The planned Mach 1 gas station in Clinton has started to move dirt and the goal is to have the shell of the building up before the snow flies to get interior work done during the winter.
City Administrator Tim Followell says the movement of dirt is started with footings on the site and progress is continuing despite the up and down weather patterns of the last few months.
Followell says as long as mother nature doesn't hold them up too much with an abundance of rain or cold weather, the gas station is on pace for a spring grand opening.
Followell appreciates the crews working through a lot of dirt and mud at times but keeping the roads around the site relatively clean and not disrupting traffic near the school and the hospital.
Millions of Americans will be hitting retail outlets later today for the start of the mad rush for Black Friday deals.
If you are planning to be among them, local authorities have some safety reminders for you during a high stress time of year. Chief Ben Lowers indicates if you plan to venture out whether it is Thanksgiving night or early Friday morning, it is best to travel and shop in pairs.
If you plan to hit up the mall in local cities, the Chief reminds shoppers to remember where you've parked and when you return to your vehicle, make sure your keys are handy as you get to your vehicle.
When walking around the store you are at, Chief Lowers says it is best to carry wallets or cash or credit cards in your front pockets.
Additionally, when you leave your vehicle to go shopping, put away all expensive electronics and other valuables and make sure your vehicle is locked.
Though the Scovill Zoo is closed for the winter, their work and programs have not stopped.
According to Ken Frye, their PJ Party with Santa will take place on December 9 for kids ages 3-10, volunteer classes start in February, and the Mobile Zoo program will be active all winter.
Frye adds that they will be finishing a new monkey building and will start working on ideas for new bird exhibits that will likely debut in the spring.
To contact the Scovill Zoo about their winter programs you can call them at (217) 421-7435.
Despite a scare in mid-August, the 2017 pumpkin crop is looking good. Not the jack-a-lantern type, although those did well, too. But, as Todd Gleason reports, the kind used for pumpkin pie filling had a good 2017….
New findings from the Pew Research Center show 56 percent of Americans believe the North American Free Trade Agreement is good for the United States. Just one-third, 33 percent, of respondents to a Pew Research poll say the trade deal is bad for the United States. The study surveyed more than 1,500 adults at the end of October as President Donald Trump has raised questions about the fairness of the agreement. Relatively small shares of Americans say that NAFTA benefits Mexico or Canada more than the U.S. However, Republicans are more likely than Democrats to say NAFTA benefits those two countries more than the U.S., and the partisan gap is especially wide when it comes to Mexico. Meanwhile, for agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture data points out that since NAFTA’s implementation in 1994, U.S. agricultural exports to Canada and Mexico have more than quadrupled.
Mind your speed and be sure to have your seat belt on because the Illinois State Police will be out in droves over the state.
The ISP says they will have troopers every 29 miles along interstates 55, 57 and 80 this weekend. They will be looking to control speed, DUI, distracted driving and folks not buckled up says Trooper Chris Owen.
The ISP and Illinois Department of Transportation enforcement of the fatal fours as they are called will also be supported by local law enforcement.
The Clinton Board of Education Discusses possible changes to the amount of representation on the Board of Education Tuesday night at their monthly board meeting.
Currently, up two three representatives can be from a given township but the Board discussed a possible change to that. Board President Mike Walker points to the last election when there could have been an open position had Cole Ritter not taken out a petition.
According to John Blythe, having too many people on the Board in a certain could lead to favoring that portion of the community and recognizes the confusion that the current ruling creates when it comes to election night.
From the audience, Terry Redman spoke in favor of the comments of Blythe. He explains other smaller areas of DeWitt County that feed into Clinton wouldn't have representation on committees.
The Board directed Superintendent Curt Nettles to look into the legalities of when an appointment comes open if a fourth member of a township can be brought on the Board, otherwise, the consensus was to leave the system as is until they received further information.
As residents get out to continue or wrap up their leaf cleanup, the City of Clinton Arborist has a recommendation for anyone with an ash tree on their property.
Steve Lobb says every ash tree in the city is contaminated with the emerald ash borer, or EAB. EAB has swept the country almost wiping out the ash tree population and it could be time to start thinking about what to do with that tree before it is too late.
Research is limited and Lobb indicates there are some things that suggest the trees could be saved but it may not be worth the investment.
Lobb says when an ash tree dies, it becomes brittle quickly and can be a dangerous tree.
He implores anyone with an ash tree to start the planning process for likely bringing it down before it becomes a danger to your home and property.
There's sure to be plenty of food to go around when friends and family part ways this Thanksgiving and the USDA has some tips to make that food you're taking home is going to be safe to eat later on.
Sarah Litchman with the USDA says you're going to want to get things packaged up and in the refrigerator or freezer fairly soon after the meal.
Litchman reminds you when preparing the Thanksgiving meal, there's four key steps: clean, separate, cook and chill.
Visit foodsafety.gov for all food safety this Thanksgiving season. There you'll find all the certified USDA recommendations for your holiday cooking plans.
As grocery stores fill up with last minute shoppers for the Thanksgiving meal many are cooking for you should find the pinch in your pocketbook to be a little less than last year.
The American Farm Bureau conducts a yearly price survey of staple items on the Thanksgiving Day table and for the second year in a row you’re paying less. To feed a family of 10 the cost is projected at $49.12, less than a dollar cheaper than in 2016. Turkey is less expensive this year averaging $1.40 a pound. And AFBF’s John Newton says you won’t have any problem finding pumpkin pie thanks to our states farmers.
Milk, rolls, eggs and sweet potatoes all decreased in price. Some of the things that increased were whipping cream, cranberries and a veggie tray.
U-S Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue has already made at least one mark on the U-S Department of Agriculture by realigning the so-called “people’s department” created by President Abraham Lincoln.
Perdue has moved all of the U-S-D-A agencies that serve farmers under one umbrella. The acting administrator for U-S-D-A’s Farm Service Agency, Steven Peterson, explains what it could mean to Illinois farmers;
Steering through federal government agencies can be a tricky proposition for some. Peterson provides more on how the U-S-D-A realignment could work;
The farmer Perdue nominated to oversee this part of his realignment plan still awaits U-S Senate confirmation. Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey’s nomination to be undersecretary for farm production and conservation has been held up over support of the federal renewable fuels standard. Perdue says he has been wearing a “Free Northey” t-shirt to get the U-S Senate to move on Northey’s nomination.
Minnesota is the top turkey producing state raising 20 percent of the nation’s 228 million birds.
The National Turkey Federation says that we will eat more than 46 million at Thanksgiving. Another 22 million are eaten at Christmas.
American’s eat more turkey than any other county.
Turkeys raised in commercial production are usually White Hollands.
Over 15 to 18 weeks a turkey will consume about 75 to 80 pounds of feed
to make it to market weight.
Ben Franklin was a notable fan of the turkey – he wrote in a letter to his daughter that the turkey should be the national bird - not the eagle. Not sure I’d like to see a Turkey on the back of my money.
President Abraham Lincoln declared the final Thursday in November to be a national day of Thanksgiving. President Franklin Roosevelt set
Thanksgiving to always be on the 4th Thursday of the month – as not to impact holiday shopping.
There are four towns in the US with Turkey in their name including Turkey, North Carolina.
Now that Thanksgiving Dinner is over what to do with the leftovers…..
USDA says eat the leftovers in 3 or 4 days and that’s if you get them in the fridge right away and don’t leave them out on the table all afternoon.
The number one way of enjoying leftovers? A simple turkey sandwich.
New data released from the Illinois Board of Higher Education shows SIUE is the fastest-growing public institution in the state over the past 20 years. Between 1996 and 2006, SIUE has demonstrated a 26.8% growth in total enrollment.
Scott Belobrajdic (BELL-oh-BRAY-dik), the Associate Vice Chancellor for Enrollment Management at SIUE, says many of those enrolled are focusing on online courses.
Even with a slight dip in Fall enrollment, SIUE's enrollment growth from 1996 is 23.7%.
At the Monday night Clinton City Council meeting, a purchase of a new squad car for the police department was approved.
Police Chief Ben Lowers says the new vehicle will be an SUV model, staying along the lines of the types of vehicles already in their fleet. The newest vehicle will serve as the K-9 unit for their K-9 officer and his handler.
With the venture into the SUV model law enforcement vehicle, Chief Lowers says they provide officers much needed space with all the equipment they carry around every day.
Since all the SUV model vehicles are a newer trend to law enforcement, the exact length of life on them is unknown at this point but he anticipates not having to plan for vehicle purchases for another few years.
The first of December will be the new budget year for DeWitt County and Monday night, the Board approved the budget that's been on file for the last 30 days.
Board Chair David Newberg indicates it is a very strong budget that features the beefing up of salaries and staff and a levy that is only a fraction higher than last year.
The budget underwent some small adjustments in the last 30 days, which is why it goes on file for that period of time. Newberg says the past year has been positive and that is reflected in the upcoming budget.
The budget takes effect December 1. Newberg thanks all the department heads at the County Building and all the Board members that dedicated a lot of hours to making the budget balanced for the upcoming year.
Deep frying a turkey and properly utilizing stuffing this Thanksgiving season is one of the most common questions coming to USDA health officials this year.
Sarah Litchman with the USDA food safety division says deep frying a turkey can be dangerous if done improperly. She has these tips if you are a trying it out for the first time this year.
Litchman says this year they are getting a lot of questions regarding stuffing and indicates the recommendation is to not stuff the turkey while your cook and don't stuff it the night before either.
Visit foodsafety.gov for all food safety this Thanksgiving season. There you'll find all the certified USDA recommendations for your holiday cooking plans.
Lawmakers hope to reduce concerns about sexual harassment in the workplace. They will look for ways to combat harassment and discrimination.
The ranking Republican, State Representative Sara Wojcici Jimenez (Woe-jiss-kee Huh-men-ez). She says the state has failed to take care of the basics, namely putting a watchdog in place in recent years.
She discusses impact of failure to name an inspector general
The group is being called upon to “conduct a comprehensive review of the legal and social consequences of sexual discrimination and harassment, in both the public and private sectors, and make recommendations to the General Assembly.”
U.S. Senators Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth are calling on Govenor Rauner to publically weigh-in on the Republican tax plans in the House and Senate and how these plans would impact Illinois families.
The House passed its version last week while the Senate is working out its own version. Speaking Thursday, prior to the House vote in favor of the GOP tax plan, Rauner was staying mostly mum on the subject.
Durbin and Duckworth say the House and Senate bills would finance massive tax cuts for the largest corporations and wealthiest Americans by raising taxes on millions of middle-income families and eliminating vital tax breaks for people in Illinois.
THE FALL HARVEST IS NEARLY COMPLETE IN ILLINOIS.
SOYBEAN HARVESTING IS DONE AND CORN IS JUST ABOUT THERE SAYS CROP STATISTICIAN MARK SCHLEUSENER.
92 PERCENT OF SORGHUM HAS BEEN HARVESTED…AHEAD OF THE AVERAGE PACE.
AVERAGE STATEWIDE TOPSOIL MOISTURE INCREASED TO EIGHT PERCENT SHORT, 78 PERCENT ADEQUATE AND 14 PERCENT SURPLUS.
What is more calming or peaceful than watching a baby sleep? But the Department of Children and Family Services wants parents to be reminded that there is a safe way for babies to sleep.
Suffocation while sleeping and SIDS are among the leading causes of death for babies under a year old. DCFS’s Jennifer Florent says to lower the risk of those two things happening babies need to sleep safe.
And Florent adds - keep that baby on its back when falling asleep.
A major employer in deep southern Illinois is going to lay off 170 employees.
Honeywell is idling a plant that converts uranium ore into uranium hexafluoride or UF6, a key ingredient in the enrichment of uranium that is used in nuclear power plants.
The facility in Massac County is the only place in the United States where that work is done. Honeywell says a declining worldwide need for UF6 is causing the layoffs.
According to a press release the plant will move to an idling phase and will be ready to restart if the UF6 market improves.
Millions of people will hit the roadways this Thanksgiving week to spend time with friends and family and local authorities are reminding motorists of some simple things to keep yourself safe this week.
Clinton Police Chief Ben Lowers indicates many college students may be home for the first time this week and the Wednesday night before Thanksgiving is annually, one of the biggest nights for local bars. He reminds everyone planning to go out, never drink and drive.
Holiday travel tips remain similar to all travel tips. Chief Lowers says make sure your vehicle is up to date on it's maintenance and you have your travel plans ironed out ahead of time and someone knows when you leave and when you arrive.
Thanksgiving is one of the heaviest travel holidays of the entire year, so authorities remind those heading out to give yourself some extra time if you are headed through congested areas. Additionally, make sure you buckle your seatbelts and put the phones away.
A local health expert has some simple things that can be done Thanksgiving Day to keep your family and friends free of foodborn illnesses.
Caitlin Huth is a Health and Wellness Educator at the University of Illinois Extension office and says one of the best ways to avoid spreading germs from the different dishes you'll be preparing is to be washing your hands a lot.
According to Huth, a Thanksgiving can go south quickly if a turkey is not cooked to the proper temperature. She says you want to make sure it meets the cooked temperature in three different spots.
A recent push from a food safety perspective has been the promotion of eliminating the practice of washing raw meat. Huth says cooking your Thanksgiving turkey without washing is simply the best practice.
Huth also recommends when you are done preparing one dish, take any utensils that may crossover for use on other dishes and wash them. Additionally, it is a good idea to wash any surfaces you are working on after the completion of each food you are working with.
The first year Superintendent of the Maroa-Forsyth School district says it's his goal to sit back, listen and get the pulse of the community.
John Ahlemeyer (all-meyer) says coming to Maroa-Forsyth is a bit of a homecoming for him. He spent nearly 30 years in the Chicago area but originally from the Fieldcrest area, he says this move for him brings him closer to his family.
In his first year at Maroa-Forsyth, Ahlemeyer says his goal is to be open and honest and build relationships in the school district and community. He says he needs to just sit back and listen.
Ahlemeyer has an interesting perspective coming from the Chicago area and now working in downstate. While often on the other end of criticism from downstate leaders, Chicago area schools and downstate schools share a lot of common challenges according to Ahlemeyer.
Ahlemeyer plans to embark on a strategic planning process next summer. He wants a committee consisting of school staff, community members and others to help outline the future goals of the district.
Corn can produce anything crude oil can. That's what the Illinois corn industry is touting. And Rodney Weinzierl with the Illinois Corn Growers Association says it's more than just ethanol.
He says starch from corn is the key driver and can be used in the production of tennis shoes.
Weinzierl says a similar method is used for the production of degradable sutures used in the medical industry.
ATTORNEY GENERAL LISA MADIGAN IS URGING THOSE WHO SENT MONEY TO A SCAMMER THROUGH WESTERN UNION TO FILE A CLAIM FOR A REFUND.
THE REFUNDS ARE PART OF A NATIONWIDE SETTLEMENT WITH WESTERN UNION…WHICH ATTORNEY GENERAL MADIGAN SAYS KNEW PEOPLE WERE BEING CONNED AND DIDN’T DO ENOUGH TO PROTECT THEM. THIS INCLUDES CONSUMERS WHO FELL FOR PHONY LOTTERY, PRIZE, I-R-S AND FAMILY EMERGENCY SCAMS AND WIRED MONEY THROUGH THE COMPANY.
MADIGAN SAYS IF YOU USED THE COMPANY BETWEEN 2004 AND 2007, YOU MAY BE ABLE TO GET SOME OF YOUR MONEY BACK.
YOU MUST FILE YOUR CLAIM BEFORE FEBRUARY 12TH. VISIT THE WEBSITE: WESTERN UNION REMISSION DOT COM FOR ALL THE DETAILS.
GOVERNOR BRUCE RAUNER IS TOUTING THE VALUE OF APPRENTICESHIP PROGRAMS.
GOVERNOR RAUNER SAYS THERE IS NO ONE-SIZE-FITS-ALL APPROACH TO A CAREER…AND THAT APPRENTICESHIPS ARE A GREAT PATH FOR MANY YOUNG PEOPLE.
GOVERNOR RAUNER SAYS HIS OFFICE HAS BEEN WORKING WITH BUSINESSES TO CREATE MORE APPRENTICE OPPORTUNITIES IN ILLINOIS. HE NOTES THAT APPRENTICESHIPS ARE AVAILABLE IN MANY FIELDS INCLUDING I-T…FINANCIAL SERVICES…MANUFACTURING AND RETAIL.
THERE ARE CURRENTLY 412 REGISTERED APPRENTICESHIP PROGRAMS IN ILLINOIS…AND THE GOVERNOR SAYS HIS OFFICE HAS BEEN WORKING WITH COMMUNITY COLLEGES AND BUSINESSES TO CREATE EVEN MORE.
THE ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH IS REMINDING THAT YOU DON’T ALWAYS NEED ANTIBIOTICS WHEN YOU ARE SICK.
IT OFTEN MAKES US FEEL BETTER WHEN A DOCTOR PRESCRIBES AN ANTIBIOTIC…BUT THEY AREN’T ALWAYS NECESSARY. PUBLIC HEALTH SPOKESPERSON MELANEY ARNOLD SAYS OVERUSE OF ANTIBIOTICS CAN BE DANGEROUS…AS BACTERIA BECOME MORE RESISTANT.
SHE NOTES THAT ANTIBIOTICS CANNOT CURE VIRAL INFECTIONS SUCH AS THE COMMON COLD, FLU AND MOST SORE THROATS AND COUGHS.
ARNOLD SAYS IT CAN BE DIFFICULT TO TELL THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A REGULAR COLD AND A BACTERIAL INFECTION. SOME SIGNS INCLUDE SYMPTOMS LASTING LONGER THAN 10 DAYS WITHOUT IMPROVEMENT AND SEVERE OR UNUSUAL SYMPTOMS.
Over the river and through the woods, to grandmother's house we go. Will it be a wet trip? Jim Angel tells us what to expect if you're traveling for Thanksgiving...
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The DeWitt County Angel Tree is hosting their annual pancake breakfast this Sunday in Clinton.
Director Sue Calvert says this is the only fundraiser they do and this year it is a big one because the program has changed.
The annual Angel Tree pancake breakfast is Sunday morning from 7:30 am to 12:30 pm at the Clinton United Methodist Church.
The registration deadline for this year's program has passed. If you'd like information on how you can be a part of Angel Tree this year, contact Calvert via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stay tuned to Regional Radio News in the coming weeks for more details on this year's Angel Tree program and ways you can participate this holiday season.
There’s still plenty of corn to dry and still plenty of corn to harvest in northern Illinois and areas to the north.
And even though that will drive demand for propane, supply and price should not be impacted. So says Harry Cooney manager of Customer Risk Management with GROWMARK.
Rail is second in terms of demand in the diesel fuel market, but Cooney says it accounts for only about 10-percent—well behind the over-the-road-trucking industry.
It’s a big weekend for hunters. Firearm season opens across Illinois.
And as hunters pick out the perfect spot for their deer stands the Department of Natural Resources is reminding them that they have to register their kill each day with the state.
That’s Ed Cross with IDNR. He also stresses firearm safety this hunting season. The second season is November 30 to December 3.
Hunters are filling the woods and wildlife areas this weekend for the start of firearm deer hunting season. But a few extra steps need to be taken if you shoot a deer in northern Illinois.
Every hunter has to register the deer they kill with the IDNR but in northern counties where chronic wasting disease is a concern Ed Cross with DNR says you need to go to a state check in point before processing the deer.
For hunters in areas where chronic wasting disease isn’t a problem you can check your deer online or by calling 1-866-IL-CHECK
A pair of community businesses were recognized by the DeWitt County Public Safety Committee Thursday night at the DeWitt County Board meeting for their recent service to the public.
Chairperson of the Public Safety Committee, Cris Rogers, presented CEO of Warner Hospital and Health Services, Paul Skowron, with a certificate of appreciation for a recent effort where the hospital housed EMS ambulances while pavement work was done at the facility on the east side of town. Rogers says it exemplifies their commitment to being a good community partner.
Additionally Thursday night, Rogers recognized the Clinton Walmart for their partnership and donations to the DeWitt County Animal Shelter.
Also at the Thursday night Board meeting, Melanie Kinney was approved as the Animal Control Administrator. She has been serving in the role in the interim.
If you're looking to mix things up for Thanksgiving this year, the University of Illinois Extension has some ideas for you.
Health and Wellness Educator Caitlin Huth says if you do homemade pumpkin pie, she has some ideas at their 'Bushels Blog' on how to use all of that can of pumpkin filling, and it goes well with some peanut butter.
Huth hosts a couple blogs on the University of Illinois Extension website. She updates them a couple times a week and has some recipes and tips and tricks for food preparation.
Just do a Google search for University of Illinois Extension and search DeWitt, Macon and Piatt Counties for Huth's blogs.
Next week on Regional Radio News, Huth will discuss food preparation safety tips for Thanksgiving and some good, practical practices for preparing your Thanksgiving feast.
The latest shotgun deer hunting weekend is upon us and DNR authorities are again remind hunters of the basic safety tips as they hit the rural areas.
DNR Conservation Sargent John Williamson says it is a good idea before you get settled in to your tree stand, make sure you give it a complete once over and check all the straps and harnesses and make sure they are in good shape, especially if this is your first hunt of the season.
Williamson says with so many things in season right now, DNR officials most often deal with hunters on someone's property without permission. He reminds anyone out hunting to check in with the landowner and verify permission.
If you're venturing into a new area that you might be unfamiliar with, like a state park or recreation area, visit the DNR website for all the regulations for that area. The website is dnr.illinois.gov.
Given a crisis the Illinois Legislature can react quickly and that’s what they have done to get laws passed to stem the tide of sexual harassment claims at the Capitol.
The Governor signed legislation today (Thursday) that will require lawmakers, staff and lobbyists to go through training that is designed to recognize harassment and avoid actions that can be harassment. The bill also takes steps to better identify procedures for reporting harassment and the investigation of it.
Another bill signed today will extend the amount of time that Legislative Inspector General has to investigate claims of harassment. There are currently 27 claims at the office that have piled up for the 3 years there was no Inspector General investigate.
Rauner says that more has to be done to make sure that individual can address the complaints.
Another bill creates training for lawmakers, staffers and lobbyists to go through to identify what is harassing behavior and a 1-800 hotline to report bad behavior.
THE UNEMPLOYMENT RATE IS DOWN AND JOBS ARE UP ACCORDING TO THE OCTOBER REPORT FROM THE ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF EMPLOYMENT SECURITY.
THE STATE JOBLESS RATE DROPPED TO FOUR POINT NINE PERCENT LAST MONTH…DOWN FROM FIVE PERCENT IN SEPTEMBER. I-D-E-S SPOKESPERSON BOB GOUGH (goff) SAYS THERE WAS ALSO AN INCREASE OF 34 HUNDRED JOBS IN OCTOBER.
GOUGH (goff) SAYS IT’S A GOOD SIGN.
JOB DECLINES WERE SEEN IN CONSTRUCTION AND GOVERNMENT. THE NATIONAL UNEMPLOYMENT RATE FOR OCTOBER CAME IN AT FOUR POINT ONE PERCENT.
Illinois' U.S. Senators aren't exactly giving their colleague Al Franken a free pass after claims Franken groped a female radio eleven years ago during a USO tour.
Senator Tammy Duckworth says "These types of actions are simply unacceptable and should be reviewed by the Ethics Committee. Women across America should be able to feel safe in their workplace, and they deserve our support when coming forward with allegations of misconduct.”
Senator Dick Durbin also weighed in. There is never an excuse for this behavior—ever. What Senator Franken did was wrong, and it should be referred to the Ethics Committee for review.
A subject that has come and gone over the years in Clinton is now resolved.
Clinton Police Chief Ben Lowers indicates his staff has removed all parking meters from the downtown Clinton square after instruction from the Clinton City Council early last week.
According to Chief Lowers, the City will hold on to the meters for around a year. They could possibly be sold to another community who needs them or even sold to private citizens.
With the removal of the meters, most of the support polls have also been removed.
The Clinton Chamber of Commerce recently put a bow on their 2017 Haunted House season and organizers say it was another great turnout.
Roughly 4-thousand visitors came to Clinton this year and Chamber Executive Director, Marian Brisard, says that is a number they are very happy with.
The Friendly Ghost Tours, which allows younger participants to check out the haunted house in a less stressful environment, is a draw several times throughout the season but Brisard says the three events they offered this year could be decreased next year.
The Chamber also issued commemorative license plates to celebrate 24 years of the Haunted House. Brisard says since those have expired, the Chamber will sell a few for souvenirs. If interested, contact the Chamber at 217-935-3364.
According to 2016 data, 8.8% of Illinois seniors live in poverty, the 27th highest rate in the country.
Open enrollment is underway for Medicare Part D, the prescription drug coverage portion of Medicare, and Social Security officials are reminding seniors of their program called 'Extra Help'.
That's Jack Myers with Social Security who points out with Medicare Part D covering prescription drugs, 'Extra Help' helps reduce co-pays and deductibles.
Visit socialsecurity.gov for the application or to find an office near you to contact to apply.
Myers points out, Social Security cannot help seniors enroll in Medicare Part D prescriptions drug plans.
Is the agriculture economy ready for a boom? A longtime trader says yes.
Jim Bower with Bower Trading in Lafayette, Indiana says it may not be this year, but it’s coming.
Bower says either the stock market has to come down or commodity market has to go up because it’s the widest spread he’s seen in his 41 year career.
The chief economist for the American Farm Bureau Federation says the Illinois farmer needs the North American Free Trade Agreement.
Dr. Bob Young believes the U.S. should maintain its role with NAFTA.
NAFTA talks are taking place this week with trade representatives from the U.S., Canada and Mexico all meeting in Mexico City.
Democratic gubernatorial candidate J.B. Pritzker locks up another key endorsement in the race for Governor.
State Treasurer Michael Frerichs endorsed him this (Wednesday) morning at the University of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign. The location was no accident.
On the other end of the educational spectrum, Frerichs is saluting Pritzker for his support of early childhood education.
Pritzker previously locked up the endorsements of Secretary of State Jesse White and Comptroller Susana Mendoza.
The new Communications Manager at the Clinton Power Station presented the Clinton Rotary Club with an update on how things are going since the signing of legislation about a year ago.
Gabe Goldsmith has been the communications manager for the station for about a month now. He says it has been a lot to take in but is excited about the opportunity.
At the Tuesday afternoon Rotary meeting, he calls the plant's mentality, full speed ahead.
Because the plant is running at near capacity, Goldsmith indicates the upcoming outage in the spring is going to bring the plant up to full capacity.
Earlier in the month, the power station completed an emergency preparedness drill. Goldsmith says they passed that with flying colors.
Exelon has a great relationship with the Clinton and DeWitt County community and Goldsmith says they will continue to maintain those relationships.
Goldsmith indicates since the passage of the energy legislation last year, the plant has re-hired or hired 150-plus employees to positions that were reduced because of the anticipated closure.
Clinton K-8 students work with iPads in the classroom, then it's off to using the Microsoft Surfaces at the high school.
For the educators of K-8 students, they recently went through some professional development training to optimize the potential of the devices. Principal of Clinton Junior High School, Drew Goebel indicates it gives their staff more possibilities for their classrooms.
While only a select number of teachers went through the training, they will take that information to other teachers in the district.
Each student across each level of the district goes to class with a device in their possession throughout the school year. The K-8 levels have been working with Apple products for about five years now but the high school only recently introduced the Microsoft Surface to their students.
It is National Winter Preparedness week and the National Weather Service is promoting driving safety in winter conditions after a couple consecutive mild winters.
Chris Miller says they use the week before Thanksgiving to promote their messages because the holiday travel season traditionally really picks up this time of the year.
After two consecutive mild winters, Miller says the push this year is for drivers to slow down and arrive safely as the forecast is calling for a return to wet and cold conditions on the roads.
Those who drive in a four-by-four vehicle or big trucks often times will be more aggressive but Miller says while they can move along fine in bad weather, the issue is always stopping and if you are too close to someone who loses control or you lose control in that vehicle, you could be putting yourself and someone else in harms way.
An oral history project details the story of school district consolidation in Illinois.
The work is through the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library & Museum says oral historian Mark DePue.
54 interviews were conducted for the project. You can find them at “oralhistory.illinois.gov.”
Chris Kennedy’s campaign for governor has rolled out its first television ad of the campaign. He's connecting the impact of gun violence on his legendary family with the blood on the streets of Chicago and elsewhere.
Kennedy's ad immediately notes the impact of the events of June, 1968 at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles.
Kennedy doesn't just draw on tragic memories in the ad.
The campaign has also rolled out a new digital ad as well as the Kennedy camp tries to gain traction in the social media realm.
Senator Dick Durbin blasted Senate Republicans for supporting what he calls a partisan tax plan. Durbin says the tax plan would noticeably hurt middle income families.
Durbin says there will be greater problems down the road.
Durbin says under the House Republican plan, which will be voted on this week, the medical expense deduction will be eliminated. He says that means seniors will no longer be able to deduct out-of-pocket medical expenses.
U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth spoke out against a nominee for General Counsel of the US Department of Transportation.
The former military aviator told fellow Senators they should reject the nomination of Steven Bradbury, but he was was confirmed before the day was out. Duckworth says he authored legal memos that paved the way for American forces to use torture in the war on terror.
Duckworth says torture authorization has only made war zones more volatile.
Duckworth says she's fearful Bradbury might endorse actions that could hurt traffic safety if the President so chooses.
A semi car accident north of Clinton Saturday evening claimed the lives of a Clinton couple.
At approximately 5:30 pm Saturday evening, a semi grain truck was turning from Autumn Road crossing 51 north headed southbound when a Chevy Cruz driven by 57-year old Karen Hable of Clinton colided in the northbound lane on US 51. Her husband, 57-year old Anthony Hable was also in the car at the time of the accident.
The couple was pronounced dead at the scene at 5:58 pm.
The driver of the grain truck, identified as Andrew Johnson of Decatur, was cited with failure to stop and not wearing a seatbelt.
The DeWitt County Sheriff's office, the DeWitt County Coroner, and Illinois State Police were on scene along with Clinton and Wapella fire departments.
Traffic was redirected throughout Saturday night and crews were on scene into Sunday morning.
The founder of the Clinton FFA Chapter is going to be posthumously honored at this year's Wall of Honor induction at Clinton High School.
Principal Jerry Wayne, who is a part of the selection committee, says Clyde E. Frye was selected as this year's inductee. He was responsible for bringing FFA to Clinton High School.
Fry will be inducted on Friday, January 12, 2018 starting at 6:30 PM with a reception in the west gym of Clinton High School and unveiling of a plaque on the wall in the sports entrance. The recognition ceremony will be between the junior varsity and varsity basketball games in the main gym.
Wayne says they have gotten some very good nominations and wants to make sure the Wall of Honor is recognizing individuals who have gone above and beyond in service to the community or in their accomplishments.
It's about time for City Public Works crews to hit the neighborhoods in an effort to get the falling leaves picked up.
Public Works Director Steve Lobb indicates the conditions are taking shape for their crews to start dedicating most of their time to this effort.
When it gets into the thickest of the cleanup efforts, it could take almost an entire day to get through one of the five zones in the community. Lobb also notes the weather can slow them down when it consistently rains.
Lobb says when you get the leaves to the edge of the curb, his crews will be by within a week to get those, provided the weather cooperates. He notes they use primarily two crews but if things become too much, he has on occasion, turned to a third crew to provide support.
Lobb adds the community yard waste facility is now open all day Saturdays and Tuesday and Thursdays.
Department of Natural Resources officials along with numerous volunteers again hosted a successful handicap hunt this past weekend at Clinton Lake.
DNR CPO John Williamson indicates the handicap hunt allowed hunters to get into ACA compliant stands and hunt while controlling the deer population at Clinton Lake.
The handicap hunt is one of the few that takes place across the state and only a select few are allowed to participate. The event closes off Clinton Lake and the surrounding area for the three days.
The things happening at the equator this time of year can give weather officials a good idea of what will happen during the winter months.
Chris Miller with the National Weather Service in Lincoln indicates the water temperature of the ocean near the equator can dictate the weather patterns La Nina and El Nino. He says right now La Nina is developing.
According to Miller, a La Nina weather pattern will bring variable temperatures. He notes that pattern has already been prominent in the fall.
The last few years have brought warmer than normal conditions at times but with the fluctuation in temperatures expected, Miller indicates that could leave us with some nasty conditions when the precipitation comes around.
A lot more information is available at weather.gov/lincoln. You can find the National Weather Service on Facebook and Twitter as well.
State Senator McCann is tired of blurred lines and we're not talking about political viewpoints.
He has filed legislation giving local road authorities the potential for financial assistance to stripe dangerous roadways.
McCann says road authorities often aren't able to use state and federal funds to stripe roads because of complicated financial rules.
Currently only motor fuel taxes can be used for striping but increased fuel efficiency and heavy state use of motor fuel taxes has limited those dollars.
CORN HARVESTING LAGS BEHIND, ESPECIALLY IN NORTHERN ILLINOIS AS WE HEAR IN THE WEEKLY CROP REPORT.
90 PERCENT OF THE CORN CROP HAS BEEN HARVESTED…BUT PROGRESS VARIES BY LOCATION SAYS CROP STATISTICIAN MARK SCHLEUSENER. JUST 80 PERCENT HAS BEEN HARVESTED IN NORTHWESTERN ILLINOIS AND 73 PERCENT IN THE NORTHEAST.
95 PERCENT OF WINTER WHEAT HAS BEEN PLANTED AND 85 PERCENT EMERGED.
95 PERCENT OF SOYBEANS HAVE BEEN HARVESTED…JUST BEHIND THE AVERAGE PACE.
AVERAGE STATEWIDE TOPSOIL MOISTURE IS RATED AT NINE PERCENT SHORT, 84 PERCENT ADEQUATE AND SEVEN PERCENT SURPLUS.
Democratic Gubernatorial candidate J.B. Pritzker continues to call for a progressive tax structure in Illinois, but as of last week he had no hard numbers just yet for his push to have wealthier Illinoisans pay more.
A progressive tax would require a constitutional amendment because the Illinois Constitution calls for the current flat tax system in the state.
Billions of unappropriated spending was going on last fiscal year and lawmakers and the public just found out about it. Last week more than $2.8 billion in new unpaid bills showed up on the state’s ledger.
That revelation had Comptroller Susanna Mendoza upset at the ability of Governor Bruce Rauner and the current administration to hide extra spending during the budget crisis. After a stinging rebuke on the spending and a veto override on a debt transparency bill Rauner fired back at the Comptroller
Mendoza said in a statement that Rauner still needs to provide full details about when he knew about the unappropriated spending of $2.8 billion, what his plan is for taking care of it.
What’s the future role of the U.S. with the North American Free Trade Agreement?
That’s a tough read says reporter Jenny Hopkinson. She covers the issue for POLITICO.
NAFTA talks take place Wednesday in Mexico City with representatives from Mexico, Canada and the U.S. all scheduled to be in attendance.
Western Illinois Congresswoman Cheri Bustos expressing deep reservations with the GOP House and Senate tax reform plans.
Bustos says she doesn’t have a major issue with lowering the corporate tax rate, but she quote “doesn’t believe corporations should be treated like royalty and the rest of us like peasants.”
If you are an educator, healthcare worker, veteran or first responder and are looking for a new home, a local realtor has a program that might interest you.
Jessica DeVore, owner of Green Acres Real Estate in Clinton, explains she was introduced to the program 'Homes for Heroes' which honors law enforcement, firefighters, educators and veterans among others.
DeVore indicates the program offers a discount and she also donates 30% of that commission.
DeVore says she is very dedicated to making sure anyone who falls into one of those categories gets the help they deserve. To learn more, visit her website, jessicadevore.com.
Two weeks ago the leader of the DeWitt County Friendship Center announced her intend to retire at the beginning of 2018.
Sissy Leggett has been at the Friendship Center 10 years and says she has enjoyed her time at the senior gathering place in Clinton but just wants to take a step back.
Leggett says any accomplishments at the Friendship Center a result of the support they receive from the community and nothing she could do on her own. She points to the industrial kitchen they were able to install as something that was a great showing of the community supporting them.
Leggett says one thing she could have seen accomplished was an expansion of their parking space behind their facility. A grant through the State of Illinois was in the works until the budget crisis and since it was been on the back-burner but she would not dismiss the idea it won't ever happen.
Veterans Day has been a time to highlight those who have served and honor them through various ways.
Social Security takes part in honoring service members and Jack Myers with Social Security says it's not just something they do in November, but all year round.
Myers indicates if you were injured on or after October 1, 2001, your claims are eligible to be expedited. Additionally, if you are on active duty but incapacitated, that doesn't mean you can't receive social security benefits.
When filling out a disability application, Myers says to make a note on your application that you are veteran rated 100% permanent and total.
For more information on both these programs or to apply, visit socialsecurity.gov.
State Senator Andy Manar is endorsing J.B. Pritzker for Governor. Manar doesn't just say Pritzker would be the right fit for Governor, but he believes his intense statewide campaign could lift up the state Democratic party in key spots...
Manar once was liniked to the Governor's race but opted not to join to focus on his work in the State Senate.
U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue says increasing trade, having a legal agricultural labor workforce, and reigning in federal regulations represent the top three issues his department has prioritized.
During a press conference Thursday held at the National Association of Farm Broadcasting convention in Kansas City, Perdue tried to calm farmer-fears that President Trump will pull the United States out of the North American Free Trade Agreement;
Perdue says NAFTA negotiations, in his words, “may go to the brink,” but that ultimately the administration will secure a better trade deal that will include agriculture. On the challenge many farmers face to find a stable and legal source or labor, Perdue says U-S-D-A is working on that too;
On regulatory reform, Perdue told farm broadcasters U-S-D-A has submitted several for review by the White House for possible repeal.
An ag economist says it’s a global environment for agriculture more now than ever and farmers are facing more challenges as a result. Bill Tierney is with Chicago based Ag Resource Company….
Tierney has been following the commodity market for 30-plus years. He was in Kansas City this week for the annual National Association of Farm Broadcasting convention.
Gov. Bruce Rauner suffered a number of setbacks during the just completed veto session.
Lawmakers achieved overrides on most of the votes taken, but Rauner is taking the votes in stride and he says he doesn't believe it indicates that GOP lawmakers are backing away from him a year before Rauner faces re-election.
The Illinois Senate voted to override Governor Rauner's veto of debt transparency legislation calling for monthly reporting of incoming bills.
Rauner blasted the override vote and says his plans to boost the state's internet technology would be more helpful.
The state will switch from yearly reporting of bills to monthly reporting January first. It's a switch State Comptroller Susana Mendoza has called for since taking office.
GOVERNOR BRUCE RAUNER IS URGING ILLINOISANS TO PARTICIPATE IN THIS YEAR’S MILITARY HOLIDAY CARD DRIVE.
THE “CARDS FOR HEROES” PROGRAM COLLECTS HOLIDAY CARDS AND SENDS THEM OFF TO SERVICE MEMBERS TO HELP KEEP THEIR SPIRITS UP SAYS GOVERNOR RAUNER.
GOVERNOR RAUNER SAYS THE “CARDS FOR HEROES” PROGRAM IS NOW UNDERWAY.
CARDS CAN BE MAILED TO THE U-S-O OF ILLINOIS OR DROPPED OFF AT YOUR LOCAL STATE VETERANS’ AFFAIRS OFFICE. THEY MUST BE TURNED IN BY NOVEMBER 20TH.
The leader of a movement in Clinton to bring a youth center to the community has been named the Grand Marshal of this year's Clinton Christmas Parade.
Michelle Witzke has been working on The Vault for a couple years now and has been named the Grand Marshal of the upcoming Christmas Parade in Clinton. Clinton Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Marian Brisard congratulates her on a well deserved honor.
Witzke will ride in the back of a convertible with her husband, who will drive the car. Witzke has been rallying support for the planned youth center at the former 'Indecent X-Posure' location on the square, which is currently being renovated.
The Clinton Christmas Parade is Saturday, November 25 at 2 pm.
Governor Bruce Rauner says when it comes to dealing with sexual harassment at the Statehouse, there has been a pattern of failure.
He hasn't called for State Senator Ira Silverstein's resignation after sexual harassment allegations were leveled against him.
THE ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE IS GETTING READY TO ROLL OUT THE STATE’S NEW TAX-CREDIT SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM.
THE INVEST IN KIDS ACT LETS INDIVIDUALS AND BUSINESSES TAKE A TAX CREDIT FOR MONEY DONATED TO HELP LOW INCOME STUDENTS GO TO PRIVATE SCHOOL. DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE SPOKESPERSON TERRY HORSTMAN SAYS THE PROGRAM OFFICIALLY BEGINS JANUARY SECOND.
HORSTMAN SAYS IN ORDER TO PARTICIPATE, YOU NEED TO FIRST APPLY ONLINE.
THE AMOUNT OF THE TAX CREDIT WILL DEPEND ON WHICH REGION OF THE STATE YOU’RE SENDING YOUR DONATION. MORE DETAILS ARE ONLINE AT: MY TAX DOT ILLINOIS DOT GOV.