Relief is coming for farmers who experienced excessive moisture and flash flooding this spring and summer in 12 Illinois counties. USDA reviewed the Loss Assessment Reports and determined there were sufficient production losses to warrant a Secretarial natural disaster designation. Secretary Tom Vilsack has issued a disaster designation for farmers in the following counties: Calhoun, Cass, Edgar, Jefferson, Jersey, McLean, Macoupin, Monroe, Morgan, Moultrie, St. Clair and Sangamon. USDA natural disaster designations also include contiguous counties adding Brown, Champaign, Christian, Clark, Clinton, Coles, DeWitt, Douglas, Ford, Franklin, Greene, Hamilton, Livingston, Logan, Macon, Madison, Marion, Mason, Menard, Montgomery, Perry, Piatt, Pike, Randolph, Schuyler, Scott, Shelby, Tazewell, Vermilion, Washington, Wayne and Woodford. A Secretarial natural disaster designation allows the USDA Farm Service Agency to provide emergency loans to producers recovering from natural disasters. Producers should contact their local USDA Service Center to ask questions or file a Notice of Loss.

Police Investigating Couple’s Death in Carbondale


An investigation is underway after police found a man and his wife dead in a home.Police say, they responded to the 700 block of West Main Street around 6:59 p.m. on October 18 in reference to a welfare check of the residents.Officers found Steven E. Lusk, 41, of Carbondale, and his wife, Montoya M. Moore, 40, of Carbondale, dead. The Jackson County Coroner’s Office was called and will investigate to determine the cause of death. Carbondale police say at this point in the investigation, this is believed to be an isolated incident with no risk to the public. Anyone with information about the incident should contact the Carbondale Police Department at 618-457-3200 or Crime Stoppers at 618-549-COPS.


Cape Girardeau event engages local workforce partners during Job Center Connect Town Hall Series

Local workforce partners and employers shared ideas today to help get more Missourians into the workforce, and stay in the workforce during the ninth town hall event in a series offered by the Missouri Office of Workforce Development (OWD) within the Missouri Department of Higher Education & Workforce Development (MDHEWD).

Today’s event was held at the Drury Inn Convention Center in Cape Girardeau. The Job Center Connect Town Hall events are focused on engaging communities in conversations about improving the state’s public workforce system and troubleshooting barriers and solutions to sustainable employment.

Each event featured a look at regional workforce data and small-group style discussions to gather ideas and feedback.

Some of the themes that emerged from the conversations included internet access, community outreach, and the marketing and promotion of job center services.

The Cape Girardeau event was the ninth and final Job Center Connect Town Hall meeting scheduled between August and October.

Two Men Arrested for Stealing From Mailboxes in Cape Girardeau County



On October 15th, 2021, Deputies arrested the following individuals in connection to an on-going investigation into the recent thefts from mailboxes in the county.


Joshua Hall Bowers

Age: 36


Fraudulent Use of a Credit Device Class E Felony

Bond: $5,000 CASH ONLY


Trafficking in the 2nd Degree Class B Felony – 3/4 of a pound of methamphetamine

Bond: $25,000 CASH ONLY


Cody Allen Reid

Age: 32


Fraudulent Use of a Credit Device Class E Felony

Bond: $10,000 cash or surety


As part of an on-going investigation the Sheriff’s Office anticipates additional arrests to be made.


The charge of an offense is merely an accusation, and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven Guilty.

Man Arrested for Rape and Strangling

A rape investigation led to the arrest of a Wickliffe man Friday on numerous charges.
On October 14, Ballard County deputies began investigating an alleged rape that took place in Wickliffe. Deputies say it was determined that Michael Nix held a woman against her will for several days, sexually assaulting and strangling her. An arrest warrant was obtained soon after.
The next day, authorities received a call from someone claiming Nix had arrived at a home on Phillips Drive in Wickliffe and was causing an altercation. When deputies arrived, Nix was detained, and a search of his belongings reportedly uncovered methamphetamine and marijuana. He was taken to the Ballard County jail. Once at the jail, Nix allegedly assaulted a deputy and attempted to escape on foot. After a short pursuit, he was caught and taken to a local hospital for treatment before returning to the Ballard County Jail. Deputies say a search of Nix’s home yielded more methamphetamine and marijuana, along with a firearm. Nix was charged with rape, unlawful imprisonment, strangulation, criminal mischief, terroristic threatening, escape, assault of a police officer, resisting arrest, possession of meth, possession of marijuana, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Route J in New Madrid County Closed for Culvert Replacement

Route J in New Madrid County will be closed as Missouri Department of Transportation crews replace a culvert under the roadway.This section of roadway is located between County Road 246 and County Road 248.Weather permitting, work will take place Thursday, Oct. 27 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. The work zone will be marked with signs. Motorists are urged to use extreme caution while traveling near the area. For additional information, contact MoDOT’s Customer Service Center toll-free at 1-888-ASK-MODOT (1-888-275-6636) or visit



September 2021 Monthly Jobs Report


Missouri non-farm payroll employment increased from August 2021 to September 2021, and the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate decreased by a two-tenths of a percentage point. Employment, seasonally adjusted, increased by 7,500 jobs over the month, with job gains in service-providing industries. The state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 3.8 percent in September 2021, down from 4.0 percent in August 2021. Recovery from COVID-19-related layoffs continued with an increase of 70,800 jobs from September 2020 to September 2021.


Missouri’s smoothed seasonally adjusted unemployment rate decreased by a two-tenths of a percentage point in September 2021, dropping to 3.8 percent from the August 2021 rate of 4.0 percent. With the start of the COVID-19 pandemic now more than a year in the past, the September 2021 rate was 1.6 percentage points lower than the September 2020 rate. The rate had reached a low of 3.1 percent starting in August 2018, before gradually edging up to 3.5 percent by the end of 2019, and then to 3.7 percent in March 2020. The COVID-19 effect hit in April 2020, spiking the rate to 12.5 percent for that month. The rate decreased monthly for the rest of 2020, reaching 4.4 percent in December, and continued gradually downward through the first four months of 2021. The increase of two-tenths of a percentage point from April 2021 to June 2021 appeared to be related to a temporary shortage in the supply of semiconductor chips, which caused production slowdowns in some manufacturing industries.Due to benchmark revisions, Missouri’s unemployment rate rose a tenth of a percentage point higher than the national rate in January and February of 2020, but has been below the national rate for every month since February 2020. The national unemployment rate decreased from 5.2 percent in August 2021 to 4.8 percent in September 2021. The estimated number of unemployed Missourians was 118,110 in September 2021, down by 4,992 from August’s 123,102.The state’s not-seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate also decreased in September 2021, dropping by 0.6 percentage points to 2.9 percent from the August 2021 not-seasonally-adjusted rate of 3.5 percent. The corresponding not-seasonally-adjusted national rate for September 2021 was 4.6 percent.  A year ago, the state’s seasonally adjusted rate was 5.4 percent, and the not-adjusted rate was 4.8 percent.

State of Illinois Launches New School Safety Initiative, Safe2Help Illinois

As part of America’s Safe Schools Week, a week dedicated to raising awareness of school safety, Governor JB Pritzker is announcing the launch of a new statewide school safety initiative called Safe2Help Illinois.  Safe2Help Illinois is available 24/7, and at no cost to all school districts in the state.  In the absence of a trusted adult, students can use a free app, text/phone, or the website ( to share school safety issues in a confidential environment. Information obtained by Safe2Help Illinois will remain confidential to ensure student privacy and to protect the integrity of the program.  This program is not intended to suspend, expel or punish students; rather, the goal is to encourage students to “Seek Help Before Harm.” Once vetted, the information will be shared immediately with local school officials, mental health professionals and/or local law enforcement, depending on the nature of the information. The program also will help local officials by connecting them with mental health resources or other appropriate tools to intervene and help students before they harm themselves or others.

Changing the Culture in Illinois Schools

Safe2Help Illinois is more than just an information sharing platform.  This is a long-term initiative to change the school culture in Illinois.  Safe2Help Illinois also provides free educational resources to schools that can be introduced into their existing curriculum for students in Kindergarten through 12th grade.  Safe2Help Illinois is a free, voluntary program offered to public and private schools (grades K-12) in Illinois.  Regardless of whether a school district is enrolled in the program, Safe2Help staff will vet all information received and forward to the appropriate local contact whether or not they elect to formally participate in the program. Calls that reference immediate threats would be route to 9-1-1 for immediate assistance.During the 2020-2021 school year, 19 schools participated in a Safe2Help Illinois pilot program.  Of those schools, while serving in different capacities of remote learning and in-person learning, the pilot program saw the following calls for assistance:  Suicidal Ideation, Bullying/Harassment, Fighting, Self-Harm, and Sex Assault.   To date, more than 31 schools are registered with the program, resulting in more than 130 interactions with the public over the last 11 months.  Educators enrolled in the program have credited the program with the successful intervention of potential suicides and sexual assaults.

Behind the Call

During a crisis, the person on the receiving end of the call has the most important job: to remain calm and provide the necessary resources to successfully defuse a situation.  The analyst taking the calls for Safe2Help Illinois have experience and education in social service and community stabilization settings.  As part of their onboarding process, analysts are required to complete 40-hours of training, plus an additional 20 hours of ongoing training each quarter.  This includes handling suicidal or homicidal callers, responding to imminent danger, caring for very young callers, mandated reporter training and more.  The Safe2Help call center analyst speak multiple languages and have access to 24-hour immediate translator services in 24 different language.

Expanding School Safety in Illinois

Safe2Help Illinois is a product of a statewide school safety capability assessment, following the 2018 school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.  The Illinois Terrorism Task Force convened a School Safety Working Group made up of state and local law enforcement professionals, representatives from statewide education associations, emergency management and mental health professionals to identify school safety issues and come up with practical recommendations to improve our student safety.  The cornerstone of the group’s school safety recommendations is the formation of a statewide resource for students, schools and local officials, called Safe2Help Illinois.Although the origins of the workgroup recommendations intended to address the threat of school violence, the program evolved to provide resources to support a student’s social, behavioral and mental health needs.  Prior to COVID-19, similar school safety initiatives throughout the nation found the two most common issues of concern have been threats of suicide and bullying.

Call to Action

Safe2Help Illinois is encouraging all Illinois parents to talk to their school-age children about the importance of a trusted adult.  Trusted adults are people whose words and actions make you feel safe, and these individuals (parents, teachers, coaches, mentors, etc.) can help you and/or your friends seek help before harm.  Recognizing that not all students may feel safe talking to their parents, teachers, coaches or mentors, now is a great time to introduce them to Safe2Help Illinois.  It’s free, confidential, and always available.



Missouri budget officials outline $50M cost of data breach

COLUMBIA, Mo. — Help for roughly 100,000 teachers whose Social Security numbers were made vulnerable in a massive state data breach could cost Missouri as much as $50 million, House budget officials told Democratic lawmakers Tuesday.

Budget officials, who said they got the information from Republican Gov. Mike Parson’s administration, told House Democrats in emails the estimate would cover the cost of credit monitoring and a call center to help affected teachers.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch broke the news about the security flaw last week. The newspaper said it discovered the vulnerability in a web application allowing the public to search teacher certifications and credentials.

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Parson, who has deflected his administration’s responsibility for the breach and instead cast blame on the newspaper for identifying the issue and warning the education department about it, last week said the breach “may cost Missouri taxpayers as much as $50 million and divert workers and resources from other state agencies.”He declined to answer questions after slamming the Post-Dispatch in a live-streamed news conference last week. Despite previously telling reporters the administration would answer follow-up questions following the news conference, Parson’s spokeswoman has declined to break down the $50 million cost estimate or provide any additional details about the breach. “Due to an ongoing investigation, I cannot comment any further than what has already been made public,” spokeswoman Kelli Jones said in a Friday email. The Missouri State Highway Patrol is investigating the data breach. Neither the Office of Administration’s Office of Budget and Planning nor Parson’s spokeswoman immediately responded to Associated Press requests for comment Tuesday on the House Budget Office’s explanation of the $50 million price tag. “During his tirade last week against the free press, Governor Parson strongly implied the state’s investigation and prosecution of a Post-Dispatch reporter would cost Missouri taxpayers $50 million,” Democratic Rep. Peter Merideth said in a statement. Merideth said Democratic lawmakers’ inquiry to Parson’s administration instead found most of the estimated $50 million would pay for “credit monitoring for teachers put at risk by the state’s mistake.” He called that a “much worthier endeavor than bullying a reporter who did the right thing by bringing this issue to light.”


The City of Jackson Plans to Reset City’s Ward Boundaries


The notable population increases n Jackson since 2010 will soon result in a redrawing of ward boundaries within the city, the county seat of Cape Girardeau County. Data from the census to the Census Bureau revealed that Jackson’s population grew from 13,758 in 2010 to 15,481 in 2021, an increase of over12.5 percent. Members of the Southeast Missouri Regional Planning and Economic Development Commission presented a plan Monday to increase the number of residents in Ward 1 and correspondingly decrease them in Wards 2, 3 and 4 — in order to bring them into as close a population alignment as possible. Officials say said this realignment, if given final approval by the Jackson Board of Aldermen, would result in the following ward population counts.

* Ward 1: 3,857, up 260.

* Ward 2: 3,906, down 50.

* Ward 3: 3,929, down 111.

* Ward 4: 3,789, down 99.

Officials say they will be developing gal descriptions of each ward and tyurn them into the city n the next couple of weeks and SEMO Regional Planning is currently working on a contract to redraw the three wards in Perryville, that increased by 330 people since 2010 to 8,555 residents, according to the census.

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