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.

On April 12, 1955, Jonas Salk invented the Polio vaccine.  This changed the future of Polio in the United States. 

As part of the federal Inflation Reduction Act the USDA is awarding grant monies for a new Rural Energy for America Program (REAP).

Marijuana is legal for adults in Illinois and is taxed and regulated similarly to alcohol. 4/20 celebrations are a big deal across the state, especially in the larger cities. Cannabis retailers, aficionados, and anyone part of the cannabis culture take part to celebrate.

What are your thoughts about debates?  I personally believe they are a good thing.  A way to discuss a particular political platform, or a way to remind us that some things have already been accomplished even though we are told daily there has been no progress.  As voters, we need to know all that we can about who we are voting for.  What is their platform?  What are the ways they are going to accomplish their goals? 

These days with all the new pronouns, changing definitions of things I’ve known for decades and misinformation peddled by “social influencers” it’s hard for anyone to define anything anymore. The only social influencer I ever knew in my life were called mom and dad, and dependent on their mood at the time or their answer truly influenced your social life.

An example of malicious prosecution is the Cusick v. Gualandi et al. case. Malicious prosecution is filing a lawsuit without probable cause, with fabricated evidence or plain malice.

Mayor Bearrows and I had the honor of presenting the 2024 State of the Community address at City Hall and live on Facebook last month. Our team accomplished a lot in 2023 and we are excited for great things to come in 2024.

The most powerful nation in the world fails again and again, like a giant in chains, at the most basic tasks of government.

As a career advocate for community inclusion and access to critical services like health care and education, I felt compelled to highlight the work of Illinois Community Colleges across our state that empower women to pursue careers in historically male-dominated industries.

March 28, 1889 started out like most days in Ashton, local business owners were opening their stores and preparing to serve their customers.

How many of us are worried that the 2020 election was stolen or there was too much scandal around it?  Shouldn’t we have looked for and found various political and concerned groups trying to fix any problems that were found?  Shouldn’t we have found in the news that these groups and others were reviewing the voting processes of those areas found to concerning?  Shouldn’t we have heard something?

Since 1980, landowners in Illinois have had a tool available to them that can help preserve farmland for at least 10 years. The Illinois Agricultural Areas Conservation and Protection Act allows one or more landowners to voluntarily place their land into a protected district, often called an “ag area,” with the approval of the local county board.

On Monday, March 18, we celebrated the six-month anniversary of the implementation of the Pretrial Fairness Act. There are few places where racial injustice was more apparent in Illinois’ criminal legal system than in the use of monetary bail.  The Pretrial Fairness Act was aimed at correcting some of those inequities and eliminated our two-tiered system of justice that routinely and systematically disadvantaged people of color, particularly Black people. 

Transportation technology is human-built systems that move people our artifacts over and under the surface of the land, through our atmosphere, over and under water, and through space.

A lot has changed on our Ogle County farm since I first started helping my dad take care of the pigs over 50 years ago. Gone are the open sheds and large pens for our pigs of multiple sizes and ages — pens where they were exposed to the weather as well as disease.

During the last century, asbestos use was prevalent in the U.S. armed forces, as the WWII war effort demanded materials at accessible prices for producing military equipment quickly and in large quantities.

In Illinois, working families and job creators make up the backbone of our communities — people who work hard and play by the rules.

So many people are fed up with our government entitlements.  At least that is what most say to me when we discuss various policies of the federal government. 

Spring is coming soon!  At the library, we are Marching into Spring Break week!  Spring Break is a great time to come into the library and get your library card renewed, updated or replaced so you are all ready for summer. 

You can have fun on St. Patrick’s Day and maintain sobriety. Yet, do not feel pressured to do this, as sobriety is a different process for everyone. Whether you overcame alcoholism, chose to abstain from alcohol, or are newly sober, it’s a unique process.

I am endorsing Chad Horner for Ogle County coroner.

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