Local News

DeWitt County Board Discusses Date for Special Meeting For Special Use Permit

The DeWitt County Board Thursday night tossed around a number of dates and times to hold a special meeting for a decision on the special use permit for a wind farm in the northwest corner of DeWitt County.

 

Pictured right: Board discusses date and time for special meeting for special use permit for wind farm proposal. 

 

The Board tentatively set Tuesday, April 23 at 5 pm for the meeting date and time pending availability at Clinton High School. 

 

Board Chair David Newberg opened up the discussion with his intention to hear from both sides but reminding the board they can only consider testimony heard at the Zoning Board of Appeals meeting.

 

 

As for the public comment portion of the meeting, Newberg sought input from the Board on how much time they wanted to allow for those to speak. While individuals are allowed five minutes before the board, Newberg was open to modifying that for this meeting and giving each side a limited amount of time to talk. 

 

 

Newberg ultimately decided to give how the meeting will work more thought because the public can contact the County Clerk and get on the agenda but if limitations were set for how long each side could speak, it could open up the possibility those on the agenda might not be able to speak.

0
comments


Clinton Schools To Bring STEM Curriculum to Junior High

Clinton Junior High School students will have the option of taking STEM classes next year.

 

Superintendent of Clinton Schools, Curt Nettles indicates they are working to bring science, technology, engineering and math classes, or STEM, to their junior high school students next year as those become increasingly popular across the state and the country. April 26 will be a STEM day in the school. 

 

 

Some districts are fully involved in STEM curriculums while others are increasing the offerings they have. Nettles says Clinton is not as far along as others, so this is one step in moving forward.

 

 

Because most children possess such a great deal of knowledge and know-how with technology in today's world, Nettles believes a lot of teachers are going to have to take on a role of facilitator rather than a teacher.

 

 

Right now, the curriculum is in the planning stages but Nettles indicates this will be a very hands-on course for students. 

0
comments


Decatur Area Arts Council Seeking Artists For Murals in Decatur

The Decatur Area Arts Council is calling on artists who would like to take on a mural in downtown Decatur.

 

Jerry E. Johnson, Executive Director of the DAAC, indicates they are seeking designs from area artists who might like to submit a design and then put up their work on a downtown Decatur building.

 

 

Johnson believes it is not as complicated or as hard as it may sound. He feels the hardest part is actually coming up with the design.

 

 

According to Johnson, the owner of the buildings to get some input and do have to give the thumbs up for the design, but the designer gets a lot of say in the mural. He feels it has been a great partnership with the downtown Decatur community. 

 

 

Visit decaturarts.org for more information or find the Decatur Area Arts Council on Facebook. You can also call 217-423-3189. 

0
comments


Right To Life Advocates Rally at State Capitol

RIGHT TO LIFE ADVOCATES ARE RALLYING AT THE STATE CAPITOL AGAINST ABORTION LEGISLATION.

 

A COUPLE OF BILLS ARE UNDER PROTEST…ONE REPEALS A LAW REQUIRING TEENS TO NOTIFY THEIR PARENT OR GUARDIAN BEFORE GETTING AN ABORTION. ANOTHER OVERHAULS STATE ABORTION LAWS AND LIFTS A BAN ON PARTIAL-BIRTH ABORTIONS. REPRESENTATIVE AVERY BOURNE OF LITCHFIELD SAYS THESE CHANGES ARE EXTREME.

 

 

REPRESENTATIVE TERRI BRYANT OF MOUNT VERNON SAYS THE LEGISLATION GOES TOO FAR.

 

 

SUPPORTERS OF THESE MEASURES SAY LAWS NEED TO BE UPDATED TO BETTER PROTECT A WOMAN’S RIGHT TO CHOSE.

0
comments


New License Year Approaching for DNR

The new license year approaching for hunting and fishing in Illinois. 

 

 

IDNR’s Tim Schweizer says more information is available online at “dnr.illinois.gov.”

0
comments


Flooding Impacting Spring Planting Outlook

Flooding in the Corn Belt this spring could mean plenty of acres will not get planted. Consultant Bill Biedermann with AgMarket.Net is hearing that concern. 

 

 

Biedermann making his comments Wednesday morning on the RFD Radio Network.

0
comments


Bustos Says Trump Budget Bad For Illinois Farmers

Western Illinois Congresswoman Cheri Bustos expressing concern over President Trump’s budget proposal. She says local farmers would really be hurt under the plan. 

 

 

Bustos says despite a recent high profile appointment to the powerful House Appropriations Committee, she decided to remain as a member of the House Ag Committee with the intention of keeping a close eye on farm policy. 

0
comments


Bill Would Let Schools Teach Students About Hunting Safety

STUDENTS MAY LEARN ABOUT HUNTING SAFETY UNDER A BILL PENDING IN THE ILLINOIS HOUSE. 

 

THE LEGISLATION LETS SCHOOLS ADD HUNTING EDUCATION LESSONS TO CLASSROOM INSTRUCTION. IT’S SPONSORED BY REPRESENTATIVE MONICA BRISTOW OF ALTON.

 

 

BRISTOW STRESSES THIS IS NOT A REQUIREMENT, BUT CURRICULUM THAT SCHOOLS CAN ADD IF THEY WISH. REPRESENTATIVE CHARLES MEIER OF HIGHLAND SAYS THIS WILL BE GREAT, ESPECIALLY FOR DOWNTOWN SCHOOLS.

 

 

THE BILL PASSED A HOUSE COMMITTEE AND NOW AWAITS A VOTE BEFORE THE FULL HOUSE.

0
comments


Ag Legislative Day in Springfield

TUESDAY WAS AGRICULTURE LEGISLATIVE DAY IN SPRINGFIELD. 

 

FARMERS, LAWMAKERS, F-F-A MEMBERS AND MORE DESCENDED ON THE CAPITOL TO DISCUSS SEVERAL ISSUES AFFECTING THE AG COMMUNITY. ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE DIRECTOR JOHN SULLIVAN TOLD A CROWD THAT THE INDUSTRY NEEDS TO PROMOTE ITSELF BETTER. HE ALSO CALLED FOR MORE AG EDUCATION, INCLUDING ADDING MORE AG TEACHERS AND STUDENTS.

 

 

PRODUCERS ALSO TALKED ABOUT GROWING HEMP AND ARE ANXIOUSLY WAITING FOR RULES TO BE ADOPTED SO THEY CAN START PLANTING. GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER JOINED IN, SAYING HE WILL HEAVILY PROMOTE ILLINOIS’ AGRICULTURE INDUSTRY.

 

 

FARMERS ARE ALSO TALKING ABOUT GROWING INDUSTRIAL HEMP, EXPANDING AG EDUCATION IN ILLINOIS AND THE NEED FOR A CAPITAL BILL TO PAY FOR ROAD AND BRIDGE REPAIRS.

0
comments


Clinton City Administrator Talks Sales Tax Figures

The sales tax numbers were not encouraging in the latest report from Clinton Commissioner of Finance, Tom Edmunds but a city official says things are not as bad as they might seem.

 

City Administrator Tim Followell explains the sales tax figures, which came in almost $10,000 less than this time last year, were for the period that includes late-November to late-December.

 

 

At the March 4 City Council meeting, Edmunds put the Governor on blast for a proposal to cut funding to small communities. While the proposal isn't great, Followell says it's just a trend in Springfield to roll back the money that goes to each community.

 

 

According to  Followell, the city is doing well financially. He credits the stability financially to Edmunds and City Treasurer Clint Lichtenwalter. 

0
comments


Clinton American Legion Seeking Boys State Applicants

The Clinton American Legion is hoping to send interested juniors to Boys State this summer.

 

Josh Thielen, Clinton American Legion commander, indicates Boys State is a program for boys that have completed their junior year of high school. The program allows them to spend a week at Eastern Illinois University and learn how to run a government firsthand.

 

 

Thielen says the program is offered free to participants as each post covers the cost of tuition. The Clinton post has funds to cover two students but Thielen is hoping to send as many as interested.

 

 

The American Legion Illinois Premier Boys State will be held from June 8-14 at Eastern Illinois University. Thielen encourages those with just the slightest interest to contact the Clinton American Legion post at (217) 935-5183.

0
comments


University of Illinois Extension Wellness Educator Hosting Diabetes Classes in central Illinois

Whether you currently battle diabetes or it runs in your family and you want to know how to try to prevent it, you will want to be sure to check out a class coming to several communities at the end of the month and into April.

 

Caitlin Mellendorf, Nutrition and Wellness Educator at the University of Illinois Extension office is hosting a series of classes coming up later this month and into April. She indicates this is a program they experienced success with, in the past helping folks deal with and prevent diabetes.

 

 

According to Mellendorf, the American Diabetes Association indicates one in four adults has pre-diabetes. She says this has become a great awareness class for those that come out.

 

 

Mellendorf indicates their focus is on dieting and how meals can impact blood sugar. She explains they will focus on meal planning and also fitness. 

 

 

The classes are on Thursday, March 21 at the Warrensburg Library from 6:30 pm to 7:30 pm. Then again on Monday, April 1 from 1 pm to 2 pm.

 

To get registered, you can contact the Barclay Library in Warrensburg at 217-672-3621 or the Maroa Library at 217-794-5111. 

0
comments


Two Illinois Cities, Counties Added to Lincoln Heritage Area

President Trump recently signed federal legislation that adds Livingston County and the cities of Freeport and Jonesboro to the roster of Illinois communities that can benefit from designated ties to Abraham Lincoln. The executive director of what's known as "Looking for Lincoln," Sarah Watson, describes what it means to those areas;

 

 

The "Looking for Lincoln" non-profit says the 42 counties already in the nationally-designated heritage area have benefited with a nearly $300-million dollar economic impact, more than 3-thousand jobs as a result and about $25-million dollars in tax revenue;

 

 

Livingston County has a courthouse where Lincoln practiced law. Freeport and Jonesboro hosted two of the famous debates between Lincoln and Stephen Douglas.

0
comments


Durbin Slams Pharmaceutical Companies

Senator Dick Durbin continues to mince no words in his critiques of some in the pharmaceutical industry. 

 

Durbin handed his “Pharma Fleece Awards” last week on the Senate Floor, as he slammed Takeda, Eisai, Merck, and Genentech, four pharmaceutical companies that sell cancer drugs in excessively large vials that contain dramatically more medicine than the average patient needs.....

 

 

Durbin says when it comes to doses of cancer medicine, size matters in a costly way....

 

 

Durbin says some big pharmaceutical companies offer smaller sizes in key markets like Europe. 

0
comments


Taylorville FFA Headed To Scotland

A team of FFA members and students from Taylorville recently won the National Western FFA Live Stock Judging Contest. The five students on the team now get to go to Scotland to compete in an international livestock judging contest. State Senator Andy Manar says their win shows the value of ag education – 

 

 

Now the student judging team needs to adapt to how livestock are judged across the pond. They will still evaluate beef cattle, sheep, swine and goats but the breeds will be new to them says Eric Schafer.

 

 

The students will spend about a week in Scotland, a week in Ireland and a few days in London. The contest starts on June 20th. 

0
comments


Clinton Y Executive Director Talks Minimum Wage Hike Impact

Clinton YMCA Executive Director Rennie Cluver knows the minimum wage increase may not have the most positive impact on the DeWitt County non-profit but at the same time, he's not taking an entirely negative view on the situation to his agency.

 

With 60-plus employees to pay at the Clinton Y, Cluver says they know the minimum wage hike will have an impact but it won't be positive. He says the hike comes on the heels of the Y deciding not to increase their membership rates.

 

 

For Cluver, his optimistic approach is a hope the minimum wage hike may benefit their members and decrease their dependency on scholarships and financial aid. He explains roughly 50-percent of their members receive some sort of financial aid currently.

 

 

Additionally, Cluver just completed a memorandum of understanding in Monticello to help bring a Y branch to the Piatt County community. That included financial information and Cluver says his projections were very conservative so the minimum wage increase may level out their projections.

 

 

In discussing the Monticello project, Cluver says right now his focus is to just begin getting the money raised they need to erect a building and continue to boost that excitement. He says they can worry about a $15 an hour salary later. 

0
comments


Push For Capital Bill Continues in Springfield But Funding Is Big Question

Democrats and Republicans appear to be in agreement on the need for a capital bill in Springfield, but how to fund the plan remains uncertain. 

 

That assessment comes from Jak Tichenor, host of Illinois Public Media’s Illinois Lawmakers series. 

 

 

Tichenor says Illinois hasn’t had a capital bill since 2009 and a portion of the outlay was funded through video gambling revenue.

0
comments


Treasurer Wants Changes To Banking Rules for Pot Businesses

Banking in the cannabis industry is a challenge and the state Treasurer is trying to modernize the rules. 

 

Right now cash that comes in from legal marijuana companies has a hard time finding a bank or credit union to take it. The laws are there to prevent drug money from illegal businesses being put into the mainstream economy. Mike Frerichs says that’s outdated with legal marijuana businesses.

 

 

Frerichs would like to see a law that would prohibit state regulations from impacting banks who work with legal marijuana companies. 

0
comments


Contract To Be Considered Between Second Chance for Pets, DeWitt County For Access to Animal Control Facility

The DeWitt County Board's Public Safety Committee will consider a contract with DeWitt County's Second Chance for Pets pet adoption group, but not before the two sides hashed out their differences in a Thursday morning meeting. 

 

The two sides discussed funding, centered around $53-hundred they differ on who's it is, along with access to the animal control facility on Clinton's east side, and what DeWitt County is getting out of the agreement.

 

Second Chance's Heather Wantland explained the benefit of having access to the facility for their organization. 

 

 

The debate turned somewhat contentious when discussing anyone but County personnel having access to a county building. Committee Chair Lance Reece along with County Administrator Dee Dee Rentmeister and committee member Nate Ennis differed on the situation.

 

 

When questioned what the benefit of Second Chance was to DeWitt County, a fired up Ennis proceeded to inform the Board of all the things the organization does at no cost to the taxpayers.

 

 

Nearly three years ago when the shelter's facility was ready to move into, former county board member Cris Rogers called the help of Second Chance to furnish the facility quote-"gratifying" and indicated there were a lot of things the organization did that helped keep the cost minimal to taxpayers. 

 

The committee ultimately decided they would review the contract and move forward at a later date. Reece was not certain of a timetable to ratify the contract. He also expressed his appreciation to the organization for everything they do. 

0
comments


Clinton Power Station Participating in Bi-Annual Nuclear Drill

The bi-annual nuclear drill at the Exelon Clinton Power Station takes place today in DeWitt County. 

 

Illinois Emergency Management Agency's Bill Conway explains there are numerous agencies involved in this drill that takes place every two years. He says there are well over 200 people involved in this drill. 

 

 

According to Conway, Illinois is home to several innovative programs involving nuclear safety. The Radiological Emergency Assessment Center where they have real-time monitoring capabilities at each of the six nuclear plants in Illinois. 

 

 

Anticipate seeing an influx of law enforcement activity throughout the day and in the days ahead, the various groups involved will gather to discuss the exercise and evaluate their plans in place. Conway says these exercises are about making sure the plans in place are the best they can be. 

0
comments


Sales Tax Falling Behind

After a string of positive tax reports following the 2018 closure of Clinton Walmart, things are starting to turn.

 

Monday night at the Clinton City Council meeting, Commissioner of Finance, Tom Edmunds indicated the sales tax figures are a total of $10,000 behind this time last year.

 

 

City officials are looking forward to the arrival of Tractor Supply Company in the former Walmart location. Tomorrow (Tuesday) on Regional Radio News, hear from Clinton City Administrator Tim Followell on the latest as the retailer continues to prepare the retail space. 

0
comments


Normal's Children's Discovery Museum Offering Spring Break Camps

If you're trying to find something to do with your kids during spring break, a Normal entity might just have you covered.

 

The Normal Children's Discovery Museum is offering spring break camps next week at their location in Uptown Normal and Museum Education Coordinator, Rachel Carpenter says there's plenty of good learning opportunities.

 

 

With agriculture and wind energy playing a big part in the local economy across central Illinois, Carpenter says they wanted to educate children on the conversion process and how certain aspects in agriculture work.

 

 

Registrations close a week before each session, so registration opportunities are starting to close out. Each session is $45 for non-members and $40 for members. Carpenter encourages a visit to their website at childrensdiscoverymuseum.net or contact her at 309-443-3449.  

 

The Children's Discovery Museum is located at 101 East Beaufort Street in Normal. 

0
comments


Animal Control Building Access, County Funds Among Topics Examed In Contract Between DeWitt County and Second Chance for Pets

Is $53-hundred dollars in possession of Second Chance for Pets of DeWitt County actually county money? Should Second Chance for Pets have access to the animal control facility? What is DeWitt County getting from Second Chance for Pets? Those were the points of contention during a debate over a contract between the two entities at the DeWitt County Board's Public Safety Committee meeting last Thursday morning.

 

Committee Chair Lance Reece explains this agreement has been in the works for a couple of years and they just received their contract from Second Chance. 

 

 

Committee member Nate Ennis questioned the organization's access to funds that could potentially be earmarked for the County. Treasurer of Second Chance, Glenna Rogers, indicates the organization stopped accepting donations that were designated for the animal shelter and instead accepted donations only for Second Chance for Pets.

 

 

When donations go to Second Chance of Pets and donors earmark them for the animal shelter, Ennis questions why the County would have any say in where the funds go. Administrator Dee Dee Rentmeister explains the situation is tricky because donors tend to donate to Second Chance for Pets because of the 501-C3 write off benefits but contends it should be the county's money because the shelter is county property. 

 

 

Additionally, there was contention over approximately $53-hundred dollars in the coughers of Second Chance for Pets. According to Rentmeister, that money was requested by the County about a year ago but Second Chance representatives say that money is theirs. Rentmeister also points out the County has a separate fund for the animal shelter. 

 

 

The appropriation of the $53-hundred dollars was only a portion of the discussion over the contract. The two sides addressed access to the DeWitt County Animal Control facility and even the benefits of Second Chance for Pets to DeWitt County. We'll have more on that discussion tomorrow on Regional Radio News. 

0
comments


Sheriff Walker Looking To Bolster TRIAD Program

The DeWitt County TRIAD program is a focal point for DeWitt County Sheriff Mike Walker.

 

The Sheriff says TRIAD has a number of purposes but it's a common theme is the protection of local seniors. From providing the latest information on scams to providing seniors with daily wellness calls, Sheriff Walker wants to continue the efforts started by the administration before him.

 

 

Sheriff Walker indicates his staff will be at the upcoming Chamber of Commerce business expo and encourages seniors to stop by and learn about their 'File of Life' program and get more information about TRIAD.

 

 

TRIAD also seeks to make seniors aware of the opportunities in the community to keep them active. Sheriff Walker says there's a lot of things the community has to offer seniors to keep them engaged and active.

 

 

Sheriff Walker touts the County's RU OK system which is a daily phone call to seniors. He reminds seniors to stop and see the Sheriff's Department at the business expo March 27 at Clinton High School from 4 pm to 7 pm or contact them at 217-935-9507 with any questions. 

0
comments


2019 Flooding Similar to 1965

The 2019 flooding worries along the Mississippi River are similar to 1965. That year snow melt was up north was a big issue. It's the same story this year says Brian Pierce with the National Weather Service. 

 

 

Pierce has been with the National Weather Service Quad Cities office for over 20 years. Prior to that, he worked in the Madison, Wisconsin station.

0
comments


Local Weather