Windfarms have been a hot topic in local news recently.
McLean County is now home to a windfarm and Macon County's windfarm project continues on this summer with a completion date of the end of the year.
Tuesday afternoon the Clinton Rotary Club heard from a group hoping to develop a windfarm in DeWitt County. Tom Swierczewski (swear-chess-key) is the Development Director for Tradewind Energy and explains the DeWitt County project is already almost a decade old.
According to Swierczewski, they hope to obtain their permit from DeWitt County and begin construction next year in the fall. He notes completion would be around 2019 in the best case scenario.
A windfarm would benefit almost all the taxing bodies of the county along with provide around 15 jobs. Swierczewski says they would be 15 good paying jobs.
Swierczewski adds Illinois is the only state they deal with where they pay more in property taxes than property rent.
He explains they have to do a lot of research in deciding where to place their wind turbines. The DeWitt County Board recently approved zoning permits for meteorological towers to determine the feasibility for the towers.
The company also does not deal power directly to the grid. Swierczewski explains they traditionally will contract with an entity or utility.
Sciewczewski adds they are not the company building the wind farm in Macon County, in fact Trade Wind Energy is the competition of E. ON Energy, the company heading the project in Macon County.
Community residents of every type are invited to join with a local non-profit agency this week and help shape the path of their organization.
Community Action is hosting a focus group Thursday afternoon in hopes of getting a fresh perspective of the community needs. Executive Director Alison Rumler-Gomez says they are seeking community members, leaders and business owners to join them.
Rumler-Gomez says getting a good turnout for the focus groups is often a challenge and is hoping anyone interested will contact her to be a part of the process.
The focus groups are very important to the yearly strategic planning process for Community Action. Rumler-Gomez indicates it is a culmination of a lot of research they do throughout the first half of the year.
Rumler-Gomez says the focus group not only provides them with great information and insight, but it can be an introduction to Community Action for a lot of people. She adds you don't have to be involved in Community Action to participate.
To learn how to participate in the focus group set for Thursday, contact Rumler-Gomez by calling 217-732-2159.
The Department of Agriculture’s rural development lead says USDA is seeking to create an environment where rural America can prosper.
Ann Hazlett oversees the Rural Utilities Service, the Rural Business Service, and the Rural Housing Service. She was appointed to the newly created position of Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development last month.
The appointment is part of a restructuring plan that eliminates the undersecretary position for rural development, a plan that’s met some opposition. USDA says the move allows for an increased emphasis on Rural Development that’s needed in the face of economic difficulties in rural communities.
An Indiana native, Hazlett has worked on agriculture and rural issues for more than fifteen years. She says there are many challenges in rural America that USDA will examine…
Another priority for rural development is delivering broadband internet to rural areas, which USDA considers a necessity…
Hazlett is a graduate of Kansas State University and before her role at USDA served as Chief Counsel to the majority on the Senate Agriculture Committee. By removing the undersecretary position and putting rural programs under an appointed position, Hazlett was able to start work immediately at USDA.
Other divisions of USDA that are overseen by an undersecretary are awaiting new leadership. Currrent American Soybean Association CEO Stephen Censky was nominated by President Trump to serve as the USDA deputy secretary. President Trump has also nominated Ted McKinney for Under Secretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs and Sam Clovis for Under Secretary for Research, Education and Economics.
It’s a special summer at the Illinois State House.
Another special session is getting underway on Wednesday. Governor Bruce Rauner has called lawmakers back to town in order to get an education funding bill to his desk so he can veto parts of it.
The bill in question, Senate Bill 1, is largely the work of Senator Andy Manar, a Democrat from Bunker Hill, says he doesn’t need to be back in a special session to solve any differences, he wants the Governor’s office to be transparent and offer up room to compromise.
Manar says that there is no need for the expense or showcase of a special session. All the Governor needs to do is return to the table with the legislative leaders and make public what he wants changed in SB1.
Manar says he wants to meet and then take those requests back to the majority in the Senate.
A lawsuit filed last week accuses Monsanto sales representatives of secretly giving farmers assurances of using “off label” methods for a dicamba herbicide formulation.
The St Louis Post-Dispatch reports the lawsuit claims: “This was Monsanto’s real plan: publicly appear as if it were complying, while allowing its seed representatives to tell farmers the opposite in person.”
A Tennessee weed management expert, Larry Steckel, says in the suit that “it’s almost impossible” to follow label directions for dicamba-based herbicides, given the recent changes that have surfaced over drift allegations.
Formulations were changed to dicamba-based herbicides following an outbreak of drift incidents last year to reduce volatility and drift. However, those changes have not seemed to slow reports of drifts problems in 2017.
The suit says the defendants “actually benefit” from rampant drift, because it pressures farmers to adopt dicamba-tolerant seed to avoid damage.
Monsanto and BASF indicated to the Post-Dispatch that they were aware of the suit but declined to comment on specific allegations. Both companies cited their efforts to educate growers about correct application of dicamba.
House and Senate appropriators have reversed the president’s proposed cuts to Army Corps inland waterways funding, but still provide no money to modernize critical locks on the Upper Mississippi and Illinois Rivers.
The good news is a reversal of a 17 percent cut the White House proposed to the Army Corps' civil works budget, and full-use of Inland Waterways Trust Fund annual revenues, boosted by higher barge diesel taxes.
Waterways Council Senior Vice-President Debra Calhoun says the downside is a continued lack of planning and design money for the Navigation and Ecosystem Sustainability Program...
Calhoun says the Upper Miss and Illinois River locks modernization is part of the Army Corps’ priority projects list, and the Trump Administration wants to speed up NESP work from a scheduled 25 years, to 10 years. But Calhoun says there’s a political problem…
Calhoun argues the Upper Mississippi locks have far outlived their 50-year design-life. Many were built in the 1930s and cannot accommodate longer modern barges that need to be separated to get through the ancient locks.
Congress authorized modern new locks on the Upper Miss and Illinois Rivers in 2007, but actual funding was never provided.
County Farm Bureau presidents are gathering this week in Bloomington. There are several new ones—including Pat Wolf of Christian County.
Brent Ford of Wabash County and Sangamon County and Pulaski/Alexander County Farm Bureaus also have new presidents. All are receiving training this week at the Illinois Farm Bureau headquarters in Bloomington.
A new name in the running for the Democratic nomination in the state’s 13th Congressional District.
A third democrat, Erik Jones announced on Monday that he wants the seat.
Jones is an Edwardsville lawyer who has a background in government. Jones previously was an investigative counsel for the US House Committee on Oversight and the US Senate’s Commerce Committee.
Jones is now in an increasingly crowded field of Democrats in the primary. He joins perpetual candidate Dr. David Gill and Betsy Dirksen Londrigan.
The 13th is currently represented by Republican Rodney Davis of Taylorville.
With lawmakers to convene in Springfield until a new school funding formula is passed, a local lawmaker is calling out area lawmakers to do the right thing.
State Sen. Chapin Rose says Democratic downstate lawmakers have the opportunity to vote for what is best for their home districts or side with Mike Madigan and do what is best for Chicago.
According to Sen. Rose, every district in downstate Illinois does better under the Governor's plan as opposed to Senate Bill 1.
Sen. Rose had strong words for downstate lawmakers that would side with Speaker Madigan on the funding reform proposal.
Legislation was not on the Governor's desk by noon Monday so lawmakers will convene Wednesday for special session until a funding formula is passed.
US Congressman Rodney Davis says the US House of Representatives has done their job and now it's time for the US Senate to do theirs in taking a repeal vote of the affordable care act.
Congressman Davis says the healthcare system needs to be fixed and lawmakers have worked with the President to get a new plan in place. He indicates he awaits the Senate's vote this week.
There has been a lot made in the national news media about the lack of support from Republicans on the health care bill and Congressman Davis it is basically a difference of opinion in the party.
The Senate is expected to vote on the repeal of the ACA this week. Congressman Davis is hopeful the Senate will work with the House in an effort to reform the system.
IT WAS A HOT WEEK FOR ILLINOIS CROPS AS WE HEAR IN THE WEEKLY CROP REPORT.
TEMPERATURES AND RAIN WAS ABOVE NORMAL THIS PAST WEEK, AND FIVE DAYS WERE SUITABLE FOR FIELDWORK SAYS CROP STATISTICIAN MARK SCHLEUSENER.
77 PERCENT OF SOYBEANS ARE BLOOMING AND 33 PERCENT ARE SETTING PODS.
30 PERCENT OF SORGHUM HAS HEADED AND THE SECOND CUTTING OF ALFALFA IS ALMOST COMPLETE.
AVERAGE STATEWIDE TOPSOIL MOISTURE IS RATED AS 12 PERCENT VERY SHORT, 21 PERCENT SHORT, 59 PERCENT ADEQUATE AND EIGHT PERCENT SURPLUS, WITH WIDE DISPARITIES ACROSS THE STATE.
Speed awareness day will be observed all across the state of Illinois on Wednesday.
Illinois State Police Trooper Jason Wilson from District 7 in East Moline says the effort will involve basically all levels of law enforcement.
Trooper Wilson adds that the goal is not to just simply write tickets, but to help save lives.
A new member has been named to the Illinois Senate.
DuPage County Board Vice Chairman John Curran will take the spot left open by the resignation last month of Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno.
According to the DuPage GOP a dozen candidates were in the running before Curran was selected.
As a number of new hires have been brought into Governor Bruce Rauner’s administration one has been fired for past comments on social media and another is facing scrutiny.
Brittany Carl, a communications staffer, compared abortion to Nazi Germany’s eugenics programs while writing a blog post. This after Rauner’s “body man”, a person who travels everywhere with him, was ousted just a day or so after being hired for past racist and homophobic tweets.
According to Rauner he doesn’t agree with every position that everyone who works for him has taken.
Rauner says even though many of these new hires are from extremely conservative groups his perspective isn’t any different than it was a when he decided to run for office.
Without an education spending reform bill on his desk at noon today (Monday) the Governor held true on a promise. He’s ordering a special session to bring lawmakers back in order to try and force action on the matter.
Senate Bill 1 is waiting to be sent to Rauner, it’s a bill he’s promised to veto parts of. Rauner contends Democrats are playing political games by not sending him the bill. He says it’s the Democrats that want a crisis of schools not opening on time to force their vision of school funding forward.
Rauner has been vague on what changes he wants or how he’d alter the bill that passed both the House and Senate. The session starts on Wednesday.
Western Illinois Congresswoman Cheri Bustos serving as the leading spokesperson for a plan unveiled by House and Senate Democrats.
It’s called “A Better Deal”—a new economic agenda aimed at boosting wages. Bustos announced the plan at a press conference in the Washington DC area yesterday.
Bustos is the Co-Chair of the Democratic Policy and Communications Committee.
All eyes are on Springfield once again as families across the state await news of a new education funding formula to pass which would allow schools to open on time.
Clinton Schools Superintendent Curt Nettles says he is confident lawmakers will pass something, but what the plan will look like is still to be determined.
According to Nettles, there are two plans being proposed. One is being tabbed by Republicans as a bail-out of Chicago Public Schools and the other provides more funding for downstate schools.
Nettles calls either plan better than the current funding formula. He says schools that rely heavily on state dollars need help because they do not have the local resources to support themselves like Clinton.
The state has until August 1 to pass a funding reform package for schools. If they do not, some schools run the risk of not being open to students on the first day of classes.
Area seniors are encouraged to get registered and participate in the 2017 Senior Academy through the DeWitt County TRIAD.
Mary Kay Hirsbrunner indicates there are three sessions in August that are free informational sessions about challenges seniors face in central Illinois.
Topics include safety information with Police Chief Ben Lowers to information about Alzheimers. Hirsbrunner says there's a lot of good information for seniors in the three sessions.
The sessions are broken into two sessions with drinks and refreshments in between. Hirsbrunner says they are asking for seniors to pre-register. To do so, contact the Sheriff's office at 217-935-9507.
There is another line in the sand from the Governor to the legislature.
Send him Senate Bill 1, a bill focused on education spending, so he can use his veto pen and according to him make sure that schools open on time.
Governor Bruce Rauner last week asked for the bill by today or he will call a special session every day until the bill reaches his desk. Rauner maintains that SB 1 is loaded with a bailout for Chicago public schools and it would add millions in spending to support CPS pension payments.
Rauner continued to use Speaker Mike Madigan’s name when placing blame on the bill not reaching his desk, even though the bill is coming from the Senate.
POTENTIAL DROUGHT CONDITIONS ARE SPREADING ACROSS A LARGE SWATH OF CENTRAL ILLINOIS.
WHILE NORTH EASTERN ILLINOIS IS DEALING WITH FLOODING...SEVERAL COUNTIES HAVE BEEN REALLY DRY THIS MONTH SAYS STATE CLIMATOLOGIST JIM ANGEL.
THE LATEST LONG TERM OUTLOOK DOESN’T ADDRESS RAIN CHANCES BUT DOES CALL FOR WARMER THAN NORMAL TEMPERATURES IN AUGUST AND SEPTEMBER.
The US Senate is planning on taking a vote this week on the repeal of the Affordable Care Act.
US Senator Dick Durbin says a repeal would be disastrous with one Republican measure to replace the ACA ending health coverage for 22 million people another for 32 million. Along with those changes, Durbin says a pending massive cut to Medicaid funding would hurt seniors and families caring for elderly members.
Durbin also stressed that he wants to see the votes go through regular order in the Senate so debate and committees could be held on the possible changes.
For years, the Illinois State Fair Parade has rolled down Springfield's Peoria Road.
Now the fair is shifting gears, kicking off the parade in Springfield's Lincoln Park, which is just across the street from the fairgrounds' southwest corner. Ag spokeswoman Rebecca Clark says the park setting will offer key advantages.
The length of the parade will only be slightly shorter, going from 1.6 miles to 1.5.
The 2017 Illinois State Fair Twilight Parade is Friday, August 10th at 5:30 P.M.
As the state raises taxes this summer one state official is giving away money – a record amount of it.
State Treasurer Mike Frerichs has given away a record amount of cash this year from the state’s I-Cash Program. That’s where unclaimed bank accounts, stocks, insurance benefits and other items lay in waiting till they are reunited with their rightful owner. Greg Rivara with the office says I-Cash is growing bigger every year and now with larger amounts of money passed out.
In all this year nearly 160 million dollars of cash, stock and other items were returned.
It’s easy to find out if you have any money or other items coming to you… the state has a website set up at Illinois Treasurer dot gov. And when you attend events like the Illinois State Fair the office often times has mobile centers set up to help you look for items.
A notable return this year was a purple heart that belonged to a central Illinois woman’s father who had passed away. The return was special because the daughter knew her dad had served in the military but wasn’t aware that he had been awarded a purple heart during his service.
It was a hot and dry week across central Illinois and state climotologist, Jim Angel, says we're in for a break next week.
Abraham Lincoln Memorial Hospital offers a free prenatal class every month for expecting families. The next 3 hour class will be held Sunday, July 30 from 1pm to 4pm. The class will be held in Steinfort A at Abraham Lincoln Memorial Hospital.
Registered Nurse and Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator, Kathy Vogt, will be teaching the class.
The class will teach participants how to know when it's time to come to the hospital, what to expect during labor and delivery, breathing techniques and other pain relief options. It will also touch on newborn feeding and care.
To register for the class, you can call (217) 732-2161 extension 55231. To learn more about other healthcare services offered at ALMH, visit www.almh.org.
Western Illinois Congresswoman Cheri Bustos receives an honorary State FFA Degree. She was presented with the honor this week in Washington D.C. during a visit by an Illinois FFA delegation.
Ann Weber is the Section 3 FFA president, which represents 13 western Illinois Schools.
28 Illinois FFA members were part of the Washington trip, which included the first ever visit by a state FFA team with the sitting U.S. Ag Secretary.
Gov. Bruce Rauner is keeping the heat on Senate President John Cullerton and House Speaker Michael Madigan to get the school funding reform bill to his desk as the school year approaches.
In a visit to Auburn High School, Rauner once again threatened to cut short summer vacation for lawmaker.
Rauner says that July 31st deadline is crucial because school aid checks are typically sent out in early August.
The Trump Administration will look a little different moving forward during White House press briefings after Press Secretary Shawn Spicer resigned from his job today.
US Senator Dick Durbin says Spicer had an impossible job to do.
It will be a busy day at the DeWitt County Museum Sunday.
A pair of events are scheduled back to back and Director Joey Woolridge indicates the opening event is a fun spin on the nostalgic days of summer.
Following that event, the Museum is hosting an ice cream social with a special guest that will be of interest to the younger members of the family.
Tickets for Good Old Summertime are $25 and Woolridge encourages anyone planning to attend to get their tickets ahead of time. That ticket also gets you in to the ice cream social.
To get tickets for Good Old Summertime or the ice cream social, contact Woolridge at the Homestead at 217-935-6066 or stop in to the Museum at 219 East Woodlawn Street in Clinton.
The Clinton Journal has announced they will be publishing their paper once a week effective August 1.
In a letter to subscribers, The Journal announced the paper will be released each Friday and the publisher says the weekend edition will be quote - "more substantial in content."
For subscribers, the subscriptions are being extended to reflect a new lower rate.
The battle of substance abuse is not an age-specific problem and that is why organizers of Saturday's Clinton Cares hope you'll consider bringing the whole family out.
Pam Schwartz with the DeWitt County Coalition indicates the message of substance abuse can impact anyone of any age from those who have the problem to the kids in the family. She says their event Saturday brings the message to everyone in an appropriate way.
Saturday is highlighted by special guest speakers and music on the square. Schwartz says they have a couple local gentlemen that have been through the DeWitt County Drug Court and then there are state and national speakers.
Money raised from the event go towards the DeWitt County Substance abuse coalition and their mission of being a resource for the community. Schwartz says the activities are free but donations will be accepted throughout the day.
Saturday's Clinton Cares event kicks off at 11 am with narcan training at the Warner Public Library. You can register for that by contacting Schwartz at 217-935-9507.
Then Clinton Cares is on the square from noon to 7 pm.
For more information on Clinton Cares or about the DeWitt County Substance Abuse Coalition, find their page on Facebook.
The American Cancer Society's Macon County Relay for Life starts tonight at 6pm.
According to Crystal Sewell, it is an unique event as it's overnight as Relay for Life was originally designed to be.
If you haven't signed up already, you are welcome to show up the day of and sign up there. The Survivors' Dinner will be at 4pm and, as always, there will be activities for people of all ages.
There will be an auction that averages around 60 items every year, including some kid friendly Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles items.
The event will be at Richland Community College. It starts at 6pm tonight and will end at 6am Saturday morning. The Luminaria Ceremony will be at 9:30pm.
To learn more about Relay for Life and the American Cancer Society, you can visit their website at relay.acsevents.org.
It’s not easy for farmers to scout fields in this current stretch of excessively hot weather, but they need to do it says Dave Powell---Weed Science Technical Manager at GROWMARK.
And Powell is recommending more than a single-pass approach in terms of weed management, specifically with corn.
Powell met with GROWMARK agronomists at an event in Litchfield earlier this week.
Authorities are keeping close tabs on former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert.
The Lake County Sheriff's Department has fitted the former wrestling coach with the kind of electronic monitoring that's typically used when recent convicts like him are placed on home confinement.
The device was attached shortly after Hastert was released from a federal prison in Minnesota.
A booking photo shows Hastert looking haggard with longer than usual hair.
The jobs picture in Illinois isn’t improving much nor is it getting much worse.
The state saw a slight uptick in unemployment last month. The Illinois Department of Employment Security says June’s numbers are at four point seven percent. IDES’s Bob Gough says the state picked up more than eight thousand jobs in June but that’s not as good as it sounds.
Nationwide the unemployment rate is four point four percent.
>>DeWitt County Board Approves Meteorological Towers
A pair of meteorological towers were approved Thursday night at the DeWitt County Board meeting, setting up the potential for a wind farm in DeWitt County.
The Board approved the towers to be constructed in Rutledge and Wilson townships and they will stand around 200 feet tall.
The towers purpose will be to determine if the area is suitable for a potential wind farm in DeWitt County.
>>DeWitt County Animal Control Administrator Terminated
The DeWitt County Thursday night approved the termination of former-animal control administrator Tamara McFeeters, retroactive to June 28.
The Board simultaneously approved Melanie Kinney as the new administrator retroactive to June 29.
Earlier this week, Governor Bruce Rauner said lawmakers are holding school reforms hostage to get what Mike Madigan wants, a bailout of Chicago Public Schools.
Thursday on Regional Radio News, State Senator Chapin Rose echoed those comments and says he believes it is lawmakers intentions to create "a chaos like atmosphere" by not sending the school reform bill to the Senate.
Sen. Rose calls it a discriminatory bill and while there are some benefits in it for downstate schools, he feels it gives preference to students in Chicago over the rest of the state.
The Governor has said he will use his amendatory veto to give the best plan to the students of Illinois and the taxpayers.
Bringing the community together to support the fight against substance abuse is the goal of a Saturday event on the downtown Square in Clinton.
The DeWitt County Coalition is helping host Sober Jai, Jamie Smith, a recovering addict from Champaign, and the event Clinton Cares. Pam Schwartz with the Coalition explains the day starts at 11 am with narcan training at the Warner Library and that is open to the public.
The days features various musical performances on the square and special guest speakers. Schwartz indicates they will have food and drinks available and there are going to be several kids activities.
Schwartz indicates the narcan training is a great opportunity for anyone that works with the public. She notes you never know when you might need it.
To get registered for the narcan training at 11 am Saturday at the Warner Public Library, contact Schwartz at the DeWitt County Sheriff's Office at 217-935-9507.
Clinton Cares then opens on the square at noon and goes until 7 pm.
The new Clinton Chamber of Commerce website is up and running.
While not quite perfected yet, Executive Director Marian Brisard indicates they have a new format that is going to be very user friendly for their members and the community.
According to Brisard, members will be able to update their own information and make payments there. She adds it was a much needed update in a cyber-driven world.
Brisard is excited about the community calendar feature. She explains a business can add an event they are having for anyone in the community to see.
The URL is the same for the website. Brisard says visit clintonilchamber.com to see the new layout and check out what is happening in the community.
There are about 700 Community Foundations across the nation, Illinois alone boasts 40. The Illinois Prairie Community Foundation (IPCF) serves McLean, DeWitt, Livingston, and Logan counties.
According to Cathy Davis, the IPCF's goal is to carve a space for the future and the non-profit sector to continue to do the work that keeps our communities viable.
Davis adds that there are five categories for grants, but the most accessible are the Arts and Culture and General grants. There is also a program within the IPCF called Youth Engaged in Philanthropy which gave to Read Across Clinton this year.
To learn more about apply for the grant programs, visit their website at www.ilprairiecf.org, call them at (309) 662-4477, or email Michelle Evans at email@example.com.
There are plenty of young teachers out looking for jobs this summer and now landing a teaching gig might be a little easier.
The State Board of Education says that there are one thousand open teaching jobs and a new law to streamline the licensing requirements for those jobs should help fill some of them.
ISBE’s Emily Fox says that the new law will lower the minimum age to apply for an educator license and remove a coursework requirement for existing teachers looking to renew provisional career and technical education licenses. Fox says this should help out some specific areas of the state.
Districts around the state also say they are often faced with shortages of substitute teachers.
As farmers follow the numbers on the Chicago Board of Trade this summer, a trading expert advises them to be patient, especially those with old crop in storage.
Doug Werling with Bower Trading says there’s been much volatility already this week, but…….
Bower says that was evident Tuesday, the market was “bullish” in the morning and then by midday it was cooler and wetter and there was a sell off. He calls it a “trader’s market” right now.
U.S. Senator Dick Durbin is fighting the nomination of John Bush to serve a lifetime appointment on the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals.
Durbin told colleagues Mr. Bush has made dozens of provocative comments during his legal career that call into question his temperament and judgment.
Durbin says he's getting little evidence that Bush can be a fair and impartial judge.
Bush is an attorney based in Louisville.
Being a resource for the community is the goal for the online presence being developed by a group who's aim is to help battle substance abuse in the community.
The DeWitt County Substance Abuse Coalition is working to develop a website that would be a community resource for anyone impacted in any way to substance abuse. Warner Hospital and Health Services Nick Rousseau has been working on the site for the coalition.
The coalition hopes the website can be a guide for the community on resources available for substance addictions of all types.
Rousseau indicates he will take suggestions on what should be on the website and how it should be layed out. Members of the coalition discussed using Facebook as a driver to get people to their website.
The format for the website is going to be mobile friendly. The web provider for the time being is Wix and the free format available allows for a mobile friendly page but Sheriff Jered Shofner feels if investing in the web page is something they want to do, he feels it might be worth it.
The substance abuse coalition meets the third Tuesday of each month at 10 am at the Warner Public Library.
They will be hosting an event on the Clinton Square Saturday, Clinton Cares. Get more information on that event tomorrow on Regional Radio News.
After roughly six months of exploration into a program that would introduce high school seniors to the world of business, area schools have come together and formed two different partnerships based on geography.
Clinton Schools Superintendent Curt Nettles updated the Clinton Board of Education Tuesday night on the CEO program that looked to be in limbo just a few months ago. He explains there are nine schools that will partner in two different groups based on geography.
According to Nettles, the next step is to start to work to build support from the respective communities.
As the momentum starts to build in the community, Nettles indicates he will begin to present the program to more potential investors and says they already have a number of investors ready to jump in.
As Southern Illinois prepares for next month's box seat view of the total solar eclipse, a Breese based bottling company known for the popular Citrus drink Ski is adding some flavor.
Carla Baublitz with Excel says they have launched a short term soda flavor in preparation for the August 21st cosmic event.
Baublitz says it won't take ice cubes for the soda to be truly chilling...
Excel is preparing to produce more Darkest Hour soda on Tuesday. The company has already received bulk orders from a summer camp and several schools planning eclipse parties.
Governor Bruce Rauner's staff has seen turnover in key positions since he suffered defeats on the state budget and tax hike votes, but Rauner maintains it's standard operating procedure.
The shakeup now extends to Rauner's political operation. Former Rauner Chief of Staff Mike Zolnierowicz (zohl-nehr-oh-whitz) ,was expected to run Rauner's re-election campaign but he has resigned.
A heat advisory goes into effect Wednesday at noon and will last until late Saturday which has resulted in DeWitt County safety officials activating its cooling centers for the second straight week.
The DeWitt County Emergency Management Agency Office has announced cooling centers will be available at the Warner Library and DeWitt County Friendship Center.
The Friendship Center is open from 8 am to 3 pm Wednesday through Friday at 410 East Main Street.
The Warner Library is open from 9 am to 9 pm Wednesday and Thursday, 9 am to 5pm Friday and from 9 am to 4 pm on Saturday at 310 North Quincy Street.
The library does not allow drinks or snacks.
Increasing heat and humidity are forecasted, with temperatures over 90 degrees and high humidity. This mix of heat and humidity will push Heat Indexes to 100 to 110 degrees from Wednesday to Saturday.
The State of Illinois' budget from earlier in July will have a minimal impact on the City of Clinton.
That was the message Monday night at the Clinton City Council meeting from Commissioner of Finance Tom Edmunds (pictured right). He explains they will lose around $6,600 from sales tax revenues.
The state will be reducing payments of taxes to local governments, but according to Edmunds, in Clinton's case, the City will actual come out ahead because of the way the state is distributing the funds.
There was no tax freeze in the budget but Edmunds says there is a lot to be done and the tax freeze could be a negotiating item going forward.
While the City of Clinton knows what their revenue will be from the State of Illinois, Clinton Schools still do not as the state budget only appropriates money to schools when a new funding formula passes and lawmakers have until August 1 to pass that, or they jeopardize the start of school for many districts.
More hot weather is anticipated this week and local authorities are promoting safety precautions again this week.
Clinton Police Chief Ben Lowers says the name of the game is do what you have to do to stay cool. Drink plenty of cold water, stay indoors when possible and wear light weight clothing.
During the winter months, the Chief encourages those traveling to keep their car maintained for the elements, but the same goes for the summer. Chief Lowers encourages getting your car checked out if you plan to make any long trips.
Additionally, Chief Lowers reminds residents to think of your pets during this time. He encourages bringing outside animals in to a cooler area and providing them with fresh water consistently.
Chief Lowers says local authorities take the calls of neglected animals seriously. He encourages if you see an animal in distress to contact local authorities and they will take action immediately.
Temperatures mid-week are expected to be hot and humid again with triple-digit heat indexes and more temperatures in the 90s.
MOST CROPS AROUND THE STATE RECEIVED SOME MUCH NEEDED RAIN AS WE HEAR IN THE WEEKLY CROP REPORT.
SOME AREAS SAW JUST A LITTLE RAIN AND OTHERS EXPERIENCED FLOODING THIS PAST WEEK. 63 PERCENT OF CORN IS NOW SILKING AND THE CONDITION OF THE CROP STAYED ABOUT THE SAME WITH 62 PERCENT IN GOOD TO EXCELLENT CONDITION.
56 PERCENT OF SOYBEANS ARE BLOOMING AND 17 PERCENT ARE SETTING PODS. THE CONDITION OF THE CROP WAS NEARLY UNCHANGED AT 67 PERCENT IN GOOD TO EXCELLENT CONDITION.
AVERAGE STATEWIDE TOPSOIL MOISTURE INCREASED SLIGHTLY TO SIX PERCENT VERY SHORT, 28 PERCENT SHORT, 63 PERCENT ADEQUATE AND THREE PERCENT SURPLUS.
WINTER WHEAT HARVESTING IS NOW COMPLETE.
A new U.S. Department of Transportation rule is set to be implemented later this year, but it shouldn’t have a significant impact on farmers.
Beginning December 18th, many truckers will be required to have an electronic log system instead of a paper log, but Don Schaefer, with the Mid-West Truckers Association, says there are exemptions that come into play for farmers and other small owner/operators.
Other exemptions to the new electronic logging rule include the covered farm vehicle exemption, the agricultural season exemption and the older truck exemption for trucks prior year 2000 models.
Ag Chair Pat Roberts says he knew a year before a media report that the Department of Agriculture’s Organic Program was not intercepting fraudulent imports of organic food.
Roberts may now be ready to seek a fix in the next farm bill. He says the Washington Post reported recently that millions of pounds of shipments of possibly fraudulent “organic” products were imported into the US. But that was not news to the Senate Ag chairman…
Roberts told a farm bill hearing last week that lawmakers need to ensure that "overregulation and antiquated government processes" are not keeping farmers from succeeding in tough economic times…
Roberts says the Board is not keeping up with the huge growth and new technology in the organic market, while an influx of fraudulent “organic” corn and soybean imports meantime, is cutting into domestic producer profits.
Kenneth Dallmier operates the Clarkson Grain Company, based in Cerro Gordo, and he told the Senate Ag Committee the threat is huge…
USDA recently decertified two of three firms involved in fraudulent shipments, while three key Senate Democrats have asked USDA’s inspector general to boost enforcement of organic import standards.
Dallmier recommended the Ag Committee consider adding staff at vulnerable ports, imposing tougher enforcement on shippers and recall requirements for end-users, and use of electronic farm- to-customer tracking devices that have less tampering risk than paper documentation.
The Governor’s office is cleaning house. In the past few days more than 20 administration staffers have left on their own or have been fired by the Governor. And a newly hired one didn’t stick around long after people started reading his tweets.
Ben Tracy was hired to be Bruce Rauner’s “Body Man” an assistant that travels with the Governor and moves between him and people he interacts with while out in the public. Once Tracy was brought on tweets he’d made in the past include homophobic slurs and other insensitive comments came to light. Tracy started Monday working for the Governor but was out of a job by the afternoon – but on Monday - Rauner said his team was hiring the very best people they could find.
Rauner also defended making hires from the Illinois Policy Institute saying it isn’t showing any turn in his administration to a more conservative tone.
For the first time since 2015, the check is actually in the mail for Illinois public universities.
The Illinois Board of Higher Education says the new budget will provide the state's 12 public universities with about $1.1 billion for the 2017-18 academic year.
That's welcome news, but the funding level represents a 10 percent decline from 2015.
The leader of a controversial new documentary about food and farming plans to discuss why the Chicago-based group backed it during an upcoming conference in Normal.
John Coupland (COOP-lend), who heads the Institute of Food Technologists, says the film's theme, which examines opponents and supporters of biotechnology or G-M-O's, needed a fair examination;
In addition to serving as president of the food tech group, Coupland serves as a food scientist at Penn State. He's been invited talk about the "Food Evolution" film at the Illinois Farm Bureau's Farm Income and Innovations conference on Tuesday, July 25th;
Both The New York Times and L-A Times praised the new film that had its Illinois debut in Chicago last week. If you're interested in hearing Coupland, contact your county Farm Bureau or go to I-l-f-b-dot-org.
A report by a Farm Credit Administration economist told the Administration’s board members last week that the current downturn in the farm economy is not likely to reach a 1980s-style crisis.
Farm Credit chief economist Stephen Gabriel said the “likelihood of this is very low,” adding that a confluence of adverse factors led to the crisis that occurred in the 1980s.
He says it would take a similar combination of adverse developments to create another crisis in the farm economy. While the two periods are similar in some respects, Gabriel points out that interest rates were very high in the 1980s, and today’s interest rates are historically low.
The price of oil is another major difference, according to his report. In 1979 and 1980, the price surged, while today it is declining.
Also, the general economy is in better shape today than it was in the 1980s. The country experienced two recessions during the 1980s' crisis whereas today we're in an "extended, if lackluster, economic expansion," according to Gabriel.
GOVERNOR BRUCE RAUNER IS CALLING ON THE LEGISLATURE TO SEND HIM THE EDUCATION FUNDING REFORM BILL THEY PASSED, SO HE CAN ISSUE AN AMENDATORY VETO.
GOVERNOR RAUNER SAYS HE SUPPORTS MORE EQUITABLE FUNDING FOR SCHOOLS…BUT NOT A BAILOUT FOR CHICAGO’S TEACHER PENSION SYSTEM. HE SAYS HE WILL CUT THAT PART OUT OF THE LEGISLATION ONCE LAWMAKERS SEND IT TO HIS DESK.
HE CRITICIZES LAWMAKERS FOR HOLDING ONTO THE LEGISLATION.
GOVERNOR RAUNER SAYS UNDER HIS AMENDATORY VETO…MOST SCHOOL DISTRACTS ACROSS THE STATE WOULD GET MORE MONEY.
The farm economy runs in cycles and an ag lending expert recommends farmers to not only get to know their banker, but also understand their own business.
That’s the message from Curt Covington—Senior Vice President of Ag Finance at Farmer Mac. He says it’s a good practice for farmers to “think” like their bankers.
Covington says bankers need to stay with farmers in the bad economic times if they were with them in the good times because farmers have good memories.
Last year, Farmer Mac purchased a record $1-billion in first mortgages through 1,500 applications from rural community banks throughout the U.S.
The Clinton Chamber of Commerce has unveiled a specialty license plate that will be a short promotion for their annual Terror on Washington Street Haunted House.
Executive Director of the Clinton Chamber, Marian Brisard (right) explains it is a commemoration of their 24th year.
The plates are good for two months and Brisard indicates it is a promotion of the Haunted House.
The plates are $20.17 and for more information or to get your plate, contact Brisard at the Chamber at 217-935-3364.
The recently elected Mayor of the City of Lincoln, Seth Goodman, hopes to bring people together in his first time in the local political arena.
Never imagining himself getting into politics, Goodman, a realtor in Lincoln, explains he wanted to bring a young and fresh perspective to the community.
One of Goodman's biggest goals is to bring the community together. He explains Lincoln has people that can't seem to see eye-to-eye but wants to get everyone on the same page despite the differing perspectives.
According to Goodman, people need to get involved and hopes community leaders will make themselves accessible to residents.
Many communities struggle with finding development, especially downtown. While Goodman hopes to bring in more businesses, he hopes to support what is already in Lincoln. He wants to make the community more aware of what is already in Lincoln and keeping business local instead of people going to Springfield or Bloomington/Normal and other places.
This July, Social Security is reminding Americans of the various Medicare parts and what they mean to you.
According to Megan Foristall, from Social Security, you can enroll in Medicare Parts A and B with Social Security; however, Parts C and D of medicare are taken care of through private companies.
The three ways to qualify for Medicare are age, disability and End-Stage Renal Disease.
If you are qualifying for Medicare by age, you have the three months before you turn 65, your birth month and the three months after to enroll in the program. The general enrollment period is January through March.
To learn more you can call Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 or visit their website, ssa.gov. For more information regarding Medicare visit medicare.gov.
GOVERNOR BRUCE RAUNER SAYS SCHOOLS WILL OPEN THIS FALL.
ALTHOUGH THE STATE NOW HAS A BUDGET, THE PLAN REQUIRES THE STATE TO HAVE A NEW EDUCATION FUNDING FORMULA BEFORE MONEY CAN BE SENT TO SCHOOLS. LAWMAKERS PASSED A REVAMPED FORMULA, BUT GOVERNOR RAUNER OPPOSES THE MEASURE, CALLING IT A BAILOUT FOR CHICAGO SCHOOLS. STILL, HE SAYS SOMETHING WILL BE WORKED OUT.
HE SAYS HE WILL CONTINUE TO PUSH FOR EQUITABLE FUNDING FOR ALL ILLINOIS SCHOOLS.
THE LEGISLATURE HASN’T SENT THE GOVERNOR THAT BILL YET, WHICH HE COULD VETO IN PART, OR IN ITS ENTIRETY.
The state hasn’t wowed anyone just yet at a credit rating agency but the state also hasn’t been downgrade to junk.
Moody’s has offered an opinion on what Illinois did with a budget and tax increase.
The extra revenue is going to generate $5 billion more dollars a year but the state’s short term is three times that and that concerns Moody’s. In a report released Friday Moody’s questions the state’s ability to generate sustained surpluses that would be needed to reduce the pile of bills.
The Governor has been making a number of changes in the highest spots of his administration.
Last week Bruce Rauner brought in a new chief of staff, and made changes to policy staffer and communications people. Many of those hires were made from a very conservative group called the Illinois Policy Institute. Rauner won’t say if those hires will signal a shift to a more conservative tone from his administration.
He says the only thing that matters is focusing on turning around the state and not who he’s hiring.
Agriculture Department export program are key to keeping conventional and organic producers in the black, as lawmakers write the next farm bill. That was the message from producers and ag lawmakers at a Senate farm bill hearing.
39 USDA export assistance programs have no funding guarantee when their 2014 farm bill authority runs out in 2019. Programs including Market Access, Foreign Market Development and Technical Assistance for Specialty Crops are among them, returning more than $28 for every dollar invested, or more than $2 billion a year in net farm income, based on a study by Informa Economics.
Greg Haines with the U.S. Meat Export Federation…
Haines, meanwhile, says red meat exports add some 45-cents to a bushel of corn.
Kenneth Dallmier (dall-myer) operates the Clarkson Grain Company in Cerro Gordo, Illinois and told Senate Ag lawmakers USDA also needs to combat fraudulent imports of organic grain by boosting domestic production, legal liability for fraud, and verification tracking…
But verification is not enough. Ag Chair Pat Roberts says the National Organics Standards Board is plagued by “uncertainty and dysfunction,” hampering regulations needed to keep up with rapid growth and innovation in a sector, many growers now depend on to boost sinking margins.
The weather radar used by the National Weather Service Forecast Office in Lincoln will be out of commission for the next three to four days, starting Monday, July 17th, for a tech upgrade.The work will be delayed if hazardous weather is forecast.
A crew will install a new signal processor, which replaces obsolete technology, improves processing speed and data quality, provides added functionality, and increases IT security.
This will be the first of four major upgrades planned over the next 5 years. The $150 million investment is being made by the three organizations that use these radars, the NOAA National Weather Service, United States Air Force and Federal Aviation Administration.
The Coalition for Brighter Futures, which serves DeWitt County, is in its third year of a five year grant to educate people about and prevent underage drinking.
According to Assistant State's Attorney, Lars Dunn, the underage drinking statistics in DeWitt County are staggering.
Dunn adds that scare tactics are more useful in preventing the use of harder drugs, but it's more difficult to get those tactics to work with drinking because of the familiarity surrounding alcohol in our culture. The coalition's goal is to get parents to talk to their kids about the dangers of consuming alcohol.
Usually, for a first time offense, community service is enough to stop the offender from drinking again, but if it's not, the punishments only get worse and more expensive.
The Coalition for Brighter Futures is looking for members of the community, especially those who work with and have influence with community youths to help them in their objective. If you'd like to reach out, they encourage you to call Divah Griffin at (217) 570-0198.
You could wind up paying more for a gallon of gas in Illinois as a result of the budget that was recently approved by state lawmakers.
While not a gas tax, the budget deal eliminated the final year of a sales tax reduction retailers were receiving from the state on ethanol blend fuel. And that, according to State Senator Dave Syverson of Rockford means the retailers will likely pass the cost along to consumers.
The increase could be between 2 1/2 - 3 cents per gallon, according to Syverson.
As to when the increase could be expected, he says that is still being negotiated.
Another consideration is that another gas tax isn't out of the question, as roads are crumbling around the state.
THE STATE’S HISTORIC PRESERVATION AGENCY IS MOVING UNDER THE AUSPICES OF THE ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES.
I-D-N-R IS WELCOMING THE HISTORIC PRESERVATION AGENCY TO ITS NEWLY CREATED DIVISION OF HISTORIC SITES SAYS SPOKESPERSON ED CROSS.
THE SHIFT IS A GOOD FIT SAYS CROSS.
CROSS SAYS THIS WILL IMPROVE EFFICIENCY AND SAVE TAXPAYER DOLLARS. THE ABRAHAM LINCOLN PRESIDENTIAL LIBRARY AND MUSEUM WILL NOW OPERATE AS AN INDEPENDENT STATE AGENCY.
The 2017/2018 IHSA calendar means an exceptionally early start to the high school football season.
The first games are played in just six weeks Friday, August 25th.
The first official day of practice is just three weeks from Monday, which is August, 7th.
The Tennessee Department of Agriculture announced new limits on the use of dicamba-based herbicides this week.
The move follows practical bans issued by Arkansas and Missouri for using dicamba for row crop applications, as concerns and drift damages mount.
Missouri, however, released its “stop sale, use or removal” order Thursday on dicamba-based herbicides.
The new rule in Tennessee restricts application to certified private applicators or licensed pest control operators, certified by the state. The rule also prohibits the use of older formulations of dicamba products for the rest of this growing season and restricts application hours to between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m.
The new rules, according to the state’s Department of Agriculture, is in response to farmer-to-farmer complaints of suspected dicamba drift damage to crops. The measures are in effect until October first of this year, and violators could be fined up to $1,500 per violation.
With removal of its ban, Missouri announced similar limits on dicamba use Thursday, which includes wind, time and applicator restrictions, as well as required notification of planned dicamba applications online.
While this past week saw significant amounts of rain, the trend won't continue next week. State Climatologist Jim Angel has more...
If you live near the Clinton Power Plant, it is likely you'll soon, if you haven't already, receive a yearly mailing with safety information about the plant.
Brett Nauman, Communications Manager with Exelon Nuclear Power Station in Clinton explains the information is centered around safety in the event of an emergency.
The information is mailed to residents in DeWitt County and Nauman indicates if you don't receive the information, contact him and he'll get you what you need or you can access it online.
Federal law requires the company to develop response plans for their facility. Visit exeloncorp.com for more information.
The recent World Agriculture Supply and Demand report by the Department of Agriculture projects corn and soybean farmers will grow more crop than previously anticipated.
USDA on Wednesday increased 2017-18 corn production to an estimated 14.255 billion bushels and soybean production to 4.26 billion bushels.
Corn production came in slightly above the highest pre-report estimates while soybean production came in higher than the pre-report average estimate as well, according to DTN-The Progressive Farmer.
The farm price for the 2017-18 soybean crop was pegged at an average of $9.40 a bushel, a 10-cent bump from last month's estimate.
For corn, USDA estimated an average of $3.30 a bushel, down 10 cents from earlier estimates.
USDA also raised All-Winter Wheat production to 1.279 billion bushels, up 29 million bushels from the June report estimate.