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Bainter says People Shouldn’t be hesitant

Morgan County health department director Dale Bainter is concerned about the COVID vaccine hesitancy among the younger age groups.

            Passavant Hospital and the health department are combining for a shot clinic next Wednesday at the hospital.

            Bainter says there are more and more openings in the clinics, and that’s not good.

            He says the new cases in Morgan County involves 3 teens, one person in their 20s, and two others in their 40s. He says the positivity rate in Morgan County remains at 1-percent, but the rate in the region is up and hosptializations are also up.

            Bainter says the variance in COVID has been found here, but the shots still work.

             The vaccinations prevent people from becoming seriously ill. In the worst cases, COVID evolves in a mild case of the flu.

            People can make an appointment to get a shot by calling 217-479-1817.

JPL opening a little more

The Jacksonville Public Library is slowly returning to pre-COVID operations.

            JPL head Chris Ashmore says the library resumed regular hours, til 9 PM this month.

            Ashmore says the other changes reflect the relaxed rules.

            He says the front door is open, and the downstairs meeting room is open for public meetings, as long as the count doesn’t surpass 16.

            Ashmore says another zoom session will feature a program next Tuesday about fashions during the life of Laura Ingalls Wilder.

            He says the program will focus on what was really worn at the Little House on the Prairie, not the sun dresses from the TV series. He says people can access it by going to facebook or the library website.

            Ashmore expects the zoom sessions to continue, even after COVID goes away. He says they have been popular, and preferred by many who deliver the programs.

Jax Police Needs Officers

The Jacksonville police force is at bare bones.

            So says JPD chief Adam Mefford. Mefford says this has been a problem since just before COVID.

            And, he says COVID has exacerbated the problem.

            He says the COVID restrictions has limited city police recruiting, closed academies for training, and has caused several to leave the Jacksonville police department.

            Mefford says a full police force in Jacksonville numbers 41. He says the count is now at 34.

            It’s caused Jacksonville police to change its procedures.

            Mefford says officers have had to adjust to concentrate on more serious offenses, and limited the number of policemen on patrol.

            Mefford says the longer hours and fewer days off is taxing on the officers, and mentally exhausting. He says two of the six cadets in the academy will get out this weekend, and help next week.

Jax Police Looking Closely at Non Traditional Vehicles

Jacksonville police this week began stepping up enforcement of traffic laws.

            Specifically, the police are watching nontraditional vehicles, such as golf carts, UTVs and mini bikes.

            Jacksonville police chief Adam Mefford says many of these vehicles, including bikes need to obey the common traffic laws.

            He says these vehicles must follow the flow of traffic and obey speed limits. But, as more of these types of vehicles hit the streets, others feel more emboldened to drive the next level of off road vehicles. 

            Mefford says it’s the nonlicensed vehicles that can be most problematic.

            He says many of these vehicles are not licensed and driven by unlicensed younger people.

            He says the extra traffic enforcement will continue for a few weeks to help remind people to be careful, and watchful.

Wednesday Sports

Jacksonville stopped Springfield at the JHS Bowl last night. The Crimsons swept the match in two sets, 25-19, 25-23.

            Elsewhere, Routt rolled North Greene in two sets 25-19, 25-13 to go 9-1 on the season, West Central dropped Griggsville Perry in two sets, Triopia defeated Carrollton in three sets,  Beardstown defeats Illini West in two, and GNW downed Brown County in three sets.

            JHS lost to Springfield High in boys’ soccer 2-0 in the CS8 tournament.

            Tonight in volleyball,  Brown County goes to West, and Rushville Industry welcomes Mendon Unity,

1A-2A All State Basketball Coaches

Three players from Western Illinois Valley Conference teams have been named to Class 1A state state basketball teams.

            One of the players, junior Tate Kunzeman of Griggsville Perry, was named to the first team by the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association.

            Receiving special mention were junior Caden Moore of Triopia, and senior Ben Eberlin of Calhoun.

Three players from Western Illinois Valley Conference teams have been named to Class 1A state state basketball teams.

            One of the players, junior Tate Kunzeman of Griggsville Perry, was named to the first team by the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association.

            Receiving special mention were junior Caden Moore of Triopia, and senior Ben Eberlin of Calhoun.

            Three other area players were named to the 2A teams. They are senior Tanner Wilson of North Mac, senior Justin Guernsey of Pleasant Plains, and sophomore Jake Hamilton of SHG.

            Named special mention on the 2A team were Cade Privia of Porta/AC, and Sam Antonacci of SHG, both seniors.

            Two Central State Eight players were named to the 3A team. They are KJ Debrick from Lanphier, and James Dent of Southeast. Tye Banks of Lanphier, and Shane Miller and Bennie Slater of Springfield High were given special mention.

Morgan County Health Department Heading East

The Morgan County health department is looking to move into new digs this fall.

            Morgan County Health Department director Dale Bainter says the former Putnam-Springer building on the MacMurray College campus at Clay and State will serve as the new home.

            Bainter says the building is much bigger than what the health department has now. He describes it as cramped.

            He says the square footage will jump from 6-thousand square feet to 20-thousand square feet.

            Bainter says several of the rooms have to be re-worked to make the fit well.

             He says the health department is being conservative with planning, but will need to add plumbing. He hopes to be open there for the fall flu season.

            The health department services have expanded through SIU School of medicine in the past couple of years , making space a premium.

Healthy Jacksonville Targets Asthma Children

Passavant Area Hospital officials are reporting great returns on a program to target asthma among children in Jacksonville.

            It’s part of Healthy Jacksonville, and was funded through a couple of grants from the hospital association and Blue Cross-Blue Shield.

            Passavant CEO Dr. Scott Boston says the program accounted for a 56-percent decrease in pediatric asthma cases in the emergency room at Passavant.

            Asthma diagnoses are five times as common for black children, and they represent one third of the hospital’s pediatric asthma ED patients.

            Dr. Boston says though 12-percent of Jacksonville residents are black, 36-percent of the program participants are black.

            Dr. Boston says Healthy Jacksonville is looking at offering a help with COVID vaccination hesitancy among African Americans.

            Boston says health workers are developing trust among those who have been distrustful in the past.

            Dr. Boston says any inroads the group can make to reduce that distrust of the vaccinations will help the hospital better knock down COVID infections in the general population.

Public Meeting Soon for Downtown Ideas

Jacksonville Main Street’s Judy Tighe wants public feedback about what’s going on in downtown Jacksonville.

            Tighe and Main Street were ready for public input at a meeting last March, when the state shut everything down for COVID.

            Tighe is anxious to re-schedule that session soon.

            She says the public needs a voice for the downtown which we all own.

            Tighe says the public input in the past was used to fashion grant applications. That may still happen, but she says it’s important to hear from the people either way.

           No date has been set for the session, but Tighe hopes it might be held before summer.

            Main Street is bringing back the free downtown concert series starting June 4th. The series will continue every Friday through the summer, take two weeks off for the 4th of July and the Morgan County Fair, and return for four more shows through August 6th.

            The summer culminates with the craft brew festival, and an art fair August 7th.

Boston Concerned about Vaccination Hesitancy

Passavant Hospital’s CEO has concerns about vaccination hesitancy among some of the age groups.

            Passavant continues to offer COVID vaccinations in clinics at the hospital.

            Passavant CEO Dr. Scott Boston says the clinics worked well with the older set.

             Boston says more than 70-percent of the Morgan County population over 65 have had their shots.

            Dr. Boston says availability is not an issue, and Morgan County now has the Johnson one shot vaccine along with Pfizer, and Moderna.

            Boston says health officials are trying to understand the hesitancy.

            Dr. Boston says ethnic groups, such as Spanish and French speaking, and African Americans, has a reluctance to get the shots, because of mistrust.

            He says the other age group is 30-plus white men who might have political reasons for not trusting the vaccinations. Another group is young women who have questions about the vaccinations impact of fertility.

            Dr. Boston says the shots will continue in the clinic setting until all are distributed to those who want them.