Local News

2019 DeWitt County Fair Emphasizes Fun

The 2019 DeWitt County Fair was held this weekend with an emphasis on fun.

 

Lindsey Burden, DeWitt County 4-H Program Coordinator, indicates something new at the fair this year was a multitude of activities for the exhibitors to participate in while awaiting adjudication. She says the activities were open to the public to participate in also.

 


Doug Harlan, DeWitt, Macon, and Piatt Counties Extension Director, indicates this was the first year adult former 4-H members were allowed to exhibit projects. The 4-H members voted on their favorite adult projects.

 

 

The fair wraps up Monday with the Beef Show at 8 am followed by the annual DeWitt County 4-H Foundation auction at 7 pm.

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Clinton Police Chief Talks Motorcycles, Bicycles Safety

The summer weather means more outdoor activity and perhaps none take more advantage of the opportunity to be out than motorcyclists and bicyclists.

 

Clinton Police Chief Ben Lowers points out nearly all motorcycle/car crashes are the fault of the vehicle operator. He says always be on alert.

 

 

Bicycle awareness brings on a more serious tone as kids are most often seen on bicycles. Chief Lowers says regardless of who is on a bike, we need to be aware of cyclists. 

 

 

For cyclists, helmets are a must for both bicyclists and motorcyclists. Chief Lowers also implores the evening cyclist to make sure you have reflectors so you can see and reminds them of the rules regarding driving on roads where there may be traffic.

 

 

Chief Lowers indicates they collect quite a few stolen or abandoned bicycles during the summer months. He encourages young people especially, to lock up their bikes if they are going to leave them out for an extended period of time. He says they have their impound full of recovered bikes and they auction them off once a year at Clinton Auto Auction.

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Monticello Schools Not Anticipating Much Changing With New State Budget

The new state budget and the touted benefits for schools should not have much of an impact on a Piatt County school district. 

 

That is what Dr. Vic Zimmerman, Superintendent of Monticello Schools says in light of the recently passed budget in Springfield claims of benefits to Illinois public schools. Like most districts, he says they do spend very conservatively. 

 

 

Local revenues are over 80-percent of the Monticello budget. Dr. Zimmerman says most of that revenue is split between the Corporate Personal Property Replacement Tax, or CPPRT, and their property taxes, leaving not much reliance on state or federal funding. 

 

 

Even though the new budget is not going to greatly impact his district, Dr. Zimmerman calls the increase great for education in Illinois.

 

 

The CPPRT revenue goes up and down depending on the year and Dr. Zimmerman says the increased April revenues caused that fund to increase which helped them finish the year on a positive note to the tune $800,000.

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State Board of Education Inviting Teachers To Be 2020 Census Ambassadors

THE STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION IS ENCOURAGING TEACHERS TO DISCUSS THE IMPORTANCE OF THE 2020 CENSUS WITH STUDENTS AND INVITES THEM TO BECOME CENSUS AMBASSADORS.

 

THE BOARD OF ED IS LOOKING FOR TEACHERS WHO REALLY WANT TO PROMOTE THE IMPORTANCE OF THE UPCOMING CENSUS AS AN AMBASSADOR. PRINCIPAL CONSULTANT LIZ HILER (high-

ler) EXPLAINS WHAT BEING THAT ENTAILS.

 

 

 

ADDITIONALLY, TEACHERS ARE ENCOURAGED TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF FREE LESSON PLANS.

 

 

TEACHERS MUST APPLY BY JULY 31ST. HILER SAYS CURRICULUM IDEAS AND CLASSROOM ACTIVITIES ARE AVAILABLE TO ALL TEACHERS ONLINE AT CENSUS DOT GOV FORWARD SLASH SCHOOLS.

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Weekly Weather Summary

A prolonged period of warm and dry weather is here. How long will it last? Brian Kerschner with the Illinois State Climatologists Office tells us...

 

 

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USDA Extends Crop Reporting Deadline for Flood Impacted States

The Department of Agriculture Wednesday extended the deadline for farmers to report spring-seeded crops. 

USDA says the new deadline, July 22, applies to producers in states impacted by flooding. 
USDA undersecretary Bill Northey says the deadline extension is part of the agencies effort to "increase program flexibility and reduce overall regulatory burden for producers" going through a challenging time. 

Farmers not in the selected states must file reports or be added to a county register by the original July 15 deadline. 

The new deadline applies to producers in Illinois, Arkansas, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, Minnesota, North Dakota, Ohio, Tennessee and Wisconsin for reporting spring-seeded crops  to USDA’s Farm Service Agency county offices and crop insurance agents.

Filing a timely crop acreage report is important for maintaining eligibility for USDA conservation, disaster assistance, safety net, crop insurance and farm loan programs. 
Producers filing reports with FSA county offices are encouraged to set up an appointment before visiting the office.

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Lincoln's Abraham Lincoln Memorial Hospital Offering Teen Fitness Court Training

Lincoln teens are invited out to the Abraham Lincoln Memorial Hospital fitness court Tuesday evening for training to help others use the court effectively. 

Angela Stoltzenberg with ALMH explains teens will learn about the courts seven stations and the variations of how to effectively use each one. The completion of the training will give teens the tools to promote and help anyone wanting to use the facility.

Again, the training is for teens ages 14-19 and the training starts at 6 pm. Anyone interested can meet at the court at 235 8th Street, at the former hospital location. 

You can learn more about the court and other happenings at ALMH by searching "ALMH Community Health Collaborative" on Facebook. 

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Summer Is Prime Time For Grill Fires

SUMMER IS PRIME TIME FOR GRILL FIRES. THE ILLINOIS STATE FIRE MARSHAL’S OFFICE HAS SOME SAFETY TIPS.

JULY IS THE PEAK MONTH FOR GRILL RELATED FIRES…WITH GAS GRILLS CONTRIBUTING TO MORE FIRES THAN CHARCOAL GRILLS. STATE FIRE MARSHAL SPOKESPERSON J-C FULTZ SAYS THERE ARE PRECAUTIONS YOU CAN TAKE TO PROTECT YOURSELF.

FULTZ SAYS KIDS AND PETS SHOULD BE KEPT AT LEAST THREE FEET FROM THE GRILL AND IF USING CHARCOAL…THE COALS SHOULD BE FULLY COOLED BEFORE DISPOSING OF THEM IN A METAL CONTAINER.

FULTZ SAYS IF YOU SMELL GAS WHILE GRILLING, YOU SHOULD IMMEDIATELY GET AWAY FROM THE GRILL AND CALL THE FIRE DEPARTMENT.

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Clinton Chamber of Commerce Celebrates Successful Golf Outing

June 26, 21 area businesses and non-profits converged on the Clinton Country Club for the annual Clinton Chamber of Commerce golf outing.

 

Marian Brisard says the event was a big success. Friday morning on the WHOW Morning Show she unveiled the winners of the annual event.

 

 

While many Chamber sponsored events offer opportunities for networking among local businesses and leaders, Brisard feels the golf outing may be the premier event as it is the most casual of all their events.

 

 

Brisard says the funds raised from the golf outing helps them maintain their operations like giving back to the community through donations to non-profits and other investments in the community.

 

She also notes at the golf outing, the held their drawing for the annual gun raffle and the winner was Steve Coppenbarger. 

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Goodwill in Clinton Opens Friday Morning

Goodwill in Clinton opened their doors for the first time at 9 am on Friday morning establishing their latest location in central Illinois.

 

Sharon Durbin is the President and CEO of the Land of Lincoln Goodwill Industries and says Clinton was the right location for them.

 

 

According to Durbin, Goodwill offers many programs that invest in the community. She says from youth to adults, they have several programs that help residents be successful.

 

 

Durbin says there will be designated days when their career coach will be in Clinton. She anticipates that person will be available in a few more weeks.

 

Check out the new Goodwill location on the west side of the community next to the new Tractor Supply Monday through Saturday from 9 am to 9 pm and Sundays from 11 am to 7 pm.

 

 

 

 

 

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DeWitt County 4-H Fairgrounds Looking to Add Handicap Restroom

The DeWitt County 4-H is seeking donations to aid in renovating the fairground restrooms.

 

Dan Enos with the DeWitt County 4-H indicates they are planning to add a handicap restroom to the facilities and will be an estimated $60,000 project. He says currently there is no date set to begin.

 

 

Enos says donations from the public are much needed for the project. Those wishing to make a donation should contact the DeWitt County Farm Bureau or the DeWitt County University of Illinois Extension Office.

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United Way Talks Community Support and Adding More Groups To Their Umbrella

 Earlier this week on Regional Radio News, we outlined ten DeWitt County organizations that received support from the United Way of Decatur and Mid-Illinois.

 

Ryan Huffer with the United Way says it's easy to become part of their umbrella of support. He explains they recently broadened the requirements for who they can support and feels it's worth a call to them to find out if you might qualify.

 

 

Applying for the investment opportunity through the United Way is a lot like grant writing. Huffer explains they want to know things like what is an organization's budget, how do they impact whoever they are serving and how does that impact compare to someone who may not be in their program.

 

 

Huffer explains they serve DeWitt, Macon and Piatt Counties among others in central Illinois and seek to support non-profits and make their communities as strong as possible.

 

 

Huffer says they chose community investment intentionally because they view their role as investing in the community. He adds they also hold their non-profits accountable by checking in with them periodically to find out if the investment is paying dividends. 

 

To get more information on the United Way of Decatur and Mid-Illinois, you can visit uwdecatur.org or contact them at 217-422-8537. 

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State Ag Pest Coordinator Gives Update

Activity starting to pick up for the State Agriculture Pest Survey Coordinator. Kelly Estes provides an update from her office in Champaign.

 

 

Estes staff includes six interns this summer.

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Entire Illinois Congressional Delegation Working to Bring Military Jets to Springfield

It's been more than a decade since the last F-16 Falcon Fighter Jet left the runways at Springfield's Abraham Lincoln Capital Airport. Members of the U.S. House and Senate from Illinois believe its time for military jets to return. Congressman Darin LaHood says the bi-partisan effort comes at a time when the Air Force is looking for more spots for aircraft....

 

 

LaHood says bringing aircraft back is a borderline turnkey effort...

 

 

The Springfield based 183rd Air National Guard fighter wing lost its jets after the Base Realignment and Closure Commission made a recommendation to transfer the jets last decade. 

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United Riders Association Raising Money For Logan County Special Olympics Saturday

Join the United Riders Association for a special fundraiser this Saturday in Logan County to raise money for the Logan County Special Olympics. 

 

The two groups are teaming up to raise money to help the Special Olympics expand on their flag football team. Event Coordinator Rick Hennessey says they started the car and bike show last year to supplement the loss of the popular Polar Plunge in Lincoln.

 

 

The Cruisin' For A Cause event is the latest event the United Riders Association has taken up for the Special Olympics. He says the show will consist of cars, bikes, and jeeps.

 

 

The Oasis Senior Center in Lincoln on Woodlawn Road is the site of this year's event. Hennessy says the event is from 11 am to 3 pm with free activities for kids as well.

 

 

Hennessy points anyone wanting more information to visit the event's Facebook page by searching Cruisin' For A Cause. You can also learn more about the United Riders Association by finding them on Facebook as well. 

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2019 DeWitt County 4-H Fair This Weekend

The 2019 DeWitt County 4-H Fair will run July 12-15 at the 4-H Fairgrounds in Clinton.

 

Lindsey Burden, DeWitt County 4-H Extension Coordinator, indicates Friday evening will see tractor driving, archery, and the Ag Olympics. Saturday will have the general project judging all day along with the poultry, goat, and master showmanship shows. The public will have an opportunity Saturday afternoon to find out more about the fair.

 

 

Burden says on Sunday they will have the beef, rabbit, and sheep shows along with with a continuation of the general project judging. Sunday evening is the annual 4-H Fair Association Pork Chop dinner at 5:30 pm followed by the awards program. Monday morning is the swine show and Monday evening is the auction.

 

 

Hear live coverage from the fair Saturday morning from 9 am to noon, and the awards show on Sunday evening from 7 pm to 8 pm, on The Big 1520 AM/92.3 FM/106.5 FM WHOW, online at dewittdailynews.com, on the WHOW app, and on Amazon Alexa.

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January Through June Wettest on Record

THE FIRST SIX MONTHS OF 2019 WERE THE WETTEST IN ILLINOIS HISTORY. 

 

ILLINOIS WEATHER DATA GOES BACK TO 1895…AND A NEW RECORD WAS SET THIS YEAR SAYS BRIAN KERSCHNER WITH THE STATE CLIMATOLOGIST’S OFFICE.

 

 

THAT BEATS THE AVERAGE BY MORE THAN EIGHT INCHES SAYS  KERSCHNER.

 

 

THE WETTEST PART OF THE STATE? COBDEN, ILLINOIS IN FAR SOUTHERN UNION COUNTY RECEIVED MORE THAN 44 INCHES OF RAIN DURING THE FIRST SIX MONTHS OF THE YEAR.

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Pritzker Doesn't Hold Back on Scrapped Confederate Railroad Concert

There's a continued uproar on social media over the state's decision to yank the Confederate Railroad from the concert lineup of the DuQuoin State Fair August 27th. Governor J.B. Pritzker offered his first comments on the subject Wednesday and he didn't feel the need to be delicate on the topic....

 

 

Some call it a double standard that rapper Snoop Dog will perform at the Springfield based State Fair despite an album cover with the feet of a cadaver with a toe tag labeled “Trump.” Pritzker calls that comparing apples and oranges....

 

 

The state is paying the Confederate Railroad the full $7500 contract they would have received if they performed. Nearby Marion's Harley Davidson dealer now plans to host the band September 5th. 

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Clinton High School Feeling Effects of Teacher Shortage

A local school is feeling the effects of the statewide teacher shortage.

 

Clinton High School Principal Jerry Wayne notes he currently has three openings that he is trying to fill before the start of the school year.

 

 

Wayne indicates that if positions are not filled he would need to find a long term substitute teacher, which is facing a shortage as well.

 

 

Wayne argues that it is not only political reasons behind the statewide teacher shortage, but it has to do with the rigors of teaching as a profession.

 

 

Wayne says to stop the shortage, the public needs to recognize what teachers do and encourage youth to take up teaching as a profession.

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Clinton Police Chief: Keep Watch Over Elderly, Pets During Extreme Heat

The hottest day of the summer to date is likely today (Wednesday) and as we hit the dog days of summer, local authorities are reminding residents to keep a close watch on your elderly neighbors and pets.

 

Clinton Police Chief Ben Lowers says the elderly can be especially susceptible to the extreme heat if they live alone and don't have air conditioning.

 

 

Chief Lowers also advocates for those outdoor pets that will be subjected to the heat of the summer. Among many suggestions, Lowers says to make sure have shade to rest in and plenty of cold water that is changed out frequently.

 

 

Additionally, while leaving kids in the car on a hot day is against the law, the Chief reminds pet owners it is equally stressful on animals. 

 

 

Chief Lowers points out the police still get complaints about dogs running at large. He continues to remind the public to keep dogs in enclosed, fenced in areas and when taking them out, to keep them leashed, as those are city ordinances and a citation can be written under some circumstances. 

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July Marks 29th Anniversary of Americans with Disabilities Act

With millions of Americans dealing with disabilities, Social Security can help with disability benefits.

 

Jack Myers with Social Security indicates that they have strict criteria for their disability benefits. To qualify for benefits, individuals must have a condition that is expected to last for at least a year or result in death prior to a year.

 

 

Myers notes nobody is getting rich off of disability benefits. Benefits are supposed to help families survive but are not enough to fully replace wages.

 

 

Myers reminds that Social Security offers special assistance for veterans who are wounded or disabled during active duty to help expedite their application.

 

 

For more information on Social Security disability visit www.socialsecurity.gov/disability.

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Department of Labor Urging Employers To Have Plan Addressing Workplace Violence

THE ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF LABOR IS URGING EMPLOYERS TO HAVE A PLAN IN PLACE TO ADDRESS WORKPLACE VIOLENCE. 

 

WORKPLACE VIOLENCE HAS BECOME A GROWING CONCERN SAYS ILLINOIS OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND HEALTH ADMINISTRATION DIRECTOR BEN NOVEN. THE FIRST STEP IS UNDERSTANDING WHAT THAT INCLUDES.

 

 

NOVEN SAYS THE BEST THING EMPLOYERS CAN DO IS ESTABLISH A ZERO-TOLERANCE POLICY TOWARDS VIOLENCE AT WORK. 

 

 

SURVEILLANCE CAMERAS, KEY OR BADGE ENTRY AND PROPER LIGHTING IS ALSO ADVISED. EMPLOYEES SHOULD BE URGED TO REPORT POTENTIALLY DANGEROUS BEHAVIOR TO THEIR SUPERVISOR.

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Blue Ridge Schools Focused on Shifting Teachers Time Focused on Professional Development

In trying to find the balance of having teachers take advantage of needed professional development opportunities but also in front of their students consistently, a DeWitt County school district is trying some new things. 

 

Susan Wilson is the Superintendent of the Blue Ridge district and says they found their teachers were out of the classroom so much and felt it was providing inconsistencies to their students.

 

 

Because a before and after school training requires paying teachers extra, Wilson says the trade-off is not having to bring in subs to cover their classroom time. This implementation started last year and Wilson feels it has gone really well to date. 

 

 

Professional development in the district has started to be taken care in-house thanks to the hiring of a curriculum coordinator. Wilson adds partnerships with other districts have started to become a popular form of professional development.

 

 

Traditional professional development seminars are still an option as well. Wilson says they still send teachers to various conferences throughout the state bringing back great ideas for their various campuses. 

 

 

Wilson believes the approach they have been using has had real benefits for their students by providing continuity they need. 

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United Way Makes Bi-Annual Investment in Community Non-Profits

The United Way of Decatur and Mid-Illinois recently wrapped up their bi-annual community investment process in DeWitt County.

 

Ryan Huffer with the United Way says this is a process that brings various people from different sectors of the community together to hear from non-profits about what their organizations do, how an investment from United Way would impact them and then decides how to distribute a set amount o funding.

 

 

Roughly $106,000 was invested in DeWitt County non-profits this cycle and Tuesday morning on the WHOW Morning Show, Huffer told Regional Radio News four groups received 100-percent of the funding they requested. He feels that is a tremendous number for a central Illinois community.

 

 

According to Huffer, there's a number of programs in DeWitt County doing good things that are worthy investments by the United Way.

 

 

Huffer indicates their fundraising campaign in DeWitt County mainly takes place in the fall and then their community investment process happens in the spring every other year. He indicates there can be some tough decisions their community volunteers have after all their non-profits present.

 

To get more information on the United Way of Decatur and Mid-Illinois and their bi-annual campaign, you can visit uwdecatur.org or contact them at 217-422-8537. 

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Clinton High School Principal Calls London Trip A Great Experience

Around a dozen Clinton High School students, last month made the trip across the pond to tour and explore London. 

 

Clinton High School Principal Jerry Wayne calls the trip a great experience for the kids that were able to take advantage of the opportunity. He says they saw all the sites you would typically associate with the area.

 

 

According to Wayne, tips his cap to the students and the way they conducted themselves. He felt they represented Clinton at the highest level.

 

 

About three years ago, Wayne explains his English teachers brought forward the idea of visiting England to connect what is being taught in the classroom to the real world. From there, they received the nod of approval from the Board of Education and then moved forward to fundraise for the trip. 

 

 

Wayne anticipates in another three years having this opportunity again. He indicates that will have to be up to the Board of Education but they intend on showcasing their experience to the Board in August. 

 

Photos of the students trip courtesy of Clinton High School's Twitter account:

 

 

 

 

 

 

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