Attendees including Savannah Chandler, middle, celebrate at the stroke of noon as balloons are released for Happy Noon Year at the Children’s Museum of Illinois. The event caters to those who are less likely to stay up to celebrate on New Year’s Eve night. Kids were given the opportunity to create their own personalized New Year’s crown, express themselves on the dance floor with music played by a D.J. as well as explore the exhibits. The festivities culminated with a countdown to noon when balloons were released from the second story blanketing over cheering children and parents who filled much of the first floor for the highly attended event.

Ameren Illinois journeyman lineman Chad Maxheimer disconnects power to the Action Equipment warehouse as flames rapidly expand  across the street from him during the January 21st blaze.

Cassie Pope,5, holds hands with Addison Flannery,6, as Flannery has her head shaved in support of Pope during the head shaving event to raise Alopecia awareness at the Macon County Sheriff’s Office Monday morning. Pope has the auto immune disease where the immune system mistakenly attacks hair follicles.

Taylorville Blackhorse Powwow organizer Fred Blackhorse DuBay, pictured in his teepee lodge, has worked to make the powwow an event of authentic Native American culture that is accessible to the general public.

Tobin McKinney,10, comforts his sister Daley McKinney,3, who has a severe form of cerebral palsy. The two are among 9 adopted children in the McKinney family of Harristown, Ill. 

Malone Moretti rehearses with fellow members of the High School Jazz Hop group at the Decatur Civic Center. The group is among 160 participants making final preparations for the Decatur Park District spring dance recital.

Cheryl Hubner and Rudy Hubner help lead the worship music to begin a Celebrate Recovery meeting at the First Church of the Nazarene.

Girls Scout Macy McElroy,9, helps straighten some of the three thousand flags that local scouts, family and friends of scouts set up at the corner of Water Street and William Street in downtown Decatur.  The Memorial Flag Garden was planted in honor of local active military members and in memoriam of those killed while serving their country.

Employees and friends of Affton Trucking, who asked to remain unidentified, help clean up a mess created when one of the company’s trucks overturned on U.S. 67 in West Alton, Ill. The truck was loaded with hundreds of coffee creamer containers. The truck driver was sent to Christian Hospital in north St. Louis County for minor injuries. Rivers Pointe Fire Protection District officials say the wreck marked the third time this year a truck has overturned in that area.

Audrey Wright, 14, reacts as Alesia Jones, 14, soaks in a downpour behind North Middle School in Godfrey, Ill. The short burst of showers briefly flooded parts of the town, including the North Middle School football field, where Wright and Jones were waiting to practice with the Alton Marching 100 Band.

Millikin senior and military sergeant Ravi Sukhai selects note paper as attendees write letters of thanks to local first responders and veterans during the 911 remembrance event in the Richards Treat University Center at Millikin University.

Patricia Hibbard retrieves a photo of her grandchildren Toby and Andrew Hausman from her burned home in Wood River, Ill. The house caught fire before 5 a.m. Saturday. The Hausman children, their mother, Cathy Rudd, and Hibbard's husband Clarence Hibbard, were all in the house when the fire started and escaped uninjured. "Replacing everything we lost, there's no way that can be done," Clarence Hibbard said looking over his burned home. 

Rusty Simpson of the Roofers, Water Proofers and Allied Workers Union Local 92 walks with his son Robert Lee Simpson,3, as they are reflected down Main Street during the Labor Day parade.

A participant prepares to ride in the Memorial Day Welcome Home commemoration parade in Forsyth and Decatur, Ill.

Madison Moll, right, talks about her crush with close friend and fellow cheerleader Kelsey Clark while walking to cheer practice at Sullivan High School.

Sixth grader Makayla Hankins runs under a parachute as classmates lift it off the ground while playing games during play day activities to celebrate the accomplishments of the school year at Enterprise School.

Kevin Boeckenstedt of Decatur embraces his son Ryan Boeckenstedt, now 15, of Decatur after baptizing him in the pond at Ryan’s grandparent’s home in Staunton, Ill., in July. Ryan’s baptism decision came partially from being inspired by his little brother’s baptism and because Ryan had struggles he said he wanted to give to God. He asked his father to perform the submersion because Kevin was helping him through his challenges. Ryan explained one reason for his emotional response after emerging from the water was the thought of his beloved grandmother, Arletta Bundy, proudly watching him from heaven in that moment.

Ryan Carman, 9, of Princeville, Illinois, hugs the family duck, “Dusty”, while taking him along for a tour of other animals in the poultry barn at the Macon County Fair.

Steve O’Dell of Bethalto, Ill., boasts of his 4-foot-long by 4-foot-high spider sitting in a homemade web of string that stretches 10 feet across his front sidewalk as the centerpiece of 250 decorations he “Halloweenscaped”in his front yard, side yard and living room window. O’Dell combined homemade and store-bought decorations to create six haunting scenes across his property with the assistance of his son Ben O’Dell and ex-wife, Betty O’Dell.

Volunteer laborer Jim Graham helps position a plastic sheet covering over metal bows to create a roof for a new greenhouse under construction at the Community Supported Garden on the Oblate Novitiate property in Godfrey, Ill. The Alton-Godfrey Rotary club created the garden to allow families to buy low-cost fresh organic produce and contribute a portion of the harvest to area food banks.

An Illinois Department of Transportation truck driver plows past the Long Creek Fire Department on South Mount Zion Road.

Mitchell firefighters cut the battery cables in a car after a semi-truck on the ramp above crashed into a light pole causing it to fall on the vehicle. The motorist was attempting to take shelter next to the overpass from a windstorm when the pole fell on the car.

Participants in the March of Dimes WalkAmerica event make their way past a Melvin Price Locks and Dam wall in Alton, Ill., at the start of the charity fund-raiser. The rain didn’t stop 150 participants from walking the 3-mile route and raising $32,000 for the cause.

From left, Jaxon Hill,5, of Bloomington notices a spider exoskeleton while his friends Cooper Broderick,3, and Bailey Broderick check out yellow jackets and wasps at the Scovill Zoo display for the opening of the new “What’s Bugging Belva?” exhibit at the Children’s Museum.

Decatur firefighters extinguish a residential fire at 897 W. Leafland Avenue.

Darion Alexander, 6, plays in the drumline of the Decatur Power Drillers at Mueller Park before the start of the 26th annual Freedom March.

Charles Palmer reacts while taking his first steps outside of the Macon County Law Enforcement Center after serving 18 years in custody. Palmer was released, after prosecutors received DNA evidence that excluded him from a murder where he was previously sentenced to life in prison.

Private Hunter Pruitt, foreground, a 2012 Argenta-Oreana High School graduate and Sergeant First Class Josh Lipa listen as local veterans and active service military members are recognized during the Argenta-Oreana School Veterans Day assembly.

Paislee Thomas,5, and volunteer Pam Coleman play in the pit during the celebration of International Mud Day at Baby TALK Head Start. 

Master Sergeant Jeff White of Rockford is welcomed by his son Jaycob White, 10, facing, daughter Abbi White, 14, left, and wife Tyrene White upon arriving at the Army Aviation Support Facility in Decatur after a yearlong mission with the Illinois National Guard in Afghanistan. Several of White's family and friends from the Decatur area were on hand to greet him.

A spider monkey and cat socialize at an exotic animal farm in Otterville, Illinois.

Kindergartner Connor Heil reacts after throwing a pie in the face of principal Valerie Janvrin, right, as PE teacher Jennifer Blakeman observes at Sangamon Valley East School. Students who raised the most money in each class for the American Heart Association Jump Rope for Heart fundraiser were rewarded with a pie throw at either a music teacher, a PE teacher, or the principal.

Aaron Riess feels the retraction of the bungee cord after plummeting 70 feet toward the ground at the Monroe County Fair. The jump was voted the most popular attraction at this year’s fair.

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