like this one.”

The YMCA has outlined key areas of focus including youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. In developing the strategic plan, YMCA officials met with many in the community who identified the importance of developing collaborations, focusing on the health and wellness of the community, creating a positive influence on young people, and equalizing services throughout the community. As a new facility is planned, the YMCA will keep these priorities in mind as it develops next steps for downtown.

“This is a once in a generation opportunity,” said YMCA CEO Angie Sowle. “We have a great group of volunteers and have secured the assistance of experts to help us make sure that we follow all of the right steps to create a facility that meets community needs. We will be conducting market studies, reaching out to current and former members, talking with the community and benchmarking best practices so we can create a project the community can embrace and celebrate.”

In February of this year, it was reported a new YMCA was being planned on Carpenter Street, a few blocks east of Memorial Medical Center. In mid-March a community forum was held outlining this plan in collaboration with the Enos Park Neighborhood Association.

“We’re excited about the potential of these partnerships,” said Sowle. “We will continue to seek collaborative opportunities to assure success. That really is the key focus of our work over the next several months that will help make this dream a reality. We have many details to work out to assure our plan keeps the needs of the community at the center.”

The facility plans have not yet been finalized and funding options are being explored to help assure the resources in the community are used in the best way possible. Experts from a variety of disciplines are helping in the planning process that will lead to active fundraising efforts later this year. After key partnership opportunities are fully explored, the YMCA will release plans for the facility and a timetable for action.

“We’ve placed this project into high gear,” said Knoedler. “Our partners expect results soon and we are committed to taking all of the right steps to assure success for the long haul. I know everyone is anxious to learn about the details of funding, final facility plans, and partnerships, but many of these details are dependent on the due diligence of our process. We hope that by mid-summer we can have these pieces in place.”


About the YMCA of Springfield

Since 1874 the YMCA of Springfield has worked to provide opportunities for individuals of all walks of life. The Y serves men and women of all ages, religions and economic backgrounds through programs focused on youth development, healthy living and social responsibility.  The YMCA has two main facilities – Downtown and Kerasotes – with over 11,000 members. In 2017, nearly 45,000 individuals were served in a variety of programs and services.  A volunteer board of directors provides leadership to the association, a member of the national organization – the YMCA of the USA. The Y is one of the nation’s leading nonprofits strengthening communities through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. Across the U.S., 2,700 Ys engage 22 million men, women and children – regardless of age, income or background – to nurture the potential of children and teens, improve the nation’s health and well-being, and provide opportunities to give back and support neighbors. Anchored in more than 10,000 communities, the Y has the long-standing relationships and physical presence not just to promise, but also to deliver lasting personal and social change. and

The 56-year old YMCA facility at Fourth and Cook in downtown Springfield

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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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Davis to Host Service Academy Nights

Staff Contributor



PRESS RELEASE | U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Ill.) will host two Service Academy Nights in conjunction with U.S. Reps. John Shimkus (R-Ill.) and Darin LaHood (R-Ill.) to give high school students an opportunity to learn more about U.S. Service Academies. The offices of Davis and Shimkus will hold one in Edwardsville on Tuesday, April 17th and the offices of Davis and LaHood will hold the second in Springfield on Tuesday, April 24th.

The Edwardsville Academy Night will be held on Tuesday, April 17th beginning at 6:00pm at the Mannie Jackson Center for Humanities, Conference Room 107, 1210 N. Main St., Edwardsville, IL 62025. Doors will open at 5:30pm.

The Springfield Academy Night will take place on Tuesday, April 24th at 7:00pm at the Springfield Air National Guard183rd Fighter Wing, 3101 J David Jones Pkwy, Springfield, IL 62707. Doors will open at 6:30pm.

“As a member of Congress, each year I have the honor of nominating well-qualified, accomplished young men and women to our nation’s service academies,” said Davis. “I encourage any student interested in attending a service academy to come to our Academy Night to learn more about the nomination process and speak directly to representatives from each academy.”

Academy Night gives area students an opportunity to receive more information about the congressional nomination process and hear directly from representatives from each of the five U.S. Service Academies, including the U.S. Air Force Academy, U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, U.S. Military Academy at West Point, and U.S. Naval Academy.

Service academies offer fully funded four-year scholarships to young U.S. Citizens who qualify by age and academics, who demonstrate desirable leadership qualities, and who have the wherewithal to strive for excellence in all their endeavors. A four-year education at one of the service academies has an estimated value of approximately $300,000.

Academy Night is open to all high school students, parents, school administrators, and guidance counselors.

For more information or to RSVP for the event, those interested should contact Amie Gallagher via email at or by phone at (217) 372-6032.

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Illinois State Board of Education finalizes evidence-based funding formula for FY 2018

Staff Contributor



PRESS RELEASE | SPRINGFIELD The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) today issued vouchers to the Illinois State Comptroller, paving the way for the tier funding portion of fiscal year 2018 Evidence-Based Funding to flow to the most under-resourced districts.

ISBE issued vouchers according to the planned timeline, concluding months of extraordinary partnership with school districts and lawmakers to deliver accurate and on-time distributions.

“Implementing a radically new funding formula required extraordinary effort by ISBE staff and school districts,” said State Superintendent of Education Tony Smith, Ph.D. “I deeply appreciate Governor Rauner and the General Assembly’s commitment through the passage, cleanup, and distribution of this historic first year of Evidence-Based Funding.”

ISBE posted the complete model of fiscal year 2018 Evidence-Based Funding calculations on the ISBE website at​.

“The EBF numbers show staggering inequity,” Smith said. “We now have common language to talk about the needs of our students and the situated-ness of our schools within communities. We have a common understanding of what all of our children deserve. Evidence-Based Funding puts us on the path to deliver on the promise of equity for all Illinois’ students. Investing in equity is the superior growth strategy for our state.”

ISBE led a collaborative process with school districts to verify detailed enrollment counts for the past three years. The EBF formula defines an adequate funding target for each school district, based on enrollment numbers and the cost of 34 factors proven to deliver the greatest positive impact to students. The formula compares each district’s current resources to its unique adequacy target. Increases in state education appropriations go to the most under-resourced districts.

Tier funding totals approximately $395 million statewide, including $29 million specifically for English Learners in the highest need districts. ISBE issues EBF vouchers twice per month from August through June. School districts have been receiving the base funding minimum, or hold harmless, portion of EBF. The final six EBF vouchers for FY 2018 will contain all of the FY 2018 tier funding. The Comptroller is responsible for processing the vouchers and distributing funds to school districts.

The EBF formula requires an additional $7.2 billion investment to provide adequate funding for every school district in the state.

Learn more about the Evidence-Based Funding formula at​.

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