Four misconceptions owners have about flooding and water damage in their homes

Photo provided
StatePoint Media - Many people look forward to spring when the weather warms up and flowers start to bloom, but it also marks the start of the peak time of year for flash flooding in the United States. According to NOAA, 75% of flash floods happen between late April and mid-September. With two major storms passing through East Central Illinois in the last week, you should remember when water backs up and overflows, it generally goes where it doesn’t belong and can cause serious damage to your home.

Unfortunately, many homeowners have misconceptions about floods, leaving them unprepared. Here are four of the biggest myths:

1. Homeowners insurance policies cover flood damage. A typical homeowners policy covers water damage from a sink or bathtub overflowing but won’t help with flood damage caused by storms – something many homeowners only discover after it’s too late. However, some insurance companies offer coverage to help fill the gaps so you don’t have to pay out of pocket for repairs and replacements. For example, Erie Insurance now offers Extended Water coverage, which covers damage caused not only by natural disasters, but also by sewer and drain backups.

2. Only people who live in flood plains need flood insurance. A national survey commissioned by Erie Insurance found that 53% of homeowners think only people who live in high-risk flood zones should buy flood insurance. However, 25% of flood claims are filed by people who live outside those areas. Additionally, FEMA says floodwater only needs to get a mere 3 inches high to make it likely that you’d need to replace drywall and baseboards.

3. There’s nothing you can do to prevent flood damage. Nothing is foolproof, but there are ways to protect your home from water damage. Install a sump pump along with a battery backup and regularly test it. Improve drainage around your home by clearing leaves and debris from gutters, storm drains and downspouts. You can also install water sensors to alert you of water or leaks within your home. If a storm is on the way, plan ahead by placing valuables and sentimental items into plastic storage bins, moving items off the floor (especially if they are stored in basements and lower levels of a home) and by making a home inventory. A list of all your personal possessions, along with their estimated values, will help if you need to file an insurance claim.

4. Insurance can only help you after an incident. Many homeowners don’t realize they may be able to get reimbursed for taking steps to protect their homes when flooding is imminent. As one example, under certain circumstances Erie Insurance will reimburse homeowners up to $10,000 for materials such as sandbags and the sand to fill them, fill for temporary levees, pumps or plastic sheeting and lumber used with these items, as well as labor.

“We encourage homeowners to not underestimate the risk of flooding, and to be aware of the significant amount of damage that even a small amount of water can cause,” said Michelle Tennant, vice president of product management, Erie Insurance. “Talk to your independent insurance agent about your home and your neighborhood to make sure you have the coverage that’s right for you.”

To learn more about protecting your home from floods, visit erieinsurance.com/extended-water.

Life is unpredictable. So is weather. But one thing is certain: if it can rain (or snow), it can flood. Make sure you’re protected with the right type of insurance.

Illinois House Bill could help people avoid crushing medical debt

Photo: Matthew Henry/Burst
by Mark Richardson
Illinois News Connection


A new report finds thousands of low-income or uninsured people in Illinois face medical debt that is depleting their savings and, in some cases, affecting their health.

The report, from the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, described situations where patients racked up big bills because they didn't know that hospitals or community agencies could offer financial assistance. House Bill 2719 was filed this week to require all Illinois hospitals to screen uninsured patients and inform them of their options for paying medical bills.

Luvia Quinones, senior director of health policy at the coalition, said many low-income and working-class people are unnecessarily losing sleep - and cash.

"Many of these individuals are actually eligible for something, whether it be some type of health coverage program or for hospital financial assistance," she said, "and unfortunately, many of them are not made aware of either of these services or programs."

The Illinois Department of Health Care and Family Services reported in 2021 that more than 900,000 people in the state were uninsured. It said one-third of them qualify for coverage under Medicaid or through the Insurance Marketplace, while others are eligible for hospital financial programs or charity care.

Most Democrats in the General Assembly support the bill, but Republicans have not publicly staked out a position. The measure is pending before the Health Care Availability and Accessibility Committee. Quinones said the bill's goal is ultimately to prevent excessive medical debt.

"By hospitals screening these individuals, you could prevent them both ending up in medical debt," she said, "and it could also help the hospitals to be able to get reimbursed for some of the services."


Throwback Thursday | Spartans beat Momence by 12

SJO wins at home

St. Joseph-Ogden's Aaron Woller dribbles the ball around a Momence player during the Spartans' home game on February 8, 2013. Woller drained two free throws in the fourth quarter to help SJO defeat the visiting Redskins, 53-41. Woller and the St. Joseph-Ogden program went on to finish the season fourth in the state in Class 2A.

Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks


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CU is a great place for tennis; 5 really good reasons why you want play, too

PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks
David Diep, from Champaign, hits a backhand shot while playing during the USTA state tournament at Atkins Tennis Center in August of 2022. Tennis is a widely popular recreational sport in Champaign-Urbana, so much so that there are well over 120 public and private courts in or within a 10-minute drive for most players.

URBANA - If you love tennis, then Champaign-Urbana is a great community to live in. With over 120 courts available, two well-maintained indoor facilities, and plenty of options for lessons and instruction, tennis is a fun sport for all ages to stay physically active, mentally sharp, and compete as a recreational player anywhere from a local level all the to way various national championships.

There are so many tennis players in the college town, home of the University of Illinois, that even with the unbelievable number of courts available for a community its size, there are times and days throughout the warmer months when players can have a hard time finding an open court.

Playing tennis, like several other active sports, is a worthwhile activity for activating the brain and keeping neural networks functioning longer because it requires a combination of tactical thinking, creativity, coordination, and agility. One benefit to hitting the courts on the reg is hanging out with other players, sharing postmatch stories, and thrill of hitting a match-winning shot, which seems to delay the onset of Alzheimers and other cognitive diseases.

Tennis for older adults can help them stay physically and mentally active well into your 70s and 80s. For example, a study conducted in Japan found that male tennis players enjoyed a significantly lower risk of developing dementia, like to the tune of being 25 percent less likely to develop the disease because of the social aspects of the game.

PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks
In Champaign-Urbana there are dozens of opportunities to play for all ages. Between private instruction, organized workouts, leagues, teams, and informal groups, you can almost play tennis every day of the week, all year long.

Social tennis, meeting new people and making new friends (and sometimes rivals) is a never-ending in a college community like Champaign-Urbana. There are dozens of informal groups that meet at neighborhood courts and daily clinics and drill sessions every week at Atkins Tennis Center and the park district's Dodds Tennis Center. All three area country clubs have tennis courts available for their members, or you can join the United States Tennis Association to play on a team or in sanctioned tournaments around the country.

Here are five other reasons why you should grab a new can of balls, that old racquet in the closet or garage, and a few friends for a couple hours a week with friends:

PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks
There is nothing like the thrill of putting the ball away for a winner in a during a tough match. Sometimes it is hard to contain your emotions when you come out on top with a win.

Enjoyment ~
Regardless of your level of experience, tennis is fun. Whether you play casually with friends or competitively in tournaments, the thrill of hitting the perfect shot to win a game is hard to beat. Whether you are pounding 100 mph serves down the T for an ace or hitting the perfect drop shot to humiliate your opponent, technique and strategy can overcome youth, and in many cases, experience.

Cardiovascular Health ~
Tennis can be a physically demanding sport. Most players find that as their level of play improves, the more calories they burn on the court. Young or old, playing tennis can help improve your cardiovascular health by getting their heart rate up and increasing your endurance.

Bone Health ~
Tennis is a weight-bearing activity that can help improve bone density and reduce the risk of osteoporosis in older adults. Stronger bones reduce the chances of breakage from a routine, run-of-the-mill injury like tripping and falling off a slippery, ice-covered curb in the wintertime.

Stress Relief ~
Tennis is a fun and challenging activity that can help reduce stress and promote relaxation. After spending an hour and half chasing the ball from one side of the court to the other, concentrating on something enjoyable will put any stress you might have on the furthest backburner. For older adults, tennis is beneficial in taking a break from their daily routines and enjoy time outdoors or tennis buddies.

Mental agility ~
Playing competitive tennis is mentally challenging. Not only does it require quick thinking and strategy, but also a high-level emotional control and focus. Playing regularly, can help improve problem-solving skills, decision-making abilities, and the ability to remain focused under pressure.

Champaign-Urbana has a large, friendly, and vibrant tennis community. You can have fun playing seven days a week: After all, it is all love out on the courts.

PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks
When the stakes are high, tennis can become a very emotional sport. The level of camaraderie with teammates and opponents, even at the recreational level, creates lasting memories.


Guest Commentary | The Trump-Daniels saga, will it never end?

by Glenn Mollette, Guest Commentator


An ongoing saga continues to surround Former President Donald Trump and porn star Stormy Daniels. Will it never end? Trump may or may not be indicted by the time you read this but who knows? Who isn’t tired of hearing about an alleged sexual encounter between these two.

Former President Trump has denied the encounter ever occurred but Daniels has said it did occur. Who is telling the truth? Who should we believe? Is there proof of this alleged “affair” or sexual encounter?

Does anyone have a video of the Trump and Daniels encounter? Apparently, Daniels is big on videos for money participating in encounters that most of us really do not want to see. I’m sure some people do since pornography an international addictive problem that destroys more lives than we will ever know. Even if it existed, we certainly do not want to see any such “encounter” between Daniels and Trump. Even. So, how do you prove such an event took place. We are back again to “he said, she said.”

President Trump has had his feet to the fire because he is alleged to have paid $130,000 to Daniels to keep quiet about the “encounter.” The problem is unclear. Is he alleged to have paid the money out of campaign funds raised for his Presidential bid in 2016? Or, is this about being an amount of money beyond the legal campaign donation cap and how could it ever be considered a campaign donation? Does any of it make sense? As much money as Trump has, would he not have just paid her out of his petty cash fund? If Daniels and Trump had a dispute then how is it illegal to have settled a dispute? People do it every day.

Trump made millions just from his reality television show The Apprentice on NBC. I always figured this is one reason NBC hates Trump so much. He made them a lot of money and the show was still making major money when he quit to run for President. Money and greed color everything.

Why don’t they just produce the check written to Daniels? Michael Cohen, Trump’s former attorney who served time in prison, allegedly gave the money to Daniels and was reimbursed by Trump. Did he write a check from his personal account? How did Trump reimburse Cohen? Did he go to the bank and get a cashier’s check? Just go back and do an audit. How credible is Cohen? Does Cohen know for sure which account the money came from?

Back in 1974 Jerry Springer, (Yes, the TV reality show star) resigned from the Cincinnati City council because he had written two checks to two different prostitutes in Northern, Kentucky. The controversy took over his life but he was later reelected to the city council and even later served as mayor. In one of his commercials, that I remember seeing, he said, “I made a mistake. I paid a prostitute with a check.” He actually wrote two checks. One was for $50 and the other was for $25. He would go on to serve as Cincinnati’s mayor from 1977-1978. But wait, he admitted to it and he didn’t pay it from campaign or government funds.

Looks like if Trump could get in trouble for paying for an “encounter,” then Daniels would be in trouble for prostitution. But wait, she didn’t collect money for an alleged encounter with Trump, but she got money to be quiet about the encounter with Trump. Is this not blackmail? Are there not any consequences for blackmail? Apparently, there is more money to be made from being quiet about “encounters” than actually selling oneself for an “encounter”. She did reportedly receive a handsome book royalty check to talk about her life that attorney Michael Avenatti stole. He is now serving time in prison for defrauding clients and tax evasion.

There is probably more that will be said about this alleged “encounter”. This proves it doesn’t work to pay porn stars hush money, because, they take the money and still tell everybody.


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Dr. Glenn Mollette is a syndicated American columnist and author of Grandpa's Store, American Issues, and ten other books. He is read in all 50 states. The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily representative of any other group or organization.

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This article is the sole opinions of the author and does not necessarily reflect the views of The Sentinel. We welcome comments and views from our readers. Submit your letters to the editor or commentary on a current event 24/7 to editor@oursentinel.com.


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