Local News

Clinton YMCA Hosting June Golf Outing

The Clinton YMCA is inviting the community out to participate in a golf outing to benefit their Strong Kids Campaign.

 

The 3rd Annual 'Fore A Great Cause' golf outing is June 7th at the Clinton Country Club. 

This outing is part of the Strong Kids Campaign and the local YMCA is using this outing as a way to kick start the overall campaign.  

 

Registration takes place up until May 28th.  

 

Darren Moser, event chairman says this is a successful, fun, and rewarding way to get involved with the local YMCA Strong Kids Campaign.  

 

The outing has a shotgun start at 9 am with registration one hour before.  To find out more contact the YMCA at 935-8307.

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House Passes Tougher Penalties for Scott's Law Violations

HOUSE LAWMAKERS ARE UNANIMOUSLY PASSING TOUGHER PENALTIES FOR SCOTT’S LAW VIOLATORS. 

 

DRIVER’S WHO FAIL TO MOVE OVER WHEN THEY SEE FLASHING LIGHTS ON THE SIDE OF THE ROAD WOULD FACE HEAVY FINES UNDER THE BILL SAYS REPRESENTATIVE MARCUS EVANS OF CHICAGO.

 

 

REPRESENTATIVE TIM BUTLER OF SPRINGFIELD WORKED ON THE BILL.

 

 

SIXTEEN ILLINOIS STATE TROOPERS HAVE BEEN STRUCK THIS YEAR BY MOTORISTS WHO DIDN’T MOVE…AND TWO HAVE DIED AS A RESULT. THE BILL NOW MOVES TO THE SENATE.

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First Signs of West Nile Confirmed in Illinois

THE FIRST SIGNS OF THE WEST NILE VIRUS ARE BEING CONFIRMED IN ILLINOIS. 

 

THE STATE DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH SAYS A BATCH OF MOSQUITOS IN DUPAGE COUNTY TESTED POSITIVE FOR THE VIRUS. THAT’S ABOUT ON PAR WITH PREVIOUS YEARS. ACTING DIRECTOR DOCTOR NGOZI EZIKE SAYS THE BEST WAY TO PROTECT YOURSELF THIS SUMMER IS TO WEAR INSECT REPELLANT.

 

 

LAST YEAR IN ILLINOIS…176 HUMAN CASES WERE REPORTED, INCLUDING 17 DEATHS. 

 

 

MOST PEOPLE WITH THE VIRUS WON’T SEE ANY SYMPTOMS BUT IT CAN BE DANGEROUS FOR THE ELDERLY AND THOSE WITH WEAKENED IMMUNE SYSTEMS.

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Fewer Places to Park at Starved Rock State Park

A few places you go this Memorial Day weekend may be pretty crowded. 

 

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources says get ready for big crowds at popular outdoor spots including Starved Rock state park. IDNR is warning that parking will be at a premium and with recent rains and continued high water getting around the park will be more difficult.

 

 

That’s IDNR’s Rachel Torbert. For the most up to date information on Starved Rock or any park this weekend she says to check out their Facebook page or Twitter feed.

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Buckle Up This Weekend

Memorial Day brings lots of travel and the increased awareness of being safe on roadways. 

 

The Illinois Department of Transportation and police around the state are stepping up enforcement efforts to get people buckled up when they are in the car. The “Boarder to Boarder” seatbelt campaign is underway now through the Memorial Day holiday. Law enforcement will be out looking for passengers not buckled up. IDOT’s Guy Tridgell,

 

 

The Memorial Day weekend can be deadly for some behind the wheel. Tridgell says about a dozen lives are lost each year over this weekend in traffic accidents. 

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Five Tornadoes Confirmed in Illinois


The National Weather Service has confirmed five tornados in central and western Illinois after a line of strong storms moved across the state.

 

The weather service says the tornados touched down between 8:15 p.m. Wednesday and 8:15 a.m. Thursday with wind speeds between 60 and 105 mph. No one was injured but farm buildings were destroyed, power poles were snapped and one semi-truck was blown off Interstate 74 in a tornado confirmed in Vermilion County near the village of Muncie.

 

A tornado with 100 mph winds was confirmed in Hancock County in western Illinois. The other tornado touchdowns were confirmed in Sangamon County near Cantrall, Clay County near Xenia and Logan County near Lincoln, where the funnel cloud crossed south over Interstate 55.

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Weekly Weather Summary

It was a wild week as we saw overnight thunderstorms a couple of times this week. State Climatologist Spokesperson Brian Kerschner has details for the holiday and next week...

 

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DeWitt County Looking For New Animal Shelter Leader Control Officer

DeWitt County is seeking a new Animal Control officer after current officer Melanie Kinney submitted her resignation earlier this month, effective May 28.

 

The DeWitt County Public Safety Committee will be charged with finding her replacement and Thursday night at the DeWitt County Board meeting, Committee Chairman, Lance Reece says that process has started. He thanked Kinney for her service to the County and praised her for the work she's done at the animal shelter.

 

 

DeWitt County Board Chair David Newberg says Kinney did a great job for the County and says the County will miss her. 

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Lawsuit Filed in Connection With Mahomet Aquifer Gas Leak

A second lawsuit has been filed against a gas supplier in connection with a 2016 gas leak in central Illinois that contained private wells.

 

The lawsuit filed in Champaign County Circuit Court accuses Peoples Gas of contaminating drinking water when a large amount of natural gas was leaked into the Mahomet Aquifer.

 

The action Monday by 21 residents brings to 38 the number of people who are suing Peoples Gas because of the leak from Manlove Field, an underground natural gas storage facility. The situation came to light when residents in the Mahomet area began noticing issues with their well water.

 

People’s Gas spokesman Brian Manthey said in a statement the company is reviewing the lawsuit and “doesn’t have any substantive comments on the lawsuit at this time.”

 

More than 500,000 residents rely on the Mahomet Aquifer in Central Illinois.

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DNR Discusses Boating Safety Ahead of Busiest Weekend of Year

Ahead of the busiest weekend of the year for conservation authorities, DNR officials are reminding boaters to be safe this weekend.

 

DNR Conservation Police Sergeant John Williamson says good weather will make it the busiest of the summer holidays, adding it's imperative you have enough life jackets on your watercraft and for all the maintenance to be up to date. 

 

 

Drinking and boating laws are much different for boats as opposed to cars but Williamson says it's important each group make sure they have a sober operator. Additionally, he reminds boaters about who needs to be in life jackets while on board.

 

 

Statistics compiled by the IDNR Office of Law Enforcement show 68 boating-related accidents in Illinois in 2018, resulting in 34 injuries and 18 fatalities. Annual boating accident statistics are compiled based on the Federal Fiscal Year of October 1 through September 30.

 

CPOs in 2018 issued 1,045 citations and 3,753 warnings in the enforcement of Illinois boating safety laws.  CPOs made 124 arrests for boaters operating under the influence (OUI) in 2018.

 

What’s more, IDNR statistics indicate that 16 of the 18 people who died in boating accidents last year may have survived if they had worn a life jacket or other personal flotation device (PFD); four of the 18 boating-related fatalities involved alcohol or drug impairment.

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Memorial Health Systems Grows With Acquisition of Decatur Memorial Hospital

A blockbuster deal in the medical industry. Springfield based Memorial Health System, the parent of Springfield's Memorial Medical Center and hospitals in Taylorville, Jacksonville and Lincoln,, is taking charge of Decatur Memorial Hospital under a new affiliation agreement. 

 

D-M-H will become the second largest hospital in the Memorial System. Memorial Health System President/CEO Ed Curtis says the merger will pay off for patients across the expanded service region...

 

 

Curtis says there are many benefits for D-M-H to no longer go it alone...

 

 

The merger is set to take affect October 1st, pending regulatory approval. 

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Rep. Caulkins Sponsoring Legislation Addressing Look Alike Firearms in Schools

An incident in his district was the reason State Representative Dan Caulkins (R-Decatur) sponsored SB2124 which was approved in the Illinois House of Representatives Thursday.  

 

According to the representative, a student brought a BB gun to school causing fear and panic in the school because other students didn’t recognize it as a BB gun, they just saw it as a gun.

 

 

Current Illinois law requires a student to be expelled for no less than one year if he or she brings any object to school or a school-sponsored event or activity that if used or attempted to be used could cause bodily harm, including “look-alikes” of any firearm.

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Sheriff's Launch Lawmaker Ride Along Program

STATE LAWMAKERS WILL GET A CHANCE TO RIDE ALONG WITH THEIR LOCAL SHERRIFF’S DEPUTIES UNDER A NEW PROGRAM.

 

THE ILLINOIS SHERIFFS’ ASSOCIATION IS LAUNCHING THE NEW EFFORT, IN HOPES OF BUILDING BETTER RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN POLICE AND POLICY MAKERS. SANGAMON COUNTY SHERIFF JACK CAMPBELL SAYS HE WANTS LEGISLATORS TO SEE WHAT THEY FACE EVERYDAY.

 

 

SENATOR ELGIE SIMS OF CHICAGO SAYS HE LOOKS FORWARD TO THE OPPORTUNITY.

 

 

THE RIDE ALONGS WILL BEGIN SUMMER AND THE ASSOCIATION HOPES LAWMAKERS TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE OPPORTUNITY AT LEAST ONCE A YEAR.

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Proponents Hoping for Vote on Pro-Choice Legislation Before End of Session

PRO-CHOICE ADVOCATES ARE HOPING FOR A VOTE ON AN ABORTION BILL BEFORE THE END OF THE LEGISLATIVE SESSION. 

 

THE REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH ACT HAS BEEN LANGUISHING IN THE LEGISLATURE…BUT MAY SOON BE DISCUSSED IN A HOUSE COMMITTEE. REPRESENTATIVE KELLY CASSIDY OF CHICAGO SAYS IT’S IMPORTANT TO PROTECT WOMEN’S RIGHTS.

 

 

CASSIDY ADDS THE REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH ACT MAY SOON BE GETTING ITS DAY.

 

 

THE BILL REPLACES THE STATE’S CURRENT ABORTION LAW WITH A LESS RESTRICTIVE VERSION. OPPONENTS HAVE ARGUED THAT IT’S TOO EXTREME.

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Pritzker Defends Capital Bill Funding Plan

Gov. J.B. Pritzker is defending the funding ingredients of his capital bill infrastructure plan. Some critics maintain the poor will be hurt the most by tax hikes like boosting the gas tax and license plate fees, but Pritzker said his plan creates reliable funding...

 

 

Other Capital plan funding would come from tax hikes on alcohol, video gaming, cable, satellite and streaming services. 

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Gas, Diesel Prices Running Even

The gas and diesel market now running even. Reaction from Harry Cooney, Manager of Customer Risk Management for GROWMARK.

 

 

According to Triple A, the current Illinois average for a gallon of gasoline sits at $2.98 a gallon, which is 11-cents lower than a year ago. Diesel prices in Illinois are averaging $2.96 a gallon, 13 cents lower than a year ago. 

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County To Submit Request For Dollars As Part of Governor's Capital Campaign

The DeWitt County Board Thursday night at their regular monthly meeting agreed to send a plea to State Representative Dan Caulkins and State Senator Chapin Rose to be included in the Governor's capital plan that includes projects across the state.

 

DeWitt County Board Chair David Newberg indicates the letter asks the Governor for dollars for Clinton Lake Marina. He says it is a big draw for DeWitt County and has already been invested heavily in recent years by the County.

 

 

According to Terry Ferguson, Rep. Dan Caulkins has indicated the Governor is going to be pushing for projects to be taken care of that were committed to in the previous administration. 

 

 

While there was some confusion about the priorities of what projects would be funded first, Newberg and the Board decided they would indeed submit the letter to the Governor. 

 

Also at the Thursday night DeWitt County Board Meeting, a lengthy amount of appointments were made. Most appointments pass through the board unanimously, however, the re-appointment of Thomas Smerz to the Regional Planning Commission drew an interesting vote.

 

Smerz was appointed with seven votes of approval but five board members voted 'present'. They included Cole Ritter, Lance Reece, Jay Wickenhauser, Camille Redman, and Christy Pruser. 

 

Smerz's appointment to the Regional Planning Commission is the first appointment to come up since the County Board rejected an application for a wind farm in the northwest corner of DeWitt County upon a neutral recommendation by the RPC and the Zoning Board of Appeals sent the County Board a recommendation to reject the application.

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Memorial Day Weekend Has Chances of Rain Throughout

The National Weather Service in Lincoln indicates the Memorial Day weekend is going to be slim on sunshine and there are chances of rain throughout the weekend.

 

Kirk Huttle with the National Weather Service says the early part of the holiday weekend has isolated chances early with higher chances of rain in northern Illinois.

 

 

According to Huttle, Friday could see some peaks of sunshine throughout the day as temperatures are expected to reach the upper-80s and remain in the 80s throughout the weekend.

 

 

Getting on the lake this weekend will definitely be a possibility but Huttle just points out, there are some indicators we could see some isolated rain showers. And by the time we get into next week, there will be increased chances of rain for the area.

 

 

For farmers, a change in the weather pattern could in the middle to late next week before we finally stabilize and see sustained dry conditions. 

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Portion Of Closed Off Clinton Lake Reopens Near Power Plant

The portion of Clinton Lake near the power plant is going to be open at a no-wake speed. 

 

DNR Conservation Sergeant John Williamson indicates from IP Point to the Route 54 bridge is open after 20 years of being closed for Homeland Security purposes after the attacks of September 11.

 

 

Communications Manager at Exelon Clinton Power Station, Gabe Goldsmith says this is their way of giving back to the community.

 

 

Williamson says Clinton Lake levels are starting to normalize after a lot of rain this spring. Forecasts for this Memorial Day Weekend are showing chances or rain but mild temperatures. 

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The Vault Still Looking For Volunteers For Partnership Program With Big Brothers Big Sisters

The Vault in Clinton is still seeking volunteers for a partnership program with Big Brothers Big Sisters of DeWitt County.

 

Michelle Witzke with The Vault in Clinton explains they need young adults who would be willing to mentor a junior high school or high school student to step up for a couple of hours a month. She says they have a lot of kids that need someone they can look up to and be a role model for them.

 

 

According to Witzke, they are very much in need of mentors for junior high and high school boys. She estimates they have around 15 youths ready for a big. Witzke indicates they will be hosting an informational meeting for parents, teens and interested mentors on June 26 from 6 pm to 7 pm at The Vault. 

 

 

As the summer gets closer, The Vault is also seeking daytime volunteers. She says they have plenty of help in the evening but when they expand their hours during the day, they will need help to the tune of about four hours a week.

 

 

Witzke adds at their June 26 meeting, representatives from Big Brothers Big Sisters will be on hand with information and available for questions. 

 

To get more information on becoming a 'big' for a young junior high or high school student or to learn about volunteering during the day at The Vault this summer, you can call 217-934-4003 or 309-212-7332 or email thevaultclinton@gmail.com. 

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Warrensburg-Latham Schools Targeting A Lot of Work This Summer

A number of projects will occupy staff at Warrensburg-Latham schools this summer.

 

Superintendent Dr. Kristen Kendrick-Weikle says they will shut down their middle school for removal of floor tiles that contain asbestos. Additionally, they plan to redo their ceiling tiles for better optics but also to update their technology infrastructure.

 

 

According to Dr. Kendrick-Weikle, their buildings are all in one community and one central campus and are in very good condition. While making summer projects easier, she says that is a big advantage for their families.

 

 

Dr. Kendrick-Weikle indicates the district is fortunate to maintain quality facilities thanks to the one-cent sales tax that comes from Macon County taxes and is designated for facility improvements. At the same time, districts levy taxes for a fund called 'health-life-safety' funds. 

 

 

Dr. Kendrick-Weikle feels the one-cent sales tax money is a great resource expense they know are coming and allows them to put funds away and preserve their general tax dollars for other things. 

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Bloomington Zoo Makes National Headlines

The Miller Park Zoo in Bloomington made headlines with outlets like CBS and CNN after euthanizing a flamingo due to injuries sustained when a youth skipped a rock into the exhibit.

 

Superintendent of the Miller Park Zoo, Jay Tetzloff, in a written statement to Regional Radio News said quote - "a juvenile guest accidentally injured a flamingo on Monday by skipping a rock into the habitat. Unfortunately, staff determined the best course of action given the animal's injuries was to euthanize the bird. This was a truly unfortunate accident, and we are working with the juvenile's family to move forward."

 

The flamingo exhibit is just a couple years old and was one of the first major projects of a master plan approved roughly five years ago. 

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Clinton School Administrators Discuss Reaching Every Student

Tuesday night at the Clinton Board of Education, district building leaders discussed with the Board what they are doing to make sure they are reaching every student in their building.

 

Learning in the 21st-century world has changed a great deal and educators are being trained to recognize what moves the needle for each student. Principal of Lincoln and Douglas Schools, Beth Wickenhauser says the challenge they face is how do they recognize that in their students and how do they reach them where they are.

 

 

The word of the year at Clinton Elementary School is "relationships". Principal Sasha Young, who will be a guest on the WHOW Morning Wednesday morning, says they have seen great results by intentionally seeking relationships with their students.

 

 

A team was put together to explore goals for restorative practices and first-year assistant principal at Clinton Junior High School, Jim Peck explains their team worked on setting an example of how to communicate and set a culture. 

 

 

The Clinton High School automotive class was able to showcase their restored Chevy Grand Prix and Principal Jerry Wayne says while its great they are giving their kids the opportunity to find skills they may not have known they had, he feels there remain larger challenges that need to be addressed to fully tap into the potential of their youth.

 

 

With minimal action gaining much discussion among the Board Tuesday, the Board approved a contract extension with FFA instructor, Lee Deal. The Board approved the summer maintenance projects and softball field upgrades. 

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DeWitt County Mental Health Board Hosting Night For First Responders

First responders of DeWitt County will converge on The Abigail in Clinton this Friday night for a special appreciation night and training.

 

Katie Arnold with the 708 Board says they will have a night to recognize the first responders of the County as well as a special guest for a training opportunity.

 

 

According to Arnold, first responders face very difficult circumstances sometimes and often times they will need support after various situations and so this is an opportunity to provide them with that support.

 

 

Arnold says this is well timed as May is Mental Health Awareness month. She feels it is important to recognize the first responders and show appreciation for what they do for the community.

 

Again the dinner is this Friday at The Abigail in Clinton and it is free. Dinner is served from 5 pm to 8 pm and the training is from 6 pm to 10 pm. 

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Rep. Caulkins Speaks Out Opposing Graduated Income Tax Proposal

On Monday evening, the Democrat majority passed a graduated income tax amendment out of the House Revenue and Finance Committee, over Republican objections.

 

 State Representative Dan Caulkins spoke out against Gov. Pritzker’s graduated tax hike and voted against the proposal in committee.

 

 

SJRCA 1 passed out of the House Revenue and Finance Committee on a partisan vote of 9-6, with all Republican members voting ‘No.’ The graduated income tax constitutional amendment now goes to the full House of Representatives for a final vote. If approved by the House, the constitutional amendment would be placed on the November 2020 general election ballot.

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