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Local News

No Parking Meters in Clinton For 90 Days

Downtown parking in Clinton is back on the radar for City leaders. 
 
Earlier this month, it was decided the City would temporarily end the use of parking meters after local business owners said their patrons were getting ticketed for expired meters.
 
Commissioner of Public Safety, Danny Ballenger explains the meters are inconsistently enforced because it falls under the jurisdiction of the police department.
 
 
After 90 days, business owners are asked to seek out local leaders and let them know if they the 90 days of no parking meters has worked out for their patrons. 
 
Meters around the square were covered this week to signify the change. 

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Warner Hospital Among Area Agencies Mentoring Youth

Warner Hospital and Health Services are among several area agencies partnering to provide youth in medical school with first hand experience in rural healthcare.
 
The program is the Central Illinois Health Education Center at Illinois State University and Sharon Mills explains they work with a number of universities and high schools across the state and midwest.
 
 
Katie Hamel is a student at Olivet Nazarene and hopes to be a doctor. She has spent the week taking in several aspects of rural healthcare explains her experience in Clinton this week has opened her eyes to a new type of health care.
 
 
CEO of Warner Hospital and Health Services, Paul Skowron says the program provides them a great recruiting tool. He notes they are getting their name out to the state's universities.
 
 
Hamel saw and met the mental health board, got to see the drug court, Sheriff's Office, Heritage Behavioral Health Center, the Encore Thrift Store and HRC East among many other agencies. 
 
Mills says the goal is to introduce her to all aspects of healthcare of a community and how a community works together to meet the challenges in a community. 

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Quiet, Strong Year For Local Gardeners

It's been a quiet year for local gardeners.
 
That's what local master gardener Candace Miller at the University of Illinois Extension Office is reporting. She says they are fielding questions on typical fungal and disease issues but so far there's not been anything out of the ordinary.
 
 
There was a two week stretch of very warm weather and now we're in the midst of a somewhat mild stretch. Miller says August has been predicted to be cooler than normal and doesn't know yet how that could impact your gardens.
 
 
If you found a plant that did not pan out the first time you planted, Miller says you could start replanting a few things now and looking ahead, those cool weather plants, like lettuces, could be planted now and be ready by late September.
 
 
Miller has a couple horticulture programs coming up. To get more information on those or for garden and other questions, contact her at the University of Illinois Extension in DeWitt County at 217-935-5764. In Macon County, dial 217-877-6042. Or in Piatt County, call 217-762-2191. You can also visit web.extension.illinois.edu/dmp. 

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Another Solar Eclipse Again Soon?

Monday marks a rare phenomenon for central Illinois residents, a solar eclipse.
 
While rarely seen to the totality of 95% locally and almost 100% in southern Illinois, the National Weather Service says we will see another soon. Chris Miller notes the eclipse is going to be hard to miss, but it will also come with its risks without proper precautions.
 
 
If you don't have access to the proper glasses, Miller says there are some other ways to safely view the eclipse. Visit https://www.weather.gov/source/crh/eclipse.html for more information.
 
 
Miller notes, this will likely not be the last time you can see something like this in the US as another eclipse is expected again.
 
 
The Warner Library in Clinton is providing their patrons and the community a viewing time and will be providing the proper viewing glasses as well.

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Jesse White To Run for Sixth Term

When it comes to political life in Illinois, it appears 83 is the new 53. 
 
Secretary of State Jesse White previously announced his fifth and current term would be last, but he has had a change of heart and he made that change official at the Illinois County Chairman Brunch at the Crowne Plaza in Springfield.
 
 
The White era began with his first term in 1998. 

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Jobless Rate Up In Illinois

THE ILLINOIS UNEMPLOYMENT RATE INCREASED SLIGHTLY LAST MONTH. 
 
THE JOBLESS RATE ROSE TO FOUR POINT EIGHT PERCENT IN JULY…AND JOB GROWTH IN ILLINOIS REMAINS BELOW THE NATIONAL AVERAGE SAYS STATE DEPARTMENT OF EMPLOYMENT SECURITY SPOKESPERSON BOB GOUGH (goff).
 
 
GOUGH (goff) SAYS THERE WAS ONLY A NET GAIN OF 21-HUNDRED JOBS LAST MONTH.
 
 
JOB GROWTH WAS SEEN LAST MONTH IN PROFESSIONAL AND BUSINESS SERVICES AND LEISURE AND HOSPITALITY. LOSSES WERE FELT IN CONSTRUCTION, TRANSPORTATION AND EDUCATION AND HEALTH SERVICES.

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Governor Says School Funding Talks Ongoing

Next week, the Illinois House will take an override vote, seeking to eliminate the amendatory veto changes Governor Rauner made to Senate Bill One, the school funding reform package. Rauner says negotiations are in play.
 
 
The House is scheduled to take an override vote on Wednesday.

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Illinois Policy Institute Faces Backlash For Political Cartoon

The conservative Illinois think tank that has developed a strong presence within the Rauner Administration is under scrutiny for a new political cartoon. 
 
The cartoon which showed a black child begging a white man for money was deemed racist and insensitive in some corners after the death of a woman in the clashes in Charlottesville, Virginia. 
 
The cartoon was posted online to serve as a commentary on Illinois' school funding fight. I-P-I officials removed the online image, calling it a distraction.

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Chicago's Honest Abe Statue Damaged in Chicago

If you think statues representing the Confederacy are the only target of vandals or protesters, think again.
 
In Chicago, someone burned a statue of the Great Emancipator himself, Abraham Lincoln. Someone used a flammable liquid to vandalize the statue, which was dedicated in the mid 1920s. 
 
Chicago Alderman Raymond Lopez is calling for the public to help police in their investigation. 
 
A statue of George Washington has also been targeted in the Chicago area.

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First Responders Get Free Admission At State Fair Today

The 2017 Illinois State Fair kicks off its final weekend and today is a good day to be a first responder. 
 
Police, Fire and EMS personnel will be admitted to the fairgrounds free of charge on First Responders Day. 
 
Tonight's grandstand highlight will be the Southern Uprising Tour featuring Montgomery Gentry, The Charlie Daniels Band, The Marshall Tucker Band, and The Outlaws, starting at 6 p.m. 
 
A fireworks display will be held following the show.

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August Busy Month for Illinois Farm Bureau

August continues to be a big month for Illinois Farm Bureau President Richard Guebert Jr. 
 
The Ellis Grove farmer has been involved in some important discussions already this month—including a visit with USDA Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue during his RV tour through Illinois and also a number of conversations with federal and state legislators during “Ag Day” at the State Fair. 
 
Also this week in Bloomington; Guebert along with the IFB Board of Directors met with U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth.
 
 
Later this month, the IFB president will be active at the Farm Progress Show in Decatur, including a Farm Bill listening session on August 30th. 
 

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Warner Library Providing Proper Glasses for Eclipse Viewing

Next week will be a very rare phenomenon that will be very visible in central Illinois.
 
An almost total solar eclipse will take place Monday and a local entity is helping prepare the community. Paula Lopatic with the Warner Library explains they will be providing the proper viewing glasses along with a viewing party at the library.
 
 
The eclipse will start early in the afternoon and by approximately 1:21 in the afternoon the moon will cover 95% of the sun.
 
 
Experts encourage making sure anyone interested in watching the solar eclipse on Monday take the proper precautions and wear proper eye wear. 
 
Visit eclipse2017.nasa.gov/safety for proper precautions to take.

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Trees Hot Topic At University of Illinois Extension Office

It might be surprising to some but the summer of 2017, master gardeners at the University of Illinois Extension office are receiving a lot of calls about trees.
 
Master gardener, Candace Miller says they have gotten more calls about trees than vegetables or flowers so far this year. She notes this follows a trend they've seen the last few years because of disease and stress issues. 
 
 
The Emerald Ash Borer disease has hit the country hard in the last five years and Miller says a lot of ash tree owners are starting to see a decline in their ash trees in recent years.
 
 
Miller notes the treatments for the ash trees that are showing disease issues, the treatments, while infrequent, are very costly. She says unless the tree has big value to a homeowner or landowner, it may not be worth it over the long run. 

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Monticello Readies For Next Entrepreneur Boot Camp Program

If you are business owner and feel ready to take the next step, a group in Monticello hopes you'll consider going through their program, which gives you the opportunity at a $5000 grant to start your business.
 
Monticello's Boot Camp Program helps provide information and resources to local business owners who are looking to start up their own business. Callie Jo McFarland, Community Development Director for Monticello says they are ready to start up their next round of classes.
 
 
McFarland explains the program hopes to give a potential business owner as much knowledge as possible to have a successful business. She says their classes cover all sorts of topics.
 
 
There's been a number of success stories through their Boot Camp program. McFarland says their Monarch Brewery that is now a hot spot in the community went through their program last year. She says they try to make it an eye opening experience to prepare their businesses. 
 
 
Business owners have attend the first class and then not come back and McFarland says they informed her it was because they realized how unprepared they were to start their own venture.
 
 
To get more information or get registered for the Boot Camp Program, visit cityofmonticello.net. 

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House Shoots Down SB1, Madigan Critical of Governor

The Illinois House took a vote on the details of the Governors recent amendatory veto of education funding reform and not one member, Republican or Democrat, voted for the plan. 
 
In the meantime House Speaker Mike Madigan says lawmakers are not walking away from Senate Bill 1. Madigan notes it’s the work of many groups for more than a decade. So as Madigan prepares an override vote next week he has his doubts that Rauner even wants a compromise.
 
 
Madigan says that he’s still been willing to negotiate compromises inside education funding reform but that the Governor has no desire to find middle ground.

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Market Continues To React To Weather in Short Term

A trading expert sees some light at the end of the tunnel for farmers as they watch the recent run of red numbers at the Chicago Board of Trade. 
 
Doug Werling at Bower Trading says the weather market continues to be a weather market.
 
 
Soybean prices have lost 68 cents in the last two weeks.

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Applications Being Accepted For Firefighter Grant Program

Illinois American Water has announced they are accepting applications for the 2017 Firefighter Grant Program. 
 
The grants provide financial assistance to fire and emergency organizations serving communities within the Illinois American Water service area. Since 2010 American Water's Grant Program has awarded over $342,000. 
 
Karen Cotton, a spokesperson for Illinois American Water says the grant money can be used for a variety of things.
 
 
Applications for the grants should be emailed to "karen.cotton@amwater.com" no later than September 8. She says most if not all local departments are aware of the opportunity to seek this grant. 

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Clinton Schools, Liberty Village Enter Into Safety Agreement

They share Illini Drive and now they are partners in a safety agreement.
 
Tuesday night at the Clinton Board of Education Meeting, Clinton Schools Superintendent Curt Nettles discussed a recent agreement they entered into with Liberty Village.
 
 
Nettles calls the partnership another example of being a good community partner with area agencies.
 
 
Nettles also updated the Board Tuesday about pictures of newest Clinton Schools facility, Clinton Elementary School, being submitted for the November Exhibition of Educational Environment Conference in Chicago. 

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DCDC Addresses Clinton Rotary

The DeWitt County Development Council is currently in the process of rebuilding itself and their leader addressed the Clinton Rotary Club Tuesday afternoon.
 
Curt Homann, President of DCDC, explains the DCDC had to essentially start over because they lost funding from a trio of DeWitt County governing bodies that were supporting them. Since that time, they received a matching grant from State Farm Bank.
 
 
Homann explains DCDC has shifted its priorities. Initially the goal was business development but since, they still have the USDA revolving loan to help businesses.
 
 
The State Farm Bank grant was matching up to $25-thousand and could not come from government entities. Homann explains they are focused on making the second year of that grant happen.
 
 
The DCDC will support the developing CEO Program at Clinton High School. 

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Erika Harold Making Run For Attorney General

Former Miss America Erika Harold is taking another shot in the political arena. 
 
After facing off against Congressman Rodney Davis in the 2014 GOP primary, Harold is now making a run for Illinois Attorney General. 
 
Barring a challenger, she will face four term A-G Lisa Madigan next year.

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Governor Signs Series of Ag Bills

GOVERNOR BRUCE RAUNER IS SIGNING A PACKAGE OF BILLS IN HONOR OF AGRICULTURE DAY AT THE ILLINOIS STATE FAIR. 
 
SOME OF THE BILLS ARE DESIGNED TO REDUCE REGULATIONS AND CUT RED TAPE WITHIN THE STATE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE. ANOTHER MAKES CORN THE OFFICIAL STATE GRAIN SAYS GOVERNOR RAUNER.
 
 
ANOTHER BILL STRIVES TO IMPROVE AG EDUCATION IN ILLINOIS AND ATTRACT QUALITY AG TEACHERS.
 

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Eclipse Brightens Economic Picture For Southern Illinois

Monday's total solar eclipse is bringing business to Southern Illinois. 
 
State tourism chief Cory Jobe has new estimates for the economic impact on Carbondale and surrounding areas.
 
 
At Carterville's Walker's Bluff winery, rock legend Ozzy Osbourne will headline four days of concerts with a performance during the duration of the eclipse. 

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Congressman Davis Talks Locks and Dams At State Fair Ag Day

Even on the Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield the aging Lock and Dam system getting attention. The topic was addressed during State Fair Ag Day by two members of Illinois’ Congressional delegation. 
 
Democrat Cheri Bustos of Rock Island says investment is long overdue.
 
 
And Republican Rodney Davis (right) of Taylorville is on board with significant federal dollars going to locks and dams and other infrastructure. 
 
 
Both Davis and Bustos serve on the House Ag Committee. 

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Bill Allows EMTs To Transport Injured Police Dogs To Vets

A NEW LAW AIMS TO BETTER TAKE CARE OF POLICE DOGS INJURED ON THE JOB.
 
THE MEASURE LETS EMERGENCY MEDICAL SERVICE PROVIDERS TRANSPORT A WOUNDED K-9 OFFICER VIA AMBULANCE TO A VETERINARY CLINIC. STATE POLICE TROOPER JUSTIN ROYER SAYS THIS WILL ENSURE THEIR FURRY OFFICERS, LIKE HIS PARTNER DRAX, QUICKLY GET THE CARE THEY NEED.
 
 
GOVERNOR RAUNER APPLAUDS THE MEASURE.
 
 
HUMANS NEEDING MEDICAL ATTENTION OR AN AMBULANCE WOULD STILL TAKE PRECEDENCE UNDER THE LAW.

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Liberty Village Hosting Job Fair Wednesday

A local entity is having a job fair Wednesday in search of RNs, LPNs and CNAs to help take care of seniors.
 
Liberty Village in Clinton is on the look out for qualified persons with good personalities according to the Human Resources Director, Jodi Ooms.
 
 
There will be door prizes if you fill out an application and, Ooms adds, the door you should use for this event is the Bounce Back Entrance.
 
 
The event starts at 3 pm tomorrow and goes until 6 pm.

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Head On Collision On Route 10 Last Week

Details are being released in a head on collision on Route 10 from late Monday, August 7.
 
At approximately 10:30 pm Monday night, a westbound truck on Route 10 collided head on with an eastbound van at Jemima Road near Central Illinois Ag.
 
46-year old Francis Lang of Braidwood was westbound when his Chevy truck collided with a van driven by 45-year old Joseph Adams of Clinton. 
 
Lang was the only occupant in the vehicle, however, Adams had 26-year old Marissa Nanez.
 
Lang and Nanez were transported to BroMenn Hospital while Adams was airlifted from the scene to Carle Hospital.
 
No fatalities have been reported.
 
Lang was arrested for DUI, driving too fast for conditions and driving on a suspended license.
 
Route 10 was closed while first responders were on scene.
 
The State Police, DeWitt County Sheriff's Office, Clinton Police, DeWitt County EMS, Clinton Fire Department and Kenney Fire Department were all on scene. 

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Boy Scout Troop 142 Annual Merit Badge Fair at Exelon

Boy Scout Troop 142 held its annual Merit Badge Fair, sponsored by Exelon, on August 12, 2017 at the Clinton Power Station.
 
Scouts could choose from a variety of merit badges including NuclearScience, Engineering, Electricity, First Aid, Fire Safety, Radio, Search and Rescue, as well as others. A total of 25 class choices were available to the boys, with several being taught by Clinton Power Station
employees.
 
Boys from all over the state of Illinois as well as surrounding states were invited to participate.
 
In addition to the merit badge classes, participants were also given a tour of the Simulator as well as a demonstration from Deputy Bryan Morgan (DeWitt County Sheriff’s office) and his K-9 partner, Drax.
 
*Article written by Robert Pakidis, photos taken by Ed Cicenas.

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Authorities Discuss School Safety

The new school year opens this week across central Illinois and local authorities are discussing safety.
 
Child pick up, especially at the lower levels, is a big concern for school administrators in an effort to keep students safe. School Resource Officer at the Clinton Police Department, Mike Bennett, emphasizes the importance of parents communicating with the schools who can and cannot pick students up from school.
 
 
Officer Bennett says it's never too late to be thinking about who can pick up kids in the event you, as the parent or guardian, cannot pick up the child. He encourages contact with that person that would pick your child up and let the school know.
 
 
For the kids, it is important for them to have updated contact information for parents and their work situation. Officer Bennett encourages parents to sit down and update any contact information in their phones and on their person.
 
 
Officer Bennett reminds parents and guardians to update the school on the status of a child if they will miss school for whatever reason. He says if kids are not in school and no notification is given for their absence, administrators and authorities immediately begin to seek out the student and their whereabouts.

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Heyworth Schools Excited About New 'Fit Pit'

A new fitness feature in Heyworth is going to be a great new resource for the school district, but also the community.
 
Principal of Heyworth Junior/Senior High School, April Hicklin, explains their new 'fit pit' is going to allow them to use in their curriculum and make the new equipment available to the community.
 
 
According to Hicklin, a Heyworth staffer found the grant and says it is a great resource to a community of their size and calls it a great need.
 
 
Hicklin says there is a lot to do on it and hopes the community will take advantage of it and is looking forward to their students being able to take advantage of a great resource in their own back yard.

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Weekly Crop Report

IT WAS A COOL, DRY WEEK FOR ILLINOIS CROPS AS WE HEAR IN THE WEEKLY CROP REPORT.
 
THE TEMPERATURE AND RAINFALL THIS PAST WEEK WERE BOTH BELOW NORMAL. CROP STATISTICIAN MARK SCHLEUSENER SAYS 77 PERCENT OF CORN IS NOW IN THE DOUGH STAGE.
 
 
97 PERCENT OF SOYBEANS ARE BLOOMING AND 83 PERCENT ARE SETTING PODS. 63 PERCENT OF THE SOYBEAN CROP IS RATED IN GOOD TO EXCELLENT CONDITION…DOWN SLIGHTLY FROM THE PREVIOUS WEEK.
 
 
THE THIRD CUTTING OF ALFALFA IS NOW 72 PERCENT COMPLETE AND FIVE PERCENT OF SORGHUM IS MATURE. 
 
AVERAGE STATEWIDE TOPSOIL MOISTURE DROPPED TO SEVEN PERCENT VERY SHORT, 35 PERCENT SHORT AND 58 PERCENT ADEQUATE.

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Soybean Association Addresses Dicamba Use

The American Soybean Association released a statement last week on dicamba use and dicamba-related damage to soybean crops. 
 
ASA President Ron Moore says ASA is invested in bringing all parties together to find answers and solutions. In his statement, Moore says the first step in the process is for all parties to determine whether the reported damage is from dicamba or other potential causes. If injury from dicamba spray is indeed the root cause, he says, farmers next need to understand how the damage happened. 
 
Moore says” "We need all parties at the table to establish answers to these and other questions so that proper action can be taken to both protect crops, and protect access to this technology." 
 
He says the discussion is larger than one specific product, saying farmers need and want new modes of action for wee control, but also “need assurance that their own and their neighbors' crops aren't going to be damaged as a result of normal and label-compliant product use.”

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Midwest Farm Economy Possibly Stabilizing

Recent data from the Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank Survey of Agricultural Credit Conditions suggests conditions in the farm sector may be stabilizing. Agricultural credit conditions weakened further in the second quarter of 2017, but the pace of deterioration has slowed. 
 
Although the rate of which farm loans are being repaid continued to decrease, the change from a year ago was not as sharp as in recent years. Only 37 percent of bankers in the survey reported a decrease in repayment rates from a year ago, the lowest share since mid-2015. 
 
Farmland values continued to trend lower alongside the reductions in farm income and weaker credit conditions, but the changes have remained modest. 
With the fall harvest approaching, agricultural lenders and borrowers remain concerned about prospects for the farm economy in the Midwest, particularly in regions with limited potential for high crop yields. 
 
However, bankers were generally less pessimistic about economic conditions in the farm sector in the second quarter than in each of the past two years.

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Sam McCann Doesn't Mince Words on Lone Republican Vote For SB1

State Senator McCann has been known to go his own way on issues and the political maverick made waves again Sunday when he was the only Republican in the Senate who voted to override Governor Rauner's amendatory veto of the school funding reform bill. 
 
He didn't just make a splash with his vote either, as he expressed his views on Governor Rauner's handling of the issue.
 
 
The House will meet on Wednesday.

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Fairgrounds Foundation Hopes To Having Naming Rights For Buildings

The price tag is just shy of $200-million. That’s the kind of “tender-lovin” care both the Illinois State and Du Quoin Fairgrounds need and the not-for-profit Illinois Fairgrounds Foundation was created last year to lead fundraising efforts for the long overdue repairs says the group’s John Slayton.
 
 
The foundation has created a website and information on making donations is available at ilfairfoundation.com.
 
 
The foundation hopes to have a naming rights deal in place for next year’s state fair involving the Coliseum, Grandstand, Livestock Center and Swine Building. 

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Employers Will Soon Be Able To Report, Pay Unemployment Taxes Online

THE STATE DEPARTMENTS OF EMPLOYMENT SECURITY AND REVENUE WILL BE OFFERING MORE ONLINE SERVICES TO EMPLOYERS IN ILLINOIS. 
 
STARTING SEPTEMBER 11TH, EMPLOYERS CAN TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE MY TAX ILLINOIS WEBSITE TO TAKE CARE OF THINGS LIKE SUBMITTING TAX APPEALS, FILING UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE REPORTS AND MAKING PAYMENTS. I-D-E-S SPOKESPERSON BOB GOUGH (goff):
 
 
GOUGH (goff) SAYS BUSINESSES WILL BE ABLE TO TAKE CARE OF MANY REQUIREMENTS AT ONCE.
 
 
THE WEBSITE IS: MY TAX DOT ILLINOIS DOT GOV.

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Bill Prevents Preschoolers From Being Expelled

A new bill designed to keep young students in schools and not expelled picked up the Governor’s signature on Monday. 
 
The bill protects preschoolers from being kicked out critical early childhood education programs. The bill instead asks the school to document steps they will take to help correct the bad behavior. 
 
Democrat State Rep. Juliana Stratton says shocking as it may seem expulsion of preschoolers happens and it impacts some communities more than others. 
 
 
Republican Governor Bruce Rauner says it’s the right step to take to keep all children 
in an educational environment. 
 
 
The bill will allow for children to be taken out of school setting if safety is a concern.

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4-H, GOOGLE, ANNOUNCE PARTNERSHIP TO SUPPORT COMPUTER SCIENCE LEARNING

Technology will continue to affect the way Americans live and work. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that in three years there will be 1.4 million computer science-related jobs available and only 400,000 qualified job candidates. On Friday, National 4-H Council announced a $1.5 million grant from Google Dot Org to support computer science training and create new computer science pathways for the six million children in 4-H. National 4-H Council President and CEO Jennifer Sirangelo talked about how the grant will make that happen…
 
 
One of the program goals will be to teach the kids how computer science applies to the real world, especially in rural areas…
 
 
Sirangelo talks about why it’s important that 4-H is involved in a program like this…
 
 
4-H kids won’t just learn new computer science skills. They’ll continue to learn life skills that 4-H has taught kids since the organization began…
 
 
National 4-H Council President and CEO Jennifer Sirangelo.

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Angel Tree Being Replaced With New Program

A long utilized and popular program is taking a new direction this year.
 
Angel Tree is a Christmas program that gives underprivileged youth a chance at a good holiday that perhaps their parents or guardians would be hard pressed to provide.
 
Director of what is now the defunct Angel Tree, Sue Calvert, indicates the program is taking the new direction with a single day shopping event for parents through the Clinton Walmart.
 
 
According to Calvert, December 5, parents will be invited out to shop for a toy and maybe even a clothing item if they raise enough money. She is looking forward to trying the new system.
 
 
Calvert is very high on the idea because the shopping is done locally and everyone knows where Clinton Walmart and is getting a good response from the community as well.
 
 
Programs like Shop With A Cop and Shop With A Fireman will continue. Calvert says those program will continue to be geared for younger kids whereas the new program will be a parents event.
 
 
There will be quite a change this year for Calvert and the community that wants to be a part of it. She explains they will no longer need donated items or anyone to shop for them. 
 
 
Calvert recognizes a lot of concerns across the community about misuse of the program in the community but assures them this program works very hard to limit that. 
 
 
Calvert hopes invest about $6000 to $8000 back into the program this winter. She says they will continue to rely on churches for their support and hope to organize a few fundraisers in the near future.
 
Contact Calvert via email for more information at suecalvert13@gmail.com.

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Authorities Talk Start of School

School starts Wednesday in Clinton and several other schools in central Illinois.
 
Local authorities are taking the time to educate the public and send out yearly reminders about the youth of our communities being back in class. Mike Bennett is the School Resource Officer at the Clinton Police Department and points out traffic around schools is going to pick up.
 
 
Youngsters will be on the sidewalks and streets heading to and from school. Bennett encourages motorists to take note of this and slow down when near school zones.
 
 
While motorists need to be attentive, often times, students will be out on their own going to and from school. Bennett encourages parents to sit down chat with their kids and emphasize using crossing guards where they can.
 
 
When it comes to school drop off and pick up, Bennett is hoping parents will take the time to park in the parking lot and pick their kids up there. He says waiting just a few minutes to pick kids up can get you in and out faster.
 
 
School starts in Clinton Wednesday with a full day of school across the district.
 
Bennett has more tips for parents and students with school starting this week, we'll have more tomorrow on Regional Radio News.

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Local Senators Vote Against SB1

Yesterday at the Statehouse, the Illinois Senate once again overrode the Governor's veto, this time in regards to school funding.
 
Changes made to Senate Bill 1 by Governor Bruce Rauner were overrode. SB1 revamps school funding to help the neediest schools and includes what conservative lawmakerscall call a bailout of Chicago Public Schools.
 
State Sen. Bill Brady, speaking on the Senate floor, does not feel SB1 does not bring parity to the schools of Illinois.
 
 
Sen. Chapin Rose (right) points out 98-percent of Illinois schools are getting "short changed." He expressed frustration for bailing out Chicago in multiple ways.
 
 
The measure will head to the Illinois House, who is expected to take up SB1 mid-week.

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Rauner Comments on SB 1 Override

Governor Bruce Rauner wanted the Senate to approve his amendatory veto on school funding reform but they refused. Rauner’s plan would have increased funding for nearly every school district. 
 
But the massively complicated funding formula shows that Rauner’s plan seems to cut Chicago Public Schools funding by more than $450 million from the original Senate Bill 1. Yet the administration claims it’s closer to a $240 million cut. 
 
Any way you slice it the district that has 20 percent of the state’s students would only receive a 2 percent boost in education funding from the Republican. Rauner contends that Chicago has been running an unchecked education system for years and now will be forced to live within its means.
 
 
Critics of the plan point out that those districts that are losing students right now will face large cuts in funding in two years, when parts of Rauner’s plan begins to alter funding formulas. 

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Mattoon's GE Plant Closing Its Doors

The GE Lighting Plant in Mattoon closed its doors for the final time Friday. The plant has been in Mattoon for more than 70 years, and about 130 people will be out of a job with the closure. Mattoon Mayor Tim Gover says a closure like the GE Plant closure is always felt in the community.
 
 
Gover says although GE is shutting its Mattoon plant down, the city is not hurting economically.
 
 
Gover says the city has been working with GE to see what will happen with the plant, but that there are no plans in the works at this time.

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BREAKING: Illinois Senate Overrides Governor's Amendatory Veto of School Aid Formula

The Illinois Senate, in another rare Sunday session, overrode Governor Bruce Rauner's amendatory veto of Senate Bill 1, which overhauls the state's school aid formula.  The vote was 38 to 19.
The architect of what's known as S-B-one, Democratic State Senator Andy Manar from Bunker Hill, said the legislation would enact a fair method of funding schools in the state for the first time in more than 20 years, and represents years of compromise and negotiation among lawmakers and school superintendents.
S-B-one funds schools on an evidence-based model, and ensures no school district will lose funding according to Manar.
State Senator Sam McCann of Plainview was the lone Republican to vote for overriding Governor Rauner's veto.
The legislation now goes to the Illinois House for consideration, where it will take at least 4 Republican votes, along with all Democrats, for the override to pass. That chamber is to reconvene on Wednesday.
A 2nd bill without the Governor's changes, also passed the Illinois Senate on Sunday, and was also sent to the House for consideration.  The 2nd bill was passed as a way to negotiate a final bill, if the Governor's amendatory veto is not overriden by the House on Wednesday.
School districts across the state missed their first state aid payment for the 2017-18 school year last week.  It's the first time the state has ever missed this payment.

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Treasurer Finds Money For St. Jude Children's Research Hospital Through I-Cash Program

ILLINOIS TREASURER MIKE FRERICHS’ OFFICE IS RETURNING MORE THAN 12 THOUSAND DOLLARS IN UNCLAIMED MONEY TO ST. JUDE CHILDREN’S RESEARCH HOSPITAL IN PEORIA.
 
THE FUNDS COME FROM FOUR DIFFERENT PROPERTIES FOUND IN THE TREASURER’S I-CASH PROGRAM SAYS FRERICHS.
 
 
TREASURER FRERICHS URGES NON-PROFITS AS WELL AS INDIVIDUALS TO CHECK OFTEN TO SEE IF THEY HAVE ANY UNCLAIMED PROPERTY. YOU CAN SEARCH THE DATABASE AT ILLINOIS TREASURER DOT GOV SLASH I CASH.

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Visit Conservation World At State Fair

CONSERVATION WORLD THIS YEAR FEATURES A NEW BUTTERFLY HOUSE AND AN EMPHASIS ON PROTECTING THE MONARCH BUTTERFLY.
 
THE MONARCH POPULATION HAS BEEN RAPIDLY DECLINING AND EFFORTS ARE UNDERWAY TO BOOST THEIR NUMBERS. STATE DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES DIRECTOR WAYNE ROSENTHAL SAYS THEY WILL TAG AND RELEASE MONARCHS TWICE DAILY IN CONSERVATION WORLD. ADDITIONALLY…
 
 
THE IDEA IS TO BOOST THEIR RAPIDLY DECLINING NUMBERS.
 
 
CONSERVATION WORLD ALSO FEATURES LUMBERJACK SHOWS, A KID’S FISHING POND, A WILDLIFE TENT, DOG DEMONSTRATIONS AND MORE. THE FAIR RUNS THROUGH SUNDAY, AUGUST 20TH.

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Former WHOW DJ Remembers Square Dance Show

Last week, WHOW celebrated 70 years on the air and one of our guests that day was Ozzie Pearl, who hosted a live square dance program for 25 years on WHOW.
 
Pearl indicates it was a 30 minute show and he never missed a single one in 25 years.
 
Pearl recalls a trip he made with a bunch of their square dancers to Nashville. He explains got to meet Roy Acuff and Hank Snow and had them record a station break, which was later accidentally deleted.
 
Pearl was among about a dozen former WHOW staff members and community members to be a part of the 70th anniversary show at the Big Red Barn last Saturday. 

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Sen. Rose Bill On Procurement Passes

Gov. Bruce Rauner has signed a law that makes state government purchasing less cumbersome.
 
The Republican signed the measure Wednesday in Urbana at the University of Illinois. The law eliminates administrative delays for universities. State Senator Chapin Rose indicates it allows government agencies to enter joint-purchasing agreements to increase cost-saving buying power and save millions of dollars.
 
Rose adds it will allow more spending on students in college classrooms.
 
The measure began in the Senate as part of the "grand bargain" budget compromise laid out last winter by Democratic Senate President John Cullerton of Chicago and former Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno of Lemont.
 
It was seen as answering one of Rauner's calls for government streamlining in an attempt to get a budget agreement that had stalled for two years.

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New Law Allows Offenders To Receive Free Copy of Birth Certificate

GOVERNOR BRUCE RAUNER IS SIGNING A NEW CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM LAW DESIGNED TO HELP STEER THOSE GETTING OUT OF PRISON TOWARDS A BETTER PATH. 
 
THE LAW LETS OFFENDERS RECEIVE A COPY OF THEIR BIRTH CERTIFICATE FOR FREE UPON THEIR RELEASE. IT WAS SPONSORED BY REPRESENTATIVE AL RILEY OF HAZEL CREST.
 
 
ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS CHIEF COUNSEL CAMILE LINDSAY SAYS THIS IS AN IMPORTANT STEP IN KEEPING FORMER INMATES OUT OF TROUBLE.
 
 
GOVERNOR RAUNER SAYS THIS WILL HELP PEOPLE GET BACK ON THEIR FEET AND REDUCE THE CHANCES OF THEM REPEATING THEIR CRIMES.

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Weekly Weather Summary

It was a mild week in central Illinois and State Climotologist Jim Angel says we are in for more of the same this weekend and early next week.
 

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RFD Broadcaster Discusses RFD, WHOW History

The RFD Radio Network is celebrating their 50th anniversary and WHOW recently celebrated it's 70th anniversary.
 
The two have been long time partners and Deloss Jahnke says WHOW was one of the original charter members of their network.
 
 
Jahnke compares what WHOW and RFD do to a podcast. He says the five minute, ten minute and twenty minute segments are the original podcast on live radio.
 
 
Jahnke was among around a dozen guests to join an on air celebration of WHOW's 70th anniversary Saturday. 

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Summer Maintenance Work Underway

City street work is underway in Clinton as summer the scheduled summer maintenance got going this week.
 
Public Works Director Steve Lobb indicates work is happening in all parts of the community. He notes, the work impacts the community for just a short time.
 
 
Lobb says he gets a lot of questions about the effectiveness of the oil and chip but points out it is actually the most effective way to preserve the road at a reasonable price. 
 
 
The oil and chip resurfacing work is being done in addition to lengthy road work happening at Quincy and Jericho Streets. 

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Frontier Customers Experience Short Outages

Frontier customers have been reporting outages in the morning hours this week.
 
Frontier officials indicate routine maintenance is taking place this week on their network. Andy Malinoski, Communications Manager with Frontier, explains it was work that was being done in the early morning hours to impact as few customers as possible.
 
 
Frontier reported around six-thousand customers dealing with outages earlier this week. 

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Rauner Says He Could Have Handled Senate Bill 1 Differently

The pressure is mounting around the state when it comes to education funding. This week schools missed their general state aid payment for the first time ever. As the Senate waits to meet on Sunday to consider the Governor’s amendatory veto, Bruce Rauner is still facing criticism over not being open about what changes he wanted to make to Senate Bill 1. 
 
Gov. Rauner left the door open to sound like he’s considering the fact that he could have done things differently but he’s still upset that Democrats held the funding bill for 2 months before sending it to his desk.
 
 
This week ends with the specter of the Senate back in session on Sunday, setting the stage for the House to do the same next Wednesday.
 

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Manar, Scherer Rally For Senate Bill 1

Backers of the school funding reform bill gathered outside a Springfield Elementary School yesterday with the architect of Senate Bill One, State Senator Andy Manar, and State Representative Sue Scherer. An emotional Scherer called on Governor Rauner to drop his amendatory veto.
 
 
Manar is hopeful Republicans join the cause.
 
 
Manar says Rauner's amendatory veto leaves Senate Bill One virtually unrecognizable with roughly one hundred changes. The Senate reconvenes Sunday to discuss school funding, the House will come back to the Capitol on Wednesday.

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High Dive Show Getting Boot from State Fair Lineup

The Illinois State Fair will save some money on its water bill as officials shake up the lineup. Fair Manager Kevin Gordon says the high dive show is giving way to a more cost effective, diverse lineup.
 
 
The State Fair opened Thursday. 

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Former WHOW Station Manager Remembers His Time At WHOW

After celebrating it's 70th anniversary this past weekend, a former WHOW Station Manager was part of the celebration on air.
 
Former Station Manger Larry Duling was the manager at the time the former WHOW tower fell after an ice storm. Duling recalls the events of the early morning.
 
 
Duling called that event a rewrite of history for the radio station. He says eventually both WHOW-AM and WHOW-FM on the air but it was not going as far as it was.
 
 
Duling recalls the early 2000s when the station went off the air and he and others had to rebuild the station almost from scratch. He says prior to the tower falling, he felt like they had momentum but it was all halted with that event.

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Staunton Classic Car Spot Suffers Significant Damage

For gearheads and fans of muscle cars and other Detroit masterpieces over the years, a Staunton fire was enough to bring tears to their eyes. 
 
13 fire departments turned out to battle a blaze that took out a large building and more than a hundred cars inside at Country Classic Cars on Route 66. Staunton Fire Chief Rick Haase (Haw-zee) says it was no easy firefight.
 
 
In addition, all of the water for the firefight had to be trucked in to the site. Haase said there was help for firefighters from mother nature in avoiding the toxic strew of the fire.
 
 
There's no word on a cause. No one was injured. The Illinois State Fire Marshall's office is leading the investigation.

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Longtime Food Vendors Named State Fair Grand Marshalls

The Grand Marshalls for last night's Twilight parade included the Vose, Cullers and Coleman Families. 
 
Bob Vose, the patriach of the popular Vose's Korn Dog stand says they have been successful for 52 years from their spot across from the Grandstand thanks to service and price.
 
 
Combined, the families have been a member of the State Fair family for 176 years.

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Governor To Officially Open State Fair

Gov. Bruce Rauner is planning to cut the ribbon to open the 2017 Illinois State Fair .
 
The Republican governor officially opens the summertime extravaganza on Thursday afternoon at the fairgrounds main gate.
 
The fair runs Thursday through Aug. 20. Daily admission is $10 for adults and $3 for seniors. Children 12 and under are admitted for free and there are several discount days which include half-priced admission for adults.
 
Grandstand entertainment includes Foghat , Brad Paisley , Alabama , and Five Finger Death Punch . There will be auto and harness racing and numerous stages featuring free entertainment.
 
Rauner will be joined at the ribbon cutting by Agriculture Department Director Raymond Poe, Natural Resources Department Director Wayne Rosenthal, state fair manager Kevin Gordon and Illinois County Fair Queen Claudia VanOpdorp.

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Agency Inspecting All State Fair Rides

Illinois officials are conducting routine inspections of all rides at the 2017 state fair to ensure they are safe to operate.
 
The Illinois Department of Labor's Amusement Ride and Attraction Safety Division is inspecting more than 65 rides at the fairgrounds in Springfield. The department says no ride will be allowed to run if it doesn't pass the inspection.
 
The fair starts Thursday and runs through Aug. 20.
 
Acting Director Joe Beyer says inspectors also will be making unannounced safety checks throughout the fair.
 
The department is encouraging fairgoers to follow safety rules and instructions from ride attendants. That includes following minimum height and weight restrictions and using required safety equipment such as lap bars, harnesses and seat belts.

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Food Trucks Taking on Bigger Role At State Fair

The Illinois State Fair is known for its familiar Food a Rama lineup and longtme vendors. But the fair is going portable to bring in some new tastes. 
 
Luke Sailor with the Department of Agriculture talks about some food offerings rolling into the fairgrounds.
 
 
The State Fair Opens today. 

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2017 State Fair Butter Cow Unveiled

THE ILLINOIS STATE FAIR IS UNVEILING THIS YEAR’S BUTTER COW…CREATED BY A NEW TEAM OF ARTISTS.
 
THE BUTTER COW EXHIBIT WAS SCULPTED BY SARAH AND ANDY PRATT OF WEST DES MOINES IOWA. IT’S THEIR FIRST YEAR AT THE ILLINOIS STATE FAIR…AND THE 2017 VERSION FEATURES A MOMMA AND HER CALF, STICKING THEIR TONGUES OUT AT EACH OTHER SAYS MIDWEST DAIRY ASSOCIATION’S MARLA BEHRENDS.
 
 
SCULPTOR SARAH HID NINE HEARTS WITHIN THE SCULPTURE, REPRESENTING THE NINE ESSENTIAL NUTRIENTS FOUND IN MILK. THE BUTTER COW DISPLAY TOOK 90 HOURS TO CREATE.
 
 
THE BUTTER COW IS LOCATED IN THE DAIRY BUILDING ON THE STATE FAIRGROUNDS, WHERE YOU’LL ALSO FIND GAMES FOR KIDS, WINNING PRODUCTS ON DISPLAY AND ICE CREAM TREATS.

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Boil Order Issued In Clinton

A portion of the City of Clinton is currently under a boil order until further notice.  The area is from Madison Street to Center Street and Adams Street to South Street. 

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CJHS Hosting A Pair Meet and Greet Opportunities This Week

Getting together before the new school year through a couple of events is the goal of the leader of Clinton Junior High School.
 
Tonight at Clinton Junior High School, all students are invited to be a part of a night of fun with food and games and activities. Principal Drew Goebel hopes to get a good crowd for a fun night to help set a good tone for the upcoming school year.
 
 
From 6 pm to 7 pm Thursday night, Goebel is welcoming out all sixth grade students for an informal orientation night. He hopes incoming sixth graders will come out and get to know their locker locations and where their classes are and get to know any teachers that may come out.
 
 
Goebel anticipates the open house going a little later than 7 pm and is willing to be around to talk to any parents and students.
 
He also points out, the school is open and will be until the first day of school. He encourages any student to stop in and get familiar with the building if they cannot make Thursday's orientation. 
 
School starts Wednesday, August 16. 

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Former Mayor Edmunds Remembers WHOW

Saturday at the Big Red Barn was a celebration of 70 years of WHOW being on the air. 
 
In a live interview, former Clinton Mayor and current Council member, Tom Edmunds, remembered the days when morning interviews started to become popular and recalls long time news director, Bill Ward and the longevity he had at WHOW.
 
 
Edmunds credits WHOW for being a resource for information in times of emergency. Now the station serves as an emergency radio station for the power plant, but he points to many years ago when radio station personnel would arrive via snowmobile.
 
 
WHOW is also linked to the National Weather Service, so any time a watch or warning is issued in DeWitt County, or any of the surrounding areas, WHOW broadcasts live emergency alert notifications. 

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Scams Continue To Hammer Local Residents

If it was anymore frequent, it would happen as much as a deposit, and that is scam attempts at local residents.
 
Primarily targeted at seniors, Pam Lyons with DeWitt Savings Bank, notes they aren't exclusive to seniors. At the Clinton Rotary Club meeting Tuesday afternoon, Lyons indicates there are dozens of ways someone could get your personal information.
 
 
Debit fraud is what Lyons sees the most. Justin Fentress, President of the Bank, indicates internet banking can be a very useful resource to make sure all transactions on your account are legitimate.
 
 
There are numerous protection services offered through financial institutions like DeWitt Savings Bank. Lyons hopes everyone will use online banking and be proactive in setting up those protections. Visit your local bank to find out more. 

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State Fair Unveils 'Thrillville'

THE ILLINOIS STATE FAIR IS OFFERING A NEW AREA FOR FAMILIES TO ENJOY…CALLED THRILLVILLE. 
 
THRILLVILLE WILL BE LOCATED INSIDE GATE TWO…WHERE THE MOST FOOT TRAFFIC ENTERS THE FAIR. STATE FAIR MANAGER KEVIN GORDON SAYS IT INCLUDES ACTS LIKE CIRQUE EXTREME.
 
 
THERE WILL ALSO BE REMOTE CONTROLLED RACE CARS FOR FAIRGOERS TO TRY OUT. THE FAIR OPENS THURSDAY AND RUNS THROUGH SUNDAY THE 20TH.
 
 
THE ILLINOIS STATE FAIR KICKS OFF THURSDAY IN SPRINGFIELD AND RUNS THROUGH SUNDAY THE 20TH. GET ALL THE DETAILS ONLINE AT ILLINOIS STATE FAIR DOT INFO.

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Governor Signs Cybersecurity Measure

Legislation that requires all state employees to receive annual cybersecurity training has been signed by Governor Bruce Rauner. Rauner says the issue is becoming more and more crucial.
 
 
State workers will undergo the annual training to learn the best way to defend against cyber threats, which will in turn help safeguard the state's information systems that contain sensitive information. 

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Governor Says No To Mendoza, Frerichs Push To Borrow

Gov. Bruce Rauner is rejecting calls from Democrats like Treasurer Michael Frerichs and Comptroller Susana Mendoza to turn to borrowing to reduce the state's $14.4 billion dollar backlog of overdue bills. 
 
Rauner says the state should not seek more credit. Mendoza and Frerichs both called for selling up to $6 billion in bonds. Mendoza says borrowing could kill two birds with one stone.
 
 
Mendoza says bonds can be paid back at a lower interest rate than the current 12 percent interest rate the state is paying on its overdue debt.

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August Cooler Than Normal So Far

The month of August has ushered in cooler temperatures for much of Illinois, but certain areas of the Midwest could use a rain shower says meteorologist Dan Hicks with Freese-Notis Weather.
 
 
Hicks expects the cooler temps to continue over the next seven days with relatively light rainfall. He says warmer temperatures and high humidity should return in the third and fourth weeks of August. 

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WHOW Donates Items To Warner Library

A string of tornadoes in 1968 ripped through DeWitt County and WHOW played a big part in getting the community through a trying time.
 
Pages of notes from the station at that time was donated Saturday to the Warner Library and librarian Bobbi Perryman (right with Station Engineer and Clinton native, Wayne Miller) says they are appreciative of the gift and they will go through their usual routine to make sure everyone can see it for a long time.
 
 
Station Engineer and Clinton native Wayne Miller, was at the radio station during the day when the tornado went through the Wapella area. He says they received all sorts of messages from community members for their families.
 
 
WHOW held an on-air celebration and open house Saturday morning and afternoon to recognize 70 years on the air. Numerous guests made appearances and we'll hear from them this week on Regional Radio News. 

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Heyworth Schools Excited About Opportunities With New Greenhouse

The finishing touches are taking place on a new greenhouse at Heyworth Junior/Senior High School and school administrators are excited about the opportunities it will provide.
 
Principal of the Jr/Sr High, April Hicklin says the Heyworth FFA chapter will likely get the bulk of the use from the new greenhouse. She feels it is a great opportunity for their student body.
 
 
Hicklin points to classes like their horticulture and science classes will get very good hands on experience.
 
 
The greenhouse is situated at the Jr/Sr high school near their FFA classroom. Hicklin says their teachers have been using the summer months to come up with creative ways to incorporate its use into the curriculum.

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U.S. Agriculture Secretary Visits Central Illinois Monday

As part of a five-state RV tour, titled the "Back To Our Roots" Tour, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue stopped in rural Sangamon County Monday.  NAFB Farm Broadcaster Jared White has more...
 
 
 
 
 

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Weekly Crop Report

ILLINOIS FARM FIELDS GOT A BREAK FROM THE HEAT AS WE HEAR IN THE WEEKLY CROP REPORT. 
 
TEMPERATURES WERE COOLER THAN NORMAL THIS PAST WEEK…AND NEARLY SIX DAYS WERE SUITABLE FOR FIELDWORK. STATISTICIAN STEVE MALISZEWSKI SAYS 97 PERCENT OF CORN IS NOW SILKING.
 
 
94 PERCENT OF SOYBEANS ARE BLOOMING AND 70 PERCENT ARE SETTING PODS.
 
 
ONE PERCENT OF SORGHUM IS MATURE AND THE THIRD CUTTING OF ALFALFA IS ABOUT HALFWAY COMPLETE.
 
AVERAGE STATEWIDE TOPSOIL MOISTURE IS RATED AT NINE PERCENT VERY SHORT, 25 PERCENT SHORT, 64 PERCENT ADEQUATE AND TWO PERCENT SURPLUS.

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Treasurer Feels For Schools

State Treasurer Michael Frerichs can't get funds moving to schools until lawmakers override the Governor's veto of the school funding bill or Rauner and Democrats reach a deal. 
 
Frerichs doesn't envy the position schools are in with state funds locked up for the timebeing.
 
 
Frerichs says some of the changes made through Governor Rauner's amendatory veto will be costly to some school districts. He notes Peoria Schools alone would lose about a million dollars a year. 

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