Local News

County Board Chair Updates Wind Farm Process

A flurry of activity between the various DeWitt County entities has, for the time, settled, and DeWitt County Board Chair David Newberg updated Regional Radio listeners of the latest on wind energy ordinances Friday morning.
 
Newberg explains the Regional Planning Commission, or RPC, met earlier this week and sent some recommendations on to the Zoning Board of Appeals for consideration.
 
 
The RPC sent the ordinances to the ZBA and Newberg says those hearings should get underway in early March.
 
 
Newberg compliments the work of the RPC and feels confident in their ability to make sound decisions for the county going forward.

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AmVets Remind High School Students of Scholarship Deadline

As part of the promotion for the Post 14 and AMVETS Illinois Service Foundation scholarships, Clinton Post 14 Scholarship Committee members went to the Clinton High School to “sell” our product.  
 
The Post members talked to several students not only in classrooms, but also during lunch periods in the school commons.  Pictured are the Scholarship Committee members, L – R: Marvin Hubble, Ed Beck, Darrel Tucker, and Jessie Owens (Alternate for Dennis Davenport) plus Post 14 Commander Marc Rogers.
 
Post 14 has both a fantastic privilege and very unique opportunity for developing this scholarship program. One of the Post members gifted Post 14 with a $10,000 donation designated for area scholarships; the Post then drafted guidelines developing the scholarship program.  It was requested by the donor that the scholarship funds go strictly to local high school seniors who are children and grandchildren of Veterans.  The breakdown of the funding has been requested to be in the form of half for four-year college bound students, while the other half of the donation is for students electing to pursue a trade school education.
 
As part of this trust, the Post established a Scholarship Committee to develop the application form and selection process criteria for the Dennis Davenport / AMVETS Post 14 Scholarships.  With some fantastic teamwork by the Post 14 members, both the application form and a scoring formula was created similar to the process used by the AMVETS Ladies Auxiliary scholarship program.
 
This article is a reminder that applications for the Post 14 Scholarships are due by March 1st.  Prospective applicants are reminded that a minimum award for each scholarship will be $1000.00!  Post 14 is excited about being able to help our local Veterans’ children and grandchildren as they continue their education and training for the future.  We will provide the names of both sets of the scholarship winners for the Clinton Journal newspaper, so everyone can know who has been selected for both the four-year college and the trade school scholarships.

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FFA Week: LeRoy

FFA Week is about to wrap up and it's been a busy week of fun and outreach in LeRoy.
 
Chapter President Taylor Spiker says they've done the traditional dress up days with a lot of variety this year.
 
 
Chapter Reporter Megan Hanlin explains their showcase is an outreach they do to other students who do not take ag classes or are not part of FFA and tries to make them aware of the things they do.
 
 
LeRoy FFA recently participated in the National FFA convention and at the State FFA Convention, Spiker received her state degree, a high honor for an FFA member to achieve.
 
 
Spiker and Hanlin joined the illinoisfarmradio.com noon farm show Thursday. Friday will wrap up the interviews with local FFA chapters from 12:20 pm to 1 pm and those interviews can be found at illinoisfarmradio.com. 

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Specialty Growers Concerned About University of Illinois Extension Staff

The state’s specialty growers are expressing concern about future staffing within the University of Illinois Extension system. 
 
The latest issue is the retirement of entomologist Rick Weinzierl says Randy Graham, chairman of the Illinois Specialty Growers Association.
 
 
Graham owns Curtis Orchard in Champaign. 

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More Discussion on Keeping Students in Illinois

LAWMAKERS AND THE HEAD OF THE STATE BOARD OF HIGHER EDUCATION ARE DISCUSSING HOW TO KEEP MORE COLLEGE STUDENTS IN ILLINOIS.
 
MORE AND MORE STUDENTS ARE CHOOSING TO ATTEND COLLEGE OUT OF STATE, AND THERE ARE SEVERAL FACTORS THAT GO INTO THAT DECISION. SENATOR DAN MCCONCHIE OF LAKE ZURICH NOTED THAT HIS DAUGHTER RECEIVED SCHOLARSHIPS OFFERS FROM SEVERAL BIG SCHOOLS IN OTHER STATES…BUT NONE FROM THE U OF I.
 
 
AL BOWMAN…STATE HIGHER EDUCATION EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR SAYS REDUCTIONS IN STATE FUNDING HAVE REALLY HURT SCHOOLS AND THAT THEY NEED TO RESTORE FAITH IN ILLINOIS’ COLLEGE SYSTEM.
 
 
BOWMAN WAS SPEAKING AT A SENATE COMMITTEE HEARING WHERE LAWMAKERS URGED HIM TO WORK ON A STATEWIDE PLAN TO HELP RETAIN MORE ILLINOIS STUDENTS AT ALL STATE COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES.

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Legalization of Pot Could Be Headed To Voters

VOTERS MAY BE ASKED IF THEY SUPPORT LEGALIZING RECREATIONAL MARIJUANA WHEN THEY HEAD TO THE POLLS IN NOVEMBER.
 
LEGISLATION ADVANCED BY A SENATE COMMITTEE CREATES A VOTER REFERENDUM ON WHETHER POT SHOULD BE TAXED, REGULATED AND ALLOWED FOR USE BY THOSE 21 AND OVER. SENATOR BILL CUNNINGHAM OF CHICAGO SAYS IT’S A GOOD IDEA TO SEE HOW ILLINOISANS FEEL ABOUT THE IDEA.
 
 
SUPPORTERS NOTE THE REFERENDUM WOULD BE “NON-BINDING” BUT WOULD SERVE TO FURTHER THE CASE FOR LEGALIZING RECREATIONAL POT IN ILLINOIS.

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Lawmakers Propose Bill To Petition To Have Guns Taken Away From Someone That Could Be A Danger

AMONG SEVERAL GUN BILLS INTRODUCED AT THE STATE CAPITOL…IS ONE LETTING FAMILY MEMBERS SEEK A “LETHAL VIOLENCE ORDER OF PROTECTION.”
 
THE MEASURE LETS SOMEONE CONCERNED THAT A LOVED ONE MAY COMMIT AN ACT OF VIOLENCE PETITION THE COURTS TO TAKE AWAY THAT PERSON’S FIREARMS. A HEARING WOULD THEN BE HELD SAYS BILL SPONSOR…SENATOR JULIE MORRISON OF DEERFIELD.
 
 
GUN DEALER LOBBYIST TODD VANDERMYDE OPPOSES THE MEASURE, SAYING IT MAKES IT TOO EASY TO STRIP SOMEONE OF THEIR SECOND AMENDMENT RIGHTS BASED ON THE WORD OF ANOTHER.
 
 
OTHER GUN LEGISLATION BANS ASSAULT WEAPONS, BUMP STOCKS AND WHAT ARE CALLED “GHOST GUNS.”

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More Wind Farm Talk At County Board Meeting

The DeWitt County Board heard more about wind farms Thursday night at their regular monthly meeting.
 
At the land use committee meeting earlier this month, Melonie Tilley proposed a moratorium on wind farms however the discussion did not culminate in any action and the same was the case Thursday night when Tilley brought the topic to the full board.
 
She clarified for the board what a moratorium would mean for them...
 
 
Tilley points to Macon and McLean Counties are in the process of updating their ordinances in place. Macon County has a wind farm that is in its first year of operation while McLean County has two wind farms in place.
 
 
The County is in the midst of updating its comprehensive plan and Tilley wants to see that process play out before any decisions on the wind farm are made.
 
 
The comprehensive plan update, which is just underway, has been attempted to be updated before however, an update was rejected by a previous board. 
 
The update is not expected to be brought before the board any sooner than November. 

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DeWitt County Substance Abuse Coalition Finds New Leadership

The DeWitt County Substance Abuse Coalition will be under new leadership when they meet again in March.
 
DeWitt County Sheriff Jered Shofner, whose office was instrumental in the formation of the coalition, says the coalition was brought together by law enforcement to be a means to connect resources in central Illinois.
 
 
Sheriff Shofner feels it is a good idea to have new leadership take over the coalition to allow it to be more approachable for the community.
 
 
The new chairman of the coalition is Pastor Jeff Delaughter and Paul Skowron from Warner Hospital and Health Services is the vice-chair.
 
 
Coalition meetings are open to the public. If you'd like to consider joining, visit them at the Warner Library on the third Tuesday of the month at 10 am. 

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Clinton Schools Leader Talks Pension Shift Proposal

The leader of Clinton Schools is reacting to the Governor's proposal to shift the cost of funding teachers pensions from the state level to the local level.
 
Superintendent of Clinton Schools Curt Nettles points out this proposal has been talked about for around five years and indicates it is a problem the state legislature single-handedly created.
 
 
Nettles speculates if this ever is passed it would be brought in over time, and now some lawmakers are also calling to allow schools to levy a tax to pay for it.
 
 
When it is all said and done, Nettles predicts this happening and those pension costs for teachers being shifted to school districts.
 
 
As it relates to the State's payments to schools, Nettles indicates the State's debt to the school was nearly cut in half as they received the first quarterly payment. He points out there's still a struggle with cash flow and the Comptroller issues the payments when she can. 

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Friday Final Free Friday at Miller Park Zoo

If you want to check out the Miller Park Zoo in Bloomington, this Friday is the final time this year you can do so for free.
 
Jay Tetzloff, Superintendent of the Miller Park Zoo indicates this Friday is the final free day as a part of their free Fridays in February.
 
 
February has been mild enough the Friday crowds have been pretty good. Tetzloff says the rain and snow can keep some from coming out.
 
 
Tetzloff reminds those who might be considering coming out but the forecast is showing precipitation or it's going to be cold, half of the zoo's collection is inside and half is outside. 

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Rauner Visits Veterans Home After Latest Legionnaire's Outbreak

After a fourth case of Legionnaire's Disease was discovered at the Illinois Veterans Home in Quincy, Governor Bruce Rauner paid a return visit to the facility. 
 
Rauner says he isn't ready to proceed with calls to move veterans out of the home.
 
 
There's a difference of opinion on what it will cost to fix the situation in Quincy. A state report on the veterans home indicated it would take $8 million to eliminate the Legionnaire's threat. Meanwhile, the Rauner Administration has talked of a $25 million price tag. The Governor isn't ready to name a final price.
 
 
Rauner's GOP opponent, West Point grad and State Rep. Jeannie Ives said during a Wednesday press conference "“Get them out of that home NOW,” 

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Davis Says FEMA Amendment Removed By Senate

Central Illinois Congressman Rodney Davis recently sponsored a provision in a bill to make it easier for downstate Illinois to receive FEMA aid, but the U.S. Senate removed the item from the bill. Davis says for small communities that suffer disasters, the current FEMA funding formula is unfair.
 
 
Davis says partisan politics is causing good policies like his FEMA provision to be cast aside in the Senate.

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Lt. Governor Believes Rauner Budget Has Bipartisan Flavor

A key part of Governor Rauner's budget framework should look familiar to Democrats. 
So says Lt. Governor Evelyn Sanguinetti who notes the Governor wasn't the first key figure in state politics to suggest shifting the responsibility for teacher pensions from the state to local school districts.
 
 
Rauner hopes the shift leads to 1.3 billion dollars in savings in his new budget. 

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Duckworth Discusses Ag Labor, Crop Insurance

U-S Senator Tammy Duckworth told a group of farmers that she'll fight to keep the U-S Department of Agriculture's research laboratory in Peoria open despite President Trump's effort to close the facility. The president's proposed federal 20-19 budget would shut it and more than a dozen U-S-D-A facilities down;
 
 
Duckworth and other Illinois lawmakers had to fight off a similar proposal to close the Peoria ag lab last year;
 
 
During her meeting with farmers at the Peoria County Farm Bureau Duckworth also heard concerns about the president's budget proposal that would cut federal crop insurance. Duckworth says she'll oppose that proposal too.

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Threat Made At Blue Ridge Junior High School Tuesday Afternoon

A verbal threat of violence was made at Blue Ridge Junior High School yesterday.

 

Per a release from the school, a student informed school officials of a verbal threat to the school after the conclusion of the school day Tuesday and the school notified authorities who conducted an immediate investigation.

 

Piatt County Sheriff’s deputies were at the school this morning along with the school resource to investigate and the school did not need to go on lockdown.

 

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Clinton To Go Back Out For Municipal Aggregation

The City of Clinton is going back out for bid to try to ensure local residents a better rate on their electricity.
 
The process, known as electric aggregation, is coming back around and City Administrator Tim Followell indicates around 80-percent of the community participates.
 
 
Follow explains there are over a dozen communities bidding during this process, which will result in a better bid.
 
 
Literature is going out in the near future about this process and Followell indicates every resident in the pool can decide if they want to be a part of it or not.
 
 
For those that may not be a part of the City's program, you can join at any time. 

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FFA Week: Maroa-Forsyth

FFA Chapters across the country are in the midst of their biggest celebrations of the year.
 
Locally, the Maroa-Forsyth FFA has been busy leading up to this week. Chapter Treasurer, Ashton Williams indicates they've already been skiing and to an Illinois basketball game this week.
 
 
Harlan Kapferschmidt says they've got a lot more to come this week.
 
 
Theme days are a staple for FFA chapters locally and Secretary Brailey Fink outlines the rest of the week's theme days for their chapter.
 
 
The students joined the IllinoisFarmRadio.com noon farm show for National FFA week. More interviews can be heard all week on WHOW.

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Richland Community College To Cut Ribbon On New State of the Art Student Center

Thanks to a flow of government money, a local community college is going to unveil a brand new student center this week.
 
Greg Florian at Richland Community College says they've renovated some existing space and have added new space to the Student Success Center and Carroll Center for Innovative Learning. 
 
 
Florian says this new learning center is going to update the technology in the classrooms, which has been received with high marks by their faculty and students.
 
 
A ribbon cutting for the new student center is this Thursday at 5:30 pm on the campus of Richland Community College. 

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No Movement on Obama Commemoration Efforts in Springfield

A 2016 announcement indicated Governor Bruce Rauner, Secretary of State Jesse White and Springfield Mayor Jim Langfelder's office would team up to leave a permanent reminder of President Obama's years in Springfield. 
 
There has been no sign of movement since. Mayor Jim Langfelder says the effort is on the backburner for now as local and state officials focus on the state's bicentennial.  
 
The three leaders pledged a committee of leaders would be assembled to commemorate the Obama years in Springfield. Langfelder says he's thinking about ideas though, like adding a statue of former President Obama at a proposed park in the Capital City's Downtown area. 

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Illinois Treasurer Unveils Rural Initiatives

The Illinois State Treasurer is announcing a trio of programs designed to free up money for predominantly rural parts of the state. The Community Uplift Program is designed to support communities that struggle with unemployment, poverty and business closings; Ag Invest partners with family farming operations; and Finally Home will help individuals purchase a home or help refinance in cases of hardship.
 
Treasurer Mike Frerichs announced these programs at the National Great Rivers Museum Tuesday morning. He says the treasurer’s office has partnered with lending institutions to provide below-market loans to start, expand or add value to family farming operations for more than 35 years.
 
 
The Community Uplift Program provides capital to lending institutions at below-market rates so they can increase lending activities, fund local development efforts, and assist local communities and their residents. Qualified applicants for Finally Home typically have marginal credit scores. 
 
The program also helps to stabilize neighborhoods through increased home ownership. For more information on these programs, go to www.InvestinRuralIllinois.com

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Illinois FFA Boosting Numbers During FFA Week

Illinois FFA boasting numbers during National FFA week. There are 17,000 members in Illinois with 321 chapters says Illinois FFA’s Katie Burns.
 
 
Burns grew up in the FFA, served as a section president and also earned her American FFA Degree. She attended Sparta High School. 

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Durbin Reacts To Student Protests Against Gun Laws

Senator Dick Durbin is taking notice of efforts by high school students, who are joining in demonstrations like a "lie in" protest outside the White House. 
 
Durbin gives the young people high marks for getting their message across but he isn't ready to say it will lead to a breakthrough for those who want to see further discussion about the nation's gun laws.
 
 
Durbin talks about what the movement will need after the Florida school shootings fade from the headlines.
 
 
Students from the group Teens For Gun Reform say another event dubbed “March For Our Lives” will take place March 24.

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FFA Week Highlight: Clinton

The Clinton FFA chapter is among the thousands across America taking part in the annual FFA week.
 
Activities hosted by the FFA highlight most weeks in each school that make it unique for each chapter. Tennyson Kern is the Clinton Chapter President and indicates they will have an antique tractor day and a bring your tractor to school day.
 
 
Members of the Clinton FFA chapter joined Regional Radio Farm Broadcast Jared White on the noon farm show on WHOW Monday, giving them a chance to highlight the successes of the chapter. Kern indicates a number of their members are advancing with their record books.
 
 
During the noon farm show this week on WHOW, you can hear from FFA chapters from all over central Illinois. 

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DeWitt County Farm Bureau Foundation Scholarships Available

The DeWitt County Farm Bureau Foundation has opened applications for its 2018 scholarship program. 
 
Five scholarships ranging in value from $500 to $1,500 will be available to college and high school students studying agriculture.
 
To be eligible for the scholarships, students must either be a current college student enrolled in an ag-related program or a high school senior planning to study in an ag-related field. Students also must either reside in DeWitt County or be the dependent of a DeWitt County Farm Bureau voting member.
 
New this year, a $500 scholarship made possible through the Foundation’s Tractor Drive will be available. While all students meeting the above qualifications are eligible to receive this scholarship, individuals planning to begin or continue their tech or trade education will receive bonus points during application evaluation. Examples include, but are not limited to: welding, diesel mechanics and truck/trailer operation.
 
Complete eligibility details and a copy of the application can be found on www.dewittcountyfarmbureau.com/scholarships, or by calling the office at 217-935-2126.
 
Typed applications are due via email or hard copy in the DeWitt County Farm Bureau office, 1060 State Hwy. 54, Clinton, by 4 p.m. on March 1. High school applicants are also be asked to participate in an in-person interview on March 5 at the DCFB office.

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Community Action Takes Over Lincoln Thrift Store

A local non-profit is jumping into the world of retail with the intent of bolstering their programs.
 
Community Action is taking over a downtown Lincoln thrift store and according to Executive Director Alison Rumler-Gomez, there will be two focuses on the locations two separated areas.
 
 
Community Action plans to call the thrift store, The Hanger. Rumler-Gomez wants to implement several of their existing programs into the store. She explains it would flow nicely with the things they are teaching their clients.
 
 
The Hanger thrift store is at 616 North Broadway Street in Lincoln across from the courthouse. 

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Governor Rauner Discusses School Shootings

Governor Bruce Rauner is responding to last week's school shootings in Florida....
 
 
Rauner says he will continue to focus on the mental health issue as a part of criminal justice reform...
 

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Pension Shift, Health Insurance Tough Sell

The center piece of Governor Bruce Rauner’s budget blueprint is a cost shift for pensions. 
The move would involve Chicago and downstate schools as well as state universities and would save the state a billion dollars, but critics say it will result in a spike in local property taxes. 
 
The other big piece of the governor’s budget plan calls for removing health insurance from collective bargaining discussions with state employee unions and making some cuts in retiree health insurance premiums. 
 
Rauner estimates the move would save another half-a-billion dollars, but it’s a tough sell says Jack Tichenor, host of Public Media’s Illinois Lawmakers.
 
 
Tichenor says another issue presented in the Governor’s budget plan is rolling back part of last year’s income tax increase. 

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Star Wars Among Popular Items at Warner Library

The library systems in the US has had to adjust to the growing use of technology in the home and the Warner Library in Clinton has done as good of a job as any in keeping up when it comes to the latest and greatest and being there with it.
 
From increased movie and TV show watching to on-demand material, the library has almost everything you'd find in your local movie store or retail shop. Children's Librarian Paula Lopatic says Star Wars is timelessly popular.
 
 
Despite the increasingly busy lives Americans lead and the increased use of media on our devices, the library continues to thrive and Lopatic feels it is because parents and adults continue to make the effort to keep their kids invested in literature.
 
 
Lopatic says it is still best for parents to be setting the example of reading in the home. Whether it is a printed piece of literature or if you're reading something on your phone, kids need that example set.
 
 
Lopatic reminds patrons in Clinton and DeWitt County, the Library offers both print materials and ways to access materials electronically. To learn all of those opportunities and the children's programs at the Library, just visit vwarner.org or stop by their location at 310 North Quincy Street in Clinton. 

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Route 10 Reopens After Earlier Morning Electrical Fire

Route 10 has been cleared and traffic is flowing normally after an early morning fire near Weldon Monday.
 
According to DeWitt County Sheriff Jered Shofner's office, the fire was near the intersection of Route 10 and Lakewood Road.
 
Traffic was down to one lane for a short time. 
 
Weldon Fire officials along with the Sheriff's office were on scene. 
 
No other details are available at this time. 

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Sen. Rose Discusses Governor's Proposal for Teacher Pension Cost Shift

Last week, Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner proposed a cost shift for teacher pensions to local schools.
 
Many lawmakers have come out questioning this proposal and some are against it all together. State Senator Chapin Rose says this is going to be an unpopular decision on both sides of the aisle, but it is something that has to be done to balance the budget.
 
 
According to Sen. Rose, local units of government already do this. He points out taxpayers would be treated equally and the Governor has money appropriated to cover the costs and phase the costs in.
 
 
The Senator feels it is not a perfect solution to a problem that has been brewing for decades but it is better than what Mike Madigan proposed a few short years ago. 

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MN Students Want GMO Approval Process Streamlined

A group of graduate students at the University of Minnesota is asking Congress to streamline the approval process for GMO crops that produce food and fiber. A DTN article says the seven students are doing graduate work at the Minnesota College of Food, Agriculture, and Natural Resource Sciences. 
 
They believe the regulatory hoops that companies need to jump through to commercialize new traits are slowing down innovation. 
 
In a letter to U.S. representatives, the students pointed out that it costs companies between $20 million and $30 million to get a new GMO crop from start to finish through the regulatory process. 
 
That’s a price tag that limits smaller companies from making inroads into the marketplace.
 
The students say, “Each of us has numerous ideas about genetic modification that could be developed into startup companies and bring more competition in a marketplace that’s dominated by a few mega-companies that can afford the regulatory process.” 
 
The letter asks Congress to pass a bipartisan bill that funnels GMO fuel and fiber crops through either the USDA or the EPA, but not both.

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Spring Weather Outlook

IT MIGHT BE A COOL AND RAINY SPRING ACCORDING TO THE LATEST WEATHER OUTLOOK. 
 
STATE CLIMATOLOGIST JIM ANGEL SAYS MOST OF NORTHERN AND NORTHWESTERN ILLINOIS ARE EXPECTED TO BE COLDER THAN NORMAL IN MARCH…AND THE REST OF THE STATE WILL BE ABOUT AVERAGE.
 
 
LA NINA IS EXPECTED TO QUICKLY FADE AND THE OUTLOOK FOR THIS SUMMER CALLS FOR ABOVE NORMAL TEMPERATURES…ESPECIALLY AT NIGHT.
 
CURRENTLY…THERE IS NO INDICATION THAT PRECIPITATION WILL BE EITHER ABOVE OR BELOW NORMAL THIS SUMMER. THE LATEST U-S DROUGHT MONITOR REPORT FINDS MUCH OF ILLINOIS, ESPECIALLY THE BOTTOM TWO-THIRDS, IS PRETTY DRY.

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Legislation Designed to Save Pollinators Introduced in House

Representatives Earl Blumenauer of Oregon and Jim McGovern of Massachusetts introduced the Saving America’s Pollinators Act. 
 
The legislation is designed to protect the health of honey bees and other critical pollinators. Estimates are that the U.S. lost one-third of honeybee colonies between 2016 and 2017, with similar losses occurring in previous years. 
 
To help bring a halt to the trend, the legislation suspends the use of bee-toxic insecticides (neonicotinoids), which have been linked to the declining population of pollinators. It also would require the Environmental Protection Agency to do a thorough evaluation to make sure using these insecticides is not adversely affecting pollinator populations. 
 
Blumenauer says, “A healthy food system depends on healthy pollinators. To keep the status quo is like flying blind. We shouldn’t be using these insecticides when we don’t know for sure how they’re affecting pollinators. The EPA has a responsibility to get to the bottom of this in order to protect our pollinators.” 
 
McGovern says that protecting pollinators is essential to the sustainability of our nation’s food supply. Studies estimate that one of every three bites of food Americans eat is from a crop pollinated by bees.

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Community Action Offering Tax Help to Low Income, Minimal English Speaking Residents

Community Action of Central Illinois is offering tax assistant for residents that qualify.
 
CFO of Community Action, Kathy Inman says they offer the free tax help to low-income residents or those with limited English speaking ability.
 
 
Inman says she generally sees clients on Wednesdays but can make arrangements for those who work or have other special requests. 
 
To learn more and find out if you qualify, contact Community Action at 217-732-2159 or visit capcil.info.

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Warner Library Offering Free Tax Help

AARP and the Warner Library in Clinton are partnering to offer patrons free tax help. 
 
Library Director Bobbi Perryman indicates anybody can set up and appointment to receive the help, it is not limited to just seniors.
 
 
To get an appointment set up and find out what you need to bring in, just contact the library at 217-935-5174. 

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Gas Station Construction On Hold For Now

Little movement has been made in the continued construction of the Mach1 gas station in Clinton.
 
City Administrator Tim Followell says the winter weather has forced crews to postpone construction until the weather gets better.
 
 
Completion was planned originally for March but that has been pushed back. Followell says a completion timeline now is not really known until crews can get back to work.

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Drop in Farm Incomes Could Mean Another Tight Year

The forecasted drop in net farm income means farmers and ranchers will again face tight margins this year. Micheal Clements has more…
 

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Weekly Weather Summary

We saw a warmup in the middle of the week, can we expect more of the same next week? State climotologist Jim Angel has more....
 

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Clinton Education Foundation Hands Out Yearly Teacher Grants

Three classrooms in the Clinton school district were awarded grants from the Clinton Community Education Foundation Thursday afternoon.
 
Russell Long is the Foundation Treasurer and says they awarded grants across three classrooms totaling around $2500 dollars. The number of applications was down this year but Long hopes some things the Foundation will try in the future may increase the number next year.
 
 
President of the CCEF, Barbara Gullone indicates the teacher grants are there to bridge the gap between what teachers need that the school cannot supply due to budget constraints. She says they want to do what they can to enhance the learning experience of students in Clinton.
 
 
Virtual reality equipment is coming to Laura Molitoris and Monica Kessinger's classroom at Clinton Elementary School. Molitoris says it will allow their students to do virtual reality field trips to places all over the world, enhancing some equipment they already have.
 
 
Ginger Morgan's classroom at Lincoln School will be getting $1000 for the Letter People. Morgan is a special needs teacher for the kindergarten-first grade.
 
 
The speech pathologist at Douglas School, Kelli Cothern says she is getting additional resources to work with her students, increasing the toys and learning tools she has access to.
 
 
Gullone indicates the CCEF is also contributing to the Junior High School and the sixth-grade class field trip to the Heartland Community College space center.
 
 
Ideas for increasing teacher applications for the yearly grants are still in the early stages. 
The CCEF also contributes to scholarships for students graduating and they also help pay for dual-credit courses at Clinton High School. 
 
Picture Below: CCEF President Barbara Gullone, Molitoris, Kessinger and CCEF Treasurer Russell Long
 
 
Pictured Below: Gingers, Gullone and Long
 
 
Picured below: Gullone, Long and Cothern
 

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Central Illinois Lawmakers Discuss Governor's Budget Address

Local lawmakers are praising Governor Bruce Rauner's budget proposal from this week but say there's still a long way to go.
 
State Senator Chapin Rose was pleased the Governor proposed a balanced budget with a surplus, a term Illinoisans haven't heard in a long time.
 
 
Senate minority leader, Bill Brady credits the Governor for his tough decisions and putting forward a plan for a balanced budget.
 
 
One of the Governor's proposals is drawing the ire of several Illinois lawmakers but Sen. Rose reminds Democrats who oppose this measure, this was Speaker Madigan's idea just a few short years ago.
 
 
Sen. Brady is on board with the Governor's ideas to grow the economy. He hopes things can get done in a bipartisan way.
 
 
Sen. Rose is hopeful the election does not get in the way of passing a budget but is very mindful a short-term budget could be discussed as the primary and general election nears. 

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Blue Ridge Band Hosting Fundraising Talent Show Tonight

Come out and have a good time with Blue Ridge High School students tonight and help them raise money for a trip coming up this summer.
 
The Blue Ridge High School band has been nominated by Governor Bruce Rauner to represent Illinois at the annual Memorial Day parade in Washington, D.C. To raise money to go out to the nation's capital this summer, they are hosting a talent show tonight at the high school. Band member Georgia Manuel says there will be lots of different talents displayed and you can vote for your favorite.
 
 
Olive Garden is catering a spaghetti dinner prior to the talent show. Tyler Maxwell indicates dinner is from 5:30 pm to 7 pm.
 
 
Kaitlyn Stephens says the band is excited to be a part of the Memorial Day weekend parade in Washington, D.C.
 
 
To get tickets or to learn more about the fundraising talent show at Blue Ridge High School tonight, contact Blue Ridge Band Director Chris Mitchell at Blue Ridge High School by calling 309-928-2622. 
 
Tickets are $10 in advance and can be purchased at the door. And again an Olive Garden dinner begins being served at 5:30 pm with the talent show to begin at 7 pm. 

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Romance Scam Warnings

Valentine’s Day has come and gone, but the Better Business Bureau has tips so you don't fall for online romance scams. 
 
Whether you are searching for a partner at a dating site, or are contacted randomly through the various messaging services, you need to keep your guard up for some warning signs, according to an investigator with the agency. 
 
Scammers often use these scams to steal large sums of money from their victims. Even if targets realize they have been victims of a scam, BBB Investigator Don O'Brien says the fraud may continue with a new scam pretending to help them get their money back, or the tried-and-true blackmail angle.
 
 
The spread of online dating sites and apps has made this fraud even easier to commit. 
Victims in the US and Canada have reported losing nearly $1 billion over the last three years, and BBB estimates there may be more than a million victims in the U.S. alone. 
 
Because most people do not file complaints about romance scams with BBB or law enforcement, this may just be the tip of the iceberg.

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Durbin Talks Gun Violence

Senator Dick Durbin had plenty to say after the school shooting in Broward County, Florida that has left 17 dead so far. 
 
Durbin gave Congress a poor grade for its handling of the issue of gun violence.
 
 
While Durbin said there has been inaction on gun violence concerns, he takes issue with one area where action was taken.
 
 
Durbin also remembered the victims of the Northern Illinois University shooting ten years ago.

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Rep. Brady Gives Rauner's Budget Address Thumbs Up

Gov. Bruce Rauner renewed his call for economic and structural reforms Wednesday in the final budget address of his first term. 
 
Speaking from behind the podium in the Illinois House Chambers, State Representative Dan Brady called it a good speech but said there will be some lengthy debate in the process.
 
 
Rauner said Illinois’ only chance at righting its fiscal ship is to enact the types of reforms he’s been pushing for since before he took office.  
 
Rauner went on to say those reforms are reflected in what he called his balanced budget proposal for fiscal 2019.

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Governor Calling For Millions For Quincy, Chicago Veterans Homes

Two more cases of Legionnaire’s disease were announced this week at the Quincy Veteran’s Home. 
 
Wednesday in his budget address Governor Bruce Rauner is asking for millions to improve the home in Quincy and completion of a vet’s home in Chicago.
 
 
Construction of the veteran’s home in Chicago was delayed in part due to the lack of a state budget for the first two years of Rauner’s term as Governor. 

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Critics Troubled By Rauner's Calls For Pension Shifts

GOVERNOR BRUCE RAUNER WANTS SCHOOLS TO PICK UP PART OF THE TAB FOR TEACHER PENSIONS…BUT CRITICS SAY THAT WILL END UP COSTING TAXPAYERS. 
 
THE GOVERNOR IS CALLING FOR SCHOOLS AND UNIVERSITIES TO TAKE OVER TEACHER PENSION COSTS OVER THE NEXT FOUR YEARS. HE SAYS THIS WILL GIVE DISTRICTS AND COLLEGES MORE INCENTIVE TO MANAGE COSTS. BUT DEMOCRATS, LIKE SENATOR DAVE KOEHLER OF PEORIA QUESTION HOW THAT WILL WORK OUT.
 
 
SENATOR STEVE STADELMAN OF ROCKFORD IS CONCERNED.
 
 
GOVERNOR RAUNER SAYS AN INCREASE EDUCATION FUNDING AND MORE FLEXIBILITY IN CONTRACTING AND SHARING SERVICES WILL HELP OFFSET PENSION COSTS FOR SCHOOLS.

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Comptroller Releases Latest Debt Transparency Report

ILLINOIS COMPTROLLER SUSAN MENDOZA IS RELEASING HER LATEST REPORT ON THE STATE’S FINANCES.
 
IT’S THE SECOND REPORT UNDER THE NEW DEBT TRANSPARENCY ACT…DESIGNED TO GIVE A DETAILED MONTHLY SNAPSHOT OF ILLINOIS’ ENTIRE BILL BACKLOG. COMPTROLLER MENDOZA SAYS IT SHOWS THE STATE STILL HAS MORE THAN NINE BILLION DOLLARS IN BILLS TO BE PAID.
 
 
MENDOZA SAYS THE STATE OWES 946 MILLION DOLLARS IN LATE PAYMENT INTEREST PENALTIES ALONE.
 
 
MENDOZA SAYS THE GOVERNOR AND LAWMAKERS NEED TO ADDRESS THIS MOUNTAIN OF DEBT WHEN THEY PUT TOGETHER A BUDGET FOR THE NEXT FISCAL YEAR.

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Land Use Committee Member Proposes Wind Farm Moratorium, Committee Says No

At a lengthy Land Use Committee meeting Tuesday night, a member of the Land Use committee proposed a moratorium on wind farms in DeWitt County.
 
Melonie Tilley read a statement asking the committee to suspend all discussion of the issue until more is learned about them and wants to see what other areas experience as it relates to their experiences with wind farms in the area.
 
 
Tilley wants to see the process slow down and get more information from experts. She acknowledges there are people are for and against it but wonders what there is to lose with a moratorium in place.
 
 
Camille Redman gave a vote of confidence to the people that have made decisions to this point. She also says points out the RPC, the ZBA, and the DeWitt  County Board members all want what is best for the county.
 
 
While the moratorium was not approved by the committee, they did send back to the County Board, the rest of the ordinances that are not already headed to the Regional Planning Commission. 

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Governor Rauner Issues Brief Budget Address To Illinois General Assembly

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner did not waste any time in proposing what he touted as a balanced budget.
 
In an address heard on WHOW Wednesday afternoon, the Governor says employee pensions and health care are eating up too much of the state budget.
 
 
Sticking to calls made on the campaign trail and in budget proposals past, the Governor again called for reforms to the Illinois pension system.
 
 
Additionally, the Governor wants to see Illinois schools begin sharing in the cost of teacher pensions.
 
 
The Governor also discussed education in Illinois, both K-12 education and higher education spending.
 
 
Again, going to back to the Governor's campaign promises and his budget speeches past, the Governor again called for lawmakers to pass tax cuts.
 
 
The Governor wants to see employee health care come more in line with the private sector and for workers compensation rates to be reduced. 

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Masonic Pancake Breakfast Benefits Angel Tree

Pictured: Tim Longfellow from the Valley of Bloomington Scottish Rite presents Sue Calvert, Volunteer Director of DeWitt County Samaritan Room-Angel Tree, with a check for $750.00.   Back Row is Members of DeWitt Masonic Lodge #84 and Scottish Rite: Chuck Payne, Mike Hiter, John Hoblit, Mark Kagel, Gary Welch, Jon Goff, Gary Nodine (Worshipful Master,) and Ben North.  
 
In addition to the Scottish Rite gift, the DeWitt Masonic Lodge #84 raised $1,768.94 hosting the annual “Masonic Pancake Breakfast,” this past November to benefit the Samaritan Room’s Angel Tree Program for 522 needy children from Clinton, Lane, Wapella, Hallsville, Waynesville, Kennedy and DeWitt during the holidays.  

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County Board Chair Talks DeWitt County With Clinton Rotary

2017 was a good year for DeWitt County.
 
That was the message from the County Board Chair to the Clinton Rotary Club Tuesday afternoon. David Newberg says the biggest highlight from last year was the agreement reached with Exelon on a tax settlement for EAV that will last five years and end any appeals currently held up in the court system.
 
 
Newberg didn't shy away from discussing the wind farm and the latest with the County Board. Newberg explains it's been almost a year since the Regional Planning Commission and Zoning Board of Appeals re-adjusted the ordinances. Since then, the discussion has resurfaced and is now circling back around.
 
 
Newberg calls the current process a fine tuning of the ordinances in place. He indicates this is not the process of an application from a wind developer, in this case, Tradewind Energy. 
 
Newberg indicates the timeline for the reconsideration of ordinances, a special use permit application and a vote on the special use permit by the full County Board could go into the summer months. 

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New Legionnaire's Case At Quincy Veterans Home

Two more cases of Legionnaire’s disease have now been reported at the Quincy Veteran’s Home.
 
The Illinois Department of Public Health says that both individuals are currently doing well. 
 
The new cases come on the heels of investigations and news reports on why it took so long to identify and alert individuals to an initial outbreak in 2015 that killed 13 people. 

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Rural America Still Battling Uses for Vacant Downtown Storefronts

Finding new and different uses for vacant downtown storefronts continues to be a challenge in rural Illinois. 
 
It’s something that will be addressed at the Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs 29th Annual Rural Community and Economic Development Conference next month. 
 
 
This year’s conference is March 6-8 at the Abraham Lincoln Hotel in Springfield. You can register at “iira.gov”. 

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Madigan Cuts Ties With Political Consultant

There is fallout from the growing conversation about sexual harassment at the Statehouse. Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan has cut ties with a long-time political consultant after an investigation found he sent inappropriate text messages to a colleague. 
 
Madigan attorney Heather Wier Vaught (wire-vaught) discusses the investigation that led to the ouster of Kevin Quinn.
 
 
Wire-Vaught referred to Quinn's oilder brother, Chicago Alderman Marty Quinn. Wier Vaught says Madigan's political operation is taking steps to help prevent future issues.... 
 
 
Wier Vaught says Quinn and the woman were not state employees and the woman who sought the investigation is a political consultant not employed by Madigan. 

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Kennedy Calling For Madigan To Step Aside - For Now

Democratic Gubernatorial candidate Chris Kennedy is calling for House Speaker Mike Madigan to take a leave of absence to pave the way for an investigation of claims of sexual harassment against a former political staffer. 
 
Kennedy says if it is found that Speaker Madigan knew about these allegations and chose to protect his political interests over women who were abused. 
 
Machine political allies instead of the women who were abused by them, he no longer can lead our party.

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Harassment Victim Details Texts, Perceived Slow Response for Help

A campaign worker for Democratic candidates is starting to tell more of her story about what it was like to be harassed by a high ranking aide to Speaker Mike Madigan. 
 
Alaina Hampton has worked on Democratic campaigns since 2012; she says harassing text messages from Kevin Quinn went on for months. She says that complaints seemed to go nowhere. 
 
 
Hampton says her initial complaints to Quinn’s supervisor went nowhere so she sent a letter to Madigan in November. After that an investigation was opened by a Madigan lawyer and Quinn resigned this week. Hampton says that she lived with crippling anxiety over the ordeal and has since left working for the Democratic Party and opened her own consulting business.

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Durbin Uses Tale of Olympic Dreamer To Make Case for Dreamers

Senator Dick Durbin continues to take to the Senate floor in support of keeping young immigrants in the DACA program from a date with deportation. 
 
Now he's turning to the tale of an Olympic gold medalist to press the case for giving young people opportunities in this country. Her immigration status isn't in question, but Durbin believes Chloe Kim's experience as a member of a family that came to the U.S. in 1982 with minimal skills or knowledge of English is a good case study for keeping Dreamers here.
 
 
Durbin says time is of the essence in his push to protect Dreamers, because starting March, 5th, one thousand young undocumented immigrants protected by DACA will lose their work permits with potential for deportation.

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Land Use Committee Sends Wind Energy Ordinance to the Full Board; No Moratorium

Several text amendment revisions to the Wind Energy Ordinance were proposed, once again, by the opposition of the potential wind farm in DeWitt County at tonight's (Tuesday night's) Land Use Committee meeting.
 
Chris Shaffer went before the board to propose revisions such as proper notice to residents, citing the McLean County wind farm projects, noise level compliance, and property values.
 
 
Jim Griffin, the legal counsel for Tradewind Energy, spoke to these proposed amendments, indicating that the wind ordinances were updated last year and do not need to be amended.
 
 
The Land Use Committee voted to take the Wind Energy Ordinance to the full board for review.
 
A moratorium was proposed but was not passed.

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The Vault Organizers Looking To Build in 2017

Continuing the momentum from 2017 for a coming youth center is the goal for The Vault in Clinton.
 
Michelle Witzke's dream of having a safe place for youth to go is starting to pick up some steam in the community. She feels there was a shift in the community's mentality towards her dream last year and she's hoping to build on that going forward.
 
 
Between the student hours, fundraising and community manpower donated in 2017, Witzke says they made a lot of progress. She feels it is ready to go to start getting things together for a mid-summer opening.
 
 
Witzke says the plan is still to get the students into the center by June. She explains it would be a basic open and then in the fall they would start to add more things they hope the center will become.
 
 
Witzke thanks the community for their support all through 2017 and is excited for what is ahead in 2018. 
 
To learn more about becoming a part of The Vault, whether it's financially or as a part of their work on the center, contact Witzke by phone at 309-212-7332. You can also get more information on Facebook by searching The Vault Clinton or email thevaultclinton@gmail.com. 

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City To Move Forward With New Water Meter Reader System

A mandate from the Illinois EPA is the reason for an initiative that moved forward last week from the Clinton City Council.
 
City Administrator Tim Followell indicates homeowners in most parts of the city will have their water meters upgraded to get a better reading of the water flow through their homes. He says right now, the readings are not accurate to what is being produced and then charged for.
 
 
This has been a three-phase project. Followell explains water main leaks have been identified and fixed, commercial meters have been replaced and now it's the phase for homeowners to have their units replaced.
 
 
Followell indicates the perception in the community is as meters get older, they speed up, however, that is not the case. In fact, it is the opposite as he explains.
 
 
The $1.2-million project will get underway soon and Followell says residents can expect a letter from the company out of Washington, IL that will be doing the meter replacements. 
 
 
The new water meters will not only be more accurate but the readings will be more efficient. Followell says several other utility entities have adopted these types of meter reading methods in recent years.
 
 
Despite the continued inaccurate readings of water in the community, Followell points out the City has not raised rates in the last three years. Additionally, when the readings become more accurate and there's less waste, the revenues should increase and he says the additional revenue will be going to replenish the funds used for the project. That is projected to take ten to twelve years. 

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Alternative To Opioids Sought

Opioid addiction is a problem across Illinois and a proposed law is aimed at finding an alternative to taking those pain meds. 
 
A new bill would let people who are prescribed opioids for pain get a temporary medical marijuana card. Democrat State Senator Don Harmon says it’s a solid alternative. 
 
 
Right now, intractable pain has not been approved by the states Department of Public Health as a reason to prescribe medical pot. 

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Southern Illinois Lawmaker Reacts To SIU Tuition Increase

The Southern Illinois University of Carbondale Board of Trustees has approved a 2-percent tuition increase to $9,637.50 for full-time undergraduate students and $11,268 for graduate students. 
 
State Representative Terri Bryant says the tuition hike can be attributed to the budget issues in Illinois.
 
 
The tuition spike will only affect incoming students as previous classes, by law, must lock in their first year rates.

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Chicagoland Speedway Out of the Chase

The dates for the Chicagoland Speedway's Nascar races no longer intersect with the Chase for the Championship, but there are few tears being shed in Joliet. 
 
Speedway President Scott Paddock looks forward to a return to the summer spotlight with The NASCAR weekend kicking off June 28th and wrapping up with the Overton 400 on Sunday, July 1st for the Monster Energy Nascar Cup Series. 
 
 
Paddock says fans who buy tickets this week for the Overton 400 will have extra incentive to pull for one driver in this weekend's Daytona 500.
 
 
The racing weekend starts off with an ARCA Series race June 28th, with the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Overton’s 225 on June 29th. On Saturday, June 30th, the NASCAR XFINITY Series drivers will take to the track for the Overton’s 300.

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Warner Library Open at Regular Time

The Warner Library will be open at its regular time of 9:00 am; however, they express caution to possible library patrons this morning as the roads are slick.

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Tradewind Energy Adding To Lease Agreements

While the debate around wind energy in DeWitt County continues to swirl, Tradewind Energy executives indicate they continue to add leases for a potential wind farm.
 
Tradewind Development Director for the Alta Farms Wind Project, Tom Sweirczewski, says they've added another leasing agent and they are adding leases east of 51 and to the McLean County line.
 
 
Despite the passionate group in opposition to the project, Sweirczewski says they are seeing support and excitement from what he calls, the silent majority.
 
 
With the pinballing of County codes back and forth between the County Board, the Land Use Committee and the Regional Planning Commission, Sweirczewski indicates that has created a little bit of a delay in their plans to bring a proposal forward for their wind farm project.
 
 
The process of bringing a wind farm to DeWitt County is playing out very similarly to other areas of the state and Sweirczewski says he has seen a lot of what is happening many times before.
 
 
The Land Use Committee will discuss a number of ordinances at their monthly meeting tomorrow night at the DeWitt County building. The full County Board has sent four ordinances back to the Regional Planning Commission, one for consideration and another three for review. 

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Clinton YMCA Offering Opportunity For Free Membership

Stop in to the Clinton YMCA this week for a free trial run of their fitness programs and give yourself a chance to be eligible for a free membership.
 
Executive Director Rennie Cluver says take part in their fitness classes, get a punch card signed by each instructor of their classes, and at the end of the week, you'll be eligible for a free membership. He hopes it gets people out to the Y to check out the things they have going on. 
 
 
In recent years, the YMCA has expanded their hours to accommodate everyone with varying schedules. Cluver also touts their 24/7 fitness center access as well.
 
 
Cluver adds the Y also has child care, so you can have your kids taken care of while you're in a class and notes they are working to set a date for a free week to offer to the community in the near future. 
 
Check out the things happening at the Clinton YMCA at clintoncommymca.org or visit them at 417 South Alexander Street in Clinton.

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DeWitt County Sheriff's Office Fully Staffed For First Time in a Long Time

After several years of staffing turnover and financial instability, the DeWitt County Sheriff's office is fully staffed in 2018.
 
DeWitt County Sheriff Jered Shofner says he witnessed more staffing turnover in a 12 month period than he had in the last five years.
 
 
With the nuclear power plant staying for another decade, the Sheriff indicates that has allowed his office to be fully staffed for the first time in seven years.
 
 
With staffing levels full, the Sheriff also notes a change from a few years ago has saved taxpayers around a quarter-million dollars a year when they reduced staff in the jail and started a cooperative agreement with Piatt County.
 
 
The Sheriff indicates high dollar expenses like medical care and food are being shared with Piatt County, and despite frequent trips to Monticello, the office continues to save taxpayers money.

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Davis Talks Farm Bill Progress

Central Illinois Congressman Rodney Davis hoping the upcoming Farm Bill will be good for agriculture. He serves on the U.S. House Ag Committee.
 
 
Davis believes discussion on the bill will start at the committee level in the next month.

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Ohio State Project Looks At Health Insurance Impact on Farmer Profitability

An Ohio State University researcher leading a report that looks at health insurance and its impact on a farmers’ profitability. Shoshanah Inwood’s work shows that half of all farmers in a national survey believe they will need to sell some or all of their farm assets to stay healthy. 
 
 
Inwood’s project is funded through the USDA. She was among the speakers at the American Farm Bureau Federation’s annual meeting in Nashville last month. 

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State Accepts Donation of 4,000 Doses of NARCAN

THE ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH IS PRAISING A GENEROUS DONATION OF FOUR THOUSAND DOSES OF NARCAN.
 
THE APTAR GROUP AND ADAPT PHARMA ARE DONATING THE NARCAN NASAL SPRAY…TO HELP COMBAT THE AFFECTS OF OPIOID OVERDOSE. PUBLIC HEALTH DIRECTOR DOCTOR NIRAV SHAH SAYS THIS IS A GREAT TOOL IN THE FIGHT AGAINST THE OPIOID EPIDEMIC.
 
 
THE NARCAN NASAL SPRAY IS BEING DONATED BY THE APTAR GROUP AND ADAPT PHARMA SAYS LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR EVELYN SANGUINETTI.
 
 
MOST OF THE DOSES WILL GO TO THE ILLINOIS STATE POLICE AND DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS PAROLE OFFICERS TO USE IN THE FIELD. ANOTHER 600 WILL GO TO THE CHICAGO RECOVERY ALLIANCE. APTAR GROUP AND ADAPT PHARMA ARE DONATING ANOTHER ONE THOUSAND DOSES TO THE MCHENRY COUNTY SUBSTANCE ABUSE COALITION AS WELL.

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SIUE Hikes Tuition Fees For Fall

If you area student or a parent of a student at SIUE, get ready to open your checkbooks. The Board of Trustees has approved a tuition increase for the 2018-19 Academic Year. The annual tuition rate will now be $9,123 for new, full-time undergraduate students (15 hours per semester) entering fall 2018. Undergraduate students currently in a guaranteed tuition plan will see no increase in their annual tuition rate. University spokesman Doug McIlhagga (MAC-ill-HAY-guh) says fee hikes have become more of a regular occurrence in recent years.
 
 
In fall 2017, in-state tuition became available to all new and continuing domestic undergraduate students. Offering in-state tuition to out-of-state students helps the University attract students from across the country, according to McIlhagga.

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Lincoln Library Adding New Items

THE ABRAHAM LINCOLN PRESIDENTIAL LIBRARY IN SPRINGFIELD IS NOW HOME TO TWO NEW UNIQUE FINDS.
 
THE FIRST ITEM IS A LARGE OIL CANVAS PAINTED BY WILLIAM MORTON JACKSON RICE IN THE LATE 1800S SAYS STATE HISTORIAN SAM WHEELER.
 
 
THE SECOND DONATED ITEM IS AN ANGRY LETTER FROM LINCOLN TO ANDREW MCCORMACK...A FELLOW MEMBER OF A GROUP OF LEGISLATORS CALLED “THE LONG NINE.” LINCOLN CHASTISED MCCORMACK FOR PLANNING TO VOTE AGAINST THE GROUP IN THE LETTER, WHICH WAS LIKELY WRITTEN IN JANUARY OF 1839.
 

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HIV Cases Down Among Illinois African-Americans

THE RATE OF H-I-V INFECTIONS AMONG AFRICAN AMERICANS HAS BEEN CUT ALMOST IN HALF…BUT THE ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH IS WORKING TO FURTHER REDUCE THOSE NUMBERS.
 
ALTHOUGH NUMBERS HAVE FALLEN…BLACK PEOPLE ARE STILL DISPROPORTIONATELY AFFECTED BY H-I-V. PUBLIC HEALTH’S EDUARDO ALVARADO SAYS THE FIGHT ISN’T OVER.
 
 
ALVARADO. HE SAYS THEY ARE TRYING TO INCREASE ACCESS TO MEDICATION CALLED “PREP” WHICH CAN HELP PREVENT INFECTION.
 
 
ALVARADO SAYS THEY ARE ALSO FOCUSING ON MAKING SURE THOSE WHO ALREADY HAVE H-I-V ARE GETTING THE PROPER TREATMENT TO HELP PREVENT FURTHER SPREAD OF THE INFECTION.

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Weekly Weather Summary

February has seen some cold weather and the trend will continue. State Climatologist Jim Angel has the latest...
 

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