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UPDATED: 18-Year Old Clinton Girl Missing, Foul Play Not Expected

Authorities are now saying foul play is not suspected in the circumstances surrounding a missing Clinton teen.
 
Clinton Police indicate they are seeking the whereabouts of 18-year old Tatiana Lynae Cowan, who goes by Lynae. She was last seen between 6:30 pm and 7 pm at Frist Baptist Church in Clinton Wednesday night wearing a teal scarf, long gray coat and orange knitted sweater with a long black skirt and black boots.
 
Cowan has a thick Ukrainian accent and is 5-feet tall weighing approximately 100 pounds. 
 
Contact DeWitt County Cencom with any information you may have at 217-935-3196. 

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Residents Against Win Turbines Hoping To Educate The Public Through Facebook

A group of DeWitt County residents are banding together to fight back against a proposed wind farm on the northeast side of DeWitt County.
 
Andrea Rhoades leads a Facebook group called "DeWitt County Residents Against Wind Turbines". She says their goal is to get information out to the community about the wind farms and the happenings surrounding it's potential development.
 
 
With the erection of wind farms in other parts of the state, Rhoades says they have learned of the negative impacts of the wind farms in other places.
 
 
The group is also concerned about the distance between the turbines and homes. Rhoades say they are proposing a 3-thousand feet distance and points to Livingston County who recently enacted a 32-hundred feet distance between their homes and a turbine.
 
 
The Facebook group is a closed group. Rhoades indicates this allows people to safely view information and learn more.
 
 
Trade Wind Energy representatives indicate the 'flicker effect', or when the turbines intercept with the shining sun, would only be an impact less than a percent of the time throughout the year. Rhoades says homeowners may not be compensated well enough to deal with those effects.
 
 
Trade Wind Energy compensates property owners who agree to have these turbines on their properties, however, they also go the extra mile to compensate other homeowners within a certain distance with a yearly check for living near a turbine. Rhoades indicates the compensation for those homeowners is not enough.
 
 
Rhoades says there is some evidence that suggests property values could decrease based on other communities assessments.
 
 
The group recently addressed the land use committee with several of these concerns and many more. The project still has several hurdles to clear before any ground breaking becomes imminent. 

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Governor Rauner: People of Illinois Know What I Mean When I Say [I'm Not In Charge]

Comments Governor Bruce Rauner recently used to describe his influence in the Illinois legislature are sure to get a lot of attention throughout the upcoming election cycle.
 
The Governor recently said he was not in charge in Illinois and opponents of the Governor are likely to use that against him throughout the primary and general campaigns, but the Governor believes the people of Illinois know what he means.
 
 
With a challenger on the Republican ticket for the upcoming primary, Governor Rauner faces the possibility of running a pair of campaigns and running the state at the same time.

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Soy Officials Stress Importance of Local Bridge Projects

Although ag groups continue to push for massive improvements to the inland waterway system, they also say don’t forget about local projects. 
 
Yes, locks and dams are long overdue for repairs says Mike Steenhoek with the Soy Transportation Coalition, but bridges, especially in rural areas, need some serious attention.
 
 
The Illinois Soybean Association is among thirteen state soybean boards participating in the coalition. 
 
And the coalition along with many other agriculture groups have been keeping the inland waterway subject at the forefront. 

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Durbin Pushing For Affordable Textbooks

As college students enter the end of semester, their holiday giving list might be limited because of mighty textbook expenses. 
 
U.S. Senator Dick Durbin continues to beat the drum for reduced textbook costs. In recent weeks, he introduced The Affordable College Textbook Act, which is designed to help students manage costs by making high quality textbooks easily accessible to students, professors, and the public for free. Durbin says costs have been surging too far for too long.
 
 
Durbin says textbook costs are forcing college students to make difficult choices....
 
 
Durbin introduced the legislation in late September. It was referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions. 

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Bustos Slams GOP Tax Reform Efforts

Western Illinois Congresswoman Cheri Bustos calling the GOP’s tax reform efforts an attack on the middle class. She says it’s a flawed three step process. 
 
 
Bustos making her remarks on the House Floor Tuesday just hours before Democrat Doug Jones defeated Republican Roy Moore in the Alabama Senate race. The win now gives Republicans a slight 51-49 voting edge in the Senate. 

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Attorney General Scores Settlement For Pre-Flat Screen TV, Monitor Buyers

TVs are cheaper these days but Illinois Attorney general Lisa Madigan believes some Illinois consumers are owed money from a bygone era. 
 
She says some consumers who bought Hitachi, Philips and Samsung tvs or monitors between March of 1995 and November 2007 may have been victims of illegal price fixing of cathode ray tubes (CRTs) that went into TVs. 
 
The lawsuits ended with $36 million in settlements. People have the chance to fill out an online for to claim a portion of that money. An individual can claim $20 for a CRT television or $60 for a CRT monitor. 
 
The deadline to file is July 18th. You can file by logging on to http://www.illinoiscrtsettlement.com. 

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Clinton Youth Boys Basketball President of the Board at Rotary

Clinton Youth Boys Basketball was the topic at the rotary meeting on Tuesday afternoon.
 
President of the Board, Dale Clifton, indicates that this is his third and final year with the program that has been going on for 6 years. According to Clifton, 43 kids went out for basketball this year and parents are putting in just as much time as the children.
 
 
Clifton adds that funds to run the program come from an entry fee of 125 dollars and a chicken dinner fundraiser. With that money they were able to buy new jerseys for the kids this year and new warm ups.
 
 
There are 6 teams in the boys program, each grade that it services gettting an A Team and a B Team.
 
There is also a Clinton Youth Girls Basketball program that is run by a separate board. 

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Winter Winds Have Arrived, But No Snow Yet

The winter winds have been blowing in much of Illinois, but snow hasn’t been flying. That’s due to atmospheric conditions says RFD Radio Network meteorologist Dan Hicks with Freese-Notis Weather.
 
 
Hicks says heavy snowfall in the near term is only going to occur around the Great Lakes. 
He says temperatures are expected be warmer in the 6-to-10 day outlook, but weather could be more active after that. 

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End of Year Serves As Good Time To Do Estate Planning

The end of the year serves as a perfect time to think about estate planning, especially with that family farming operation. 
 
So says Rick Morgan a Senior Financial Security Consultant with Country Financial. He says expectations can vary from family to family and even from family member to family member. 
 
 
Morgan says the first step is calling a family meeting and getting all players involved in the discussions. 

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Affordable Care Act Deadline Approaching

If you are buying health insurance through the ACA’s marketplace you better hurry. The signup period is shorter this year and the deadline to get enrolled is Friday. 
 
There are 350,000 people in the state that are in the Marketplace. But US Senator Dick Durbin says Republicans in Congress are pushing to eliminate the health insurance mandate to and if that passes you Marketplace customers will see prices rise.
 
 
Durbin says getting extra help at signup time is worth it. Find an ACA Navigator and work with them to decide which health care plan is the right one for you and your family.

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Governor Visits Clinton Power Station on One Year Anniversary of Energy Legislation

A birthday is the phrase the Governor turned to when he visited employees of the Clinton Power Station Tuesday afternoon to celebrate the one year anniversary of the signing of the energy jobs legislation at Clinton High School.
 
The Governor, along with State Representative Bill Mitchell and Senator Chapin Rose were in Clinton to reminisce on the signing of the legislation that allowed the Clinton Power Station to remain open for another ten years. Mitchell reminded the 200-plus employees and local leaders it was the Governor stepping in and getting involved that turned things around.
 
 
Sen. Rose also thanked the Governor for getting involved in the process. He notes the process was not easy and it is a huge economic impact on the area.
 
 
Governor Bruce Rauner called Exelon employees the best energy generating professionals in the country and one of the great economic engines in the state.
 
 
He recalls the process of getting the bill passed was tough. He indicates there were several pieces to the bill but lawmakers came together to get it passed.
 
 
The Governor says the plant remaining open and viable is going to allow the State to recruit new companies to central Illinois.
 
 
Exelon officials were present prior to the Governor's arrival to meet with employees and answer their questions about the state of the plant and the company and the status of other plants around the country.
 
Rep. Mitchell address Exelon employees
 
 
Sen. Roes Discusses One Year of Exelon legislation signing
 
 
Governoir Rauner thanks Exelon employees for their professionalism
 

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Ribbon Cutting Held For Trade Wind Energy Location in Downtown Clinton

A special ribbon cutting ceremony and open house was held Tuesday morning to welcome Trade Wind Energy to the Clinton business community.
 
The location will be next to the Edward Jones location in the former Magill Hotel, owned by the DeWitt County Restoration Association, or DCRA. Tom Swierczewski is Development Director for Trade Wind and speaks highly of the organization and says their retail space was too good to pass up.
 
 
Trade Wind Energy comes to the community with the goal of establishing a wind farm on the northwest portion of the county but according to Swierczewski, they also want to be a good community partner and give back and invest in local groups. 
 
 
Bekcy Adams with the DCRA says it is great having Trade Wind Energy join Edward Jones Financial in the Magill Hotel. She adds the addition of Trade Wind Energy is also a vote of support for wind energy in DeWitt County.
 
 
Swierczewski invites anyone to stop by their office to sit down and talk about the issues that are already present with Trade Wind Energy's presence in the community. They are located on the north side of the square next to Edwards Jones Financial in the former Magill Hotel. 

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Teacher Shortage Not Just Hitting Illinois Schools

A shortage of teachers is hitting Illinois schools very hard as many struggle to fill vacancies and find substitute teachers on an almost daily basis. 
 
But public and private schools aren't the only entities being impacted by this growing problem, not-for-profits are finding it even more challenging to fill vacancies they have. Marty Ryan is the Human Resource Director at Community Action and says they are having trouble finding qualified candidates for programs like Head Start.
 
 
For non-profits, DCFS lays out guidelines for their educators which do not necessarily match up with what State of Illinois schools require. Ryan indicates this makes it even more challenging.
 
 
Ryan hopes anyone interested in leading early childhood education courses through Community Action to visit capcil.info. 

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Sexual Harassment Task Force Continues Its Work

Lawmakers serving on a task force looking into the state's handling of sexual harassment in the public and private sector are meeting in Chicago. 
 
The ranking Republican member, Sara Wojcici Jimenez (Woe-jiss-kee Hih-men-ez) of Springfield says the task force will focus on the oversight role of the state's watchdogs.
 
 
She sees three clear goals.
 

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Legalization on Backburner in General Assembly

Efforts to legalize recreational marijuana stalled in the legislature but the issue hasn't been forgotten by State Senator Jason Barickman. The Bloomington Republican believes the legislation to decriminalize carrying small amounts of marijuana will be retooled...
 
 
While Barickman has largely stood alone among Republicans in seeing the benefits of legalization, he believes that could change...
 

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Joy, Illinois Popular Place in December

Even though Joy, Illinois is not a major shopping hub, the small western Illinois town—population 385, continues to be a popular destination for mail during December. 
 
Both U.S. and international patrons want their holiday cards and letters cancelled with a special Joy postmark.
 
 
Patti Maynard staffs the Joy Post Office. This year’s special postmark is designed by Mercer County Junior High 8th grader Preston Howard. 

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DeWitt County Land Use Committee Hears Concerns About Potential Wind Farm

DeWitt County residents filled the DeWitt County Board room Monday night in support of a proposal for a change in ordinance for a wind farm on the northwest side of the county near Waynesville.
 
Ken Shaffer addressed the County Board's land use committee for roughly 20 minutes and discussed topics ranging from variance of the towers to studies and other concerns surrounding the structures.
 
Shaffer hopes his comments and the support behind him will begin and continue the dialogue.
 
 
The proposals presented by Shaffer ask the County to do a shadow flicker study, set back from structures at a distance of six-times the structure height and a reduction in tower height, among other requests.
 
 
Among other requests from Shaffer, wildlife studies along a decommissioning plan for the structures. He wants to have the decommissioning plan revisited, updated and covered every three years.
 
 
DeWitt County Zoning Administrator, Angie Sarver indicates a number of the requests from Shaffer have already been studied.
 
 
Development Director for Trade Wind Energy, Tom Swierczewski (swear-chess-ski) says he heard a lot of concerns that he felt were valid, and some that he felt were not workable.
 
 
Swierczewski indicates opposition to their projects is not anything new to him. He says Trade Wind Energy is very much a community minded company and they want to get all the facts out there for everyone to have.
 
 
The land use committee will take in to consideration the things they heard from Shaffer. There was no action Monday night. 
 
Once the land use committee approves the language in the ordinance. The language would still need to be approved by the regional planning commission, the zoning board of appeals and then ultimately the county board.
 

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Clinton Power Station Goes Offline Temporarily

Operators removed Clinton Power Station from service Saturday afternoon to repair an electrical component outside the plant. 
 
While the unit is offline, technicians will inspect and fully test the electrical system before returning the unit to service.
 
Clinton Station is located approximately six miles east of Clinton. 

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Rotary Annual Holiday Party to Provide Presents for Children

A local organization's annual Holiday Party is right around the corner.
 
According to Rotarian Randy Rice, he's been a part of this program since he joined rotary 26 years ago. Elementary school children who fall through the cracks of other programs are the guests of honor and will receive toys and clothes from rotary members.
 
 
Rice adds that the third and fourth grader's teachers were instrumental in choosing the children and getting them the children's wish lists.
 
 
This year there are 20 children that will be receiving presents from rotarians.

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Lincoln's Renovated Depot Open, But Space Still Needs Tenant

The renovated Lincoln Depot is has been completed but the space still needs a tenant.
 
Mayor Seth Goodman says the renovated area includes the Amtrak waiting area. It's a renovation that came with minimal cost to the taxpayers.
 
 
Mayor Goodman says it is not ideal for the building to be empty. There's been some interest from different groups expressing interest in the space but so far, nothing has been decided.
 
 
The completion of the project returns passenger service to a building constructed in 1911 and last used as a depot more than 30 years ago.
 
The remodeled facility showcases restored windows, doors and the original ticket counter with a scale once used to weigh luggage. Added features include free Wi-Fi, a climate-controlled waiting room with interior seating, and parking for both vehicles and bikes. The waiting area replaces a passenger shelter to the north that served Amtrak’s Lincoln Service and Texas Eagle.  
 
Funding for the $4.04 million Lincoln project is part of a federal grant administered by IDOT to introduce better performance and higher speeds on the Union Pacific Railroad between Chicago and St. Louis.

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Another Ag Group Throws Support Behind NAFTA

Another ag group has weighed in on North American Free Trade Agreement renegotiations. 
 
This time it’s the U.S. Meat Export Federation and it’s all about the numbers says the organization’s Phil Seng. 
 
 
2016 data shows that 11-percent of Illinois agricultural exports went to Mexico and 17-percent to Canada. The fifth round of NAFTA renegotiations occurred last month in Mexico with little progress. The sixth round of talks are set for next month in Montreal. 

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Durbin Wants Alabama To Make Right Choice on Moore

With members of Congress stepping aside because of past sexual harassment allegations, voters in Alabama are deciding if they should send a candidate to the Senate with the another troubled history. 
 
U.S. Senator Dick Durbin says Republicans, as the party in power, will control Moore’s fate if he’s elected to the Senate. But Durbin hopes that he won’t be presented with having to see Moore in the Senate Chamber.
 
 
Durbin says on the Democratic front any donations that he did receive from now disgraced Senator Al Franken have been turned over to charity. 

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Healthcare Continues To Be Major Concern For Rural Illinoisans

Health care on the mind of many rural Illinoisans. That’s what Illinois Farm Bureau’s Mark Gebhards is hearing as he travels the state. 
 
 
Gebhards serves as Director of Governmental Affairs & Commodities for IFB. The organization just wrapped up its annual meeting earlier this week in Chicago.

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IDOT Asking for Feedback On State's Transportation System

THE ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION IS LOOKING FOR YOUR FEEDBACK ABOUT THE STATE’S TRANSPORTATION SYSTEM. (two stories, same lead).
 
THE ANNUAL SURVEY AIMS TO GET A READ ON WHAT I-DOT CAN DO BETTER. SPOKESPERSON KELSEA GURSKI SAYS IT COVERS SEVERAL TOPICS.
 
 
THE SURVEY ALSO ADDRESSES I-DOT’S WEBSITE, REST AREAS AND AMTRAK SERVICE. 
 
 
THIS IS THE FIRST TIME THE SURVEY IS AVAILABLE ONLINE. YOU CAN FILL IT OUT AT: IDOT DOT ILLINOIS DOT GOV.

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State Launches 24-Hour Opioid Abuse Hotline

THE STATE IS LAUNCHING A NEW 24-HOUR HOTLINE TO HELP COMBAT OPIOID ABUSE. 
 
THE HELPLINE IS A CRITICAL NEW TOOL IN THE FIGHT AGAINST THE OPIOID CRISIS SAYS ILLINOIS PUBLIC HEALTH DIRECTOR DOCTOR NIRAV SHAH.
 
 
THE HELPLINE WILL PROVIDE A PLACE FOR INDIVIDUALS AND FAMILY MEMBERS STRUGGLING WITH ADDICTION TO GET CONFIDENTIAL HELP SAYS GOVERNOR BRUCE RAUNER.
 
 
LAST YEAR IN ILLINOIS…NEARLY TWO THOUSAND PEOPLE DIED FROM AN OPIOID OVERDOSE. THE HELPLINE NUMBER IS 1-833-2FINDHELP.

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Weekly Weather Summary

It felt more like December this past week, and with snow in the forecast for the weekend, State Climotologist Jim Angel tells us how long it will stick around.
 

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Focus on Regulation Roll Back Helps Grow Jobs

Governor Bruce Rauner is touring the western part of the state to promote Illinois manufacturing. 
 
Stopping in Quincy today at Rack Builders, Rauner says that in his time as Governor he has been able to cut the regulations that he can from his office.
 
 
Rauner wasn’t specific as to what important regulations he has been able to roll back. But he adds that more changes need to go along with them to create a stronger Illinois economy. Rauner maintains that changes are needed to the state’s worker’s compensation system.

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Pritzker Picks Up Another Endorsement

Democratic candidate for Governor J.B. Pritzker has come up with two more important endorsements. 
 
Friday, both of the state’s US Senators say they are in for J.B. At a Chicago rally, Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth made the announcement that they are supporting Pritzker. 
 
Durbin says he’s spoken to all of the candidates and Pritzker is the clear choice for governor. 
 
There are seven Democrats running for Governor and incumbent Bruce Rauner has one challenger on the March 20th primary. 

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Decorate Safely For The Holidays

By now the Christmas and holiday decorations have been hung with care. But you need to be sure that they have also been placed safely around your home. 
 
The Illinois Emergency Management Agency says that Christmas lights can pose a problem. Patti Thompson with IEMA says don’t overload outlets and make sure the lights you are buying are good quality and come inspected. 
 
 
Thompson says keep the tree good and watered to cut the risk of fire. And watch candles left out carefully. During the holiday season 12 percent of candles cause a fire in the home.

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Drug Arrests Made in Piatt County

Task Force 6, in conjunction with the Piatt County Sheriff’s Office, conducted arrest details on Monday, November 20, 2017 and Tuesday, November 21, 2017 of persons wanted in connection with the investigation of illegal drug sales in the Piatt County area.  
 
The arrests were the result of lengthy, separate investigations, involving the sales of various illegal controlled substances in the Piatt County area.  
 
Suspects arrested on warrants issued by the Piatt County States Attorney’s Office include:
 
Stephanie Cafin, age 35, Urbana, IL, (2 counts Unlawful Delivery of a Controlled Substance—Class 1—Released on bond)
 
Ryan Walters, age 22, Monticello, IL, (2 counts Unlawful Delivery of a Controlled Substance—Class 1—Released on bond)
 
Ronald McDade, age 29, Monticello, IL, (2 counts Unlawful Possession with Intent to Deliver of a Controlled Substance—Class X/ Class 1—Remains in custody)
 
Brandon Sellers, age 22, Monticello, IL, (1 count Unlawful Delivery of a Controlled Substance—Class 1—Remains in custody)
 
Douglas Critchfield, age 29, Bement, IL, (3 counts Unlawful Possession with Intent to Deliver of a Controlled Substance—Class 1—Released on Bond)
 
Andrew Plummer, age 31, Bement, IL, (1 count Unlawful Delivery of a Controlled Substance—Class 3—Remains in custody)
(more)
 
Task Force 6 is a multi-agency enforcement unit specializing in narcotics enforcement.  Task Force 6 is composed of officers from Clinton Police Department, DeWitt County Sheriff’s Department, McLean County Sheriff’s Department, Piatt County Sheriff’s Office, Illinois State University Police Department, and the Illinois State Police.
 
No other information will be released at this time.  The public is reminded that charges are merely accusations and criminal defendants are presumed innocent unless proven guilty.  
 
Persons having information regarding illegal drugs are encouraged to contact the Task Force 6 tip line at www.taskforce6.com.

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Warner Hospital and Health Services Offering Safe Sitter Class Next Week

Central Illinois teens are invited to be a part of the 'Safe Sitter' class at Warner Hospital and Health Services next Saturday, December 16.
 
Ashley Holmes indicates the 'Safe Sitter' class targets sixth through eighth grade students and the class gives them good information and resources for taking care of siblings or baby sitting jobs.
 
 
The class covers topics ranging from general first aid to emergency situations and how to handle younger kids and the challenges they come with.
 
 
Holmes indicates students who come out of the class are not left empty handed to remember everything they took in. She explains they send home plenty of materials for them to look back on.
 
 
Sarah Gerke explains this is a program that can be very expensive but thanks to the fundraising effort of the Swifty Swine 5K during the past Apple and Pork weekends, they are able to offer the course to central Illinois teens for just $10.
 
 
The Safe Sitter course is a national curriculum. Holmes and Gerky indicates for the hospital to remain certified to administer the course, they have to give it once a year and they indicate they have gotten interest from teens all over central Illinois. 
 
Anyone can participate in this course at the Family Medicine facility. Again the date is Saturday, December 16 from 10 am to 4:30 pm. Registration is required by December 14. Participants will need to bring their own lunch.
 
To get more information, you can visit the main entrance of the Warner Hospital and Health Services facility. You can also email events@warnerhospital.org. 

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Children's Advocacy Center Executive Director Retiring

The leader of a non-profit that covers DeWitt, McLean and Livingston Counties is calling it a career.
 
Judy Brucker has been the Executive Director of the Children's Advocacy Center for better than ten years. It's the end of a career that spans almost three decades in serving the public and helping children going through situations no child should ever have to.
 
 
Brucker feels good about the recent grant they received to offer counseling servies across their coverage area. It's a position that will be in place for at least three years.
 
 
Brucker indicates social work can be a very challenging field, especially in maintaining the passion one enters the field with. She encourages any worker, young or old, to set boundaries for themselves.
 
 
The McLean County Board is tasked with finding the successor to Brucker, a process that is ongoing.

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Dicamba Training To Be Offered In March Across Illinois

Soybean farmers in Illinois planning to use crop protection products containing dicamba in 2018 must be certified to do so. 
 
Approximately 30 training sessions are being held throughout the state through March says Jean Payne with the Illinois Fertilizer and Chemical Association. 
 
 
Information on sites, times and registration is available at “ifca.com.” Each session runs two-hours. Illinois is the first state to offer such training. 

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Miller Park Zoo's Wild Lights Event This Weekend

One of the biggest events of the year for a Bloomington/Normal entity is this weekend.
 
Miller Park Zoo's Wild Lights has become their premier event of the year and Superintendent of the Zoo, Jay Tetzloff calls it a fun, family event where they line the walks of the zoo with luminaries and gives guests a festive feel at a time of day the zoo is not normally open.
 
 
Tetzloff says the feel of the zoo at night is different and very exciting. He explains you catch animals that are busy during the overnight hours and the animals that remain busy during the day are caught off guard with people around during normal quiet times.
 
 
Wild Lights is tonight and tomorrow from 5 pm to 8 pm. Admission is $7 per person. Kids three and under are free.
 
Get more information at millerparkzoo.org. 

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Bustos Wants Employees To Have Options in Sexual Harassment Cases

Western Illinois Congresswoman Cheri Bustos taking on the sexual harassment issue. She wants to ban mandatory arbitration for such cases and give employees other options.
 
 
Bustos says forced arbitration clauses prevent victims of sexual harassment from discussing the nature or basis of their complaint. She says if an employee’s contract or employee handbook includes a forced arbitration clause, the employee is likely to have signed away his or her right to a jury trial whether or not they are aware of the clause. 
 
She adds employees are far more likely to win cases that go to trial than cases that go through the arbitration process. 

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Ameren Rate Reduction Request Approved

You will be paying less for electricity through Ameren Illinois in the New Year.
 
The Illinois Commerce Commission has approved a request for an approximately $17.3-million decrease in delivery service rates for 2018. The savings will begin in January. An Ameren spokesman says this is a result of continued investment in infrastructure and the lower cost of financing. 
 
Ameren Illinois spokesman Marcelyn Love says this is the second year in a row customers will see a decrease in delivery costs.
 
 
For the typical residential customer using 10,000 kilo-watt-hours of electricity, this reduction should mean a savings of about $1.70 monthly. According to information provided by the utility, this is the fifth such rate cut since the Smart Grid bill was passed in 2011.

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Clinton Annual Levy Going Down

The Clinton City Council Monday night approved their annual levy and the City Treasurer says things are looking very positive right now.
 
Clint Lichtenwalter indicates the levy is decreasing by just over two-percent decrease, and the EAV has slightly jumped as well.
 
 
Lichtenwalter points out, the levy being a lower rate is a direct result of the city being diligent in funding their pensions, something many communities cannot claim.
 
 
Elsewhere in the Clinton budget, Lichtenwalter says sales tax in the community is stagnant. He says while there hasn't been growth, it is a good sign there hasn't been a decline.
 
 
Lichtenwalter also points out revenue from the City's gaming ordinance draws in roughly $8-thousand a month, which he additionally notes, has done more to help replace other lost revenues than create new revenue. 

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Water Fowl Hunters Welcoming Recent Cold Stretch

The water fowl hunters of Illinois are welcoming this recent cold stretch.
 
Water fowl hunting is best when it is cold out and with temperatures expected in the 20s and 30s in the coming weeks, DNR Sargent John Williamson says hunters are probably going to be getting out this weekend.
 
 
Clinton Lake in DeWitt County is a hot spot for water fowl hunters because of the power plant and the warm water discharge. Williamson indicates it's also a popular spot for fishing, even during the colder weather. 

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Gordon Retiring From State Fair

There will be a new State Fair Manager in 2018. 
 
Kevin Gordon is retiring from the State of Illinois and will be leaving the Illinois Department of Agriculture at the end of the month. Gordon has been the manager for the past 2 fairs and has worked 17 of them for IDOA. 
 
In all Gordon worked for the state for 29 years. 
 
The Department of Ag says that they are currently reviewing options to identify a replacement. 

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State Police Want Drivers To Move Over For Stopped Vehicles

You’re driving down the interstate and you spot a car pulled over on the shoulder – what should you do? 
 
Bob Schillerstrom with the The Illinois Tollway is telling drivers get into the other lane because whether it’s a stalled car or a police officer doing their job the law says you need to give the other car some space. 
 
 
Many think the law is just to get over for emergency vehicles, but it says that if you can pull into the other lane you need to do so for any vehicle with hazard lights on.

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Frerichs Calls GOP Tax Reform An Assault on Freedom of Choice

Illinois State Treasurer Michael Frerichs is blasting tax reform legislation from Congressional Republicans. 
 
Frerichs isn't referring to how tax changes will impact any group financially, he says newly inserted language could shake up freedom of choice.
 
 
Frerichs talks about the impact of attaching 9 digits to the unborn.
 
 
Frerichs is asking Governor Bruce Rauner to intervene and try to convince Illinois’ Congressional delegation to eliminate efforts to give social security numbers to fetuses.

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City of Clinton Investigating in Water Meter Readings

Could your water bill be going up in the next six months?
 
That is a possibility after discussion by the Clinton City Council Monday night. City Administrator Tim Followell explains the water department has experienced losses in some circumstances because of a lack of tracking small amounts of water that are consumed in town.
 
 
Followell explains the City is not overcharging residents for water, in fact, it is the opposite. He notes the city is losing production, or producing more water than they need to.
 
 
To fix the issue, Followell indicates the city plans to install electronic meters throughout the community.
 
 
Followell says not only this is a positive for the City but it is also a win for the consumer. It could help homeowners find leaks in their homes.
 
 
The community risks penalization by the EPA if they do not fix the problem soon. He indicates the sanitary district is going to help pay for the approximately $1-million cost. IT will take approximately six months for everything to get implemented. 

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New Exelon Communications Manager Wants To Be Community Minded

Gabe Goldsmith continues to learn the ropes of all things nuclear power and Exelon in his role as Communications Director at Exelon Power Station.
 
He wants his focus to become more community minded and to be involved in several organizations in Clinton.
 
 
Goldsmith indicates community contributions is something stressed by the company so he feels it will be a natural fit for him to get into the community and continuing the relationships in place and developing new ones.
 
 
As the one year anniversary of the Governor's visit to Clinton to sign the energy legislation nears, Goldsmith points out the power station is bringing back employees who may have been reduced and are adding roughly 150 jobs as well. He says the state of the plant is very strong right now. 

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Canadian Manufacturer Tabs Central Illinois For US Headquarters

Canadian-based Brandt Industries has announced it's first venture into manufacturing in the United States, and it's happening in central Illinois.  NAFB Farm Broadcaster Jared White has more...

 

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Significant Snow Before Christmas? Not Likely

Colder temps have arrived in Illinois, but chances for a significant snow event leading up to Christmas aren’t great. So says RFD Illinois meteorologist Dan Hicks with Freese-Notis Weather.
 
 
Hicks anticipates into the 6-to-10 day and even 11-to-15 day outlook that the Midwest will continue to experience cold air masses. 
 
Daytime highs of 20s and 30s can be expected over the next couple of weeks in Illinois. Normal highs at this time of year in Illinois are in the mid to upper 30’s in the northern part of the state and mid 40s in southern Illinois. 
 
The first day of winter is officially December 21st. 

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Rauner Takes Issue With Pritzker Hiding Wealth From Tax Man

With two very rich men running for Governor the wealth they have and how it’s kept is becoming a story. Republican Governor Bruce Rauner is wondering where Democratic Candidate for Governor J.B. Pritzker is keeping all of his money. 
 
Rauner says it’s curious that you can be worth billions and only report $16 million income on his tax forms. 
 
 
The Pritzker campaign responded with a quip and cut down of the Rauner campaign but didn’t directly answer where Pritzker’s trusts are and how much of his money is kept.
 
**Update**
 
Regional Radio News was contacted by the Pritzker campaign after the article was published and was given the full statement which reads as follows:
 
“Bruce Rauner’s accusations are false and he is lying about JB Pritzker. In addition to releasing his personal tax returns, the total taxes paid by trusts benefitting JB, charitable contributions made personally and by his foundation, JB also filed a detailed Statement of Economic Interest that lists personal investments and assets as well as those held by trusts benefitting him. JB and trusts benefitting him have paid a combined $25 million in state taxes and $136 million in federal taxes over the last three years.
 
In regard to the offshore question, there are some trusts that were established by JB’s family a couple generations ago. JB did not set them up, has never received a personal disbursement from them, and he has directed that any disbursements from these trusts be given to charity. Those are facts, and Bruce Rauner’s attempt to distract from his disastrous campaign can’t change them.”

 

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Sen. McCann Leaving General Assembly

State Senator Sam McCann revealed he was not running for another term at Monday's filing deadline. That leaves former Sangamon County prosecutor Steve McClure in the race. 
 
In an interview given shortly before his announcement, the Carlinville area Republican sounded like someone ready to walk into the sunset from the Capitol.
 
 
McCann says the Illinois political system is broken because the people in it have the wrong priorities.
 
 
McCann is expressing dissatisfaction with the state republican party, several county party organizations and his rival, Governor Bruce Rauner. 

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Durbin Weighs in on DACA Again

U.S. Senator Dick Durbin and members of the Democratic Caucus gathered on the Senate Floor to push for passage of the Dream Act, which would allow young immigrant students who grew up in this country – – to obtain permanent legal residency and continue on the road to citizenship. 
 
Durbin says movement is needed and soon.
 
 
More than 10,000 Dreamers have already lost their DACA status. By early 2018, another one thousand young people will lose that protection each day. 

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Rich Guebert Re-elected to IFB President

Rich Guebert (right) will remain the president of the Illinois Farm Bureau. Guebert was re-elected to the post Tuesday, his third two year term.
 
Guebert addressed the media Tuesday and says the Farm Bureau needs to unite and get messages to lawmakers during these tough economic times.
 
 
Locally, Guebert says there's a lot of action to be done in Illinois. He says the Illinois Farm Bureau is making a difference.
 
 
Guebert says the Illinois Farm Bureau is very strong, from the administration and Board to the County level, he feels very strongly the Illinois Farm Bureau is in a good place. 

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Retired State Trooper Documenting Over 17-Hundred Closed High Schools In Illinois

A retired state trooper continues his mission to memorialize 1,700 closed high school in Illinois. Jim Taylor reports that many dot the state's rural landscape. 
 

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Open Enrollment for Medicare Part D Closes This Week

The hours and minutes are ticking to get your medicare Part D prescription drug coverage updated or to get enrolled. 
 
Thursday is the deadline to get in to see Dianne Cusey at the DeWitt County Friendship Center if you need assistance. Executive Director of the Friendship Center, Sissy Leggett, says this is a crucial time of year for seniors.
 
 
According to Leggett, Cusey can help DeWitt County Seniors with more than just getting enrolled in the right plan. She says there's financial assistance she can help with along with a number of other services.
 
 
The number to reach Cusey at the Friendship Center is 935-4560 or you can reach the Friendship Center at 935-9411. 

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Rauner Calls Opponent Fringe of Party

Governor Bruce Rauner has an opponent in the upcoming Republican primary and he thinks that she is on the outside looking in at the rest of the Republican Party. 
 
Jeanne Ives is running against Rauner and right now he won’t commit to a debate with her. Rauner said a challenger in the primary is not uncommon and it comes from the fringe side of the party.
 
 
The race is official on the Republican side of the primary – both Rauner and Ives filed their official paper work on Monday.

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Rauner Talks Future Goals for Ag Community

GOVERNOR BRUCE RAUNER SPOKE TO THE ILLINOIS FARM BUREAU MONDAY…OUTLINING SOME OF HIS GOALS FOR THE AGRICULTURE COMMUNITY.
 
SPEAKING BEFORE BUREAU MEMBERS, GOVERNOR RAUNER DISCUSSED THE NEED FOR MORE AGRICULTURE TEACHERS. HE SAYS THERE IS CURRENTLY A SHORTAGE.
 
 
THE GOVERNOR ALSO DISCUSSED EFFORTS TO RAISE PRIVATE MONEY FOR CAPITAL IMPROVEMENTS AT THE ILLINOIS STATE FAIRGROUNDS. HE SAYS HE’D ESPECIALLY LIKE TO GET THE COLISEUM BACK UP AND RUNNING.
 
 
ADDITIONALLY, THE GOVERNOR SAYS A TASK FORCE IS LOOKING INTO INCREASING THE POOL OF AGRICULTURE TEACHERS IN ILLINOIS. HE SAYS THERE IS A SHORTAGE, ESPECIALLY AT THE HIGH SCHOOL LEVEL.

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Illinois Launches Bicentennial Celebration

State officials kicked off the state's year long birthday celebration Sunday at Chicago's Navy Pier and the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum. 
 
Governor Bruce Rauner believes Illinois can send a message with its two century birthday.
 
 
The cast of Hamilton celebrated the start of Illinois Bicentennial by unveiling the Bicentennial Flag of Illinois. Meanwhile, the Petersburg produced bicentennial beer has been named. 
 
Hand of Fate's craft brew, which won the honor at last year's state fair, will be known as 1818 Prairie State Farmhouse Ale.

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Governor Says He's Not In Charge of Illinois

Who’s really in charge of the state of Illinois? Today (Monday) the Governor says it’s Mike Madigan. 
 
Republican Bruce Rauner says until Madigan is gone Illinois can’t be fixed and over the first three years of his term as Governor he really hasn’t been the one running the state. 
 
 
Rauner’s opponent for the Republican nomination Jeanne Ives hopped on the comment saying via Twitter that the “Governors office is powerful, but a weak man is in it.

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DeWitt County Farmer Named To Illinois Farm Bureau Board of Directors

Robert Klemm of Waynesville in DeWitt County was nominated to serve District 11 on the Illinois Farm Bureau® (IFB) Board of Directors at the organization’s annual meeting in Chicago, Dec. 2-5. Klemm, as well as incumbent directors in Districts 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, 13, 15 and 17, will be up for election during the delegate business session Monday, Dec. 4.  
 
Klemm was nominated to a two-year term to represent IFB members in Christian, DeWitt, Macon, Moultrie, Piatt and Shelby counties. Klemm, who operates Klemm Tax Service in Lincoln, raises corn, soybeans and hay, as well as Black Angus cattle, with his wife, son, and daughter-in-law. 
 
 
Klemm serves on the DeWitt County Farm Bureau Board of Directors, serving as treasurer and building committee chairman, and was a charter member of the DeWitt County Farm Bureau Federation. He also is a past IFB Young Leaders district discussion meet winner.
 
Klemm is a member of the Illinois Corn Growers Association, Illinois Soybean Association and Logan County Soil Savers. He serves as treasurer of the Logan County Fair Foundation and is a past board member for the Illinois Association of Tax Practitioners.
 
Klemm is an active member of Zion Lutheran Church in Lincoln, serving as past chairman, vice chairman and building project chairman, usher, committeeman and video operator, and traveled several times to help with Hurricane Katrina cleanup.
 
Klemm graduated from Illinois State University in 1974 with a bachelor’s degree in applied science and technology. He and his wife, Patricia, have three grown children, Olivia, John, and Aaron.

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Eastern Illinois High School Donates To Memorial For Monticello Teen Killed Last Week

Separated by almost an hour and approximately 66 miles, staff at Bismarck-Henning High School new of the tragedy that struck Monticello High School last week when 17-year old Tori Lanter was killed in a crash on Interstate 72.
 
Principal at Bismarck-Henning High School, Brent Rademacher, indicates his staff knew they wanted to do something for the family but wasn't sure what to do, so when the Sages visited BHHS Friday for a high school basketball game, they organized to have their 50/50 raffle tickets to go towards her memorial. 
 
 
The contribution did not get much attention at the game and Rademacher indicates it was out of respect for students who may be going through their own grief. Instead, they passed around informative papers of their intentions when someone would purchase tickets. 
 
 
Rademacher credits the compassionate folks in the district and his office for stepping up in this effort. He also notes the effort was not done in the vain for publicity, they just wanted to step up and help in a small way for a grieving family and community. 

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Clinton Schools Facing Teacher Shortage

A shortage of teachers, substitute teachers, and aides has been highlighted by administrators and state leaders across the state and at the latest Clinton Board of Education meeting, the topic came to a head for discussion. 
 
A shortage of special education teachers in the district resulted in the issue being highlighted to the Board. Superintendent Curt Nettles says the district is working to better fill the needs at Clinton Elementary School.
 
 
The need for special education teacher is vast across the state. According to Nettles, districts across the state's needs top 250 vacancies in special education alone.
 
 
Nettles could see the situation worsening and becoming a crisis. He feels the State of Illinois is to blame as they have not made Illinois a good place to work.
 
 
Nettles indicates the main struggle for teachers is in special education but points out there is also a struggle for elementary educators, which is a new struggle in recent years. 

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DeWitt County Angel Tree Asking For One Final Push From Community

The DeWitt County Angel Tree program is getting close to their big event in December for over 500 youths and they need your support.
 
Director Sue Calvert indicates residents likely noticed their usual stops didn't have the Angel Tree Christmas trees this year. That is because the 2017 Angel Tree is accepting cash donations for a big event to distribute gifts to youths who qualify.
 
 
According to Calvert, they need financial contributions to make sure they can serve all the kids in their program this year.
 
 
The Angel Tree is hosting a one-day event at Clinton Walmart where parents of children in the program will come, shop for their child, and take the gifts home.
 
Calvert also indicates Walmart has again stepped up to do the Shop With A Cop and Shop With A Fireman. 

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Weather Outlook For This Week

With a mild weekend behind us, State Climotologist Jim Angel says we could see a turn in the weather this week.
 

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November Cooler, Drier

NOVEMBER WEATHER WAS COOLER AND DRIER THAN NORMAL IN ILLINOIS. 
 
STATE CLIMATOLOGIST JIM ANGEL SAYS THE AVERAGE TEMPERATURE LAST MONTH WAS JUST UNDER 42 DEGREES. THAT’S ABOUT A DEGREE BELOW NORMAL.
 
 
STATEWIDE AVERAGE PRECIPITATION WAS TWO POINT ONE THREE INCHES…MORE THAN AN INCH BELOW NORMAL. SOME SNOW WAS REPORTED IN NORTHERN AND CENTRAL ILLINOIS. THE LARGEST AMOUNT OF SNOW, AN INCH AND A HALF, WAS RECORDED AT THE CHICAGO BOTANIC GARDEN LAST MONTH.
 
 
THE LATEST U-S DROUGHT MONITOR SHOW ABNORMALLY DRY TO MODERATELY DRY CONDITIONS IN WEST CENTRAL AND SOUTHWESTERN PORTIONS OF THE STATE, AS WELL AS A FEW SOUTHEASTERN AREAS.

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Risk Takers May Need To Take More To Succeed

The leader of the Illinois Farm Bureau says Illinois farmers need to focus on the future, take risks, and try new approaches to succeed. Ellis Grove farmer Richard Guebert Jr. opened the organization's annual meeting over the weekend in Chicago;
 
 
Guebert says net farm income has dropped 50 percent over the last four years. He believes Farm Bureau and farmers need to anticipate change to be successful;
 
 
More than 15-hundred Illinois farmers and family members are participating in the Illinois Farm Bureau Annual Meeting. It continues Monday in Chicago.

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Rauner Gets Tough Review From National Conservative Publication

Governor Bruce Rauner gets a blistering review from publication National Review. 
 
They have labeled Rauner the worst Republican Governor in America. 
 
It's the latest development in a social conservative backlash against Rauner for his support of legislation on abortion-funding and his signing of legislation preventing state authorities from pursuing individuals strictly on immigration status.

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More Candidates File For Next Year's Primary

Another Democratic candidate for Governor has finished his initial paperwork. 
 
Madison County Regional Superintendent of Schools Bob Daiber jumped in the race Wednesday with nearly double the signatures needed. 
 
Another Metro-East man is pushing the concept of longshot to the extreme. Democrat Terry Getz of Dupo filed a statement of candidacy and a signature sheet with no signatures. 
 
To get on the ballot, Getz needs to refile with five-thousand signatuires by the Monday deadline.

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Suit Filed Over New Illinois Abortion Law

Over a dozen pro life/anti abortion groups and lawmakers are going to court in a bid to prevent a new law providing taxpayer-funded abortions from taking effect New Year's Day. 
The Thomas More Society filed the action in Springfield based Sangamon County Circuit Court. The new law will have add abortions to procedures covered by state employee health insurance and Medicaid. 
 
The plaintiffs insist the new law is illegal.

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Clinton Area Ministerial Association's Annual Christmas Baskets

If you are in need this holiday season, the Clinton Area Ministerial Association (CAMA) is offering Christmas baskets for families again this year.
 
Sharon Ijams indicates that the area churches are collecting non-perishable food items for the baskets. The Christmas baskets will then be distributed to families in need on December 23 at St. John's Catholic Church.
 
 
The Christmas baskets consist of a four pound ham, one gallon of milk, and various nonperishable food items. The baskets will have food for a Christmas meal as well as food for the following weeks. Ijams says that if you would like to send a monetary donation to bring it to the American Legion and make sure it is identified for the Christmas basket program.
 
 
For more information, contact Sharon Ijams at (217) 935-3585.

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Liberty Village Hosting Walk Through the Village

Liberty Village is once again offering their Walk Through the Village this holiday season.
 
Nick Crim, marketing director at Liberty Village, encourages families to come out to Liberty Village from December 1 through December 25 for the Walk Through the Village. Crim says this event is a great way for families and community members to find out what Liberty Village has to offer.
 
 
Many area businesses and organizations are taking part in this event by decorating a tree or a wreath that are placed throughout Liberty Village. Crim indicates that many of the local businesses and organizations have information about the services that they offer.
 
 
The Walk Through the Village will run from December 1 through December 25 and will be open from 8am to 8pm each day.

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Clinton YMCA Offering Trip To St. Charles, MO

The Christmas Traditions of St. Charles, Missouri is something special to behold and the Clinton YMCA is hoping anyone interested in experiencing it will come along with them in a few weeks.
 
A deluxe motor coach will take a group on Saturday, December 16 to St. Charles. It leaves at 9:30 am from the Clinton Y.
 
The cost is $45 for adults and children 12 and under go for $20. 
 
The sign up deadline is Friday, December 8. Contact the Clinton YMCA at 217-935-8307 if interested.
 
The trip is open to both Y members and non-members. 

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4-H Gets Help From Bayer CropScience

The National 4-H effort is getting a boost from Bayer CropScience. The new program is called “Science Matters” says the company’s Darrin Wallis. 
 
 
Wallis says kids 14-through-18 can participate in the “Science Matters” initiative by visiting “4-h.org” and typing “science Matters” into the search box. 

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Warner Hospital and Health Services Sets January 2 As Start Date For Same Day Service

Warner Hospital and Health Services administrators are ready to jump in to the same day service trend that is sweeping health care.
 
CEO Paull Skowron says their walk in service is going to start January 2 and they interested to see how the community receives this.
 
 
Susanna Legner is the Chief Nursing Officer at Warner Hospital and Health Services and indicates there are certain types of things they will take for their walk in care.
 
 
According to Legner, the service will be piloted at the Family Medicine Center and they will use existing providers. She indicates this will be a service they evaluate as they go along and see how they can improve and what adjustments need to be made.
 
 
Again the walk in service will begin Tuesday, January 2 and will be originated out of the Family Medicine Center and will be available in conjunction with Family Medicine. 

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State Police Reveal Thanksgiving Enforcement Data

THERE WERE 10 FATALITIES ON ILLINOIS HIGHWAYS OVER THE THANKSGIVING HOLIDAY WEEKEND. 
 
ILLINOIS STATE POLICE TROOPERS HANDLED MORE THAN 96-HUNDRED INCIDENTS DURING THE NOVEMBER 22ND TO 26TH TRAVEL PERIOD, INCLUDING 10 FATAL CRASHES. MASTER SERGEANT MIKE LINK SAYS THAT’S ONE LESS FATALITY THAN LAST YEAR.
 
 
TROOPERS ALSO MADE 89 DRUNK DRIVING ARRESTS AND WROTE 440 TICKETS FOR NOT WEARING A SEATBELT.

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Rauner Aims To Strengthen Relationship With China

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner has made a concerted effort over the last few months to bolster business ties with Japan across Illinois. 
 
Rauner says over 600 companies in Illinois employ more than 44,000 Illinoisans.
 
 
Japanese Consul General Naoki Ito joined Rauner at the event and says 
southern Illinois is a great place to invest.
 
 
Rauner and Ito attended the Rend Lake College Education and Workforce Development Luncheon on Wednesday in Ina.
 

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Meth Arrest Made in Clinton Thursday

A Clinton man was arrested Thursday by Task Force 6. 
 
As the result of a Task Force 6 (TF6) investigation, Cade R. Bray, 40, of Clinton, Illinois was arrested and charged with Participation in Methamphetamine Manufacturing, a Class X felony and Disposal of Methamphetamine Manufacturing waste, a Class 2 felony.  
 
He is incarcerated in the DeWitt County jail pending a bond hearing.  If convicted, these Felonies range from probation up to 30 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections.
 
No other information will be released at this time.  
 
TF6 is a multi-agency enforcement unit specializing in narcotics enforcement.  TF6 is composed of officers from the Clinton Police Department, DeWitt County Sheriff’s Office, McLean County Sheriff’s Office, Piatt County Sheriff’s Office, Illinois State University Police Department, and the Illinois State Police.
 
The public is reminded that charges are merely accusations and criminal defendants are presumed innocent unless proven guilty.  
 
Persons having information regarding illegal drugs are encouraged to contact the TF6 tip line at www.taskforce6.com.

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Iowa State Climotologist Discusses La Nina and Crop Production

The La Nina impact on the Illinois winter is still somewhat up in the air among weather experts but a national weather expert was recently in Peoria for the Peoria Farm Show to talk with producers about how weather will impact commodity prices coming up.
 
Dr. Elwynn Taylor, climatologist at Iowa State, says La Nina trends tend to lower the trend line yields and that could have an impact on the grain prices.
 
 
Dr. Taylor weather in South America brings a lot of volatility in weather in areas where they grow their crops.
 
 
Dr. Taylor points out La Nina brings not as much moisture as El Nino weather patterns. He indicates the areas that are dry leaving the fall could face some risk but from Iowa/Missouri and Illinois borders going west could be hurting if we don't get much moisture this winter. 

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