October 21, 2014   5:20 am
Numbers Increase in Fall Colors Weekend
The fall colors are in full swing at Starved Rock State Park. Marketing Director Kathy Casstevens said visitors for the “Fall Colors Weekend” this past Saturday and Sunday saw over 41,000 people visit Starved Rock. Casstevens said this year’s count was nearly 10,000 more visitors than last year. The Fall Colors Weekend at the park attracts visitors to the trails throughout the park as the trees undergo color changes throughout the autumn season.
The park offered guided tours for those who visited this past weekend.
State Funds for 251 Project
A local company is getting money from the state for the upcoming Illinois Route 251 project. The state made the announcement last week that $4.32 million will be going to Advanced Asphalt in Princeton for the resurfacing of three and a half miles of Route 251 from Shooting Park Road to May Road, just north of Interstate 80. Construction workers will also be replacing sidewalk ramps at Shooting Park Road and replacing traffic signal timers along the route various intersections. 

County Showdown Winner to Nationals  
A southern Illinois man who won the WALLS 102 Country Showdown State Finals in August is headed to the National Finals. Carterville resident Eli Toller won the Country Showdown Midwest Regional Finals this past weekend in Minnesota. Toller will compete in Nashville, Tennessee in January against four other national finalists who are looking to earn the title “Best New Act in Country Music.” The finals will be held at the Ryman Auditorium, which is known as the original home to the Grand Ole Opry and the birthplace of country music.

Governor Debate
 The candidates for Illinois governor have made their case to voters in the third and final televised debate ahead of the November election. Governor Pat Quinn focused on Illinois' drop in unemployment since he took office in 2009. Republican businessman Bruce Rauner (ROW'-nur) says he's financially independent and can change the system in Springfield.

Early Voting
Early voting in Illinois started yesterday and runs through November 2nd. County clerks in several regions are reporting similar turnout to years past with a steady stream at some spots. Illinois Board of Elections officials say almost 381,000 people voted early in 2010's general election.

Civil War Dedication
State and local officials this morning dedicated with a historical marker a former site of a Civil War training and prisoner of war camp on the South Side of Chicago. It once housed black soldiers who were recruited for the Union Army, as well as Confederate soldiers who were captured during the war. The site was once a part of Camp Douglas. About 6,000 Confederate soldiers died there throughout a four-year period.

Corn Harvest
The U.S. Department of Agriculture says corn and soybean harvests in Illinois are limping along.    The USDA says in its weekly crop progress update Monday that three weeks of wet conditions across much of Illinois have left the ground saturated. The agency says that has limited efforts to bring in the crops from the fields.  The department says Illinois' corn harvest is 43 percent complete. That's down 20 percentage points from the average over the previous five years.