Planting season continues at a robust pace as farmers across the area try to hit those optimum planting dates. As for me I failed in that regard this year.

My last article covered pregnancy rates and why new laws, in many states, have been enacted to control women and their pregnancies.  That article was written with women in mind. I promised, however, that I would write this next one with men in mind.  Now I keep that promise.

With the Illinois Legislature ready to end its spring legislative session soon, our health care facilities are dialing 911 to save the 340B program that provides prescription drug and other benefits for patients who have nowhere else to turn.

 The Illinois Education Association would like to thank the Illinois Association of Regional School Superintendents for its work the past seven years on the Educator Shortage survey.

I was like a lot of people who was aware of Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy but never really thought much about it until about three years ago when my son, Mason, was diagnosed with the disease.

Drive through any community in Illinois and you’re sure to see the orange cones and blinking lights of a road construction zone. You might also see crews building a new restaurant, bank, or gas station. And in many communities, you’ll see the cranes and earthmovers building a new manufacturing facility, data center, or electric vehicle assembly plant. But even amid all this construction, it’s less common, rare even, to spot a new home or subdivision being built.

We Americans are practical. We cast a suspicious eye on theories. We rely on common sense — self-evident ideas that nearly everyone shares.

The USDA released the first insights into net farm income expectations for 2024. The report anticipates a decrease from 2023’s forecast of $155 billion to $116 billion – a drop of nearly $40 billion, or 25.5%, and the largest recorded year-to-year dollar decrease in net farm income.

The Flagg Rochelle Public Library District is getting ready for Summer Reading.  Our flyers will be coming out soon. The theme for Summer Reading this year is “Read, Renew, Repeat.”

The recent arrival of illegal immigrants into the United States has health officials concerned about the increase in communicable diseases.

2024 is off to a great start in Rochelle. Our team at the city is overseeing many projects and initiatives are transforming 2024 into one of our most productive years during my tenure. 

First, let’s look at some statistics.  United States pregnancy rates declined between 2010 and 2019.  They continue to decline in this current decade.  It has been a trend at least since 1991 according to the CDC.  

Last September, Illinois embarked on a trailblazing journey toward justice by enacting the Pretrial Fairness Act, making it the first state in the nation to eliminate money bail. The law's smooth and successful implementation has ensured that more people are now able to return to their communities while awaiting trial. That means more people are maintaining employment, housing and connections with loved ones, which makes us all safer. 

I have been fortunate to spend 22 years in the school human resources role.  More recently, I have also been working as the executive director of the Illinois Association of School Personnel Administrators (IASPA) representing more than 560 educational human resources professionals in Illinois. We are here to tell you: The teacher shortage is real.

The Rochelle Lions Club would like to thank everyone that supported our Rose Day event on Saturday, April 20.

Yep, legislators are back at it in Springfield working on legislation that may or may not see the light of day. As usual they will be racing to get their bills filed by the filing deadline, then the speakers in both chambers will decide what does get assigned to committee, and what doesn’t (that’s known as killing the bill). Then chamber committees will hold hearings and meetings. And eventually those that pass muster will be brought to a vote in both chambers. After that the Governor either signs it or vetoes it, and if it is the latter an entire new process kicks in.

Nearly 10 years ago, Illinois adopted the “60 by 25” goal: that 60% of adults would have a postsecondary degree or credential by the year 2025 to meet projected workforce needs.

Growing up there was one place that I could always go for an adventure. From “The Wonderful Flight to the Mushroom Planet” by Eleanore Cameron, “Glass Bead Game” by Herman Hesse, and “Great Expectations” by Charles Dickens, I could go anywhere and do anything within the walls of the Flagg-Rochelle Public Library.

Understanding the technology our world is filled with is one way that we can gain a level of comfort in our lives. If we have a sense of understanding, instead of confusion, it’s a better way to go through life.

Jay Larson’s co-workers stepped in for his mail route in Rockford earlier this month when Jay’s final deliveries ended in unspeakable tragedy. 

America is divided over major efforts to rewrite child labor laws.

When I dreamed of joining the military, I knew it wouldn’t be an easy dream to realize. I knew I’d have to push myself past my limits and that I could be required to risk my life. Over my 14 years in the South Dakota Army National Guard, including service in Iraq, all of that and more came to fruition. 

Joshua Bland Jr. was repairing a roof on a commercial building in Danville on Dec. 4, 2023, when the 25-year-old fell about 33 feet to the ground, suffering fatal injuries. His employer failed to enforce the use of fall protection – exposing Joshua to the construction’s industry’s most dangerous hazard – falls from heights.

In 2001, I participated in Illinois Farm Bureau’s inaugural Market Study Tour to China. Our group visited a training kitchen where chefs were learning recipes featuring U.S. beef and pork products. In the kitchen’s cooler, I discovered the pork was from a facility in Waterloo, Iowa, where many of my own hogs were processed.

The long and bloody history leading to the war in Gaza brings to mind ancient Greek tragedies, in which the characters were helpless against fate, the laws of the universe, and their own mistakes. A similar feeling of tragic destiny hovers over Israel and the Palestinians. It arises in their case from human nature — and economics.

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