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Red Cross Offering First Aid, CPR and AED Courses

Each year, more than 5 million people learn how to save a life in American Red Cross training classes and people in the Decatur area can join the ranks of these everyday heroes by taking a class now.

The First Aid and CPR/AED course teaches people how to perform CPR and use an AED, what to do if someone is choking, and how to prevent and respond to other emergencies until advanced medical help arrives. Course participants also learn how to control bleeding as well as how to care for seizures and other sudden illnesses. 

Red Cross training courses meet OSHA guidelines, feature hands-on skills practice and include 2 year certifications, free digital materials and skill refreshers. Visit redcross.org/training or call 1-800-RED-CROSS for details and to register for a class.

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Doctor Suggests 'Meat Fast' to Start Healthy New Year

 The chief medical officer for the Cook County Health and Hospitals System says people should consider ringing in the new year by giving up meat.

Dr. Terry Mason says people with health issues often need what he calls "TLC" - a total lifestyle change. One possible move is a "meat fast" for 30 days.

Mason says a meat fast can jump start changes that lead to weight loss, lower blood pressure and better health.

The hospital system is also holding a series of group meetings in January as part of the Restart4Health program.

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Murderer Registry Set To Take Effect January First

Convicted murderers will soon have to register themselves with local authorities just as sex and arson offenders do.  A new law called "Andrea's Law" goes into effect on Sunday.  Quincy Representative Jill Tracy says she's surprised the law did not already exist.

[audio:rddALaw1.mp3]Word from Tracy[/audio]

Tracy adds she co-sponsored the law because of victim's families.

[audio:rddALaw2.mp3]Word from Tracy[/audio]

The registry will include the ex-convict's picture and address.  It will be accessible on a state run website for ten years after the person is released from prison. The law is named after Andrea Will, of Batavia, who was strangled by her ex-boyfriend, Justin Boulay.  Boulay was released in 2010 after serving only 12 years of his 24-year sentence.

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Illinois Gets $15 Million For Insuring More Children

Illinois is receiving a performance bonus for the third straight year for enrolling significant numbers of uninsured children in Medicaid.

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced the awards Wednesday. Illinois is getting $15 million. It's 1 of 23 states to share nearly $300 million in federal performance bonuses this year for expanding children's health coverage.

Health officials say Illinois has streamlined the process of enrolling children for health coverage. Applicants are not required to appear for in-person interviews, which can be difficult for parents who work. Illinois also guarantees eligible children enrollment for a full year, ensuring that they get uninterrupted coverage.

Funding for the performance bonuses was included in the 2009 reauthorization of the State Children's Health Insurance Program.

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Tom Vilsack's New Year's Wish

As we say goodbye to 2011 and look forward to 2012, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has this one New Year's wish.
 
[audio:vilsack2012wish.mp3]Vilsack's Wish[/audio]
 
Again that is United States Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack.

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Weldon Springs' First Day Hike

Kick off the New Year with a winter bird hike at Weldon Springs State Park. 

Site Interpreter Carol McFeeters Thompson will lead a guided bird walk at 8:30 AM on Sunday, January 1, 2012 from Chautauqua Picnic Area.  State Parks in all fifty states are offering First Day Hikes to promote healthy lifestyles, shared stewardship of our natural and recreational resources, and year-round recreation in America’s State Parks.  All skill levels are welcome; binoculars will be available for loan.  Participants are encouraged to dress appropriately for the weather.  The hike will total approximately one mile over moderate terrain with frequent stops.
 
For additional information, please call Carol McFeeters Thompson at 217-935-0373 or visit www.americasstateparks.org..

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Drug Control Act Puts Money Toward Treatment

A bill sponsored by State Representative Adam Brown and dealing with the cannabis control act, is one of many pieces of legislation that will become law on January 1st. Rep. Brown says under the act the State's Attorney can use money or property seized or forfeited for substance abuse treatment.

[audio:122111Brown.mp3]Word from Brown[/audio]

This legislation attempts to provide a source of funding for substance abuse treatment facilities and half-way houses by allowing State’s Attorneys to make grants from some of their monies to these facilities.

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Long Term Alcohol Use Can Have Lasting Effects

Driving under the influence of alcohol kills more than 11,000 people in the United States annually. And the long-term heavy alcohol use can cause serious health conditions.

Each year, in Illinois there are more than 400 deaths due to alcohol-related accidents. Ronald Kanwischer, assistant professor of psychiatry and a substance abuse counselor at SIU School of Medicine in Springfield, explains the alcohol level at which drivers are considered intoxicated.

[audio:siudrinkdrive1.mp3]Word from Kanwischer[/audio]

Kanwischer says there are serious legal and medical consequences to consuming alcohol and for driving under the influence. The most serious legal charges can carry a substantial fine. If the driver hurts another person, they can be sentenced to jail or even lose their license. From a medical perspective, long-term heavy alcohol use can cause health conditions such as cancer and liver failure. Kanwischer offers suggestions about drinking and driving.


[audio:siudrinkdrive2.mp3]Word from Kanwischer[/audio]

Kanwischer says eating helps absorb the alcohol, especially foods such as cheese and crackers. He urges people to celebrate responsibly. If someone has a drinking problem, they should see their primary care physician or mental health counselor.

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New Year Comes With More Than 200 New Illinois Laws

More than 200 new laws take effect in Illinois starting Jan. 1. Under some of the new laws:

Synthetic marijuana, sold in convenience stores and gas stations under names such as "K2" and "Head Trip," will be outlawed. The law makes possession or sale of the products a felony with penalties ranging from 1 to 60 years.

People convicted of first-degree murder must be added to a new first-degree murder database, similar to the sex offender registry, when they're released from prison or any other facility. The public database would include names, addresses, employment places, schools attended and photos for offenders for up to 10 years after release from prison.

Convicted sex offenders who are employed at or attend a college or university must register with campus public safety.

School boards can suspend or expel a student who makes an explicit threat on a website against another student or any school employees or personnel.

People with an order of protection issued against them must surrender their Firearm Owners Identification Card until the order is lifted. Anyone convicted of domestic battery is ineligible to obtain or keep an FOID card.

Motorcyclists stopped at a red light may proceed through the light if it fails to change to green after a reasonable length of time.

Animal-control facilities scanning a lost pet for a microchip also must look for other common forms of identification, including tattoos and ID tags.

Antique vehicle owners have unrestricted use of highways from April 1 through Oct. 31 if they obtain an expanded-use registration.

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Two People Make Nude McDonald's Drive-Thru Stop

people are headed to court after allegedly making a nude McDonald's run.  Galesburg Police arrested Paul Kosur of El Paso, Illinois, and Megan Gutierrez of Galesburg just before 2:00a.m yesterday.  A drive-thru cashier called the cops after noticing the two didn't have on clothes.  The car was still in the parking lot when officers arrived.  Officers immediately noticed Kosur was crouched over in the driver's seat trying to put on a pair of pants, while Gutierrez was covering up in a blanket.  Kosur and Gutierrez were taken to the Knox County Jail and charged with public indecency before being released.  They both told officers that the late night search for, perhaps, a Quarter Pounder wasn't a great idea, but they both still thought it was funny.

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Gun Sales Up In Southern Illinois

Gun sales are up in Southern Illinois.  The area is known as a hotspot for hunters.  In fact hunting brings in millions of dollars of revenue for the region.  One gun shop representative says hunting season always brings in big business but come spring and summer, sales will drop drastically.  Sales aren't just up in Illinois.  More than one and a half million background checks have been performed in the U.S this month.  A background check is required on everyone who wants to purchase a gun, including current gun owners.  Those who aren't licensed must attend a gun safety course and get a FOID card.

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Champaign Woman Accused Of Cyberstalking

A Champaign woman is accused of cyberstalking.  Parkland College Police say Silver Damsen sent multiple emails to a male staff member at the college, even after authorities asked her to stop.  Police didn't say whether Damsen knows the staff member personally.  Damsen has been arrested and is charged with one count of felony cyberstalking.  She pleaded not guilty of the charge against her.  Her next court appearance will be on Valentine's Day next year.

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Decatur Couple Charged With Burglary

Decatur police say they caught on to a husband and wife team accused of robbing five downtown businesses.  Jeffery and Heather Johnson are accused of robbing Jimmy Johns twice, The Smokers Den, and a thrift store. The husband would break into the business and take any visible checks and cash.  Heather would then try to use the checks.  The couple is charged with burglary and forgery.   Police are questioning several others to determine whether they were also involved in the burglaries.

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HEALTH & SAFETY - New Year's Eve Safety

With New Year's Eve celebrations planned or being planned, local officials are

reminding everyone to practice safe habits this year.

Clinton Police Chief Mike Reidy says New Year's eve is becoming a holiday where his

officer's are issuing fewer and fewer DUI's. He says New Year's Eve and the 4th of

July are the holidays where the most drinking takes place throughout the year. He adds

even though DUI numbers are down, there will be extra officers on patrol.

 [audio:newyearsevedrinking1.mp3]Chief Reidy[/audio]

 First time offenders for DUI's punishments are getting more and more severe. Chief

Reidy explains for a first time offender, they lose their license and are subject to

breathalizers in their vehicles.

 [audio:newyearsevedrinking2.mp3]First DUI Offense[/audio]

The cost associated with the breathalizer devices in vehicles are extremely high. Chief

Reidy says the cost associated with those can be one time charges to monthly fees. He

says there are then other costs associated with it that get put back into the

department that issued the DUI to purchase equipment.

 [audio:newyearsevedrinking3.mp3]Severe Cost[/audio]

Should a driver have their license taken away and they then choose to drive while under

the influence again, Chief Reidy says the Police Department could even take the driver's

car away and they will go to jail a second time. He says the department will find some

use for the car upon it being taken, whether they sell it or use it or find other means

for it.

 [audio:newyearsevedrinking4.mp3]Repeat Offenders[/audio]

Chief Reidy encourages anyone drinking on New Year's to designate someone to be their

designated driver. Reidy says often perks come along with being the DD. He says many

times bars will provide free non-alcoholic beverages for the designated driver.

One time a year on New Year's Eve, the Clinton Police department will provide a free

service where they will come and give anyone who has had too much to drink a free ride

to their home. Chief Reidy says this is to encourage those celebrating the New Year to

be safe and not get behind the wheel of a vehicle under the influence. For more

information, you can call the Police Department at 935-9441.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Drug Seized Money to Go to Substance Abuse Treatment

A bill sponsored by State Representative Adam Brown and dealing with the cannabis control act, is one of many pieces of legislation that will become law on January 1st. Rep. Brown says the bill provides that the State's Attorneys from their share of the monies and the sale proceeds of all other property forfeited and seized under the Acts.

[audio:122111Brown.mp3]Adam Brown[/audio]

This legislation attempts to provide a source of funding for substance abuse treatment facilities and half-way houses by allowing State’s Attorneys to make grants from some of their monies to these facilities.

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Big Fourth Quarter Gives FSU Win Over ND

Florida State quarterback EJ Manuel threw two fourth-quarter touchdowns to help the Seminoles overcome a 14-point deficit on the way to an 18-14 win over Notre Dame in the Champ Sports Bowl.  Manuel threw for 249 yards and Rashad Greene led the way with 99 receiving yards and a TD.  Florida State finished the season 9-and-4.  Notre Dame jumped out to a 14-0 lead when Zeke Motta returned a fumble for a touchdown and Tommy Rees threw a score to Michael Floyd.  Floyd had just 41 receiving yards in his final collegiate game and dropped a sure touchdown pass early in the first quarter.  The Irish fell to 8-and-5 with the setback.

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White Sox Sign Danks For Five Years

The Chicago White Sox have agreed to terms with pitcher John Danks on a five-year, $65-million contract.  The club announced the deal Thursday, ensuring the left-handed starter will stay in Chicago for the long term.  He has spent his entire major league career with the White Sox.  He went 8-and-12 with a 4.33 earned run average in 27 starts last season.  Danks has made 150 starts in five seasons for the White Sox, posting a 54-and-56 record and 4.03 ERA.  He has struck out 714 and walked 300.

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'Hawks Continue Homestand

The Chicago Blackhawks continue a five-game homestand tonight against the Detroit Red Wings at the United Center.  The 'Hawks had a two-game winning streak snapped with a 2-0 loss to the L.A. Kings on Wednesday to fall to 23-10-and-4 on the season.  Chicago wraps up the homestay on Monday against Edmonton.

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Bears Season Finale; Playoff Bound Packers Host Playoff Bound Lions

A pair of injury-riddled NFC North foes wrap up disappointing campaigns on Sunday when the Vikings host the Bears at Mall of America Field.  The Bears placed quarterback Jay Cutler and running back Matt Forte [[ for-TAY ]] on season-ending injured reserve earlier this week.  Chicago has dropped five straight games on the heels of a five-game winning streak since losing Cutler to a broken right thumb in Week 11.  They are coming off a 35-21 Christmas Day loss to Green Bay in Week 16 to dip to 7-and-8.  Minnesota lost All-Pro running back Adrian Peterson to a season-ending knee injury in last weekend's 33-26 victory at Washington.  Chicago beat Minnesota, 39-10, in Week Six.

 
A pair of playoff-bound teams will hook up when the Lions face the Packers at Lambeau Field Sunday.  The defending Super Bowl champion Packers secured home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs with a 35-21 win over the Bears Christmas night.  Sunday's season finale will serve as merely a postseason tune-up for the 14-and-1 Pack.  Green Bay beat Detroit, 27-15, in the Motor City Thanksgiving Day.  The Lions locked up their first playoff berth since 1999 with a 38-10 trouncing of the Chargers last week.

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Illinois, UCLA Meet In Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl

The Illinois Fighting Illini will wrap up their football season tomorrow as they square off against UCLA in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl at AT&T Park in San Francisco.  The Illini started the season 6-and-0 but dropped six straight to end the season at 6-and-6.  They were just 2-and-6 in Big Ten play.  Illinois fell to Minnesota, 27-7, in its regular-season finale.  The Bruins come into the contest at 6-and-7.

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Bulls Storm Past Kings

Derrick Rose scored 19 points and dished out eight assists to lead the Bulls to a 108-98 win over Sacramento.  Carlos Boozer turned in 16 points and 15 boards while Richard Hamilton added 16 points of his own.  Chicago improved to 2-and-1 on the young season.  Chicago wraps up a season-opening four-game road trip tonight against the Los Angeles Clippers.

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Warner Library Closing Today....

The Vespasian Warner Public Library located in Clinton will be closed today from 1pm until 3:30pm.

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Farming Practices Threaten Special Type of Corn

One of the nation's most widely planted crops - a genetically engineered corn plant that makes its own insecticide - may be losing its ability to kill a major pest.

Scientists fear potentially risky farming practices are spurring the rise of insects immune to the sophisticated weaponry in so-called Bt corn.

When it was introduced in 2003, the corn seemed like the answer to farmers' dreams because it would allow growers to bring in bountiful harvests using fewer chemicals. It now accounts for 65% of all U.S. corn acres. The grain ends up in thousands of everyday foods such as cereal, sweeteners and cooking oil.

But over the last few summers, rootworms have feasted on the roots of Bt corn in parts of 4 states. That suggests some of the insects are becoming resistant.

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Corn Growers Support Subsidy Expiration

The ethanol subsidy is expiring at the end of the year and Tricia Braid, with the Illinois Corn Growers Association, says that could mean higher prices at the pump.

[audio:rddBraid1.mp3]A Word From Braid[/audio]

Braid says the expiration creates a bit of uncertainty and that four point four cent incentive will likely be passed on to consumers.   The Illinois corn growers supported the expiration as a way to help reduce the national deficit.  Braid says the oil industry also receives tax incentives but has stepped up to do their part to help bring the nation's economy back on track.

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ADM Donates Money To African Girls School

A leading Central Illinois Agricultural processor is reaching out to help girls in the Ivory Coast.  Archer Daniels Midland is donating 125-thousand dollars to help the Lycée Mamie Faitai de Bingerville Girls school get a computer lab.  The Ag giant owns a cocoa processing plant in the Ivory Coast.

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Monticello Schools Looking To Future Of Buildings

With the year coming to a close, it would seem logical to look back on the previous year or years, but one school district is instead looking to the future.

The Monticello school district has begun early steps in assessing the future of their facilities. Dr. Vic Zimmerman, Superintendent of the Monticello School District explains the buildings they are currently using are very old, but well kept. He says the school Board of Education is considering what the future could hold for renovations of those buildings, or even, new buildings.

[audio:monticellofacilities1.mp3]Dr. Zimmerman On Monticello Looking To Future[/audio]

Dr. Zimmerman feels instead of just looking into renovating the current buildings, he would like to think a little bigger. But he says anything and everything is currently on the table. Right now they are just trying to figure where they stand with their current situation.

[audio:monticellofacilities2.mp3]Dr. Zimmerman On Current Process[/audio]

The school is operating 5 buildings currently, which breaks down to about 2 grades per building. Dr. Zimmerman feels combining school buildings is something he would like to have considered, although he is open to hearing out all the options first.

[audio:monticellofacilities3.mp3]Dr. Zimmerman's Thoughts On Combining Buildings[/audio]

All these plans and ideas are very early on in the development stage. Dr. Zimmerman stresses right now the district is just exploring options for the future. No decisions have been made, and they are not at the decision making stage yet either. He feels it could be about 8-10 years off before anything is a reality.

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Lincoln Seeks To Find Lower Electric Rates

A recent piece of legislation that allows communities to receive lower electric rates from providers all over the country is being taken advantage of by a local community.

The City of Lincoln has been investigating into what is called "Electric Agrigation." Lincoln Mayor Keith Snyder explains the issue goes to referendum first, if approved by the voters, the city would hire a company to go out and acquire bids from electric companies to provide those in the city with electricity, and those in the city can chose to be or not to be a part of the program.

[audio:electricagrigation1.mp3]Mayor Snyder On Program[/audio]

The major advantage to the city of Lincoln would be providing residents with more options for their electric rates. Snyder notes things may shake out so the city has several options on how they want their electricity provided as well to be more environmentally friendly. He adds several other towns in Logan County have adopted the referendum as well.

[audio:electricagrigation2.mp3]A Word From Mayor Snyder[/audio]

According to Snyder, electric rates are currently low. He says the rates they would receive back hinge on what the electric markets do, which could be the one downside to Lincoln being a part of the program.

[audio:electricagrigation3.mp3]Snyder On Electric Rates[/audio]

The contract the city could enter into can be a short term contract or a long term contract. Snyder says if the city inters into a shorter contract, their rates most likely would be lower, but the longer their contract is the higher the rates would most likely be.

[audio:electricagrigation4.mp3]A Word From Snyder On Contract Options[/audio]

Should the referendum pass, the city will enter into an original contract. After the first contract expires they could then go out for bids again through a company to get rates for them, in hopes of finding lower rates. Snyder says this ensures they do not pay more than what their local provider would offer, which for Lincoln is Ameren.

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Bears, Rams Notes

>>Bears Give Williams Two-Year Extension

(Lake Forest, IL)  --  The Chicago Bears have signed offensive lineman Edwin Williams to a two-year contract extension.  The deal was announced Wednesday and locks up the 25-year-old lineman through the 2013 season.  Williams has appeared in 14 games this season, including the last six as Chicago's starting left guard.  He has played for the Bears the past two years after spending his rookie season with the Washington Redskins.

>>Rams CB Harris To Retire

(St. Louis, MO)  --  Al Harris, who played with four teams in a 14-year NFL career, says he is retiring.  According to the St. Louis Rams' Twitter account, the 37-year-old Harris wants to make a quick transition to coaching.  The Rams placed Harris on injured reserve last month after he tore his ACL in a Week 10 win over the Cleveland Browns.  He was signed in the offseason and had 15 tackles in nine games for St. Louis.  Harris, who spent most of his career with the Philadelphia Eagles and Green Bay Packers, finished with 362 tackles and 21 interceptions, including three that were returned for touchdowns in 194 games.

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Wichita State Pounds Bradley; Big Ten/Pac-12 Announce Scheduling Deal; Scores

>> Wichita State Clobbers Bradley

Garrett Stutz had 14 points and 10 rebounds Wednesday night and Wichita State routed Bradley 90-51 in the Missouri Valley Conference opener for both schools.

All five starters scored in double figures for the Shockers (10-2), who have won eight in a row. Joe Ragland and Toure Murry had 12 points, David Kyles scored 11 and Carl Hall had 10 points for Wichita State, which made 52% of its shots from the field. The Shockers had a 50-32 rebounding advantage.

Stutz had eight points and eight rebounds in the first half as Wichita State built a 39-24 lead.

Taylor Brown led all scorers with 19 points for Bradley (5-8), which has dropped four in a row. Jordan Prosser had nine points and nine rebounds.

The Braves were a dismal 14 of 55, or 25%, from the field in the game.

>> Pac-12, Big Ten Announce Scheduling Deal

The Big Ten and Pac-12 are set to announce a long-term scheduling agreement between the two rich and powerful conferences for all sports.

In football, the 12-team leagues are aiming to create a 12-game inter-conference schedule by the 2017 season.

Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott and Big 12 Commissioner Jim Delany were scheduled to hold a teleconference at 4 p.m. EST to discuss the details of the deal.

The Big Ten and Pac-12 have been Rose Bowl partners for decades.

NCAA Top-25 Men's Basketball  (ESPN/"USA Today" Rankings)
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#1 Syracuse Orange 75, Seton Hall Pirates 49
#2 Ohio State Buckeyes 87, Northwestern Wildcats 54
#3 Kentucky Wildcats 86, Lamar Cardinals 64
#12 Georgetown Hoyas 71, #4 Louisville Cardinals 68
#7 Baylor Bears 54, #14 Mississippi State Bulldogs 52 (at Dallas, TX)
#9 Connecticut Huskies 60, South Florida Bulls 57
#17 Michigan State Spartans 80, #15 Indiana Hoosiers 65
Missouri State Bears 77, #19 Creighton Bluejays 65
#20 UNLV Rebels 124, Central Arkansas Bears 75

NBA
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Indiana Pacers 90, Toronto Raptors 85
Miami Heat 96, Charlotte Bobcats 95
Atlanta Hawks 101, Washington Wizards 83
Cleveland Cavaliers 105, Detroit Pistons 89
New Orleans Hornets 97, Boston Celtics 78
Oklahoma City Thunder 98, Memphis Grizzlies 95
San Antonio Spurs 115, Los Angeles Clippers 90
Denver Nuggets 117, Utah Jazz 100
Philadelphia 76ers 103, Phoenix Suns 83
Golden State Warriors 92, New York Knicks 78

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Sages Girls In Action Thursday Afternoon; Guys Play For 3rd At Hoopla

The Monticello Sages came out on top against the Knights of Blue Ridge 72-46 Wednesday afternoon at the Monticello Holiday Hoopla Tournament.  There were three players in double figures for the Sages.  Ryan Donahue led the team with 19, Isaac Bales had 14 and Nick Stokowski added 11.  For Blue Ridge, Will Duggins scored 16 points and Tucker Johnson helped out with 10.  The Sages go to 2-1 after day two of the Holiday Hoopla tournament.  Tune this afternoon to 95.9 FM WEZC as the Lady Sages play at 1 against Stark County on the girls side of the Hoopla, and also at 6 pm this evening, as the boys team will play for 3rd place, taking on Sangamon Valley.

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DeWitt County Sheriff's Report for 12-29

December 29, 2011

 

Jail Population: 48

Summons Served: 3

Warrant Arrests: 0

 

Jeffrey Blood, 23, Clinton, was issued a citation for Speeding (81 mph in a 55 mph zone). Blood posted his IL Drivers license as bond and was released.

 

 

ALL SUSPECTS ARE PRESUMED INNOCENT UNTIL FOUND GUILTY IN A COURT OF LAW.

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Decatur Couple Charged With Burglary

 Decatur police say they caught on to a husband and wife team accused

of robbing five downtown businesses.  Jeffery and Heather Johnson are accused of

robbing Jimmy Johns twice, The Smokers Den, and a thrift store. The husband would

break into the business and take any visible checks and cash.  Heather would then try

to use the checks.  The couple is charged with burglary and forgery.   Police are

questioning several others to determine whether they were also involved in the

burglaries.

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Sages lose a close one to Sangamon Valley

As heard on 95.9 WEZC, the Monticello Sages fell to Sangamon Valley 66-63.  Isaac Bales led the Sages with 20 points and Nick Stakowski had a double-double with 18 pts and 12 rebounds.  The Sages were spectacular on the offensive glass ripping down 18 offensive boards.  The victorious Storm were led by Eric Leonard with 28 points.  Tune in next Friday at 7 as the Sages resume conference action against Central A&M. 

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Central IL Clerks Grant Civil Union Licenses

County clerks in central Illinois say they've issued civil union licenses since state law changed without any fanfare.

All but one county in the Springfield area has issued a license. Illinois began allowing civil unions for same-sex couples on June 1.

Sangamon County has certified 106 civil unions so far in the last six months. That's compared to 728 marriage licenses over the same time.

County Clerk Joe Aiello says his office had lots of applicants the first week the law went into effect, but demand has since tapered off.

Equality Illinois says 90 of the state's 102 counties have granted more than 3,700 civil union licenses.

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Officials Look at Charter School on Illinois Naval Base

State and local education officials are reviewing proposals for a charter school at Great Lakes Naval Station in northern Illinois.

The Illinois State Board of Education and a school district in North Chicago say they've gotten three applications to run a charter school on the base.

The school would be open to all families within the district's boundaries, including those not connected to the military.

The board of education says a committee will review the proposals and its recommendation will be discussed at a public hearing. That recommendation will then go to the district superintendent and school board for a final decision by March.

The charter school is expected to serve up to 500 students from kindergarten to eighth grade.

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Quinn: Jobs Biggest Issues In 2012

 Governor Quinn says jobs is one of the biggest issues facing Illinois in 2012.  He says he'll lay out a plan to improve the state's economic outlook in his State of the State address on February first.  Quinn says Illinois is showing progress when it comes to job growth.  The state added 30-thousand jobs last month.  The governor says he plans to keep people working by creating more opportunities for growth.

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Sears and Kmart to Close 100 Stores

Sears Holdings says they're closing more than 100 Sears and Kmart stores thanks to poor holiday sales.  That leaves some Illinoisans wondering whether the state got duped into giving the company a major tax break to keep jobs in the state.  David Vite, with the Illinois Retail Merchants Association, says the store closures have nothing to do with the recent tax deal. 

[audio:rddDuped1.mp3]Word from Vite[/audio]

Vite says it's important to remember that the 100 store closures will likely be spread across the nation, not just in Illinois.  Plus, he says Sears has to live up to its end of the bargain before receiving any money from the state.  The company is required to invest more than 300-million dollars into its corporate headquarters in order to get the 150-million from the state.

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Winter Activities for Miller Park Zoo

There are many exciting events coming up this winter season at Miller Park Zoo.

The popular Bloomington zoo is gearing up for several fun events and changes in the coming weeks.  Many people might not realize that the zoo stays open all year round.  Jay Tetzloff, the superintendent of the zoo, says that the staff stays just as busy during this time of year. Certain aspects of their jobs may slow down, but emphasis is placed on other places. Many of Tetzloff's wintertime tasks keep him inside, while zookeepers maintain their outside jobs.

[audio:winterzoo1.mp3]Word from Tetzloff[/audio]

The zoo will be inspected by Association of Zoos and Aquariums during early summer. The AZA is the organization which gives Miller Park its accreditation. Tetzloff says that this will be his first inspection as superintendent of the zoo. So, he will be making sure that all of the maintenance will be handled with detail and that clean-up will be a major priority.

[audio:winterzoo2.mp3]Word from Tetzloff[/audio]

While preparations are underway for the inspection and hearing, the zoo will have several fun activities for the whole family within the coming weeks. There will be a camp for kids on the 27th and 28th of December for kids to be able to discover and learn during their Christmas break. The camp will be for 6-11 year olds. There will also be an Animal Enrichment day with a Valentine theme in February.  Tetzloff says the zoo is opened year round and there are as many interesting things to do in the winter as in the summer.

[audio:winterzoo3.mp3]Word from Tetzloff[/audio]

For more information about specific events or the various changes at the zoo, you can go to millerparkzoo.org.

 


 

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LIHEAP Program Accepting Applications

For local low income families needing assistance this winter paying their heating bill, there is still time to get an application in to a local program that can provide financial relief for their heating bill.

Community Action of Central Illinois is currently accepting applications as a part of their Low Income Heating and Energy Assistance Program, or LIHEAP. Ashley Doyle with Community Action explains for someone wishing to apply, they need to visit their local Community Action office and fill out an application. She adds when they come in there will be some paper work they need have on hand before an application will be accepted.

[audio:liheap1.mp3]Word from Doyle[/audio]

According to Doyle, they sometimes get applicants who are experience threatening situations. She says those applications get handled right away to ensure the safety of the applicants and those in the household.

[audio:liheap2.mp3]Word from Doyle[/audio]

Community Action works closely with the various utility companies to ensure applicants who are approved for the program are making their payments, but also to make keep communication open on behalf of customers who are working with shut off situations. To this point in the winter, the temperatures have not been too bad, and Doyle believes that has benefited Community Action in allowing them to help more people.

[audio:liheap3.mp3]Word from Doyle[/audio]

LIHEAP provides families assistance one time per year. To find out more or to fill out an application for the program, visit your local Community Action office, or you can call their 800-line at 877 -588-7189.

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Piatt County Farm Bureau Cash Bash Recap

Food pantries in Piatt County recently received a big boost thanks to the local Farm Bureau.

Nine different food pantries in Piatt County recently split a little over 33-hundred dollars donated by the Piatt County Farm Bureau.  Manager Emily Bakken (BOCK-en) explains the funds were proceeds raised by the organization's first ever "Cash Bash" held in November.

[audio:piattcash1.mp3]Worf from Bakken[/audio]

During the check presentation, officials from the food pantries were able to compare notes.  Bakken says it was a unique experience to hear how each one operates, and also eye-opening about the types of needs they have in common.

[audio:piattcash2.mp3]Worf from Bakken[/audio]

Piatt County Farm Bureau officials were extremely pleased with the results of their first-ever "Cash Bash."  Bakken believes it will become an annual event for the local farm bureau that could benefit other charitable organizations in the county.

[audio:piattcash3.mp3]Worf from Bakken[/audio]

The Piatt County Farm Bureau "Cash Bash" was formatted similar to a reverse raffle that also featured a dinner, as well as silent and live auctions.  A portion of the proceeds also benefited the Piatt County Farm Bureau Foundation to be used for local scholarships.

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Clinton Police Report for 12-28

ON 12/23/11 CLINTON POLICE ARRESTED GREGORY A. BEASLEY 46, CLINTON FOR IMPROPER LANE USAGE, DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF ALCOHOL, DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF ALCOHOL WITH A B.A.C. GREATER THAN .08, NO VALID DRIVERS LICENSE, AND OPERATING UNINSURED MOTOR VEHICLE. BEASLEY WAS TRANSPORTED TO THE DEWITT COUNTY JAIL AND RELEASED TO CORRECTIONS

ON 12/24/11 CLINTON POLICE ARRESTED ERNEST R. FENNER 54, CLINTON ON A DEWITT COUNTY WARRANT. FENNER WAS TRANSPORTED TO THE DEWITT COUNTY JAIL AND RELEASED TO CORRECTIONS.

ON 12/27/11 CLINTON POLICE ARRESTED MERICKIA K. WHEELOCK 24, LINCOLN FOR POSSESSION OF CANNABIS, POSSESSION OF A CONTROLED SUBSTANCE, AND POSSESSION OF DRUG PARAPHERNALIA, AND DWIGHT J. STEWART 18, LINCOLN FOR POSSESSION OF CANNABIS. BOTH SUBJECTS WERE TRANSPORTED TO THE DEWITT COUNTY JAIL AND RELEASED TO CORRECTIONS.

ALL SUSPECTS ARE PRESUMED INNOCENT UNTIL FOUND GUILTY IN A COURT OF LAW

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DeWitt County Sheriff's Report for 12-28

December 28, 2011

 

 

 

Jail Population: 50

 

Summons Served: 0

 

Warrant Arrests: 0

 

 

 

Investigation into the scene of an accident which occurred at approximately 6:01 a.m. on Tuesday, December 27, revealed that a vehicle driven by William Cahall, 28, DeWitt, was traveling west on Parnell Road near the intersection of Irish Row Road when he spun off of the roadway to the north of Parnell Road striking a road sign. No injuries were reported and the vehicle was driven from the scene.

 

 

 

Investigation into the scene of an accident which occurred at approximately 5:17 a.m. on Saturday, December 27, revealed that a car driven by Yimmy Nieves, 38, Clinton, was traveling westbound on State Route 10 east of Jenkins Switch Road when it skidded into the south side ditch. As it skidded through the ditch it turned sideways facing northbound tipping over onto its drivers side upon coming to rest. No injuries were reported. The vehicle was towed from the scene.

 

 

 

 

 

ALL SUSPECTS ARE PRESUMED INNOCENT UNTIL FOUND GUILTY IN A COURT OF LAW.

 

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Maroons Winless in Williamsville

In a game heard on WHOW, the Clinton Maroons dropped their fifth straight game as they fell to the Warrensburg-Latham Cardinals with a final score of 57-52. It was the Maroons third loss at the Williamsville Holiday Tournament as they go to 3 and 9 on the year. The Maroons led by as many as 15 in the game but were unable to hold on. Leading scorers for the Maroons were Mitch Creager who had 23 points and by Jacob Rockhold who had 8 points in the game. For the Cardinals, Cody Huggins had 17 points and Tyler Reed had 16 points with 10 of them coming from the free throw line. The Cardinals were 19 of 26 at the charity stripe and were 17 of 22 in the fourth quarter alone.

The Maroons will play host to the Warrensburg-Latham Cardinals as the teams meet again Tuesday night. That game will be live on 92.3FM WHOW. Tip at 7pm.

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DeWitt County Sheriff's Christmas Weekend Report

December 24, 2011

 

Jail Population: 48

Summons Served: 4

Warrant Arrests: 1

 

 

December 25, 2011

 

Jail Population: 48

Summons Served: 0

Warrant Arrests: 1

 

 

December 26, 2011

 

Jail Population: 48

Summons Served: 0

Warrant Arrests: 1

 

December 27, 2011

 

Jail Population: 49

Summons Served: 0

Warrant Arrests: 1

 

Investigation into the scene of an accident which occurred at approximately 5:45 a.m. on Thursday, December 22, revealed that a car driven by Nicholas Levitt, 31, Milmine, was northbound on Lilac Road, approaching the intersection at Washington Road when he skidded and attempted to turn, but slid through the intersection and struck the ditch. There was damaged to the front end. No injuries were reported.

 

Investigation into the scene of an accident which occurred at approximately 11:00 p.m. on Saturday, January 24, revealed that a car driven by Levi Satterfeal, 27, Leroy, was traveling north on Pear Tree Road a quarter mile north of Parnell Road when he left the roadway on the east side and continued in the ditch along the roadway until it struck the concrete culvert. No injuries were reported. Satterfeal was issued citations for Failure To Report Accident To Police Authority, Leaving the Scene Of Accident/Vehicle Damage, and Improper Lane Usage. He was given a notice to appear and was released.

 

 

ALL SUSPECTS ARE PRESUMED INNOCENT UNTIL FOUND GUILTY IN A COURT OF LAW.

 

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Pharmacy Under Fire For Prescription Mistakes

A Walgreen's pharmacy is getting attention after making two mistakes with prescriptions.  A Galesburg woman dropped off a prescription for vicodin last week but when she went back to get it 30-minutes later someone else had already picked it up.  And unfortunately, the pharmacy couldn't refill the prescription.  Her doctor had to write a new prescription for a different, weaker type of medicine.  It's not illegal in Illinois for someone to pick up a prescription for someone else.  Some pharmacies ask for personal information when a person picks up a prescription but it's not required by law.  Walgreens issued a statement saying they followed all procedures when they dispensed the medication.  It's the second time the same Walgreens pharmacy has made an error in the past few weeks.  Another woman says the pharmacy got her prescription wrong four times.

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Police Investigating Death Of On-Duty Cop

Glasford police are investigating the death of one of their own.  Charles Rodgers Junior’s squad car went off the road near Hickory and Second Street early Saturday morning.  Witnesses ran to help the officer but when they got there, Rodgers asked them to quote “give him a minute.”  Then he allegedly shot himself in the head.  Authorities are conducting tests to determine what made Rodgers take his own life.  Rodgers is diabetic and authorities say his glucose levels may have been a factor in his behavior.  He has been a member of the Glasford Police Department for three years.

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Fund Started To Rebuild Historic Church

A fund has been started to rebuild an historic Illinois church.  St. Mary's Church in Brussels burned down Christmas Eve.  Firefighters say it's a total loss.  Anyone who wants to help in restoring the mid-19th century building can donate to the the St. Mary's Church Rebuilding Fund. The cause of the blaze hasn't been determined.

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Tuition Hike In Store For Students At SIU

Students at Southern Illinois University are looking at a possible increase in tuition and fees.  The school's budget is being stripped by about ten-million dollars next year.  The Carbondale campus is expected to lose about six-million dollars while the Edwardsville campus stands to lose three million.  University President Glenn Poshard says that could take things from bad to worse.  He says it will make it tougher for low-income students who struggle to pay for college. Poshard says the university has already seen extensive cuts in recent years.  In fact, it's seen about a 30-million dollar drop over the past few years.

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Elderly Danville Woman Found Dead

Danville Police are investigating the death of an 84-year old Danville woman.  The woman's family found her in her home late Christmas morning.  Police says they don't believe she died of natural causes.  Anyone with information should contact Danville police.  

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Local Unemployment Numbers

 

Unemployment in Illinois dropped slightly from October to November in Illinois, and several local counties saw their unemployment numbers drop as well.

DeWitt County unemployment dropped to under 8% at 7.9%, which is a 0.3% decrease.

In Macon County, unemployment dropped to under 10%, from 10.3% ro 9.9%.

Piatt County's unemployment went from 7.4% to 7.1%.

In McLean County, unemployment went from 7.3% to 6.8%, a half percent drop.

Locan County's unemployment went from 8.6% to 8.3%.

Champaign County recorded one of the bigger drops by almost a whole percent, from 8.6% down to 7.8%.

Tazewell County 7.9% to 7.5%.

Sangamon County dropped an even half percent from 7.8% to 7.3%.

Peoria County's unemployment dropped under nine percent, from 9.1% to 8.5%.

In Livingston County, they saw over a half percent drop, from 8.4% to 7.8%.

The largest jump in unemployment happened in Calhoun County, where unemployment jumped nearly two percent, going from 8.3% to 10.1%. And the largest drop in unemployment happened in two places where it dropped nearly a whole percent. In Clay County they went from 11.4% to 10.5%, and also in dropped to under ten percent, going from 10.8% to 9.9%.

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Workforce Investment Solutions Offers Job Seekers Preparations To Get Jobs

There is a special program in Central Illinois that can assist job seekers in this struggling economy.

Workforce Investment Solutions is an organization that can help those who are seeking work prepare for job training and interviewing, among other aspects of job hunting.  It's funded by the government and can also provide employers with needed services. It's services are provided within Dewitt and Macon county, according to several employment specialists from the organization.

[audio:workforce1.mp3]A Word From The Folks At Workforce Investment Solutions[/audio]

Workforce's specialists provide plans and tips to help employment applicants succeed and find work as quickly as possible.  They say that among the most important tips are to be dressed appropriately and know as much about the employer as you can. A boot camp workshop is provided by the organization to provide information such as this. Dana Miller, one of the specialists, provides an overview of the content of the boot camp.

[audio:workforce2.mp3]A Word From Miller[/audio]

According to the specialists, most of the jobs being offered right now involve manual labor. If not labor, they require electrical or maintenance skill. If a person has experience in one of these areas, there are jobs available.

[audio:workforce3.mp3]A Word On The Jobs Available[/audio]

For more information on this organization or assistance with finding a job, you can contact Workforce Investment Solutions in Decatur at 875-8750 ext. 230.

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Blue Ridge Board of Education To Put Bonding Question On March Ballot

The Blue Ridge School district has established a question for the March ballot involving their Mansfield facility project.

The Board of Education for the Blue Ridge School District will be seeking the approval of the voters to approve bonds of up to $6.7 million. Susan Wilson, Superintendent of the Blue Ridge School district explains the total cost of the project will be a little more than $8-million after some Health/Life Safety issues are addressed.

[audio:blueridgereferendum1.mp3]Wilson On Total Cost of Project[/audio]

According to Wilson, the cost of the Health/Life Safety items do not have to be taken care of prior to the building being built, but she feels taking care of them as a part of the current bond would be better than in another year or two coming back and asking the voters to approve more bonds. The Health/Life Safety items are replacement of the roof, remove the chimney, replace the boiler and hot water system and replace the septic system.

[audio:blueridgereferendum2.mp3]Wilson On Health/Life Safety Items[/audio]

Wilson explains the district has overcome a lot of financial hardships in the past and built up a nice reserve of savings. She says those savings are now paying off to various areas of the project that they can help fund. Wilson stresses the Board of Education is working to be responsible with the money they have.

[audio:blueridgereferendum3.mp3]A Word From Wilson[/audio]

The Blue Ridge Board of Education's projected bond and interest rate they are asking to issue are .51 cents. The current rate is .45 cents, which would translate into about a $20 increase for a $100-thousand home per year. Wilson says for those who pay taxes through their mortgages, it would be an increase of about $1.67 per month to their house payment.

At the school's website, blueridge18.org, there is a link to a site where Blue Ridge residents can keep tabs on the progress of the project, and Wilson says they work to keep it updated as much as possible.

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One Day Electronic Recycling Event Tomorrow in Monticello

Now that Santa has brought you the latest Apple Product or flat screen TV, what are you going to do with the old electronics left laying around the house?

The Piatt County Soil and Water Conservation District is giving folks the opportunity to have those electronic items disposed of properly. Jonathon Manuel, Resource Conservationist with the SWCD explains they will be accepting electronic items all kinds all day Wednesday.

[audio:electronicrecycling1.mp3]A Word From Manuel[/audio]

The program is nothing new to Piatt County. Manuel explains before they began offering electronic recycling, his department would find various electronic items discarded on the side of country roads and highways. He feels having this program around has cut back a great deal on that.

[audio:electronicrecycling2.mp3]A Word From Manuel[/audio]

For those with older computers or cell phones that potentially could have information they do not want reproduced, Manuel explains all items are well taken care. He explains from the time the trailer door is open upon it's arrival in the Chicago area to it being discarded, the process is filmed and those items are wiped out with government software.

[audio:electronicrecycling3.mp3]A Word From Manuel[/audio]

In the past, the program has sought donations to refund the gas expenses a volunteer who is donating his time and equipment to haul the electronics to and from. Manuel explains last year they had more than plenty to reimburse him, however, this year they have a suggested donation price for some items.

[audio:electronicrecycling4.mp3]A Word From Manuel[/audio]

The collections takes place at the Monticello USDA parking lot, just off Route 105 on the south side of Monticello. The collection takes place tomorrow (WED) from 8 am to 4 pm. For more information on the program, suggested donation prices, or items being accepted, you can contacted Jonathon Manuel at 217-762-2146 Ext. 3.

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Cubs Agree To Terms With Sonnanstine, Corpas

The Chicago Cubs agreed to terms on non-guaranteed split contracts with pitchers Andy Sonnanstine and Manny Corpas on Monday.  Both contracts were for the 2012 season.  Sonnanstine has spent his entire five-year career with the Tampa Bay Rays and has made 80 starts, but has been used primarily as a reliever for the past two seasons.  In 2011 Sonnanstine made 15 appearances, four starts, with the Rays and posted an 0-and-2 record with a 5.55 ERA.  Corpas missed the entire 2011 campaign while recovering from Tommy John surgery.  He made 56 relief appearances in 2010, going 3-and-5 with a 4.62 ERA and 10 saves.

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Bears' Cutler To Get Pins Removed

Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler will have the pins removed from his injured right thumb today.  Bears head coach Lovie Smith broke the news on Monday, but did not say if Cutler would be back on the practice field this week.  Smith also didn't rule out Cutler from playing in Sunday's Week 17 finale against Minnesota.  Chicago has lost five games in-a-row since Cutler broke the thumb in a Week 11 win versus San Diego.

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Brees Breaks Record As Saints Pound Falcons

Drew Brees broke Dan Marino's record for most passing yards in a single season as he led the Saints to a 45-16 beating of the Falcons.  Brees finished the game with 307 yards and four touchdowns to go with two interceptions as New Orleans locked up the NFC South title.  Marino's record had stood since 1984.  Matt Ryan threw for 373 yards and a score for the Falcons, who are locked into the playoffs as a Wild Card.  Julio Jones caught eight passes for 128 yards and a score while Roddy White added 11 catches for 127 yards.  Malcolm Jenkins turned the tide in the game when he recovered a fumble by Jones and took it 30 yards to the house.

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Illini Kick Off Big Ten Play

The Illinois Fighting Illini hit the hardwood this evening as they open up Big Ten play against Minnesota at Assembly Hall.  The Illini have dropped two of their last three games and are coming off a 78-74 setback to eighth-ranked Missouri last week to fall to 11-and-2 on the season.  They fell from 24th in the nation to unranked in Monday's latest edition of the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll.  Illinois wraps up this week's play on Saturday at Purdue.

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Warriors Hold Off Bulls

Monta Ellis scored 26 points as the Warriors held on for a 99-91 win over the Bulls. Stephen Curry collected 21 points, 10 assists and six steals to help Mark Jackson earn his first win as the team's head coach.  David Lee netted 22 points in the win.  Luol Deng had 22 points and 10 boards for the Bulls, who trailed 57-41 at the half.  Derrick Rose had 13 points on 4-of-17 shooting in the setback.  The Bulls continue a season-opening four-game road trip on Thursday at Sacramento.

NBA
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Indiana Pacers 91, Detroit Pistons 79
Orlando Magic 104, Houston Rockets 95
Charlotte Bobcats 96, Milwaukee Bucks 95
New Jersey Nets 90, Washington Wizards 84
Toronto Raptors 104, Cleveland Cavaliers 96
Oklahoma City Thunder 104, Minnesota Timberwolves 100
Denver Nuggets 115, Dallas Mavericks 93
San Antonio Spurs 95, Memphis Grizzlies 82
New Orleans Hornets 85, Phoenix Suns 84
Sacramento Kings 100, Los Angeles Lakers 91
Portland Trail Blazers 107, Philadelphia 76ers 103

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Monticello Sages in Action At Holiday Hoopla

The Monticello Sages a have a double dose of games today. The Sages begin their annual Holiday Hoopla Tournament today at 11:30 as they play Neoga. Then they get a break before getting back at it in the nightcap at approximately 7:30 taking on Mt. Zion. The Sages begin action today at 2-4. Both games can be heard live on 95.9 FM WEZC, and also streamed live on dewittdailynews.com.

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Sages Beat Indians

As heard on 95.9 WEZC, the Monticello Sages won against the Neoga Indians 70-55 to start their Holiday Hoopla tournament.  Adam Probst and TJ Roy each scored 16 points for Neoga.  Seth Klein helped out with 14.  The Sages defense forced a lot of turnovers that led to quite a few easy buckets.  They were led by Nick Stokowski with 21 points.  Matt Krews contributed 15 points and Ryan Donahue chipped in with 11.  Tune in tonight at 7:30 as the Sages play Mt. Zion in the nightcap. 

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Maroons Crushed by Roanoke-Benson

In a game heard on WHOW, the Clinton Maroons took on the Roanoke-Benson Rockets at the 18th Annual Williamsville Holiday Tournament. The Rockets defeated the Maroons with a final score of 48-30. The Maroons were led by Mitch Creager and Greg Osgood who each had 6 points in the game. The Rockets were led by Brandon DeFreese who had 13 points. The disappointing loss puts the Maroons at 3 and 8 on the year as the Rockets improve to 5 and 6.

The Maroons play at Williamsville again tomorrow at 10:30am and their opponent is to be determined as it is tournament play. That game will be live on the Big 1520AM and 92.3FM WHOW and on DeWittDailyNews.com.

 

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Braves Beat The Sages

As heard on 95.9 WEZC, the Monticello Sages lost to the Mt. Zion Braves 59-49 in the nightcap of their Holiday Hoopla tournament.  Mt. Zion was led by Brody Rothrock with 29 points.  Reggie Garner helped out with 9 points and Jacob Stewart with 7.  For the Sages, Nick Stokowski made 11 points.  Ryan Donahue chipped in with 9 and Daile Obrien with 8.  Mt. Zion moves to 2-0 as the Sages drop to 1-1 in the tournament.  Tune in tomorrow at 3:30 as Monticello takes on the Knights of Blue Ridge. 

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Quinn Calls Meeting With Catholics Productive

Governor Pat Quinn says he had a productive meeting with Catholic leaders last week. 

               [audio:rddQuinnCats.mp3]Word from Quinn[/audio]

Some reports say the bishops went so far as to ask Quinn to stop calling himself Catholic if he's going to support issues that go against Catholic beliefs.  Quinn says he had a healthy conversation with the Catholic bishops but when it comes to state policies, he has to follow his conscience.  He says he has to make the best decisions for all of the people in Illinois.  Not just Catholics.

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Central IL Human Services Office to Consolidate

A central Illinois department of human services is set to close Tuesday, despite objections from officials in Fayette County.

The county's Department of Human Services office in Vandalia will be consolidated about 30 miles away to an office in Centralia.

State officials say it's a way to increase efficiency, cut costs and that the move won't reduce services. They also say there are few reasons to physically come to an office.

However, Vandalia Mayor Ricky Gottman says he is concerned about those who rely on public transportation and employees having to commute from locations throughout the county.

State officials say the closure is part of Gov. Pat Quinn's efforts to cut costs.

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Illinois to Create an Independent Tax Tribunal

Tax breaks for Sears and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange got the most publicity out of legislation Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn signed last week.

But the measure also includes a requirement that by 2013, the state have an independent body to hear tax protests.

More than two dozen states have adopted the so-called "tax tribunals." But the fact Illinois does not was a major reason a national tax association gave the state a "D'' for fairness and efficiency last year.

Sen. Toi Hutchinson is an Olympia Fields Democrat and sponsor of the bill. She says the tribunal helps show that lawmakers are serious about reform.

Right now protests must be filed with the Revenue Department - the tax administrator. Critics say that's unfair.


The bill is SB397.

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Rain Could Ease Decatur Water Restrictions

Water officials in Decatur say that steady, recent rains have raised Lake Decatur's level enough for them to consider ending mandatory water-use restrictions.

Decatur Water Management director Keith Alexander says that the lake's water level is just over 611 feet above sea level. That's still a little low but within a foot or 2 of the typical winter water level.

Alexander said that if the water level reaches 611.5 feet, restrictions could be lifted.

The city put restrictions on water use in place in October as parts of central Illinois endured drought.

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Peoria Chiefs Losing Money

A pair of audits shows the Chicago Cubs' Class A affiliate in Peoria is losing hundreds of thousands of dollars a season. One audit raises questions about the long-term ability of the team to continue.

Reports say that the Peoria Chiefs lost $848,000 in 2010 and $678,000 in 2009. Losses in both 2008 and 2007 topped $400,000.

The audits were filed with the Peoria County Supervisor of Assessment's Office as part of the Chiefs' appeal of the taxable value of its stadium.

1 of the audits by the Clifton Gunderson accounting firm raises "substantial doubt about the ability to continue as a going concern."

Team President Rocky Vonachen disputed that. He said the Chiefs have been hurt by the weak economy.

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Nimmo Appointed to County Board

There's a new face on the DeWitt County Board.

At its regular meeting this week, the DeWitt County Board unanimously approved the appointment of Clinton resident Scott Nimmo (Nim-mo) to fill a vacancy on the board.    The long-time DeWitt County resident is excited to take a role in local politics.

[audio:nimmo1.mp3]Word from Nimmo[/audio]

The Clinton Democrat feels it's an important time for the County Board.  Nimmo says the ongoing issues surrounding the Clinton Landfill are what really sparked his interest in the opportunity.

[audio:nimmo2.mp3]Word from Nimmo[/audio]

Nimmo also looks forward to representing county residents, and hopes to be able to work with all sides on any future issues.

[audio:nimmo3.mp3]Word from Nimmo[/audio]

Nimmo occupies a seat in District A that was vacated by the recent resignation of Dennis Rich.

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Thrillers Highlight NBA Opening Day

A pair of last-second thrillers highlighted opening day in the NBA on Sunday.  In New York, Carmelo Anthony hit a pair of free throws with 16.3 seconds left to lift the Knicks to a 106-104 win over the Celtics.  Anthony scored 17 of his 37 points in the fourth quarter in the victory.  Later in Los Angeles, Derrick Rose hit a floater with 4.8 seconds left to give the Bulls an 88-87 win over the Lakers.  The Bulls scored the game's final seven points to erase an 87-81 deficit in the final minute.  Lakers star Kobe Bryant had a potential game-winning shot blocked at the buzzer.

In other action, the Miami Heat hammered the Dallas Mavericks, 105-94, in a rematch of last year's NBA Finals.  The Mavs raised their 2010-11 championship banner prior to the game, but trailed by as many as 35 points in the lopsided loss.  LeBron James scored 37 points for Miami in the win.  Kevin Durant netted 30 points as the Thunder turned back the Magic, 97-89, in Oklahoma City.  In the nightcap, the new-look Clippers got 20 points and nine assists from Chris Paul to beat the Warriors, 105-86.  Blake Griffin led the way with 22 points and seven rebounds for Los Angeles to spoil Mark Jackson's head coaching debut with Golden State.

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Bulls Stage Late Rally to Stun Lakers

 Derrick Rose's floater with 4.8 seconds left lifted the Bulls to a thrilling 88-87 season-opening win over the Lakers.  The Bulls scored the game's final seven points to erase an 87-81 deficit in the final minute.  Rose had 22 points to pace Chicago.  Luol Deng added 21 points and seven rebounds in the victory.  Kobe Bryant had 28 points, seven rebounds and six assists, but had a potential game-winning shot blocked at the buzzer.  Pau [[ POW ]] Gasol collected 14 points and eight rebounds in the loss.

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Steelers Shut Out Rams

 Rashard Mendenhall rushed for 116 yards and a touchdown as the Steelers shutout the Rams, 27-0.  Charlie Batch filled in for an injured Ben Roethlisberger [[ ROTH-lis-berger ]], going 15-for-22 for 208 yards and an interception. Kellen Clemens was 9-of-24 passing for 91 yards in place of Sam Bradford.  Steven Jackson rolled for 103 yards on 24 carries for St. Louis, which fell to 2-and-13.  If the Rams lose Sunday to the 49ers and the Colts beat the Jaguars, St. Louis gets the number-one pick in the 2012 NFL Draft.  Jackson surpassed one-thousand yards rushing for a team-record seventh consecutive season.

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Packers Pound Bears To End Playoff Hopes

 Aaron Rodgers threw for five touchdowns on 21-of-29 passing for 283 yards to lead the Green Bay Packers to a 35-21 victory over the Chicago Bears.  Jordy Nelson finished with 115 yards receiving and two touchdown grabs while James Jones also found the endzone twice through the air.  Kahlil Bell ran for 121 yards while quarterback Josh McCown threw for 242 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions for Chicago.  The Bears were eliminated from playoff contention with the setback, falling to 7-and-8 on the year.  The Bears will travel to Minnesota to battle the Vikings next week to close out the season.

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Tremont Beats Clinton

As heard on The BIG 1520/92.3 AM, the Clinton Maroons lost to Tremont 56-24 at the Williamsville Holiday tournament. Tremont was led by Sammy Boliger with 20 points. Blake Uhlman also chipped in 14 points for the Turks. For the Maroons, Jacob Rockhold led the way with 6 points.  Marshall Sprague and Jerrod Hurst contributed 5 points each.  Tune in tomorrow at noon as the Maroons take on the Havanna Ducks.

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Rain Could Ease Decatur Water Restrictions

Water officials in Decatur say that steady, recent rains have raised Lake Decatur's level enough for them to consider ending mandatory water-use restrictions.

Decatur Water Management director Keith Alexander says that the lake's water level is just over 611 feet above sea level. That's still a little low but within a foot or 2 of the typical winter water level.

Alexander said that if the water level reaches 611.5 feet, restrictions could be lifted.

The city put restrictions on water use in place in October as parts of central Illinois endured drought.

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Kids Health & Holidays

All the excitement of the holiday brings interruptions in a child’s routine and can add stress for children and sometimes cause behavioral problems.

The holidays are thought of as a magical time of year, but stress and pressure from extra activities, shopping and high expectations can impact family harmony. Glen Aylward, Ph.D., professor of pediatrics at SIU School of Medicine in Springfield, says there are a variety of stressors that can affect the child.

[audio:siuholidaykids1.mp3]Glen Aylward[/audio]

Aylward says behavioral challenges might include emotional volatility and anxiety. He offers tips for parents to make the holidays more fun and less stressful, which will make their children’s behaviors more acceptable.

[audio:siuholidaykids2.mp3]Dr. Aylward[/audio]

Aylward advises parents to guide children away from the material issues of the holiday and get into the giving – the actual spirit of the season. Help them donate a gift to someone less fortunate. If a child’s behavior becomes more disruptive or doesn’t return to normal soon after the holidays, the child may need to see his or her doctor or a pediatric counselor.

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Santa Should Consider Peoria

He needs cookies and milk, department stores to make his appearances, and post offices to handle all the letters from children.

If Santa Claus ever needs to move from the North Pole, he should consider Peoria. That's the word from a Canadian think tank that analyzed data on Canadian and U.S. cities for its list of top 10 places suitable for Santa.

The Martin Prosperity Institute at the University of Toronto's Rotman School of Management ranks Peoria sixth on its list. The rankings are based on five variables: the number, per capita, of cookie factories, milk producers, postal and courier services, department stores and toy factories.

The researchers didn't say why Santa needs toy factories. Perhaps the elves want to stay at the North Pole.

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PUBLIC SAFETY - Two DC Deputies Honored

Some of DeWitt County's finest were recently recognized.

This week the DeWitt County Board and Sheriff Jered Shofner honored two local deputies for going above and beyond the call of duty.  Deputies Scott Pippin and Luke Werts received special plaques in front of the County Board Thursday night.

Sheriff Shofner explains Deputy Werts took quick action in the May arrest of a drug induced driver, while Deputy Pippin was key to solving a 2011 armed robbery in Wapella.

[audio:deputyhonor.mp3]Sheriff Shofner[/audio]

Deputies Werts and Pippin were nominated for the recognition by the employees of the Sheriff's office.

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Cubs, Reds Make Trade Official

The Chicago Cubs have officially traded left-handed reliever Sean Marshall to the Cincinnati Reds in exchange for young southpaw Travis Wood. The Cubs also acquired outfielder Dave Sappelt and minor leaguer infielder Ronald Torreyes. Wood, who turns 25 in February, split the 2011 season between the Reds and Triple-A Louisville. He went 6-and-6 with a 4.84 earned run average in 22 games in the majors. The 29-year-old Marshall amassed a 32-and-40 record, seven saves and a 3.96 ERA in 292 games during his six-year stint with the Cubs. Last season, he went 6-and-6 with a career-best 2.26 ERA in 78 appearances.

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UCLA Preps For Hunger Bowl In SF

UCLA's football team is getting ready to face Illinois in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl on New Year's Eve in San Francisco. A total of four Bruins players will not take part in the game, including quarterback Richard Brehaut [[ BREE-hoe ]], who was suspended earlier this week for violating team rules. The other three Bruins are sitting out the game because they didn't meet NCAA academic eligibility standards.

[audio:laxJohnsonSuspension1.mp3]UCLA Coach Johnson[/audio]

UCLA Interim head coach Mike Johnson says he'll manage to get by.

[audio:laxJohnsonSuspension2.mp3]UCLA Coach Johnson[/audio]

UCLA interim head coach Mike Johnson says he'll find another signal-caller to replace suspended quarterback Richard Brehaut [[ BREE-hoe ]].

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Former ND QB Crist Transfers To KU

Former Notre Dame quarterback Dayne Crist will be reuniting with

former head coach Charlie Weis at Kansas.  Crist said on Thursday via Twitter that he

will be transferring to KU.  Crist began this season as the Irish's starter, but was

replaced by Tommy Rees after one half of play in Notre Dame's season-opener against

South Florida.  Weis was the Irish's head coach for Crist's first two years in the

program, but was fired in 2009.  He was named Kansas' head coach earlier this month. 

Crist's most productive season at Notre Dame was his junior season in 2010.  He threw

for 2,033 yards and 15 touchdowns, but suffered a ruptured patella tendon in the ninth

game of that season.

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Report: ChiSox Give Danks Extension

The Chicago White Sox and starting pitcher John Danks have

reportedly reached an agreement on a five-year contract extension.  ESPN is reporting

that the deal is worth $65-million.  Danks, who turns 27 a week after the 2012 season

starts, went 8-and-12 with a 4.33 ERA last season for the Southsiders.

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Packers Host Bears On Christmas Night At Lambeau

A storied and very bitter rivalry will be renewed on Christmas night

when the Green Bay Packers welcome in the Chicago Bears for an NFC North battle at

Lambeau Field.  The Bears have sorely missed quarterback Jay Cutler, who broke his

right thumb in Week 11.  Chicago, which has also been without starting running back

Matt Forte [[ FOR-tay ]] the past two weeks, has dropped four games in-a-row on the

heels of a five-game winning streak to fall to 7-and-7 on the season.  They are coming

off a 38-14 loss versus Seattle at Soldier Field on Sunday.

Meanwhile, the Packers suffered their first loss of the season in Week 15 with a 19-14

setback at Kansas City to fall to 13-and-1.  The loss snapped a 19-game winning streak

that dated back to last season.  The Pack beat the Bears, 27-17, in Week Three.

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Mizzou Fends Off Illinois

Phil Pressey scored 20 points as eighth-ranked Missouri fended off

24th-ranked Illinois, 78-74, in the "Braggin' Rights" rivalry game in St. Louis.  Michael

Dixon added 18 points for the Tigers, who are 12-and-0 for the first time since the

1981-82 season.  Ricardo Ratliffe netted 14 points in the victory.  Brandon Paul collected

19 points and 10 rebounds for the Illini, who fell to 11-and-2.  Joseph Bertrand also had

19 points in the loss.  The Illini return to Champaign on Tuesday evening to host

Minnesota at Assembly Hall.  Meanwhile, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish are off the rest

of the week.  They host 13th-ranked Pittsburgh next Tuesday in South Bend.  ND routed

Sacred Heart, 106-65, on Monday night at the Joyce Center.

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Winter at Scovill Zoo

Have you ever been curious to know what goes on at zoos during the winter? Do the animals get shipped south? Do they stay outside and turn to ice cycles?

Ken Frye with the Scovill Zoo in Decatur says winter months is an opportunity to take up maintenance projects and make improvements to the zoo. Some zoos stay open year long and keep their animals on display all year. Frye explains Scovill Zoo closes their doors and they take the warm weather animals to special facilities on their grounds for the winter.

[audio:zoowinter1.mp3]Winter at the Zoo[/audio]

When spring rolls around is about the time the animals' exhibits will be cleaned. Frye says once the snow falls and the leaves are done falling is about when the animals exhibits need maintenance the most.

[audio:zoowinter2.mp3]Zoo Maintenance[/audio]

The Scovill Zoo is currently in the process of working towards the future right now. Part of their winter projects at the zoo is revamping their concession stand. Frye says the old concession stand is being torn down to have a new one built, and also they are upgrading their restroom facilities.

[audio:zoowinter3.mp3]Zoo Renovations[/audio]

The facility upgrade is a part of future plan the zoo has to expand their exhibit to include penguins. Frye is hopeful the construction process for that goal can begin towards the end of the 2012 summer, as they have begun to gather designs and bids for construction costs.

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Illinois Infant Rare Illness

An Illinois infant is recovering from the same unusual bacterial infection that prompted a nationwide voluntary recall of baby formula.

The Illinois Department of Public Health said Thursday an Illinois infant contracted the infection Cronobacter sakazakii. Such illnesses are rare.

It's unclear whether the Illinois child drank any of the type of formula removed from more than 3,000 stores nationwide by Wal-Mart. Health officials say the Illinois infant was fed several types of powdered infant formula.

Wal-Mart pulled the Enfamil Newborn formula as a precaution after a Missouri newborn who consumed it died.

Investigators are trying to identify the source of the Illinois infant's infection.

Health officials are reminding parents and caregivers to follow safety guidelines when preparing formula, including boiling the water used to mix it.

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Referendum Team To Begin Raising Awareness On School Referendum

As reported yesterday on Regional Radio News, the Clinton Board of Education has approved a bond referendum resolution to get approval from the tax payers to issue bonds to fund the proposed new elementary school for the Clinton School District.

As a part of that referendum, the Board of Education has also put together a referendum team to raise awareness around the school district about the question on the ballot. Superintendent of Clinton Schools Dr. Jeff Holmes explains a local business man in the Clinton Community is heading up the efforts and so far has around 50 community members.

[audio:referendumteam1.mp3]Dr. Holmes1[/audio]

The referendum team is comprised of 4 groups that will play a major role to gather support and awareness for this referendum all the way up the March 20, 2012 vote. Dr. Holmes explains there are many areas anyone interested can get involved.

[audio:referendumteam2.mp3]Dr. Holmes2[/audio]

According to Dr. Holmes, should the referendum get rejected, two of the districts current buildings will need to be renovated at an estimated cost of almost $7-million dollar range. He feels spending a little more for a building the community can be proud of is worth it.

[audio:referendumteam3.mp3]Dr. Holmes3[/audio]

The Board of Education approved the referendum to issue the bonds in the amount of $16.7 million. Dr. Holmes is confident based on past property tax values the district could quickly pay off the building. The current Jr. High facility was paid in close to 7 years.

To become a part of the referendum team you can contact Rennie Cluver or Dr. Stephanie Cluver at 935-6555.

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County Board Approves Ambulance Referendum Resolution

Voters in most areas of DeWitt County will see a referendum concerning ambulance service on the March 2012 ballot.

Thursday night the DeWitt County Board approved a resolution to place a referendum on the ballot asking voters to approve a new tax levy to fund ambulance service.  Board Chair Melonie Tilley says the question posed to voters will seek a levy not to exceed point-25-percent of a property's Equalized Assessed Valuation, or EAV.

[audio:ambulanceref1.mp3]Melonie Tilley[/audio]

Not every resident in the county will see the measure on the March ballot.  Finance Committee Chair Ed Young explains some areas of DeWitt County are already taxed for ambulance service, and thus can not be "double taxed."

[audio:ambulanceref2.mp3]Ed Young[/audio]

Despite the referendum resolution being approved by an 8 to 2 vote, there are still several questions concerning the future of ambulance service within the county.  Young admits that there are few answers at this point.

[audio:ambulanceref3.mp3]Ed Young[/audio]

Much of DeWitt County is currently served by the Dr. John Warner Hospital ambulance service, however the hospital announced earlier this year that they plan to halt the service at the end of 2012.  County and City of Clinton officials are looking to implement a funding source for a potential service before that cutoff.

In other business Thursday night, the DeWitt County Board...

> approved the appointment of Clinton resident Scott Nimmo (Nim-mo) to the Board in the seat formerly held by Dennis Rich.

> approved the purchase of a new squad car for the Sheriff's Department to replace a vehicle that was totaled in a recent traffic accident.

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Another Official Resigns In Central Illinois Village

Another official has resigned in Sparland, leaving the central Illinois village board with no quorum.

The departure of trustee Kenneth Crew brings to six the number of officials who have resigned in the last few days.

Crew submitted his resignation Monday.

The other officials are: Mayor Linda Medearis, Village Clerk Susan Persinger, Treasurer Margo Danger-Smith, and trustees Louis Lenz and Ralph McCasky.

Trustee Mike Durham says the first five resignation letters were found over the weekend "in a neat pile" at Village Hall.

The resignations are effective different times this week and last week.

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US EPA Stepping Up Enforcement In On-Farm Fuel Storage

It seems agriculture continues to be hit on all sides with new regulations, and one area the U.S. EPA appears to be stepping up enforcement is on-farm fuel storage.  Jared White has more....

[audio:121911SPCCRuleWRAP.mp3]Jared White With The Story[/audio]

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Community Action Accepting Weatherization Applications

Even though the bitter cold of winter has yet to show itself in central Illinois, preparing for it now can be a big help.

For low income families, the Community Action Partnership of Central Illinois can aid in keeping your home warm in the winter, but also cool during the summer. According to Ashley Doyle, with Community Action, the weatherization program they have comes into a home and finds areas that can expose a home to cold seeping in and keep the home better insulated.

[audio:weatherization1.mp3]Doyle On The Weatherization Program[/audio]

Despite the December weather being unseasonably warm to this point, Doyle says the agency is seeing people come in in preparation of the cold that inevitably will come to the area. She says it is never a bad time to have your home weatherized.

[audio:weatherization2.mp3]A Word From Doyle[/audio]

To be a part of the weatherization program through Community Action, an income guideline must be met. To find out more about the guidelines, the application process, or what other projects qualify as weatherization, you can stop by Community Action in Clinton at 1700 East Main Street, or call 877-588-7189.

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Clinton Board of Education Approves Referendum For New Elementary Building

The Clinton Board of Education has approved a referendum to issue bonds for the new elementary building on the March ballot.

The Clinton Board of Education Tuesday evening approved moving forward with the referendum to issue bonds in the amount $16.7 million. Superintendent of Clinton Schools Dr. Jeff Holmes explains the question on the referendum includes not only issuing the bonds, but also bringing down the other elementary buildings, and making necessary improvements to the high school facility.

[audio:schoolreferendum1.mp3]A Word From Dr. Holmes[/audio]

The bonds the district will be issuing could be paid off in a maximum of 19-years, however, Dr. Holmes says with the value of the Clinton school district property rising like it has in the past, the time it takes to pay the bonds off will decrease. He points to the Clinton Jr. High School building, which he stresses has been paid off for nearly four years now.

[audio:schoolreferendum2.mp3]A Word From Dr. Holmes[/audio]

Dr. Holmes feels this new facility is about maximizing the students of the districts education. He connects the districts drive to continue it's technological push and having a building that can make that possible.

[audio:schoolreferendum3.mp3]A Word From Dr. Holmes[/audio]

Dr. Holmes continues to stress through this process, the bonds they are proposing to issue will not raise the tax rate of those property owners in the school district.

The Board of Education has assembled a referendum campaign team to reach out to the community to raise awareness about the bonds being issued. Regional Radio News will have more on the campaign team tomorrow.

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Cubs, Cards Notes

>>Cubs Wheel And Deal On Wednesday

(Chicago, IL)  --  The Cubs reportedly have a deal in place to acquire left-handed starting pitcher Travis Wood and two minor-leaguers from the Cincinnati Reds for lefty reliever Sean Marshall.  Wood, who turns 25 in February, was 6-and-6 with a 4.84 ERA in 18 starts for the Reds last season.  Also on Wednesday, the Cubs agreed in principle on a one-year contract with outfielder Reed Johnson.  In other team news, Bill Buckner will reportedly join the Cubs' Class A affiliate Boise Hawks as their hitting coach.

>>Cards Await Beltran's Decision

(St. Louis, MO)  --  The Cardinals are waiting to find out where Carlos Beltran will play next season.  The "Post-Dispatch" cites a source as saying Beltran is expected to decide among five interested clubs this week.  The Cardinals are in the mix, although they have explored alternatives such as free agent Coco Crisp.  Yahoo! Sports reports Boston and Toronto also have interest in Beltran.

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NFL Notes

>>Colts Clash With Texans On "Thursday Night Football"

(Indianapolis, IN)  --  The AFC South champion Houston Texans head to Lucas Oil Stadium for a "Thursday Night Football" showdown with the Indianapolis Colts.  The Texans had a seven-game winning streak snapped with a 28-13 defeat at the hands of the Carolina Panthers in Week 15 to fall to 10-and-3 on the season.  With quarterbacks Matt Schaub and Matt Leinart both lost for the season due to injury, rookie T.J. Yates has stepped in and led Houston under center the past three games.  Two of the Texans' three losses this season have come on the road.  Meanwhile, Indianapolis put the winless season talk to rest after beating Tennessee, 27-13, on Sunday to pick up its first win of the season.  The victory marked the team's first win without quarterback Peyton Manning at the helm since 1997.  Manning has missed the entire year with a lingering neck injury.  Houston beat the Colts, 34-7, in Week One.

>>Bears To Start McCown Sunday Night At Green Bay

(Lake Forest, IL)  --  Josh McCown will be under center Sunday night when the Chicago Bears play the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field.  He will start in place of the ineffective Caleb Hanie.  McCown was signed last month after starter Jay Cutler was lost to a season-ending thumb injury.  It will be McCown's first start since 2007.  The Bears have lost four straight with Hanie to fall to 7-and-7.

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Illini/Mizzou Notes

>>Mizzou-Illinois "Braggin Rights" Game Tonight

(St. Louis, MO)  --  The Missouri-Illinois "Braggin Rights" rivalry returns to St. Louis tonight.  The eighth-ranked Tigers take on the 24th-ranked Fighting Illini at Scottrade Center in an 8 p.m. tipoff.  Mizzou blew out William & Mary 94-56 on Sunday to improve to a perfect 11-and-0.  Illinois beat Cornell 64-60 on Monday and is 11-and-1 overall.  Missouri beat Illinois 75-64 in last year's game.

>> Mizzou, Illini Bring 'Zest' To Annual Meeting

Missouri has won the last two Braggin' Rights games against Illinois and that's all the history junior guard Michael Dixon cares about.

The neutral-site holiday season border battle is 1 of the most energized, adrenaline filled games Dixon has played in. The stands are pretty much equally divided, half wearing orange and the other half black and gold, and both sides make plenty of noise.

Dixon remembers how much fun it's been to win, too, and wants to keep that feeling. Before he got to Missouri, Illinois had won nine in a row in the series.

Both schools are ranked heading into Thursday night's matchup in St. Louis. Missouri's seasoned unit under first-year coach Frank Haith is ranked No. 9 and Illinois is No. 25.

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Eastern Illinois Hog Farm Will Pay Fines Over Manure Spills

An eastern Illinois hog farm has agreed to pay more than $81,000 in fines for spilling more than 200,000 gallons of manure in a creek and in the process killing tens of thousands of fish.

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan's office said in a new release Monday that the owners of R3E LLC will pay nearly $64,000 to the state Department of Natural Resources for the fish kill. The farm also will have to pay $17,500 to the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency.

The new release says a manure holding pond at the farm near Buckley spilled manure into Spring Creek and a tributary in July 2009.

The manure flowed downstream and killed more than 110,000 fish over a stretch of 19 miles.

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Taxpayers May Not Be On Hook For Tuition Program

The state's College Illinois pre-paid tuition program has a 560-million dollar deficit.  Some say taxpayers may be on the hook for the tab but State Treasurer Dan Rutherford says it's up to lawmakers to bail the program out. 

[audio:rddCollegeIL6.mp3]A Word From The Treasurer[/audio]

Rutherford says parents should pay attention to the small details before signing a pre-paid tuition contract.

[audio:rddCollegeIL4.mp3]A Word From Rutherford[/audio]

The program is under the authority of the Illinois Student Assistance Commission, which is appointed by the governor.  No new participants have been allowed into College Illinois since September.  Rutherford says the Bright Start program, which is run by his office, is doing well.

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Illinois Loses Out On $26-Billion In Taxable Revenues

A new study out says Illinois has missed out on $26-billion in taxable revenue over the past decade and a half.

The Illinois Policy Institute’s study shows that Illinois lost more than 300,000 tax-paying households between 1995 and 2009.

Ted Dabrowski is with the policy institute and says it’s not just a matter of high taxes that caused people to leave the state, but they did play a role.

[audio:122011dabrowski1.mp3]A Word From Dabrowski[/audio]

Dabrowski even says the recent income tax hike might have been avoided if the 300,000 households hadn’t moved away.

[audio:122011dabrowski2.mp3]A Word From Dabrowski[/audio]

The number of people leaving the state has slowed in recent years, likely due to the Great Recession.

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Synthetic Marijuana Suspected In Warrensburg Student's Illness

Authorities in central Illinois suspect synthetic marijuana made a teenager severely ill.

Macon County Sheriff Thomas Schneider says the student smoked synthetic marijuana before school Thursday at Warrensburg-Latham High School in Warrensburg. The town is about 10 miles northwest of Decatur.

Schneider explains the student was treated for vomiting, dizziness, possible seizures, incoherence and abdominal pains. Information about the student's condition was not immediately available.

Synthetic marijuana is often sold in stores under names such as "K2" and "Head Trip."

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration has made some of the product's ingredients illegal based on increases in medical emergencies caused by its use. Chicago has banned sales, and a state law, taking effect Jan. 1, makes possession or sale a felony.

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Mayor Peters Says EMS Legislation Not Answer To Ambulance Problem In DeWitt County

Legislation from the state and federal levels threatens to eliminate a middle tier of Emergency Management Services(EMS).

EMS runs on three tiers composed of basic services, intermediate, and paramedic. Clinton Mayor Carolyn Peters explains most downstate communities operate on the intermediate level, and eliminating that would make EMS very difficult to operate for smaller communities.

[audio:emslocal1.mp3]A Word From The Mayor[/audio]

Mayor Peters was one of several officials from Clinton and DeWitt County at and EMS Task Force Hearing Monday afternoon in Maroa. The Mayor used the opportunity to explain the unique situation to the Task Force member at the hearing. She says a solution by the state could be some time away, which would not likely be an answer to DeWitt County's ambulance problem.

[audio:emslocal2.mp3]A Word From The Mayor[/audio]

The Mayor stresses it is imperative the County Board approve a levy for the County. She says if they do not or the referendum does not pass in March, then the responsibility becomes each city's responsibility come up with funding for ambulance service. The Mayor believes the county levy is the best option for residents.

[audio:emslocal3.mp3]A Word From The Mayor[/audio]

The Task Force is made up of 24 bipartisan members of the Illinois House of Representatives and has taken part in 17 local hearings where EMS workers from all over the state have been a part of.

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Special Christmas Service Tonight At Presbyterian Church

Christmas time for some can be a time of great anticipation and excitement. For others, it can be a time of great pain and sometimes suffering for various reasons.

Two new members to the Clinton pastoral community will be holding a special event this evening for those may have recently or not so recently lost a loved one. Ben Keller and his wife Samantha recently moved to Clinton as the new pastors at Clinton's Presbyterian Church. Ben says so far things are going well, and the community has been very welcoming to him and his family.

[audio:griefservice1.mp3]A Word From Pastor Keller[/audio]

Tonight those who are feeling some sort of grief or pain have an opportunity to be a part of a special service at the Presbyterian Church. Pastor Keller explains the service is for anyone dealing with any sort of grief to come and be a part of. He hopes they can find a small bit of healing in what is on tap for tonight.

[audio:griefservice2.mp3]A Word From Pastor Keller[/audio]

Dealing with those feeling grief and hurt is nothing new for Pastor Keller. He has a very experienced background in helping those dealing with someone who has passed on or someone who is ill. He hopes tonight he can use that experience to provide healing and comfort.

[audio:griefservice3.mp3]A Word From Pastor Keller[/audio]

The service tonight gets underway at 6 pm and anyone from any denomination is invited to be a part of it. Pastor Keller says it is a unique service with a different mood and goal behind it during what can be a difficult time of year for some.

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Salvation Army Christmas Fundraiser Totals Up For 2011

A main fundraiser for one local organization has wrapped up for the year, and has seen an increase in giving this year.

Each year volunteers for the Salvation Army stand outside local businesses throughout the area and ring bells to raise money. For Clinton, they stand outside the local Wal-Mart, and this year those bell ringers saw an increase in the donations shoppers dropped into their red kettles. Ernie Harvey, a pastor at Clinton's First Christian Church explains the bell ringers stood outside Wal-Mart this year for the first three weekends of December, and things this year again turned out very well.

[audio:bellringers1.mp3]Harvey On This Year's Totals[/audio]

Each year the Salvation Army sees a great amount of generosity from those that frequent the Clinton Wal-Mart and despite the recession, Harvey feels people continue to realize there are people in need.

[audio:bellringers2.mp3]A Word From Harvey[/audio]

100% of the funds raised during the Salvation Army's Red Kettle Campaign stays in DeWitt County. Harvey says their goal is to provide help to those who may need financial assistance, but also to get them connected to other organizations that could potentially help them out as well.

[audio:bellringers3.mp3]Harvey On Getting People Help[/audio]

The Red Kettle campaign is the primary fundraiser for the Salvation Army of DeWitt County. They provide help year round, not just during the Christmas season. The Salvation Army continues to accept donations, to make a donation or find out more about them you can contact Ernie Harvey at 935-3139.

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Bulls Notes

>>Report: Bulls Give Rose Extension

(Chicago, IL)  --  The Chicago Bulls and guard Derrick Rose have reportedly agreed to a five-year contract extension.  ESPN is reporting that the deal is worth $94.8-million.  The 23-year-old Rose was the youngest MVP in NBA history last season when he averaged 25 points and 7.7 assists, leading the Bulls to the top spot in the Eastern Conference with a mark of 62-and-20.

>>Bulls Power Past Pacers In Preseason Finale

(Chicago, IL)  --  Carlos Boozer led the way with 24 points and seven rebounds, but he was overshadowed by Richard Hamilton's 13-point Bulls' debut in a 93-85 victory over the Pacers in both team's preseason finale on Tuesday night at the United Center.  Hamilton made 6-of-12 shots to go along with six assists and four rebounds over nearly 30 minutes of action.  Luol Deng totaled 14 points with seven boards, while Derrick Rose totaled 12 points with nine assists and five rebounds.  Chicago plays its season-opener on Christmas Day against the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center.

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ISU Wins; Bradley Loses Close Game

>> ISU Top UALR

Tyler Brown scored 23 points, leading four Illinois State players in double figures, and the Redbirds held on to beat UALR 72-65 Tuesday night.

Nic Moore scored 17 points, all in the first half, for Illinois State (8-3). John Wilkins scored 11 points and Jackie Carmichael had 10 points and nine rebounds for the Redbirds, who scored the first nine points, led 32-14 midway through the first half and 42-33 at halftime.

Will Neighbour led UALR (3-10) with 19 points and seven rebounds. The Trojans took their only lead at 46-44 on Taggart Lockhart's basket with 13:33 to play, but ISU scored the next eight points to regain control.

Redbirds coach Tim Jankovich was ejected after receiving his second technical foul late in the first half. Assistant Rob Judson took over.

>> Western Carolina Edges Bradley

Keaton Cole's basket with 5.7 seconds remaining Tuesday night gave Western Carolina a 68-67 victory over Bradley.

Cole finished with 13 points to lead the Catamounts (6-6). Harouna Mutombo had 11 points and nine rebounds, and Trey Sumler also scored 11 points. Brandon Boggs added 10 points and Ishmael Hollis contributed nine points and 10 rebounds for Western Carolina.

Dyricus Simms-Edwards had 17 points for Bradley (5-6). Jordan Prosser had 15 points and eight rebounds, Walt Lemon Jr. scored 11 and Taylor Brown 10 points for the Braves. Bradley coach Geno Ford played for and coached with Western Carolina's Larry Hunter when they were at Ohio.

Bradley plays No. 20 Michigan on the road Thursday night. Western Carolina, which hadn't played since Dec. 10, next faces UNC-Asheville on Dec. 28.

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Illini Notes

>> Illini Thin At RB Position Ahead of Bowl Game

Illinois may be very thin at running back when it takes on UCLA in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl on New Year's Eve.

Interim Illini head coach Vic Koenning said Tuesday that starting tailback Jason Ford is among a handful of players who may not be academically eligible for the game.

1 of the three backs who play behind Ford, Josh Ferguson, is expected to apply for a redshirt after missing much of the season.

That would leave another freshman, Donovonn Young, and senior Troy Pollard at back. And young is coming off an ankle injury.

Koenning also said starting fullback Jay Prosch is hospitalized with a staph infection that required knee surgery.

School officials aren't sure how or where Prosch became infected. They say no other players are ill.

>> Weber: Struggling Illini Now In Underdog Role

Illinois coach Bruce Weber says he's told his players that after two rough games the Illini will be clear underdogs when they face No. 9 Missouri on Thursday in St. Louis.

The 25th-ranked Illini (11-1) had to come from behind to beat Cornell Monday. That was after a 64-48 loss to UNLV on Saturday.

After some early production from some of the six freshmen on its roster Illinois has stopped getting points or much of anything else from its young bench.

Weber says those young players have hit a wall.

Weber said the biggest thing Illinois will have to avoid against the Tigers (11-0) is giving up big runs. Cornell used a 21-4 run to jump out to a 10-point lead in the first half Monday

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Private University Employees Draw State Pensions

Dozens of employees from private education groups and Special Olympics linked to Illinois State University are eligible for public pensions, according to a report in the "Chicago Tribune."  State law allows colleges and universities to designate the employees, even though the university doesn't hire them or pay their salaries.  ISU spokesman Jay Groves says it's a partnership that dates back 40 years and he said it helps the institution's goals.  He adds it's a common occurrence for public universities to partner with private groups, noting that the University of Illinois, Southern Illinois and Northern Illinois universities have similar arrangements.  The light is being shined on the issue as lawmakers tackle massive loopholes and underfunding within the state's pension systems.  Groves says the real problem with the pension system is that the state has not funded it appropriately for about 30 years and has taken money from it without paying it back.

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Police: It Appears Mother Killed Family

Autopsy results from the five victims in the Emington shooting are now available.  Coroner Mike Burke says Sara McMeen died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the neck.  Burke says the handgun was still next to her hand when police arrived on the scene where she allegedly killed her family on Friday afternoon.  Burke says the autopsies showed the deposition of soot on McMeen's hand.  McMeen's boyfriend died of gunshot wounds to the back and neck, while her children died of gunshot wounds to the head and back.  Sheriff Marty Meredith says preliminary findings indicate McMeen was the sole shooter of all four victims before taking her own life.  Livingston County Sheriff's Police believe this was a murder-suicide but are still seeking help from the public.  They want to know the whereabouts of McMeen and Warren in the 24 to 48-hours prior to the shooting.  Anyone with information should call 815-844-2774 or 844-0911.

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U of I Opens Nutrition Center With Abbott

The University of Illinois and Abbott Laboratories say they have created a center for dedicated to the role of nutrition in learning and memory.

The university and the pharmaceutical company said Monday that The Center for Nutrition, Learning, and Memory will be located at the school's Urbana-Champaign campus.

Professor Neal Cohen will be its director.

The center will call every year for proposals and provide money for scientific projects dedicated to the role of nutrition in cognitive function.

The center plans to tap the university's existing research facilities at the Institute for Genomic Biology and Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology, as well as the existing Division of Nutritional Sciences and Neuroscience Program.

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Decatur Police Say Teen Could Face Murder Charge

Police in Decatur say a 16-year-old male who is in custody on a charge of attempted murder may face a murder charge now that an alleged shooting victim has died.

The victim, 41-year-old Brian Carney, was shot Wednesday afternoon and died Saturday at a hospital.

Detective Sgt. Shane Brandel says a murder charge is before the Macon County State's Attorney's Office.

A second 16-year-old male has been charged with aggravated unlawful use of a weapon. He is also in custody.

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Richland Community College Making Efforts To Make Education Affordable

With costs of just about everything rising during this tough economy, Richland Community College in Decatur is trying to help find ways for students to make their education more affordable.

The school has more than 100 scholarships available to their students. Trisha Qordulack is the Director of Scholarships at RCC, she says sometimes the misconception when applying for college scholarships is that they are all income based. She says while some are, there are plenty of scholarships for students that are not, and they can have a big financial impact on the cost of education.

[audio:rccscholarships1.mp3]A Word From Qordulack[/audio]

The scholarship money Richland distributes comes from a variety of sources. Qordulack explains the school has great relationships with several corporations in Decatur and the surrounding area who are very generous and have provided great opportunities for students by donating money for various scholarships. She also says there are several personal funded scholarships for students to take advantage of as well.

[audio:rccscholarships2.mp3]A Word From Qordulack[/audio]

Before Richland can consider anyone for their scholarships, the student must first have their FAFSA paper work filled out. Qordulack says the sooner any paper can be completed the better.

[audio:rccscholarships3.mp3]A Word From Qordulack[/audio]

For more information on the scholarships Richland has, you can contact Trisha Qordulack directly at 217-875-7211 or you can email her at trishaqordulack@richland.edu.

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EMS Hearing In Maroa Monday

A hearing for an EMS Funding Task Force took place Monday afternoon in Maroa.

 width=The Task Force is made up of 24 bipartisan members of the Illinois House of Representatives. Representatives Don Moffit and Lisa Dugan are the co-chairs of the committee, who have been a part of 17 hearings, including yesterdays at the Maroa Fire House. Rep. Moffit says the purpose of the Task Force is to hear from local people involved in the everyday operations of EMS to find out what the state can do a better job of.

[audio:emshearing1.mp3]A Word From Moffit[/audio]

Several Clinton and DeWitt County leaders were on hand. Ambulance Manager for the Dr. John Warner Hospital, Terrence Hubbard, was the first to speak before the members of the task force. The city owned hospital is one of three Illinois hospitals owned by a city. The point of view which Hubbard spoke from was certainly unique to the Representatives there. Hubbard spoke on many topics, and made a couple of suggests on how to improve emergency services throughout the state. First by providing more funds to them and also enforcing higher reimbursement rates from Medicare and Medicade.

[audio:emshearing2.mp3]A Word From Hubbard[/audio]

EMS managers, hospital representatives and Fire Department chiefs from all over the area were present as well for the meetings, and everyone in attendance that wanted to speak was able to do so.

The meeting was coordinated by Representatives Bill Mitchell and Chapin Rose. The Task Force was hoping to have a report to put together to bring back to the General Assembly by January 1, but that deadline will most likely not be met, and a concrete date for the report to be complete has not yet been established.

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Clinton City Council Meeting Review

The Clinton City Council meeting Monday evening was one of primarily minor reports and updates.

Commissioner of Streets and Public Improvements, Nan Crang updated her fellow council members of the streets departments progress in leaf clean up and transitioning into the snow ready mode. She also says the streets department uses the winter months to cut down trees.

[audio:councilreview1.mp3]A Word From Commissioner Crang[/audio]

The Fire Department made a purchase from their own money to get a piece of equipment that will help them in many aspects. According to Public Health and Safety Commissioner Jerry Milton, the basket stretcher purchase will allow the department to be more flexible with where they can go to rescue people, and will also be ideal with the new fire engine.

[audio:councilreview2.mp3]A Word From Commissioner Milton[/audio]

Commissioner of Accounts and Finances, Tom Edmunds also reported good news in the area of the city's sales taxes, that they are up from this time last year.

[audio:councilreview3.mp3]A Word From Commissioner Edmunds[/audio]

In other business from the Monday Council Meeting:

> The Council approved the ammended section of the placement of trash receptacles.

> They approved the purchase of the 4 sets of bunker gear for the Fire Department.

> They approved the purchase of 2 Panasonic Toughbook 31 and Accessories for the Police Departments unmarked vehicles.

> They approved an ordinance for the Dr. John Warner Hospital to a borrowing line of credit. The vote was 4-1 with Commissioner Crang being the 'No' vote.

> And the Council approved the sale of real estate on East Washington Street for $90-thousand. The vote was 3-2, Commissioners Crang and Milton were the two no votes.

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Rangers Win Bidding Rights To Yu Darvish

The Texas Rangers have won the bidding rights to Japanese pitcher Yu Darvish.  Major league teams had until last Wednesday to post bids to the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters to negotiate exclusively with the right-hander.  Yahoo! Sports reports the posting bid was $51.7-million.  Earlier in the week, the "New York Post" reported the Toronto Blue Jays would win the rights with a bid between $40-million and $50-million.  The Chicago Cubs were also among the teams that reportedly showed interest.  The Rangers now have 30 days to work out a contract for Darvish, who went 18-and-6 with a 1.44 ERA with 276 strikeouts and 36 walks in 232 innings last season.

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NFL Notes

>>Niners Outmuscle Steelers

(San Francisco, CA)  --  The 49ers forced four Ben Roethlisberger turnovers en route to an impressive 20-3 win over the Steelers on "Monday Night Football."  Roethlisberger played through an ankle injury and threw three interceptions and lost a fumble.  "Big Ben" did pass for 330 yards as Pittsburgh fell to 10-and-4.  The start of the game was delayed after a transformer outside Candlestick Park exploded and caused a blackout inside the stadium.  The lights went out again with 12:13 left in the second quarter, but play resumed after a 16-minute delay.  The Steelers host the St. Louis Rams on Saturday at Heinz Field.

>>Bears' Knox Has Successful Surgery

(Lake Forest, IL)  --  Chicago Bears wide receiver Johnny Knox had surgery Monday to stabilize a vertebra in his mid-to-lower back.  The procedure was successful and the prognosis for Knox's football future is positive.  No timetable has been set for his return.  Knox was taken off the field on a stretcher after taking a hard hit during Sunday's game against the Seattle Seahawks.  The wide receiver's head snapped back due to the force of the hit by Seahawks defensive lineman Anthony Hargrove.  Knox has collected 37 receptions for 727 yards with a pair of touchdowns for Chicago this season.

>>Colts' Polian: Manning Out For Season

(Indianapolis, IN)  --  Indianapolis Colts president Bill Polian says quarterback Peyton Manning will not step on the field in game action for the rest of the season.  Polian made the comments at a press conference after the Colts registered their first win of the season on Sunday against Tennessee.  The victory marked the team's first win without Manning under center since 1997.  Manning has missed the entire year with a lingering neck injury.  Manning has had three surgeries on his neck, including two in the past five months.  However, he was cleared for workouts of greater intensity earlier this month.

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Illini Escape Cornell

>> Leonard Helps Illini Escape Cornell

Meyers Leonard had 19 points and a career-high 16 rebounds to lead No. 25 Illinois to a 64-60 victory over Cornell on Monday night.

After trailing for the most of the game, Illinois (11-1) was sparked by D.J. Richardson's 11 points in the second half and narrowly avoided its second consecutive loss.

Josh Figini scored all 14 of his points in the first half to lead Cornell (4-5).

Illinois opened the second half 1 for 13 from the field and fell behind 42-36, then put together a 14-6 run to regain the lead. The teams exchanged leads until the final minute, when Richardson hit a pull-up jumper with 17 seconds left to put Illinois up 62-58.

Cornell hit six 3-pointers, including three by Figini, to jump out to a 24-14 lead. Illinois tied the score 32-all by halftime.

NCAA Top-25 Men's Basketball  (ESPN/"USA Today" Rankings)
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#5 Duke Blue Devils 90, UNC Greensboro Spartans 63
#6 North Carolina Tar Heels 99, Nicholls State Colonels 49
#7 Baylor Bears 95, Paul Quinn 54
LSU Tigers 67, #10 Marquette Golden Eagles 59
Davidson Wildcats 80, #11 Kansas Jayhawks 74
#12 Florida Gators 82, Mississippi Valley State Delta Devils 54
#18 Indiana Hoosiers 107, Howard Bison 50
#20 Michigan State Spartans 89, UMKC Kangaroos 54
#21 Creighton Bluejays 83, Tulsa Golden Hurricane 64

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Monticello Hosts Bloomington Central Catholic Tonight

The Monticello Sages are back on the hardwood one last time before the Christmas holiday, as they play host to the Bloomington Central Catholic Saints. The Sages are coming off a tough loss Friday night at Shelbyville, 51-44. It was a balanced attack, but a 6-0 run by the Rams put the Sages behind early in the 2nd half, combined with a cold shooting night was the demise of Monticello Friday. The Sages have not had a good run against the Saints in recent years, they are 0-2 all time, and lost 71-47 last year in Bloomington. The Sages are 2-4, Central Catholic is 3-5. You can hear the game live on 95.9 FM WEZC and also streamed live on dewittdailynews.com. Tip off time is approximately 7:30.

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DeWitt County Sheriff's Report From 12-16

December 16, 2011

 

Jail Population: 52

Summons Served: 4

Warrant Arrests: 2

 

Investigation into the scene of an accident which occurred at approximately 4:18 p.m. on Wednesday, December 14, revealed that a car driven by Antoine Marshall, 32, Bloomington, was heading northbound on U.S. Highway 51. He hydroplaned, causing him to lose control of the vehicle and drive off the roadway. The car struck the ditch and culvert on the west side of the road No injuries were reported and the car was later towed from the scene.

 

ALL SUSPECTS ARE PRESUMED INNOCENT UNTIL FOUND GUILTY IN A COURT OF LAW.

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Central Catholic Wins Against Sages

Bloomington Central Catholic came into Monticello and beat the Sages 74-55.  The Saints progressively pulled away in this one.  They were led by the 22 points by Jack Hester.  Jake Reinart added 17 points and Matt Rave had 13.  The Saints had 17 team assists. For the Sages, Daily O'Brien played a solid game, leadin the Sages in scoring with 13 points. Nick Stokowski recorded his first double-double at the Varsity level with 11 points and 10 boards.  Ryan Donahue had 5 rebounds and scored 10 points.  Monticello now drops to 2-5 as Central Catholic improves to 4-5.  The Sages will have a week layoff before they host their annual Holiday Hoopla.

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Funds Dedicated For Peoria Area Highway Project

One of the biggest highway makeover projects in central Illinois is a step closer to fruition.

After two decades of planning, state funds have been dedicated for the interchange at Interstates 74 and 155. That's along with repaving and widening of roads between Morton and East Peoria.

The project is estimated to cost around $85 million. Bids will go out a year from now and construction is set to begin in 2013.

Maureen Addis is a program development engineer for the Illinois Department of Transportation. She calls the project a "major reconstruction" and says some 35,000 motorists travel Interstate 74 between Morton and Peoria each day.

Officials say when it's completed there'll be more lanes, new exit ramps and better lightening.

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Postal Service Says Monday Is Busiest Day

It may be a little crowded at the post office.

U.S. Postal Service officials anticipate that Monday will be the busiest mailing day of the holidays. In Chicago alone, officials say more than 1.7 million cards will be mailed.

Postal officials say they're reporting a big traffic increase on the service's website. Postal officials say 97 million customers will come to the post office this season and 47.2 million will do online shipping from home. Officials say more than 4.7 million shipping labels are printed from home.

The Postal Service is mulling hundreds of closures nationwide that would slow mail service.

The service has proposed closing 252 mail processing facilities and cutting 28,000 jobs by the end of next year to help the agency curb its mounting financial problems.

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Neighbor Saw Woman Shoot At Baby

A neighbor says she saw an Illinois woman shoot at her 10-month-old baby before apparently turning the gun on herself.

Authorities say 30-year-old Sara McMeen is 1 of 5 people found dead Friday at a home in Emington, a town of about 100 people about 80 miles southwest of Chicago. A man and three children, including a baby, also died in what the sheriff says was a murder-suicide.

Neighbor Annelise Fiedler says she ran outside to her backyard after hearing shots.

She says she saw McMeen in the next yard over hovering over her baby and asked if everything was alright.

Fiedler says McMeen looked at her and said, "No, everything is not alright."

Fiedler says McMeen then fired a shot at the infant.

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Five Dead In Illinois Shooting

A family of five is shot to death in the central Illinois town of Emington.  Livingston County authorities say a man, woman and three children, one a baby, were found yesterday after they responded to a call of shots fired.  Sheriff Martin Meredith did not answer a question about whether the shootings were a murder-suicide, but says they are not looking for a person of interest in the case.  Neighbors say the family had moved in over the summer and mostly kept to themselves.

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Semi Trailer Falls From Central Illinois Overpass

The trailer of a semi-truck fell from a central Illinois overpass, striking a van below and sparking an explosion and intense fire.

Illinois State Police Trooper Dustin Pierce says at least three people were taken to area hospitals Friday evening with minor injuries.

The truck reportedly fell from a westbound I-474 overpass onto Illinois Route 29, striking a van. Witnesses say the cab of the truck remained on the overpass, and that passers-by pulled the driver to safety. Witnesses also say the van's driver walked away from the accident.

The fire has reportedly spread to other vehicles.

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Local Lawmaker Says Tax Rollbacks Good For Illinois Future

State Representative Dan Brady and members of the House Republican Caucus Wednesday offered a broad-based approach to keeping good employers and making Illinois more competitive for jobs through legislation to accelerate a roll-back of the temporary corporate income tax hike passed by Democrats in January.

The bill takes a two-pronged approach to reducing Illinois’ business taxes by accelerating the expiration of the temporary corporate income tax increase. And reducing the corporate income tax by 0.25% anytime the Illinois unemployment rate increases by .3% in a four month span.  Brady believes these steps are good for Illinois especially given the job climate around the country right now.

[audio:brady1.mp3]A Word From Brady[/audio]

Brady likes the rollback of the corporate income tax. He believes that it will enable Illinois to keep the jobs currently here and he hopes it can attract new jobs to the state as well.

[audio:brady2.mp3]A Word From Brady[/audio]

Brady says it is unfortunate to get to the point they are at that they first put many businesses in tough financial positions. He feels though this will help businesses  all over Illinois continue to keep people employed.

[audio:brady3.mp3]A Word From Brady[/audio]

Brady believes the bill is needed to produce a better business climate in Illinois and what is lost in tax receipts to the state will be replaced with a gain in new employment and a broader tax base. 

The bill is supported by the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association, the Illinois Retail Merchant Association, the State Chamber of Commerce, the National Federation of Independent Business, and the Illinois Policy Institute.

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Senior Winter Tips

The winter season officially begins this week, and everyone needs to be extra cautious, especially the senior citizens of the community.

As the temperatures begin to drop and the chances for snow increase, there are many things seniors need to be aware of to keep safe. Sissy Leggett, Executive Director at the DeWitt County Friendship Center encourages seniors to be aware of weather conditions and prepare accordingly.

[audio:seniorwintertips1.mp3]A Word From Leggett[/audio]

For seniors wanting to get out of their drive ways after a snow fall, it is a good idea for them to arrange for someone to shovel the snow for them. Legget also adds it is just as important for seniors to be hydrated during the winter months as it is during the summer months.

[audio:seniorwintertips2.mp3]A Word From Leggett[/audio]

There are many other tips for seniors that Leggett has included in the Friendship Center's newsletter. You can pick up a copy by stopping by the Center in person or you can call 935-9411 for more information as well.

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Clinton Fire and Police Pensions Well Funded

The Clinton City levy has been on file for a couple of weeks now, but preparations by the city in the past has put the city in good financial standing for future years.

Recent changes to police and fire pension funds by the state of Illinois will put some communities in a tough situation. Treasurer for the City of Clinton, Clint Lichtenwalter explains those changes are cities must have their pension funds well funded by the year 2016 or they could begin to lose funds in other areas.

[audio:levydetails1.mp3]A Word From Lichtenwalter[/audio]

The levy this year was nearly $1.5-million. Lichtenwalter explains each year the city budgets for their fire and police pensions. He says since he began working with the city, they have really built up the funds and should not be in any danger of being underfunded in the future.

[audio:levydetails2.mp3]A Word From Lichtenwalter[/audio]

With the changes in the pension funding methods the state is proposing, Lichtenwalter says underfunded pensions would be put off to the last minute, and at that time it would put those communities in a tough spot. He suggests next year both police and fire pensions could seek out their own actuaries.

[audio:levydetails3.mp3]A Word From Lichtenwalter[/audio]

Lichtenwalter says in his time in Clinton budgeting for the levy has never been a problem, and having the city in a good financial position with their pensions is a good sign for the future, especially for Clinton first responders.

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NFL Knows Of No List of Players Tied To Hurd

The NFL says it is not aware of other players involved in the federal drug case against Chicago Bears wide receiver Sam Hurd.

League spokesman Brian McCarthy said Friday that the NFL is closely monitoring the case. Asked about a report that authorities have a list of NFL players with a connection to Hurd, McCarthy said: "We are not aware of such a list."

Hurd was arrested Wednesday night after authorities said he agreed to buy a kilogram, or 2.2 pounds, of cocaine from an undercover agent. A criminal complaint says Hurd wanted to set up a drug-distribution network in the Chicago area.

General manager Jerry Angelo said Friday that the team has cut the 26-year-old Hurd, who was in his first year with the Bears and sixth year overall in the NFL.

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Bears, Rams, Pack All Lose on 'Upset' Sunday

>>Seahawks Slam Bears At Soldier Field

(Chicago, IL)  --  Marshawn Lynch rumbled for 42 yards on 20 carries with two touchdowns and the Seahawks got a pair of defensive scores en route to a 38-14 victory over the Bears.  Red Bryant had a 20-yard interception return for a touchdown in the third quarter and Brandon Browner's 42-yard pick to the house late in the fourth sealed the deal for Seattle, which has won three straight games to improve to 7-and-7 on the season.  Tavaris Jackson added a two-yard TD toss to Michael Robinson in the win.  Kahlil Bell led the Bears in rushing and receiving.  He had 65 yards via the ground on 15 carries and added 43 yards and a score through the air for Chicago, which has dropped four games in-a-row since losing quarterback Jay Cutler to dip to 7-and-7.  Israel Idonije recovered a fumble in the endzone to account for the Bears other score in a losing effort.

>>Bengals Down Rams

(St. Louis, MO)  --  Cedric Benson ran for 76 yards and a score as the Bengals held off the Rams, 20-13.  Sam Bradford did not play due to an ankle injury.  Kellen Clemens completed 25-of-36 passes for 229 yards and a touchdown in his first start since 2009.  Steven Jackson went for 71 yards on the ground while also hauling in nine passes for 72 yards as the Rams fell to 2-and-12 with their fifth straight loss.  The Rams are on the road Saturday for a Christmas Eve game against the Steelers in Pittsburgh.

>>Chiefs Hand Packers First Loss Of Season

(Kansas City, MO)  --  The Green Bay Packers have suffered their first loss of the season.  Jackie Battle put the game out of reach with a one-yard touchdown run with under five minutes to play as the Kansas City Chiefs upset the Packers, 19-14, at Arrowhead Stadium.  Ryan Succop added four field goals for Kansas City, which has won two-of-three on the heels of a four-game slide to improve to 6-and-8 on the season.  Kyle Orton finished 23-of-31 for 299 yards to get the win in his first start of the season with his new team.  The Chiefs acquired Orton off waivers three weeks ago.  Aaron Rodgers had a rushing score and also completed 17 passes for 235 yards with a TD toss to Donald Driver for Green Bay, which had won 19 straight games dating back to last season.  Ryan Grant added 66 yards via the ground for the Pack, who fall to 13-and-1.

>>SUNDAY'S SCOREBOARD

NFL
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New Orleans Saints 42, Minnesota Vikings 20
Indianapolis Colts 27, Tennessee Titans 13
Miami Dolphins 30, Buffalo Bills 23
Washington Redskins 23, New York Giants 10
Carolina Panthers 28, Houston Texans 13
Detroit Lions 28, Oakland Raiders 27
New England Patriots 41, Denver Broncos 23
Philadelphia Eagles 45, New York Jets 19
Arizona Cardinals 20, Cleveland Browns 17 (OT)
San Diego Chargers 34, Baltimore Ravens 14

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Illini Volleyball Falls In First Ever National Championship; Illini BBall Loses In Chicago

>> UCLA Beat Illini Women For NCAA Volleyball Title

Outside hitter Rachael Kidder had 20 kills and UCLA beat Illinois in the NCAA women's volleyball championship to give the Bruins their first title in two decades Saturday night.

The Bruins won their fourth title in school history, putting them third behind Stanford (six) and Penn State (five).

Tabi Love had 14 kills for UCLA in the victory. Michelle Bartsch led Illinois with 22 kills in the first championship match ever for the Illini.

UCLA hadn't won a championship since 1991 or even played in the final since 1994.

The Bruins are the sport's first new champion in five years. They dethroned the Nittany Lions, whose record run of 4 consecutive titles ended in the regional semifinals.

>> UNLV Hands Illini First Loss

Mike Moser had 17 points and 11 rebounds, UNLV went on a 14-2 run to close the first half and the Runnin' Rebels handed No. 19 Illinois its first loss of the season with a convincing 64-48 victory Saturday.

UNLV (11-2), which beat then-No. 1 North Carolina earlier this season, used its quick, switching defense and nine blocked shots to frustrate the Illini at the United Center. Quintrell Thomas added 13 points for UNLV, which won despite getting only two points from leading scorer Chace Stanback.

The cold-shooting Illini (10-1) were led by 19 points from D.J. Richardson. Illinois shot 25.4% (16 for 63) and had 15 turnovers. The Illini went only 7 of 25 from 3-point range.

NCAA SATURDAY Top-25 Men's Basketball  (ESPN/"USA Today" Rankings)
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#1 Syracuse Orange 88, North Carolina State Wolfpack 72
#2 Ohio State Buckeyes 74, South Carolina Gamecocks 66
#3 Kentucky Wildcats 87, Chattanooga Mocs 62
#4 Louisville Cardinals 95, Memphis Tigers 87
#6 North Carolina Tar Heels 97, Appalachian State Mountaineers 82
#7 Baylor Bears 86, BYU Cougars 83
#11 Marquette Golden Eagles 93, Northern Colorado Bears 72
#13 Florida Gators 84, #22 Texas A&M Aggies 64
#14 Pittsburgh Panthers 69, South Carolina State Bulldogs 55
#16 Mississippi State Bulldogs 80, Detroit Titans 75
#17 Georgetown Hoyas 81, American University Eagles 55
#18 Michigan Wolverines 87, Alabama A&M Bulldogs 57
#20 Indiana Hoosiers 69, Notre Dame Fighting Irish 58
Kansas State Wildcats 71, #21 Alabama Crimson Tide 58  (at Kansas City, MO)
#23 Michigan State Spartans 74, Bowling Green Falcons 60
#24 Creighton Bluejays 97, Houston Baptist Huskies 62
Indiana State Sycamores 61, #25 Vanderbilt Commodores 55

NCAA SUNDAY Top-25 Men's Basketball  (ESPN/"USA Today" Rankings)
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#8 Missouri Tigers 94, William & Mary Tribe 56
Oral Roberts Golden Eagles 64, #9 Xavier Musketeers 42
#10 Connecticut Huskies 77, Holy Cross Crusaders 40 

>>#19 Illini Hit The Hardwood

(Champaign, IL)  --  The 19th-ranked Illinois Fighting Illini hit the hardwood this evening as they host Cornell at Assembly Hall in Champaign.  The Illini suffered their first loss of the season on Saturday in a 64-48 setback to UNLV to fall to 10-and-1.

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Clinton Police Report for 12-19

CITATIONS

12/16/11

JOSHUA L. FATHEREE 24, CLINTON SPEEDING 45 MPH IN A 30 MPH ZONE. BOND POSTED

ZACHARY R. GROVES 23, NORMAL SPEEDING 45 MPH IN A 30 MPH ZONE. BOND POSTED

CLAYTON R. MARTENS 18, CLINTON DRIVING WITHOUT LIGHTS WHEN REQUIRED. BOND POSTED

 

12/18/11

CARLA G. CHAPMAN 42, MAHOMET NO VALID DRIVERS LICENSE. NOTICE TO APPEAR ISSUED.

 

ON 12/17/11 CLINTON POLICE ARRESTED BLAKE E. MARIANI 21 CLINTON FOR RETAIL THEFT AT IGA. MARIANI WAS TRANSPORTED TO THE DEWITT COUNTY JAIL AND RELEASED TO CORRECTIONS.

ALL SUSPECTS ARE PRESUMED INNOCENT UNTIL FOUND GUILTY IN A COURT OF LAW

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DeWitt County Sheriff's Weekend Report

December 17, 2011

 

Jail Population: 52

Summons Served: 0

Warrant Arrests: 0

 

 

December 18, 2011

 

Jail Population: 49

Summons Served: 0

Warrant Arrests: 0

 

 

December 19, 2011

 

Jail Population: 48

Summons Served: 0

Warrant Arrests: 2

 

Eric Smith, 29, Clinton, was issued a citation for Failure To Reduce Speed/Accident. Smith posted the necessary bond and was released.

 

David Piatt, 54, Farmer City, was issued citations for Expired Registration and Operating Uninsured Vehicle. Piatt posted his IL. Drivers license as bond and was released.

 

Christopher Helfrich, 30, Bloomington, was issued a citation for Operating Uninsured Vehicle. Helfrich posted his IL. Drivers license as bond and was released.

 

 

ALL SUSPECTS ARE PRESUMED INNOCENT UNTIL FOUND GUILTY IN A COURT OF LAW.

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Juvenile Justice System Failing Youth

The Illinois Juvenile Justice system needs a serious overhaul.  That's according to Judge George Timberlake, chairman of the Illinois Juvenile Justice Commission.  A new report reveals the juvenile system is failing the youth it serves because offenders are not being properly rehabilitated.  In fact, more than half of the youth who serve time in the Department of Juvenile Justice are incarcerated again later in life.  The report calls the juvenile justice system, quote, "the feeder system to the adult criminal justice system." The commission is responsible for developing a plan to help the young offenders transition back into their communities after being released.

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Survey Shows Economic Strength of Midwest, Plains

A survey of bankers in 10 Midwest and Great Plains states reflects continued economic growth in the region, which boasts strong agricultural performance and rising commodity prices.

The Rural Mainstreet Index rose to 59.7 in December, the highest survey figure since June 2007. The index hit 58.4 in November, 52.9 in October and 52.2 in September. Survey organizers say that whenever the index, which ranges from 1 to 100, is above 50, it suggests the economy will grow.

Creighton University economist Ernie Goss, who oversees the survey, says growth in U.S. regions tied to agriculture and energy are outpacing urban areas.

The survey covers Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming.

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Quinn Says Congressional Map Fairly Represents State

Gov. Pat Quinn says he's pleased with a federal court's decision to uphold a new congressional map drawn by Democrats.

Republicans had sued to overturn the map, claiming that Democrats drew only one Hispanic district when more were needed because of population growth.

A three-judge panel disagreed Thursday. But in their ruling they did say the adopted map was a "blatant political move to increase the number of Democratic congressional seats."

The map preserves existing Democratic-leaning districts and creates new ones. It also forces several Republican incumbents to run against each other in primaries.

In a statement, Quinn stressed that state officials held dozens of meetings statewide during the redistricting process.

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Relaxing During Holidays, Good Practice for 'Holiday Blues'

The holiday season can be a stressful and even sad time for some people, which may be caused by unrealistic expectations.

Some people experience the “holiday blues” during this time of year. This feeling of being “let down” is fairly common, says Dr. Laura Shea, assistant professor of medicine psychiatry at SIU School of Medicine in Springfield. She explains some possible causes of the blue feeling.

[audio:siublues1.mp3]Word from Shea[/audio]

In addition to some people missing loved ones and dealing with financial stresses, Dr. Shea says bad weather, shortened daylight hours and lack of sleep can lead to holiday blues. She advises people to modify their holiday expectations and relax. She offers some tips for people who experience these feelings.


[audio:siublues2.mp3]Word from Shea[/audio]

Dr. Shea says a blue feeling should last only a few weeks, but it could develop into a more serious condition if these symptoms continue. For serious depression, she recommends seeing a family doctor or mental health counselor for an evaluation and possible treatment.

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White Christmas for 2011, Not Likely

We saw above average temperatures this week, which has been the norm to this point in December. State Climatologist Jim Angel says we can expect to see continued above normal temperatures for the foreseeable future. He believes this could be one of the most mild Decembers we've seen in some time.

[audio:wx.mp3]Word from Angel[/audio]

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Search Continues For Missing Champaign Man

Champaign police are still searching for a man who went missing a few days after Thanksgiving.  They say 49-year-old Renard Jackson left home on his bike November 26th to run errands but never returned.  They found Jackson's bike, wallet and other belongings just down the block from the home.  Search crews have scoured the neighborhood with no luck.  The detectives on the case say they're becoming concerned about what happened to Jackson.  They're urging anyone with information to contact them or call CrimeStoppers at 217-373-TIPS.

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WEIC in Charleston Introduces New Sports Show

WEIC newstalk 1270 AM and 107.5 FM in Charleston, will premier a new high school “Coaches Corner” show, this Saturday morning from 9:30 until 11:30am.  The show will also be streamed live and archived on WEICdailynews.com.

WEIC's Wally Swenson will host the weekly show, interviewing local high school coaches about their teams' performance during the week.

Those who have been invited to appear include:

9:40-10am—Charleston boys and girls basketball coaches
10:06-10:30am—Mattoon boys and girls basketball coaches
10:35-11am—Paris boys and girls basketball coaches
11:06-11:30am—Casey-Westfield boys and girls basketball coaches

The new show is part of WEIC's new format and ownership.  The Miller Media Group's Kaskaskia Broadcasting, Incorporated, purchased the station October 7th, and introduced the station's new newstalk format on October 19th.  WEIC added an FM repeater at 107.5 FM on December 5th.

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Jail Time Over Unpaid Debts

 Keep ignoring the bill collector's phone calls and you could end up behind bars.  Some people in Illinois are being jailed for neglecting to pay their debts.  Collection agencies are filing lawsuits to get their money but some people say they've never been notified of an order to appear in court.  Kevin Kelly with the Illinois Collector's Bar Association says it's possible that a debtor doesn't get notified, but that's hardly ever the case.  He says at least four notices go out when a person is found in contempt of court.  In fact, he says the debtor must be served in person before the warrant can be issued.  Kelly says he doesn't know how many people have been jailed for failing to show up in court, but he says it's not as extreme as Attorney General Lisa Madigan is making it out to be.

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Poor Immigrant Conditions In Prisons

Two Illinois detention centers are being accused of violating human rights.  A recent report reveals Mount Vernon's Jefferson County Jail and Ullin's Tri-County Detention Center have deplorable confinement conditions for immigrant inmates.  Advocates from The National Immigrant Justice Center and the Midwest Coalition for Human Rights Advocates say prison officials have done nothing to improve the, quote, "inhumane," conditions since at least 2009.  Now they're calling on President Obama to step in.  They're asking the federal government not to approve any new proposals for immigrant detention facilities across the nation, including a proposed center in Crete.

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ADHD Drugs Safe For Adults' Hearts, Research Finds

The biggest study of its kind says Ritalin and other drugs used to treat attention deficit disorder are safe for adults' hearts.

The results echo findings in children published by the same authors last month.

The new review involved health records for more than 440,000 adults aged 25 to 65. It found that those on ADHD drugs had about the same number of heart attacks, strokes and sudden heart-related deaths as adults who didn't use those drugs.

The research will be published in the Journal of the American Medical Association's Dec. 28 print edition, but journal editors said they released it online Monday because of its public health importance.

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State Farm Changes Logo For First Time Since 1953

State Farm is changing its logo for the first time since 1953.

The Bloomington-based insurance company said Thursday the the new streamlined logo will be phased in starting Jan. 1. State Farm marketing vice president Pam El tells The Pantagraph that the company didn't "change it lightly" and believes the new logo is more contemporary and user friendly. The company has dropped written references to auto, life and fire. The logo now features three interlocking ovals. It remains the same red color.

The company says the current logo can be difficult to clearly reproduce digitally or on mobile apps. State Farm worked with a New York graphic design firm to create the new logo.

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Department of Labor Child Labor Update

Kansas Senator Jerry Moran is leading an effort to head off onerous new Department of Labor rules which spell out what young people can and cannot do while working on farms and farm-related businesses. While the DOL says the rules do not apply to young people engaged in working on their own family farms - Moran doesn't buy it.
 
Now - Moran says lawmakers and farm groups have launched a major effort to have the department drop the proposal all together.
 
[audio:moranchildlabor.mp3]A Word From Sen. Moran[/audio]
 
A public comment period on the new Department of Labor rules ended December first. Moran also expressed disappointment with Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack - who recently endorsed the new rules.

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MF Global Hearing Update

The House Agriculture Committee last week held the first hearing on the MF Global bankruptcy. Chairman Frank Lucas says customers from across the country who invested with MF Global are looking for answers about what went wrong and when their money will be returned. He says the House Ag Committee is trying to get to the bottom of the issue. While many questions remain - he says members did gain some insight from the hearing.
 
[audio:mfglobalupd1.mp3]A Word From Lucas[/audio]
 
As for the questions that remain unanswered - Lucas says the Ag Committee is working hard to get the answers.
 
[audio:mfglobalupd2.mp3]A Word From Lucas[/audio]
 
Lucas says the committee's highest priority is ensuring customers get their money back - and will do all it can to make sure that happens.

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Proposed Legislation Could Change EMS Operations

A piece of legislation could drastically change Emergency Management Services operates.

A piece of legislation put together by the Illinois Department of Public Health and federal legislators is proposing forcing rural EMS to go to paramedic units only. Illinois State Representative Chapin Rose says this would have a major impact on smaller communities around Illinois.

[audio:emsmeeting1.mp3]A Word From Rep Rose[/audio]

Rose says being a paramedic could cost that person a lot of money. He feels having a paramedic is not what is needed in these communities.

[audio:emsmeeting2.mp3]A Word From Rep Rose[/audio]

Being a former EMT, Rose is well versed on the topic. He explains this could pose a serious problem when the paramedic is out, he says at that point, EMT's could come in but they could be stationed as far or as close as cities such as Bloomington, Decatur, Champaign and Springfield.

[audio:emsmeeting3.mp3]A Word From Rep Rose[/audio]

Rep Rose and Rep. Bill Mitchell will be holding a public meeting to discuss the issue Monday at 1pm at the Maroa Fire House on Washington Street. Rose hopes to bring many problems with this proposition to light and hopes to bring common sense to the forefront for those in charge of this legislation.

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EAB Threat Forces DeWitt County To Take Plan of Action

The Emerald Ash Borer's eminent presence in DeWitt County is threatening the county's Ash Tree Population.

Early in the fall, the EAB was discovered in the county. The threatening beatle feasts on Ash Trees and was discovered north of Clinton Lake. Steve Lobb is an arborist for the City of Clinton, he says there are some very large Ash Trees in DeWitt County that are in danger.

[audio:101211eab1.mp3]A Word From Lobb[/audio]

Jeff Squib is the Communications Manager with the Illinois Department of Agriculture, he says detecting the beetle before the tree is showing signs of distress is incredibly difficult. While not impossible, the beetle is difficult to see, as it is smaller than a penny, however, it is a bright green metallic color.

[audio:101911eab5.mp3]A Word From Squib[/audio]

The EAB has been rapidly spreading throughout the state the past several years. John Baker with the Clinton Tree Commission says it was only a matter of time before the beatle made its way to DeWitt County. He adds it certainly has the potential to wipe out the Ash Tree population in the county, and a plan is in place should that happen.

[audio:121611eab.mp3]A Word From Baker[/audio]

The emerald ash borer' larvae burrow into the bark of ash trees, causing the trees to starve and eventually die.  While the beetle does not pose any direct risk to public health, it does threaten the ash tree canopy. 25 counties in the northeastern and central part of the state are under quarantine to slow the spread of the beetle.  The quarantine prohibits the intrastate movement of potentially-contaminated wood products, including ash trees, limbs and branches and all types of firewood. DeWitt was recently added to those quarantine boundaries.

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Clinton Native Writes Book On History of Lincoln in DeWitt County

History buffs will have an opportunity to meet a local author whose writings chronicle Abraham Lincoln's travels throughout Clinton and DeWitt County.

Robert Shaw is a Clinton native, and the author of the book "Lincoln Traveled This Way" and Shaw says he began doing research on the various sites of where Lincoln spent time in DeWitt County. Shaw adds having a person with the historical recognition Lincoln does was a personal fascination for him, which was part of his inspiration for the book.

[audio:shawbook1.mp3]A Word From Shaw[/audio]

Shaw says the inspiration for the title came from a landmark in DeWitt County in fact. He says the more research he did the more he liked the title he had come up with.

[audio:shawbook2.mp3]A Word From Shaw[/audio]

Shaw explains most books are printed overseas, so the goal of his staff was to publish the book in the United States, but it is much more expensive to do that here. He explains after having their budget and resources used up in putting the book together, a local connection with ancestors who were friends of Lincoln stepped up to help out.

[audio:shawbook3.mp3]A Word From Shaw[/audio]

Shaw will have a book signing even tomorrow at the CH Moore Homestead in Clinton. The event takes place from 11-3. The book can be picked up at the Clinton Chamber Office on the Square and also at Grimsley's Flowers. For more information on the book or the book signing you can contact Shaw at 309-473-2994.

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Bears, Rams Notes

>>Struggling Bears Host Surging Seahawks At Soldier Field

(Chicago, IL)  --  A pair of teams fighting for an NFC wild card spot will square off this weekend as the Chicago Bears welcome in the Seattle Seahawks to Soldier Field on Sunday.  The Bears have dropped three straight games on the heels of a five-game winning streak and were the latest team to get "Tebow'ed" after suffering a heart-breaking 13-10 overtime setback in Denver during Week 14 action.  The Bears, who were without starting quarterback Jay Cutler and star running back Matt Forte , gave up 10 unanswered points with under three minutes left in the fourth quarter to fall to 7-and-6 on the season.  Meanwhile, Seattle has won back-to-back games and four of its last five overall to improve to 6-and-7.  The Bears beat the Seahawks, 35-24, the last time the two teams played in the 2010-11 NFC Divisional playoff round.

>>Bengals Battle Woeful Rams In St. Louis

(St. Louis, MO)  --  The Cincinnati Bengals will try to keep their fading playoff hopes alive when they face the woeful Rams in St. Louis.  The 7-and-6 Bengals gave up the go-ahead touchdown with only two second left in the fourth quarter in a 20-19 home loss to the Texans last week.  The Rams' dreadful campaign continues with a 30-13 road loss to the Seahawks on "Monday Night Football."  St. Louis has dropped four in-a-row to enter Sunday's affair 2-and-11.  The Bengals and Rams are meeting for the first time since 2007.

NFL
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Atlanta Falcons 41, Jacksonville Jaguars 14

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Bears' WR Hurd Arrested

Chicago Bears wide receiver Sam Hurd was arrested in Chicago on Wednesday night.  The "Chicago Tribune" reported Hurd allegedly attempted to purchase drugs from a supplier in North Texas.  The Northern Illinois product told an undercover agent that he wanted up to 10 kilograms of cocaine and a half ton of marijuana per week for distribution in the Chicago area, according to a report the paper cited that was filed by a special agent for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.  Hurd signed a three-year contract with the Bears this past offseason after playing the previous five seasons with the Dallas Cowboys.  The 26-year-old has been primarily used on special teams by the Bears. The case against Hurd could involve other NFL players.  Sources tell 670 The Score there's a list in the double digits of players Hurd was giving the drugs to. Prosecutors believe he was going to distribute the drugs in the Chicago area.

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Bradley Edges George Washington

Walt Lemon Jr. hit a 3-pointer with 46 seconds left to snap a tie and Bradley held on for a 67-66 win at George Washington on Thursday night.

The Colonials had a chance to win as time expired after Tony Taylor's two free throws cut the Bradley lead to the final margin with 23 seconds left.

Bradley inbounded the ball and Jake Eastman was tied up by George Washington's Bryan Bynes with the possession arrow favoring the Colonials. With time running out, Taylor drove to the left, but his jumper was blocked by Lemon. Lasan Kromah's follow-up fell short at the buzzer.

Lemon led all scorers with 22 points and Taylor Brown finished with 15 for Bradley (5-4).

Aaron Ware led four Colonials in double figures with 13 points. John Kopriva added 12, Taylor 11 and Kromah 10.

George Washington (4-6) lost its fifth straight.

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Illini Notes: DE Named All-American; Volleyball Advances To First National Final & More

>> Illini DE AP First Team All American

Illinois defensive end Whitney Mercilus has been named a first-team member of the AP All America team.

Mercilus leads the country in sacks with 14 ½. The junior from Garfield, Ohio, emerged this season as a key piece of a defense that ranks fifth in the country in tackles for loss and ninth in sacks.

Mercilus has now been named to nine post-season All American teams.

Illinois (6-6) will play UCLA in the Dec. 31 Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl in San Francisco.

The bowl game could be his last for Illinois. Mercilus has said he hasn't yet decided whether to skip his senior season to enter the NFL draft.

>> Illini Plan To Hang Banners Honoring Hoops Coaches

Illinois plans to hang banners from the rafters of the Assembly Hall honoring four past basketball coaches.

The university said Thursday that banners for Lou Henson, Harry Combes, Doug Mills and Ralph Jones will join banners honoring 30 past players. The banners will be hung at games later this season. Henson's will be the first, at the Ohio State game on Jan. 10.

Current coach Bruce Weber said the banners are a good way of helping build Illinois' tradition. Henson has more wins than any basketball coach in school history with 423 over 21 seasons. He's expected to be at the game when his banner is raised.

Combes coached from 1948 through 1967 while Mills held the job from 1937 to 1947. Jones coached Illinois from 1913 to 1920.

>> UCLA, Illinois Advance To NCAA Volleyball Final

Senior outside hitter Colleen Ward had 27 kills and Illinois advanced to its first championship match in school history by upsetting USC in five sets in the NCAA semifinals.

Michelle Bartsch added 22 kills for the Illini (32-4) in the 25-27, 25-18, 25-22, 18-25, 15-10 win. They'll face UCLA in Saturday's championship at the Alamodome.

Alex Jupiter had 32 kills for USC (29-5). The Trojans lost in the semis for the second consecutive year after being pushed to five sets for a third consecutive match this tournament.

The Illini were playing in their first semifinal in 23 years. They'll face college volleyball royalty in the Bruins, who've won three championships, but none since 1991.

>>Illinois And UNLV Battle Tomorrow

(Chicago, IL)  --  The 19th-ranked Illinois Fighting Illini will host the UNLV Rebels tomorrow at United Center.  Illinois ran its record to a perfect 10-and-0 Wednesday with an 80-63 win over Coppin State.  UNLV comes in at 10-and-2 after a 65-54 win over UTEP Wednesday.

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Clinton Police Report for 12-16

ON 12/15/11 CLINTON POLICE ARRESTED PENNY L. SYMPSON 32, CLINTON FO BATTERY. SYMPSON WAS TRANSPORTED TO THE DEWITT COUNTY JAIL AND RELEASED TO CORRECTIONS.

 

ON 12/15/11 CLINTON POLICE ARRESTED KENNETH J. DYER 19, CLINTON ON A DEWITT COUNTY WARRANT FOR BURGLARY. DYER WAS TRANSPORTED TO THE DEWITT COUNTY JAIL AND RELEASED TO CORRECTIONS.

 

 

 

 

 

ALL SUSPECTS ARE PRESUMED INNOCENT UNTIL FOUND GUILTY IN A COURT OF LAW

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HS BBALL: Monticello Sages Vs. Shelbyville

The Monticello Sages played the Shelbyville Rams this evening in Shelbyville to kick off their conference action. It was a close game throughout and it was evident at half time where the Sages had only a 23-22 lead over the Rams. Down to the last few seconds of the game both teams were flipping the ball back and forth. After a large gap left between the Sages and Shelbyville, the Sages managed to close in on the gap up to the last few seconds of the game. They played hard but couldn't tie it up for overtime. The Rams took the victory with a final score of 51-44.
Tune in again Tuesday for more Sages action as they face off against the Central Catholic Saints at 7 PM. You can hear it all right here on 95.9, WEZC.

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Blagojevich Asks For Drug Rehab

Former Governor Rod Blagojevich is looking for ways to get his 14-year sentence reduced.  His attorneys have asked if he can be placed in a drug and alcohol rehab program while serving his time in prison.  The move would chop a year off of his sentence.  U.S. District Judge James Zagel has recommended Blagojevich for the counseling program, but the final decision is in the hands of the U.S. Bureau of Prisons.  A spokesman for the Bureau says inmates who qualify for the program must have a, quote, "verifiable substance-use disorder."  That means Blagojevich will have to prove he had a substance abuse problem before he was arrested.  Blagojevich attorney's say they don't know what drug the former governor has struggled with, but a confidential report was given to Judge Zagel from Blagojevich's probation officer before Zagel made the recommendation.

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Extra Session Days Cost State Tens Of Thousands

Illinois taxpayers are on the hook for 30-thousand dollars for each day that lawmakers spent in session this fall.  Quincy Representative Jill Tracy says that's a steep price to pay.

[audio:rddExtra3.mp3]A Word From Rep Tracy[/audio]

Woodstock Representative Jack Franks says he thinks the work done in the extra session days could have easily been completed when lawmakers come back in January next year.

[audio:rddExtra4.mp3]A Word From Rep Franks[/audio]

The added cost includes per diem expenses for each legislator at 111-dollars per day.  It also includes mileage to and from their home districts as well as costs for state workers and legislative staff members.  Some may say the cost is worth it considering lawmakers tackled major issues such as tax breaks for large corporations, tax breaks for working peoples, and pension reform.

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Illinois Democrats, GOP Race To End Corporate Tax Hikes

Fresh off approving tax breaks for key Illinois businesses, Democrats and Republicans in the Illinois House are racing to end the corporate tax hike imposed this year.

House Republican Leader Tom Cross announced a plan Wednesday to return the corporate rate to 4.8% from 7% by 2014 - instead of 2025. He and business leaders proposed a step-down plan that in the meantime would lower taxes when the unemployment rate rises.

Tuesday, Democratic Rep. Jerry Costello II of Smithton introduced legislation that would eradicate the corporate hike starting Jan. 1.

Lawmakers sent to Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn Tuesday tax-break legislation aimed at keeping Sears and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange in Illinois. And they promised to do more.

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Former Central Illinois Camp Counselor Gets 20 Years For Child Porn

 A former central Illinois camp counselor has been sentenced to 20 years in federal prison for child pornography charges.

Judge Michael McCuskey also ordered 28-year-old Adam Fritz to pay $12,000 in restitution to identified victims. Fritz must remain on supervised release for the rest of his life after his prison sentence.

Fritz pleaded guilty in August to charges of advertising, possessing and distributing child pornography.

Federal prosecutors say authorities seized more than 13,000 images and more than 900 video files of child porn from Fritz's property. The children depicted ranged in age from infants to teens.

Fritz had been a counselor at Camp Shaw-Waw-Nas-See in Kankakee since 2000. He was arrested in November 2009.

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DJWH Working Along Side Entities In Ambulance Service Search

Through the process of residents of DeWitt County being proactive to find a viable option for ambulance services after December 31, 2012, the Dr. John Warner Hospital has provided assistance along the way, and will continue to do so.

When the decision by the residents of DeWitt County has been reached to decide how they want to proceed with ambulance services, the hospital officials have no interest in re-entering into ambulance services. CEO of the City owned hospital Earl Sheehy stresses the hospital will continue to work with whoever comes in for the service to make the transition as seamless as possible.

[audio:sheehyambulance1.mp3]A Word From Sheehy[/audio]

The decision by the hospital is driven by their finances. The hospital loses on average about $500-thousand a year by providing ambulance services to the county residents. In looking back to the 2011 Fiscal Year, the hospital's losses without the ambulance service would have only been $100-thousand according to Sheehy.

[audio:sheehyambulance2.mp3]A Word From Sheehy[/audio]

Clinton Mayor Carolyn Peters has been instrumental in moving the process forward of raising awareness and gathering research for residents to understand the situation and all the available options for them. Of the options, Mayor Peters believes a private, non-profit entity would be the best option. The non-profit service would be similar to the Logan County Paramedics Association in Logan County, which right now, appears to be what the DeWitt County Board and City of Clinton seem to be working towards. Sheehy backs up Mayor Peters and feels a non-profit organization would be the best option for the residents effected by the DJWH's decision.

[audio:sheehyambulance3.mp3]A Word From Sheehy[/audio]

Sheehy stresses the hospital will work with whoever comes in to provide the ambulance services to make the transaction and transition as smooth as possible to make sure residents have the service they need and deserve.

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Clinton Fire Department Receives Grant To Shop For Angel Tree Children

A local governmental entity is reaching out to help the less fortunate of the community.

The Clinton Fire Department applied for a grant from the Wal Mart Foundation for $1000 to take kids from the DeWitt County Angel Tree program out shopping tonight. Engineer Blake West with the Clinton Fire Department says the department applied for $1000 and the Foundation awarded them with $2000 to take 15 kids shopping.

[audio:firegrant1.mp3]A Word From West[/audio]

The Clinton Police Department applied for the same grant through the Wal Mart Foundation and has implemented their annual "Shop With A Cop" program. West explains he hopes the Fire Department can make this an annual event as well.

[audio:firegrant2.mp3]A Word From West[/audio]

West says the grant money is going to get kids of the Angel Tree program some nice Christmas gifts and if the kids are in need of anything else, that as well. He hopes taking the kids shopping makes for a good Christmas for them.

[audio:firegrant3.mp3]A Word From West[/audio]

Wal Mart has been a community supporter through various means, especially with the law enforcement of Clinton for many years. West appreciates their support and looks forward to working with them again in the future.

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NFL Notes

>>Jaguars Officially Sold To Illinois Business Man

(Irving, TX)  --  The Jacksonville Jaguars are officially under new ownership.  Illinois businessman Shahid [[ sha-HEED ]] Khan has been unanimously approved as new owner of the Jaguars by NFL owners at Wednesday's league meeting.  The sale was first announced in late November.  All 32 NFL owners voted in favor of Khan, who is the first minority owner in the NFL.  An immigrant from Pakistan, Khan owns an auto manufacturing company.

>>Bears' Cutler: May Be Able To Return Vs. Pack

(Lake Forest, IL)  --  Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler said on Wednesday there is an "outside chance" he could return for the team's Christmas Day matchup against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field.  Cutler said he didn't want to get the fans hopes up, but if the Bears beat Seattle on Sunday and still have a shot at the playoffs, there would be a slight chance he could suit up.  Cutler reportedly threw the ball this past Sunday for the first time since his thumb surgery on November 23rd.  Chicago has dropped three straight games since Cutler got injured.

>>Forte Not Ruled Out Sunday But Not Looking Good

(Lake Forest, IL)  --  Chicago Bears head coach Lovie Smith didn't rule out running back Matt Forte for Sunday's game against Seattle on Wednesday, but it isn't looking too promising.  Forte shook his head "no" when asked if he would play in the Week 15 tilt at Soldier Field.  He suffered a Grade Two MCL sprain against the Kansas City Chiefs.  The fourth-year veteran needs just 15 rushing yards to reach 1,000 for the second consecutive season and third time in his career.

>>Falcons Host Jags On "Thursday Night Football"

(Atlanta, GA)  --  The Atlanta Falcons will look to continue their push towards an NFC Wild Card berth as they host the Jacksonville Jaguars at the Georgia Dome on "Thursday Night Football."  Atlanta has won three of its last four games and is coming off a 31-23 victory at Carolina in Week 14 to improve to 8-and-5 on the season.  The Dirty Birds currently hold the fifth-seed in the NFC playoff picture and have a crucial head-to-head advantage over Detroit.  Chicago holds a tie-breaker over Atlanta, but has dropped three in-a-row to fall to 7-and-6.  Meanwhile, the Jags snapped a three-game slide with a 41-14 rout over Tampa Bay on Sunday to up their mark to 4-and-9.  Jacksonville is just 1-and-5 on the road this season.  The Jaguars beat the Falcons, 13-7, the last time the two teams met in 2007.

>>Colts' Manning Increases Throwing

(Indianapolis, IN)  --  Colts quarterback Peyton Manning is increasing his throwing as he continues to rehab from offseason neck surgery.  Head coach Jim Caldwell said Wednesday that Manning has accelerated his regimen, but it's nothing revolutionary.  The four-time NFL MVP has been sidelined all season with a nerve injury that has weaked his throwing arm.  The Colts are 0-and-13 without him.

>>Host Committee Unveils The Official Super Bowl Poster

(Indianapolis, IN)  --  The Indianapolis Super Bowl Host Committee unveiled its official poster for this year's big game at Lucas Oil Stadium last night at the Conrad Hotel downtown.  The poster was designed by Indiana artist Walter Knabe.  According to a SBHC release, it celebrates Indianapolis' strong visual arts community.  The poster features the tip of Indy's own Soldiers and Sailors Monument bursting through a football with Lucas Oil Stadium in the background.  The game is slated for February 5th.

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Defensive Coordinator Koenning Will Leave Illinois

Defensive coordinator and interim head coach Vic Koenning has turned down an offer to stay at Illinois.

He will leave after coaching the Illini in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl against UCLA on New Year's Eve.

New coach Tim Beckman said Wednesday that Koenning declined an offer to remain coordinator. He praised Koenning's work during his two seasons at Illinois.

In a statement released by the school, Koenning said he will explore other opportunities.

Beckman was hired last week to replace Ron Zook, who was fired after the Illini finished the regular season 6-6. Offensive coordinator Paul Petrino left last week to return to Arkansas.

Beckman said defensive line coach Keith Gilmore will stay at Illinois.

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DeWitt County Sheriff's Report for 12-15

 

December 15, 2011

 

Jail Population: 47

Summons Served: 1

Warrant Arrests: 1

 

Investigation into the scene of an accident which occurred at approximately 2:55 p.m. on Wednesday, December 14, revealed that a car driven by Lucas Kaloupek, 17, Maroa, was heading northbound on Coast Rd south of Gulf Rd. He drove through a puddle and hydro planed, causing him to lose control of the vehicle. The vehicle crossed the bridge out of control, leaving the roadway to the west striking and breaking off a utility pole. Kaloupek was issued a citation for Failure To Wear Seatbelt. He posted his IL Drivers license as bond and was released.

 

ALL SUSPECTS ARE PRESUMED INNOCENT UNTIL FOUND GUILTY IN A COURT OF LAW.

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Monticello Girls Fall to Sullivan

As heard on 95.9 WEZC, the Monticello Sages fell to the Sullivan Redskins 49-37 on Coaches vs. Cancer night.  Azbije Sadikoski led the way for the Redskins with 13 points.  Jessica Elder contributed 11 points and Paige Nuehauser helped out with 10.  For the Sages, Tori Gadbury and Sarah Wells each had 11 points.  Alice Pontious scored 8 points all in the second quarter.  Tune in tomorrow as the Monticello boys face the Shelbyville Rams in their Okaw Valley conference opener.

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Clinton vs Meridian GBB Box Score

CLINTON       66
MERIDIAN     48
 
SCORING BY QUARTER:
CLINTON      12     18     22     14
MERIDIAN     18     9      13      8
 
TEAM TOTALS:
CLINTON     13-11-15-7-66
MERIDIAN    16-4-12-4-48
 
CLINTON SCORING:
MADI BEVINS             3-6-3-1-25
HALEY GINGER           2-0-4-1-5
ALEX HUNT                4-0-0-0-8
MORGAN HICKMAN     0-0-4-2-2
AMBER MILLER           0-2-0-0-6
HALEY TOOHILL          2-3-3-2-15
PAYTON BIEBER          2-0-1-1-5
 
MERIDIAN SCORING:
HEATHER DOYLE          3-0-0-0-6
KELLY AUKAMP             1-0-0-0-2
RACHEL SAPP              2-3-0-0-13
LINDSAY TRIMBLE        2-0-2-0-4
JANA RANDOLPH          3-0-4-2-8
HAILEY GRIDER            0-1-0-0-3
ALLISON KERSEY         1-0-1-1-3
CASSIDY COVENTRY    4-0-2-1-9

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Crop Insurance Rates Skyrocket After Summer Floods

Midwestern farmers may be socked with steep increases in their crop insurance premiums unless levees damaged by last summer's flooding are fixed.

The problem is there's not enough money for repairs, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is focusing on fixing those protecting homes and facilities like water treatment plants.

Land behind damaged levees can be two to three times higher to insure, adding tens of thousands of dollars to farmers' expenses.

Missouri farmer Ed Marshall says he recently paid $100,000 to insure about 2,700 acres of wheat he planted in the fall and hopes to harvest next spring. The amount is nearly five times what he paid a year ago.

He farms 8,000 acres behind the Birds Point levee that were flooded last summer by the Mississippi River.

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Senate Approves Tax Breaks For Low-income Workers

A plan to give tax breaks to low-income workers in Illinois is headed to Governor Quinn.  Senator Matt Murphy supported the measure because it gives people a chance to go to the next level in life.

[audio:rddMurph3.mp3]A Word From Sen. Murphy[/audio]

The proposal will raise the earned income tax credit from five to seven-and-a-half percent next year.  It will jump to ten percent in 2014.  It will also increase the standard exemption for all Illinois tax payers from two-thousand dollars to two-thousand-50 dollars in 2012.  After that, it will automatically adjust with inflation.  The bill will cost the state about 155-million dollars.

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Business Tax Deal Heads To Governor

A controversial bill extending tax incentives to Sears and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange passed in the Senate today.  Senator Toi Hutchinson says she understands tax breaks are a touchy subject but the state couldn't afford to lose thousands of jobs.

[audio:rddToi1.mp3]A Word From Hutchinson[/audio]

Sears and CME threatened to leave the state if they didn't receive the tax breaks.  The new proposal is designed to keep them and more than six thousand jobs in Illinois.  Nine senators voted against the proposal, arguing it sets the wrong example.  The bill now heads Governor Pat Quinn's desk.  He supports the proposal.

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Farmers Pleased With Business Tax Deal

A tax deal headed to Governor Quinn's desk is putting a smile on the faces of some farmers across the state.  Kevin Semlow, with the Illinois Farm Bureau, says an increase in the estate tax exemption gives farmers a chance to keep their farms in-tact when there's a death in the family.

[audio:rddSem1.mp3]A Word From Semlow[/audio]

Semlow adds the proposal keeps incentives in place for ethanol and biodiesel fuels, which he says could increase demand.

[audio:rddSem2.mp3]A Word From Semlow[/audio]

The deal to help farmers was tacked onto the tax incentive bill lawmakers passed in an effort to keep Sears and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange in Illinois.  The bill also extends the Research and Development tax credit for five years and reinstates the Net Operating Loss Deduction.  That allows businesses to carry their losses forward in a tough economy.

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Cover Crop Conference In Decatur Recap

Producers from across the Midwest gathered in Decatur, Illinois last week to hear from some of the top experts in the nation in the use of cover crops.  Jared White has more...

[audio:121211CoverCroppingConfRecapWRAP.mp3]Jared White With The Story[/audio]

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Local Lawmakers Praises Bi-Partisan Effort In Tax Deal

Monday's special meeting by the Illinois House was productive on many levels, and benefits both the folks of Sears and the CME group that were seeking tax breaks, but also downstate Illinois  businesses as well.

Part of the negotiating process of the deal was making adjustments to the death tax. Illinois State Representative Chapin Rose some major changes were made to that tax that will certainly benefit small businesses. Rose says it is not fair to those business owners to have the government take their hard earned money away from them.

[audio:taxes1.mp3]A Word From Rep. Rose[/audio]

An addition to the bill was something that will specifically be targeted at small business owners, is the net operating loss. Rose says big companies will not qualify for it. According to Rose, an extension to the Research and Development credit will have a good impact to several companies around Central Illinois as well.

[audio:taxes2.mp3]A Word From Rep. Rose[/audio]

Rose is very pleased with the way the process has gone over the past several months to make adjustments to not just benefit big Chicago businesses, but also the smaller downstate Illinois businesses as well.

[audio:taxes3.mp3]A Word From Rep. Rose[/audio]

The measures past Monday now have to pass the Senate and then will be handed to Governor Pat Quinn before they pass.

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Ambulance Issues Have Questions Needing Answers

Yesterday on Regional Radio News, we discussed the County Board's passing of a motion instead of a resolution to put to vote a tax levy for ambulance service in DeWitt County.

The County Board will discuss the issue further and will vote on a resolution that would take the issue to a referendum, where the motion basically did not do anything. DeWitt County State's attorney Dick Koritz says many issues linger still. First there are several areas of DeWitt that have Fire District coverage that comes into DeWitt County.

[audio:levyissues1.mp3]A Word From Koritz[/audio]

While the southern portion of the County, near Maroa, does not have a tax levy in place for an ambulance service, Koritz says they may have an agreement in place with Decatur Memorial Hospital to have ambulance service provided through them, and that would be another issue the county faces.

[audio:levyissues2.mp3]A Word From Koritz[/audio]

Should the voters approve the tax levy, the issues then become who runs the ambulance service or where do the vehicles come from? Koritz says because the DeWitt County Board would be implementing the county wide tax levy, they could control it, but those questions certainly have a little more time to be answered, as the Dr. John Warner Hospital is not ending it's services until December 31, 2012.

[audio:levyissues3.mp3]A Word From Koritz[/audio]

Koritz says many of these issues are not going to be solved overnight. He adds these issues are very important issues at this point that need to be worked out and the citizens of the county certainly deserve to have the answers to them, and those answers will greatly determine how the issue is going to be resolved.

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Colts' Polian Talks Coach, Punter

Indianapolis Colts vice chairman Bill Polian responded to to some tough questions during his radio show on Tuesday.  Polian was asked if head coach Jim Caldwell would be fired and he responded by saying he hopes not, but also hinted that it could be the case if the Colts go 0-and-16.  Indianapolis is 0-and-13 and hosts Tennessee on Sunday.  Polian also called out punter Pat McAfee of all players, saying he needs to become a better directional punter.  McAfee holds the best punt hangtime mark in the league and is in the top-10 in punts out of bounds.

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NBA Notes

>>Report: Rip Hamilton To Sign With Bulls

(Deerfield, IL)  --  It appears that veteran guard Richard Hamilton will be heading to the Windy City.  ESPN.com is reporting that Hamilton is expected to sign with the Bulls today after he clears waivers.  The 33-year-old Hamilton was waived on Monday after nine years with the Detroit Pistons.  He averaged 14.1 points per game last season, which was the lowest since his rookie season.

>>Pacers Reportedly Make Offer To Crawford

(Indianapolis, IN)  --  After signing free-agent forward David West on Monday, the Indiana Pacers now have their sites set on Jamal Crawford.  ESPN.com reports Indiana has offered Crawford a two-year, $10-million deal.  The pact includes an opt-out clause after the first year that would allow him to be a free agent again next summer.  The Timberwolves, Knicks, Trail Blazers and Kings are also reportedly interested in Crawford.  The 11-year veteran averaged 14.2 points with Atlanta last season.

>>Scottie Pippen Suing Everyone Who Said He Was Bankrupt

(Undated)  --  NBA Hall of Famer Scottie Pippen is putting a full court press on anyone who reported that he was bankrupt.  TMZ.com says the former basketball superstar has filed a lawsuit in Illinois federal court against such outlets as CBSsports.com, CNBC.com, and even Arizona State University.  Scotty's lawsuit calls the reports of his financial demise a "most foul libel indeed," noting that his net worth has been no lower than 40-million dollars over the past 10 years.  Scottie claims that CBSsports.com used his photo to accompany a story about athletes and bankruptcy, while CNBC.com included him in an article titled "15 Athletes Gone Bankrupt."  As for Arizona State, Scotty says a law blog operated by the University once referred to him as bankrupt.  Scotty is now seeking at least one-million dollars from every entity that falsely discussed his finances.

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Baseball Notes

>>Pujols' Wife Calls Out Cards

(St. Louis, MO)  --  Albert Pujols' wife Deidre has ruffled some feathers by saying fans were deceived by reports of Cardinals contract offers to her husband.  She told a local radio station the Cards initially guaranteed only five years and $130-million and their final 10-year, $210-million was largely deferred without interest.  Albert eventually agreed to a 10-year, $254-million deal with the Angels last week.

>>Union Chief: Don't Rush To Judgment On Braun

(New York, NY)  --  Major League Baseball's union chief says fans should not rush to judgment over a positive drug test for Milwaukee Brewers slugger Ryan Braun.  Michael Weiner says Braun is entitled to fair treatment and all the facts should be known before drawing conclusions.  The National League MVP faces a 50-game suspension after an ESPN "Outside the Lines" report said he tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs.  Braun is disputing those results and the "Milwaukee Journal Sentinel" reports he had a second indepedent test that came back negative.

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IHSA Implements Uniform Rule Change

The Illinois High School Association has changed three rules that affect the design of basketball uniforms.

Starting this season, side inserts on jerseys cannot extend into either the front or back torso of the jersey closer than one inch of any number. The lettering on either side of a jersey can be arched, but not past the midpoint of the number.

And any point on letters or other accents on a jersey can't come closer to one inch of any part of the number.

IHSA officials say those rule changes matter. They will make it easier for referees to recognize uniform numbers quickly during a game.

The IHSA adopted the recommendation Monday.

NCAA Top-25 Men's Basketball  (ESPN/"USA Today" Rankings)
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#15 Wisconsin Badgers 60, Milwaukee Panthers 54
#16 Mississippi State Bulldogs 75, Florida Atlantic Owls 68
#18 Michigan Wolverines 63, Arkansas-Pine Bluff Golden Lions 50

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Clinton Fire Department Seeking Equipment Upgrades

The Clinton Fire Department is seeking to make what has become an annual upgrade to their equipment.

 Each year for the past several years the Department has purchased multiple sets of bunker gear for the fire fighters of the city. Clinton Fire Chief Shawn Milton explains there is a two fold purpose for upgrading the gear. He says the gear is getting older, but also the gear must meet regulations so now is a good time to continue upgrading the equipment.

[audio:firedepartmentgear1.mp3]A Word From Chief Milton[/audio]

Chief Milton explains the material is like standard clothing that requires washing and maintenance, and like clothing, it wears out and needs to be replaced.

[audio:firedepartmentgear2.mp3]A Word From Chief Milton[/audio]

While the department could have asked the city to purchase all the equipment they needed all at once, Chief Milton realizes the gear is not cheap and he says the department is trying to find means to lend a hand in purchasing the gear.

[audio:firedepartmentgear3.mp3]A Word From Chief Milton[/audio]

The department's asking for an upgrade of equipment was budgeted. Chief Milton says the expense will come in under the $67-hundred they put aside.  The Clinton City Council must first approve the purchase. They will do that at their meeting Monday, December 19.

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DJWH Going To One Overnight Ambulance Crew

The Dr. John Warner Hospital continues to seek to find ways to cut costs.

Recently, the City owned hospital approached the Clinton City Council to ask for a contingency fund to be taken out. Earl Sheehy, CEO of the DJWH says the line of credit is a safety net for the hospital in the event of over drafting from their checking funds.

[audio:hospitalsave1.mp3]A Word From Sheehy[/audio]

The first weekend of December the hospital went to just one overnight crew, between 9 pm and 9 am. Sheehy says this measure was taken to continue to help save the hospital expenses that are unnecessary.

[audio:hospitalsave2.mp3]A Word From Sheehy[/audio]

Sheehy credits his ambulance manager working hard to find areas to cut back costs. He adds a private outside service had told Sheehy they only needed one overnight crew.

[audio:hospitalsave3.mp3]A Word From Sheehy[/audio]

These decisions come as the hospital continues to deal with the ambulance service draining the city owned hospital's budget. Sheehy estimates the city looses around $500-thousand a year to the ambulance service because of payback methods by Medicare and Medicaid, forcing them to eliminate the service, which will be at the end of 2012.

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County Approval For Tax Levy Referendum On Hold

It was reported earlier this month the DeWitt County Board voted to move forward to have a county wide tax levy referendum on the March ballot to provide ambulance service to the residents of DeWitt County.

The vote the County Board approved was a motion. State's Attorney for DeWitt County, Dick Koritz says the motion means nothing, the Board needed to pass a resolution in order to move forward with the referendum. Koritz says the County Board will consider the resolution as a part of their Dec. 22 meeting.

[audio:boardvote1.mp3]A Word From Koritz[/audio]

Since the Dr. John Warner Hospital announced they will end ambulance services December 31, 2012, Clinton Mayor Carolyn Peters has taken the lead to find the best possible solutions for residents of DeWitt County. Koritz says things need to be well thought out before action is taken and everyone involved needs to remain in contact.

[audio:boardvote2.mp3]A Word From Koritz[/audio]

Koritz says decisions by each individual entity will have impacts on all the other entities involved and he says discussions need to be happening continuously because of those impacts.

[audio:boardvote3.mp3]A Word From Koritz[/audio]

Koritz says citizens of the county deserve and need an ambulance. He says figuring out the answers to the various problems involved currently in the process need to be ironed out and they need to be done so before any money is raised and then wasted, and it needs to be done with everyone communicating and everyone on the same page.

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MLB Notes

>>Cards, Schumaker Agree To Deal

(St. Louis, MO)  --  The Cardinals and Skip Schumaker agreed to a two-year deal on Monday.  The 31-year-old Schumaker hit .283 with two homers and 38 RBI in 117 games with the Cardinals last season.  He also hit .381 in the postseason.  Meantime, the Redbirds did not offer a contract to infielder Ryan Theriot.

>>Brewers Reportedly Agree To Three-Year Deal With Aramis Ramirez

(Milwaukee, WI)  --  The Brewers are apparently turning to a former Cub to man third base.  FOX Sports reports the Brewers have agreed to a three-year contract with free-agent third baseman Aramis Ramirez.  The deal is expected to be worth between $34-million and $37-million, pending a physical.  Ramirez hit .306 with 26 home runs and 93 RBI for Chicago this past season.

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Seahawks Rumble Over Rams

A raucous Marshawn Lynch rushed 23 times for 115 yards and a touchdown as the Seahawks tagged the Rams 30-13 on Monday Night Football.  Undrafted rookie free-agent receiver Doug Baldwin had a 29-yard scoring grab and blocked a punt that was returned for a touchdown.  Baldwin finished with a team-high 93 yards on seven catches.  Seattle QB Tarvaris Jackson completed 21-of-32 attempts for 224 yards and a score.  Steven Hauschka hit on 3-of-4 field goal tries as Seattle kept its playoff hopes alive by improving to 6-and-7.  St. Louis running back Steven Jackson rushed for 63 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries.  Rams QB Sam Bradford completed 12-of-29 attempts for 193 yards.  He was intercepted once.  Seattle has won 13 of its last 14 games against the Rams.

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Eastern Illinois Hires Baylor Assistant As Head Coach

Eastern Illinois has hired Baylor assistant coach Dino Babers to take over for longtime head football coach Bob Spoo.

The school announced Babers' hiring on Friday. The longtime assistant coach was a member of Spoo's first staff at Eastern in 1987. The Football Championship Subdivision school plays in the Ohio Valley Conference.

Babers coached Baylor's wide receivers and has been at the school since 2008. The Bears went 9-3 this season and are headed to the Alamo Bowl.

He played at Hawaii and has been an assistant at schools including Pittsburgh, Texas A&M, San Diego State, UCLA, Arizona, Purdue, Northern Arizona and UNLV.

Spoo announced plans to retire before this season. The Panthers finished 2-9. Spoo finished with a career record of 144-131-1.

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Illini Climb To 19th

Illinois climbed three spots in this week's ESPN/USA Today top-25 poll.  The 10-and-0 Fighting Illini went from 22nd to 19th following wins over St. Bonaventure and Coppin State this past week.  Illinois is off until Saturday when the Illini host 9-and-2 UNLV at the United Center.

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Maroons, Sages Back in Action Tonight

The Clinton Maroons and Monticello Sages are back in action this evening. Both teams are coming off Saturday night losses. The Maroons fell at home to LeRoy and after a long trip to Carbondale the Sages fell at the Saluki Shootout to Pinkneyville.

Tonight the Maroons travel to Ridgeview. You can hear the game live on 92.3 FM WHOW and streamed online at dewittdailynews.com.

For the Sages, they welcome in Olympia. Historically the two teams have played incredibly close, tough games. That game can be live on 95.9 FM WEZC and also streamed live at dewittdailynews.com

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Maroons Fall to Mustangs

In a game heard on WHOW, the Clinton Maroons Varsity Boys' basketball team fell to the Ridgeview Mustangs with a final score of 62-48. The Maroons were led by senior Jacob Rockhold who had 14 points in the game and by senior Mitch Creager who had 10 points in the game. The Mustangs were led by Dana Bose who had 18 points in the game. The Maroons go to 3 and 6 on the year as the Mustangs go to 7 and 1.


The Clinton Maroons' Junior Varsity Boys also fell to Ridgeview tonight with a final score of 37-34 their record goes to 4 and 3 on the year.

The Maroons will be live on 92.3FM WHOW again Monday, December 26 as the take on Tremont. Game time: 7pm

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Sages Top Spartans

The Monticello Sages played host to the Olympia Spartans Tuesday evening. What was a physical basketball game throughout saw the Sages most of the way, including the entire second half. The Sages held only a 4 point lead going into the half, but a  6-0 run out of the gate  propelled their lead to double figures. In the fourth, Olympia had cut the lead to 5 but the Sages were once again able to go on a nice run and stretch the lead back out to double figures and pull away for a 54-41 victory. The Sages were led by the 23 points of 6-foot-8 junior Matt Kruse. Ryan Donahue chipped in 11 as well.

While it's hard to gage a high school basketball teams strength of schedule, especially just weeks into a 5 month long season, Sages head coach Kevin Roy realizes his team has played some tough competition, but that is not an excuse for his team to be down on themselves.

[audio:coachroy.mp3]Coach Roy On His Team's Early Schedule[/audio]

With the victory the Sages improve to 2-3. The Sages JV lost 49-37 and fall to 2-2.

The next Monitcello game can be heard when the girls team will play Sullivan on Thursday night 7:00 pm on WEZC.

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Health Officials Offer Holiday Food Safety Tips

The holidays often mean parties and feasts and health officials say it's a good time to be careful too.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say that roughly 48 million people get sick from foodborne diseases annually. It's estimated that there are as many as 250,000 cases in Illinois of foodborne illnesses each year.

Officials say most illnesses can be mild and the major ones occur in the home. They suggest some tips to stay healthy this holiday season.

Holiday hosts should be sure to keep everything in the kitchen clean and wash hands often during food preparation and serving. Guests should be careful when eating foods like raw oysters or egg drinks.

Officials also suggest double-checking meat to make sure it's thoroughly cooked.

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Marching Illini TO Double Contingent At Bowl Game

Good news for the University of Illinois band: School administrators say they'll pay to send twice as many Marching Illini as first planned to the football team's bowl game.

It will take 100 members to the Dec. 31 Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl in San Francisco.

Illinois is receiving $750,000 to attend the game. Band director Barry Houser said earlier this week that the relatively low payout meant officials could only take 49 band members.

On Friday, the university provost's and chancellor's offices said they would pay for 51 more slots for band members. That will allow all of the seniors in wind, brass and drumline to attend.

Houser says it's difficult to leave 200 students and staff behind.

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Postal Service Plant Closures Will Be A 'Mess'

The U.S. Postal Service's plan to close 252 mail processing facilities and cut 28,000 jobs by the end of next year faces big obstacles.

Deciding which plants to close will be difficult and likely inspire intense opposition from communities. Actually closing them could take a year or longer, and most workers whose jobs are eliminated will stay employed under union rules.

Most of the job cuts will come from attrition and retirements, not layoffs, while remaining workers get shuffled into new locations and positions.

Postal officials say they can save $3 billion by 2015 by getting rid of buildings, running equipment more efficiently, operating fewer mail trucks and cutting employees. The cuts are aimed at helping the agency avert bankruptcy after years of red ink and declining mail volume.

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Postal Service Says Mail Holiday Items Early

The U.S. Postal Service says it's time to get letters in the mail early and officials there have a little North Pole help to spread the message.

Officials at Chicago's main post office are hosting a Santa Claus event Monday at the 24-hour facility near downtown to help people during the holiday mailing season.

Postal officials' tips include mailing packages early in the day and packaging gifts securely.

The event comes as the Postal Service is mulling hundreds of closures nationwide that would slow mail service.

The service has proposed closing 252 mail processing facilities and cutting 28,000 jobs by the end of next year to help the agency curb its mounting financial problems.

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Farmers Have One Of Best Years Ever

It's been a good year to be a farmer.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture says farm profits are expected to spike by 28% this year to $100.9 billion.

Most farmers say they're using the extra cash to pay off debt and put some money aside. But, they're also investing in new tractors, combines and land.

Dale Hadden has a 4,000-acre farm with his brother and parents in Illinois. He estimates his corn and soybeans were worth 10% to 15% more than in previous years, which amounts to tens of thousands of dollars. Hadden spent a chunk of that on an advance full-year payment on a 7-year loan on 1 of his tractors. He says it was a successful year, but it might not always be that way.

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DeLand Weldon School Receives Academic Award

One of the DeLand Weldon School district's schools received a nice honor for their academics.

The DeLand Weldon elementary school received the award "The Bright A + Award" for their test scores. Dr. Gary Brashear, Superintendent of the DeLand Weldon School district says it is a nice achievement for the students as only a handful of downstate Illinois schools were the recipients of the award.

[audio:delandschoolaward1.mp3]A Word From Dr. Brashear[/audio]

Dr. Brashear says the other schools were left off the list most likely because of their Adequate Yearly Progress results. He says like most schools in the state, DeLand Weldon High School is always working to improve to keep up with the ever increasing standard of AYP created by the No Child Left Behind Act.

[audio:delandschoolaward2.mp3]A Word From Dr. Brashear[/audio]

With classroom sizes at DeLand Weldon schools being very small, Dr. Brashear says there sometimes can be a drastic difference in what one grade level is good at opposed to another. He says overall English could be a point of concern for the district.

[audio:delandschoolaward3.mp3]A Word From Dr. Brashear[/audio]

Dr. Brashear says the Jr. High and Elementary schools met and exceeded all the categories of the AYP this year. Brashear says the high scores of the district says a lot about the teachers of the district, the work ethic of the students and about the programs in place at the DeLand Weldon school district.

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Barn Quilt Tours Accepting Applications For 2012 Tours

The Clinton Area Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Bureau is now accepting applications for their 2012 Barn Quilts Tour.

This past year was the first year for the barn quilts of DeWitt County through the Chamber of Commerce. Carolyn Sugg, Tourism Director with the Chamber of Commerce explains barn quilts are 10' by 10' pieces of plywood, painted to depict a quilt block, and mounted on a barn. During the inaugural tour, she says they received some very high praises from people scattered around the area.

[audio:barnquilts1.mp3]Sugg On Inaugural Year[/audio]

Applications are now being accepted for new barns for the Chamber's 2012 quilts. This year, the application will be a little bit different. Sugg says like last year, the barn owner needs to know basic information about their barn, such as when it was built, what materials they used to build it and a brief history of it. She says included this year will be a map of their current barns so the applicant can understand how their barn would fit in the the tour.

[audio:barnquilts2.mp3]Sugg On This Year's Application[/audio]

Ten barns will be accepted into the program for the 2012 season. The program's goal is to add ten barns per year, totaling 50 barns by October 2015. There will be two annual guided tours will take place each year. One of the lessons the committee took away from their first year was to have the quilts completed much earlier to allow the committee time to get them up on the various barns.

[audio:barnquilts3.mp3]Sugg On Preparation Changes[/audio]

The deadline to turn in applications to be considered for the Barn Quilts of DeWitt County program is December 31, 2011. Application packets are available Monday through Friday at the Chamber office during regular business hours.  Additional information may be requested by calling 217-935-3364, emailing tourism@clintonilchamber.com, or following "Barn Quilts of DeWitt County" on Facebook.

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Broncos Rally Past Bears; Pack Stays Undefeated; Rams On MNF

Broncos, Tebow Rally Past Bears In Overtime

(Denver, CO)  --  Matt Prater kicked a 59-yard tying field goal on the last play of regulation and a 51-yarder in overtime to give the Broncos a 13-10 comeback win over the Bears.  Tim Tebow threw a 10-yard touchdown pass to Demaryius Thomas with 2:08 to play to help Denver rally from a 10-0 deficit.  Tebow finished 21-of-40 for 236 yards, a TD and an interception as the Broncos won their sixth straight to take the AFC West lead at 8-and-5.  Caleb Hanie was 12-of-19 for 115 yards for Chicago, which fell to 7-and-6.  Marian Barber rushed for 108 yards on 27 carries in the setback.

>>Perfect Packers Pound Raiders

(Green Bay, WI)  --  The Packers ran their record to 13-and-0 with a 46-16 rout of the Raiders.  Aaron Rodgers threw for 281 yards, two touchdowns and an interception in less than three quarters to help Green Bay become the second defending Super Bowl champion to begin the following year with 13 straight wins.  The victory came at a cost as star wide receiver Greg Jennings was carted to the locker room due to a knee injury in the third quarter.  The Packers secured a bye in the first round of the playoffs with the win.  Carson Palmer passed for 245 yards, a touchdown and four interceptions for Oakland.  The Raiders have dropped two straight to fall a game behind the Broncos for first in the AFC West.

NFL
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Baltimore Ravens 24, Indianapolis Colts 10
New York Jets 37, Kansas City Chiefs 10
Detroit Lions 34, Minnesota Vikings 28
Houston Texans 20, Cincinnati Bengals 19
Jacksonville Jaguars 41, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 14
Atlanta Falcons 31, Carolina Panthers 23
Philadelphia Eagles 26, Miami Dolphins 10
New Orleans Saints 22, Tennessee Titans 17
New England Patriots 34, Washington Redskins 27
Arizona Cardinals 21, San Francisco 49ers 19 
San Diego Chargers 37, Buffalo Bills 10
New York Giants 37, Dallas Cowboys 34

>>Seahawks Host Rams On "Monday Night Football"

(Seattle, WA)  --  The Seahawks play a second consecutive prime-time contest in Seattle when they welcome in the St. Louis Rams for "Monday Night Football."  Seattle improved to 5-and-7 last Thursday with a 31-14 defeat of Philadelphia.  Marshawn Lynch continued his second-half surge, torching the Eagles for 148 yards and two scores.  Lynch leads the NFL in rushing since Week Nine with 591 yards and five touchdowns.  He'll face the league's worst run defense in 2-and-10 St. Louis.  The Rams were shut out by San Francisco 26-0 last week.  With starting quarterback Sam Bradford and backup A.J. Feeley both injured, Tom Brandstater is in line to make his first NFL start.  The Seahawks beat the Rams 24-7 in St. Louis in Week 11 and have won 12 of the last 13 meetings.

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Illini Survive Coppin State

D.J. Richardson scored 20 points to lead four players in double figures and No. 24 Illinois beat Coppin State 80-63 on Sunday night.

Illinois (10-0) hung on to remain 1 of 9 undefeated teams in the nation despite the Eagles' hot shooting and pesky 2-3 zone defense.

Tony Gallo scored 21 points for Coppin State (3-5), which made 10 3-pointers.

After Illinois jumped out to a 17-point lead in the opening minutes of the second half, Coppin State went on a 20-5 run to cut the lead to 59-57. From there, Illinois responded with a four-guard lineup that provided enough offense down the stretch to seal the win.

Meyers Leonard had 18 points and 11 rebounds, and Sam Maniscalco and Brandon Paul each scored 12 points for the Illini.

NCAA Top-25 Men's Basketball  (ESPN/"USA Today" Rankings)
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#15 Alabama Crimson Tide 62 Detroit Titans 54
Murray State Racers 76, #20 Memphis Tigers 72

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Clinton Police Department Weekend Report

CITATIONS

12/10/11

XAVIER R. HALL 37, DECATUR SPEEDING 55 MPH IN A 35 MPH ZONE. BOND POSTED

STEPHANIE E CRUM 19, CLINTON OPERATING UNINSURED MOTOR VEHICLE, NO DRIVERS LICENSE ON PERSON. NOTICE TO APPEAR ISSUED

 

12/11/11

WILLIAM J. ALWOOD 45, CLINTON FAILURE TO WEAR SEAT BELT-PASSENGER. BOND POSTED

HEATHER L. MOORE 27, FARMER CITY IMPROPER LANE USAGE. BOND POSTED

MORGAN T. BRIGGS 19, CLINTON OPERATING UNINSURED MOTOR VEHICLE. BOND POSTED

VANESSA OPHORST 22, CLINTON DISOBEYED STOP SIGN. BOND POSTED

BURL L. STONER 79, DECATUR SPEEDING 79 MPH IN A 55 MPH ZONE. BOND POSTED

 

ON 12/10/11 CLINTON POLICE ARRESTED EMANUEL R. TRISBY 25, CLINTON FOR DRIVING WHILE LICENSE SUSPENDED AND OPERATING UNINSURED MOTOR VEHICLE. TRISBY WAS TRANSPORTED TO THE DEWITT COUNTY JAIL AND RELEASED TO CORRECTIONS.

 

ON 12/11/11 CLINTON POLICE INVESTIGATED AN ACCIDENT AT RT 54 AND RT 10 EAST. A VEHICLE DRIVEN BY AMBER N. TEAGUE 27, CLINTON WAS EASTBOUND ON RT 54 WHEN A VEHICLE DRIVEN BY PHYLLIS K. COON 70, CLINTON WAS WESTBOUND ON RT 10 AND STOPPED AT THE STOP SIGN AND THEN PROCEEDED INTO THE INTERSECTION AND COLLIDED WITH TEAGUE. COON WAS ISSUED A CITATION FOR FAILURE TO YIELD STOP INTERSECTION.

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Lee Enterprises Files Bankruptcy

 

The parent company that owns the the Decatur Herald and Review, the Mattoon Journal-Gazette, the Bloomington Pantagraph, and the Charleston Times-Courier, has filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy.

 

Lee Enterprises Inc, which publishes 48 daily newspapers including St. Louis Post-Dispatch, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection to slash its debt load, as newspapers struggle with falling advertisement dollars and dwindling readership.

 

In a filing with Delaware bankruptcy court, Lee Enterprises listed liabilities of $994.5 million and assets of $1.15 billion.

 

The bankruptcy filing plan comes two months after the company had reached an agreement with most its lenders to refinance $769.5 million of its distressed loans.

 

Most local newspaper publishers in the United States have been hit by dropping circulation and falling advertising revenue, forcing them to sell off or shut several publications.

 

Tribune Co, the owner of the Los Angeles Times and Chicago Tribune newspapers, had earlier filed a third reorganization plan with the U.S. bankruptcy court.

 

Lee was founded in 1890 in Ottumwa, Iowa, by A.W. Lee. Most of the company's newspapers trace their beginnings to the mid-1800s. Among Lee's alumni are Mark Twain, Willa Cather and Thornton Wilder.

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DeWitt County Sheriff's Weekend Report

December 10, 2011

 

Jail Population: 48

Summons Served: 4

Warrant Arrests: 0

 

 

December 11, 2011

 

Jail Population: 50

Summons Served: 4

Warrant Arrests: 0

 

 

December 12, 2011

 

Jail Population: 48

Summons Served: 2

Warrant Arrests: 1

 

Investigation into the scene of an accident which occurred at approximately 5:15 a.m. on Friday, December 9, revealed that a car driven by Garry Evans, 50, Bloomington, was backing into a parking space at the Clinton Power Station, when it struck Matthew Erwin, 52, Decatur, which was parked unoccupied in another parking space facing south. The rear driver’s side bumper came in contact with the driver’s side front fender. There was minimal damage. No injuries were reported.

 

Investigation into the scene of an accident which occurred at approximately 7:40 a.m. on Friday, December 9, revealed that a car driven by Nicholas McCauley, 19, Kenney, was traveling westbound on Thorps Road when he slid through the intersection striking the stop sign. No injuries were reported.

 

Investigation into the scene of an accident which occurred at approximately 5:00 p.m. on Friday, December 9, revealed that a car driven by Jade Lowery, 21, Waynesville, stopped at the stop sign at Second Street. As she left the stop sign the vehicle struck Elisabeth Bechtel, 29, Waynesville, broadside. Bechtel was heading eastbound when it was struck. No injuries were reported.

 

 

ALL SUSPECTS ARE PRESUMED INNOCENT UNTIL FOUND GUILTY IN A COURT OF LAW.

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Weekly Weather Report

We saw some accumulated snow for the first time in parts of central Illinois, but it was less than an inch. State Climatologist Jim Angel slower starts to the snow season can sometimes mean winters with less snow. This weekend and starting next week we will see lots of sun. Later in the week calls for some chances of rain with normal temperatures.

[audio:wx.mp3]Word from Angel[/audio]

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Springfield Group Ends Golf Tournament

 The LPGA will not be returning to Illinois' capital city.  Organizers of the golf tournament in Springfield say without a big name, corporate sponsor they cannot continue.  State Farm has been the title sponsor of the event, but they pulled out earlier this year after 19 years.  Kate Peters, the tournament's executive director the past five years, says they tournament could not continue.  She says she did not want to postpone the tournament and prolong the wait.  Peters and her board agreed to pull the plug instead.  In addition to the loss of golf, several central Illinois charities will have to look for a new source of money.  The LPGA event raised millions each year for charity.

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Pujols Foundation Will Carry On

Pujols' departure raises questions about the fate of his foundation.  The charity helps families with children who have Down's Syndrome.  Pujols and his wife, Deidre, have a daughter with the condition.  The Pujols Foundation, however, says the slugger heading to California won't affect its work in the community.

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Springfield Police Arrest Deadly Shooting Suspect

Springfield Police are not saying why a local man pulled the trigger in a Wednesday shooting.  The "State Journal Register" reports that Marcus Johnson is facing murder charges for the shooting that killed Albie Underwood and critically wounded Joseph "Dink" Simmons.  Police say the shooting followed an argument at a party, but they are not releasing any more details.  Johnson faces 45 years to life in prison on the murder charge.

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Normal Police: Stabbing Victim Lied

A 21-year-old woman who originally reported a man broke into her home and stabbed her on Monday has changed her story.  Normal Police say the woman admitted to stabbing herself.  Police Chief Rick Bleichner said detectives brought the woman in for questioning and some parts of her story did not add up.  She was arrested and charged with one count of disorderly conduct and filing a false police report.

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Mercer County Woman's Death Ruled a Homicide

The death of a western Illinois woman is now officially a homicide.  A Peoria County coroner's jury ruled that Melissa White's October death was not accidental.  Police say White's husband William is considered a person of interest, but no arrests have been made.

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HS BBALL: PickneyVille Topples Monticello

The Monticello Sages faced off agianst Pickneyville in Carbondale at SIU stadium. The Sages fought hard, but couldn't keep the ball in hand which made it an easy game for Pickneyville. Turnovers were the big weakness for tonight's game and the Sages will improve. The final score for tonight was 55-44. The stats are live and you can view them at stats.siu.edu/salukisshootout. Tune in again on December 13 at 7PM for more Sages action. We have it all right here on 95.9 WEZC.

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Panthers Pounce On Maroons

As heard on 92.3 WHOW and THE BIG 1520, Leroy gets the win tonight against the Maroons 44-35.  For the Panthers, Nick Stevens and Nolan Sammers led it with 17 points a piece. The Panthers had 6 3 pointers in the game.  The Maroons were led by Dylan Scott with 11 points.  Marshall Sprague helped the team out with 9 points and Mitch Creager with 6. Clinton brought it back in the 3rd quarter and  had a 2 point lead going into the 4th quareter. The Maroons drop to 3-5 on the season and the Panthers are now 3-5 with this win.  Tune in Tuesday night as the Maroons take on the Mustangs at Ridgeview!

 

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Effort To Canonize Peoria Archbishop Moves Forward

Peoria Catholics plan a weekend Mass to mark the next step in an effort to canonize a local archbishop.

Advocates who want the late Archbishop Fulton Sheen made a saint have finished an investigation into a miracle they attribute to the Illinois native. They will box and seal the investigation during a Mass on Sunday at the Cathedral of St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception in Peoria before sending it to the Vatican.

Believers say Sheen interceded to save the life of a stillborn baby at a Peoria hospital in September 2010.

Sheen is entombed in New York, where he spent much of his career and gained fame for his radio and television commentaries.

The effort to canonize Sheen has been ongoing for about a decade.

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U of I Professor Attacked in Train Station

An eastern Illinois man has been charged with slashing the throat of a University of Illinois professor at a Champaign train station.

23-year-old Joshua Scaggs of Fithian faces attempted murder and aggravated battery charges. He has not entered a plea and is jailed on $500,000 bond. Scaggs fired his attorney during a Thursday hearing.

Authorities say Dhammika Dharmapala was attacked Wednesday. He is a law professor.

His condition was not available from a local hospital. Assistant State's Attorney Steve Ziegler said Dharmapala had a cut about 6 inches long and bled a great deal.

A witness told police Dharmapala was in a waiting area when another man jumped from a chair and shouted something about this being his country before attacking.

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Judge Rules In Favor of Gun Owners In Foid Case

The leader of the Illinois State Rifle Association says he's pleased a Peoria judge signed an order barring the state police from releasing the names of 1.3 million firearm owner identification cardholders.

Richard Pearson says the order signed this week is further protection for gun owners, who won a similar victory this year when the state Senate passed a bill prohibiting public disclosure of people with FOID cards.

The ruling is the latest chapter in a story that started when Attorney General Lisa Madigan's office ruled in response to a request from The Associated Press that the names are public under the state's open records law and should be released.

That set off protests from gun owners and a legal battle that led to the judge's ruling.

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Peace Corps Says Illinois Among Top Volunteer States

The Peace Corps says Illinois ranks fourth among states in the number of people who volunteer to serve.

The program currently has 397 Illinois residents.

The Peace Corps was established 50 years ago by President John F. Kennedy to promote service and understanding around the world.

Katie O'Connor is the Chicago Peace Corps regional manager and a former volunteer in Nicaragua. She says there is a strong network of former Peace Corps volunteers in the region who inspire others to consider international service.

Since the Corps' founding, more than 7,990 Peace Corps volunteers from Illinois have served in 139 countries.

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Winter Driving Tips

Winter may not officially be upon us yet, but it certainly feels like winter.

With the winter months comes snow and accumulated snow. And with accumulated snow comes awareness for safety in the winter months. Clinton Police Chief Mike Reidy has several tips on keeping yourself safe while on the road to avoid accidents, but also should you get stuck in the snow. He says when coming to an intersections on a snowy road, use extra caution and begin braking much sooner than you normally would.

[audio:snowtips1.mp3]A Word From The Chief[/audio]

A habit Chief Reidy encourages motorists to take up during the winter months is to not let your gas tank get below a half of a tank. Should a motorist become stranded with no immediate help on the way, having that extra half tank of gas could certainly come in handy.

[audio:snowtips2.mp3]A Word From Chief Reidy[/audio]

Preparing for an unexpected trip to a ditch or being stuck somewhere is something all motorists should be ready for. Chief Reidy encourages motorists to have an extra set of winter clothes in the car, along with a flashlight and batteries.

[audio:snowtips3.mp3]A Word From The Chief[/audio]

For motorists with rear wheel drive vehicles, Chief Reidy encourages them to put a sand bag or cat litter over the axle of the rear wheels. He says those items can come in handy should the vehicle get stuck because they can be used for traction to get out as well. One last item he encourages motorists to keep in the vehicle is windshield wiper fluid. He says some drivers will go through a half gallon of fluid in one trip trying keep dirt splashing up from the road from vehicles in front.

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DeWitt County Angel Tree Sees Every Child Adopted This Year

The DeWitt County Angel Tree Program's distribution is this evening.

This year, Angel Tree saw almost six hundred children registered for the program, and all the kids this year will be adopted. Director of the DeWitt County Angel Tree Program Sue Calvert is extremely pleased with this. She says the boxes the kids receive are nearly full but some last minute shopping is needed, which is not unusual.

[audio:angeltree1.mp3]A Word From Calvert[/audio]

Something Calvert has wanted to do for some time now but has run into some minor conflicts, is for the youth to get involved and help the elderly. She says this will be something special because the youth want to get involved and be a part of it. Calvert explains the 5th graders at Webster school will be making stockings and distributing them with items the elderly throughout the community.

[audio:angeltree2.mp3]A Word From Calvert[/audio]

Angel Tree is a part of a year long program called Samaritan Room, which is involved in several different ways and is run on volunteer support alone. Calvert says there are so many organizations throughout the community that step up throughout the year to provide help. She thanks those from high school students to girl scouts and cub scouts and various clubs as well.

[audio:angeltree3.mp3]A Word From Calvert[/audio]

Calvert feels having the youth involved is teaching them good lessons and habits.

She adds they will be taking adoptions until Christmas. For those wanting to learn more about how to be adopted, contact your local Community Action. First time applicants are the only ones going to be accepted at this point, Calvert says it is because those who been a part of the program in the past have missed the deadline.

The program continues to accept donations, and while Calvert says they do not need volunteers at this time, there are other ways to get involved. To find out more you can contact Sue Calvert at suecalvert@gobbx.com. Angel Tree of DeWitt County is also on Facebook, you can find them by searching DeWitt County Samaritan Room and Angel Tree.

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NFL Notes: Pittsburgh Wins; Bears/Broncos, Packers/Raiders Previews

>>Steelers Outslug Browns

(Pittsburgh, PA)  --  Ben Roethlisberger battled through an ankle injury to throw two touchdown passes and lead the Steelers to a 14-3 win over the Browns on "Thursday Night Football."  Roethlisberger had to be helped to the locker room after injuring the ankle in the second quarter.  He returned for the start of the second half and threw a 79-yard touchdown pass to Antonio Brown in the fourth quarter.  "Big Ben" was 17-of-22 for 280 yards for the Steelers, who have won four straight to improve to an AFC-best 10-and-3.  The Steelers play at San Francisco in Week 15.

>>Tebow, Broncos Battle Bears In Denver

(Denver, CO)  --  Tim Tebow will try and work his magic once again as the red-hot Denver Broncos welcome in the scuffling Chicago Bears to Sports Authority Field at Mile High on Sunday for a Week 14 tilt.  It was suppose to be Jay Cutler's first return to Denver since being traded to the Windy City after the 2008 campaign, but instead the Bears will stumble into the contest on the heels of a two-game slide with backup Caleb Hanie under center.  Chicago had won five straight before Cutler broke his right thumb in Week 11.  They are coming off a 10-3 setback at Kansas City last weekend to fall to 7-and-5 on the season.  Running back Matt Forte is also out for Sunday's game after spraining his MCL last Sunday.

>>Packers Continue Pursuit Of Perfection Vs. Raiders

(Green Bay, WI)  --  The Packers will continue their pursuit of perfection when they host the Oakland Raiders on Sunday.  Mason Crosby's 30-yard field goal as time expired lifted the Packers to a thrilling 38-35 road win over the Giants last week.  The defending Super Bowl champs improved to 12-and-0 and locked up the NFC North title.  The Packers and Raiders are meeting for the first time since 2007.

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Pujols To LA; Cubs Pull Off Late Thursday Deal

>>Pujols Headed To Halos

(Dallas, TX)  --  In a surprise move, superstar slugger Albert Pujols signed with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim on Thursday.  The Halos landed "The Machine" to a 10-year deal worth at least $250-million.  The pact also includes a full no-trade clause for the three-time MVP, who had spent his entire 11-year career with the St. Louis Cardinals.  The 31-year-old Pujols batted .299 with 37 home runs and 99 RBI last season.  It was the only season in his career that he didn't register at least 100 RBI and hit better than .300.  Over his career, the power-hitting first baseman has 445 dingers to go along with a .328 average and 1,329 runs batted in.

>>Cards' Mozeliak Reacts To Pujols' Departure

(St. Louis, MO)  --  St. Louis Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak discussed the departure of slugger Albert Pujols on Thursday.  Mozeliak said Pujols' decision to sign with the Los Angeles Angels was disappointing, but they knew his departure from St. Louis was always a possibility.  Mozeliak also said Wednesday was an intense day of negotiations, and he could sense Thursday morning that Pujols was leaning toward signing with the Angels.  The 31-year-old Pujols had spent his entire eleven-year career with the Cards.  The three-time MVP agreed to a 10-year deal worth between 250 and 260-million dollars with the Angels.

>> Cubs Swing Deal Prior To End Of Winter Meetings

The Chicago Cubs have acquired third baseman Ian Stewart and right-handed reliever Casey Weathers from the Colorado Rockies for outfielder Tyler Colvin and infielder D.J. LeMahieu.

Stewart, who hit 25 homers in 2009 and 18 more in 2010 for the Rockies, slumped last season when he split time Colorado and AAA. In 48 games with the Rockies he batted .156.

Weathers was 2-2 with a 5.32 ERA at AA Tulsa last season in 44 appearances. He missed the 2009 season after elbow ligament replacement surgery.

Colvin hit 20 homers as a rookie in 2010 but struggled last season and was sent to AAA. LeMahieu made his major league debut with the Cubs last year and batted .250 in 37 games.

The trade was announced Thursday night.

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Illinois Appears To Have New Football Coach

According to the "Chicago Tribune," Illinois has found its new head football coach.  Illinois athletic director Mike Thomas could introduce Toledo head coach Tim Beckman as the man to replace Ron Zook as early as Friday.  Zook was let go on November 27th after finishing the season with six straight loses.  Reports state Illinois is willing to cough up two-million dollars to sign Beckman, who according to "USA Today," makes about 400-thousand with the Rockets.  Beckman is 21-and-16 in three season with Toledo, including a 14-and-2 record in the Mid-American Conference his last two years.

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Illini Play Host To Coppin State Sunday

>>Illini Host Coppin State

(Champaign, IL)  --  Illinois is back on the floor Sunday against Coppin State.  The Illini escaped an upset bid by St. Bonaventure on Wednesday with a 48-43 win.  Number-22 Illinois sits at 9-and-0 on the season.

NCAA Top-25 Men's Basketball
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#9 Connecticut Huskies 67, #24 Harvard Crimson 53

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DeWitt County Sheriff's Report for 12-9

 

December 9, 2011

 

Jail Population: 48

Summons Served: 4

Warrant Arrests: 0

 

 

Investigation into the scene of an accident which occurred at approximately 7:20 p.m. on Thursday, December 8, revealed that a car driven by Jason Heyerdahl, 36, Machesney Park, was traveling eastbound on Illinois Route 54 when he noticed he was quickly approaching a slowing vehicle. Heyerdahl veered into the ditch to avoid striking the other vehicle. He struck a culvert and overturned. The vehicle came to rest upright facing south in the ditch on the south side of Illinois Route 54 near Drive In Road. No injuries were reported and Heyerdahl’s vehicle was towed from the scene.

 

 

ALL SUSPECTS ARE PRESUMED INNOCENT UNTIL FOUND GUILTY IN A COURT OF LAW.

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Maroons Win Home Opener

In a game heard on WHOW, the Clinton Maroons Boys' Varsity basketball team took on the Mt. Pulaski Hilltoppers. The Maroons just met up with the Hilltoppers last week and lost the game 56 to 30, but were able to overcome the Hilltopper this time to win the game 54 to 39. The Maroons go to three and four on the year, led by junior Marshall Sprague who had 13 points and junior Greg Osgood with 10 points in the game. The Hilltoppers had three guys with double digits in the game.

Tune in to 92.3FM WHOW tommorow night (12/10) to hear the Clinton Maroons take on LeRoy. Game time 7pm at Clinton High School. Also streamed live on DeWittDailyNews.com! Click HERE to listen.

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Too Expensive To Send All Marching Illini To Bowl Game

The director of the Marching Illini says it will likely be too expensive to send all of the band members to San Francisco for the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl later this month.

The Division of Intercollegiate Athletics plans to send only a small group of band members to the bowl game because of costs. The full Marching Illini has 350 members. Marching Illini director Barry Houser says the current plan is for him and 49 band members to go. But Houser says the plan is "a work in progress."

The University of Illinois is receiving $750,000 for the bowl game. Houser says that's not enough money to send the football team and the entire band to San Francisco. Houser says it's "too expensive."

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Peoria Man Pleads Guilty To Double Shooting

A Peoria man is looking at more than 25-years behind bars after admitting that he pulled the trigger and shot two men during a restaurant robbery.  Tyshontis Campbell pleaded guilty Tuesday on two counts of aggravated battery with a firearm in connection with the February robbery.  Prosecutors dropped armed robbery charges as part of the plea agreement.  Campbell will also have to testify against John Carter, the man police say was his partner in crime.

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Peoria Police: Man Came Back To Rob Store

He didn't have enough change to buy a pack of tissues, so Peoria police say a man came back to the store and robbed it.  The Peoria Journal Star reports that police are looking for a suspect who they say held a gun to a clerk's head at the Family Dollar store and took cash.  Investigators say the robbery began when the suspect tried to buy a pack of tissues.  He came back about ten minutes after being turned away, and pulled his gun.  Police say no one was hurt, they have a description of the suspect and are looking for him.

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Blagojevich To Lose $65-Thousand State Pension

Ousted Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich likely won't collect a $65,000-a-year state pension, but he's expected to receive a federal pension for his time as a Congressman.

The General Assembly Retirement System board moved in October to block payments to newly convicted ex-officials. Blagojevich turns 55 Saturday.

A judge sentenced Blagojevich Wednesday to 14 years in prison on 18 corruption convictions.

State pensions are typically denied to officials who are convicted of crimes connected to their official duties.

Former Gov. George Ryan received a pension for three years between his retirement and his conviction on fraud charges.

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Rules Dictated Ousted Governor Serve 85% of Sentence

Rod Blagojevich is going to prison for a long time no matter what and will be about 67 years old before he qualifies for early release.

Judge James Zagel sentenced the 54-year-old former governor to 14 years in prison and fined him $20,000.

Under strict federal rules, he'll have to serve 85% of the sentence. That means he'll have to serve at least 12 years.

Zagel gave Blagojevich until Feb. 16 to report to prison.

It'll take weeks for authorities to pick a suitable prison. It'll most likely be outside Illinois - possibly in Indiana or Wisconsin.

He'll likely go to a prison with minimal security. But his life would be highly regimented. That'll include a menial job at a wage of just 12 cents an hour.

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Some Doubt Blago Sentence Will Deter Corruption

Political analysts say they're not convinced that ex-Gov. Rod Blagojevich's stiff 14-year sentence will deter others from engaging in public corruption.

Dick Simpson is a longtime political watcher and former Chicago alderman. He says he wasn't surprised by the sentence but doesn't think it will have a deterrent effect.

Simpson says many public officials and workers have been convicted of corruption, but many more just didn't get caught. And he says they're probably correct to assume they won't be.

David Morrison is deputy director of the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform. He isn't sure what effect the Blagojevich sentence will have but says the problem with corruption might be that past sentences weren't severe enough.

Morrison says it seems judges are more willing "to throw the book at people."

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Topinka: Blagojevoch Deserved 14 Year Sentence

 The woman who lost the 2006 governor's race to Rod Blagojevoch says the former Illinois governor earned his 14-year prison sentence.  Judy Baar Topinka, now Illinois's Comptroller, said Blagojevich was true to form until the end.

[audio:rdd120711Topinka2.mp3]A Word From The Comptroller[/audio]

Topinka feels no remorse for Rod Blagojevich as he looks at a 14 year prison sentence.

[audio:rdd120711Topinka1.mp3]A Word From Topinka[/audio]

Topinka says she feels bad for Blagojevich's family, his two young daughters in particular.  But she was quick to say that 14-years is fair for the crimes Blagojevoch was convicted of.  The former governor will likely serve 12-years of his sentence in federal prison.

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Governor Quinn Reacts To Blagojevich Sentence

GOVERNOR PAT QUINN SAYS WEDNESDAY WAS A SOMBER DAY IN ILLINOIS.

SPEAKING AFTER THE SENTENCING OF ROD BLAGOJEVICH…QUINN SAYS THE FORMER GOVERNOR LET DOWN THE VOTERS…AND OTHERS WHO SUPPORTED HIM.

[audio:govreact1.mp3]A Word From Quinn[/audio]

QUINN SAYS ROD BLAGOJEVICH LET THE VOTERS DOWN…AND CALLS THE 14 YEAR SENTENCE THE FORMER GOVERNOR RECEIVED “STIFF BUT NECESSARY.”

[audio:govreact2.mp3]A Word From Quinn[/audio]

GOVERNOR QUINN SAYS SOME REFORMS HAVE ALREADY BEEN ENACTED SINCE BLAGOJEVICH WAS IN OFFICE, BUT MORE ARE NECESSARY. HE PRAISED THE VOTER’S APPROVAL OF A RECALL AMENDMENT…WHICH LETS THEM REMOVE UNSCRUPULOUS GOVERNORS FROM OFFICE.

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Social Security's Website Now To Target Spanish Speaking Population

The Social Security Website will soon become friendlier for Spanish speakers.

Social Security's site is now offering all of their vast information in Spanish.  Benefits such as Medicare and other services will now have their information available in Spanish as well.  Niki Alvarado, of Social Security, says that this new feature will allow much better cohesion between Spanish Speakers and Social Security Representatives.

[audio:socsecurity1.mp3]A Word From Alvarado[/audio]

With the Spanish population constantly growing, Alvarado says that Social Security has been trying to fulfill the needs of Spanish-speaking citizens approaching retirement age. She says that its natural to want to take care of personal business with your primary language.

[audio:socsecurity2.mp3]A Word From Alvarado[/audio]

Social Security has also welcomed Don Francisco as a spokesperson for the Spanish speaking community nearing retirement.  Francisco is a widely known television host within the Spanish community. He helps to encourage people to get online and acquire as much information as they can. 

[audio:socsecurity3.mp3]A Word From Alvarado[/audio]

For more information on any social security topic, you can go to www.socialsecurity.gov.

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Warner Library's World War II Exhibit Final Live Event Tonight

The final event of the Warner Public Library's World War II exhibit is tonight.

The Exhibit opened last month and has been very popular. It showcases how World War II affected DeWitt County. Several local veterans participated and told their stories along with donating several artifacts from their experiences during the war.  Bobbi Perryman, librarian at the Warner Public Library says that they have had great turnouts for the different events so far.

[audio:worldwarII1.mp3]A Word From Perryman[/audio]

Perryman says that this exhibit is special because it places a personal touch on history. There are still men and women in Dewitt county who experienced World War II firsthand.  The Library has dedicated themselves to assist in telling their personal stories with as much detail as possible.  The attention to detail begins right when the observer enters the exhibit. Perryman explains many of the things one can see while they visit the library.

[audio:worldwarII2.mp3]A Word From Perryman[/audio]

The last speaker will be there tonight at 7pm. He will be discussing life in Japan during the war which should be very interesting, according to Perryman

[audio:worldwarII3.mp3]A Word From Perryman[/audio]

The last day to visit the entire exhibit will be January 12th. For more information you can visit the library at 310 North Quincy,  call them at 935-5174, or find them online at www.vwarner.org.

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City of Clinton Approved For EPA Loan

A loan the City of Clinton has applied for through the Illinois EPA has been approved.

The Illinois EPA has a program that distributes loans and has a 25% forgiveness on those loans. The City of Clinton has the opportunity to make a few upgrades to some wells and water mains that are causing problems. Clinton Mayor Carolyn Peters explains almost 301-thousand dollars of the just over $1-million loan is forgiven with the EPA, while the remainder of the principal would paid over 20-years with a 1.25-percent interest rate.

[audio:epaloan1.mp3]A Word From The Mayor[/audio]

City Administrator for the City of Clinton, Tim Followell explains the loan will cover projects all over the city. He says it will include a new water well at Kiwanis Park, three water main extensions by Clinton Medical Waste Facility, the Elks Club on East South Street, and one near Lincoln School.

[audio:92611epaloan2.mp3]Followell On The Projects[/audio]

According to Mayor Peters, contracts have already been awarded for the start of these projects and she hope they can be underway by the spring.

[audio:epaloan3.mp3]The Mayor On The Contracts[/audio]

Mayor Peters adds the loan through the EPA will be paid through revenues from the Clinton Water Department. The Council felt low interest rate combined with the principal forgiveness being offered were too good to pass up, especially since the Council planned for the projects in a water rate increase enacted in 2009.

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Cards Closing In On Pujols, Buehrle Headed To Miami, McCarver Wins Broadcaster Award

>>Cards Close In On Pujols After Marlins Pull Out

(Dallas, TX)  --  The Cardinals appear closer to re-signing Albert Pujols [[ POO-holes ]] after the Miami Marlins withdrew their interest Wednesday.  According to the "New York Daily News," the Marlins feel Pujols and the Cards are just a few million dollars apart and expect him to re-sign with the Redbirds.  St. Louis is believed to have offered the three-time NL MVP a 10-year deal worth at least $220-million.

>>McCarver Wins Ford Frick Award

(Dallas, TX)  --  Former Cardinals catcher Tim McCarver has won the 2012 Ford C. Frick Award for contributions to baseball broadcasting.  After a 21-year playing career, McCarver has served as the primary national analyst for World Series coverage for more than 30 years with NBC, ABC, CBS and FOX.  McCarver will be honored during Hall of Fame Weekend in Cooperstown, New York in July.

>>Marlins Agree To Four-Year Deal With Buehrle

(Dallas, TX)  --  The Miami Marlins are making another big free agent splash.  MLB Network reports the Marlins have agreed to a four-year, $58-million contract with pitcher Mark Buehrle.  The 32-year-old left-hander is heading to South Beach after 12 years with the Chicago White Sox.  Buehrle went 13-and-9 with a 3.59 ERA this past season and is reunited with manager Ozzie Guillen, who left Chicago in late September to become skipper of the Marlins.  Buehrle has 161 career wins.

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Illini Notes

>>Illinois Squeaks By St. Bonaventure

Brandon Paul scored 12 points in the final four minutes Wednesday to keep No. 24 Illinois undefeated with a sloppy 48-43 comeback win over St. Bonaventure.

Paul finished off a 3-point play to tied it at 41 with 2:39 left and Meyers Leonard gave the Illini (9-0) their first lead since the first half with a pair of free throws shortly afterward.

Paul finished with 17 points. D.J. Richardson added 11 and Leonard had eight rebounds.

Andrew Nicholson led St. Bonaventure (3-4) with 17 points and eight rebounds.

NCAA Top-25 Men's Basketball
------
#4 Louisville Cardinals 90, IUPUI Jaguars 60
#5 Duke Blue Devils 87, Colorado State Rams 64
#8 Xavier Musketeers 73, Butler Bulldogs 61
#12 Florida Gators 78, Arizona Wildcats 72
Dayton Flyers 74, #15 Alabama Crimson Tide 62
#16 Wisconsin Badgers 70, Green Bay Phoenix 48
#25 Texas A&M Aggies 64, Sam Houston State Bearkats 37

>>Illini's Mercilus Wins Hendricks Award

(Champaign, IL)  --  Whitney Mercilus of Illinois has been selected as the winner of the 2011 Ted Hendricks Award, presented to the nation's top defensive end.  Mercilus leads the nation in sacks with 14-and-a-half and forced fumbles with nine, while compiling 52 overall tackles and 19-and-a-half for loss.  He is one shy of tying the NCAA record of 10 forced fumbles and will have a chance to do so when Illinois takes on UCLA in the Fight Hunger Bowl on December 31st in San Francisco.  The junior from Akron, Ohio is just one-and-a-half sacks shy of the Illinois single-season record of 16 set by Simeon Rice in 1994.  He is also a finalist for the Bronko Nagurski Trophy as the nation's top defensive player.

>> Illinois Extends Coach Search Application Period

Illinois has extended the application period for candidates for its head football coaching position until late Thursday night.

The application period for potential replacements for Ron Zook had ended Tuesday evening.

Sports information director Kent Brown says the extension is routine and isn't unusual in short search periods.

Zook was fired Nov. 27 after the Illini (6-6) finished the regular season with a 6-game losing streak.

Illinois will play UCLA in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl Dec. 31 in San Francisco. Defensive coordinator Vic Koenning is serving as interim head coach.

>> Too Expensive To Send Marching Illini To Bowl Game

The director of the Marching Illini says it will likely be too expensive to send all of the band members to San Francisco for the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl later this month.

The Division of Intercollegiate Athletics plans to send only a small group of band members to the bowl game because of costs. The full Marching Illini has 350 members. Marching Illini director Barry Houser says the current plan is for him and 49 band members to go. But Houser says the plan is "a work in progress."

The University of Illinois is receiving $750,000 for the bowl game. Houser says that's not enough money to send the football team and the entire band to San Francisco. Houser says it's "too expensive."

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ISU Beats Moorehead State

Jackie Carmichael scored 17 points and grabbed 10 rebounds to lead Illinois State over Morehead State 78-73 on Wednesday night.

Jon Ekey added 17 points, Tyler Brown 13 and Nic Moore and John Wilkins chipped in 10 each for the Redbirds (6-3).

Illinois State shot 58.5% from the field (24 of 41), and didn't fare much worse from long. The Redbirds made 54.5% from behind the 3-point arc (12 of 22), including 5 of 8 from Ekey.

The Redbirds, who led 34-26 at halftime, have won all 6 of those by 60-plus, while losing the three when they have not reached the 60-piont mark.

Marsell Holden scored 21 points to lead Morehead State, which snapped a 6-game home winning streak. Ty Proffitt chipped in 18 points and Drew Kelly 11 for the Eagles.

Morehead State (4-6) turned it over 15 times, leading to 22 points for Illinois State.

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Sub Fired for Improper Relationship with Student

No one is saying what he did, but a Springfield teacher has been fired for improper fraternization with a student.  The Springfield school board last month approved the firing of permanent substitute teacher Kyle DeWeese.  He had taught at Springfield High School. DeWeese was fired "based upon an investigation and finding of improper fraternization with a student.  "Neither the school district nor DeWeese is saying what improper fraternization means."  DeWeese says he thought he had quit, but now sees that the school districts says it fired him.  There are no criminal charges in the case.

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A-G, Advocates Fight Ameren Rate Hike Plan

Illinois lawmakers last month gave the state's two biggest utilities a new way to set their rates, and now one of them wants to take advantage of that.  Ameren Illinois, which supplies power and natural gas to most of downstate Illinois, is looking to walk away from a pending case at the Illinois Commerce Commission.  Ameren had asked for a 60-million dollar rate hike, then lower its request to 39-million dollars.  But the ICC is considering lower rates for customers.  Ameren asked to drop the request, now the Illinois Attorney General and a number of consumer advocates want the state to hold Ameren to it's proposal.  Dave Koloat with the citizen's utility board says Ameren should not be able to "walk away" from what could be a deal to save customers millions.  Ameren has not yet filed a rate increase plan under the new Smart Grid legislation, which allows Ameren and ComEd a bit more leeway with rate increase.

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Quinn Grants 75 Clemency Petitions, Denies 131

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn has granted 75 clemency petitions and denied 131 as he works to clear a backlog of cases left behind by ousted Gov. Rod Blagojevich's administration.

Quinn commuted the sentence of a man who has maintained his innocence in two Peoria, Ill., murders in 1977.

That ends parole for Johnnie Lee Savory, who was 15 when he was convicted of double murder but eventually won a new trial after an appeals court said his confession had been coerced. He was convicted again and eventually paroled in 2006.

Quinn also granted a pardon and expunged the criminal record of a woman who was paroled in 1966 after killing her husband in Chicago to protect herself and her then-unborn child.

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With Last Word, Blagojevich To Ask For Mercy

With his freedom in the balance, impeached ex-Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich gets his last shot at trying to persuade a judge not to send him away for a lengthy prison term.

The 54-year-old will address Judge James Zagel Wednesday - on the final day of his 2-day sentencing hearing.

Soon after, Zagel will announce how long Blagojevich must spend behind bars for 18 corruption counts that include his attempt to auction off President Barack Obama's old Senate seat.

Before Blagojevich speaks, prosecutors will also make a brief pitch about why they think Blagojevich deserves up to 20 years.

On Tuesday, defense attorneys made a surprising admission that their client was, in fact, guilty of corruption. But they said he didn't deserve nearly as much time as the government is asking.

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High School Dropouts Drag On Economy, Study Finds

A new study indicates dropping out of high school doesn't just cost dropouts.  It costs society too, in real money.  The study of Illinois residents shows the average high school dropout receives 15-hundred dollars a year more from government than the dropout pays in taxes, because dropouts are more likely to get benefits, or be in prison.  The findings are based on Census data from 2009 and 2010, and point out the financial benefits of programs that persuade dropouts to get back into school, rather than becoming a drain on society.  The study was sponsored by the Chicago Urban League and several education groups.

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Springfield Police: Lincoln Tomb Sword Found

The missing copper sword from Abraham Lincoln's tomb has been found.  Catherine Shannon with the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency is surprised the sword was recovered, as she thought it would be lost forever.

[audio:lincolnsword1207a.mp3]A Word From Shannon[/audio]

Springfield police say a 16-year-old boy has been arrested, and will likely face charges of theft and criminal trespass to state-supported property.  Police say the teen told them he didn't steal the sword to sell for scrap as some had speculated.  Instead the teen says he grabbed the three-foot blade, and it fell, breaking in two.  He reportedly hid one piece of the sword and kept another.  Police returned both pieces of the sword to the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency.

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Normal Okays Buy Local Policy

One central Illinois town wants to be a local as it can be.  Normal's Town Council has adopted a local preference purchasing policy, or a buy local first plan.  City Manager Mark Peterson says the local first idea is one part of the sustainability plan adopted earlier this year.  Councilman Jason Chambers says the policy is more about disclosure, adding "If we did have an out-of-town bidder, then it's just giving notice we might give some preference to people locally."  Other councilmen hope the local first policy will save Normal some money on everything from fuel to food to raw materials.

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Community Meeting Tonight To Discuss Highway 51, Washington Intersection Safety in Maroa

Residents of the Maroa-Forsyth school district are encouraged to come out tonight to a community event aimed to gather input for changes to an intersection near the high school.

The district in the past has seen numerous accidents at US Highway 51 and Washington Streets. Superintendent of Maroa Forsyth Schools Mike Williams says for many years now the district has become involved in pushing the Illinois Department of Transportation to make changes to the intersection. Williams says fortunately in his time in the district no lives have been lost there, but he feels a change is certainly necessary.

[audio:intersectionmeeting1.mp3]A Word From Williams[/audio]

Illinois Representative Bill Mitchell has organized a town meeting tonight for residents to come out and give some input on changes they would like to see to the intersection. Rep. Mitchell has organized for IDOT representatives to be present as well, and Williams notes, this project goes along with a similar project residents of Macon are pursuing as well.

[audio:intersectionmeeting2.mp3]A Word From Williams[/audio]

While there is flashing lights to warn traffic on Highway 51 to use caution when driving through the intersection, Williams feels that may not be enough. He says he would rather see change before worse accidents potentially take place.

[audio:intersectionmeeting3.mp3]A Word From Williams[/audio]

The meeting is this evening at the Maroa-Forsyth High School cafeteria at 6 pm and residents of both the Maroa Forsyth district and anyone else concerned with the safety of the intersection are invited to be a part of the meeting. Again, Representative Bill Mitchell will be present along with representatives from IDOT.

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Wal Mart Provides Opportunity For 15 Local Kids Through Clinton Police Department

Fifteen local kids will have a unique opportunity this evening.

Thanks to a grant from Wal-Mart Foundation for one thousand dollars and a match from the Clinton Wal-Mart, the Clinton Police Department's "Shop With A Cop" program will take 15 kids that were not able to be a part of this year's Angel Tree Program in DeWitt County, and they will shop at Wal-Mart this evening. Clinton Police Chief Mike Reidy thanks Wal-Mart for their support of the program.

[audio:shopwithacop1.mp3]A Word From Chief Reidy[/audio]

The Clinton Police Department does not have 15 officers on staff, so Chief Reidy has extended the invitation to the DeWitt County Sheriff's Department to be a part of the program this year. He adds Wal-Mart continues to be a great community supporter for Clinton and thanks them for providing this opportunity for some DeWitt County kids.

[audio:shopwithacop2.mp3]A Word From Chief Reidy[/audio]

The fifteen kids that get the opportunity tonight were left off the Angel Tree list because of either late entrees or not meeting guidelines, but still were in need of assistance.

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DJWH Home Sleep Study in Full Swing

The Dr. John Warner Hospital in Clinton's home sleep study program is now in full swing.

The "Sleep Study" program at the city-owned hospital is a program patients can take advantage of from the comfort of their own home, or from the hospital. Sandy Rice, Business Director at the city owned hospital says patients will receive a device that monitors in 12 hour cycles, they wear it overnight, and bring it back to the hospital for study.

[audio:sleepstudy1.mp3]A Word From Rice[/audio]

For some, having the ability to do the testing from the comfort of their own home is a nice advantage for them. Rice says the home sleep study is geared more to an individual who has an obstructed sleep pattern.

[audio:sleepstudy2.mp3]A Word From Rice[/audio]atmosphere

According to Rice, it is possible the home sleep study may not be able to diagnose a patients issues. She says if that should be the case, the patient may have to take part in the sleep study at the hospital.

[audio:sleepstudy3.mp3]A Word From Rice[/audio]

Rice says the study would be ideal for someone who snores a lot, and it is a cheaper option for them as well. The sleep study program is a referral program, she encourages anyone interested to consult with their physician.

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Baseball Winter Meetings Notes

>>Marlins Up Offer To Pujols

(Dallas, TX)  --  The ball may be in the Cardinals' court after the Marlins upped their offer to free-agent slugger Albert Pujols.  Miami originally offered Pujols a nine-year pact, but increased that offer to 10 years at this week's Winter Meetings in Dallas.  "USA Today" reports it's worth more than $200-million.  The Cardinals offered Pujols nine years and $195-million before spring training.

>>Report:  Cubs Officially Make Offer To Pujols

(Dallas, TX)  --  The Chicago Cubs have officially made an offer to slugger Pujols .  The "St. Louis Post-Dispatch" is reporting that the Northsiders recently spoke to Pujols agent and made a qualifying offer.  Pujols batted .299 with 37 homers and 99 RBI last season with the Cardinals.  The Cubs are also reportedly in the mix for Brewers first baseman Prince Fielder.

>>Cardinals Interested In Buehrle?

(Dallas, TX)  --  The Cardinals may be looking at free-agent left-hander Mark Buehrle to upgrade their rotation.  The "Chicago Tribune" reports the Cards could enter the Buehrle sweepstakes by possibly trading current starter Kyle Lohse.  The longtime White Sox starter has ties to St. Louis and is a professed Cardinals fan.  Lohse, however, has a full no-trade clause in his contract.

>>Blue Jays Acquire Closer Santos From White Sox

(Dallas, TX)  --  The Toronto Blue Jays have acquired closer Sergio Santos from the Chicago White Sox for pitching prospect Nestor Molina.  The 28-year-old Santos recently inked a three-year contract with the Sox that includes three club options through 2017.  Santos went 4-and-5 with a 3.55 ERA and 30 saves this past season.  His 92 strikeouts ranked second among American League relievers.  The 22-year-old Molina was 12-and-3 with a 2.21 ERA in the minors last season.

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Illinois At Home Tonight; Bradley Wins

>> Bradley Holds Off Northeastern

Walt Lemon Jr. had 24 points and Dyricus Simms-Edwards added 19 as Bradley snapped a 4-game losing streak Tuesday night with a 79-68 victory over Northeastern.

The duo combined to shoot 12 for 16 from the field, 5 for 7 on 3-point attempts, and 14 for 17 from the free-throw line while accounting for 8 of the Braves' 14 assists.

Bradley (4-4) trailed 37-36 early in the second half before scoring 14 straight points. Northeastern (3-4) twice pulled within four points, the last time with 2:15 remaining. But the Braves hit 7 of 8 free throws - including 6 of 6 from Simms-Edwards - to clinch it.

Northeastern got 18 points from Quincy Ford, 17 from Joel Smith and 13 points and 11 rebounds from Jonathan Lee.

Taylor Brown added 11 points and 12 rebounds for Bradley.

The teams combined for 45 turnovers - 23 by Northeastern and 22 by Bradley.

NCAA Top-25 Men's Basketball
------
#3 Syracuse Orange 62, Marshall Thundering Herd 56
#6 North Carolina Tar Heels 97, Evansville Aces 48
#10 Missouri Tigers 81, Villanova Wildcats 71 (Jimmy V Classic at Manhattan, NY)
#11 Marquette Golden Eagles 79, Washington Huskies 77 (Jimmy V Classic at Manhattan, NY)
#13 Kansas Jayhawks 88, Long Beach State 49ers 80
#14 Pittsburgh Panthers 97, Virginia Military Keydets 70
#20 Memphis Tigers 71, Miami (FL) Hurricanes 54

>>#22 Illini Hit The Hardwood

(Champaign, IL)  --  The 22nd-ranked Illinois Fighting Illini are back on the court this evening as they host St. Bonaventure in Champaign at Assembly Hall.  The Illini improved to a perfect 8-and-0 on the season after beating previously 18th-ranked Gonzaga on Saturday.  Illinois wraps up this week's play at home on Sunday against Coppin State.

NCAA Top-25 Men's Basketball
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  7:00 p.m. - #4 Louisville Cardinals host IUPUI Jaguars
  7:00 p.m. - #5 Duke Blue Devils host Colorado State Rams
  9:00 p.m. - #8 Xavier Musketeers at Butler Bulldogs
  7:00 p.m. - #12 Florida Gators host Arizona Wildcats
  7:00 p.m. - #15 Alabama Crimson Tide at Dayton Flyers
  8:00 p.m. - #16 Wisconsin Badgers host Green Bay Phoenix
  9:00 p.m. - #22 Illinois Fighting Illini host St. Bonaventure Bonnies
  8:00 p.m. - #25 Texas A&M Aggies host Sam Houston State Bearkats

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Illinois Offensive Coordinator Leaving For Arkansas

Illinois offensive coordinator Paul Petrino has left the school to return to Arkansas.

Interim head coach Vic Koenning said Tuesday that Petrino will return to work for his brother, Arkansas head coach Bobby Petrino. Paul Petrino was a Razorbacks coach before coming to Illinois two seasons ago.

Quarterbacks coach Jeff Brohm will be offensive coordinator for the Fight Hunger Bowl against UCLA on Dec. 31.

It is the first departure since Ron Zook was fired Nov. 27 but probably not the last. Koenning says assistant coaches could leave before the bowl game if they get jobs elsewhere. Illinois hasn't named a replacement for Zook.

Petrino's offense tied a team record for points per game in 2010 with 32.5. But during this season's 6-game losing streak the Illini scored 11 a game.

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Study Shows ISU Stadium Has $4.1 Million Economic Impact

Illinois State University has released a study finding the school's Hancock Stadium provides the local economy with $4.1 million annually.

ISU researchers studied more than 60 events at the stadium in 2009 and used information from the Bloomington-Normal Area Convention and Visitors Bureau to arrive at the figure. Their report finds the money comes from people who attend football games and other events and then shop at local stores, eat at area restaurants and spend the night at hotels.

Earlier ISU released a study that found the school has a more than $850 million economic impact.

The study was released as the school tries to raise money to renovate the stadium. ISU President Al Bowman says up to $25 million is needed.

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Hunting Area Reopens After Illinois Wildfire

A hunting area at Pere Marquette State Park has reopened after a wildfire that involved nearly 1,500 acres last month.

Officials said Monday that the fire may have done some good by burning away invasive non-native plants and clearing the area for trees like oak and hickory.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

It began Nov. 17 and triggered responses from a half-dozen departments and fire protection units. They got it under control the next day, but it was rekindled and spread by high winds. Rain a few days later doused the fire, which didn't damage any buildings or injure anyone.

The Illinois state park is located along the Mississippi River north of St. Louis.

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Jewelry, Coins In State Unclaimed Property Auction

The state of Illinois is auctioning unclaimed property online through Sunday.

The auction items include coins, antique jewelry and old baseball cards. All auction items have been appraised by an outside vendor and the sale price of each lot must reach at least 75% of the appraised value.

Sales proceeds will be held for the rightful owners.

State Treasurer Dan Rutherford says holding the auction online is more cost effective than having a live, in-person auction.

Bidders must register to take part. The link to the auction is on the state treasurer's website. A 2% administrative fee will be charged on all auction sales. Buyers are required to pay for shipping through a preferred list of shippers.

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Illinois to Lose Nine Post Offices in Closure Sweep

The fear is becoming real for folks in some downstate communities that they will lose a post office this time around.  The U.S. Postal Service earlier this year announced plans to close facilities in Bloomington, Carbondale, Centralia, Chicago, Effingham, Fox Valley, Quincy, Rockford and Springfield.  Now those plans are inching closer to reality.  But Illinois' Congressional delegation is pledging to fight.  Congressman Don Manzullo says he will fight to keep all of Rockford's post offices open.  Manzullo says that city cannot afford to lose more jobs.  The post office closings are part of a cost cutting move.

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Illinois Sees 6th Wettest November

Climatology experts in Illinois say November saw the sixth wettest on record in the state.

Illinois State Climatologist Jim Angel of the Illinois State Water Survey says the above average rainfall means drought conditions have ended in central and western Illinois. The average precipitation in Illinois during November was 5.23 inches. That's nearly 2 inches above average. Cairo in southern Illinois had nearly 10 inches of rain.

The average temperature in Illinois during November was 45.3 degrees, or about 3.5 degrees above average. The warmest temperature was 80 degrees in Winchester. Altona, Mount Carroll and Monmouth all recorded the coldest temperature of 16 degrees.

There was snow too. Grand Chain Dam on the Ohio River in southern Illinois saw 2.5 inches of snow.

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Former Governor's Sentencing Begins Today

It will take two days and end with Rod Blagojevich knowing how long he'll be heading to prison.  The former Illinois governor will begin his sentencing hearing in Chicago this morning.  The judge in the case says he expects the sentencing proceedings to take two days.  Federal prosecutors have said they want a sentence between 15 and 20 years.  Blagojevich's lawyers want probation.  The former governor was convicted of corruption for trying to sell President Obama's U.S. Senate seat from Illinois.

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FBI Clears Champaign Officer in Pepper Spray Incident

A central Illinois police officer who pepper sprayed a jaywalking suspect has been cleared again of any wrongdoing.  The FBI says they found no evidence of a crime or civil rights violation in the case that dates back to June.  Some in Champaign complained about the case, Champaign City Manager Steve Carter and State's Attorney Julia Rietz initially asked the Illinois State Police for a review.  The ISP also found no crimes on the part of the officer.

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Indictment For Man Accused Of Threatening Central Illinois Cop

A southern Illinois man's bad night at a central Illinois strip club just got a lot worse.
A Woodford County grand jury has indicted Derek Phillips of West Frankfort Illinois for threatening to kill a central Illinois deputy and his family.  Phillips ended-up in the back of a Woodford County squad car after he was kicked out of the Kappa Kabana strip club.  That's when police say Phillips started kicking the car windows and threatening the deputy and the deputy's family.  The indictment is for felony criminal damage to government-supported property and threatening a public official.  The charges carry up to five years in prison.

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Twenty Years For Central Illinois Man's Eleventh DUI

A Bloomington man was sentenced to 20 years in prison yesterday for a conviction on his eleventh driving under the influence case.  Prosecutors say 49-year-old William Dietrich's license had been revoked since 1983.  His first DUI conviction was in 1982.  Officials said Dietrich was also convicted twice in 1986 and once each in 1989, 1991, 2000, 2002, 2005, and 2007.  Dietrich had previously received eight years in prison for a Class X conviction in Tazewell County.

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Police: Decoration Thieves Caught in Car With Frosty, Rudolph

Here's one way to make the naughty list.  Police in Decatur say they caught three women and two men, all in their 20s, in a car with Frosty the Snowman and Rudolph the Rednosed Reindeer.  The five had allegedly stolen the light-up decorations from a home in Deactur.  The home owner called police, and officers say they did not have much trouble finding the thieves.  All five are now facing theft charges.

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Miller Park Zoo Has First Ever Curator

The Miller Park Zoo in Bloomington has established a new position and has made a hire for that position.

The zoo has established a new position of curator for the first time in the zoo's history.  32-year-old Jonathan Reding of Weatherford, Texas, has the job. He previously worked with cats at the zoo in Oklahoma City. Jay Tetzloff, Superintendent of the zoo in Bloomington says Reding will be in charge of shaping the zoo's animal collection and guiding its master plan.

[audio:zoocurator1.mp3]A Word From Tetzloff[/audio]

With the Zoo embarking on a master plan for the future of the zoo, Tetzloff says he feels a sense of relief with the hiring of Reding. He says now he can focus on being engaged with and in the community to raise support for the future of the zoo.

[audio:zoocurator2.mp3]A Word From Tetzloff[/audio]

Reding started last month. The Association of Zoos and Aquariums recommended the Miller Park Zoo add a curator as part of a 2007 review report. The zoo will have another accreditation review next summer.

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Clinton's Downtown Tree Removal Complete

If you have driven around the downtown Clinton Square recently, you may notice a small difference.

Two trees in each corner of the square were recently removed. John Baker is the Chairmen of the Clinton Tree Commission, he explains the Commission had received some feedback regarding the way the trees were growing in front of the businesses in the corner of the square and they made a decision they needed to be removed.

[audio:treeremoval1.mp3]A Word From Baker[/audio]

The trees were resting in a concrete pot outside the downtown businesses. Baker says the roots of the trees already had a limited amount of space to grow in. He believes the right thing was done to remove those trees, and previously some other trees at the various four entrances of the square.

[audio:treeremoval2.mp3]A Word From Baker[/audio]

While the trees on the outside of the Square have been removed, Baker explains the Commission is currently working on continuing their growth of trees in the center square of the downtown area. He says their goal is to have a fall season look of maroon and gold.

[audio:treeremoval3.mp3]A Word From Baker[/audio]

The current trees that are left on the square have been stranded with Christmas lights, drawing attention to the open area left by the removed trees.

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Animal Shelter Plans For DeWitt County Take Another Step Forward

The plans for a new DeWitt County animal shelter took a step forward at the County Board's meeting last Monday evening.

The County approved a motion to work with Morton Buildings. DeWitt County Board Member Terry Ferguson says the proposal would be to work with the company, have them build it, and then upon the completion, they would lease it back to the County. Ferguson says, this plan is more economical and fits their plans better.

[audio:animalshelter1.mp3]A Word From Ferguson[/audio]

In working with the Morton Building Company, they will be able to take care of several aspects of the project. Ferguson says they have in house architects and builders to save the County money in going out to hire an architect.

[audio:animalshelter2.mp3]A Word From Ferguson[/audio]

Ferguson says the most recent discussions with architects had not gone the way the Board had hoped in terms of cost effectiveness. He explains they then sought out cheaper alternatives, and those discussions brought back Morton to the table.

[audio:animalshelter3.mp3]A Word From Ferguson[/audio]

Morton will now be working with the Public Safety Committee to come up with some designs and projected costs. Ferguson says the Board has included $75-thousand to meet an initial lease payment should they get the building process going in the next year.

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Heisman Finalists Announced

Five finalists for the 2011 Heisman Trophy were announced Monday.  Stanford quarterback and 2010 runnerup Andrew Luck, Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin the Third, running backs Trent Richardson of Alabama and Montee Ball of Wisconsin, and LSU cornerback Tyrann Mathieu are the candidates.  The Heisman Trophy will be presented Saturday in New York.

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Bulls Schedule Released Tonight

The Bulls 2011-12 schedule will be released tonight.  The NBA will unveil its revised 66-game regular season slate in an NBA TV special.  The schedule will kick off with five games on Christmas Day, including the New York Knicks hosting the Boston Celtics at Madison Square Garden.  The schedule is still contingent on the players ratifying the new labor agreement.

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Baseball Notes

>>Ron Santo Elected To MLB Hall Of Fame

(Dallas, TX)  --  Chicago Cubs legendary third basemen and broadcaster Ron Santo has been elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame.  MLB's Golden Era committee selected Santo today, after over 75-percent of the 16-member committee voted for him.  Santo won five Gold Gloves and had at least 94 RBI for eight straight seasons.  His election comes two days after the one year anniversary of his death.

>>Marlins Reportedly Meet With Pujols Reps

(Dallas, TX)  --  The Miami Marlins could be the Cardinals' biggest competition to sign free-agent slugger Albert Pujols [[ POO-holes ]].  The Fish reportedly met with Pujols representatives Monday at the Winter Meetings in Dallas.  The Marlins previously made an offer to the three-time MVP last month in Miami and have already made big splashes in Dallas by signing Heath Bell and Jose Reyes.

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Football Notes

>>Rivers, Chargers Roll Over Jags

(Jacksonville, FL)  --  Philip Rivers threw three touchdown passes as the Chargers put an emphatic end to their six-game losing streak with a 38-14 win over the Jaguars.  Rivers was 22-of-28 for 294 yards for San Diego, which improved to 5-and-7.  Ryan Mathews rumbled for 112 yards and a score, while Malcolm Floyd caught four passes for 108 yards and a TD in the one-sided affair.  Maurice Jones-Drew rushed for 97 yards and had six grabs for 91 yards and a touchdown for the Jags, who fell to 3-and-9 with their third straight loss.  Blaine Gabbert was 19-of-33 for 195 yards, two touchdowns and an interception for Jacksonville, which led 14-10 in the second quarter.  The Jags played for the first time under interim head coach Mel Tucker.

>>Source Says Favre Would Listen To Bears

(Lake Forest, IL)  --  If the Chicago Bears are interested, Brett Favre [[ Farve ]] would reportedly listen.  ESPNChicago.com cites a source as saying the future Hall of Fame quarterback would be willing to talk if the Bears inquired about his availability.  According to the report, the Bears have not contacted the 42-year-old and it's unclear if Favre would come out of retirement despite continuing to work out.  Head coach Lovie Smith said the team has no plans to bring in an outside quarterback.  Starting QB Jay Cutler could miss the rest of the season with a broken thumb.

>>Bears Forte Has Sprained MCL

(Lake Forest, IL)  --  Chicago Bears running back Matt Forte could miss several weeks with a sprained medial collateral ligament in his right knee.  Forte was hurt in the first quarter of Sunday's game against Kansas City when he was hit low by Chiefs linebacker Derrick Johnson.  He was able to walk off the field before heading to the locker room.  Bears head coach Lovie Smith confirmed the sprain of the MCL, but didn't offer a timetable for Forte's return.  The 7-and-5 Bears play at Denver this Sunday.

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Illinois' Leonard Gets Big Ten Honor

Illinois center Meyers Leonard has been named one of the Big Ten's Players of the Week.

The sophomore from Robinson averaged 16.5 points, six rebounds and two blocked shots in two Illinois wins last week. Leonard logged a game-high 21 points in the Illini's 82-75 victory over Gonzaga, which was ranked No. 19. The victory improved Illinois' record to 8-0.

Leonard shared Player of the Week honors with Michigan State's Keith Appling.

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DeWitt County Sheriff's Report for 12-6

December 6, 2011

 

Jail Population: 50

Summons Served: 2

Warrant Arrests: 0

 

Thomas Peter, 43, Forsyth, was issued a citation for Speeding (72 mph in a 55 mph zone). Peter posted his IL Drivers license as bond and was released.

 

 

ALL SUSPECTS ARE PRESUMED INNOCENT UNTIL FOUND GUILTY IN A COURT OF LAW.

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DeWitt County Sheriff's Report For 12-1

December 1, 2011

 

Jail Population: 50

Summons Served: 0

Warrant Arrests: 1

 

 

Investigation into the scene of an accident which occurred at approximately 5:40 p.m. on Wednesday, November 30th, revealed that a car driven by Debbie McFadden, 59, Decatur was backing out of a parking space at the Casey’s General Store in Wapella. Mark Stevens, 49, Bloomington was parked at the gas pumps when McFadden backed into Stevens, causing minor damage to both vehicles. No injuries were reported and no tow truck was needed.

 

 

ALL SUSPECTS ARE PRESUMED INNOCENT UNTIL FOUND GUILTY IN A COURT OF LAW.

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BLOOD MOBILE COLLECTS 30 UNITS

The Blood Mobile hosted by St. John’s Church in Clinton on December 1, 2011 collected 30 units of blood. There were 35 total presenting.

 

Those reaching milestones were Zola Barger – 8 gallons and John Heap – 13 gallons.

 

The following Red Cross Volunteers assisted at the blood mobile; Pat Lichtenwalter, Greeter; Faye Nodine, Co-Chairperson and Rosemary Girard, Chairperson. Phyllis Green was the nurse. Phillip Chesnek, Larry West, Milton Tarbox and Essel Burton unloaded. Fred Enos, J.D. Harrold and Tom Daugherty loaded. Tammy Marks, Ruth Gholson, Lisa Mitchell and Marcia Brandenbay worked in the kitchen. The canteen was provided by the Presbyterian Ladies.

 

Thanks to the hard work of the volunteers, loaders, unloaders and the dedication of the donors. For more information about future bloodmobiles, please call the DeWitt Chapter of the American Red Cross at 217-935-3922.

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Authorities Say Heroin Making Deadly Return To Iowa

Authorities say heroin is making a return to Iowa, often with deadly consequences.

Mexican brown heroin is showing up more and more in the area. The newspaper says 22 people have died from heroin overdoses in Cedar Rapids, with three deaths in Johnson County this year.

Scott Smith with the Drug Enforcement Administration says heroin is being brought into the area from drug organizations in Chicago that can offer the cheaper, more potent alternative for harder-to-obtain opiates like oxycodone.

The 2011 National Threat Assessment, an annual report compiled by the U.S. Justice Department, says Linn and Scott counties among those where heroin-related overdoses increased between 2008 and 2010.

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Police Report Man Drowns At Starved Rock State Park

Police say an Indiana man has drowned at Starved Rock State Park in north central Illinois.

Illinois Conservation Police identified the man as 25-year-old Dane Simmons of Lafayette, Ind.

Police spokesman Robert Frazier says Simmons was hiking with two other men on Saturday when they veered off a trail and into a restricted area. Frazier says Simmons slipped and fell between 25 and 40 feet into the Illinois River.

The other men tried to rescue him.

Simmons' body was later pulled from the river and he was later pronounced dead at an area hospital.

The other men were hospitalized for hypothermia and released.

Frazier says charges are pending for the two men for disregarding signs marking the restricted area.

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Coroner Says Three Dead in Southwest Illinois Car Accident

Authorities say three people are dead and one is critically injured after a fiery evening crash outside the southwestern Illinois city of Granite City.

Madison County sheriff's spokesman Mike Dixon says authorities received a 911 call about the crash around 11:45 p.m. Saturday. Authorities found a vehicle engulfed in flames.

Three people died at the scene. They were identified as 19-year-old Samantha Cook and 23-year-old Christopher Green, both of Madison, and 18-year-old Brittany Ritchie of Mitchell.

Dixon says the driver of the vehicle was taken to a St. Louis hospital where he was listed in critical condition.

Madison County Coroner Stephen Nonn says the vehicle struck a concrete pillar and the occupants were ejected from the vehicle.

He says the passengers died of blunt traumatic injuries. Toxicology tests are pending.

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Spring Renovations Set For Historic Pekin Depot

Renovations will start in the spring on a more than 100-year-old rail depot in Pekin.

The central Illinois city's park district is continuing plans to preserve and restore the 113-year-old Chicago & Alton Pekin Depot. Pekin Park District Director Bob Blackwell says renovations will begin in the spring.

The depot was donated to the park district in 2006. It's since been put on a new foundation and boarded up.

President Herbert Hoover, in 1932, visited the depot, which is on the site of the Santa Fe and Big Four Railroad Roundhouse that burned in 1927.

So far about $100,000 has been spent on the depot. The park district has set aside an additional $76,000.

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Man Gets 14 Years in Attack on Jailer

A man whose attack on a Peoria County Jail officer forced the victim to have hip-replacement surgery has been sentenced to the maximum of 14 years in prison.

Circuit Judge Steve Kouri told 25-year-old Josiah Gamble the severe injury Rick Wieland sustained will stay with the victim for life, so the punishment should be severe.

Gamble acted as his own attorney in defending himself against the charge of aggravated battery related to the assault last March.

Gamble decried the proceedings and vowed to appeal, insisting he wasn't given an opportunity to show he acted in self-defense.

But a prosecutor played a video in court showing Gamble being restrained and verbally abusing jail staff as he was taken to an isolation cell.

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Two Ordered Imprisoned In Peoria County Home Invasion

Two central Illinois man have been sentenced to at least 25 years in prison for their roles in a home invasion a judge labeled horrific.

21-year-old Jordan Tennon was ordered to spend 27 years in prison and 19-year-old Ellis Trevino got 31 years in the January storming of the East Bluff home.

The two suspects from Peoria pleaded guilty to home invasion in exchange for prosecutors agreeing not to seek some 40 years in prison for both men.

During the sentencing hearings, Peoria County Circuit Judge Timothy Lucas said he could only imagine the terror the home's occupants had when Tennon, Trevino and two other defendants went to the house armed with guns and knives. Hooded sweatshirts and bandanas covered their faces.

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Hearings Nearly Done For Illinois School Saving Panel

A commission studying ways to make Illinois schools more efficient is set to hold its last public hearing before coming up with draft recommendations.

The Classrooms First Commission has been researching how to improve education and reduce administrative duplication in schools. Its final hearing is scheduled for Monday afternoon in Springfield.

Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon heads the commission, which could make suggestions on the touchy subject of consolidating small districts. Simon has said the panel is looking at many ways of saving money and improving schools, not just consolidation.

The group is supposed to produce recommendations by March. Then there will be more public comment and possible legislative action.

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Creative Bookkeeping Helps Prevent Illinois Layoffs

A little creative bookkeeping produced good news for nearly 2,000 Illinois state employees, seven communities and thousands of people dealing with mental disabilities and illness.

The plan that was approved this week provides extra money for seven state institutions slated to close and beefs up spending on substance abuse, mental health and more.

Some of it comes from putting more money into a special program that is then matched by the federal government.

Officials also declared some special-purpose funds contained surpluses that could be used elsewhere. A fund that supports government pensions, for instance, produced $95 million more than expected.

Some extra money is available because Quinn used his veto powers earlier this year to cut $89 million that helps schools pay for transporting their students.

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Deadline Looms For Seniors Needing To Make Medicare Changes

The DeWitt County Friendship Center will be a very popular place this week.

Time is running out for seniors to stop in and see new Senior Outreach and Caregiver Carolyn Casteel about their Medicare Part D open enrollment. The deadline is much sooner this year because of changes to the program made by the government. The deadline this year is Wednesday, and Executive Director at the Friendship Center, Sissy Leggett stresses it is very important for seniors to get in and make the changes they need for the changes that go into effect January 1.

[audio:friendshipcenter1.mp3]Leggett On The Deadline[/audio]

While seniors are in at the Friendship Center making changes to their Medicare Part D, there is another deadline that is also quickly approaching. By December 31, seniors need to file Illinois Cares Rx and also their Circuit Breaker papers filed. Leggett says now is the time to get those papers filed as well.

[audio:friendshipcenter2.mp3]Leggett On Staying Ahead Of Other Deadline[/audio]

This Thursday, seniors will also have the opportunity to take a special trip to East Peoria to the annual Festival of Lights. Leggett says as of right now, there is a waiting list, but she encourages seniors to get signed up as she is hopeful she can pull some strings and get a 2nd bus to take seniors to that.

[audio:friendshipcenter3.mp3]Leggett On This Week's Trip[/audio]

The cost for the trip is $12, which includes the entrance to the Festival of Lights as well.

For more information on the upcoming activities at the Friendship Center or to make an appointment with Senior Outreach Caregiver Carolyn Casteel, you can call 935-9411.

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Clinton City Council Preview

The Clinton City Council will convene this evening for the first of their two December meetings.

The Council this evening will renew an existing agreement with Ameren for gas and electric utilities. City Administrator for the City of Clinton, Tim Followell says the agreement gives the city a couple of nice advantages that will save them some money. He adds those savings will still be in place in the new agreement, they may just see them in a different form.

[audio:councilpreview1.mp3]A Word From Followell[/audio]

While the agreements do not have a lot of effect on the citizens of Clinton, Followell says a major part of these agreements save the city a significant amount of money when it comes to Ameren projects. He explains when Ameren embarks on a project in Clinton, the cost comes out of their pocket rather than the city's.

[audio:councilpreview2.mp3]A Word From Followell[/audio]

The Council this evening plans to accept a bid from Walker's Home Service, INC for just over $46-hundred to demolish the home at 523 East Julia Street in Clinton.

Prior to the 7 pm meeting will be the annual levy hearing at 6:45.

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Angel Tree Donations Due By End of Day Today

Today is the last day for DeWitt County residents wishing to participate in helping kids in the Angel Tree Program to do so.

Donations are due in by the end of the day today. Sue Calvert, DeWitt County Angel Tree Director says each year about half of the kids do not get adopted. She says there are several factors for this, but the opportunity to help them is there even if they are not adopted.

[audio:angeltree1.mp3]A Word From Calvert[/audio]

Calvert says each year, those that pick out a full wish list want to adopt girls, but lots of boys lists get left out. Full wish list locations this year include Flower Corner, National Bank and Country Junction in Clinton.

Calvert also adds, because wish lists can be a little expensive for anyone wanting to help out, she says there are partial wish lists available that folks can chose from. Locations for those partial wish lists include The Loft and The Clinton Chamber of Commerce, and also Clinton Chiropractic, all on the downtown Clinton Square.

[audio:angeltree2.mp3]A Word From Calvert[/audio]

Those who do not have time before the deadline to shop for a child off the angel tree have a couple of options to help out by making a monetary donation. Calvert explains they can go through the First State Bank of Clinton's drive thru's and give a donation that way. And also, for residents of Farmer City can go drop their monetary donations off to the Farmer City State bank. A unique thing about when Farmer City residents adopt in Farmer City or donate there, the child they adopt or money they donate goes to a child in Farmer City.

[audio:angeltree3.mp3]A Word From Calvert[/audio]

For more information about assisting with Angel Tree or a full list of tree locations you can contact Sue Calvert at suecalvert@gobbx.com  or 309-825-5822. Again donations are due by the end of the day today, and can be dropped off at the Clinton Elks Club.

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Packers Edge Giants To Stay Undefeated; Rams, Bears Lose

>>Chiefs Best Bears

(Chicago, IL)  --  Tyler Palko's 38-yard touchdown pass to Dexter McCluster provided the Chiefs with the only TD of the game as they cut down the Bears, 10-3.  Palko totalled 157 yards on 17-of-30 passing, while McCluster finished with 61 yards rushing and 46 yards receiving.  Kansas City is now 5-and-7 on the year.  Caleb Hanie completed less than 50-percent of his passes for 133 yards and three interceptions for Chicago, which fell to 7-and-5.  Matt Forte carried the ball five times for 12 yards before leaving with a knee injury.  The Bears head to Denver to battle Tim Tebow and the Broncos next Sunday.

>>Packers Sneak Past Giants To Stay Undefeated

(East Rutherford, NJ)  --  Mason Crosby drilled a 30-yard field goal as time expired as the Packers improved to 12-and-0 with a 38-35 win over the Giants.  Aaron Rodgers took the Packers 68 yards in 58 seconds to get Green Bay into field goal range.  They responded to a nine-play, 69-yard drive by Eli Manning that tied the game at 35 with a Hakeem Nicks two-yard TD reception and Danny Ware two-point conversion.  Rodgers threw for 369 yards, four touchdowns and one interception.  Donald Driver caught two of Rodgers' TD passes, and Greg Jennings and Jermichael Finley each hauled in one as they won their 18th straight game.  The win, coupled with Detroit's loss to the Saints, gave the Packers the NFC North title.  Manning went toe-to-toe with Rodgers, throwing for 347 yards, three touchdowns and one interception.  He also lost a fumble as the Giants fell to 6-and-6.  Hakeem Nicks caught two touchdowns and Victor Cruz had 119 yards receiving.

>>49ers Clinch West With Win Over Rams

(San Francisco, CA)  --  The 49ers clinched the NFC West title with a 26-0 win over the Rams.  Alex Smith was 17-of-23 for 274 yards and two touchdowns for the Niners, who captured their first West crown since 2002.  A.J. Feeley started in place of Sam Bradford and was 12-of-22 for 156 yards and an interception for St. Louis.  Steven Jackson was held to 19 yards on 10 carries as the Rams slipped to 2-and-10 with the lopsided loss.  St. Louis will head to Seattle next weekend for a Monday Night Football matchup with the Seahawks.

NFL
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Tennessee Titans 23, Buffalo Bills 17
Pittsburgh Steelers 35, Cincinnati Bengals 7
Miami Dolphins 34, Oakland Raiders 14
Carolina Panthers 38, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 19
Houston Texans 17, Atlanta Falcons 10
New York Jets 34, Washington Redskins 19
Denver Broncos 35, Minnesota Vikings 32
New England Patriots 31, Indianapolis Colts 24
Baltimore Ravens 24, Cleveland Browns 10
Arizona Cardinals 19, Dallas Cowboys 13 (OT)
New Orleans Saints 31, Detroit Lions 17

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Illinois To Play UCLA in Fight Hunger Bowl

>> Illinois To Take on UCLA In Fight Hunger Bowl

UCLA and Illinois will bring interim coaches into their matchup at the Fight Hunger Bowl.

The Bruins (6-7) and Illini (6-6) accepted their bids Sunday to the Dec. 31 game in San Francisco.

UCLA fell below .500 Friday night when it lost 49-31 in the Pac-12 title game to Oregon in coach Rick Neuheisel's final game. The NCAA approved a waiver for the Bruins because they were bowl eligible before the conference championship game. Offensive coordinator Mike Johnson will coach the Bruins in the bowl game.

Illinois opened the season 6-0 before losing its final six games of the season. That led to coach Ron Zook being fired and replaced by defensive coordinator Vic Koenning, who is the interim coach.

NCAA Football Top-25 Football  (BCS Rankings)
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#1 LSU Tigers 42, #14 Georgia Bulldogs 10
  (SEC Championship at Atlanta, GA)
#3 Oklahoma State Cowboys 44, #10 Oklahoma Sooners 10
#20 Clemson Tigers 38, #5 Viriginia Tech Hokies 10
  (ACC Championship at Charlotte, NC)
#24 Southern Miss Golden Eagles 49, #6 Houston Cougars 28
  (Conference USA Championship)
#7 Boise State Broncos 45, New Mexico Lobos 0
#11 Kansas State Wildcats 30, Iowa State Cyclones 23
#15 Wisconsin Badgers 42, #13 Michigan State Spartans 39
  (Big Ten Championship at Indianapolis, IN)
#17 Baylor Bears 48, #22 Texas Longhorns 24
#18 TCU Horned Frogs 56, UNLV Rebels 9

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Illinois Upsets #18 Gonzaga

>>Illinois Upends 18th-Ranked Gonzaga

(Champaign, IL)  --  Meyers Leonard led a balanced attack with 21 points and six rebounds, as the Illinois Fighting Illini upset the 18th-ranked Gonzaga Bulldogs, 82-75, on Saturday.  D.J. Richardson added 19 points for the Illini who are off to their first 8-0 start since the 2005-06 campaign.  Brandon Paul and Sam Maniscalco donated 13 and 10 points, respectively.  The win extends Illinois' non-conference home winning streak to 23 games.  The Illini will play host to St. Bonaventure on Wednesday.

SUNDAY NCAA Top-25 Men's Basketball  (ESPN/"USA Today" Rankings)
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#8 Baylor Bears 69, Northwestern Wildcats 41
Witchita State Shockers 89, #20 UNLV Rebels 70
#22 Creighton Bluejays 76, Nebraska Cornhuskers 66
San Diego State Aztecs 64, #23 California Golden Bears 63

SATURDAY NCAA Top-25 Men's Basketball  (ESPN/"USA Today" Rankings)
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#1 Kentucky Wildcats 73, #5 North Carolina Tar Heels 72
#2 Ohio State Buckeyes 64, Texas-Pan American Broncs 35
#16 Marquette Golden Eagles 61, #7 Wisconsin Badgers 54
#10 Connecticut Huskies 75, Arkansas Razorbacks 62
#11 Xavier Musketeers 66, Purdue Boilermakers 63
#14 Kansas Jayhawks 70, South Florida Bulls 42
#15 Michigan Wolverines 76, Iowa State Cyclones 66
#17 Pittsburgh Panthers 61, Tennessee Volunteers 56
#21 Memphis Tigers 91, Austin Peay Governors 60
#24 Mississippi State Bulldogs 75, West Virginia Mountaineers 62
#25 Saint Louis Billikens 73, Portland Pilots 53

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DeWitt County Sheriff's Weekend Report

 

December 3, 2011

 

Jail Population: 50

Summons Served: 5

Warrant Arrests: 2

 

 

December 4, 2011

 

Jail Population: 53

Summons Served: 3

Warrant Arrests: 1

 

 

December 5, 2011

 

Jail Population: 50

Summons Served: 3

Warrant Arrests: 0

 

Blair Hocking, 18, Decatur, was issued a citation for Speeding (67 mph in a 45 mph zone). Hocking posted her IL. Drivers license as bond and was released.

 

 

ALL SUSPECTS ARE PRESUMED INNOCENT UNTIL FOUND GUILTY IN A COURT OF LAW.

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Clinton Police Department Weekend Report

 

CITATIONS

12/3/11

SARAH VANBIBBER 27, BLOOMINGTON SPEEDING 70 MPH IN A 55 MPH ZONE. BOND POSTED

SHAYLON D. STARKEY 21, CLINTON NO VALID REGISTRATION. BOND POSTED

 

12/4/11

TAHA M. MOHAMMED 26, DECATUR SPEEDING 80 MPH IN A 55 MPH ZONE. BOND POSTED

BRYSON L. ORR 23, SAVOY SPEEDING 77 MPH IN A 55 MPH ZONE. BOND POSTED

 

ON 12/3/11 CLINTON POLICE ARRESTED AMBER N. WEBB 26, CLINTON ON A DEWITT COUNTY WARRANT. WEBB WAS TRANSPORTED TO THE DEWITT COUNTY JAIL AND RELEASED TO CORRECTIONS.

 

ON 12/4/11 CLINTON POLICE ARRESTED KATAHN J. JOHNSON 20, DECATUR, TRISTAN R. CLAFLIN 20, DECATUR, AND ZACKARY C. HINES 19, MT ZION FOR ILLEGAL CONSUMPTION OF ALCOHOL BY A MINOR AND JOSEPH D. BAIETTO 21, DECATUR FOR GIFT, SALE, DELIVERY ALCOHOL TO PERSONS UNDER 21. ALL SUBJECTS WERE TRANSPORTED TO THE DEWITT COUNTY JAIL AND RELEASED TO CORRECTIONS.

 

 

 

 

 

ALL SUSPECTS ARE PRESUMED INNOCENT UNTIL FOUND GUILTY IN A COURT OF LAW

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Monticello Girl's Basketball Vs. Tuscola Warriors

The Monticello girl's basketball team faced off against the Tuscola Warriors this evening. The Sages kicked off another conference match up as they came off of a loss to the Clinton Maroons last week. Coming right out of the game the Tuscola Warriors had a tough and quick defense which proved to be their strong suit. By the half they led the Sages with a score of 31-16. The Sages fought hard to keep the Warriors from taking the victory but couldn't hold up with their defense. The final score of tonight's bout was 47-26 in favor of the Tuscola Warriors. Tune in again on Thursday December 15, at 7 PM for more Girl's basketball action. We have it all right here on 95.9 WEZC.

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November Weather Recap; Weekly Weather Update

Illinois saw an unseasonably warm November and even snow, oddly enough, in the far south. State Climatologist Jim Angel says we should see some rain this coming week. He says December expects

[audio:wx.mp3]Jim Angel[/audio]

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Lung Cancer Leading Form of Lung Cancer in America, Leading Cancer Killer

Lung cancer is the most common form of cancer and the leading cancer killer in the United States. It is responsible for nearly one-third of cancer deaths.

Lung cancer is increasing in this country. More than 150,000 Americans are expected to die from lung cancer this year. Dr. Stephen Hazelrigg, professor and chief of cardiothoracic surgery at SIU School of Medicine in Springfield, explains risk factors for lung cancer.

[audio:siulung1.mp3]Dr. Hazelrigg on risk factors[/audio]

Dr. Hazelrigg, who also is a member of the Simmons Cancer Institute at SIU, says secondhand smoke is another risk factor. He says no widely-used screening tool is available for lung cancer, so most cases are diagnosed at an advanced stage, usually by a chest X-ray. He explains some of the symptoms of lung cancer.

[audio:siulung2.mp3]Dr Hazelrigg on cancer symptoms[/audio]

Dr. Hazelrigg encourages people to stop smoking to lower their risk of lung cancer. If you or someone you know has a persistent cough and chest pain, a personal physician can provide a thorough exam or make a referral to a specialist for further testing.

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Sages Beat Trojans

As heard on 95.9 WEZC, the Monticello Sages won against the Auburn Trojans 73-58.  Lyle Edwards led the way for the Trojans with 20 points.  For the Sages, Nick Stakowski led the way with 23 points making his first start at varsity level.  Ryan Donahue played a big part in this game too with 22 points.  Matt Cruise helped out with 16.  Tune in Saturday evening as the Sages take on Pickneyville!

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Quinn Says Lawmakers Should Read Dickens

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn says lawmakers who question expanding a tax credit for low-income workers should read Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol."

Quinn says increasing the earned-income tax credit is about helping all those "Bob Cratchits" who work hard raising kids and deserve some tax relief too if Illinois is going to give breaks to big companies.

After lighting the state Christmas tree Thursday in Chicago, Quinn said he supports a major tax breaks package that increases the state version of the EITC to 10% of the federal credit, up from 5%.

Some lawmakers don't even want the EITC mixed into a tax package deal that's aimed at keeping major companies like the CME Group Inc. and Sears Holdings Corp. in Illinois.

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Southern Illinois Dad Accused of Killing Toddler Son

A man is jailed in southern Illinois on charges he killed his 15-month-old son more than a year and a half ago.

A Massac County grand jury indicted 35-year-old John Pruett of Metropolis on Wednesday on a charge of first-degree murder.

Illinois State Police say toddler Jackson Pruett was taken unresponsive to a Metropolis hospital in April 2010, and died two days later at a St. Louis hospital.

Authorities say the boy died of a head injury.

Pruett was arrested Thursday.

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Comptroller Says State Needs Revenue Source

State Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka says Governor Quinn and lawmakers need to need to expand gambling if they want to extend tax breaks to Sears and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange.

[audio:rddtopinka3.mp3]A Word From Baar Topinka[/audio]

Topinka  says there are a few alternatives to increasing revenues.  That includes cutting programs or raising taxes.  She says it's not the right time to raise taxes, especially considering a tax hike went into effect earlier this year.  Topinka says all of the money generated from the recent tax hike has gone toward paying the state's pension obligations.

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Pension Underfunding Remains A Problem

 Lawmakers are putting a stop to double-dipping into government pension systems but there's still a major problem with underfunding.  House Minority Leader Tom Cross says the problem won't go away.

[audio:rddPensLow1.mp3]A Word From Cross[/audio]

Cross says it's the worst issue the legislature is going to face but it can't be ignored.  He says several factors contribute to the problem, including people living longer and pension enhancements but the primary blame belongs to the state.  The state has failed to make payments over the years but seven and a half billion dollars is being paid into the system this year.

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Quinn Vows To Keep Fighting For Worker Tax Breaks

Governor Quinn says no matter what happens to the plan designed to give big tax breaks to Sears and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, he's not backing off of the idea of giving more tax breaks to working people.

[audio:rddEITC.mp3]A Word From Quinn[/audio]

A proposal to increase the earned income tax credit for working families failed in the House earlier this week.  The measure would've doubled the credit from five to ten-percent in two years.  A different version of the proposal holds the increase flat at seven and a half percent.  Some lawmakers preferred the lesser number.  Lawmakers have given no indication on whether they intend to come back to Springfield and deal with the matter by the end of the year.

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Farm Bill Still Up In The Air

The fate of the Farm Bill is up in the air after the Super Committee failed to act and meet the deadline of cutting more than one-trillion dollars over the next ten years last week.
 
Senator Mark Kirk from Illinois says any action on the farm bill looks problematic at best.
 
[audio:kirk1.mp3]A Word From Kirk[/audio]
 
So what will likely happen now?  The current farm bill expires soon.
 
[audio:kirk2.mp3]A Word From Kirk[/audio]
 
Kirk hopes the farm bill would be expanded for one more year so the House and Senate Ag Committees have more time to work on the next farm bill.
 
[audio:kirk3.mp3]A Word From Kirk[/audio]

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WEIC To Host 57th Anniversary Show

WEIC newstalk 1270 in Charleston will celebrate its 57th anniversary with an on-air show Saturday, December 10th, from 9:30am to 2pm.  The show will be heard live on newstalk 1270 and streamed on the Internet at WEICdailynews.com.

 The WEIC 57th Anniversary Show will feature many of the former WEIC personalities sharing their memories of their time on the station.  Among those scheduled to appear include Wayne R. Miller, Scott Allen, John Harth, Jay Puffer, Tom Seib, Dave Hulbut, Harvey J. Steele, and Mark Carey.

 WEIC first signed on, on December 12, 1954, at the same location it's at today—2560 West State Street on the former Illinois Route 16 on Charleston's northwest side.  The station came on the air at 1270 on the AM dial with 1000 watts of power and 2 towers.  Nighttime service and 3 more towers, were added in 1972. 

 The station was recently purchased by the Miller Media Group's Kaskaskia Broadcasting, Inc., of Taylorville, who began its new newstalk format on the station October 19.

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Caterpillar Says Tax Vote Sign of Illinois Dysfunction

Caterpillar Inc. says this week's vote by Illinois lawmakers that killed a package of tax breaks for several companies was a bad signal to send. Illinois is trying to convince the heavy-equipment maker to build a new factory in the state.

Caterpillar's Jim Dugan told The Associated Press that Tuesday's vote was a product of the state's "rudderless, dysfunctional business climate."

The tax package was intended to hold onto Sears and several financial exchanges that have threatened to leave Illinois.

Peoria-based Caterpillar plans to move about 1,000 jobs from Japan to a North American location still to be decided.

Illinois officials have said they've talked to the company about possibly building the plant in the state. They did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

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Normal Gets US EPA 'Smart Growth' Award

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is recognizing the City of Normal for a "smart growth" initiative - a traffic roundabout.

Normal is 1 of 5 communities that received the EPA's 2011 National Award for Smart Growth Achievement.

The agency gave Normal the award for civic places. It says the Uptown Normal roundabout that originally was designed to manage traffic has evolved into a civic gathering place that increases business for local stores

The EPA says it's trying to support communities that find innovative ways to strengthen their economy, provide sustainable housing and transportation choices and protect the environment.

EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson says the honored communities "are leading the way with their successes."

Other communities that received the award are St. Louis, Albuquerque, N.M., El Paso, Texas, and Howard, S.D.

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Salvation Army Continues To Offer Assistance During Christmas Season

The holiday season is here and one specific organization always finds itself at its busiest during this time.

The Salvation Army has been around our area for many years and is dedicated to assisting people in need throughout the year. Ernie Harvey, with the Clinton Area Ministerial Association, says it is a widely supported program throughout the community which makes its funds through contributions from private citizens and organizations. 

[audio:salarmy1.mp3]A Word From Harvey[/audio]

Harvey helps run the Clinton Salvation Army though First Christian Church. Other area churches are also assisting to help those in need this holiday season or any time of year.  Harvey says that those with specific needs can come to First Christian Church to seek help with their finances.

[audio:salarmy2.mp3]A Word From Harvey[/audio]

Harvey says there are also ways to help individuals with their prescription needs as well as putting people up in hotels for various reasons. There is no application process or income guidelines for assistance but there are a few criteria.

[audio:salarmy3.mp3]A Word From Harvey[/audio]

For more information about the Salvation Army you can call 217-935-3139.

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Clinton's Light Up The Night Christmas Parade Results

Clinton's annual Light Up The Night Christmas Parade, themed "Hometown Holiday" was this past Wednesday night.

Marian Brisard with the Clinton Area Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Bureau thanks all the participants parade. She says although the temperature dipped, there was no precipitation, making the perfect evening for the parade.

Award were given out in several categories for the evening.

Participation certificates will be given to the following parade winners:
Walkers: Clinton Wrestling Club, 1st Place; Mid-Illinois Red Cross, 2nd Place
Vehicles: Dave Lareau Douglas Dodge, 1st Place; ServPro of Clinton & Clinton United Methodist Church, 2nd Place tie
Floats: Dance Xtreme, 1st Place; Girl Scouts (Cadette Troop #1508 & Daisy Troop #3037, and Girl Scout Troops #3041, #3061 and #3039), 2nd Place

Honorable Mention: City of Clinton Street Department and DeWitt County Highway Department Service Awards: Clinton Fire Department, Weldon Fire Department, Kenney Fire Department and Farmer City Fire Department, Clinton Police Department and DeWitt County Sheriff's Department

Community Award: VFW Post #4168, Fred O'Malley VFW Post #6190, AmVets Post #14, American Legion Post #103, American Legion Ladies Auxiliary Unit #103

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Portion of Monticello Schools Revenues To Help Pay For Regional Superintendents

In November, lawmakers approved the pay to the Regional Superintendents of the state, however, them getting paid is going to come at a cost to local communities.

The Regional Superintendents will be paid from various taxes from their respective districts. The Monticello district will be faced with a unique challenge, because the funding will come from a tax that makes up a large portion of their budget. Superintendent of Monticello Schools, Dr. Vic Zimmerman explains, the Corporate Personal Property Replacement Tax (CPPRT) came about because of some larger businesses in Monticello that were paying a tax that was ruled as unconstitutional, so it was replaced with the CPPRT.

[audio:cpprt1.mp3]A Word From Dr. Zimmerman[/audio]

Dr. Zimmerman points out CPPRT some years at times can be up to half the schools revenues. The downfall to the CPPRT being half of the school's revenues however, is the tax rises and falls with the economic climate of the state of Illinois.

[audio:cpprt2.mp3]A Word From Dr. Zimmerman[/audio]

In fall veto session, the issue of paying the Regional Superintendents was at the forefront of several lawmakers agendas, and the ultimate decision was to use the CPPRT to use portions of Monticello's stake in the CPPRT tax to pay them. Dr. Zimmerman says with the school's budget already tight, the government reaching in and taking more certainly does not help things.

[audio:cpprt3.mp3]A Word From Dr. Zimmerman[/audio]

Dr. Zimmerman says it is estimated the district will lose about $60-thousand from CPPRT. He adds because the district is very conservative in the area of their finances, the loss will most likely not force them to lay off teachers.

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NBA X-Mas Tip-Off Slate Firming Up

The NBA's Christmas Day tip-off schedule is taking shape.  Three games were originally scheduled for December 25th, the target date for the start of the 2011-12 season.  According to multiple reports the NBA will add two more games, bringing the total to five.  The Celtics were originally set to play the Knicks, the Heat and Mavericks were lined up to rematch last year's NBA Finals and the Lakers were prepared to face the Bulls.  The DailyThunder.com reports Oklahoma City will play host to a Christmas evening game.  The opponent remains a mystery, but the Grizzlies and Magic are rumored to be in the mix.  According to the "Contra Costa Times," the Warriors and Clippers will play the fifth and final game of the day.

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NFL Notes

>>Hawks Fly By Eagles

(Seattle, WA)  --  Marshawn Lynch had a pair of powerful touchdown runs and the Seahawks created four turnovers in a 31-14 defeat of the Eagles.  Seattle intercepted Eagles QB Vince Young on the first play from scrimmage and a total of four times in the game.  Young's third pick sealed the outcome, as David Hawthorne returned it 77 yards to make it 31-14 Seattle with less than five minutes to go.  Lynch finished with 148 yards on 22 carries.  Tarvaris Jackson completed 13-of-16 attempts for 190 yards.  The Seahawks improve to 5-and-7 while the Eagles slip to 4-and-8.

>>Manning Cleared For Increased Intensity Of Workouts

(Indianapolis, IN)  --  Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning was cleared for workouts of greater intensity, though there still has not been a timetable established for a return to the field.  After starting every game for the Colts since 1998, Manning has missed the entire season with a lingering neck injury.  The team has kept him on its active roster, hoping that he can at least practice.  Manning has endured three surgeries on his neck, including two in the past five months.  He had a single level anterior fusion surgery on September 8th and was cleared to leave the booth and stand on the sidelines in early October.

>>Bears Battle Chiefs In Windy City Sunday

(Chicago, IL)  --  The Chicago Bears will look to build a new winning streak as they welcome the Kansas City Chiefs to Soldier Field on Sunday for a Week 13 tilt in the Windy City.  The Bears had a five-game winning streak snapped with a 25-20 setback at Oakland in Week 12 to fall to 7-and-4 on the season.  It was Chicago's first game without starting quarterback Jay Cutler, who broke his right thumb on November 20th and had surgery last week.  Caleb Hanie, making his first NFL start, finished 18-of-36 for 254 yards with two touchdowns and three interceptions in a losing effort.  Meanwhile, the Chiefs have dropped four games in-a-row to sit at 4-and-7.  The team claimed former Bears and Denver Broncos quarterback Kyle Orton off waivers last week and there is a chance he could start under center in place of current starter Tyler Palko on Sunday.  Chicago beat KC, 20-10, the last time the two teams played in 2007.

>>49ers Host Rams In NFC West Tilt

(San Francisco, CA)  --  A pair of teams on opposite sides of the NFC West divisional standings meet in San Francisco on Sunday as the 49ers host the Rams.  St. Louis has dropped back-to-back games to fall to 2-and-9 on the season.  They are coming off a 23-20 home loss to Arizona in Week 12, a game in which they allowed 268 rushing yards in defeat.  San Francisco is 5-and-1 at home this season and a perfect 3-and-0 against division foes.  These teams split a pair of meetings last season with each team winning at home.

>>Bears' Peppers Wins Monthly Award

(New York, NY)  --  Chicago Bears defensive end Julius Peppers has been named the NFC Defensive Player of the Month.  Peppers nabbed the defensive honor by finishing the season's third month with 10 tackles, tied for the NFC lead with four sacks and also recorded a forced fumble as the Bears went 3-and-1.  The 10-year veteran out of North Carolina has eight sacks this season.

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Illini At Home vs Gonzaga Saturday; NCAA Notes

>>Illini On The Court

(Champaign, IL)  --  The Illinois Fighting Illini are on the court this weekend.  The Illini host 18th-ranked Gonzaga on Saturday afternoon in Champaign.  Illinois improved to a perfect 7-and-0 on the season with a 71-62 victory over Maryland on Tuesday night in College Park as part of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.

NCAA Top-25 Men's Basketball  (ESPN/"USA Today" Rankings)
------
#1 Kentucky Wildcats 81, St. John's Red Storm 59
Georgetown Hoyas 57, #12 Alabama Crimson Tide 55

NCAA Top-25 Football  (BCS Standings)
------
#23 West Virginia Mountaineers 30, South Florida Bulls 27

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Clinton GBB vs Warrensburg

CLINTON                40
WARRENSBURG      41

SCORING BY QUARTER:
CLINTON                 6    11   15    8
WARRENSBURG       5    14   12   10
GAME TOTALS:
CLINTON            10-2-(14-26)-40
WARRENSBURG   14-1-(10-22)-41

CLINTON SCORING:
MADI BEVINS          1-0-2-4
HALEY GINGER        3-0-0-6
ALEX HUNT             0-1-0-3
MORGAN HICKMAN  2-0-2-6
AMBER MILLER        1-0-2-4
HALEY TOOHILL       0-1-3-6
JESSICA SCOTT      2-0-0-4
PAYTON BIEBER       1-0-5-7
WARRENSBURG SCORING:
CHANDLER         0-0-2-2
BONDS              2-0-0-6
HULVA               0-1-1-4
DONALDSON      3-0-2-8
FULK                 0-0-1-1
COATS             2-0-2-6
SPENCER          1-0-0-2
FOSTER            3-0-0-6
MASON             3-0-0-6

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DeWitt County Sheriff's Report for 12-2

 

December 2, 2011

 

Jail Population: 50

Summons Served: 2

Warrant Arrests: 0

 

 

Jessica Brown, 25, Normal, was issued a citation for Speeding (81 mph in a 65 mph zone). Brown posted her IL Drivers license as bond and was released.

 

Timothy Clark, 32, Atlanta, was issued a citation for Speeding (75 mph in a 55 mph zone). Clark posted his IL Drivers license as bond and was released.

 

 

ALL SUSPECTS ARE PRESUMED INNOCENT UNTIL FOUND GUILTY IN A COURT OF LAW.

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HS BBALL: Hartsberg-Emden Takes Victory From Maroons' Grasp

The Clinton Maroons faced off against Hartsberg-Emden this evening. Both teams tossed the lead back and forth throughout the first half of the game. However, by halftime Hartsberg had the lead with a score of 29-22. The Maroons lost momentum fighting through the third and final quarters and that made it impossible to stop Hartsberg once they got going. The victory was handed to Hartsberg-Emden tonight with a final score of 69-42. The Maroons were led by Mitchell Creager who had a total of 20 points, and Hartsberg was led by Cody Bolen who had a total of 23 points for his team. Tune in again on Friday night at 7 PM as the Maroons face off against Mt. Pulaski. You can hear it all right here on WHOW.

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Bismark Gets A Win To The Sages

As heard on 95.9 WEZC, the Bismark Henning Blue Devils won against the Monticello Sages 54-44.  For Bismark, Tanner Rib with 16 points and Steven Crout with 14 became leaders of the team.  Together they kept the team alive and ahead of the ball game. The Sages were led by Isaac Veils with 13 points.  Daily Obrien helped the team out with 10 points.  Kendall King got the start and comes away with 7 points.  He was a big part of the Sages comeback in this game.  Monticello is now 0-2 and Bismark is 4-1 on the season.  Tune in tomorrow afternoon as the Sages take on Auburn for their home opener!  

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Illinois Health Agency Marks World AIDS Day

The Illinois Department of Public Health is marking World AIDS Day by hosting events across the state where people can get testing and counseling.

The line-up also includes screenings of AIDS-related documentaries, panel discussions, news conferences and even a Decatur youth group creating its own public service announcement.

Events are scheduled at universities and high schools, prisons and churches.

World AIDS Day is December 1st. It's meant to draw attention to efforts to fight the disease and to commemorate people who have died from it.

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Illinois Develops National Science Standards

Education officials in Illinois are among the ranks to develop new science standards for students across the nation.  Mary Fergus, with the Illinois State Board of Education, says the idea is to develop a core set of goals that will help students be more competitive in the job market.  

          [audio:rddscience.mp3]Word from Fergus[/audio]

The new standards will clearly define what students need to learn from kindergarten through high school graduation.  Education officials say they're honored to have a seat at the table to identify ways to strengthen problem areas that keep American students so far behind in math and science.  Twenty six states are working together to create the new standards.

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Supreme Court To Hear Abortion Case

 It's been on hold for more than 15 years but the Illinois Supreme Court may just bring a resolution to a law that requires parents be notified before their child has an abortion.  The Illinois Parental Notice of Abortion Act was enacted in 1995 but has never been enforced because of a lawsuit contesting its constitutionality.  The law requires physicians to notify parents before a young woman has an abortion. The ACLU is representing the plaintiffs in the Hope Clinic versus Brent Adams case.  Spokesperson Lorie Chaiten [[ Chay-ten ]] says they've never had an opportunity to prove the merits of the case in trial.  She says the Supreme Court has long recognized constitutional protections for a woman's right to terminate a pregnancy.  Therefore, she hopes the justices will finally allow the case to be heard in a trial court. 

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High Court To Hear Parental Notification Case

 Should a young woman be required to tell her parents if she's going to have an abortion?  Thomas More Society attorney Peter Breen says, "Absolutely."

         [audio:rddBreen1.mp3]Word from Breen[/audio]

Breen is representing the defendants in the Hope Clinic versus Brent Adams case.  The lawsuit has been Hope Clinic's saving grace since 1995 because it's kept the Illinois Parental Notification Law from being enforced.  Breen says he hopes to see that change soon.  The state's Supreme Court has decided to hear the case and decide what will happen with the law.  Breen says he ultimately wants to see the law stand.

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IDOT Faces Racial Bias Lawsuit

The Metro East Black Contractors Organization is suing the Illinois Department of Transportation for racial bias in awarding construction contracts.  Eric Vickers, MEBCO's attorney, says IDOT should have more well-defined quotas for minority contractors.

        [audio:rddDiscrim1.mp3]Word from Vickers[/audio]

IDOT commissioned a study earlier this year which found they award contracts to minority businesses at a lower rate than others.  The suit seeks 650-million dollars in damages that would be set aside in a trust fund for assistance to minority contractors.

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Union Leaders Call Pension Reform Unconstitutional

Governor Quinn is on board with a legislative plan to stop double-dipping into more than one pension system.  If he signs the bill it will prohibit two union leaders from getting payouts from the Teachers Retirement System.  David Ormsby, a spokesperson for the men, calls the move unconstitutional.

           [audio:rddNoPens1.mp3]Word from Ormsby[/audio]

The union leaders earned the government pension after substitute teaching for just one day.  Some lawmakers expressed concern over a potential constitutional breach with the reform but agreed something must be done to end abuse within the system.  The constitution prohibits lawmakers from reducing or tampering with pensions once they've been established.  Ormsby says his clients are considering their legal options and prepared to fight the battle in court if that's what it comes down to.

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Commodity Conference Recap

Commodity groups from across Illinois recently gathered for their annual Commodity Conference, and one of the primary goals for all the groups continues to be consumer education.  Jared White has more...

[audio:112911CommodityGroupsFocusOnConsumersWRAP.mp3]White on Conference[/audio]

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County Board Approves Referendum; Questions Remain

The DeWitt County Board made the decision Monday night to move forward with a referendum to put on the March ballot for a tax increase to support an ambulance service in DeWitt County.

Clinton Mayor Carolyn Peters has approached the County Board to sek approval for the tax levy to continue ambulance services in DeWitt County, following the announcement that the City owned Dr. John Warner Hospital will now not be providing the service any longer. DeWitt County Board member Terry Ferguson believes from a majority of his fellow Board members the consensus was the ambulance service is one of the more important services in the community.

[audio:boardmeeting1.mp3]Word from Ferguson[/audio]

While the final vote by the board was unanimous, according to Ferguson, no one spoke out in opposition of moving forward with the referendum. Ferguson feels it needs to be up to the residents of the county to decide whether this is something they want.

[audio:boardmeeting2.mp3]Word from Ferguson[/audio]

While Ferguson gave a "Yes" vote to moving forward with the referendum, he hopes the work is not done. He says there are still questions lingering needing an answer and he feels the voters need to have more details in regards to the levy and where the money is going to go.

[audio:boardmeeting3.mp3]Word from Ferguson[/audio]

The referendum moves to the March ballot, should the referendum get voted down, individual municipalities in DeWitt County will still have a small window of opportunity to find ways to fund an ambulance service with a deadline of December 31, 2012 when the DJWH will no longer provide the service.

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2012 Hall Of Fame Ballot Released

Outfielders Bernie Williams and Ruben Sierra are among 13 first-time candidates on the 2012 Hall of Fame ballot.  They are joined by pitchers Terry Mulholland and Brad Radke, outfielders Tim Salmon, Jeromy Burnitz and Brian Jordan, second basemen Tony Womack, Bill Mueller [[ Miller ]] and Eric Young, third baseman Vinny Castilla, catcher Javy Lopez and infielder Phil Nevin.  Returning candidates include first basemen Don Mattingly, Fred McGriff, Mark McGwire, Jeff Bagwell and Rafael Palmeiro, outfielders Dale Murphy, Tim Raines, Larry Walker and Juan Gonzalez, shortstops Barry Larkin and Alan Trammell, designated hitter Edgar Martinez, and pitchers Jack Morris and Lee Smith.  The 2012 Hall of Fame Class will be announced January 9th.

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Eagles, Seahawks Square Off In Thursday Night Matchup

The NFL kicks off Week 13 action with a Thursday night matchup between the Philadelphia Eagles and Seattle Seahawks at Qwest Field.  The Eagles will once again be without quarterback Michael Vick, who is still out with a pair of cracked ribs.  Backup Vince Young will instead make his third straight start.  He threw for 400 yards in Sunday's 38-20 loss to the Patrtiots.  The Eagles are 4-and-7 on the season, but three of those wins have come on the road.  The Seahawks are also 4-and-7 after a 23-17 home loss to the Redskins this past Sunday.  Wide receiver Sidney Rice is not expected to play following a concussion against Washington.  This is the second of three straight home games for Seattle, which is 2-and-3 on its own field.  These teams last met in 2008.

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Cutler Says His Season Could Be Over

Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler admitted on Wednesday that his season could be over due to the recent surgery he had to repair a Bennett's fracture in his right thumb.  Cutler, who met with the media for the first time since undergoing surgery on his broken thumb on November 23rd in Vail, Colorado, said he still wants to return but doesn't want to put a specific date on his return because of all the variables concerning the recovery process.  The Bears had a five-game winning streak snapped in a Week 12 loss to the Raiders last weekend in the team's first game without Cutler under center.  Chicago hosts Kansas City on Sunday.

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Cutler Says His Season Could Be Over

 Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler admitted on Wednesday that his season could be over due to the recent surgery he had to repair a Bennett's fracture in his right thumb.  Cutler, who met with the media for the first time since undergoing surgery on his broken thumb on November 23rd in Vail, Colorado, said he still wants to return but doesn't want to put a specific date on his return because of all the variables concerning the recovery process.  The Bears had a five-game winning streak snapped in a Week 12 loss to the Raiders last weekend in the team's first game without Cutler under center.  Chicago hosts Kansas City on Sunday.

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Exelon Refueling Outage Underway

The everyother year refueling power outage at the Clinton Power Station is now underway.

Tuesday evening, crews took the station offline for the station’s thirteenth scheduled refueling outage. Bill Harris is the Communications Manager at Exelon, he explains while the unit is offline, the station team will perform thousands of inspections and maintenance on a variety of plant components and systems. This includes replacing approximately 40 percent of the reactor’s fuel and a detailed look at one of the station’s low pressure turbines.

[audio:11811refueloutage1.mp3]A Word From Harris[/audio]

According to Harris, the permanent station team is augmented with about 1,700 skilled workers from local union halls and another 350 staff from other Exelon Nuclear facilities. All of these additional workers fuel Clinton’s local economy for the duration of the outage, a huge economic boost for area hotels, restaurants and markets.

[audio:11811refueloutage2.mp3]A Word From Harris[/audio]

Harris add many of the activities performed during this outage cannot be performed while the station is operating. All of the activities are designed to enhance the unit’s ability to provide 100% carbonfree electricity for years to come. It is work like this that ensures Exelon Nuclear facilities are safer, more secure.

[audio:11811refueloutage3.mp3]A Word From Harris[/audio]

According to Harris, once the fuel has been used, it is stored and managed at the Clinton Power Plant. The plant can produce approximately 1,065 net megawatts of electricity.

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Cubs Ink DeJesus To Two-Year Deal

 The Chicago Cubs have signed outfielder David DeJesus [[ day-HAY-soose ]] to a two-year deal with a club option for 2014.  The pact is believed to be worth $10-million.  The 31-year-old batted .240 with 10 home runs and 46 RBI last season for the Oakland A's.  DeJesus spent his first eight seasons with the Kansas City Royals.  He's a career .284 hitter with a .356 on-base percentage.

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Big Ten title game will wrap up complicated season

Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany is hoping Saturday's inaugural title game between No. 11 Michigan State and No. 15 Wisconsin will keep the spotlight on football.

After a year of controversy and scandal, the Big Ten wouldn't mind polishing its image a bit.

The NCAA scandal at Ohio State still hasn't been resolved. New accusations continue to emerge from Penn State in the alleged child-sex abuse case against former coach Jerry Sandusky. Fans continue to question why league officials named their two divisions Legends and Leaders, and even ticket sales for the championship game are being questioned.

Delany thinks the rematch of October's exciting contest between the Spartans and Badgers may be just the showcase the Big Ten needs.

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NCAA Top-25 Men's Basketball (ESPN/USA Today Rankings)

#5 North Carolina Tar Heels 60, #7 Wisconsin Badgers 57 (ACC/Big Ten Challenge)
#14 Kansas Jayhawks 77, Florida Atlantic Owls 54
#17 Pittsburgh Panthers 80, Duquesne Duke69
#18 Gonzaga Bulldogs 73, Notre Dame Fighting Irish 53
#20 UNLV Rebels 94, UC Santa Barbara Gauchos 88 (Double-OT)
#22 Creighton Bluejays 85, San Diego State Aztecs 83

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Commidity Groups Focus On Consumers

Commodity groups from across Illinois recently gathered for their annual Commodity Conference, and one of the primary goals for all the groups continues to be consumer education.  Jared White has more...

[audio:112911CommodityGroupsFocusOnConsumersWRAP.mp3]Jared White With The Story[/audio]

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Illinois State rolls past Chicago State 85-41

Jon Ekey scored 19 points and Tyler Brown had 18 - on six 3-point shots - and Illinois State rolled to an 85-41 victory over Chicago State Wednesday night.

The 44-point margin was the Redbirds' largest since a 2000 victory of 42 points, also over Chicago State. It was 27-14 when Illinois State scored the next 11 points for the biggest lead of the first half at 38-14. It was 42-21 at halftime.

Illinois State (5-2) owned a 46-26 rebounding advantage over the Cougars, led by Jackie Carmichael's eight. Nic Moore had eight points and seven assists.

The Redbirds attempted a school-record 38 3-pointers and made 14. Brown was 6 for 11 in the game, all from 3-point range.

Matt Samuels led all scorers with 22 points, more than half of the total for Chicago State (0-7). Lee Fisher had 11 points and a game-high nine rebounds.

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IDOT Faces Racial Bias Lawsuit

The Metro East Black Contractors Organization is suing the Illinois Department of Transportation for racial bias in awarding construction contracts.  Eric Vickers, MEBCO's attorney, says IDOT should have more well-defined quotas for minority contractors.

[audio:rddDiscrim1.mp3]A Word From Vickers[/audio]

IDOT commissioned a study earlier this year which found they award contracts to minority businesses at a lower rate than others.  The suit seeks 650-million dollars in damages that would be set aside in a trust fund for assistance to minority contractors.

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Illinois Health Agency Marks World AIDS Day

The Illinois Department of Public Health is marking World AIDS Day by hosting events across the state where people can get testing and counseling.

The line-up also includes screenings of AIDS-related documentaries, panel discussions, news conferences and even a Decatur youth group creating its own public service announcement.

Events are scheduled at universities and high schools, prisons and churches.

World AIDS Day is December 1st. It's meant to draw attention to efforts to fight the disease and to commemorate people who have died from it.

0
comments


Illinois Develops National Science Standards

Education officials in Illinois are among the ranks to develop new science standards for students across the nation.  Mary Fergus, with the Illinois State Board of Education, says the idea is to develop a core set of goals that will help students be more competitive in the job market.  

The new standards will clearly define what students need to learn from kindergarten through high school graduation.  Education officials say they're honored to have a seat at the table to identify ways to strengthen problem areas that keep American students so far behind in math and science.  Twenty six states are working together to create the new standards.

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comments


Supreme Court To Hear Abortion Case

It's been on hold for more than 15 years but the Illinois Supreme Court may just bring a resolution to a law that requires parents be notified before their child has an abortion.  The Illinois Parental Notice of Abortion Act was enacted in 1995 but has never been enforced because of a lawsuit contesting its constitutionality.  The law requires physicians to notify parents before a young woman has an abortion. The ACLU is representing the plaintiffs in the Hope Clinic versus Brent Adams case.  Spokesperson Lorie Chaiten [[ Chay-ten ]] says they've never had an opportunity to prove the merits of the case in trial.  She says the Supreme Court has long recognized constitutional protections for a woman's right to terminate a pregnancy.  Therefore, she hopes the justices will finally allow the case to be heard in a trial court. 

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High Court To Hear Parental Notification Case

Should a young woman be required to tell her parents if she's going to have an abortion?  Thomas More Society attorney Peter Breen says, "Absolutely."

[audio:rddBreen1.mp3]A Word From Breen[/audio]

Breen is representing the defendants in the Hope Clinic versus Brent Adams case.  The lawsuit has been Hope Clinic's saving grace since 1995 because it's kept the Illinois Parental Notification Law from being enforced.  Breen says he hopes to see that change soon.  The state's Supreme Court has decided to hear the case and decide what will happen with the law.  Breen says he ultimately wants to see the law stand.

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IL Supreme Court Wants Drew Peterson Hearsay Evidence Decision Revisited

Prosecutors in the Drew Peterson case are getting another shot at having hearsay evidence allowed in his trial.  

[audio:chipetersonroyal1.mp3]A Word From Oakes[/audio]

Legal analyst Royal Oakes says yesterday's decision does a lot to help Will County prosecutors in their quest to get the statements allowed as evidence.  Prosecutors say the hearsay proves Peterson drowned his third wife, Kathleen Savio, in 2004.  A lower court ruled in July the hearsay evidence wouldn't be allowed but will now re-think it.  Peterson is also suspected in the disappearance of his fourth wife, Stacy Peterson, but hasn't been charged.

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