White Pines Resort Breaks Ground

The Sycamore Room inside of the Lodge at White Pines Resort is headed for expansion, and not just in size. It also will undergo major technology upgrades, and offer more than it ever has before. The cozy theater will not lose its nostalgic ambiance, however. It has been nearly three decades since any structural changes have taken place in picturesque White Pines Forest State Park. As a listing on the National Registry of Historic Places, the landmark status is great for preservation, but has been difficult for growth, Beth Henderson, president and founder of White Pines Resort said at a groundbreaking ceremony Oct. 6.

Nestled back in the state’s 385-acre forest, the lodge and cabins were built in the early 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps. Henderson sought approval every chance she could, but was denied for decades, and most recently three years ago. Her effort to grow the business and feed the needs of the public, while maintaining the integrity of its rich history, was arduous, but she refused to give up, Jerry Campagna, vice president of operations at WPR said, adding that her persistence and patience always served her and the community best. He also explained it was that same gumption nearly 30 years ago that gained Henderson privileges as the site’s IDNR Concessionaire when she went toe-to- toe with a major hotel chain that likewise sought the position.

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources and State Preservation Committee mutually gave the green light for the development to move forward. On-hand for the momentous occasion were Oregon Mayor Ken Williams and 45th District State Senator Tim Bivins, representatives from the IDNR including Site Superintendent Jolyn Wise, members of area chambers of commerce, Director of the Illinois Office of Tourism Cory Jobe, as well as representative of Blackhawk Waterways CVB.

Construction is slated for completion before the holiday season begins. Besides offering more seating, including a VIP section for stage productions, it will serve as a retreat center and classroom with upgraded audio and video equipment. Highland Community College is partnering with WPR to provide an offsite location for credit courses and other professional training programs. Upon completion, Campagna said the interior and exterior design will be seamless, and it will offer all of the comforts of the office for business retreats, without the stuffy office environment.

“Disconnecting from the daily hustle and bustle and taking people out of that corporate setting, giving them the tranquil sights and sounds of the Pines, can generate ideas and build better bonds in business,” he said. Jobe, the keynote speaker, discussed how vital WPR is for the state’s overall tourism industry, adding that this new experience will be a great service statewide. Bivins also addressed the crowd, speaking on behalf of his personal appreciation of the state parks and support he has for the project. Henderson said, “This December I’m even more thrilled to complete this expansion, which will provide our theatre productions with state of the art sound systems and lighting on a new stage. This will also now enable us to serve our WPR Retreat Center corporate clients with the type of modern presentation amenities that they would expect in a boardroom type environment—except they’ll be relaxing in a landmark status log lodge built in the 1930s.”

For more information regarding business retreats or to host your own event, please contact Jerry Campagna, WPR Vice President of Operations at 815-946- 2400 ext. 102 or via email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 

Sterling Federal Bank Among top 1-percent for Extraordinary BankingTM.

Sterling Federal Bank was recognized with the Institute’s BankyTM Award for their commitment to excellence in banking and to their community. This recognition is given exclusively to the top 1-percent of community banks.

“This is a great honor for our employees and Sterling Federal Bank,” said Dean Ahlers, President & CEO. “We work tirelessly to provide an exceptional experience for all our customers through extraordinary customer service, needs based selling, and innovative products and services. In addition, our employees volunteer hundreds of hours of community service each year, and in 2016, between our employees and the bank, we donated over $83,000 to the communities we serve.”

The Extraordinary BankingTM Awards exist to highlight the vital, yet often overlooked, role that local community banks play in our economy. Consumers use the Grammys to guide their music purchases, the Emmys to lead them to the best of television, and the Tonys to discover outstanding live theater...And now, consumers have the BankyTM Awards as their guide to discovering the very best, most extraordinary banks in their communities, and in the country.

This year, the BankysTM recognized the top 1-percent of banks—The Best Banks in AmericaTM.

For more information, go to BankyAwards.com. To schedule an interview or get more information, call 815-622-3320 during business hours.

 

102.3 The Coyote Wins Big at IBA Silver Dome Awards

The 2017 Illinois Broadcasters Association (IBA) held their yearly awards banquet Thursday night at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library & Museum. Each year radio and TV stations in the state compete against each other in their respective market size to take home the coveted Silver Dome Award.


102.3 The Coyote (WYOT-FM) Kris Wexell, took first place for Best Radio Personality for the 2nd year, also taking first place for Best Radio Local Broadcast Team, Kris Wexell & Jay Burlison on The Coyote Morning Show. The Coyote took first place for Best Radio Humorous Commercial, with credit to Shawn Lowe, Jay Burlison & Rick Green. (for Small Market)

Good Time Oldies 1060 WRHL (WRHL-AM) was awarded 2nd place for Best Website, The Coyote awarded 3rd place for Best Radio Station Self Promotion for The Coyote Morning Show. (for Small Market)


102.3 The Coyote & Good Time Oldies 1060 would like to thank the IBA, all of our listeners, advertisers and supporters.

 

Byron Forest Preserve District’s Jarrett Prairie Center Museum Wins 2017 AASLH Award of Merit

The American Association for State and Local History (AASLH) proudly announces that the Byron Forest Preserve District is the recipient of an Award of Merit for the Jarrett Prairie Center Museum Renovation Project. The AASLH Leadership in History Awards, now in its 72nd year, is the most prestigious recognition for achievement in the preservation and interpretation of state and local history.

In fall 2016, the Jarrett Prairie Center Museum opened their totally renovated 4,000 square foot museum with new permanent exhibits that focused on interpreting the relationship of people with the surrounding prairie. The new exhibits tell the story of northern Illinois’ vanishing local heritage resource...the tallgrass prairie ecosystem...and the complexity of people’s interactions with it in the past, present and future. Corporate sponsors were Byron Bank, Prairie Forge Group and OSF St. Anthony Medical Center. This year, AASLH is proud to confer forty-eight national awards honoring people, projects, exhibits, and publications. The winners represent the best in the field and provide leadership for the future of state and local history. Presentation of the awards will be made at a special banquet during the 2017 AASLH Annual Meeting in Austin, Texas, on Friday, September 8. The banquet is supported by a generous contribution from the History Channel.

The AASLH awards program was initiated in 1945 to establish and encourage standards of excellence in the collection, preservation, and interpretation of state and local history throughout the United States. The AASLH Leadership in History Awards not only honor significant achievement in the field of state and local history, but also bring public recognition of the opportunities for small and large organizations, institutions, and programs to make contributions in this arena. For more information about the Leadership in History Awards, contact AASLH at 615-320-3203, or go to www.aaslh.org.

The American Association for State and Local History is a not-for-profit professional organization of individuals and institutions working to preserve and promote history. From its headquarters in Nashville, Tennessee, AASLH provides leadership, service, and support for its members who preserve and interpret state and local history in order to make the past more meaningful in American society. AASLH publishes books, technical publications, a quarterly magazine, a monthly newsletter, and maintains numerous affinity groups and committees serving a broad range of constituents across the historical community. The association also sponsors regional and national training workshops and an annual meeting.



HIghland and NIU Sign Reverse Transfer Agreement

Representatives from Northern Illinois University and Highland Communty College held a ceremonial signing of a reverse transfer credit articulation agreement between the institutions.  The agreement was formally approved by Highland's Board of Trustees in February and subsequently signed by HCC  President Tim Hood and Northern Illinois University President Doug Baker.  The agreement allows eligible NIU students who transferred from Highland without associate degrees to earn the two-year degree using credit from NIU courses.

Through the agreement, credits completed at NIU may be transferred back to HCC and used to satisfy the degree requirements for an associate degree. 

"This agreement recognizes the significance of completing an associate degree," said Hood.  "For various reasons, some students transfer to four-year institutions before completing all of the requirements needed to earn an associate of arts or science degree.  This agreement will allow them the option to use courses taken at NIU to fulfill those requirements and gain the valuable diploma."

NIU President Doug Baker praised the significance of the agreement, stating "Students want a hassle-free transfer process and to receive credit for the work they do.  This reverse transfer agreement provides just that.  It is a wonderful tool that allows students to demonstrate their determination to excel to future employers and graduate institutions.  It is also another example of how institutions of public higher education in Illinois can collaborate to deliver high-quality, affordable education."

For more information about reverse transfer from Northern Illinois University to Highland Community College, contact NIU Director of Registration and Records Jerry Montag at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 915-573-1747 or HCC Director of Enrollment and Records Jeremy Bradt at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 815-599-3500.

 

White Pines Resort Is Headed For Expansion

White Pines Resort Breaks Ground The Sycamore Room inside of the Lodge at White Pines Resort is headed for expansion, and not just in size. It also will undergo major technology...

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Sterling Federal Bank, Named Among Top 1% Most Extraordinary Banks in U.S.A.

Sterling Federal Bank Among top 1-percent for Extraordinary BankingTM. Sterling Federal Bank was recognized with the Institute’s BankyTM Award for their commitment to excellence in banking and to their community. This...

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Forest Preserve Wins Award

Byron Forest Preserve District’s Jarrett Prairie Center Museum Wins 2017 AASLH Award of Merit The American Association for State and Local History (AASLH) proudly announces that the Byron Forest Preserve District...

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Local Radio Wins Award

102.3 The Coyote Wins Big at IBA Silver Dome Awards The 2017 Illinois Broadcasters Association (IBA) held their yearly awards banquet Thursday night at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library & Museum....

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Highland & NIU Transfer Agreement

HIghland and NIU Sign Reverse Transfer Agreement Representatives from Northern Illinois University and Highland Communty College held a ceremonial signing of a reverse transfer credit articulation agreement between the institutions.  The...

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Harvard State Bank Opens New Building

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Oregon Park District Receives Grant

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