Illinois: Don’t swap money bail for digital jails

Illinois has made history. With the implementation of The Pretrial Fairness Act on Sept. 18, it is the first state to fully eliminate cash bond. This means that no one will be held in jail simply because they cannot afford to pay for their freedom. But this historic win for pretrial freedom is in jeopardy.... more

Remembering Bill Black

Bill Black was a lawmaker who alternated between being outraged and outrageous. The former Danville high school history teacher died Sept. 9. He was one of my favorite people in the Illinois General Assembly.... more

Looking at land prices

Every year I get dozens of calls from landowners asking me what is the selling price of farmland or the going rate of farm cash rents. While the dollars and cents part are the predominant thing they look for, there’s more that goes into negotiating a viable sale price or cash rent. However, being a farm owner in Illinois with its rich soils has its advantages as both sales prices and cash rents tend to trend higher that other parts of the country.... more

Fall programming at the library

Fall is coming and the temperatures are starting to get cooler. We are starting our fall programming this month at the library. Follow us on Facebook for up-to-date program information. ... more

Court actors must implement SAFE-T Act for crime survivors

In mid-September, Illinois will move one step further in the pursuit of justice by exchanging risk for wealth as a determinant of safety when making pretrial release decisions. As someone with 25 years of experience as an advocate for survivors, most spent working in our federal criminal legal system that has long operated without money bail, I know risk-based decision making can keep survivors of gender-based violence and the public safe. ... more

Make farm safety a top priority this harvest season

Climbing into the combine seat and hitting the fields each September always fills me with a sense of excitement and anticipation. Even after 48 years, there is no better feeling than looking out over a field of matured corn or soybeans. But, year after year I hear of yet another tragic loss of life due to a preventable work-related injury on the farm during harvest.... more

Wheat and The Great Chatfield Hog War

In the early days of Hickory Grove (Rochelle), agriculture was the mainstay of the economy. Early settlers like Jeptha Noe and Willard Flagg found countless miles of prairie grass as far as the eye could see. The grasses on the prairie would range from four to eight foot tall. The land had to be cleared before farming could begin. Frequently fire was used to burn off the grasses.... more

Consider this: In short, it’s up to us

I’m guessing that there are a lot of people frustrated with our Federal Government and how things are trudging along. We seem to move at a pace that would make sloths, slugs, turtles and other animals’ movements appear to be lightning fast. Then, when they do decide on passing a bill or setting priorities, we don’t agree with what they have done.... more

The banality of evil

As I walked through the lobby of the University of Illinois’ Veterinary School, I looked at the photos of graduates lining the walls. Of course, I was drawn to the images of two people: my father and my wife.... more

Interjecting some humor

Been busy lately and I forgot to feed the hamster so the ol’ noggin’ isn’t exactly working at peak performance. So I’ll let my brain drift this week and just interject some humor.... more

Joe Biden and our crisis of trust

President Biden is the second-most unpopular president in modern history, when compared to others at this point in their first terms. This at least is the verdict from a survey of polls reported on July 18 by Andrew Romano at yahoo.com.... more

Celebrating public power and municipal-owned electric utilities

One of the favorite parts of my job is overseeing RMU and our municipal electric utility. This year national public power week is being celebrated from Oct. 2-6.... more