The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 to November 30 every year. The Atlantic basin includes the Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea, and Gulf of Mexico. Based on a 30-year climate period from 1991-2020, an average Atlantic hurricane season has 14 named storms, seven hurricanes, and three major hurricanes. The first named storm typically forms in mid to late June, the first hurricane tends to form in early to mid-August, and the first major hurricane forms in late August or early September. 

Whether you call it soda or pop, Illinois boasts a number of unique soft drinks. The most popular of those brands include Green River, RC Cola, Ski and Dog n Suds root beer. Soft drink production dates back to over a century ago in Illinois. These signature soft drinks have been produced in the Chicago, Champaign, and in the southern Illinois community of Breese in Clinton County.

Illinois House Republican Reps. Jennifer Sanalitro
(R-Bloomingdale) and Jason R. Bunting (R-Emington) recently delivered for kids in their districts by hosting School Supply Drives. Donations of various school supply items were dropped off at their district offices and were distributed to area schools for children in need of assistance.

“I hosted this Back to School Supply Drive to help the students and families in our district that might need a little extra help this back to school season,” Rep. Sanalitro stated. “Getting ready to go back to school can be one of the more stressful times for a family. Having to buy new clothes, shoes, and other supplies can become expensive very quickly, especially since inflation has dramatically increased costs.”

High school sports are a staple of life in Illinois, providing thousands of children and teenagers the opportunities to compete, learn life lessons, and have fun outside of the normal classroom routine. Extra-curricular activities are a vital part of the overall educational experience. Many communities are defined by their schools, and mascot names can be derived from local history or culture. When it comes to mascot names, Illinois school districts show off their creative identities in many ways, and there are over 150 unique names.

Mike Marron, a fifth-generation family farmer, has devoted his life to public service through several avenues. The Fithian native charted a diverse and unique path to Springfield, where he has served with the Illinois House Republicans since 2018. Rep. Marron’s vast life experiences include a passion for rodeo, which he developed during his high school years and continues to this day.


Tim Mapes, key aide to former Speaker Madigan, convicted in federal court. The former chief of staff to the office of the Speaker was found guilty of perjury and obstruction of justice. The charges were related to false answers that Mapes voiced to a federal grand jury when he was being questioned under oath. The false answers were closely related to a parallel criminal inquiry mounted by federal investigators against Mapes’ former boss, Chicago’s Michael J. Madigan.

Periods of warm, dry, and windy weather can lead to the dangers of wildfires burning in Illinois. The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) urges Illinois residents to become more vigilant and educated on wildfire safety so that incidents of fires can be prevented. In the last decade there have been instances of large fires at state park properties. 

The origins of high school football in Illinois date back to the 1880s. Some of the state’s most tradition-rich programs originated before 1900, including schools such as Oak Park, East Aurora, Freeport, Woodstock, Joliet, West Aurora, Pontiac, Pittsfield, and East St. Louis. Many of the greatest legends in the history of the sport played high school football in Illinois, including Red Grange, Otto Graham, Dick Butkus, Ray Nitschke, and Kellen Winslow, to name a few. 

Commercial cargo can be transported locally and around the world through several different methods, including by roadways, air, water and railroad tracks. Most of these transportation methods can be defined by truck or tractor trailer, airplane, barge and train.

Illinois is second in the nation in both rail freight loaded and rail freight received per year. Chicago has been the busiest rail center in the country for the past 125 years, and roughly 25 percent of all U.S. freight traffic either passes through or ends in the Chicago area. Illinois loads over 125 million tons of freight each year while receiving 107 million tons. Wyoming loads the most freight at over 270 million tons, and Texas receives the most at over 200. 

Jeppson’s Malört, a bitter liqueur that has become a cultural icon in Chicago for the past decade, is the creation of Swedish immigrant Carl Jeppson. During Prohibition in the 1920s, Jeppson began distilling Malört in Chicago. It was initially marketed as a medicinal tonic, but Malört soon gained a reputation for its unique flavor and became a popular after-dinner drink. 

Manufacturing giant Boeing is expanding its aerospace footprint in St. Clair County, with a 300,000 square-foot state-of-the-art facility expected to be completed in early 2024. The facility at MidAmerica St. Louis Airport in Mascoutah will bring up to 300 advanced manufacturing jobs to the Metro East area. Aircraft production is projected to begin in the start of FY ’24, and Boeing is investing $200 million into the project. 

“Boeing’s commitment to bring hundreds of high paying manufacturing jobs to St. Clair County is a huge shot in the arm for our local economy,” stated Rep. Kevin Schmidt (R-Cahokia Heights). “These are the types of investments we continue to work to bring in to our state and the Metro East area.”

With sky-high inflation still impacting hard-working Illinois families and the new school year set to begin, it’s important to consider ways to save money. Food prices, gasoline costs, interest rates, rent and almost all living expenses continue to rise, and with little end in sight. Saving money in the current economic climate may not be easy, but there are tips and strategies that can be utilized to help families. 

In January of 2023, the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) was faced with a lawsuit accusing the agency of mistreating children in their care by having them sent to juvenile detention facilities. Sadly, these allegations are not the first leveled against the agency tasked with protecting foster children.

House Republicans have been leading the fight to reform this agency and to offer the necessary support to foster children and families for years. With the beginning of the 103rd General Assembly, House Republican Leader Tony McCombie rededicated caucus efforts to the work that needed to be done to protect children.

Youth apprenticeships provide multiple career pathway opportunities for high school students in Illinois. Students enrolled in these programs have the opportunity to enter the workforce upon graduation, or they could enroll in college and continue their education.

Apprenticeships involve a work-based learning model, commonly referred to as a ‘learn and earn’ model, where on-the-job training is combined with relevant classroom instruction. The apprentice acquires new skills and applies them on the job while under supervision. Upon completion of the program, the apprentice receives an industry-recognized credential. 

Illinois is home to an abundance of natural resources, particularly vast agricultural land, clean water and over 200 billion tons of coal. Natural resources are used to make food, fuel and raw materials for the production of goods, and they also provide heat, light and power. Humans could not live without these resources, which are needed to survive and thrive.

Budgeting processes differ in every state in the U.S. In Nebraska, for example, the House legislative leadership is non-partisan and not based on party affiliation. In the 49 other states this year, 30 budgets were passed in partisan fashion, while 19 received bipartisan support. Of the partisan budgets, there was an even split of 15 Democrat-led states and 15 Republican-led states. And of the bipartisan budgets that were passed, 15 of the 19 were in GOP-led Houses.


July 2023 State of Illinois revenues dropped significantly from moneys taken in one year earlier.  The decline affected the State’s fiscal standing as it completed the first month of fiscal year 2024 (FY24).  The news was reported to the General Assembly by the Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability (CGFA), the nonpartisan spreadsheet watchdog office of the Illinois House and Senate.  While Illinois took in $3,594 million in general funds revenues in July 2022, in July 2023 this intake dropped to $3,406 million, a decline of $188 million.

Panhandling is currently legal in Illinois, with a ruling by a federal district court judge in Chicago in January 2021 striking down the law on the books that had prohibited panhandling in public streets and medians. That ruling came six years after a U.S. Supreme Court ruling made it clear that most laws targeting panhandlers are unconstitutional. Since that Supreme Court decision in Reed vs. Town of Gilbert, a number of panhandling ordinances across the nation have been repealed or struck down by courts.

The rise of the electric vehicle industry has prompted at least eight automakers to discontinue installing AM radio equipment in new EVs. The biggest reason for this trend is the fact that electric motors cause interference with radio frequencies, leading to unwanted noises and poor reception. BMW first stopped installing AM radios in its electric vehicles in 2014, and Tesla followed in 2018. Ford, Mazda, Volkswagen and Volvo are other examples.
The legend of the Big Muddy Monster began 50 years ago and locals are now embracing its heritage in the southern Illinois community of Murphysboro. Residents reported multiple sightings of a large ‘big foot’ type creature near the Big Muddy River, and there are several police reports documenting what people observed from back in June 1973. The story became national news, with a report in the New York Times and letters pouring into the police department from interested children and adults all across the world. The case files also include artist sketches of the monster and descriptions from eyewitnesses.

Bison once roared some 30 million strong in the Great Plains region and also in Illinois. As the continent’s largest land mammal, bison were crucial in shaping the prairie ecosystem. However, bison nearly vanished in the late 1800s. In Illinois, overhunting and habitat destruction eliminated the bison population, with the last recorded bison being killed in 1837 near Troy Grove. By 1900, most of Illinois’ prairies had been converted to crop agriculture. 

The professional licensure system in Illinois is antiquated and outdated, and as a result industry professionals from nurses to barbers to roofers can experience wait periods of three to nine months to begin working. The system, which has a never-ending backlog, has not been upgraded since 1999. Republican lawmakers have fought for the General Assembly to pass needed legislation with funding increases, but the status quo remains. At least 40 different professions require state licensure to work in Illinois, and these lengthy delays leave people out of work and the state leaving taxable income on the table. And in many cases, professionals in seasonal and outdoor industries can miss out on an entire year of income waiting out the current licensing system.

An Illinois-based low carbon feed and fuel production plant has partnered with an Illinois-based aviation fuel technology provider and producer to revolutionize the jet fuel-making process. In February 2022, Marquis Sustainable Aviation Fuels, LLC joined forces with LanzaJet to construct an integrated sustainable fuels plant at the 3,300-acre Marquis Industrial Complex in Hennepin in Putnam County.

Bed bugs are small, oval, brown insects that feed on the blood of animals and humans. Adult bed bugs have flat bodies about the size of an apple seed. After feeding, they swell and turn a reddish color. Bed bugs’ flattened bodies make it possible for them to fit into tiny spaces, about the width of a credit card, which means they can get just about anywhere. They tend to live in groups in hiding places and can move quickly over floors, walls and ceilings.