Local News

Beautiful Weather Highlights 2017 Farm Progress Show

Below average temperatures and plenty of sunshine overshadowed a Monday afternoon downpour that left three-and-a-half inches of rain on the grounds of Progress City in Decatur for the 2017 edition of the Farm Progress Show.
 
Organizers say the rain Monday afternoon left a few kinks in the plans of some for Monday, but once the sun came out Tuesday, it was smooth sailing.
 
 
That's Events Manager for Farm Progress, Matt Jungmann who says the show saw huge crowds, especially Wednesday with several dignitaries in town.
 
 
The 2017 Farm Progress Show was highlighted by the House Ag Committee listening session at Richland Community College Wednesday morning. Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue was in attendance of that session. 

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DeWitt County Looking At Fees To Help Increase Revenue

Increasing fines and fees for various county services is the goal of an upcoming study by the DeWitt County Board. 
 
DeWitt County Board Chair David Newberg explains the fines and fees cannot be increased without reason so a study is being done to find out if they are necessary and if so, how much of an increase should there be. The study is including the Sheriff's office and animal control.
 
 
The analysis of the animal shelter has been questioned and according to Newberg, it is two-fold. One, the department now has a new facility and two, there is a good chance an agreement is reached with Piatt County for animal control services.
 
 
The costs of security fees at the Courthouse will also be a part of the analysis. Newberg indicates the fees are part of any citations citizens are hit with that come up on their list of fines and fees.
 
 
Some question the validity of the cost of the analysis but Newberg feels anything that comes from the findings and any occuring increases will more than pay for the cost of the analysis.
 
 
Newberg also points out the cost studies done together all at once actually saved the County money as opposed to having them done at separate times across a number of years. 

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Parts of Illinois Had Zero 90-Degree Days in August

It is unprecedented but in the month of August in 2017, there were no 90-degree days in parts of Illinois. 
 
National Weather Service Meteorologist Chris Miller says it is hard to believe as August is typically thought of as a very warm month.
 
 
Additionally, Illinois remains very dry. Miller says they saw a lot of the weather patterns out of the northwest which brought in cooler temperatures and below average rainfall.
 
 
Miller says right now, central Illinois especially, could use a good rainfall. He also predicts September remaining cooler. 

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Weak Commodity Prices Keeping Illinois Farmland Values Steady

Weak commodity prices are keeping farmland values steady. Dave Klein with Soy Capital Ag Services has a snapshot from the first six months of 2017 in Illinois.
 
 
The data from the Illinois Society of Professional Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers was shared at this week’s Farm Progress Show in Decatur. Klein says rental rates are following farmland value trends. 
 
 
A farmland sale in Logan County for Class A ground brought a top of $12,200 per acre last week. 

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Rauner Tours Springfield Area Schools

Governor Rauner went on a three school tour to mark the General Assembly's approval of a new school spending plan.
 
 
He kicked off his tour at Springfield's Ball Charter Elementary, one of the beneficiaries of new money for charter schools. 
 
 
Rauner also visited a public school in Litchfield and Mater Dei High School in Breese. $75 million in tax credits will help pay for tuition to private schools. Rauner will sign the school funding reform legislation this afternoon in Chicago.

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Around 300 Attend Farm Bill Listening Session at Farm Progress Show

Around 300 were in attendance for a Farm Bill listening session at the Farm Progress Show Wednesday morning in Decatur.
 
With Illinois federal lawmakers, led by Congressman Rodney Davis, along with House Ag Committee members, Davis says it is the listening sessions that are part of the preparations for the upcoming Farm Bill.
 
 
According to Davis, crop insurance is the top issue to Illinois farmers. He feels the federal government is being fiscally responsible by having a public/private partnership.
 
 
Congressman Davis anticipates the Farm Bill being negotiated and put together in a timely manner thanks to the leadership of the House Ag Committee Chair, Tim Conaway. 

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Farm Progress Show Kicks Off in Decatur

Huge crowds on a beautiful day opened the 2017 Farm Progress Show from Richland Community College's Progress City.
 
Beck's Hybrids was showcasing the Practical Farm Research. According to Jason Gahimer, Operations Manager for Beck's, they have six location study sites across five states and indicates their research comes out in a book during the winter months.
 
 
The Tribine exhibit (right) is a huge hit at Progress City. Developer of the Tribine, Ben Dillon, says in the last year, they have been doing numerous tests to keep up with farmers demand.
 
 
Dillon says the Tribine is a whole new design, something agriculture hasn't seen since the '40s. He says it holds one-thousand bushel and is a full time four-by-four drive. 
 
The Farm Progress Show resumes today and runs until Thursday. 

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Warrensburg-Latham Schools Excited About Grant From Monsanto

As school teachers and administrators were getting back to class last week, one school district learned they were the recipient of a grant from Monsanto.
 
Dr. Kristen Kendrick-Weikle is the Superintendent of the Warrensburg-Latham school district and explains the grant from Monsanto for a school garden. She is hopeful the garden from the grant is going to be useful to all their age groups. 
 
 
Shooting for a fall time line of getting things prepared, Dr. Kendrick-Weikle hopes the garden will be ready for use by the spring. The grant was worth around $10-thousand. 
 
 
Dr. Kendrick-Weikle says it will be a school wide effort to get the garden up and going and then the whole school will be involved in using it. 

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Sen. Brady Proud of Education Funding Plan

The Illinois Senate approved a new education funding plan for Illinois public schools Tuesday, following the House. 
 
Senate Republican Leader Bill Brady was pleased with the bill and praised fellow senators on their ability to come together and pass the bill.
 
 
Brady believes that the bill will "advance this state for the children of this state." He also says that the bill accomplishes the governor's task of looking at education funding and is proud that the governor will sign the bill.
 
 
Senate Bill 1947 passed 38-13-4.

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Central Illinois Lawmakers Discuss Senate Passing School Funding

THE ILLINOIS SENATE IS ADVANCING THE EDUCATION FUNDING REFORM COMPROMISE, ENSURING SCHOOLS WILL GET MONEY OWED BY THE STATE.
 
THE BILL RESTRUCTURES HOW MONEY IS PAID OUT TO DISTRICTS, AIMING FOR A MORE EQUITABLE SYSTEM. SENATOR ANDY MANAR OF BUNKER HILL SPONSORED THE MEASURE.
 
 
THE IDEA IS TO MAKE FUNDING MORE EQUITABLE ACROSS THE STATE SAYS SENATOR JASON BARICKMAN OF BLOOMINGTON.
 
 
GOVERNOR BRUCE RAUNER IS THANKING LAWMAKERS FOR PASSING WHAT HE CALLS HISTORIC EDUCATION REFORM AND SAYS HE WILL QUICKLY SIGN THE BILL.

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Sen. Brady Officially Named Minority Leader

State Senator Bill Brady has shed the interim label as the leader of Senate Republicans. 
 
His GOP colleagues voted in Brady unanimously to the post on a permanent basis. Brady says he will strive for growing bipartisanship.
 
 
Brady calls the cooperation on school funding reform a tribute to former Minority Leader Christine Radogno.

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Scammers Targeting Public Using Tropical Storm Harvey

Scammers are expected to use Hurricane Harvey as a way of tricking people out of their money. 
 
These crooks pay close attention to natural disasters and current events, and experts at the Better Business Bureau want you to be generous if you are so inclined, but keep your guard up for those who are looking at this disaster as a way to make a buck. 
 
People who want to help victims are being urged to donate to the Red Cross or another legitimate agency. The BBB's Don O'Brien says every natural disaster is followed by crooks and scammers.
 
 
O'Brien says you should be cautious when giving online to unfamiliar charities. Be wary of spam messages and emails that claim to link to a relief organization. 

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Illinois Farmer In Final Months As President of American Soybean Association

A Western Illinois farmer winding down his term as president of the American Soybean Association. Ron Moore farms near Roseville in Warren County. He continues to follow trade issues very closely.
 
 
Moore is at the Farm Progress Show in Decatur this week. His term as American Soybean Association president expires in December. 

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Harvest Weeks Away in Illinois

Combines should be rolling in certain parts of Illinois within the next few weeks. That’s what Jeff Adkisson is hearing from the Grain and Feed Association of Illinois.
 
 
Adkisson says farmers should be communicating with their local grain elevator manager right now finding out how much space they have available heading into the harvest season. 

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State Releases Report on Water Pollution Reduction

State officials released a report Tuesday on progress toward reducing urban and rural runoff contributing to the so-called 'hypoxia' or dead-zone in the U-S Gulf of Mexico.
 
Illinois Environmental Protection Agency Director Alec Messina says the state has made progress since introduction of the Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy required by the federal E-P-A two years ago;
 
 
The state's plan asks cities and rural towns to consider ways to reduce polluted runoff as well those who live and work in rural areas. 
 
Deputy Director of the Illinois Department of Agriculture Warren Goetsch (GOAT-sch) cited several, specifc examples at the Farm Progress Show underway in Decatur of what farmers are doing to reduce nitrogen and phosphorus runoff from cropland;
 
 
Illinois and 30 other states make up the Mississippi River basin. The federal government has required plans intended to improve the nation's water quality.

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Native Illinoisan Turned Houston Police Officer Discusses Harvey

A Central Illinois native is using his small town roots to help a big city through a historic disaster. 
 
Buffalo Tri-City Grad Blake Van Pelt is now a veteran Houston Police Officer. Van Pelt, the son of Mechanicsburg (Sangamon County) Mayor Bob Van Pelt, sees light at the end of the tunnel.
 
 
Van Pelt says his small town roots have been beneficial in the nation's fourth biggest city.
 
 
So far, flood waters haven't reached his family's home. 

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Sen. Rose: Funding Reform Win For Downstate Schools

The only thing standing in the way of a new funding model in Illinois is a signature from the Governor. 
 
Tuesday afternoon, the Senate approved a measure negotiated by members of both parties and a local lawmaker says it is a win for downstate schools.
 
State Senator Chapin Rose says the funding formula does not include the Chicago Public Schools pension payments. He adds it is a win for so many central Illinois school districts.
 
 
According to Sen. Rose, the bill came a long ways from almost two years. Almost half of Illinois schools would have lost funding under the initial bill which he calls unacceptable.
 
 
For Sen. Rose, the big thing is all Illinois schools are going to be treated fairly. He says this forces Chicago Public Schools to raise their property taxes as downstate schools have had to do the same in recent years.
 
 
While the formula isn't perfect, Sen. Rose says it was hard work and at the end of the day a good piece of legislation both sides were able to agree with. 

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Warner Hospital and Health Services Considering Same Day Care

Same day care is the newest proposal from leadership at Warner Hospital and Health Services.
 
CEO Paul Skowron indicates it is not urgent care but same day service, which would cost much less. He explains there's also government requirements with a different title.
 
 
According to Skowron, the plan would be to utilize the Rural Health Center as the facility and would basically fit into each physicians schedule.
 
 
Monday night at the Warner Hospital and Health Services Board meeting, the Board was in full support of the idea. 

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Farm Progress Show Opens Today

The 2017 Farm Progress Show in Decatur is ready to launch today and the rain from Monday morning has been a blessing.
 
That's according to organizers and Events Manager for Farm Progress, Matt Jungmann says the rain was a much needed dust control agent.
 
 
Jungmann says the opening of the show is probably the busiest time of the show. He explains they are putting out some small fires and then it becomes a self-ran machine.
 
 
The Farm Progress Show runs today (Tuesday) through Thursday. 
 
Hear extended live coverage throughout the day on The Big 1520 AM/92.3 FM WHOW and streamed live online at dewittdailynews.com.

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House Approves School Funding Plan

It took some time and a few attempts at a vote and it still hast to pass the Senate but the House did approve education funding reforms on Monday. 
 
The votes finally came together to pass a compromise education funding bill. The bill moves forward with all schools getting more money. A contentious part for Democrats was approving the bill that now contains a 75 million dollar tax credit for donations towards private school scholarships. 
 
But Minority Leader Jim Durkin says when no one gets their way then the bill should been seen as a good compromise.
 
 
The bill has to pass muster in the Senate and the Governor will have to add his signature.

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Weekly Crop Report

IT WAS A COOL WEEK FOR ILLINOIS CROPS AS WE HEAR IN THE WEEKLY CROP REPORT. 
 
TEMPERATURES WERE NEARLY FIVE DEGREES BELOW NORMAL THIS PAST WEEK…AND RAINFALL VARIED ACROSS THE STATE. CROP STATISTICIAN MARK SCHLEUSENER GIVES AN UPDATE ON CROP PROGRESS:
 
 
54 PERCENT OF CORN IS IN THE DENT STAGE AND TWO PERCENT IS MATURE. 
 
 
52 PERCENT OF THE CORN CROP IS RATED IN GOOD TO EXCELLENT CONDITION. AVERAGE STATEWIDE TOPSOIL MOISTURE STANDS AT 11 PERCENT VERY SHORT, 37 PERCENT SHORT, 51 PERCENT ADEQUATE AND ONE PERCENT SURPLUS.

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Rauner Signs Immigration Bill

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner has made it official. He has gone against the political grain and signed an immigration bill, the Trust Act. The legislation prevents law enforcement from detaining individuals strictly based on their immigration status. 
 
For Rauner, it's a matter of family values.
 
 
Rauner says the legislation will give immigrants the chance to follow the three keys to success his grandparents always talked about.
 
 
Lt. Gov. Evelyn Sanguinetti says the bill does not transform Illinois into a sanctuary state but instead keeps violent criminals behind bars.

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Weather Officials Waiting To Make Prediction if Harvey Will Hit Central Illinois

While tropical storm Harvey continues to pound away at southeast Texas, central Illinois weather officials say they are keeping a close eye on the remnants of the storm.
 
National Weather Service Meteorologist Chris Miller says by later this week the storm should start to move north through the Ohio Valley leaving the chance of rolling through central Illinois.
 
 
Miller says while the remnants of the storm could in fact get to central Illinois, he says there are a lot of things that must happen for the area to get the full impact.
 
 
According to Miller, who is stationed at the National Weather Service Office in Lincoln, they anticipate knowing more mid-week about the path tropical storm Harvey will take. 

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DeWitt Count Considering Speed Traffic Trailer

The DeWitt County Board has put a decision to purchase a new piece of equipment for the Sheriff's Office on hold until next month.
 
Thursday night, it was decided a speed traffic trailer purchase would be put on hold. DeWitt County Board Chair David Newberg indicates they want to get more information about the cost before they make a decision.
 
 
Newberg also indicates this is the time of year where the County Board has started to look at the budget process and they wanted to know whether the purchase was coming from next year's funds or this year and what fund the money was coming from.
 
 
Newberg, who is on the public safety committee, indicates he was a vote to send the proposal to the full board. The cost on the item was not to exceed $75-hundred. 

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Community Action Ready To Open Food Pantry Coop

Community Action has been in the planning stages for months and now they are ready to open and begin their food pantry coop.
 
Origininating in DeWitt County, Craig Farnham is going to lead the program. Thanks to the William Davenport Estate, Farnham explains residents can come in, provide help and earn credits to shop in their food pantry.
 
 
Katie Alexander with Community Action says they will continue to help those in an emergency situation but they will have guidelines for that. She explains the Community Action mission is to help break the cycle of poverty.
 
 
In preparation of the program starting up in September, Community Action indicates there are still some needs they have and they hope to get community support for those things according to Farnham.
 
 
Alexander notes the food pantry is hoping to provide other things besides non-perishables like eggs and cheese and meats.
 
 
The Community Action Food Pantry program will launch September 5, but anyone interested in getting more information or getting into the program can contact Community Action now.
 
Contact Craig Farnham at 217-732-2159 to get enrolled or get more information. 

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Officials Still Preparing for Bicentennial

The countdown is on. The state is ready to celebrate its bicentennial. Governor Bruce Rauner was on Kaskaskia Island this weekend – the state’s first capitol and says the party will be going in just a few months all over the state. 
 
 
The countdown clock is now at 99 days, but it won’t be over quickly once it gets going. The bicentennial celebrations will last an entire year.

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House To Vote on School Funding Reform Agreement Today

The push for education funding reforms continued over the weekend. Legislative leaders met on Sunday to continue to work out the details of a tentative agreement that will face a vote in the House on Monday. 
 
Governor Bruce Rauner had looked like he may have thrown some cold water on the deal on Friday but House Minority Leader Jim Durkin says that no one is getting all they want.
 
 
The House is scheduled to vote on it today and the Senate will take up the compromise bill on Tuesday.

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Highway Tax Return Due August 31

The highway use tax return for big semis is due on August 31st. Michael Devine with the IRS says this applies to the big rig’s only.
 
 
Devine adds that fines and penalties are likely for those that miss the filing deadline

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BBB Warning of Rental Scams

If you are getting ready to rent a place that seems too good to be true, it may be exactly that. The Better Business Bureau is advising renters to be alert to possible red flags when shopping for rentals even for just a weekend getaway. 
 
BBB Investigator Don O'Brien says many of these scams originate on websites like Craigslist.
 
 
He says scammers may use pictures or description from legitimate rental property ads to entice their victims, sometimes even hijacking the email account of owners of reputable sites. In other cases the properties are nonexistent.

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Farm Progress Show Readies For Big Show

The unveiling of new products is the highlight of most Farm Progress Shows and this year is no exception.
 
Events Manager for Farm Progress, Matt Jungmann expects a week full of excitement no matter what lot you choose to visit this week.
 
 
The show runs next week, Tuesday through Thursday at Progress City on the campus of Richland Community College.
 
Listen to live coverage from Farm Progress on The Big 1520 AM/92.3 FM WHOW and online at dewittdailynews.com and illinoisfarmradio.com starting Monday through Thursday.

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School Funding Reform Could Have New Wrinkle That Puts Approval on Hold

Governor Rauner offered a positive statement in written word form after legislative leaders reached a deal on school funding reform, but upon further review the Governor's words may throw a monkey wrench into the compromise deal. 
 
In a visit to the Marion Chamber of Commerce, the Governor mentioned parts of the compromise that he approved of.
 
 
Then the Governor offered a scathing critique and he talked of tweaking the compromise agreement.
 
The legislative leaders will gather on Sunday and the Illinois House is scheduled to vote on the school funding reform compromise on Monday.

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University of Illinois Bans War Chant

The times they are still a changing for University of Illinois sports. War Chant music is now off limits at all sporting events. 
 
The decision was made at the end of last football season but it wasn't revealed until yesterday. Athletic department officials asked members of the Illini Pride student group to stop playing the war chant song on a drum Thursday at a soccer game. 
 
School officials say the move is part of an effort to be more inclusive and students are responding to it less in the post Chief Illiniwek era.

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Weekly Weather Summary

Illinois got some much needed rain this week and we could get some more early next week. State climotologist Jim Angel has more...
 

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Monticello Routes Olympia in Season, Conference Opener

The Monticello Sages returned two interceptions for touchdowns, Brayden Snyder threw for two touchdowns and Lucas Lieb ran for two more as the Monticello Sages rolled past Olympia 42-0 in the debut in a new conference on opening night of the 2017 high school football season Friday night.

 

Snyder finished with 193 yards and threw for the two touchdowns. Asher Bradd hauled in a four yard touchdown reception and finished with 22 yards receiving. Dylan Thomas had a 73 yard touchdown receiving and finished with 86 total yards.

 

Lieb finished with seven carries for 28 yards and two touchdowns.

 

Bradd also finished with two interceptions, including a pick-six on the third play from scrimmage. Nathan Harman also returned an interception for a touchdown in the first half.

 

The Sages led 42-0 by halftime and running clock limited action in the second half, allowing Monticello to open 1-0 in the new Illini Prairie Conference.

 

Olympia is 0-1 on the year.

 

Monticello travels to Chillicothe next week to take on Illinois Valley Central. Hear all the action starting at 7 pm on 95.9 FM WEZC and online at dewittdailynews.com.

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Congressman Facing Health Care Protests

A pair of Congressman were met with shouts today when they arrived at a senior center in Springfield. The protesters were angry about possible changes to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. 
 
Republicans Rodney Davis and Darin LaHood were there to speak to seniors about staying safe on the internet but were quickly drug into a conversation about changing eligibility for government programs. 
 
LaHood says changes are needed to keep benefits for those who need them but he wants to see those in retirement or closest to it to stay on the same path.
 
 
Protester Don Todd from Springfield says Davis didn’t give him any time to hear his concerns but that LaHood did listen. Todd says programs and eligibility need to remain the same so everyone can have the help they need.
 

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County Approves Cost Study For Animal Shelter, Court Security

The DeWitt County Board will analyse costs for security at the courthouse and the DeWitt County Animal Control Facility.
 
While a study for animal control has been done in recent years, others have not and Board Chair David Newberg says the animal control facility needs to be done as a partnership Piatt County for animal control services is in the works.
 
 
Building off the security costs of the County Building, the Board also modified its security policy. Vice-Chair of the Board, Camille Redman explains the County Building will no longer be open any time there is not a meeting happening.
 
 
Newberg indicates the policy likely was written before security measures were put in place at the courthouse.
 
Cut 3: coststudy3 :34 CUE: saying no
 
The approval of the cost study study was not to exceed $9000. 

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Governor Responds To Departure of Communication Staffers

Governor Bruce Rauner was coming out swinging in response to news that four communications staffers resigned. 
 
One of them was Diana Rickert, one of the top staffers who came to the administration from the Illinois Policy Institute. Rauner defied characterizations that the conservative think tank was playing a central role in the administration.
 
 
The communications staffers left amid the recent controversy over a political cartoon on the school funding debate from the Illinois Policy Institute that showed a black child seeking money from a white man. Rauner rejects talk of turmoil.
 
 
Rickert, Communications Director Laurel Patrick and two communications specialists were let go after starting work with the administration just last month.

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Lincoln Annual Balloon Festival this Weekend

Lincoln's annual Balloon Fest is set for this Friday and Saturday.
 
According to Cathy Wilhite of the Lincoln Chamber of Commerce, the event has drawn several Illinois political figures, but what's really special about it is  Gigi's Playhouse, an international Down syndrome advocacy organization will be kicking off their new national mobile launch.
 
 
Saturday will see all manner of entertainment from a bounce house and a petting zoo to live music and a beer tent. Arts and crafts will also be making their comeback at the festival this year.
 
 
Wilhite adds that, though they would love for you to come out to the Logan County Airport for the festival, you should be able to see the balloons from anywhere in Lincoln once they're in the air.
 
It's five dollars per day per person 12 years and older, 12 years and under are free.

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Never Too Early To Think About Winter Heating on Farm

It’s never too early to be thinking about your winter heating needs on the farm. Growmark’s energy expert Harry Cooney doesn’t expect a harsh December, January and February.
 
 
Also on the farm, Cooney says diesel stocks are very adequate currently and present some opportunity for farmers to get their inventories on the upper-end heading into harvest. 

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Pig Parade for Apple and Pork Pick-Up at the Homestead

Apple and Pork may be a few weeks away, but now is the time to pick up your pig for the Pig Parade.
 
According to Joey Woolridge, it's the seventh year for the popular Parade of Pigs Contest. The grand champion will receive 50 dollars and the reserve champion will walk away with 25 dollars.
 
 
Woolridge encourages you to be creative, citing some pigs from the past such as a Harley Hog and a tattooed pig.
 
 
It will be a blind judging and you can find your pig on the fence between the house and the carriage barn at the Homestead during Apple and Pork.
 
You can pick up and register at the Homestead during their business hours, Tuesday through Saturday 10am to 5pm and Sunday from 1pm to 5 pm. The last day to pick up your pig is August 29th.

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School Funding Reform Agreement Reached

The worry that schools may be forced to close because of a lack of school funding from the state finally seems to be over.
 
 Legislative leaders say they have come to an agreement to change the way schools are funded in the state. The particular details of just how the House and Senate were able to come together are still not known. And those details might even be unknown to the Governor who was not part of the negations between the leaders. 
 
Rauner said on Thursday he wouldn’t comment too much through the media as to how they leaders should find compromise.
 
 
The leaders are now scheduled to return to the Capitol on Sunday with a vote scheduled on funding reforms for Monday.

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Law Enforcement Leader Discusses Suspended Parking Meter Enforcement

Law enforcement officials say there's been nothing but positivity towards the suspension of parking meter enforcement in Clinton.
 
Police Chief Ben Lowers told the Clinton City Council Monday night the response from the community has been positive. 
 
 
According to the Chief, there are some areas of downtown that see more traffic than others. Chief Lowers explains the parking meters are less about generating revenue for the city and more about creating better traffic flow.
 
 
Over the course of the 90 day trial, the Chief and local authorities and leadership hope to determine if the lack of parking meters creates a lack of parking availability with people living in apartments and folks going to and from work. 

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Grants Given to Homestead for Apple and Pork

With Apple and Pork right around the corner, a local non-profit has received grants to help make it possible.
 
According to Joey Woolridge, from the C.H. Moore Homestead, a grant from the Clinton Elks will go toward a new ham and bean stand.
 
 
Exelon is another entity that has contributed to the festivities. They have donated money to be used for the live music entertainment, which covers more than just the performers, adds Woolridge.
 
 
As always, the Apple and Pork Festival will be the last full weekend in September.

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NAFTA Talks Underway in Washington

North American Free Trade Agreement or NAFTA re-negotiations currently underway in Washington. Talks began last week and Bloomberg’s Alan Bjerga is covering the beat.
 
 
He says the talks haven’t been contentious to this point as more meetings are planned for next month. The key question is whether the negotiations will wrap up quickly or drag on for several years. 

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Madison County Prosecutor Running For State Senate

A prosecutor in the Madison County State's Attorney's Office has announced her candidacy for State Senate. 
 
Rachelle Aud Crowe is running for the 56th District seat that current Senator Bill Haine will be relinquishing at the end of his term. Haine was the Madison County State’s Attorney for 14 years before moving into state politics. Crowe says she hadn't considered running for office until she learned of Haine's decision to retire.
 
 
Crowe has been a prosecutor in Madison County form over a decade. 

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Easton Corbin Coming To Farm Progress

If you look forward to the annual concert at the Decatur edition of the Farm Progress Show and were disappointed this year there wouldn't be one, you're in luck.
 
Yesterday at media day from Progress City on the campus of Richland Community College it was announced a free concert would be hosted at the site. Matt Jungmann is National Events Manager for Farm Progress and indicates they made the change last minute thanks to some interest late last week.
 
 
Deena Morgan is the Show Manager for Farm Progress and indicates they are anticipating quite a show with some big reveals.
 
 
The Easton Corbin show is free from 5 pm to 6 pm.
 
Morgan encourages FPS attendees to download the Farm Progress Show App from the Apple Store or Google Play to get the latest in notifications and a map of all the happenings. 

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Clinton Schools In Good Shape Despite No Funding Formula

Almost a month has come and gone and Illinois schools still do not have a check from the state to educate their students and pay the bills.
 
Many wait with a great amount of uneasiness as they may not be able to operate much longer without state funding. The leader of the Clinton school district says it is likely they could go a full year without getting a check from Illinois and keep their doors open.
 
 
Superintendent Curt Nettles says the Speaker of the House, Mike Madigan, is often times playing chess while everyone else plays checkers.
 
 
The House is set to take up the override of the Governor's amendatory veto from earlier this month.

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Warrensburg-Latham Schools Targets More Efficient Evaluation of Students

School kids in Warrensburg-Latham will be getting back to class this week. 
 
Superintendent of Warrensburg-Latham Schools, Dr. Kristen Kendrick-Weikle indicates as they do, they will be introducing a new program that is going to help cater their materials to each student's levels.
 
 
Dr. Kendrick-Weikle indicates students take an assesment to start and the computer keeps track of a students progress so they can continue to challenge them.
 
 
The program has been well received by the students as well. Dr. Kendrick-Weikle indicates in their trial run last year, students were utilizing the program away from the school setting on their own time. 
 
 
Dr. Kendrick-Weikle says having the real time data is a great resource to allow teachers to know whether they need to spend more time on a subject or if they can move on. She adds it will keep their students engaged and wanting to learn. 

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Missing Decatur Sailor Remains Unaccounted For

There is no progress to report in the search for a missing Decatur sailor. 
 
Petty Officer Logan Palmer is one of ten missing sailors after the USS John McCain collided with an oil tanker in Southeast Asia. 
 
Some bodies have been recovered but so far, Navy officials haven't identified those victims.

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No SB1 Override Today

House Speaker Michael Madigan has canceled today's session of the Illinois House, including an override vote on Gov. Bruce Rauner's veto of a school funding bill. 
 
Madigan says he remains committed to seeing the school funding reform package through.
 
 
The news came after one of the longest leaders meetings in recent memory. 
Legislative leaders met for five hours before Madigan made the cancellation as a show of good faith in negotiations. 
 
More talks will now proceed between the leaders.

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Durbin Weighs In On Afghanistan

Senator Dick Durbin has weighed in on President Trump's announcement he plans to give the Pentagon the power to ramp up troop levels in Afghanistan. 
 
Durbin tweeted "This Administration has taken America’s longest war and continued it indefinitely. That’s a recipe for another military quagmire. We needed to hear from the President a justification for risking more American lives and spending countless more dollars. We didn’t. "

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Farm Progress Show Preview

The nation’s largest outdoor farm event returns to Decatur next week. Farm Progress Show 2017 will feature some new equipment says show manager Matt Jungmann.
 
 
And Jungmann says exhibitor space is at capacity.
 
 
This marks the 64th Farm Progress Show. The schedule is Tuesday through Thursday August 29th to August 31st. 

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Dry August, Cooler Than Normal Temps in Next Two Weeks

A dry August for much of Illinois. A small portion of the state received some help Monday says State Climatologist Jim Angel.
 
 
Angel says a very strong cold front will keep temperatures below normal over the next 8-to-14 days for much of Illinois. 

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Brady Weighs In As Talks Continue on School Funding

It's one of the longest leaders meetings in recent memory. Legislative leaders met for five hours Tuesday hoping to strike a deal on Senate Bill One, the school funding reform package. 
 
Republican leaders say they asked House Speaker Mike Madigan not to proceed with Wednesday's planned override vote as a show of good faith in negotiations. 
 
Senate Minority Leader Bill Brady and House Minority Leader Jim Durkin say Madigan wouldn't commit either way. Brady says the governor's presence at talks isn't crucial.
 
 
Brady rejected claims that Governor Rauner is "moving the goalposts" in the school funding debate.
 
 
The House will be in session tomorrow for a planned override vote of Governor Rauner's amendatory veto of Senate Bill One.

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Congressman Davis Joins Local Leaders in Discussing Substance Abuse

The monthly gathering of local officials filled the Warner Library's Revere Room as US Congressman Rodney Davis led a special discussion about substance abuse.
 
The Congressman along with Illinois Lt. Governor Evelyn Sanguinetti were guests of the Substance Abuse Coalition. Congressman Davis led a discussion that was centered around the challenges locally along with what can be done.
 
He feels rural areas need to be better prepared to take on individuals that need help.
 
 
Jaime Smith was instrumental in a recent program on the downtown Sqaure, Clinton Cares and was a guest speaker at Tuesday's forum. Smith called her life perfect and she was not supposed to be a recovering drug addict.
 
 
Glenn Haas with the DEA explains the heroin epidemic in Illinois has transformed and it's profile has drastically changed in the last 15 years. He says heroin has gradually gone from a rougher crowd using it to anyone having access to it.
 
 
President of the Substance Abuse Coalition, Rob Spickard felt the turnout was way more than he thought and felt a lot of good information was shared Tuesday.
 
 
Spickard implores the public to get involved and be proactive in helping family or friends who may be dealing with substance abuse.

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Schools and Social Media Part II

Social media can be a very fun resource for anyone but it is often it becomes a major distraction to the education system.
 
Clinton school leaders recently sat down to discuss the rising use of social media and technology and say at it's root, it is a good thing. Superintendent of Clinton Schools Curt Nettles encourages his staff to use sites like Facebook and Twitter to pass along news and happenings in the district.
 
 
While social media has its place in education and society, Nettles says there are youth and adults that like to stir up drama. With full access to the world wide web at all times with smart devices, the drama never ends for some and it can spill into the school system.
 
 
At the junior high level, students are not to have their electronic devices in class. Principal Drew Goebel says they do allow students access to them at lunch and before and after school.
 
 
Goebel is on social media and promotes their school activities through social media. He implores those around youth to exemplify how to use social media appropriately.
 
 
The schools walk a fine line between intervening between what is happening on social media and dealing with it. Nettles says if things disrupt the school day or something threatening has taken place, administrators and authorities can intervene. 
 
The primary sources of social media disturbances occur in the junior high and high school levels. 

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New Gas Station Plans Delayed, Still On

It hasn't happened as quick as organizers had hoped, but a new gas station and convenience store is still in the works in Clinton.
 
At Monday's Clinton City Council Meeting, City Administrator Tim Followell noted the plans for the station have come together a little slower than anticipated.
 
 
The layout for the area calls for the car wash to face the south with the main portion of the building. Followell adds there are going to be eight islands for pumping gas.
 
 
Because of the lay of the land, owners of the to be Mach1 gas station have had to put together a less than ideal layout for their vacuums for the car wash.
 
 
After the delays, Followell says the company is targeting a completion of the first quarter of next year.

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Sen. Rose Plans To Meet With DeWitt County Leaders

A local lawmaker wants to sit down with Clinton and DeWitt County leadership and discuss economic development.
 
State Senator Chapin Rose is planning a trip to Clinton this week and wants to gather with local leadership to discuss some economic development ideas he has.
 
 
Being in Springfield for the series of crises, Sen. Rose says it is tough to get out throughout his massive district. He is dedicating the week to being in his district meeting with constituents.
 
 
The Senator says he's not ready to publicly release what he has in store, he just wants to get in front of people again and get back in touch with the district. 

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Solar Eclipse Viewing Hampered by Cloud Cover In Central Illinois

Some central Illinoisans struggled to cleanly catch the solar eclipse Monday afternoon.
 
Projected around 95% totality locally, the National Weather Service indicates the viewing was difficult in some areas. Chris Geelhart with the National Weather Service in Lincoln notes there were some areas that saw decreased cloud cover for a portion of the viewing.
 
 
The morning provided some scattered showers but Geelhart says those moved off and provided a filtered viewing.
 
 
Temperatures across the area also dropped. Geelhart says they saw temperature drops within about five-degrees across most of the of central Illinois.
 
 
Some radio signals were adversely affected by the solar eclipse, including WHOW THE BIG 1520 AM.  The signal on the east side of Springfield, was cluttered by interference from another station on 1520 coming from Sikeston, Missouri, playing classic country music.  Here's a little of what it sounded like at 1:20 Monday afternoon...a Dish Network ad is what was on WHOW at the time:
 
 
National Weather Service officials note in April of 2024, another eclipse is predicted to track across the US again.

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Schools and Social Media

Bullying has taken center stage in schools in recent years with the spike in school violence.
 
A new avenue of bullying has become social media and local school leaders and law enforcement recently addressed the rising epidemic of bullying online.
 
School Resource Officer through the Clinton Police Department Mike Bennett says social media at its root is a good thing, but the abuse comes when youth begin to misuse it and it causes strife in social circles, and then spills into the school day.
 
 
Bennett says a lot of issues with social media start outside the school setting, but the backlash spills over to the school setting, disrupting the school day.
 
 
The unfiltered access to the internet through smart phones can be dangerous. Officer Bennett sometimes questions if parents realize what is available to students through technology and social media.
 
 
Officer Bennett encourages the students he encounters to be mindful of what they are posting to social media as it can have devastating impacts in the future and for parents, to monitor what their kids are doing online.
 
 
Clinton School leaders recently sat down and talked about social media and its impact on their buildings across the district. Hear some of their thoughts tomorrow on Regional Radio News. 

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Warner Library Switches E-Reader Providers

If you are a patron of the Warner Library and you utilize their online services, you have probably noticed the change recently implemented.
 
If not, administrators at the community library are excited about the switch to Hoopla. Assistant Director Bobbi Perryman says Hoopla should offer their patrons more flexibility.
 
 
Perryman explains their online resources are only available to their patrons. If you are not a patron of the library, just stop in and get yourself a library card and you'll be able to take advantage of the online services when they come available.
 
 
The Warner Library offers free technology assistance services as well for those technologically challenged. For that resource and to find out more about the new online services at the Library, contact them at 217-935-5174 or stop in to 310 North Quincy Street for more information. 

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Miller Park Zoo Readies For Biggest Fundraiser of 2017

The Miller Park Zoo in Bloomington is gearing up for their biggest money making event of the year.
 
The annual Zoo Doo event is a time for residents to come out and support the zoo. Superintendent Jay Tetzloff says they have a live and silent auction along with unique animal encounters.
 
 
This year, Tetzloff explains they are targeting their funds for a couple renovations within the zoo. He says they need more holding areas for their animals during the winter.
 
 
Animal art, vacation trips, behind the scenes to other zoos and sports tickets are just a few of the items up for grabs this year.
 
Tetzloff says they target around 300 but they regularly draw 260. 
 
Tickets are $75 per person and table rates are also available. Visit millerparkzoo.org for ticket information. 

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State Police Promoting Highway Safety For Eclipse

THE ILLINOIS STATE POLICE IS URGING MOTORISTS TO BE PREPARED FOR MONDAY’S ECLIPSE. 
 
FOR STARTERS…IF YOU’RE TRAVELING TO SOUTHERN ILLINOIS WHERE THE ECLIPSE CAN BE VIEWED IN TOTALITY AND SEVERAL EVENTS ARE SCHEDULED, YOU NEED TO PLAN ON A LOT OF TRAFFIC SAYS TROOPER JOEY WATSON.
 
 
THAT INCLUDES I-57, US 51 AND ILLINOIS ROUTE 13 SAYS TROOPER JOEY WATSON.
 
 
SECONDLY, STATE POLICE URGE DRIVERS NOT TO PULL OVER ON THE SIDE OF THE ROAD TO WATCH THE ECLIPSE AND TO KEEP THEIR HEADLIGHTS ON DURING THE EVENT.

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Senate Ag Committee Chair: Goal is to Finish Farm Bill This Year

The Chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee is echoing his House of Representatives counterpart, saying the goal is to get the farm bill to the finish line by the end of this year. 
 
In his home state this week, Senator Pat Roberts of Kansas told farmers and ranchers that the farm bill process is in “good shape.” 
 
The current farm bill will expire at the end of September next year. The House and Senate committees on agriculture are both in the process of holding field hearings around the nation to take input on the next farm bill. 
 
House Agriculture Committee Chair Mike Conaway of Texas previously said the goal is to have the farm bill finished this year and up for a vote in the House early next year.  
 
A House Ag Committee Farm Bill listening session is scheduled to take place at the upcoming Farm Progress Show in Decatur.

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Scams Now Targeting Payroll, Accounting Firms

Scammers posing as representatives with the Internal Revenue Service are getting wise to the fact that the public is now wise to their act and they are seeking other avenues to try and steal taxpayer’s money. 
 
Michael Devine with the IRS says that scammers are now targeting payroll departments and accounting firms and as a result, some folks might consider changing their withholding status.
 
 
Devine adds that changes to withholding status can be made at any time of the year.
 

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Rep. Mitchell Says Wednesday's Vote All About Games

Speaker Mike Madigan playing games is how one local lawmaker described a Wednesday session at the statehouse that saw a bill get introduced to the House of Representatives that did not get any support.
 
State Rep. Bill Mitchell says a vote is off for another week while Illinois schools wait on revenue from the state.
 
 
Rep. Mitchell calls Senate Bill 1 a bailout of Chicago Public Schools. While he wouldn't say which district, he says he has one district in his area that can only last until October or November.
 
Rep. Mitchell points out, the money is available for schools, it is just a matter of Illinois leadership figuring out how it is going to be dispersed across the state.

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CME Group Provides Scholarships for Illinois Agriculture

Agricultural companies are always on the hunt for good employees, but those with college educations can be hard to find. At the Illinois State Fair the world's largest options and futures exchange is hoping to inspire a few more kids to further their education.
 
The CME Group, for the third year in a row at the Illinois State Fair, is providing the kids showing the Grand Champion animals $5000 scholarships for their education funds. This year says CME's Tim Andriesen they've upped that ante a bit and will also provide nine $1000 scholarships. He says this is because agriculture will need a lot of really bright people to provide food for the planet…
                             
This year the scholarships went to kids like Dax Gentes. He's 12 and showed the Champion Meat Rabbit Pen and Kadie Hummel, age10. Her goat was a champion, too. Their parents will put away the scholarship money, and maybe in the future they'll see Tim Andriesen from the CME Group and tell him thanks…
 
 
                   
A scholarship that helps provide an education, and most assuredly a lifetime career. USDA, in a 2015 study, said there are about 58,000 high-skill job openings in U.S. agriculture each year, but only around 35,000 U.S. graduates with bachelors degrees or better to fill those jobs.

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FARM GROUPS URGE FOR MODERNIZATION OF NAFTA

The American Farm Bureau Federation, along with the two largest farm groups in Mexico and Canada, are urging NAFTA negotiators to modernize the agreement, not dismantle it. 
 
In a joint letter to the U.S., Mexican and Canadian governments, the farm organizations call NAFTA one of the biggest success stories for agriculture. AFBF economist Veronica Nigh says the letter calls for unity to protect and improve agricultural trade.
 
       
 
Agricultural trade between the three countries has grown exponentially since the agreement was implemented more than 20 years ago. Nigh says that growth is critical to sustaining the agricultural economy.
 
                    
 
Additionally, the groups outlined priorities that could help improve agricultural trade between the three countries.
                     
 
That’s AFBF economist Veronica Nigh.

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Miller Park Zoo Finding Homes For Snow Leopard Cubs

If you've been to the Miller Park Zoo in the last few years, their baby snow leopard cubs have been a very popular exhibit. 
 
Superintendent of the Miller Park Zoo, Jay Tetzloff explains they have found some homes for their pups in recent months.
 
 
Tetzloff heads the snow leopard breeding program and calls it rewarding to have the zoo be successful in breeding the cubs two years in a row.
 
 
Tetzloff points out, snow leopards are animals made to be solitary. He says when they get separated they generally adjust very quickly. 

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Attorney General Gives Tips For Avoiding Fake Solar Glasses

ATTORNEY GENERAL LISA MADIGAN IS URGING THE PUBLIC TO BE CAREFUL WHEN PURCHASING SOLAR GLASSES FOR MONDAY’S ECLIPSE. 
 
FAKE GLASSES HAVE FLOODED THE MARKET, AND MANY HAVE ALREADY BEEN RECALLED SAYS ATTORNEY GENERAL MADIGAN.
 
 
YOU CAN DO THAT BY CHECKING THE WEBSITE: ECLIPSE DOT AAS DOT ORG FOR A LIST OF APPROVED MANUFACTURERS AND DEALERS. IT’S HARD TO TELL OTHERWISE, BUT YOU CAN LOOK FOR THE CERTIFICATION NUMBER: ISO 12312-2 TO SEE IF YOUR GLASSES HAVE SAFETY APPROVAL.
 
 
VISIT THE WEBSITE: ECLIPSE DOT AAS DOT ORG FOR THE LIST OF APPROVED VENDORS.

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Illinois House Passes Resolution Denouncing Hate Groups

HOUSE LAWMAKERS ARE DENOUNCING HATE GROUPS IN A RESOLUTION PASSED WEDNESDAY. 
 
THE MEASURE, CONDEMNING WHITE SUPREMACISTS AND SIMILAR GROUPS, RECEIVED UNANIMOUS SUPPORT AND ELICITED MOVING SPEECHES FROM SEVERAL LEGISLATORS. REPRESENTATIVE DAVIS HARRIS OF MOUNT PROSPECT:
 
 
REPRESENTATIVE ELGIE SIMS OF CHICAGO SPONSORED THE MEASURE, WHICH WAS SUPPORTED BY ALL OF HIS COLLEAGUES.
 
 
THE SENATE EXPRESSED SIMILAR SENTIMENTS IN A RESOLUTION PASSED OVER THE WEEKEND URGING POLICE TO TREAT THESE HATE GROUPS AS TERRORIST ORGANIZATIONS.

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Sen. Rose Critical of House Delaying Taking Up Governor's Amendatory Veto

This week a separate bill was introduced in the Illinois House to fund schools but it failed without any support from Republicans or Democrats.
 
State Senator Chapin Rose is critical of the House delaying taking action on the Governor's amendatory veto while Illinois schools start classes with no state revenue.
 
 
The House is expected to take up the Governor's amendatory veto Wednesday and Sen. Rose predicts it is going nowhere in the House so at some point a bipartisan bill is going to have to be crafted.

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Scovill Zoo Gearing Up For Annual Fundraiser

The Scovill Zoo's Annual Gala is later this month and administrators are excited for what is in store for this year.
 
Director Ken Frye says this year features a Las Vegas theme with plenty of food and unique animal encounters.
 
 
Scovill Zoo is hoping to add a river otter exhibit in the future and also possible expansion. Frye notes the funds raised also go to help in the every day maintenance needs. 

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Weekly Weather Summary

It was another mild week Illinois but State Climotologist, Jim Angel tells us it's going to get warmer as we go into the new week.
 

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No Parking Meters in Clinton For 90 Days

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

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Warner Hospital Among Area Agencies Mentoring Youth

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

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Quiet, Strong Year For Local Gardeners

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

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Another Solar Eclipse Again Soon?

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

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Jesse White To Run for Sixth Term

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

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Jobless Rate Up In Illinois

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

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Governor Says School Funding Talks Ongoing

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

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Illinois Policy Institute Faces Backlash For Political Cartoon

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

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Chicago's Honest Abe Statue Damaged in Chicago

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

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First Responders Get Free Admission At State Fair Today

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

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August Busy Month for Illinois Farm Bureau

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

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Warner Library Providing Proper Glasses for Eclipse Viewing

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

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Trees Hot Topic At University of Illinois Extension Office

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

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Monticello Readies For Next Entrepreneur Boot Camp Program

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

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House Shoots Down SB1, Madigan Critical of Governor

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

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Market Continues To React To Weather in Short Term

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

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Applications Being Accepted For Firefighter Grant Program

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

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Clinton Schools, Liberty Village Enter Into Safety Agreement

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

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DCDC Addresses Clinton Rotary

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

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Erika Harold Making Run For Attorney General

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

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Governor Signs Series of Ag Bills

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

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Eclipse Brightens Economic Picture For Southern Illinois

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

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Congressman Davis Talks Locks and Dams At State Fair Ag Day

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

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Bill Allows EMTs To Transport Injured Police Dogs To Vets

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

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Liberty Village Hosting Job Fair Wednesday

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

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Head On Collision On Route 10 Last Week

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

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Boy Scout Troop 142 Annual Merit Badge Fair at Exelon

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

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Authorities Discuss School Safety

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

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Heyworth Schools Excited About New 'Fit Pit'

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

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Weekly Crop Report

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

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Soybean Association Addresses Dicamba Use

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

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Midwest Farm Economy Possibly Stabilizing

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

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

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

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Fairgrounds Foundation Hopes To Having Naming Rights For Buildings

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

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

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

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Bill Prevents Preschoolers From Being Expelled

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

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

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

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Angel Tree Being Replaced With New Program

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

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Authorities Talk Start of School

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

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Local Senators Vote Against SB1

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

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Rauner Comments on SB 1 Override

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

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Mattoon's GE Plant Closing Its Doors

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

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

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

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

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

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Visit Conservation World At State Fair

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

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Former WHOW DJ Remembers Square Dance Show

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

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Sen. Rose Bill On Procurement Passes

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

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New Law Allows Offenders To Receive Free Copy of Birth Certificate

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

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Weekly Weather Summary

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

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RFD Broadcaster Discusses RFD, WHOW History

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

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Summer Maintenance Work Underway

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

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Frontier Customers Experience Short Outages

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

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Rauner Says He Could Have Handled Senate Bill 1 Differently

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

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Manar, Scherer Rally For Senate Bill 1

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

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High Dive Show Getting Boot from State Fair Lineup

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

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Former WHOW Station Manager Remembers His Time At WHOW

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

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Staunton Classic Car Spot Suffers Significant Damage

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

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Longtime Food Vendors Named State Fair Grand Marshalls

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

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Governor To Officially Open State Fair

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

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Agency Inspecting All State Fair Rides

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

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Food Trucks Taking on Bigger Role At State Fair

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

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2017 State Fair Butter Cow Unveiled

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

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Boil Order Issued In Clinton

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

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CJHS Hosting A Pair Meet and Greet Opportunities This Week

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

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Former Mayor Edmunds Remembers WHOW

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

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Scams Continue To Hammer Local Residents

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

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State Fair Unveils 'Thrillville'

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

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Governor Signs Cybersecurity Measure

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

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Governor Says No To Mendoza, Frerichs Push To Borrow

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

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August Cooler Than Normal So Far

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

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WHOW Donates Items To Warner Library

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

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Heyworth Schools Excited About Opportunities With New Greenhouse

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

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U.S. Agriculture Secretary Visits Central Illinois Monday

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

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Weekly Crop Report

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

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Treasurer Feels For Schools

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

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National Imminuzation Month

This is National Immunization Awareness Month. It serves as a perfect reminder for back to school shots, but adults may want to take notice also says Sue Grant with the McLean County Health Department. 
 
 
Grant also recommends adults over 60 get the shingles vaccination. Contact your local health department for more information on immunizations. 
 

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Better Business Bureau Warns of House Flipping Risks

Have you seen house-flipping shows on television and thought it's something you might want to try? 
 
The Better Business Bureau is advising caution when signing up for seminars using well-recognized names to endorse the product. Some consumers have filed complaints with the agency saying they didn't get what they paid for. 
 
BBB Investigator Don O'Brien says most complaints to the Better Business Bureau are from customers claiming they felt the business mislead them about the potential value of its programs, trying to up-sell them once they got to the event.
 
 
These programs can cost several thousands of dollars. O'Brien says before paying anything, know what you are getting for your money, and pay by credit card if possible in case you need to challenge the charge.

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Jeff Hoke Named Clinton Fire Chief

Jeff Hoke is the new Fire Chief for the Clinton Fire Department. 
 
Monday night at the Clinton City Council Meeting, a fire chief was named for the first time since May of 2015 when former-Chief Shawn Milton resigned. Hoke is a 30 year veteran of the fire department and says he hopes to keep the momentum of building numbers and getting younger within the volunteers.
 
 
Along with Hoke, Steven Page was named assistant fire Chief Monday night.
 
Pictured above (left to right): Page, Hoke and Safety Commissioner Danny Ballenger.

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YMCA Strong Kids Campaign Ongoing Through Summer

The Strong Kids Campaign at the YMCA is still ongoing as the summer starts to wind down.
 
Executive Director Rennie Cluver indicates the Strong Kids Campaign is a fund drive they take on to help subsidize the funds they pour back into their programs. He explains they provide scholarships for kids and that can up to as much as $150-thousand.
 
 
The Strong Kids campaign tends to start earlier but Cluver says they moved it back and that is why it is still going on in the summer. He notes their goal remains $100-thousand for the year and they are starting a last minute push with the summer winding down.
 
 
Cluver indicates the Y is getting close to that $100-thousand goal. If you have not been contacted by the YMCA but would like to donate, contact Cluver by calling 217-935-8307. 

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Hunters Encouraged To Be Proactive for Upcoming Hunting Season

The thick of the hunting season is still a couple months away but local conservation authorities are encouraging hunters to be proactive now to avoid issues when the season is in full swing.
 
Department of Natural Resources Conservation Police Officer John Williamson says it's not too early to get out and check on those tree stands. In the midst of a mild stretch, now is a perfect time to get out and check those.
 
 
Williamson stresses to check the straps and connections to the trees for the stands. He says often times with the variance in weather, those straps and supports can deteriorate very quickly.
 
 
If you need to get into a safety course, Williamson says this is the time of year to get in for one. He says they are taking place all over the area and state and they can even be done online.
 
 
Squirrel season is underway in Illinois. Other seasons include dove season and then deer and water fowl. 
 
Williamson encourages a visit to illinois.dnr.gov for any information regarding hunting seasons and safety courses. 

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Children's Advocacy Center Celebrating Latest Grant

In a time when grant funding is harder and harder to come by, one area agency aimed at protecting children is celebrating being able to receive one.
 
The Children's Advocacy Center is celebrating receiving a grant that is going to allow them to expand their services and improve their facilities. Executive Director Judy Brucker indicates it is a huge victory for their organization.
 
 
According to Brucker, the grant allows them to provide more resources for parents in a difficult situation. She notes the grant allows to the cover DeWitt and Livingston Counties in addition to the main office in McLean County.
 
 
The Children's Advocacy Center could not survive without grants which makes the grant a huge victory for their office.
 
 
Brucker notes the grant is likely for a minimum of three years, though they will have to re-apply each year, she hopes to get those positions hired soon and begin their expansion.

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Illinois, Iowa Corn Growers Highlight Aging Lock and Dam System

The Illinois Corn Growers Association and Iowa Corn Growers Association bringing attention to the aging lock and dam system on the upper Mississippi River. 
 
They hosted a barge tour last Friday with the featured stop--Lock and Dam 15 in Rock Island--built in 1934—it’s suffering from a crumbling guide wall. Paul Rohde of the Midwest Waterways Council moderated the tour. He says funds for both operation and maintenance and construction are crucial for inland waterways.
 
 
If you think Lock and Dam 15 is in poor shape, you should see the La Grange Lock and Dam on the Illinois River near Meredosia. Not pretty says Marty Hettle—chairman of the Inland Waterways Users Board.
 
 
Illinois Senator Tammy Duckworth and Iowa Congressmen Rod Blum and Dave Loebsack participated in Friday’s barge tour. 

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Davis continues to call for kinder, gentler politics

Weeks after a baseball practice Congressman Rodney Davis will never forget, his quest for a less hostile political climate continues. Davis continues to be haunted by the actions of a shooter from Belleville who opened fire on a GOP Congressional baseball practice in Northern Virginia. He was disturbed to learn of negative social media posts remarking on the drug overdose death of the son of Nashville, Tennessee Mayor Megan Barry.....
 
 
Davis says enough is enough with social media posters who go over the line....
 
 
Davis notes his biggest concern is about the impact of extreme comments on families. 

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Illinois EPA Files Community Water Supply Rules with Pollution Control Board

Illinois Environmental Protection Agency Director Alec Messina announced Thursday at the Agency has submitted new rules and revisions to the Illinois Pollution Control Board adressing community water supplies.
 
The new Part 604 to the Illinois Pollution Control Board rules consolidates current community water supply operation, design and maintenance rules into a single, cohesive part.  The current rules have not been updated since the 1980s and are spread out over five different areas within the Board’s rules. 
 
“The new rules establish a concise and understandable framework for ensuring the protection of Illinois water consumers,” said Director Messina. “These changes are based on common sense and sound engineering practices.”
 
The regulatory proposal includes Operating Permits by Rule for water main extensions and construction projects not requiring disinfection.  The Illinois EPA estimates that this will expedite up to 80 percent of permit applications received by the Agency each year.  
 
By expediting these permits, water systems will be able to put projects into service more rapidly and therefore minimize the disruption of water service to Illinois consumers.  
 
Additionally, the proposed rules reduce costs to those systems by decreasing regulatory uncertainties which exist with outdated rules found in different parts.

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NFU Asks Congress To Strengthen Farm Safety Net

The agriculture economy, nationwide, continues to struggle. And because of that many commodity prices remain low, translating into many small farmers and ranchers that are struggling.
 
Roger Johnson, President of the National Farmers Union, recently told the Senate Ag Committee it’s important that the 2018 Farm Bill provide “meaningful assistance in two fundamental circumstances…
 
                 
 
Johnson noted that much discussion and debate around the new Farm Bill has centered on programs that fit a particular budget…
 
                               
 
Johnson urged the Committee to raise reference prices under the Price Loss Coverage program, improve the operability of Agriculture Risk Coverage, return cotton as a covered commodity, and rework the dairy safety net.
 
Johnson also stressed the vital importance of crop insurance, an essential risk management tool for family farmers, which he said is constantly under threat of budget cuts in Congress.

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IDOT Plans Interstate Closures in Metro-East

The Illinois Department of Transportation will soon begin a road resurfacing project that will detour traffic from I-270 north to Wood River. IDOT engineer John Adcock says microsurfacing on I-270 from Illinois Route 3 to the 55 / 70 interchange will begin Friday, August 11 at 9pm, running through Monday, August 14 at 5am.
 
 
A similar project will close westbound Interstate 55/70 from Route 203 near Gateway Motorsports Park to the 55/70/64 interchange this weekend. You can keep up with road closures statewide through at www.gettingaroundillinois.com
 

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The Macon County Farm Bureau has come out against a proposed beltway around Decatur's east side.

In a release issued Friday, Macon County Farm Bureau President, Mike Stacey, says the Farm Bureau has been closely following the recent discussions of the Decatur City Council and Macon County Board on the proposed East Beltway project.  He states the MCFB Board of Directors voted to oppose Phase 1 of the project due to the unknown potential impact the current planned route of the project may have on the Farm Progress Show grounds and the surrounding farmland.
 
Stacey says -quote-"The Macon County Farm Bureau has major concerns about the proposed East Beltway project in its entirety.  With the current financial climate and the number of county and state roads that are in serious need of repair, we feel funds should be spent on maintaining our current infrastructure." -end quote-
 
Stacey added that the Farm Bureau understands the desire to alleviate some of the traffic congestion, but believe utilizing and maintaining prime farmland and fiscal responsibility are of the utmost importance.  
The Macon County Farm Bureau looks forward to working with the city and county governments to voice their concerns.

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Monsanto Addresses Dicamba Issues in Open Letter

In an open letter to customers, Monsanto says the company is committed to supporting farmers at every stage of the growing season. Monsanto, the maker of the Roundup Ready 2 Xtend crop system that includes the dicamba herbicide formulation XtendiMax, responded in the letter to complaints of dicamba drift injury to non-tolerant crops. Monsanto says that many farmers are “experiencing tremendous success” with the crop system, but adds that they are hearing the reports of leaf cupping in nearby soybean fields, which could be attributable to dicamba. The company says it is “taking these reports extremely seriously.” Monsanto has taken action and has a report line available to report any symptoms of dicamba drift at 1-844-RRXTEND. Monsanto says it has also deployed scientists from The Climate Corporation to review weather data and how it may have affected applications. Finally, the open letter penned by Monsanto’s Chief Technology Officer Rob Fraley says the company will continue to expand outreach and training efforts going into 2018.
 
You can view the full letter in a link on IllinoisFarmRadio.com.

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DCRA Hosting Tour of Homes This Weekend

It should be a fantastic weekend to take a tour of some local treasures to benefit a local non-profit organization.
 
The DeWitt County Restoration Association, or DCRA, is aimed at restoring a once prominent hot spot on the downtown square is hosting an annual event this weekend. Becky Adams indicates their tour of homes this year includes local gardens and they are doing it earlier in the year this time around.
 
 
Adams says they are excited about all the homes but the downtown square has a renovated penthouse that is going to be on display. She says this is a rare opportunity to see the home that is above MR Systems Technology.
 
 
A garden on display for the Sunday tour is a huge garden that is owned by a former teacher at Clinton High School. Adams says it is quite the display and thinks those that attend will really enjoy it.
 
 
The DCRA's Magill Hotel lower floor tenant, Edward Jones Financial Advisor Bryce Starkey will be on display for area resident to check out the development that took place from earlier this year. 
 
The Tour of Homes is Sunday from 1 to 5 pm. You can get tickets to the event at several places in Clinton including the Chamber of Commerce and Brady Realtors and Graves Stationers. 

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Fair May Have Freakout Ride Back in Carnival

The State Fair is underway next week and this year comes with challenges for fair officials. 
 
The Ohio State Fair recently had a death after a carnival ride malfunctioned. The initial reaction from the Illinois Department of Agriculture and the ride inspectors at the Department of Labor was to ban a ride similar to the one that killed a person in Ohio. 
 
That ride, the “Freakout”, and the decision to keep it off the Midway has been changed. 
 
 
Gordon says the other thing the fair wants to avoid is another 100 year flood on the grounds. 
 
Last year 7 inches of rain in a few hours submerged parts of the Happy Hollow area leaving campers flooded and fair goers looking for higher ground. 

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Senate Bill 1 Being Discussed

Democrats and Republicans are negotiating to find a compromise for Senate Bill 1, the highly-publicized school funding reform bill. 
 
Negotiations between lawmakers of both parties started Wednesday morning and continued into Thursday. 48th District State Senator Andy Manar was a part of those discussions. He says he’s hopeful something will get done out of these bi-partisan talks.
 
 
Manar says the group will continue to meet, and they aren’t giving up on reaching a compromise.
 
 
Manar and his counterparts are on the clock for getting an evidence-based funding model like Senate Bill 1 into law. School districts are supposed to receive their first state aid payment for the new fiscal year on August 10th.

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E-10 Tax Credit Expires in Illinois

A casualty of the state budget talks earlier this summer was the sales tax credit for gasoline containing 10-percent ethanol or E-10. But the impact at the pump will be minimal. 
 
The Illinois Corn Grower Association’s Tricia Braid says there’s a myth the move will cause a 10-to-11 cent increase in a gallon of gasoline. She says that’s just not true.
 
 
With the E-10 sales tax credit gone, the state anticipates a $95-to-$100-million added bump in revenue. 
 
Braid says the tax credit served its purpose as 95-percent of all gasoline sold in Illinois is now E-10. 

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Durbin Wants To Boost Trade With Cuba

Senator Dick Durbin is seeking better trade opportunities with Cuba. 
 
He's joining Oregon Democrat Ron Wyden in introducing the U.S.-Cuba Trade Act of 2017, which would repeal sanctions that Durbin calls outdated and establish normal trade relations with the island nation. 
 
International Trade Commission figures show easing U.S. restrictions on trade and business with Cuba could increase U.S. exports by $1.4 billion annually in the next five years.

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Rep. Bill Mitchell Announces Retirement; Farmers, Veterans Among Those To Express Thanks

State Representative Bill Mitchell will be retiring from the Illinois General Assembly at the end of his term in 2019.
 
The 101st District representative made the DeWitt County Courthouse his location to announce his retirement and calls it an honor to serve the people of central Illinois, a district that has undergone change several times in his 20 years of service.
 
 
Representing the DeWitt County Farm Bureau, Terry Ferguson called Rep. Mitchell a good friend to the agriculture community.
 
 
Speaking for the veterans organizations of the County, Ron DeVore thanked Representative Mitchell for the many years of coordination with them. Rep. Mitchell was instrumental in the paving of a new parking lot for the America Legion building on Elizabeth Street.
 
 
Looking back at votes the Representative would take back and go a different way on, Mitchell says the medical marijuana vote is one he would have voted in favor of instead of against. He did not shy away from the recent tax increase vote he voted in favor of. Rep. Mitchell says he would not change that vote.
 
 
Mitchell felt his prediction of the budget crisis all the way back to 2002 with legislation to prevent the increased spending of government was something he was proud of and felt if his legislation would have passed, perhaps Illinois would not be in the mess they are.
 
 
Mitchell briefly brought up the victory of the Clinton Power Station and was recognized by several audience members for his work, along with numerous others, in getting legislation passed to keep Exelon in DeWitt County. 
 
The Representative says he will serve out the remainder of his term with plans to stay in central Illinois in his post-retirement years. 

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WHOW Celebrating 70th Anniversary Saturday

We're just 2 days away from the WHOW 70th Anniversary Show and Open House, taking place this Saturday from 10 til 4.
Listen as we interview former WHOW staff, and hear some of the music that was played in the early years of the station.
 
The Big Red Barn will also be open for tours, and some station memorbalia will also be shown off.
 
Light refreshments will be served.
 
Tune in or come by this Saturday from 10 til 4 during WHOW's 70th Anniversary Show and Open House.

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Cerro Gordo Schools Join Band of Schools for CEO Program Partnership

Around a dozen DeWitt, Macon and Piatt County Schools are joining forces to create a strong band of partnerships to start up entrepeneurial opportunities for their high school students.
 
Cerro Gordo Schools are one of the latest among eleven schools to join together to create two groups of five and six schools in the creation of a CEO program. Superintendent Brett Robinson explains this program is taking off and they want to be a part of it.
 
 
Robinson indicates schools like Argenta-Oreana and Monticello will band together to create community support to help get the program off the ground.
 
 
Cerro Gordo became involved in the program through Monticello Schools. The original program was going to be a Monticello/Clinton partnership but their school leaders wanted to get more involved in the opportunity.
 
 
Robinson says they will probably need about two years to get the program ready and financed. He hopes to have it up and running by the 2019-2020 school year.
 
He feels it gives their students a leg up and a solid transition to the next stage of their lives. 

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RECORD HARVEST LEVELS NOT LIKELY THIS YEAR

Crop condition ratings for corn and soybeans are below year-ago levels, as recorded in the USDA’s latest crop conditions report this week. 
 
American Farm Bureau Federation market intelligence director John Newton says this year has been a challenge for growers, with excessive moisture and planting delays this spring, and drought conditions in parts of the upper Midwest.
 
          
 
Newton says the upcoming crop production report next week could provide better market direction heading into harvest season.
 
    
 
Newton says more data is available regarding yield expectations on the Farm Bureau Market Intel webpage.
 
 
That information can be found at FB.org/marketintel.

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NDAA To Rebuild Military and Reduce Pentagon Waste

Congressman Davis voted in support of the Fiscal Year 2018 National Defense Authorization Act which aims to rebuild the military, reduce Pentagon waste, and support our troops and their families.
 
Davis recently traveled to the Middle East and met with leaders of Jordan, Egypt, and Israel. Davis says those meetings solidified his view that "now is the not the time to continue cuts to our national defense." 
 
 
Highlights of the NDAA include an increase in defense spending by 10 percent, increased missile defense funding, and a 2.4 percent pay raise for troops.

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Historic Gillett Farm To Be Sold At Auction

There's a legendary piece of real estate available overlooking a cozy town of nearly 400 people. The historic and enormous Old Gillett Farm on Elkhart Hill outside Elkhart in Logan County will be sold at auction August 10th in Springfield. 
 
The 785 acre farm, sitting some 800 feet high, was founded by John Dean Gillett, a man known in the mid 19th Century as the “Cattle King of the World.” He was a close friend of Abraham Lincoln. Michael Fine with Chicago based Fine and Company says selling off the farm has been a one of a kind experience.
 
 
Fine says the property has a history of VIP visitors...
 
 
Earnest Hemingway passed through on his way to Florida and Marshall Field would stop his private train car to join Gilett on trips to the Kentucky Derby.

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Farmers Indicate Higher Outlook on Farm Economy

Farmers surveyed as part of the Purdue/CME Group Ag Economy Barometer indicated more optimism in July because of better commodity prices expectations this fall. 
 
The monthly survey for July reached 139, its highest level since January 2017, and its second-highest level since data collection began in October 2015. The increase continues a trend seen over the summer of more optimism regarding the future of the agriculture economy. 
 
The forward-looking measure of sentiment, the Index of Future Expectations, climbed seven points in July to 138. A measure above 100 indicates optimism, while a measure below 100 indicates pessimism regarding the farm economy. In July, farmers were asked if they expect to see higher, lower, or about the same grain, oilseed and cotton prices in the next 12 months. 
 
Many indicated they expected to see higher commodity prices through the next year. The improvement in producers’ expectations for commodity prices corresponded with early summer market activity. 
 
Wheat futures prices, driven by drought conditions in the Northern Great Plains, have been the most active, but uncertainty about the corn and soybean growing seasons has also contributed to market volatility.

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Farmers Responding To Waters of the US Petition Drive

Farmers weren’t happy with the “waters of the U.S.” or WOTUS definition in the 1980’s, but they say it’s better than the 2015 update, which gave the federal government broader over-site regarding water and land issues. 
 
 
That’s Illinois Farm Bureau’s Lauren Lurkins. She’s says the plan is to have a rewrite of the rule by the end of the year. 
 
 
Lurkins says a petition drive supporting a federal rule to repeal the 2015 “WOTUS” definition already has 1,200 signatures from Illinois farmers in just two days with the goal of reaching 2,500 by August 21st. 

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Durbin Gives Trump Rare Compliment

Man Bites Dog, Peace in the Middle East and Durbin praises Trump. All seem like unlikely headlines but the last of the three scenarios is not fake news. 
 
Senator Dick Durbin thanks the President for keeping the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program in place.
 
 
DACA grants temporary reprieve from deportation to certain undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children. So far 790,000 young people have benefited from the program and Durbin says they've gone on to careers like nursing and engineering while others have become small business owners.

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Ameren Trucks Now Equipped With AED's

Ameren Illinois has installed automatic external defibrillators or AEDs on nearly 240 trucks across its territory. Karen Boulanger ( boo-lon-jay ) is the Safety Director for Ameren and she says the AEDs can mean the difference between life and death.
 
 
While Ameren crews can use the equipment and training to help the general public if necessary, citizens are still advised to call 911 in the event of an emergency.

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WHOW Celebrating 70th Anniversary Saturday

August 2nd, 1947, was a very special day for Clinton and DeWitt County.  That was the date a group of Clinton citizens, turned on Clinton's very own radio station, WHOW THE BIG 1520.
 
70 years later, WHOW continues to serve Central Illinois with local information, agriculture coverage, and the best in talk.
 
To celebrate WHOW's 70 years on the air, the station's having both an on-air party and open house this Saturday from 10 til 4, at the Big Red Barn 4 miles south of Clinton.
 
Station personnel will be on hand to give tours, there'll be station memorbalia to view, and light refreshments will be served.
 
Former station staff will be on the air all day, reviewing their memories about WHOW in the time they served.
 
Tune in and come by this Saturday from 10 til 4 at the Big Red Barn south of Clinton, as WHOW THE BIG 1520 celebrates its 70th Anniversary.

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Edmunds Discusses Impact of State Budget on Clinton at Latest Rotary Meeting

The Commissioner of Public Finance for the City of Clinton spoke before the Clinton Rotary Club Tuesday afternoon addressing the State's budget and it's impact on Clinton.
 
Sweeping funds is nothing new for the State of Illinois and Tom Edmunds points out the latest fund sweep comes from the Corporate Personal Property Replacement Tax, or CPPRT.
 
 
Edmunds points out the collection of sales tax monies is going to change. He calls the original presentation of the change 'misleading' and indicates the City now has to pay a 2% fee on $330-thousand in revenue.
 
 
Local pensions were impacted by the budget as well. Edmunds explains the community has been very diligent in fully funding first responders pensions. 
 
 
Edmunds says the state still hasn't addressed their own pensions or the property tax freeze and speculates more changes in the years ahead. 

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Apple and Pork On Horizon

Local residents may not be thinking about the end of September and the Apple and Pork Festival but organizers are readying for the biggest event in DeWitt County.
 
Director of the DeWitt County Museum Joey Woolridge says the flea market is quickly filling up and everything is starting to come together with a few months still to go.
 
 
Plans for the Apple and Pork Festival really heat up in January. Woolridge indicates that's when they start working on who will man certain food booths and they coordinate their volunteer base.
 
 
Woolridge indicates this year's apple cider is going to have a customized label for the homestead.
 
The annual festival takes place September 23 and 24. 

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Rauner Unaware of Process Moving Forward

As promised Governor Bruce Rauner issued an amendatory veto on Senate Bill 1. But the Republican may be confused about the process for the bill. 
 
Rauner told reporters yesterday that all lawmakers need to do, in order to uphold his wishes on changes to school funding is pass them with a simple majority.
 
 
Rauner’s staff later admitted that it would take more than a simple majority to support the Governor’s changes. Legislation passed after May 31st that takes immediate effect needs a three fifths vote. 
 
The Senate is scheduled to read the amendatory veto into record today, starting the 15 day clock for action the bill. 

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Schools Will Still Open if State Misses First Payment

Even if the state misses the August 10th deadline for the first general state aid payments this fiscal year, all schools should still open on-time. 
 
That’s what Kevin Semlow is hearing. He’s the Director of State Legislation at the Illinois Farm Bureau.
 
 
Money for state aid payments won’t be released until final agreement is reached on school funding reform. 
 
On Tuesday, Governor Rauner issued an amendatory veto for Senate Bill 1 because of money going to Chicago teacher pensions. Lawmakers can either agree with the Governor or override him in each chamber. 
 
If neither action is taken, the bill dies and the legislature will have to start over again.

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Governor Veto's Parts of Education Funding Plan

As promised Bruce Rauner issued an amendatory veto on Senate Bill 1, which was sent to his desk yesterday.
 
 
Rauner’s veto among other things removed a minimum funding requirement, the Chicago block grant and takes the pension considerations from Chicago schools and removes them from the funding formula. 
 
The bill now needs to be read back into the Senate record and then acted upon in the next 15 days. The Senate can approve the changes or try to override the changes and pass the bill that originally was sent to Rauner. 

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Warner Hospital and Health Services Reports Strong Patient Satisfaction Scores

Surveys of patients through Warner Hospital and Health Services are increasingly important in today's health care system.
 
That is why an increase in the scores of their patients means a lot to Warner Hospital and Health Services Administrators. CEO Paul Skowron notes besides the beneficial local impact, it's something that is being analyzed at a national level also.
 
 
Skowron feels the increase in their patient satisfaction scores are the benefits of the new image the City owned entity has wanted to create.
 
 
Medicare covers around 45% of the revenue at Warner Hospital and Health Services. Skowron notes, besides wanting to be a good community partner in health care, the patient satisfaction scores carry a lot of weight financially. 

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Central Illinois Very Dry During July

Central Illinois could use a good rain fall.
 
That is the message from the National Weather Service in Lincoln. Meteorologist Chris Miller points out, Farmer City in DeWitt County was actually one of the driest place in the area.
 
 
With local fields being dry, rain is much needed right now. Miller says we'll remain cool and dry for another week but expect conditions and rainfall to normalize.
 
 
Miller says the last two summers have been unusual. He points out the rains have come early and then become hot and humid with no rain in June and July. 

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Ag Jobs Available, Trained Employees Lacking

Agriculture jobs are plentiful across the country, but there aren’t enough people to fill those jobs according to one state official. 
 
Illinois Department of Agriculture Director Raymond Poe says one study says there will be about 58,000 new agriculture jobs over the next five years, but only 35,000 college graduates will be trained to fill those positions. Poe says these jobs are the kind of jobs people are looking for in today’s economy.
 
 
Poe says the possibilities in agriculture are endless, and that the jobs in agriculture “aren’t just driving a tractor anymore.”

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Weekly Crop Report

SPOTTY RAIN SHOWERS MARKED THE PAST WEEK AS WE HEAR IN THE LATEST CROP REPORT. 
 
SOME AREAS RECEIVED A LOT OF RAIN…SOME NOT ENOUGH…LEAVING AVERAGE STATEWIDE TOPSOIL MOISTURE AT EIGHT PERCENT VERY SHORT, 21 PERCENT SHORT, 67 PERCENT ADEQUATE AND FOUR PERCENT SURPLUS. 
CROP STATISTICIAN MARK SCHLEUSENER SAYS CORN SILKING JUMPED AHEAD TO 93 PERCENT COMPLETE.
 
 
88 PERCENT OF SOYBEANS ARE BLOOMING AND 50 PERCENT ARE SETTING PODS. 
 
 
71 PERCENT OF SORGHUM HAS HEADED AND TWO PERCENT IS TURNING COLOR. THE THIRD CUTTING OF ALFALFA IS NOW 35 PERCENT COMPLETE.

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State Fair Adds Eating Contests, Game Shows

The Illinois State Fair is adding a game show type atmosphere this year. 
 
They're also offering a competition that is literally too much for some people to stomach, competitive eating. State Agriculture spokeswoman Rebecca Clark.
 
 
Competitive eating events will take place each full day of the fair at 3pm at on the new Rising Star Stage, near the Lincoln Stage. . Some of the foods include watermelon, corn dogs, mini doughnuts, sweet corn and funnel cake. 

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Special Session Costs Kept at 2012 Levels

State legislators are wrapping up a special session today and it’s come at cost. 
 
Roughly the each day of special session cost the state $28,000. That includes a $111 a day stipend for all 176 legislators and a mileage reimbursement for those who request it. 
 
But the payout to lawmakers hasn’t changed for a number of years and this year is no different. Republican Governor Bruce Rauner signed a freeze on per diems to lawmakers.
 
 
Many lawmakers choose not to take the extra money and those that have are often still waiting for a check. The per diem payouts are sitting in the same backlog as billions in other state payments.

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Senate Bill 1 On Governor's Desk

Two months after passage of a plan to change the way schools in Illinois are funded the bill that does just that is waiting for the Governor’s signature. But that’s an outcome that no one thinks possible. 
 
Bruce Rauner has promised to veto Senate Bill 1 once he gets it on his desk. The Governor got the bill yesterday but didn’t act immediately to veto it. There was last minute hope at the state house that Republicans and Democrats could find a compromise on sticky issues surrounding funding for the Chicago Public Schools. 
 
But Republican Senator Jason Barickman says Democrats were not looking for true compromise.
 
 
Once the Governor veto’s the bill the Senate has 15 days to act or the bill dies and the process would have to start all over again. 

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Republicans Asking For Compromise on Senate Bill 1

Yesterday was the final day of the special session at the Illinois Capitol. The Governor plans to veto parts of the education funding bill that Senate President John Cullerton is sending him, Republicans say hurry up and so all parties can work out a compromise. House Minority Leader Jim Durkin…
 
 
Small groups of Democrats and Republicans were supposed to be meeting this weekend to find common ground on the funding formula changes proposed in Senate Bill 1.

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Farmers Facing What To Do With Old Crop

What to do with old crop in storage?
 
That’s one of the key questions facing farmers as they await next week’s USDA crop production report. Agrivisor analyst Dale Durcholz offers this advice.
 
 
The next Crop Production Report will be issued by the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service on August 10th. 

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