Certificate of Publication
Public Notice Illinois



Media Mergers


Illinois Fuel & Retail Association


Metro Creative Graphics




Top Web




Remote learning: Sports editors weigh whether to cover college hoops in person


Scott Richey, the Champaign News-Gazette's University of Illinois beat writer, is shown in the foreground covering the Oct. 23 game against the University of Wisconsin at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison, Wisconsin. (Photo by Kent Brown, University of Illinois)

Lack of fans and access to players, digital pressers lead to tough calls

For Illinois Press Association

CARBONDALE – What Todd Hefferman wouldn’t have given for a conversation with Anthony D’Avanzo after the senior played his final game for Southern Illinois University’s men’s basketball team.

D’Avanzo had just scored a season-high 18 points on 7-for-11 shooting in the March 5 loss to Loyola University Chicago, in the second round of the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament in St. Louis, better known as Arch Madness.

But to summarize the insanity of covering sports during the COVID-19 pandemic, media members weren’t allowed to choose who they talked to after the game, and D’Avanzo wasn’t present during the post-game Zoom news conference. Opportunity lost.

“That might have been his last college game, and they didn’t have him on,” said Hefferman, who’s worked as a reporter at The Southern Illinoisan for nearly 18 years. “I didn’t have any other recourse to do that.”

Don’t misconstrue how that played out. Hefferman said the media has an excellent relationship with the Missouri Valley Conference, and he works well with the SIU athletic department. It just is what it is.

“Like anything in life right now, you have to make do with what you’ve got,” he said.

Should they stay, or should they go now?

Sports editors around the state have been wrestling with this burning question: Should we send a reporter to cover college basketball tourneys?

Jim Benson, a longtime sports reporter at The Pantagraph in Bloomington, covered Illinois State University at the MVC tourney. His sports editor would have had a hard time stopping him, even though Benson has been extremely cautious with the virus.

“He felt safe going [to the MVC Tournament],” Sports Editor Justin Conn said. “But he’s also a guy who, if Illinois State is playing somewhere, he’s going to be there.”

Throughout the league’s season, Benson has been dead-set on getting closer to the action. After learning that the local reporter was getting a seat on the floor for the ISU game in Evansville, Indiana, while Benson would be relegated to the hockey press box, he wrote a letter to the MVC sports information director and commissioner.

“I understand that things are very different this year because of COVID-19 protocols,” the letter reads. “But I find it very, very difficult to believe that the visiting beat writers who work their butts off to cover this league are treated this way. Frankly, it’s wrong. … BTW, I will not be driving 4 hours to Evansville to cover 2 games and spend between $300-$400 of my company’s money when I can sit at home and actually get a good view of the games so I can give my readers an accurate portrayal.”

Mike Smith, sports editor at The Daily Herald in Arlington Heights, didn’t send anyone to cover the Big Ten Tournament in Indianapolis, and he’s not putting anyone on a plane to chase the University of Illinois or any other storylines at the NCAA Tournament.

“We have not nor will not force anyone to travel and/or cover an event in which the reporter and photographer don't feel comfortable or if they feel safety is an issue,” Smith wrote in an email. “Secondly, as far as I know, virtually all interviews will be conducted via Zoom (as they are, for the most part, in almost every other professional and college sport).”

He’s correct. And Hefferman can speak to Smith’s decision. Usually, even after SIU bows out of the MVC Tournament, he sticks around to soak up the rest of the annual experience.

This year, he left after the Loyola game to spend time with his family.

“Even if you’re there, you still feel like you’re covering the tournament from afar,” Hefferman said. “It sucked. It sucked because all the things you love about the tournament you didn’t get to do. You didn’t have the big crowds. You didn’t see the coaches in the hallway after the game, or go in the locker room to interview players.”

“As nice as the Zoom interviews are, you just don’t quite get that personal touch,” Conn said, adding that reporters thrive on and being able to read a player or coach’s expressions and body language. “Now you’re always in a scrum with the rest of the media.”

And as epic as it might be to sit where the St. Louis Blues writers sit, in the press box on the arena’s fourth level, “you’re, I don’t know, about an eighth of a mile from the court,” Hefferman said.

“It’s something I’ll never forget, but it’s also something I don’t really care to remember.”

‘Relative bright sides’

The Journal Star in Peoria didn’t send Dave Eminian to cover Bradley University’s one-and-done appearance at Arch Madness.

Sports Editor Wes Huett said the decision erred on the side of caution for Eminian’s health, but there was also a practical decision to be made.

“We didn’t feel like we’d get our bang for our buck,” Huett said. “The money for travel isn’t the big issue. It’s the hours you’re paying someone to travel. I’ve only got you for five days. I don’t want you to spend a day and a half traveling.”

He added that “there’s not much you’re going to get there that you can’t get from a Zoom call here.”

“I hate it when people talk about bright sides from a pandemic, but relative bright sides are these video news conferences,” Huett said. “I can pop into a Bradley news conference at any time, and I could never do that if I didn’t go down to the arena.”

The Journal Star has had its issues with the university and its ethics. Eminian, along with reporter/Editor Nick Vlahos, wrote a scathing rebuke of the university when it barred now- retired Bradley beat writer Dave Reynolds from a media event leading up to the 2019 NCAA Tournament because, in the athletic department’s estimation, Reynolds “didn’t promote the Bradley brand.”

Huett had been sports editor for only a few months at that point, and said since the incident, and during the pandemic in particular, the university has shown a commitment to transparency and communication.

“They’ve been absolutely great this year, and that issue played into it, as well,” he said. “They get what we’re doing now, but it’s shocking how much these sports information departments handle it the wrong way,”

He said the athletic department has made interviews happen without issue, even setting up interviews with athletes right after they’ve been cleared to play after being held out because of COVID-19 protocols.

“That is so paramount – getting whoever you’re covering to understand your situation and work together,” Huett said.

They’re doing their job, Huett clarified.

“We’re not friends, and if we have to ask tough questions we will, and you saw that with this recent suspended (Bradley men’s basketball) players situation,” Huett said. “I don’t like having adversarial relationships with sources.”

“Any vitriol we get is mostly from our readers,” he added, laughing.

A spring unlike any other

A clash of the titans is coming up in Champaign, where the University of Illinois has its best men’s basketball team since Dee Brown led the Fighting Illini all the way to the title game against the University of North Carolina in 2005.

This year, the Fighting Illini, and the sports reporters who will cover what promises to be a deep run, face a different sort of competition. As first-round play of the NCAA Tournament nears its close, prep football will be getting underway, as well.

“It’s hard to wrap your mind around the fact that high school football games will be kicking off while Illinois is playing in the first round of the tournament,” said Matt Daniels, sports editor at the News-Gazette. “That thought only crosses my mind, of course. It’s a very strange time.”

Daniels said barring the unforeseen, U of I beat writer Scott Richey will travel to cover the Fighting Illini in the NCAA Tournament.

“Although we were informed [March 11] that each school is only allowed to have five reporters receive credentials and no photographers will be credentialed,” Daniels wrote in an email. “So that puts a little bit of a wrench in our plans.”

Richey spent the weekend in Indianapolis as the Illini fought for a Big Ten title last weekend at Lucas Oil Stadium. Illinois journalists have caught at least one break during the pandemic: The NCAA Tournament will be played exclusively in Indy, which is just a 2-hour drive from Champaign. So the plan is for Richey to drive back and forth between games, Daniels said.

“Illinois men's basketball is our No. 1 beat in our sports section and I'd argue perhaps for our entire paper,” Daniels wrote in the email. “The interest level is like no other, especially when you consider the website numbers we see on Illinois men's basketball stories and how it plays out on our various social media platforms. By having Scott in attendance at the Illinois games, it only enhances our coverage.”

In Carbondale, in the wake of the December departure of longtime Sports Editor Les Winkeler, Hefferman and fellow reporter Bucky Dent are the only full-timers. And they’ve got some beasts to cover.

As Hefferman chased SIU men’s hoops, Dent filled in to cover the football team’s shocking upset of North Dakota State, then the top-ranked FCS program in the nation.

“He loves to cover SIU, and I wasn’t going to skip it for the Valley tournament,” Hefferman said.

But he’s not about to surrender the reins permanently. Especially since Dent will be covering SIU’s ranked softball team and its baseball team that’s off to “its best start in a long time,” Hefferman said.

And, oh yeah, Dent has the prep football beat, too.

The only situation in which a reporter or editor interviewed for this story has been uncomfortable covering a team was at John A. Logan College a few miles away from Carbondale. A few weeks ago, Hefferman covered the top-ranked junior college men’s basketball program there, but he won’t go back. He said fans were limited to one side of the arena, and players sat shoulder-to-shoulder, “which is totally against NCAA regulations,” Hefferman said.

While he said The Southern has continued to cover the program, he won’t be going back.

“I wasn’t comfortable being that close to people,” he said. “I don’t like to eat in restaurants. I don’t like to take any risks. I don’t want to get [COVID-19]. I don ‘t want my kids to get it.”

  • View all Illinois public notices 24 hours a day - publicnoticeillinois.com

Press Releases



Partners in Recovery:
Sangamon County Recovery Oriented System of Care

April 8, 2021
CONTACT: Teagan Shull,

217-544-9858, ext. 3108

(Springfield) – Systems of recovery have been forming across the state of Illinois. The goals of these systems?  To support recovery. Family Guidance Centers, Inc. (FGC), a not-for-profit behavioral health care organization that treats and prevents substance use disorders, as well as an array of other behavioral health care concerns, received a grant to create a recovery oriented system of care (ROSC) right here in Sangamon County. What does a ROSC do?

ROSC is a coordinated network of community-based services and supports that is person-centered and builds on the strengths and resiliencies of individuals, families, and communities to achieve recovery and improved health, wellness, and quality of life for those with or at risk of substance use disorders. The central focus of a ROSC is to create an infrastructure, or “system of care”, with the resources to effectively address the full range of substance use disorders within communities. These goals include:  

* Building a culture that builds and nurtures recover
* Building capacity and infrastructure to support a recovery-oriented system of care;
* Developing commitment to implement and sustain a recovery-oriented system of care.

“The goal of a ROSC is to create a system that works for individuals in recovery. This means that individuals in recovery have access to the resources and support they need. Recovery is a lifelong journey not just a 28-day program and individuals, their families and the community all need to work together to support that journey,” said Tegan Shull, program manager of Sangamon County ROSC. “Currently the council is working on conducting a community needs assessment and developing educational materials to facilitate conversations in the community about recovery and start reducing the stigma that surrounds substance use disorders. Recovery truly takes a village and affects the entire community”

"The current system of care is complex and often poses barriers versus points of access. Individuals and family members struggle to navigate services that are disjointed and often times stigmatizing. Sangamon County needs a connected system with multiple points of access to treatment and recovery services,” said Trenda Hedges, manager of Wellness and Recovery Operations for Beacon Health Options. “The phrase ‘nothing about us without us’ has been the chant of individuals in recovery for decades. ROSC creates the opportunity for the voices of those most affected by substance use and misuse to be heard and implemented into a system of care that supports recovery."

Sangamon County Partners in Recovery (ROSC) meets monthly and all are invited to attend. If you or your organization would like to get involved, visit the ROSC website at Sangamon County Partners in Recovery (godaddysites.com) or email Teagan Shull at tshull@fgcinc.org.

120 N 11th St., Springfield, IL 62703, (217) 544-9858
Website: Sangamon County Partners in Recovery (godaddysites.com)



Illinois midwife bill passes
House Health Care Licensing Committee

March 29, 2021
CONTACT: Bukola M. Bello


After a decades-long fight, a bill to license certified professional midwives in Illinois passed the Illinois House of Representatives Health Care Licensing Committee March 24, 2021.

The bill grants a state license for midwives to assist in safe home births if they attain professional midwife certification, a nationally recognized credential.

The bill has been a long time coming. Variations of this bill have been brought before the legislature nearly every year since the late 1970s. In that same time, 35 states and Washington D.C. have granted licenses to certified professional midwives, many of which also cover the cost through state Medicaid programs.

Nearly 1,000 families in Illinois choose to give birth at home every year. These families may choose to do so due to cultural, philosophical or religious reasons, or because of fear related to trauma and racism.The COVID-19 pandemic has led to an increased demand for out-of-hospital maternity care providers. Most people seeking out-of-hospital births this year have been left to navigate a market of underground midwives, which offers no state regulated protections for consumers.

People of color also face much higher risk of maternal mortality and other complications than their white counterparts. A recent National Academy of Engineering, Medicine, and Sciences' Birth Settings in America Report indicated that racism not race  is a risk that contributes to poorer outcomes for birthing people of color. Proponents of the bill believe that providing the people of Illinois more access to safe, licensed maternity care providers outside the hospital system can help address this problem.

Isis Rose, a Black mother, anthropologist, birth professional and home birth advocate, of Urbana, Illinois, told Illinois House Health Care Licensing Committee members that she chooses to birth at home because here in Illinois, Black women are six times more likely to die from pregnancy-related causes than white women.” The disproportionately high rates of negative pregnancy and birth outcomes for black birthing people of color, coined “obstetric racism” by anthropologist Dana-Ain Davis, is the primary reason she and her husband choose to have their babies at home with a certified professional midwife. She relayed that “for all people, especially Black birthing people, to feel comfortable choosing home birth, we need increased access to legal channels of midwifery and greater access to home birth midwives with congruent cultural backgrounds and lived experiences.”

In addressing these numerous issues, the Certified Professional Midwife Practice Act (HB 3401) will regulate the professional conduct of home birth midwives in Illinois by establishing a Midwifery Board and setting rigorous standards for practice; require midwives to meet educational standards supported by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists; regulate the use of life-saving medications and treatments for mothers and newborns to ensure high-quality care for parent and child; allow midwives to screen for possible complications and conditions such as congenital heart defects and hearing disabilities; establish a safe system to transfer care during rare emergencies; and mandate informed consent forms to meet established standards.

Carrie Vickery, of Ottawa, Illinois, and vice president of Illinois Friends of Midwives, a group advocating and lobbying for broader access to midwifery care in Illinois, told state legislators during a March 24, 2021, hearing that the state of Illinois is failing in its duty to appropriately regulate home birth midwifery.

"Each year of delay in licensing and integrating home birth midwives puts consumers at risk," Vickery said. "We are telling you: protect us. Give us licensed certified professional midwives."

Hearing this call, the committee passed the bill with a unanimous vote, and the bill is expected to be brought to the House floor for a vote sometime later this session.

The bill's sponsors in the Illinois House of Representatives are state Reps. Rep.Robyn Gabel (D, Evanston), Anna Moeller (D, Elgin), Michelle Mussman (D, Schaumburg) William Davis (D, East Hazel Crest),Terra Costa-Howard (D, Lombard), Norine K. Hammond (R, Macomb), Kelly M. Cassidy (D, Chicago), Bob Morgan (D, Highwood), LaToya Greenwood (D, East St. Louis), Amy Grant (R, Wheaton), Lance Yednock (D, Ottawa), Steven Reick (R, Woodstock), Daniel Didech (D, Buffalo Grove), Michael T. Marron (R, Danville), Maurice A. West, II (D, Rockford), Thomas Morrison (R, Palatine), Rita Mayfield (D, Waukegan), Michael Halpin (D, Rock Island), Kathleen Willis (D, Northlake), Brad Halbrook (R, Shelbyville), Edgar Gonzalez, Jr. (D, Summit), Mark Batinick (R, Plainfield), Randy E. Frese (R, Quincy), Theresa Mah (D, Chicago), Margaret Croke (D, Chicago), Stephanie A. Kifowit (D, Aurora), Janet Yang Rohr (D, Naperville), Lindsey LaPointe (D, Chicago) and Suzanne Ness (D, Carpentersville).

Americans have been preparing
for the impact of a pandemic for over 75 years!

From home economics to the modern family and consumer sciences classes, the foundation of basic life skills helped bring families through 2020 and beyond.  

Feb. 9, 2021
CONTACT: Marissa Kunerth, communications & public relations manager
Family, Career and Community Leaders of America


RESTON, VA For many, it has taken a global pandemic to motivate them to refine and reuse many basic life skills. With restaurants closed and stay-at-home mandates in place, a growing number of adults have turned to online tutorials, social media recipes, and family and friends to learn basic life skills. Admittedly, more than a fourth of Americans admit they cannot cook and claim this skill is something they now realize is an essential skill that should be taught in every school in the United States.

75 years ago, when Future Homemakers of America (FHA), presently known as Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA), was founded, no one thought the skills gained through Family and Consumer Sciences (FCS) classes would get families through a pandemic. The country was digging out of the Great Depression and using skills taught at home and in Home Economics to rebuild the economy of our country. In education, Home Economics transitioned to Family and Consumer Sciences in 1994 and some felt these classes were no longer essential. Since 2012, there has been an estimated 40% decline in FCS classes, but the coronavirus pandemic has led to an outcry to bring “Home Ec” back and reinforced how important basic life skills are to not only be successful at home but holistically as humans impacting careers and communities.

Since its inception in 1945, FCCLA has promoted the need for FCS education for every student in every state in every school. FCCLA knows the importance of FCS education, which provides students with lifelong skills such as nutrition, menu planning, food preparation, clothing care and construction, money management, child development, and workforce readiness. Many students move from learning basic skills in an apron to preparing hopefully to someday wear a chef’s coat.

Illinois State Adviser Marta Lockwood shares, “The Illinois Association of FCCLA is proud to be a part of the long-standing legacy of helping students become great leaders. There is nothing more satisfying than seeing young people making a difference in their personal lives, their homes, schools, and communities!”

Through FCS education, FCCLA provides opportunities for members to develop 21st century skills that enhance students’ understanding of community, work, family, and their interpersonal relationships. This year, FCCLA celebrates its 75th anniversary by commemorating all 50 state associations who have contributed to student’s success through character development, creative and critical thinking, interpersonal communication, practical knowledge, and career preparation.

Since chartering with the national organization in January 1946, thousands upon thousands of Illinois students have taken advantage of this incredible organization and all it has to offer. As a youth led organization, Illinois FCCLA has teams of student officers who serve at every level of the organization from the local high schools to the state and national levels. These youth leaders plan and assist with all the community service projects, leadership training, and conferences that are held. Illinois State Adviser Marta Lockwood adds “one of the greatest things about FCCLA is that it has so many different programs and opportunities for the students to find success in. From community service projects to competitive events, FCCLA gives students the opportunity to combine their education and leadership skills to make a difference and receive recognition for their accomplishments”.

FCCLA’s 75thanniversary is a major milestone for the organization and FCS education. Whether one is looking to feel confident in the kitchen, make a difference in their community, or prepare for career success, FCCLA and FCS is the secret ingredient to succeed in the home and workplace.

Research Sources:

Tufts University: https://www.nutritionletter.tufts.edu/general-nutrition/28-of-americans-cant-cook

WZDX Fox: https://www.rocketcitynow.com/article/news/what-ever-happened-to-home-ec-millennials-struggling-with-home-and-nutrition-skills/525-7f8fd87d-2134-408f-909b-4687ba46b496


Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) is a dynamic and effective national student organization that helps young men and women become leaders and address important personal, family, work, and societal issues through Family and Consumer Sciences education. FCCLA has more than182,000 members and 5,253 chapters from 48 state associations, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands.


Illinois Principals Association to host first virtual Education Leaders Conference in February  

Feb. 1, 2021
CONTACT: Dr. Jason Leahy, executive director
Illinois Principals Association


SPRINGFIELD – In a first for the Illinois Principals Association, we are hosting our Annual Education Leaders Conference virtually. The 49th annual Education Leaders Conference and Exhibition, “L.E.A.D.” Conference (Learning – Equity – Advocacy – Diversity) will take place online February 22-23, 2021. The annual conference provides an opportunity for principals and other administrators to learn from leaders in the education field and participate in sessions to better serve their schools. 
“School leaders have been there to support teachers, guide parents, and serve our students through the multitude of challenges this school year,” said Dr. Amy Dixon, IPA President. “With the aid of the Illinois Principals Association, principals have not only overcome the challenges, but shown tremendous personal growth and flexibility.  Now it is time for school leaders to take time to recharge and renew their purpose, passion, and leadership. The IPA Education Leaders Conference is the premiere event of the year that will allow them to do that and so much more!”
The conference will include presentations from keynote speakers Adam Welcome, Illinois State Superintendent Dr. Carmen Ayala, and Beth Houf.  Monday’s first general session will feature Adam Welcome, a Principal and Director of Innovation for a large school district in the Bay Area of California, and his presentation “Kids Deserve It!” Mr. Welcome has been honored as Principal of the Year for his region, a “20 to Watch” for the National School Board Association, guest blogger for EdWeek, NAESP magazine, and other publications. His presentation is a simple, yet profound message to become more engaged with your school community.
Speakers at the second general session on Monday afternoon include Dr. Carmen Ayala, Illinois State Superintendent of Schools, and Dr. Amy Dixon, principal of Jefferson and Lincoln Elementary Schools in Carmi, IL and IPA President. IPA Principal of the Year awards, the Reaching Out & Building Bridges Award, and the Mr. John Ourth & Dr. Fred W. Singleton Professional Development Scholarships will also be presented at this session.
Beth Houf will begin the conference Tuesday morning with her presentation “The Power of Appreciation,” including strategies to build rapport with students, staff, and parents. Beth Houf is the proud principal of Fulton Middle School in central Missouri.  She is the Co-Author of “Lead Like a PIRATE:  Make School Amazing for Your Students and Staff.”  Beth also serves as a facilitator for the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education Leadership Academy, providing monthly training to state educational leaders.  She has spoken at the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) Conference, the Association for Middle-Level Education National Conference, the National Principals Conference, and many other state and local educational venues. 
The conference will include popular IGNITE sessions, presented by IPA Principal of the Year Award Winners and leaders including Mandy Ellis (Principal, Dunlap Grade School), Dan Kaiser (Retired Principal, Dwight Township High School), Hattie Llewellyn (Principal, New Berlin High School), Dr. Tron Young (Principal, Joseph Arthur Middle School), Dr. Marcus Belin (Principal, Huntley High School), and Abir Othman (Associate Principal, Victor J. Andrew High School). These innovative, fast-paced sessions provide a unique way to hear from dynamic speakers who will inspire fellow leaders.
Small group sessions at the conference include timely topics such as: Race Relations in Schools; Practical Steps for Transforming School Culture; Trauma Informed Care; Leading through the Lens of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion; Attendance, Chronic Absence, and Equity; Building Leadership Teams; and legislative and legal updates. Conference attendees can also explore the online exhibit hall for the latest in educational products and services, and resource materials from sponsors such as AMBA (Association Member Benefits Advisors), ECRA Group, Good for Schools, Horace Mann, Illinois Principals Foundation, Lifetouch School Portraits and Southern Illinois University Carbondale. For more information about the Education Leaders Conference, please visit ipafc20.zerista.com. For more information about IPA, please visit www.ilprincipals.org.

The Illinois Principals Association is a leadership organization which serves over 5,800 educational leaders throughout the state of Illinois and whose mission is to develop, support, and advocate for innovative educational leaders.











Disaster Checklist for Newspapers

Click Image to Find the IPA Disaster Checklist!