Local News

House Fails to Pass Farm Bill

The Friday attempt to approve the Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018 failed in the U.S. House, 198-213. 30 Republicans voted against the bill, along with 183 Democrats, without a Democrat supporting the legislation, as expected. The House Freedom Caucus refused to budge on its demand that the House considers immigration issues before passing a farm bill, thus voting against the bill. The House Freedom Caucus consists of roughly three-dozen conservatives that have made immigration a signature issue. Democrats in the chamber cheered as the bill failed as the minority party says it was given no chance to provide input on the bill, and objects to changes in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. House Agriculture Chairman Mike Conaway disagreed, stating on the House floor that Democrats refused to provide input before lawmakers voted down a motion by Democrats to send the bill back to committee.
 
Conaway calls the vote a setback that follows a streak of victories throughout the week leading up to the vote. He says: “We may be down, but we are not out.” The Republican says lawmakers will deliver a new farm bill to the President on time, adding farmers and ranchers “deserve nothing less.” Meanwhile, Ranking Democrat of the House Agriculture Committee, Collin Peterson, says the failure provides “a good opportunity for us to return to the table” and “fix” the bill before moving forward.

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Clinton High School Graduation Sunday, Eighth Grade Promotion Monday

The end of the school year is here and with that comes high school graduation and eighth grade promotion.
 
According to superintendent of Clinton schools, Curt Nettles, the goal of Clinton schools is to provide students of all grade levels with the best education and opportunities that they can.

 

 
High school graduation is this Sunday at 2 pm and Nettles says that this is a particularly proud moment for parents and the students making that walk across the stage.
 

 

 
Eighth grade promotion is scheduled for the evening after high school graduation. It will start at 7 pm.

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St. Louis Fed Survey Shows Farm Income Down Once Again

Farm income declined in the first quarter of 2018, the 17th-consecutive quarter of lower income numbers. The latest Agricultural Finance Monitor, published by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, shows quality farmland values and cash rents were also slightly lower than in 217. The St. Louis Fed surveyed 24 agricultural banks in the Eighth Federal Reserve District, which includes several Midwest and Mid-South States. The majority of the bankers reported income declines compared to a year ago. Quality farmland values were 1.4 percent lower than in the first quarter of last year. That’s the first decline since the second quarter of 2017. Ranchland or pastureland values rose sharply for the second consecutive quarter. In similar fashion, cash rents for quality farmland dropped slightly in the first quarter of this year when compared to 2017. Cash rents for pastureland or ranchland increased. Other questions in the survey included the number of farmers using off-farm income to maintain cash flow. 41 percent of the banks said that 25 percent of their farmer-customers had off-farm income. More than half of the banks said that a quarter of their farmer-clients were in severe financial difficulty.

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Weekly Weather Summary

May has been warmer and drier than normal, and it looks like the trend will continue into June. State Climatologist Jim Angel has more...
 

 

 

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Three Arrested In Counterfeit Bills Investigation In Bloomington

he Bloomington Police Department reports three Chicago residents were recently arrested following an investigation into counterfeit $100 bills.
 
On Saturday, May 12, 2018, officers received forgery complaints at five retail stores located in east Bloomington.
 
A short time later, after receiving the complaints, officers located a vehicle matching the same description given by witnesses as the suspect vehicle. Officers stopped the vehicle near the intersection of Eastland Drive and Prospect Road. Officers conducted a search of the vehicle and recovered items matching those purchased with counterfeit money as well as several counterfeit $100 bills.
 
As a result of their investigation, Kayonna D. Howard, age 18, of Chicago, Illinois was arrested for multiple counts of Burglary without Causing Damage, multiple counts of Theft by Deception with Intent less than $500, and multiple counts of Obstruction of Justice/Destroy Evidence.
 
Denokey K. Midderhoff, age 18, of Chicago, Illinois was arrested for Obstruction of Justice/Destroy Evidence.
 
A 17-year-old male, of Chicago, Illinois was also arrested for Theft by Deception.
 
Howard and Midderhoff were transported to the McLean County Jail. The juvenile was released.  

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Grand Opening of Frozen Yogurt Shop This Friday in Monticello

A new business is opening in Monticello tonight (Friday).
 
According to the Director of Community Development for the City of Monticello, Callie Jo McFarland, an independently owned frozen yogurt shop called FroYo Factory will occupy a former gas station that has been empty for over a decade.
 

 

 
McFarland adds that the family run business will be on Market Street and with it's eye-catching colors, it would be difficult to miss. 
 

 

 
FroYo Factory will open at six in the evening with a ribbon cutting where the Mayor of Monticello, Larry Stoner, will officially welcome the business to the community.
 

 

 
To learn more about FroYo's grand opening tonight, visit their page on Facebook by searching fyfactory.

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Brews at the Zoo Fundraiser Tonight

The Miller Park Zoo is having a unique fundraiser tonight (Friday).
 
According to Superintendent of the Miller Park Zoo, Jay Tetzloff, Brews at the Zoo is back for its third year. It is an adult only fundraiser for the Miller Park Zooilogical Society. There will be local brews from local breweries, wine, and some food available.
 

 

 
Tetzloff adds that there will be animal encounters and indicates that this will be the perfect time to view nocturnal animals.
 

 

 
Tetzloff says that the numbers for Brews at the Zoo have almost doubled every year and hopes to keep that growth going. He adds that a few drinks come with your ticket and if you'd like more, there will be additional drinks available for purchase.

 

 
To purchase tickets for the Brews at the Zoo fundraiser before Friday, you can visit millerparkzoo.org and click on the link to the Miller Park Zooilogical Society or you can call the zoo at 309-434-2250.

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University of Illinois Extension Hosting Summer Gardening Programs

If gardening is something that interests you, then the University of Illinois Extension have some programs for you this summer.
 
Candice Hart, University of Illinois Extension master gardener, indicates she has been doing a hands-on horticulture project every month and the series continues into the summer months.
 

 

 
Hart says the price for each project varies depending on the supplies. To register for the events there are a variety of options...
 

 

 
To register visit the Extention's website, go.illinois.edu/dmp, or call the DeWitt County office at (217) 935-5764.

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Millikin University to break ground on new Center for Theatre and Dance

Millikin University in Decatur is hosting a groundbreaking ceremony today (FRI) for its new Center for Theatre and Dance. The ceremony will take place on the Miller Quad located behind Shilling Hall next to the Richards Treat University Center construction site on Millikin's campus.
 
Millikin President Dr. Patrick White, Millikin Trustee Phillip Blankenburg, Dean of the College of Fine Arts Laura Ledford and Millikin students will be on hand for remarks.
 
Millikin University announced on Oct. 11, 2017 that it would break ground on its new Center for Theatre and Dance in 2018 with plans to open the building in fall 2020. The $29 million facility will include a 260-seat flexible theatre, collaboration spaces, four acting studios, two dance studios and two design classrooms as well as a costume studio, costume classroom, and offices and support facilities for current staff. The architectural partner for the project is Decatur, Ill., firm BLDD.
 

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Illinois Visitors Hit High In 2017

GOVERNOR BRUCE RAUNER SAYS 2017 WAS A RECORD YEAR FOR TOURISM IN ILLINOIS. 
 

NEARLY 114 MILLION PEOPLE VISITED ILLINOIS LAST YEAR…UP THREE PERCENT FROM 2016. GOVERNOR RAUNER HOPES TO SEE EVEN MORE TOURISTS THIS YEAR AS THE STATE CELEBRATES IT’S 200TH BIRTHDAY.

 

 

 
STATE TOURISM DIRECTOR CORY JOBE CREDITS THE INCREASE TO NEW MARKETING EFFORTS.
 

 

 
17 PERCENT OF TRAVELERS CAME TO ILLINOIS FOR BUSINESS IN 2017…AND 83 PERCENT FOR PLEASURE. THE STATE’S TOURISM INDUSTRY SUPPORTS MORE THAN 335 THOUSAND JOBS.  VISITORS TO ILLINOIS SPENT MORE THAN 39 BILLION DOLLARS IN 2017. 
 

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Lawmakers Pass Bill Allowing Immediate Family Members Cancel Fallen Service Members Leases

IT’S A SIMPLE BILL, BUT ONE DESIGNED TO MAKE THE LIVES OF FAMILIES WHO HAVE LOST A SOLDIER A LITTLE EASIER.
 
FAMILIES HAVE ENOUGH TO WORRY ABOUT WHEN A PARENT, SIBLING OR CHILD IS KILLED IN ACTIVE MILITARY DUTY SAYS SENATOR DAVE KOEHLER OF PEORIA. HIS BILL, WHICH HAS NOW PASSED THE HOUSE AND SENATE, LETS IMMEDIATE FAMILY MEMBERS OR DEPENDENTS CANCEL THE FALLEN SERVICE MEMBER’S LEASE IF NECESSARY.
 

 

 
IT’S NOW UP TO THE GOVERNOR TO SIGN THE BILL INTO LAW.

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Defending the Farm from Fraud and Identity Theft

Identity theft is a well-known threat that can be costly to farmers and ranchers. NAFB's Micheal Clements has more…

 

 

 

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Senator Rose's Staff to Hold Open Office Hours in Clinton on Friday

Staff for DeWitt County's local state senator will be in town on Friday.
 
The Office of State Senator Chapin Rose will host traveling office hours in Clinton tomorrow (FRI).
 
Constituents are welcome to come to Rose’s Traveling Office Hours Friday morning from 9 to 10:30 am at the Friendship Center in Clinton.
 
Staff will be available to take citizen’s concerns, answer questions, and provide information on several issues. Appointments are not required.
 
The DeWitt County Friendship Center is located at  410 East Main Street in Clinton.

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Richland Community College Commencement Ceremony This Friday

Richland Community College will hold its Commencement Ceremony at 7 p.m. Friday, May 18, at the Decatur Civic Center. For anyone unable to attend the ceremony, a live video stream of the event can be found at www.ustream.tv/channel/richland-community-college. 
 
Prior to commencement, the Health Professions pinning will be held at 5 p.m. in the auditorium of the Civic Center.

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Clinton Board of Education Approve School Safety Resolution; Change Liability Insurance

The Clinton Board of Education approved a resolution on school safety at their monthly meeting Wednesday night.
 
Superintendent Curt Nettles indicates that the resolution will give the Illinois School Board Association the ability to discuss it at their November meeting and possibly use it as their own resolution. The resolution is for giving school districts the ability to make their own school safety policy.
 

 

 
Nettles stresses that the resolution just makes it a discussion item at the School Board Association meeting. The Board also approved joining the Prairie State Insurance Cooperative for district liability and workman's compensation insurance. Nettles says the move will a money saving one.
 

 

 
The Board also approved the appointments of Matt Koeppel as district athletic director and Josh Maxwell as CJHS principal.

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May Days Returning This Weekend

The annual May Days festival returns to Clinton this weekend, with new additions along with longtime favorites.
 
Marian Brisard, executive director of the Clinton Chamber of Commerce, reminds community members that presale carnival tickets are available for 22 tickets for $20 through 3 pm today at many local businesses. 
 

 

 
Brisard indicates this year that the outlay of May Days will look a little different this year...
 

 

 
Brisard reports that the festival has a packed schedule this year. The carnival opens today (Thursday) at 5 pm for Family Day and the CHS Thespian troupe has a sing-off fundraiser from 6-8pm.
 

 

 
Saturday features many new activities including Trunken Treasures and wrestling, as well as the waterball competition and the American Legion porkchop supper. The carnival concludes on Sunday with a Dance Xtreme performance.
 

 

 
Brisard would like to thank the sponsors for allowing them to provide live entertainment on the square during the festival. May Days starts today at 5 pm and runs until Sunday at 5 pm.

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Congressman Davis Continues To Be Critical of Democrats in Farm Bill Process

Central Illinois Republican Congressman Davis continues to be critical of his colleagues across the aisle in the process of crafting a new farm bill.
 
Both sides have battled in recent weeks about the crafting of the new farm bill as the current bill expires later this year. Democrats say they were not invited into the process while Republicans contend Democrats had no intention of being involved.
 
Davis continues his criticism of his colleagues' objection to measures that would help those on government benefits programs get into the workforce.
 

 

 
Congressman Davis says the bill, in its current form, would allow for individuals on welfare programs to get into programs to find good employment opportunities. He feels Democrats objection to the measure is a sign of their desire to grow government programs.
 

 

 
Congressman Davis hopes the bill gets to the House floor by the end of the month so it can be sent to the Senate. The next step will be a conference committee that will likely craft the bill in its final form. 

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Shooter Injured After Shootout at Dixon High School

A man confronted a Dixon police officer at Dixon High School just after 8 o'clock (this) Wednesday morning.  The suspect fired shots at the officer, who then returned fire.  Dixon Police say the man was injured and taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries.  The police officer was not injured, and no students or staff were injured. 

Dixon High School and all Dixon Public Schools were on lockdown as a result of the incident.    Dixon is located in northern Illinois, about 2 hours west of Chicago.

Dixon Police believe the suspect acted alone.

The suspect's name has not been released.

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Heavy Rain Causes Flooding Problems at Warner Hospital Tuesday Afternoon

A heavy rain Tuesday afternoon caused some problems at Clinton's Warner Hospital.

C-E-O Paul Skowron told Regional Radio News that some 3 inches of rain came down in that area of the city.  The storm sewers couldn't handle that much rain in a short time, so the drains outside the main entrance, and the drain outside the emergency room door, all turned into gushers.

As a result, water seeped into both the reception area and the emergency room.

Hospital crews were able to begin clean-up immediately after the rain ended, and ServPro of Clinton was then called into do the heavy clean-up and de-humidify the area.

Skowron hopes that all will be back to normal in that area of Warner Hospital in a few days.  Both the reception area and the emergency room continue to function as normal.

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Clinton Police Chief Talks Upcoming May Days Festival

May Days Festival is here and that means an increase in activity in the downtown area of Clinton.
 

Local law enforcement is reminding the public they are not allowed to bring bikes or pets to the festival going area. It doesn't matter the reason, Chief Ben Lowers says it puts too many people at risk. 

 

 

May Days is this Thursday through Sunday. The footprint of this year's festival is going to be a little different. Organizers indicate this year's carnival will be located just off the square, allowing for better flow of traffic around Center Street.
 
Additionally, law enforcement will have extra patrols out this weekend, specifically looking for bikes and pets around the square and carnival. 

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Clinton Elementary School to Host Fourth PBIS Day

With the school year coming to a close, most students are ready for summer.  This anticipation for summer break can sometimes lead to poor behavior in the classroom.  
 
For those students who do act properly, Clinton Elementary School has been rewarding students for excellent behavior throughout the school year with their PBIS program...
 

 

 
Assistant principal Ben Mooney explains the Positive Behavior Intervention System has had different themed events with the upcoming celebration being centered outdoors...
 

 

 
Assistant principal Mooney also believes the PBIS program has shown a more well-behaved student body...
 

 

 
PBIS is scheduled to take place at the end of the month. 

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Area Student Wins State Art Contest

A local high school student's artwork has won a statewide contest.
 
Cerro Gordo High School and the Cerro Gordo HS Art room would like to congratulate Jean Srichoo who was the GRAND PRIZE WINNER of the State of Illinois Poppy Poster Contest sponsored by the American Legion.  This honor means that Jean's poster design was chosen over all the posters in the State of Illinois and it received the top award.  He also received $500.  

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Veterans Affairs to Hold Town Hall on Wednesday in Effingham

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has scheduled a town hall in central Illinois to discuss the Veterans Administration health care system.
 
The town hall will be held from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday at Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1769 in Effingham.
 
VA spokesman Kevin Harris says the town hall is being held to allow feedback from veterans, their families and other beneficiaries of the health care system.
 
Veterans Affairs is the government's second-largest department, responsible for 9 million military veterans in more than 1,700 government-run health facilities.
 
Many issues in the department need attention, including a multibillion-dollar overhaul of electronic medical records aimed at speeding up wait times for veterans seeking medical care as well as expanded mental health treatment for veterans at higher risk of suicide.

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Pritzker Won't Support Death Penalty Coming Back to IL

Governor Rauner wants the death penalty back in Illinois. It’s part of a plan of action he has along with some gun control measures to increase public safety. His Democrat challenger for Governor, J.B. Pritzker says the death penalty debate shouldn’t be tied to gun control and it shouldn’t become part of Illinois’s justice system again.
 

 

 
Rauner’s move to reinstate the death penalty comes as part of an amendatory veto that will be debated and voted on by lawmakers.

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Congressman Davis Proposes Bill To Deal With Nuclear Waste

Disposing and storing nuclear waste is the focus of a bill Congressman Rodney Davis is working on in the nation's capital.
 
The 13th Congressional District Republican says his bill proposes shipping nuclear waste to a depository in Nevada. 
 

 

According to Davis, the footprint of nuclear waste is very small and he feels it needs to be in a safe, isolated area.
 

 

Davis says the storage is actually going to be more environmentally safe in an isolated area than it would be in nuclear plants across the country. 

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WHOW Gets OK to Build Local FM Signal in Lincoln

The Miller Media Group's Kaskaskia Broadcasting, Incorporated in Clinton, has announced that the Federal Communications Commission has approved its application to build a new FM signal at 106-point-5 in Lincoln, for its Central Illinois newstalk and agriculture station WHOW.

Company president Randal J. Miller is hopeful that the new signal will go on the air this summer.

The new Lincoln FM signal for WHOW will cover all of Logan County, so that listeners there can hear WHOW's local news and sports coverage, over 6 hours a day of agriculture programming, and weekend sports programming from the CBS Sports Radio Network.

WHOW at 106-point-5 FM in Lincoln will operate 24 hours a day, and join another FM signal WHOW has at 92-point-3 in Clinton, and the BIG 1520 AM signal that covers Central Illinois.

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Clay Wheeler Appointed Bloomington Chief of Police

Chief Clay Wheeler was appointed Chief of Police during the City Council meeting last night. Chief Wheeler is a 27-year veteran of the Bloomington Police Department.
 
Chief Wheeler joined the department in 1991 as a patrol officer.  Chief Wheeler served as a member of the Bloomington Police Department's Crisis Response Team, as a hostage negotiator, Field Training Officer, and as a Detective in the Bloomington Police Department's Criminal Investigation Division.
 
Chief Wheeler was promoted to Sergeant in 2007.  While a sergeant he was instrumental in the adoption of Problem Oriented Policing within the Bloomington Police Department.  He was promoted to Lieutenant in 2011, and Assistant Chief in 2011.
 
During his tenure, Chief Wheeler received 1 Distinguished Achievement Award, 1 Exemplary Performance Award, 2 Meritorious Service Awards and 5 Unit Citations. He also has been awarded the Education Ribbon and several Letters of Commendation regarding his exemplary work and service to our community.
 
Chief Wheeler holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Psychology and Criminal Justice from the College of the Ozarks.

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Tour DeWitt Returns For Fourth Year

Tour DeWitt is returning to DeWitt County in 2018 and organizers are ready to welcome riders of all types.
 

Steve Lobb took over the event around four years ago and indicates have a long ride and a short ride anyone of any level can tackle.

 

 

According to Lobb, Tour DeWitt had fallen off for a few years after a long run. H explains he got involved and turned it into a ride for the Child Protection Network, which helps the Children's Advocacy Center in DeWitt County.

 

 

This year's Tour DeWitt is set for Saturday, June 30. Get more information by finding the Tour DeWitt Facebook and get links to registration pages and information about the event as well.

 

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4H Youth Educator Shares Overview of Programs

4H has been around for over 100 years, aiming to help guide children through different aspects of learning.  As 4H Youth Coordinator Jamie Boas (base) says its a very hands on learning experience...
 

 

 
 
While Boas explains there are plenty of programs for those under the age of eight, there are a variety of different offerings for those ages 8-18...
 

 

 
 
Along with all the activities offered each year, a new program is being offered for the 4H in Clinton...

 

 
Boas also explains there will be a new program sprouting up in a nearby city...
 

 

 
 
For more information on 4H visit DewittCounty4H.com.

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Help Mom Save Money Through Social Security

Did that Mother's Day gift fall a little short this year? If your mom is on Medicare Part D, perhaps she wouldn't mind if you helped her save a couple thousand dollars this year.
 

Social Security offers a program to help save those on the Medicare Part D prescription drug plan roughly $4,000 a year and Jack Myers says that is a gift that can keep on giving.

 

 

 
For those already on Medicare Part A and B, you are already enrolled in Part D. Myers points outs there are some limits to the program.
 

 

 
To get more information on the Extra Help program, visit socialsecurity.gov/extrahelp or you can call 800-772-1213 and that application can be done over the phone.
 
Myers points out it reduces deductibles, co-pays, and premiums and help those prescription drug costs become more affordable.

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Rauner Calls For Death Penalty In Illinois

The Governor says he wants to reinstate the death penalty. The proposal is part of an amendatory veto focused around a gun bill. Rauner wants mass murderers and anyone who kills a law enforcement officer to be able to face capital punishment. 

 

 

 
Rauner also wants to place a 72 hour waiting period for purchases of any type of gun, ban bump stocks and have a plan to authorize restraining orders to disarm violent individuals. Rauner calls it a thoughtful proposal. And it now heads to the house for consideration. 
 

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House Expected To Take Up Farm Bill This Week

Kevin McCarthy, the House Majority Leader, says Congress will take up the farm bill debate sometime within the week. The House schedule has the week’s session running from Tuesday through Friday. The House Rules Committee has issued a notice that it expects to “grant a rule that may provide a structured amendment process for floor consideration of H.R. 2, the Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018.” The Hagstrom Report says it’s not clear yet if Republicans have the required 215 Republican votes they’ll need to pass the bill. House Democrats say no Democrat will vote for the bill because of the changes it would make to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

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Young Beekeepers Encouraged to Apply for Award

Young beekeepers have a little extra time to apply for an award by Bayer that recognizes their work.
 
The Young Beekeeper Award recognizes youth who are working in their community supporting honey bee focused initiatives. This year, the three prizes will be awarded to the next generation of beekeepers. Becky Langer, Project Manager for Bayer’s North America Bee Care Program, explains who can apply for the award…
 

 

 
First prize will receive $3,000, with prizes for second and third place winners, as well. Langer says protecting bee’s is a priority for Bayer, along with developing the next generation of beekeepers…
 

 

 
 
Jake Residorf won the award last year. He says his project focuses on educating others about bee health…
 

 

 
Learn more about the award and submit applications before May 31, 2018 by visiting the Bayer bee health website, www.beehealth.bayer.us.

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Threat Leads To Evacuation Of Clinton Junior High Monday Afternoon

Another threat at Clinton Junior High School led to students being evacuated late in the day Monday.
 
In a School Reach call to parents, Clinton Junior High Principal Drew Goebel indicated that at approximately 3:10 Monday afternoon a student reported to school staff that a threat was found inscribed in a bathroom stall.  Per protocol, students were evacuated from the building.  The Clinton Police Department and school officials conducted a search of the building, but no evidence was found to substantiate the threat.  The school was deemed safe and extra-curricular events proceeded as planned.
 
Clinton Police and the school district are investigating the source of this most recent threat, as well as threats made earlier in the month. Also in the message, Goebel encouraged parents to discuss the false threats with their students.  Parents or students with any information regarding the incidents are asked to contact school officials.

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Local Law Enforcement Celebrating National Police Week

It is National Police Week across the country and our local law enforcement are taking time this to remember officers that have fallen in the line of duty both locally and across the country.
 
Clinton Police Chief Ben Lowers indicates there have been three law enforcement officials that have lost their lives while on patrol. He says the most recent was in 1993. 
 

 

 
The relationship between the public and the police has seemingly been deteriorating in recent years and Chief Lowers indicates the statistics would indicate respect for law enforcement is also on the decline.
 

 

 
According to Chief Lowers, being a police officer or law enforcement official is a tough profession to be in and he feels a lot of the controversy around police and the public is driven by the media.
 

 

 
Chief Lowers says he enjoys helping people and finds the few opportunities to better someone's life worth it. 

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Read Across Clinton Looks to Provide Home Libraries for Students

Clinton Elemantary school is striving to keep students reading over the summer with their Read Across Clinton campaign...

 

 

 
Principal Sasha Young explains that the books are purchased through donations made over the year...
 

 

 
Young also explains that the campaign looks to help those families who finically may struggle and can't afford to have reading material in the home...
 

 

 
No matter the skill level of the reading material, Young says just getting students to enjoy reading is the main goal...
 

 

 
This summer marks the fourth year of the Read Across Clinton campaign.

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YEP Initiative Strives to Give Back, Seeking Youth From DeWitt, Logan Counties

Wanting to give back to the community is a big goal for the Youth Engaged in Philanthropy, or Y-E-P, and they want to engage youth in other parts of their service area.
 
Y-E-P is an initiative for the Illinois Prairie Community Foundation, as each year they are given 10,000-dollars from an anonymous donor and that money is given out to local non-profits that affect youth. 
 
Maddisan Murphy of the Foundation gave some examples of non-profits that received money from the YEP initiative...

 

hree mentors help to oversee the efforts of the youth in Y-E-P, but all fundraising and efforts to get money donated are done by the Y-E-P members...

 
 

 

With plenty of involvement from youth in the McLean County area, the group is calling on youth in other parts of their service area to join them. Murphy and fellow member Calise Lim explained how to join the Y-E-P...


 

n order to join the Youth Engaged in Philanthropy, members must be incoming freshman through seniors in high school.  For more information visit www.ilprairiecf.org.    

 

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Missing Veterans Legislation Moving Forward in Springfield

There are Amber Alerts to find missing children and Silver Alerts for seniors and earlier this year, Wisconsin became the first state to issue an alert for vulnerable veterans….now Illinois wants to follow suit with a bill sponsored by State Representative Dan Swanson of Alpha. 

 

 

 
The measure was approved in the House Veterans Affairs Committee and now heads to the full House for consideration. 
 
The legislation amends the Missing Persons Identification Act to add veterans suffering a physical or mental health condition that is related to their service to the definition of a “high-risk missing person” for the purposes of an immediate search.

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West Nile Virus Surveillance Underway

THE ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH SAYS NOW IS THE TIME TO START TAKING PRECAUTIONS AGAINST THE WEST NILE VIRUS. 
 
WEST NILE IS THE MOST COMMON MOSQUITO-BORNE ILLNESS IN ILLINOIS…AND PUBLIC HEALTH SPOKESPERSON MELANEY ARNOLD SAYS SURVEILLANCE IS UNDERWAY.
 
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ARNOLD SAYS THE BEST WAY TO REDUCE THE RISK OF WEST NILE IS TO ELIMINATE STANDING POOLS OF WATER AROUND YOUR HOME WHERE MOSQUITOS CAN BREED AND WEARING INSECT REPELLANT WITH DEET, PICARIDIN OR OIL OF LEMON EUCALYPTUS.

 

 
ARNOLD SAYS WEST NILE SURVEILLANCE IS UNDERWAY AS COMMUNITIES ARE URGED TO SEND IN BATCHES OF MOSQUITO POOLS AND DEAD BIRDS FOR TESTING. THE FIRST SIGNS OF THE VIRUS USUALLY SHOW UP IN MID TO LATE MAY.

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Clinton Elementary Students Learn About Agriculture At Annual Ag Day

The CH Moore Homestead and the DeWitt County Farm Bureau team up each spring to provide elementary students in Clinton a chance to learn about agriculture in an up-close and personal way.
 
The event is in the month of May and Farm Bureau Director Janel Baum-Thomas says they get to talk to farmers and check out some old-school machinery along with modern machinery.
 
 
Organizers indicate the youth are always intrigued by the farm equipment but they say the biggest hit is always the farmers that come out and do presentations. 

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CHS Principal Talks End of Year Activities

The end of the school year is around the corner and Clinton High School Principal Jerry Wayne says it's always a busy time.
 

Between sports wrapping up and graduation on the horizon, there's also plenty of other things happening that recognizes their students. Wayne says a big event is their Gold Star Banquet, next week.

 

 
The end of the semester is also later next week and then graduation follows Sunday, May 20.

 

Prom was April 28 in Clinton and the final day of classes in the district is May 18. 

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CJHS Principal Talks End Year

The end of the year is near for local students and Clinton Junior High School Principal Drew Goebel indicates they are starting wind things down at his school building.
 

A new field trip is being taken by seventh-grade students to a Civil War re-enactment in Downs. Goebel indicates a number of schools are participating and he looks forward to going on this trip with them.

 

 

Goebel indicates there are still some spring assessments they are doing with their students. Last night, junior highers gathered at the school for a dance and then things conclude with their promotion ceremony May 21.
 
You can follow all things Clinton Junior High School by visiting the district website, www.cusd15.org, find the Junior High School and use the social media icons to follow the things happening.

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Congressman Davis Backs President's Decision To Pull Out of Iran Nuclear Deal

Congressman Rodney Davis is praising President Donald Trump's decision to pull out of the Iran Nuclear deal earlier this week.
 

Davis called the deal 'short sited' and did not think it was a good deal. He feels Iran is not committed to disarmament and was never behind the deal originally.

 

 

This was a big week in foreign affairs news in the United States and Congressman Davis says President Trump has committed to trying new tactics with North Korea. 
 

 

Congressman Davis remains pessimistic North Korea will de-nuclearize but is pleased the Trump administration continues to pressure them. However, he believes Iran has no intention to give up any nuclear weapons or working with world powers in doing so.

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Avoid Tick Born Illnesses This Year

CASES OF TICK-BORNE ILLNESS HAVE BEEN INCREASING…AND THE ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH HAS SOME TIPS TO PROTECT YOURSELF AND YOUR FAMILY. 
 

TICKS CAN CARRY DISEASES LIKE LYME DISEASE, SPOTTED FEVER…AND NEW ON THE SCENE…THE BOURBON VIRUS. PUBLIC HEALTH SPOKESPERSON MELANEY ARNOLD SAYS THE BEST THING YOU CAN DO TO PREVENT A BITE IS TO WEAR INSECT REPELLANT CONTAINING AT LEAST 20 PERCENT DEET. SHE ALSO ADVISES CHECKING EVERYONE FOR TICKS BEFORE THEY COME INSIDE.

 

 

ARNOLD SAYS TICKS CAN ALSO CARRY THE FAIRLY NEW BOURBON VIRUS.

 

 

SYMPTOMS OF TICK-BORNE ILLNESS INCLUDE FEVER, CHILLS, ACHES AND PAINS AND THE TELL-TALE BULLSEYE RASH.

 

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MS Talk to Host Fundraiser this Saturday

Have a pizza pie and help a DeWitt County non-profit this weekend. 
 
Multiple sclerosis is a potentially disabling disease of the brain and spinal cord.  In order to help those who suffer from this catastrophic disease, MS Talk looks to help those who suffer from MS in Dewitt County...
 
 

 

 
 
Tammy Lippert is one of the MS Talk co-founders.  She explains that in Dewitt County there are quite a few that suffer from this disease...
 
 

 

 
 
In an effort to help make Multiple sclerosis more of a talking point, MS Talk will host a fundraiser this coming weekend at Monicals Pizza...
 
 

 

 
 
Guest speaker Sherell Dement is a physical therapist as she will look to provide expertise and opinions on how to battle MS.  MS Talk also looks to help just about anyone in the community, not only those who suffer from one specific disease...
 
 

 

 
 
Part of the proceeds from Saturday sales at Monicall's Pizza will benefit the MS Talk foundation. You must present the flyer for the event for the proceeds of your sale to go to MS Talk. Find it at the Monicals website or at local retailers in Clinton.  

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The Vault Seeking Support Through Many Avenues

The Vault in Clinton continues to build momentum and excitement in the community and support for the project can come in many forms.
 
Michelle Witzke says financial benefits are just one of the many ways you can support the project right now. She indicates they recently started accepting electronic forms of donations through PayPal.
 

 

 
The Vault is in need of several material pieces for the project. With progress inside the center being made, Witzke indicates they could use donations of the electronic variety, like sound systems or video game systems or televisions. 
 

 

 
Physical labor donations are needed right now too. There's a lot of what Witzke calls finish work to be done inside the center.
 

 

 
To get involved in The Vault, whether it be through financial support, material donations or labor donations, contact Witzke at thevaultclinton@gmail.com or visit thevaultclinton.com. 
 
Then find them on Facebook for the latest on the project. 

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Spring Bringing More Safety Concerns

An increase in residential activity and even criminal activity tends to increase this time of the year and local law enforcement is passing along their annual reminders of springtime safety.
 
Clinton Police Chief Ben Lowers reminds residents this is the time of year when car burglaries increase and those can be prevented by simply locking your car doors at night and when your vehicle is left unattended. 
 

 

 
More people will be out walking, running and biking and kids will be out more frequently playing now as well. To that end, Chief Lowers reminds residents to be aware of those pedestrians as motorists and be mindful of increased motorcycle traffic as well.
 

 

 
Noise complaints from gatherings also increase this time of the year. Additionally, Chief Lowers reminds those out to keep their pets contained and also pick up after them when you're out and about.
 

 

 
With the planting still in full swing, the Chief also reminds motorists to be mindful of farmers out trying to get their crops in the ground and be careful around the heavy machinery. He also says be very cautious if you're going to pass any of those vehicles in rural areas. 

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State Agrichemical Container Program Has Recycled 2.1-Million Pounds of Plastic

The Illinois Department of Agriculture continues to roll on with its agrichemical container recycling program. 
 
It started back in 1990 and since that time the agency has collected 2.1 million pounds of plastics says Rick Severns with IDOA’s Bureau of Environmental Programs. He says the recycled materials are put to good use. 
 

 

 
You can find a complete list of container drop off locations at the IDOA’s website and typing “agrichemical container recycling program” in search box.

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Regulators Approve Ameren Efficiency Plan

The Illinois Commerce Commission has approved Ameren Illinois' voltage optimization plan. 
 
The plan is supposed to reduce energy consumption and system losses by operating the grid at lower voltages. This is made possible with new cost-effective sensors, controls, and communication systems that allow utilities to maintain lower voltage levels than they previously could. Citizen's Utility Board Executive Director Dave Kolata says a lot of machines run better when voltage is optimized.
 

 

 
The decision has been applauded by a number of consumer advocates, which have pursued assurances the utility would prioritize its optimization efforts in low-income communities to reduce monthly bills.

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ERA Vote Waiting in House

A vote will have to wait on the Equal Rights amendment in the Illinois House. The Senate has voted to ratify the much delayed constitutional amendment but the House hasn’t taken the measure up yet. Republican Representative Steve Anderson says that vote is a long time in coming.
 

 

 
The time to ratify the amendment was decades ago but supporters of the process hope that if enough states vote in favor then Congress will extend the window to approve it. 

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Clinton Schools Name New Athletic Director

Clinton Schools have named a new district athletic and activities director.
 
Matt Koeppel comes to the district from Olympia High School. Superintendent Curt Nettles indicates Keoppel has experience coaching in football, soccer, and basketball.
 

 

 
Nettles says the mix of coaching and teaching appealed for Koeppel and the search committee felt Koeppel could continue to help build programs in Clinton.
 

 

 
There were 21 applicants for the position. Kpeeoppel has a taught physical education and driver education with a Masters from Illinois State University.
 
Koeppel's hiring will be approved at next week's Clinton Board of Education meeting on Wednesday. 

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Clinton Education Foundation To Be At IGA Friday, Saturday

It is a big seven-day stretch for the Clinton Community Education Foundation, CCEF.
 
The Foundation hosted their annual Derby Day fundraiser this past Saturday at the Clinton Country Club and Christina Soberalski with the Foundation indicates they'll be at Clinton IGA for a cookout this weekend.
 
 
The upcoming Gold Star Banquet that celebrates academic excellence is, in part, sponsored by the CCEF. Eileen Carter with the CCEF indicates they take on the cost of the tickets for students and their parents so they all can attend.
 
 
Additionally, the CCEF also helps fund the Read Across Clinton initiative. Soberalski says Read Across Clinton is coming right around the corner and the CCEF is one of the donors so the school can purchase books for youth for the summer months.
 
 
The goal is for every child at Clinton Elementary School to get to take ten books home for the summer months. 
 
Next week on Regional Radio News, CES Principal Sasha Young and Assistant Principal Ben Mooney will talk more about the program and how it has impacted their students. 
 
Again, check out the IGA cookout to benefit the CCEF Friday and Saturday. 

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Garden Planting Season Here

The weather has finally turned and horticulture enthusiasts are now able to get out in their gardens and get those going.
 
Master gardener at the University of Illinois Extension office, Candice Hart says the biggest question they seem to get this time of year is when can those warm-season vegetables get out there?
 
Hart indicates it is probably safe to get those out now, just be aware of the weather forecast.
 
 
Getting that garden cleaned out is key to getting those gardens ready for the new season. If you laid mulch in the fall, Hart indicates pulling it back will help warm the soil up.
 
 
No-till gardening has taken off in recent years and Hart says it can be a personal preference but it isn't necessary. She says unless you're trying to improve your soil, it isn't necessary. 
 
 
Hart says if weeds have taken over your garden, tilling is not necessarily going to get rid of them. She says you can apply a herbicide to get rid of them and notes to follow the directions on when to plant your flowers or vegetables. 
 
Contact your local University of Illinois Extension office for more information on your planting questions. 

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Social Security Promoting Spring Check-In

 
Doing a spring check-in of your Social Security house is the focus for those in the government agency.
 
Jack Myers says there's a laundry list of some things to do this spring that is a good idea to make sure everything is in order.
 
 
Catching any issues early can keep you from any problems in the long run. Myers also points out it can be especially beneficial if you have the documentation, which can lead to a resolution of the issue much quicker.
 
 
One final area to take a look at would be estimate benefits.
 
Myers encourages making this something you do each year. 
 
He encourages a visit to socialsecurity.gov and also recommends creating an My Social Security account. 

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Governor Talks Meeting With Legislative Leaders

Governor Bruce Rauner has never been able to sign a full year budget for the state during his tenure in office. 
 
Rauner, a Republican, and the four legislative leaders met on Tuesday to discuss the finer points of the budgeting process for this year. Rauner says his parameters include no new taxes and a truly balanced budget. And this year he’s ready to hammer out an agreement.
 
 
The Democrats in the meeting saw things a bit differently, they liked the progress made and said both sides generally agree on many issues.

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Peoria Lawmaker Wants Registered Apprenticeships At Local Schools

A downstate lawmaker looking to offer high school students other opportunities besides college. 
 
37th District State Senator Chuck Weaver wants to see career focused apprenticeship programs set up at local schools. That’s the push behind his Senate Bill 3226. 
 
 
The Peoria Republican’s legislation would direct the Illinois State Board of Education to establish guidelines allowing local high school students over the age of 16 to enroll in registered vocational apprenticeship programs. Also, the United States Department of Labor would have to sign off on the programs.
 
Weaver’s legislation has won approval in the Illinois Senate and now awaits action in the Illinois House. 

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Little Caesar's To Be Part of Mach1 Gas Station

The 7800 square foot Mach1 gas station will include a Little Caesars.
 
That is the message from Michael Meyer with Meyer Oil Company who owns and operates Mach1 gas stations in central Illinois. He indicates they also will a have full-scale liquor and wine offering. He says it won't be your typical offerings for a gas station.
 
 
They will have two car wash bays with a couple different offerings and Meyer explains the new features for the Clinton location will be a tire shine and a hot foam wax.
 
 
While a clean restroom is not anything directly related to revenue of the store, Meyer indicates they are committed to offering clean restrooms to their customers.
 
 
Meyer indicates they are targeting an August 1 opening. 
 
Additionally, in Clinton, he says they will have a gaming area. He adds they are excited to have several services. 

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Maroa-Forsyth Schools Answering School Violence Issues With Additional Mental Health Staff

A local school district is hoping to provide support for their students through beefing up support staff.
 
Superintendent of Maroa-Forsyth Schools, John Ahlemeyher (all-meyer) recognizes there needs to be a discussion surrounding school safety how to protect students from violent acts but he and the school board are going the next step and he explains, they plan to hire another social worker for the upcoming school year.
 
 
Ahlemeyer says it isn't hard to find the trends in who is committing the crimes in recent years. He feels schools, and society as a whole has to do more to support youth who are not successful in normal settings of growing up.
 
 
Additionally, Ahlemeyer points out they are going to be getting the school an assessment of the security of their buildings. He says it is time to have someone objective take a look at the things they've done and what they have in place.
 
 
In his first year, Ahlemeyer feels the district is right where they need to be from a security perspective. He is hopeful state and federal governments will free up funds for schools to have access to for security purposes. 

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Monticello Mayor Talks School Facilities Plan

In March, voters in Monticello approved a plan to upgrade school facilities and the Mayor of the community is behind the project as well.
 
Monticello Mayor Larry Stoner is a retired educator in and knows first hand all about the facilities in the district. He feels it is going to a great thing for the students, families, and community.
 
 
The Mayor knows full-well the success the students of Monticello have had and he points to communities around them that have updated or built new facilities and he feels their community needs to keep up and draw new families to their community.
 
 
Mayor Stoner says having a school district with updated facilities is just one more thing to sell to prospective families about your community and he feels it just the community more visibly appealing place to be.
 
 
The Mayor is excited to see the start of the project get going and feels it will bring something else exciting happening. 

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Budget talks continue revenue questions linger

BUDGET TALKS CONTINUE AT THE CAPITOL BUT THERE’S STILL NO AGREEMENT ON HOW MUCH MONEY THE STATE HAS TO SPEND IN THE NEXT FISCAL YEAR. 
 
SENATE PRESIDENT JOHN CULLERTON SAYS THEY HAVE A DECENT ESTIMATE OF THE STATE’S REVENUES BUT THAT SEVERAL FACTORS MAKE THAT NUMBER IMPOSSIBLE TO PIN DOWN EXACTLY. HOUSE REPUBLICAN LEADER JIM DURKIN SAYS THEY NEED THAT NUMBER TO PREVENT EXCESSIVE SPENDING.
 
 
 
BUT SENATE PRESIDENT JOHN CULLERTON SAYS THEY ARE CLOSE ENOUGH NOW.
 
 
THE LEGISLATURE TYPICALLY TRIES TO GET A BUDGET PASSED BY THE END OF MAY BUT THAT HASN’T HAPPENED THE LAST FEW YEARS. THE NEW FISCAL YEAR BEGINS JULY FIRST.

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Clinton Fire Truck To Hoist American Flag For Tuesday Fire Fighter Memorial Service in Springfield

The Clinton Fire Department for the second straight year will hoist the American Flag for the firefighter memorial service in Springfield.
 
Firefighter Blake West indicates Tuesday's ceremony will feature the newest fire engine for the department as well as a red American LaFrance truck in Springfield.
 
 
West estimates there will over 2000 firefighters in Springfield along with numerous citizens to honor firefighters that have died in the line of duty. 

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City Council Re-Appoints City Officers

Monday night at the Clinton City Council meeting, the Council approved City officials for another year.
 
Appointments included: 
 
City Attorney Steve Myers
Cheryl Van Valey as City Clerk
Tim Followell as City Sexton of the cemetery and Public Health Officer
Clint Lichtenwalter as City Treasurer
Tom Edmunds as budget officer
Steve Lobb as Public Works Director
Fire Chief Jeff Hoke
Steven Page Assistant Fire Chief
 
All terms are for one year. 

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Lincoln Farmer's Market Opening Saturday

The Lincoln Farmer's Market opens this Saturday and organizers are ready for another exciting year.
 
The Abraham Lincoln Memorial Hospital Farmer's Market is a producer-only farmer's market and Angela Stoltzenberg feels the Lincoln Farmer's Market is a wellness destination and their vendors are the farmers who grow the produce they sell.
 
 
The collaboration between the Lincoln hospital and the farmer's market allows more access to healthy food for the public. Stoltzenberg indicates it also allows them to give the public access to health and wellness activities and resources.
 
 
Stoltzenberg explains they are going to beef up their offerings for the opening of the market season. Everything from inflatables for the kids to cooking demonstrations and live music, the market will have something for everyone this Saturday.
 
 
The Lincoln Farmers Market runs from 8 am to noon each Saturday at the Logan County Fairgrounds. Stoltzenberg feels their market has been a huge success as it draws around 1500 people weekly.
 
Get more information by finding the ALMH Farmer's Market on Facebook or visit almhmarket.org. 

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Heyworth Schools Community Engagement Process Helps Start Master Planning Process

Heyworth Schools recently wrapped up a series of community engagement meetings to help formulate a plan for the future of their facilities.
 
Superintendent of Heyworth Schools Lisa Taylor was pleased with the turnout of their community to provide them input. She points out the community saw a lot of the needs for their facilities the district had targeted as well.
 
 
Taylor says it was refreshing to have the community be forward thinking in regards to their facilities. She calls it a good process to be a part of.
 
 
Funding the future project will likely result in some borrowing along with drawing from TIF funds for capital improvements. Taylor explains the district has options and they have some decisions to make, pointing out, they likely do not have to raise property taxes.
 
 
The next step is to get a plan together to present to the community. Taylor says the Board wants to be very intentional about making the improvements without impacting property taxes. 

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Weekly Crop Report

PLANTING PROGRESS IS REALLY PICKING UP AS WE HEAR IN THE WEEKLY CROP REPORT. 
 
THE WARM WEATHER IS HELPING MOVE THINGS ALONG SAYS CROP STATISTICIAN MARK SCHLEUSENER.
 
 
29 PERCENT OF SOYBEANS HAVE BEEN PLANTED AND ONE PERCENT EMERGED. 
 
 
14 PERCENT OF WINTER WHEAT IS HEADING AND 53 PERCENT OF THE CROP IS RATED IN GOOD TO EXCELLENT CONDITION. 
 
AVERAGE STATEWIDE TOPSOIL MOISTURE WAS NEARLY UNCHANGED AT ONE PERCENT VERY SHORT, 13 PERCENT SHORT, 76 PERCENT ADEQUATE AND 10 PERCENT SURPLUS.

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Study Examines Where Food Dollar Goes

A U-S Department of Agriculture Department study shows more than 85 cents of every dollar we spend on food goes to such things as transportation, processing and marketing. That leaves about 15 cents for farmers, a record low since the agency has conducted the study. Patrick Canning with U-S-D-A's Economic Research Service helped lead it and provides some details;
 
 
When eating out, the share of each dollar we spend that goes to farmers dropped more than 10 percent, to a little more than four-cents. That’s a record-low since USDA started conducting the survey; 
 
 
Whether it be food we prepare and eat at home or on-the-run, when adjusted for inflation, farmers received on average a little over 12 cents of each dollar spent on food.

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Senate Wants To Cut Cord on Public Sector Golden Parachutes

Lucrative golden parachutes aren't just the domain of CEOs in the private sector and Illinois Senators spoke out against the practice with one voice last week. 
 
They unanimously approved the Government Severance Pay Act, which moves the legislation to the House. Better Government Association policy director Madeleine Doubek said big payouts are seen in all corners of the public sector.
 
 
Doubek believes recent severance payouts show the need for the legislation, which would eliminate severance packages for public employees let go because of misconduct.
 
 
Under the legislation, severance packages for all public employees would be limited to no greater than 20 weeks compensation. The changes would only apply to future employees.

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IDOT Approves $36-Million in Federal Grants For Bike Paths and Trails

THE STATE DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION IS AWARDING 36 MILLION DOLLARS IN FEDERAL GRANTS TO ILLINOIS COMMUNITIES. 
 
I-DOT SPOKESPERSON GIANNA URGO SAYS THE MONEY WILL FUND 53 PROJECTS AROUND THE STATE.
 
 
URGO SAYS THE IDEA IS TO HELP COMMUNITIES PROMOTE ALTERNATIVE MODES OF TRAVEL BESIDES DRIVING. 

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Governor Gives Thumbs Up For Behavior Health Initiative

THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT IS GIVING ILLINOIS APPROVAL TO LAUNCH A NEW TWO BILLION DOLLAR BEHAVIORAL HEALTH INITIATIVE. 
 
GOVERNOR BRUCE RAUNER SAYS THE BETTER CARE ILLINOIS PROGRAM WILL MAKE THE STATE A NATIONAL LEADER IN HEALTH SERVICES. IT WILL FOCUS ON PREVENTATIVE AND COMMUNITY BASED CARE FOR ALL AGES.
 
 
THE INITIATIVE IS POSSIBLE THANKS TO A FEDERAL WAIVER FOR ILLINOIS TO USE MEDICAID DOLLARS FOR 10 PILOT PROGRAMS THAT GOVERNOR RAUNER SAYS WILL LOWER COSTS BUT IMPROVE QUALITY OF CARE.
 
 
THE IDEA IS TO ADDRESS A PERSON’S WHOLE WELL BEING BY INTEGRATING RESOURCES AND CARE OPTIONS.

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Governor Frustrated By Slow Budget Talks

GOVERNOR BRUCE RAUNER SAYS PROGRESS HAS BEEN SLOW IN NEGOTIATING A NEW STATE BUDGET.
 
THIS IS THE TIME OF YEAR WHEN BUDGET TALKS OFTEN BEGIN TO RAMP UP…BUT GOVERNOR RAUNER SAYS THE PACE HAS BEEN FRUSTRATING SO FAR.
 
 
THE GOVERNOR SAYS HE’S LOOKING FOR A FULL YEAR BUDGET…NOT A SIX-MONTH DEAL…THAT DOESN’T RAISE TAXES AND IS BALANCED.

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Progress At The Vault Taking Off

The sprinkler system is in, drywall is starting to get hung and a snack bar is taking shape in The Vault in Clinton.
 
Michelle Witzke says while the project is just a little behind her original goal but is excited about the progress.
 
 
The project has taken off because of a great deal of fundraising success. According to Witzke, spring was very strong as they have now raised over $300-thousand.
 
 
According to Witzke, the Phase I goal has been made and that should allow them to get their first floor open up. She indicates they are, at the same time, turning their attention to fundraising for their second phase of the project.
 
 
Witzke reminds the public, The Vault is a vision for a teen-center in the community that would provide a safe and fun outlet for youth in a time when there are a lot of ways for them to find trouble.
 
 
The Vault is still in need of support and help in several ways. You can learn more about the project by visiting thevaultclinton.com or emailing thevaultclinton@gmail.com. Also, find them on Facebook for the latest on the progress of the project. 

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CJHS Principal Talks Transition To New Job

Clinton Junior High School Principal Drew Goebel will be transitioning to a district administrative job next year and says he's looking forward to the new challenge.
 
Goebel received his administrative certification recently and indicates he is anxious to get into a more hands-on role and looks forward learning from Superintendent Curt Nettles about the ins-and-outs of the administrative side of running a district.
 
 
Goebel indicates he looks forward to learning from Supertindent Curt Nettles and asking questions and feels the staff he'll be working with is a group of good individuals. 
 
 
The new position will take Goebel away from daily contact with junior high school students. He indicates that will definitely be something he misses but is hopeful he can still interactive with the students.
 
 
According to Goebel, he wants to make sure and be out with students as he makes his way through the district. With the unit office being attached to the high school, Goebel indicates there will still be the opportunity to be around kids during the day. 

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DNR Authorities Remind Public Leave Young Wildlife Alone

The baby wildlife season is here and while the young babies are cute and fluffy, local Department of Natural Resources Authorities are reminding residents to leave them alone.
 
DNR Conservation Officer John Williamson says if you see a baby animal like a deer or bird or rabbit, just leave it alone. He says you likely won't see the parents and them leaving their babies is natural.
 
 
DNR officials also remind the public birds often leave the nest before they can fly. These birds will live on the ground for a few days while they grow flight feathers, and you may hear them making noises calling for their parents. They do this so their parents will continue to feed them, and it doesn’t mean they are in trouble. Keep children and pets away.
 
Do not attempt to rescue fawns. Fawns stay very still to conceal themselves until they are old enough to keep up with their mother. The mother will not stand near the fawns for fear of alerting predators to their presence. Leave fawns alone and the mother will return once you leave the area. 
 
Wild birds and animals can become habituated to people when they are provided food. Do not leave pet food outside at night, clean up under bird feeders, secure the lids on garbage cans to keep raccoons and other wildlife out. Nuisance animals can become dangerous to people.
 
Handling wild animals can result in the handler being bitten. According to the Centers for Disease Control, wild animals that bite a person must be euthanized immediately to be tested for rabies. 
 
The Illinois Wildlife Code provides legal protection for wildlife. It is against the law to keep wild animals as pets, or to raise wild animals believed to have been abandoned.  Additionally, agency responses to incidents involving wildlife can be costly to taxpayers.  For example, in response to community concern about a young wild deer in McLean Co. this spring, IDNR and USDA Wildlife Services’ personnel and other costs totaled nearly $7,000 to investigate the matter, and to capture and relocate the deer to a licensed wildlife rehabilitator.
 
Anyone with questions about care for possibly abandoned wildlife can contact a licensed wildlife rehabilitator. To learn more about potential wildlife conflicts, and keeping people, pets and wildlife safe, visit the Living with Wildlife in Illinois website at http://web.extension.illinois.edu/wildlife/.

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Senate Considers Bill To Help Voting From Jail

A bill in the Senate right now would give those in jail but yet to be convicted of a crime a better ability to vote. 
 
The House passed legislation that makes county election officials work with corrections and jails to get inmates voting material and access to the polls. State Rep. Peter Breen, a Republican, disagreed with the bill and says lawmakers are focusing on the wrong group of people to help.
 
 
Democrats who passed the measure say that it’s a right to be able to vote while waiting out pretrial motions in jail. The Senate has the bill in committee.

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USDA Opens Comment Period on GMO Labeling law

The Department of Agriculture is seeking public comment on a rule to establish the National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard mandated by Congress in 2016. 
 
The rule will regulate how genetically modified, or bioengineered ingredients, would be disclosed to consumers on food labels. 
 
Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue says the rulemaking “presents several possible ways” to determine what foods will be covered by the final rule, and presents label options, as well. 
 
American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall in a statement called the proposed rule fair, saying it “ensures that food facts win the day over hype.” 
 
The proposed rule is open for comment for 60 days and appeared in the Federal  Register Thursday. Public comment can be made online at www.regulations.gov. The deadline for comments is July 3, 2018.

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