The Waltham Curling Club, founded in 1884, is the oldest curling club in Illinois. Located in the tiny village of Triumph near I-39 and just north of I-80 in LaSalle County, the Waltham Curling Club offers fun for the entire family. The club offers leagues for men, women, and children ages 8 and up. They provide group opportunities to learn to curl, and new members are welcome, with or without curling experience. The curling season runs from early November through late March. 

13.6 million units of blood are collected annually in the United States. Each donation can save up to three lives. In the United States alone, someone needs blood every two seconds, which equals about 29,000 units of blood needed daily, and 4.5 million people needing blood annually. With these numbers in mind, only approximately three percent of the eligible population in the U.S. choose to donate blood .

For State Representative Tom Weber (R-Lake Villa), a young boy’s death in 2019 in McHenry County sparked a renewed mission and passion for his work in Springfield. Four years later, two former DCFS workers are on trial for reckless conduct and child endangerment charges following the death of 5-year-old A.J. Freund. The boy’s parents are currently in jail, including the mother for first-degree murder and the father for involuntary manslaughter, aggravated battery of a child, and concealment of a homicidal death. 

Living in Illinois means homeowners have to always be prepared for changes in the weather. The climate encapsulates all four seasons in Illinois, and staying ahead of the game can save a homeowner thousands of dollars and days and weeks of unwanted challenges or issues. Winter is a beautiful season, with falling snow and cooler temperatures. But it can also be fierce, with arctic-cold temperatures, ice and risks of damage to homes.

Thanksgiving Day is a national holiday in the U.S., and this year Thanksgiving is celebrated on Thursday, November 23. The Thanksgiving celebration dates back to 1621, when the Plymouth colonists from England, known as Pilgrims, and the Native American Wampanoag people shared an autumn harvest feast that is acknowledged as one of the first Thanksgiving celebrations in the colonies. 

For more than two centuries, days of thanksgiving were celebrated by individual colonies and states. It wasn’t until 1863, in the midst of the Civil War, that President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national Thanksgiving Day to be held each November. The holiday is not without controversy, however. Many Americans, including people of Native American ancestry, believe Thanksgiving celebrations mask the true history of oppression and bloodshed that underlies the relationship between European settlers and Native Americans.

Peoria, the eighth-largest city in Illinois, is home to the longest running Santa Claus Parade in America. And not only is the parade a staple of Thanksgiving weekend in the River City, the event continues to thrive as the 136th edition arrives later this year. Last year’s event, held on the Friday after Thanksgiving, included 80 floats. 

The parade features costumed characters, novelty walking units, decorated floats, marching bands, and Santa and Mrs. Claus. Thousands of adults, teenagers and children alike are in attendance. The parade is held through the streets of downtown and is broadcast live on local television. There is no cost to attend the parade. 

Canadian Pacific’s Holiday Train will be returning to Illinois during the upcoming holiday season, with four stops scheduled. This favorite holiday tradition features a bright light display, live music, and an appearance from Santa Claus. 

The CPKC Holiday Train begins its tour of Canada and the United States on November 20 and continues through December 19. The first stop in Illinois is scheduled for Saturday, November 25, in Bensenville. Each stop on the tour includes 30 minutes of live musical performances from well-known artists. The annual tour raises money for food banks across the U.S. and Canada., and donations are collected for local charities. 

The Illinois State Police completed a round of public hearings in early November regarding the state’s assault weapons ban. Questions still surround what weapons are banned and what weapons must be registered by the December 31 deadline, and ISP is working to provide answers to all of the questions it has received. 

House Republicans blast Gov. Pritzker for spending $638 million on Chicago’s migrant crisis. On Thursday, Governor JB Pritzker announced his plan to spend $160 million in taxpayer funds to provide shelter and job assistance to thousands of migrants in Chicago. Since 2022, nearly 25,000 migrants have come to Chicago while the State of Illinois has already spent $478 million on the migrant crisis.

Illinois has an estimated population of 850,000 deer, ranked 11th in the nation by one national magazine. Illinois also ranks seventh in the top deer hunting states list, with the ‘Golden Triangle’ counties in the west-central region (Pike, Brown, and Adams) leading the way. That region has received national attention for consistently producing some of the largest bucks in the state. Much of the Golden Triangle region is locked in leases and private land ownership.

One of the most unique and heartwarming holiday programs has been in existence for over 100 years and is conducted by the United States Postal Service. USPS Operation Santa receives thousands of letters to Santa from children every year. The letters are carefully reviewed, scanned, and posted on the USPS website, with personal information removed. Generous people from all over the U.S. adopt the letters and send gifts to the children, with shipping provided by the North Pole. 

With the air getting crisper, holiday lights appearing outside homes, and families resurrecting Christmas traditions across Illinois, there is another tradition unique to the Chicagoland area many families incorporate in their festivities. With festive booths reminiscent of European markets, spectacular gifts and ornaments, and the scent of delicious German food mixed with the aroma of gluhwein, people from all over can enjoy this seasonal market and get in the holiday spirit!

Five of the top poultry production states in the U.S. are in the Midwest, led by Minnesota. In Illinois, the turkey industry has a smaller, but still very important footprint. Poultry is big business, contributing nearly $600 billion annually to the U.S. economy. That represents three percent of the nation’s Gross Domestic Product. 

In Illinois, there is a concentration of independent growers in the Peoria and Morton areas, along with a couple of USDA-inspected processing plants. The lack of processing plants is a major impediment in expanding the poultry industry in Illinois. The cost of building a plant is very expensive, and finding enough employees willing to work is another issue. Most Illinois turkey producers are contract growers for large, integrated farms in Iowa and Indiana. 

Illinois General Assembly concludes Fall Veto Session. Week two of the Fall Veto Session was characterized more by what the Democratic Supermajority failed to deliver instead of what they did deliver.

Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch refused to call the Invest in Kids renewal legislation for a vote, essentially killing the popular program that helps underprivileged students throughout Illinois.

Since the Revolutionary War more than 41 million Americans have served in our Nation’s military. The first Veterans were part of the Continental Army created in 1775 when colonial militias formed a common army under command of George Washington. Since then, the United States has declared war 11 times and fought in conflicts around the world.

The Illinois Children’s Health Caucus is a bipartisan, bicameral caucus established to review early childhood development. Members explore evidence-based policies and programs to achieve health equity for children, families, and communities throughout the state.

This caucus consists of a bipartisan group of Illinois legislators from the House and Senate. The caucus is made up of four members, including Rep. Kevin Schmidt (R-Cahokia Heights) and Senate Republican Dale Fowler.

According to a report from CNN Business, retailers in the U.S. are expected to add just 410,000 seasonal positions for the upcoming holiday shopping season, which would mark the industry’s lowest seasonal hiring total since 2008. 

Despite historically high inflation in recent years, U.S. consumers have continued to splurge. However, that trend may be ending soon. Americans are expected to focus on must-have purchases, such as groceries, while slowing down on discretionary items. Of all the major retailers that have announced hiring plans, only Amazon is increasing its seasonal hires. Last year, Amazon announced it was hiring 150,000 people for the holidays; this year that figure is 250,000. 

Watchfire Signs is an industry leading domestic manufacturer of digital displays. Headquartered in Vermilion County in Danville, Watchfire has been an innovative leader in the electronic sign business since 1932. The company’s 140,000 square foot facility allows Watchfire to build some of the largest digital displays in the world. Watchfire designs and manufactures high resolution LED signs, custom indoor video displays, digital billboard products, and outdoor sports displays. 

House Republicans introduced several initiatives this year aimed at increasing election integrity in Illinois. The bills targeted the State Board of Elections to set up and maintain a system to track all mail-in ballots, required voter ID cards or another form of ID to vote, and ensured deceased individuals are removed from voter rolls.

“I would love to be in a situation where the state of Illinois, for voting, is not relying on election judges and their signature match-up expertise to make sure that we have done all we can to reduce voter fraud,” stated State Representative Ryan Spain, ranking Republican on the House Ethics & Elections Committee. “What we should be doing is what most states in our country do. Red states, blue states, swing states and the vast majority of states have a simple fix and it is voter ID. You show an ID when you go to vote.”

Once bustling malls in Illinois and across the nation are going bust as shoppers flock to online retailers and home delivery conglomerates. The numbers are sobering, with an estimated 2,500 malls across the country in 1980. Today, there are less than 700 and that could dwindle to 150 in 10 years. However, the most recent research shows foot traffic and sales at shopping malls has increased in the U.S. from 2019 to 2022. 

Preparations for second and final week of fall 2023 veto session. The Illinois House of Representatives will reconvene on Tuesday, November 7 in Springfield. The House Rules Committee met on Wednesday, November 1, to examine bills on the House agenda for assignment to the House floor or to committees. Numerous House committees have posted hearing notices for next week.

As part of the 2019 Rebuild Illinois capital plan, $350 million was appropriated to renovate the Capitol Complex including the Capitol and Stratton Office Buildings as well as the surrounding parking areas. The state hired Andrea Aggertt to lead the effort as the new Architect of the Illinois State Capitol. Since that time she helped develop and is currently executing a long-range plan to oversee repair, rehabilitation, construction and renovation projects on the Capitol Complex. And, she has hit the ground running. 

The Illinois State Police (ISP) is scheduled to conduct three public hearings on permanent rules to continue to move forward on the implementation of the Protect Illinois Communities Act in early November. The Protect Illinois Communities Act created a category of firearms, called “assault weapons” and “assault weapons attachments.” The Democrats picked a list of firearms that they deem unsafe to be “assault weapons.” The Act was signed into law in January 2023 by Governor Pritzker and regulates the possession, sale and transfer of “assault weapons,” “assault weapon” attachments, high-capacity magazines, and switches in Illinois. Citizens who possessed the firearms devices listed in this Act before it took effect are required to submit an endorsement affidavit through their Firearm Owner’s Identification Card account. 

The 2023 holiday shopping season is approaching fast, and there are important dates and deadlines to know to get packages shipped to their destinations on time for those family celebrations. The following deadline dates cover domestic, international, and military shipping destinations for the United States Postal Service (USPS) to allow for the timely delivery of cards, letters, and packages by December 25.

Social media has become a pillar of many people’s daily lives, with 59 percent of the global population (4.65 billion) using at least one platform. In the U.S., the numbers are even more staggering, with 84 percent of Americans using at least one social media network. 

There are a number of pros and cons associated with social media. Advantages include: educational purposes, building your brand, reaching a large audience, staying up to date with local and national events, targeting audiences based on their interests, getting connected to new people, creating your audiences, building relationships, getting new visitors to your website, and free usage. Disadvantages include: it’s addicting and time consuming, decrease in communication skills, fake news stories, sleeplessness, inappropriate content, cyber-attacks, lack of confidence, fear of missing out, no privacy, and getting close to depression.