Local News

Paul Simon Public Policy Institute Celebrating 20 Years At SIU

The Paul Simon Public Policy Institute celebrating 20-years at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. 
 
Interim Director Jak Tichenor says one of the institute’s programs will be on display this weekend.
 
 
The non-partisan institute was founded in 1997 by late U.S. Senator Paul Simon. 

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Soybean Association Seeks Answers to Dicamba Drift

The dicamba drift issue across the country is growing, and the American Soybean Association says the industry must intensify efforts to determine the causes and remedies. Non-dicamba tolerant soybeans and other crops have been damaged this season, and while the number of reported cases is growing, ASA President Ron Moore stipulates this is not a human health problem…
 
         
 
Moore says it’s time to learn what happened, and they’re working with universities and herbicide providers in conjunction with the national soybean checkoff to make those determinations…
 
                  
 
Moore was asked if the dicamba drift research is being fast tracked at the universities…
 
                  
 
He added it’s imperative that soybean farmers have new technology to fight resistant weeds, so research and education are imperative to preserve the new technology provided by Roundup Ready 2 Xtend soybeans and the dicamba-based herbicides approved for the system.

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Weekly Weather Summary

Illinois finally found relief from a 10-day heat wave this week but will the heat return as we head into October? State Climotologist Jim Angel indicates what we can expect this week.
 

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Annual Baum Chevrolet Buick Car Show Raises Over $6000 for The Vault

The annual car show at Baum Chevrolet Buick in Clinton raised over $6000 for the Vault in Clinton.
 
Wanda Earl with Baum Chevy Buick indicates they had just short of 200 cars for the annual show and raised over $6000 for their charity of choice, The Vault.
 
 
Director of The Vault, Michelle Witzke says she is overwhelmed with thankfulness for the efforts of Scott Baum and his staff.
 
 
The annual car show takes place at the lot of the Baum Chevrolet Buick dealership off Route 54 in Clinton on the Sunday of Apple and Pork Weekend. 

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The Soldiers Plot Documentary A Long Time In The Making

The team responsible for a documentary being released this weekend about DeWitt County soldiers, unearthed some surprises along the way in the production process and are excited about what they have to share.
 
Tony Long was the primary producer of the documentary, The Soldiers Plot, which will premier this weekend in Clinton. He indicates in the months of work on the production, he encountered several surprises along the way.
 
 
The connection in the documentary stretch across the county as Long explains, a Farmer City doctor who was a prodigy of Dr. John Warner, crops up in their research.
 
 
Yesterday on Regional Radio News, Long discussed a connection between Warner and Ulysses S. Grant. Not giving away too many details and the story, he previews what that connection was all about.
 
 
The premier of the documentary, The Soldiers Plot, is this Saturday at 6:30 pm at the DeWitt County Museum. Admittance is $10 and there will be a discussion to follow the showing.
 
There is also a special showing a week from Saturday, October 6, also at the DeWitt County Museum and also at 6:30 pm. 

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Authorities Discuss Harvest Time Safety

Harvest time is in full swing in Central Illinois and local authorities are discussing safety while the heavy machinery and implements are out and about on rural roadways.
 
Clinton Police Chief Ben Lowers says give yourself extra time as you travel on rural roadways and eliminate the distracted driving.
 
 
With the crops coming out of the ground, the deer of central Illinois will be migrating more to take advantage of the spillage of those grains. Chief Lowers says with their increased movement, the deer-car accidents annual spike this time of the year.
 
 
The harvest is getting a late start for some farmers this year because the fields did not dry out as usual. Expect implements to be out and about throughout the month of October and even into November in some places. 

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Rep. Mitchell Not Happy With Governor Signing Abortion Bill

An action with major implications for the upcoming election, Gov. Bruce Rauner today announced he has signed into law a bill that guarantees abortion rights in the state and authorizes insurance coverage for the procedure.
 
 State Representative Bill Mitchell is upset with Governor Rauner is an understatement. According to Mitchell, the governor told Mitchell and his House Republican colleagues that he was going to veto the bill.
 
 
The Bill passed the General Assembly earlier this year. 

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SOS Supports DACA Suit Against Trump

Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White is announcing his support of Attorney General Lisa Madigan's joint lawsuit against President Trump in his attempt to rescind the DACA program for young undocumented immigrations. 
 
Madigan joined 15 of her Attorney General colleagues in the lawsuit. 
 
White says DACA program "Dreamers" are displaying the values that we in the United States consider so important: getting an education, working hard, raising families and contributing to their communities,” White said, and noting that Dreamers receive background checks, attend colleges and universities, have work authorizations and serve in the United States Military.

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Supreme Court To Weigh In On Fair Share Union Dues in Illinois

Gov. Bruce Rauner is giving a thumbs up to the U.S. Supreme Court announcement that they will decide whether non-union state employees must pay "fair share" fees to cover bargaining costs. 
 
The high court announced it will hear an Illinois case involving Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services employee Mark Janus. 
 
He says that forcing him to pay union fees to AFSCME Council 31 violates his First Amendment rights.

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Rauner Signs Abortion Legislation

Governor Rauner has entered treacherous political waters and made his decision on House Bill 40, the legislation that expands abortion coverage for women insured by medicaid and the state employees group insurance. 
 
Rauner said one of the reasons he signed the legislation is because he believes pro-choice decisions shouldn't be based on a woman's bank balance.
 
 
Rauner said he tried to find a political solution on the issue but there seemed to be no middle ground available.
 
 
The legislation would also prevent abortions from becoming illegal if Roe V Wade is overturned by the Supreme Court. 

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Adequate Propane Supplies Entering Grain Drying, Home Heating Season

With grain drying and home heating seasons nearing, propane supplies are in good shape. So says Harry Cooney with GROWMARK. Lower moisture levels in corn should lessen demand for propane this fall.
 
 
And as for the winter home heating season, Cooney says propane stocks are right where they should be.
 
 
Cooney expects demand to be normal to below normal for propane this winter with most long-range weather models projecting normal to above normal temperatures. 

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Documentary About DeWitt County Soldiers Coming Out This Weekend

The history of soldiers in DeWitt County is the theme of a documentary to be released this weekend at the DeWitt County Museum.
 
Tony Long is the producer and director of The Soldiers Plot to be released this weekend in a special showing at the DeWitt County Museum. He says it follows the stories of DeWitt County soldiers buried at the soldiers plot in a DeWitt County cemetery.
 
 
Long indicates the documentary tracks DeWitt County soldiers all the way back to the Civil War and highlights some very prominent players in DeWitt County history.
 
 
Long has family in DeWitt County, and in fact is a descendant of one of the soldiers they highlight, and also a background in film production with the History Channel. He indicates he followed the leads of DeWitt County Museum Director and local historian Joey Woolridge and did some research and started putting the pieces together.
 
 
There is a premier showing of The Soldiers Plot at the DeWitt County Museum Saturday evening at 6:30 pm. Admittance is $10 for the 90 minute documentary. Get more information at CHMooreHomestead.org or find the CH Moore Homestead Facebook page.

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Clinton YMCA Booth Helps Keep Doors Open

$10-thousand in two days is an estimate for what a good year at the Apple and Pork Festival brings the Clinton YMCA and their Executive Director says that is fundraising you cannot match over the course of the year.
 
Rennie Cluver indicates their pork cutlet sandwich sales help keep the doors open and the lights on. He indicates the Apple and Pork fundraiser is something that cannot be matched for their organization.
 
 
Many of the programs the Apple and Pork Festival supports are underway now. Cluver indicates 'The Y' has started fall soccer, basketball sign ups are around the corner and their very successful swim program has started practices.
 
 
There are many ways to learn more about the Clinton YMCA. Visit clintoncommymca.org. You can also find them on Facebook and they have a mobile app with information.

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Long Term Weather Forecast Calling For Dry Fall Season

Severe drought is a term central Illinois hasn't heard in a long time but the National Weather Service in Lincoln says by the later fall days, that could a term heard a lot.
 
Chris Miller with the National Weather Service in Lincoln indicates there could be areas of Illinois that reach 'severe drought' later this fall if we don't get some rain, which he's not expecting.
 
 
With tropical storms popping up frequently this year, Miller says those are holding off some moisture from getting to the area. He notes Tropical Storm Maria is keeping a cold front from getting to the area.
 
 
Miller says the recent hot stretch was good for the farmers to get their fields dried out and the continued dry stretch will allow for a smooth harvest but long term it could be troublesome. 

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Rural Development Also Part of New Farm Bill Discussions

While crop insurance has received most of the attention in discussion on a new Farm Bill, there are other important issues at stake. 
 
One of those is the Rural Economic Development Loan & Grant Program says Kim Leftwich of the Coles-Moultrie Electric Cooperative in Mattoon, Illinois. 
 
 
The current Farm Bill expires in 2018. 

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Mendoza Endorses Pritzker

Democratic Gubernatorial candidate J.B. Pritzker has a tenacious ally in his corner. 
 
Comptroller Susana Mendoza announced her endorsement Wednesday morning at the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 193 Headquarters in Springfield. 
 
Pritzker loves having Mendoza on his side, especially after seeing the video where Mendoza repeatedly confronts an ex con hit and run driver.
 
 
Mendoza says Pritzker can help undo the damage left behind by the state's two year long budget drought that ended this summer.
 
 
Mendoza also joined Pritzker in Chicago to announce the endorsement there Wednesday afternoon.

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ACA Backers At State Capitol Believe Push Will Resume Repeal of Obamacare

Tuesday's decision by Senate Republicans to scrap a vote on a healthcare plan to replace Obamacare may have reduced interest in scheduled protests. 
 
However, Organizing for Action decided to go forward with a rally outside the State Capitol. Katie Lancaster believes some of the issues could resurface sooner rather than later, under a "new umbrella".
 
 
President Trump has launched a new tax reform discussion with a pledge to simplify the tax code.

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Second Chance for Pets in Need of Foster Homes

If you have a passion for animals and want to give back to your community, a local organization is hoping you'll consider giving them a hand.
 
Second Chance for Pets aims to provide relinquished, neglected and abused animals with homes. Generally you'll notice their animals walking up and down Center Street during the Apple and Pork Festival, but according to the organization, they don't have many animals to adopt, but they need foster homes.
 
 
That's Irene Sloat, a volunteer with Second Chance for Pets. Christina Deerwester indicates they will also work a family that may be on the brink of losing their animal for financial reasons.
 
 
Additionally, Second Chance for Pets over the Apple and Pork weekend was promoting their spay/neuter clinics. The clinics are low cost and even offer financial assistance if that is something you need.
 
 
Learn more about becoming a foster home for a local animal or about adopting a local pet by visiting secondchanceforpets.com or by searching for them on Facebook. 

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Angel Tree Director Updates Clinton Rotary Club

Making the rounds to update the community on her program has been the goal of the leader of a DeWitt County non-profit most prominent around the holiday season.
 
Sue Calvert spoke to the Clinton Rotary Club Tuesday afternoon about the latest of her Angel Tree program, which aims to provide youth in the community with Christmas presents. She says the holiday program will look different this year.
 
 
Angel Tree would like to raise enough money to provide parents with kids in the program enough to purchase $20 worth of gifts at an event at Walmart in December.
 
 
Only parents will be invited to the all day event at Walmart. Calvert indicates a lot of changes are centered around the group's lack of volunteers and the lack of availability of space at the defunct Elks Club. 

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Central Illinois Lawmakers Teaming Up To Keep Top Illinois Students in State

Higher Education is the issue. The legislators are working on a plan to increase in-state opportunities for college bound students instead of losing good students to colleges and universities in other states.
 

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September Finishing Warm, Dry

It's been an odd stretch in September as the month comes to a close this week.
 
Chris Miller with the National Weather Service in Lincoln says we started September cooler than normal but the last week to ten days has been well above average.
 
 
According to Miller, the month of September is averaging out to be normal in terms of temperatures. He adds the last 30 days have been dominated by the tropical storms.
 
 
Miller indicates most of central Illinois has seen only a few days of measurable rain in the last 30 days, leaving most of the area below normal for average rainfall. He indicates around 90-percent of the state is abnormally dry or in a moderate drought. 

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Duckworth Weighs In On Healthcare Vote

Senator Tammy Duckworth is weighing in on yesterday's decision by Senate Republicans to not take a vote on legislation replacing Obamacare. 
 
“This is the result of so many Americans speaking up and letting Senate Republicans know that it is unacceptable to rush through legislation that would rob millions of their health insurance. I urge my Republican colleagues to set Trumpcare aside and finally leave this partisan process behind. That way, we can get back to work on fixes to the Affordable Care Act that both parties can support to expand access to healthcare, make prescription drugs more affordable and lower costs for hardworking Americans.”
 
Earlier, Duckworth took part in a morning rally in Washington. She expressed her fears Cassidy-Graham proposal would eliminate health care for millions, directly and indirectly.
 
 
Duckworth said the legislation would also create problems with Americans like her who deal with disabilities.

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Davis Expects Hearings on Data Breach

The massive data breach of the Equifax has impacted millions of people across the nation, and a Central Illinois congressman expects hearings on the matter. 
 
The hack happened earlier this year, with hackers gaining access to names, mailing addresses, phone numbers and social security numbers. U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis of Taylorville says Equifax, and the other credit reporting bureaus get sensitive information, and they must do a better job of protecting it.
 
 
If you see suspicious activity, you are advised to report it to your financial institutions immediately. Some financial experts have also suggested putting a freeze on your credit reports as a way to protect yourself.

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Crop Production Yields Being Outpaced By Cash Rent Costs in Central Illinois

A group of central Illinois farmers expressing concern that crop production yields are being outpaced by the cost of cash rent for farmland. 
 
Logan County farmer Blair Bruns authored a letter to his local paper on the issue and received support from fellow farmer Eli Klokkenga.
 
 
According to the latest data from USDA, cash rent in Logan County averages $289 per acre with the state average at $218. 
 
USDA data also shows Logan County corn yields averaging 207.7 bushels per acre from 2014 through 2016.

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Conor's Law Signed Into Law

Governor Rauner visits Carlinville's Blackburn College to sign legislation changing the way police handle arrests of DUI suspects under the age of 21. 
 
"Conor's Law," requires police to try to reach an adult responsible for a DUI suspect under 21 if the individual appears to remain intoxicated. The law is named after 20-year-old Conor Vesper, a former Staunton High School valedictorian, who committed suicide after a drunk driving arrest. An emotional Alice Vesper, Conor's mother, is happy he didn't die in vain.
 
 
Vesper believes the law can provide a life saving second chance for Illinois' young people.
 
 
If an adult can't be reached, a suspect would have to take a breathalyzer or other test to prove that they are sober. That test would not be used in prosecuting the suspect. 

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Biss: Political Division in Illinois Needs To End

Several members of the Democratic Party in Illinois have announced their candidacy for governor. 
 
State Senator Daniel Biss of Skokie is among those in the race. He says division between upstate and downstate voters in Illinois needs to change if the state hopes to move forward.
 
 
Biss also believes Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan is holding the state back as well, saying he has been in office for too long and has become too powerful.

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Am Vets Announce New Scholarship For Veteran Family Members

A new scholarship is going to be available to Clinton students thanks to an organizations aimed at bettering the lives of veterans.
 
The Clinton Am Vets will be offering $10-thousand worth of scholarships starting this year. Darrell Tucker with the Clinton Am Vets says it is for any Clinton High School students with a parent or grandparent that is a veteran.
 
 
Tucker indicates this is something the State Am Vets organization does but a Clinton Schools student has not applied to the best of their knowledge.
 
 
Tucker indicates the scholarship applications will be available in the school guidance office by November 1. 

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Clinton Police Busy During Apple and Pork Weekend

ON 09/22/17 CLINTON POLICE INVESTIGATED A FIGHT ON THE WEST SIDE OF THE SQUARE. NATHAN P. RICH WAS CITED FOR DRIVING WHILE LICENSE REVOKED AND CITY ORDINANCE FOR FIGHTING ON PUBLIC PROPERTY, PUBLIC INTOXICATION, CALEB A. BREWER 26, CLINTON WAS CITED CITY ORDINANCE VIOLATIONS FOR DISORDERLY CONDUCT, PUBLIC INTOXICATION, FIGHTING ON PUBLIC PROPERTYAND JESSICA D. LOWE 19, CLINTON FOR ILLEGAL CONSUMPTION OF ALCOHOL BY A MINOR. RICH AND LOWE WERE TRANSPORTED TO THE DEWITT COUNTY JAIL AND RELEASED TO CORRECTIONS.
 
ON 09/23/17 CLINTON POLICE INVESTIGATED A PROPERTY DAMAGE ACCIDENT AT GRANT & JOHNSON. A VEHICLE DRIVEN BY SANDRA K. CALLISON 59, MOWEAQUA WAS SOUTHBOUND ON GRANT AND WAS STOPPED FOR TRAFFIC WHEN A VEHICLE DRIVEN BY ROSE M. GEHRES 17, CLINTON COULD NOT STOP IN TIME AND COLLIDED WITH CALLISON.
 
ON 09/23/17 CLINTON POLICE INVESTIGATED A PROPERTY DAMAGE ACCIDENT AT MAIN & GRANT. A VEHICLE DRIVEN BY MICHAEL J. WELSH 59, MORTON WAS SOUTHBOUND ON GRANT ST, STOPPED AT THE STOP LIGHT. A VEHICLE DRIVEN BY CHAUNCY L. GILES 28, BLOOMINGTON COULD NOT STOP IN TIME AND COLLIDED WITH WELSH.
 
ON 09/24/17 CLINTON POLICE INVESTIGATED A PROPERTY DAMAGE ACCIDENT IN THE 800 BLOCK BUS 51 SOUTH. A VEHICLE DRIVEN BY MICHAEL L. POTTS 58, CLINTON WAS NORTHBOUND ON BUS 51 AND WAS STOPPED WAITING TO TURN. A VEHICLE DRIVEN BY BAILEY D. GAMSBY 19, CLINTON WAS NORTHBOUND AND COULD NOT STOP IN TIME AND COLLIDED WITH POTTS.

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Old DeWitt County Courthouse Time Capsule Going to DeWitt County Museum

With the page turned on the 2017 edition of the annual Apple and Pork Festival, leaders within the DeWitt County Museum will now turn their attention to the holiday season.
 
DeWitt County Board Chairman David Newberg indicates the time capsule from the old DeWitt County Courthouse is going to be donated the Museum for display during the holiday season.
 
 
Additionally, the DeWitt County Board is partnering with the Celebrate Clinton Association to create a mural of the old Courthouse on the west side of the current County Building. Newberg indicates the Association will put together the plans for that.
 
 
The time capsule will be donated indefinitely.

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New Social Security Online Feature

There is a new feature on the Social Security website that will allow you to request a new Social Security card online.
 
According to Jack Myers, if you have a My Social Security account and live in Illinois with a driver's license or a state ID, you might be able to request a new Social Security card.
 
 
This is brand new to Illinois and is being introduced to the country gradually state by state. Myers adds that if you're not changing any of your information on the card, then you can request a new card on the Social Security website.
 
 
There are 24 other states that have made this feature available on the Social Security website.
 
For more information visit www.socialsecurity.gov.

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Rauner Weighs Fate of Abortion Legislation

Governor Bruce Rauner now has a difficult choice on his hands. 
 
House Bill 40 is now on his desk. It would prevent abortions from becoming illegal if Roe V Wade is overturned by the Supreme Court and expands abortion coverage to Medicaid and state worker health insurance recipients. The bill passed in May, but bill sponsor, State Senator Don Harmon, held the bill until Monday morning. 
 
What happens next is unclear. Rauner says he will have open ears before making his final decision.
 
 
Rauner, who is pro choice, told a political action committee during the 2014 election campaign he would support similar legislation but this past spring threatened to veto House Bill 40. 

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Rauner Discusses Bonding, Reviewing State Spending

Governor Bruce Rauner has been crunching the numbers on what it will take the state to pay overdue bills and he doesn't like what he sees.
 
 
Rauner says a review of the current spending plan will be needed to move forward.
 
 
6 billion dollars in state bonds are expected to go to the market next month and close by mid November. 
 
House Speaker Michael Madigan released a statement:
 
“Contrary to reports, I have received no requests from Governor Rauner for further meetings on the budget or to work towards reducing the spending levels contained within the budget. The bipartisan budget enacted in July, despite the governor’s refusal to negotiate, included nearly $3 billion in cuts to government bureaucracy. Even as Republicans and Democrats came together to make cuts and enact a budget based on the governor’s own revenue projections, Governor Rauner refused to participate in the process despite our repeated requests. As was true then, I remain ready to work with the governor to make further adjustments to the budget.
 
“I believe Representative Greg Harris’ budget working group, who was largely responsible for crafting the budget we passed, is best equipped to continue discussion on the budget. Therefore, I have directed Representatives Harris, Carol Ammons, Kelly Burke, Kelly Cassidy, Fred Crespo, Will Davis, Robyn Gabel, Will Guzzardi, Lisa Hernandez, Elaine Nekritz, Elgie Sims and Mike Zalewski to work with the governor’s budget office and our House and Senate colleagues.” 

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Governor Weighs In On NFL Anthem Controversy

Gov. Rauner is weighing in on the controversy over NFL player protests during the national anthem. Last weekend's protests didn't score points with him.
 
 
However, Rauner isn't following in the footsteps of President Trump, who says NFL players who protest during the anthem should be fired.
 
 
Rauner is a part owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers. 

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Illinois Rail Safety Week This Week

Illinois Rail Safety Week hits close to home for local authorities given the communities history as a once hub of the industry.
 
Clinton Police Chief Ben Lowers indicates the week highlights the laws surrounding rail lines and safety precautions. It is this week in Illinois.
 
 
Chief Lowers indicates the rail lines are actual private property owned by the rail companies. He explains it is against the law to walk along them or trespass them for other purposes.
 
 
Rail/car accidents very rarely end well and Chief Lowers indicates it is even lesser odds for rail/pedestrian accidents.
 
 
Chief Lowers also points out it takes a freight train traveling at 55 MPH around 18 football fields to stop. 
 
Visit www.oli.org for more safety information and information on the rail lines in Illinois. 

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DeWitt County Anex To Receive Work In Next Month

The DeWitt County Annex, home to the DeWitt County Animal Shelter and DeWitt County EMS, will receive some work in the coming weeks.
 
DeWitt County Board Chair David Newberg indicates there is a portion of the drive area for the EMS facility that is going to be paved.
 
 
Additionally, continued issues with the H-VAC at the DeWitt County Animal Control facility are going to be resolved finally at no cost to the County.
 
 
The cost of paving the parking lot at the EMS facility is going to cost just under $65-thousand.

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Apple and Pork Attendance Down in 2017

Just over 50-thousand attendees is the estimate of officials in Clinton for this weekend's 49th edition of the Apple and Pork Festival.

 

Clinton Police Chief Ben Lowers says that is a crowd typical of Saturday at the annual festival but the heat and humidity of the weekend played major factor in this year's drop in attendance.

 

 

Chief Lowers indicates Saturday of Apple and Pork was a busy day for the fire department and EMS crews with the amount heat exhaustion calls that came in.

 

 

Director of the CH Moore Homestead, Joey Woolridge, says the weekend was good for her. She says the trends of the weekend were different this year.

 

 

The yearly Apple and Pork Festival is a fundraiser for the CH Moore Homestead Victorian mansion and the yearly upkeep for it. The heat and humidity had a hit-and-miss impact on the groups on the grounds of the Homestead and throughout the community.

 

We'll have complete coverage of the Apple and Pork Festival in the coming weeks on Regional Radio News.  

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Department of Public Health Says It's Not Too Early For Your Flu Shot

THE ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH SAYS IT’S NOT TOO EARLY TO GET YOUR ANNUAL FLU SHOT. 
 
IT TAKES ABOUT TWO WEEKS FOR THE FLU VACCINE TO BE EFFECTIVE…SO NOW IS A GOOD TIME TO THINK ABOUT GETTING THE SHOT SAYS PUBLIC HEALTH CHIEF MEDICAL OFFICER DOCTOR JENNIFER LAYDEN.
 
 
FLU SEASON TYPICALLY RUNS FROM OCTOBER THROUGH MARCH…AND IT TAKES ABOUT TWO WEEKS FOR THE VACCINE TO TAKE EFFECT. 
 
 
LAYDEN SAYS EVERYONE SIX MONTHS OLD AND OLDER SHOULD GET VACCINATED.
 
LAYDEN SAYS ONCE AGAIN THIS YEAR, THE NASAL SPRAY IS NOT BEING RECOMMENDED. SHE NOTES IT’S IMPORTANT TO GET IMMUNIZED NOT ONLY TO PROTECT YOURSELF FROM THE FLU…BUT TO ALSO PROTECT THOSE AROUND YOU FROM FLU VIRUSES.

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Illinois EPA Creating Online Database for Recycling

THE ILLINOIS ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY IS SURVEYING COMMUNITIES ABOUT WHAT RECYCLING OPTIONS THEY OFFER. 
 
THE IDEA IS TO USE THE INFORMATION TO PUT TOGETHER AN ONLINE DATABASE WHERE THE PUBLIC CAN EASILY LOCATE RECYCLING SITES AND EVENTS IN THEIR AREA. I-E-P-A SPOKESPERSON KIM BIGGS SAYS NOW, PEOPLE SOMETIMES HAVE TO DO A LOT OF LEGWORK TO GET RID OF THEIR STUFF.
 
 
ILLINOIS E-P-A IS LOOKING TO CREATE A ONE STOP SHOP FOR CONSUMERS WANTING TO RECYCLE EVERYTHING FROM ALUMINUM CANS TO OLD CARPET AND ELECTRONICS SAYS BIGGS.
 
 
I-E-P-A IS HOPING TO HAVE THE DATABASE OPERATIONAL BY EARLY NEXT YEAR.

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ABATE Calling for Prosecutors, Police To Punish Those Who Lend Vehicles With Revoked Drivers

ABATE typically focuses on preventing Illinois from adopting motorcycle helmet requirements, but they have other safety issues in mind too. 
 
They are expressing concerns about drivers who lose their licenses yet continue to get behind the wheel. 29-year-old Justin Heath of Springfield was killed and his girlfriend 23-year-old Samantha Clardy was seriously injured when their motorcycle was struck in May by Doris Fisher. 
 
Fisher has been unable to drive legally for 14 years, but ABATE says she was behind the wheel thanks to the help of her daughter. Witkowski is calling for Sangamon County Sheriff Wes Barr to arrest Fisher's daughter.
 
 
Witkowski believes charging Fischer's daughter will send a message to others.
 
 
Clardy has undergone extensive surgeries and faces at least three more as her recovery continues. 

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DeWitt County Hears About Windfarms

The DeWitt County Board heard Thursday night at their monthly meeting about windfarms in DeWitt County.
 
The company seeking approval in DeWitt County, Trade Wind Energy, has set up shop downtown Clinton and DeWitt County Board Chairman, David Newberg, indicates their purpose before the Board Thursday night was to inform them of their plans going forward.
 
 
Newberg points the project is still at least two years away from getting off the ground if everything falls into place. He adds, right now meteorological towers are currently up in parts of the northwest portion of the County.

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Illinois Department of Insurance Warns Lowest Priced Plans for Health Care Exchange May Be Going Up

The Illinois Department of Insurance reports rates for the lowest priced plans on the state's health care exchange could be on the rise. 
 
Proposed rates submitted to federal officials show rates would jump by 16 to 37 percent. That would boost the average cost of the lowest-priced silver plans by 35 percent statewide. 
 
The department's analysis says the lowest-priced bronze-level plans would increase by 20 percent and that the lowest-priced gold plans would increase by 16 percent. 
 
Rates will be finalized in October.

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Weekly Weather Summary

It was a warm, humid week in central Illinois. There's more of the same this weekend, but could we get a break next week? State Climotologist Jim Angel tells us...
 

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Uniqueness of Apple and Pork Festival in Tradition

The Apple and Pork Festival is unlike a lot of festivals you'll find in central Illinois in the fall.
 
While many provide the area with a carnival atmosphere with rides and fried foods, the Apple and Pork Festival prides itself on its tradition. The CH Moore Homestead is the host and benefactor of the annual festival, and its Director, Joey Woolridge says there is something to be said for the tradition it provides.
 
 
The festival provides youth the opportunity to watch a rope-maker, there's tomahawk throwers and gandy dancer train cars. Woolridge notes the youth that come out are just as entertained by that as they would be a carnival ride.
 
 
The Apple and Pork Festival is this Saturday and Sunday at the CH Moore Homestead in Clinton. Visit CHMooreHomestead.org or find the Apple and Pork Festival Facebook page. 

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Apple and Pork Festival Entertainment Lineup Set

This year's annual Apple and Pork Festival entertainment lineup has been set.
 
Woolridge indicates, thanks to the generous contributions from Exelon, the entertainment of the festival is free.
 
 
The popular tomahawk throwers are back at the festival again this year and Woolridge indicates there's plenty to do for the kids on the grounds of the CH Moore Homestead.
 
 
Additionally, the CH Moore Homestead will be open for tours all weekend and with hot weather predicted, Woolridge hopes there is some interest in the Victorian mansion which is air conditioned.
 
 
The Apple and Pork Festival kicks off Saturday morning and concludes on Sunday evening.
 
Organizers and authorities remind attendees pets are not allowed on the grounds of the CH Moore Homestead. 

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Clinton High School Students To Be Busy During Apple and Pork Festival

The annual Apple and Pork Festival engulfs the entire community, so much so, a good amount of high school students will be participating again in this year's festivities.
 
From the band performing to open the Festivities on the grounds to several sports teams working the parking lots at the high school, Superintendent Curt Nettles says its great to see their kids being a part of an event that means so much to the community.
 
 
The 'M Squad' will be serving caramel apples on the grounds of the CH Moore Homestead. The band annually opens the festival playing the National Anthem and several other tunes on the stage. 
 
For all things Apple and Pork Festival, visit CHMooreHomestead.org or find the official Apple and Pork Festival Facebook page. 

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Natoinal Alpaca Farm Days This Weekend

This weekend is National Alpaca Farm Days and a couple local alpaca farmers hope you'll consider making them one of your stops on a festival weekend in central Illinois.
 
Houchin Family Alpacas in McLean County and Timberview Alpacas in rural DeWitt County are opening up their family operations as a part of the event. 
 
Elizabeth Lord with Timberview Alpacas says their operation has 13 alpacas and indicates she discovered the fleece aspect of the business about a year in and has pursued that ever since.
 
 
Brian Houchin owns and operates Houchin Family Alpacas in rural McLean County and indicates alpacas are specifically raised for their fleece. Coming from the camel and llama family, alpacas allow those that cannot wear wool to wear their fleece.
 
 
Lord says the alpaca industry has started to rebound in recent years.
 
 
Houchin says he is seeing the same thing. He indicates the borders being closed for trade slowed things down but it is back on the incline following the recession.
 
 
Houchin adds with it being Apple and Pork weekend in DeWitt County, he doesn't think it has impacted their attendance for opening up their family operation.
 
 
Both Timberview Alpacas and Houchin Family Alpacas open up their operations for the weekend. 
 
Timberview opens up their operation by appointment only. Lord says they still have some time slots available for the two days. The best way to contact them is through their Facebook page.
 
Houchin Family Alpacas is open to the public 9 am to 5 pm Saturday and 11 am to 5 pm on Sunday. Visit houchinfamilyalpacas.com for more information. 

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Sen. Raoul In Running for Attorney General

State Sen. Kwame Raoul is the second Democratic entry in the race for Illinois Attorney General.
 
It's an open contest after Attorney General Lisa Madigan announced last week that she won't seek a fifth term. 
 
Raoul was appointed to the Senate in 2004 to fill the vacancy left by then-state Sen. Barack Obama's election to the U.S. Senate.

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Multi-Fatal Bloomington House Fire Story Getting Worse

The tragic deaths of a Bloomington man and his two sons in a Tuesday house fire has taken on a sadder note. 
 
Bloomington Police reveal 33-year-old Eric Ringenberg strangled his sons to death before setting fire to the residence. 
 
The young victims were listed as a 2-year-old boy and an infant. A female family member suffered smoke inhalation. 
 
Police say the murders of the children were captured on home surveillance video.

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Booster Seat Safety Efforts This Weekend

Illinois Transportation officials and Triple-A are marking Naitonal Child Passenger Safety Week with nearly 100 free car-seat safety checks throughout the state. Most of them will take place on National Seat Check Saturday. IDOT's Rich Brauer.
 
 
The focus of the car-seat safety checks is eight car seat mistakes. IDOT Occupant protection coordinator Jessi Hopkins talks about the issue that tops the list... 
 
 
You can find out about car safety seat checks near you at BuckleupIllinois.org. 
 
IDOT says other mistakes include: Not adjusting the harness snugly against the child. Not securing the car seat in the vehicle properly. Forgetting to register the car seat for recall notifications. Having toys or other items unsecured in the vehicle. Not using the lower anchors/LATCH system as approved. Not using the top tether on a forward-facing car seat. Moving to the next car seat or booster seat too soon.

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EquiFax Breach Being Felt Locally

The recent breach of information from the lending agency EquiFax is having an impact locally.
 
That's the message from DeWitt County Clerk Dana Smith who says her office has fielded calls and emails about the issue and what to do. She is directing residents to the DeWitt County website, dewittcountyill.com to get signed up for alert if someone files a lean in your name.
 
 
Because EquiFax holds the vital information for millions of people, it would not be hard for someone to file for a loan or credit card in your name.
 
 
Smith has literature at her office about the service. She says be informed and be alert so you can be notified. 

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Clinton Schools Leader On Board With Aide Pay Changes

Increasing spending on teachers and aides has been the theme for a number of months now within the Clinton Board of Education and Schools Superintendent Curt Nettles says it's something he thinks needs looked at as well.
 
Tuesday morning Nettles told Regional Radio News it's about the time they should do a routine look at their salaries and see where they can improve.
 
 
Nettles agrees that starting pay for aides at $11 an hour is not sufficient and will look into creating a more equitable pay scale, especially for aides they ask more of.
 
 
In addition to assignments, the district will also look at the education level of their aides. He says they hope to attract well qualified staff for their kids, especially students in the formative years. 

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Two small children among three dead in Bloomington house fire

Three people are dead after an early-morning Bloomington house fire that has been labeled suspicious. The West Side fire on Chesapeake Lane has claimed the lives of an infant, toddler and middle aged man. A woman is hospitalized with injuries. Police and fire investigators aren't discussing a cause or starting point of the fire.

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Davis Sponsoring Bill to Fight Growing Student Loan Debt Crisis

Central Illinois Congressman Rodney Davis sponsoring legislation aimed at encouraging private businesses to help their employees pay off student loan debt. 
 
 
Davis says it’s not just an important issue for the country’s younger generation, it’s an issue for the financial stability of the country.
 
 
Davis says student loan debt will be a key issue as lawmakers look at federal tax reform in the coming weeks.

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China demand should help boost corn prices

A change in China’s ethanol blend policy could provide a boost to corn prices. It’s all about demand says trading expert Doug Werling
 
 
Werling says bottom line is that demand for corn will increase with stocks peaking and as those stocks draw down, that should help push price.

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West Nile Death In Illinois

The state recorded its first death in connection with the West Nile virus. The Illinois Department of Public Health says this week a person in Kankakee died after testing positive for the virus that is typically brought on by a mosquito bite. Public Health Chief Medical Officer Doctor Jennifer Layden says most anyone who winds up bitten and infected with the disease won’t be very ill, but for some it’s a different story.
 
 
Overall cases West Nile cases are down in Illinois. The very dry late summer weather is being cited as a possible reason why.

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Ag haulers seek flexibility with hours of service trucking regulation

The agriculture industry seeking flexibility when it comes to hours of service trucking regulations, especially when it comes to hauling grain and livestock. Don Schaefer is with the Midwest Truckers Association.
 
 
The Midwest Truckers Association represents truckers in 15 states, including Illinois. 

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Illinois Farm Bureau promoting local government resource called LINK

The words “local government” are big words in Illinois. That’s because there are nearly 7,000 units in the Land of Lincoln, most of any state in the nation. The Illinois Farm Bureau offers a resource for the local taxpayer—to help them understand or get involved in the local government process. It’s called LINK—Local Information, News and Know-How says Kevin Rund, Senior Director of Local Government for IFB.  
 
 
LINK is distributed electronically at the county farm bureau level or the latest edition can be accessed by going to “ilfb.org” and type the word “LINK” in the search box. Topics addressed in the last release included such issues as local government accountability, landowner rights, rural development and strategic planning. 

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Rauner Won't Commit To Bonds To Pay Down Debt

The state is billions behind in paying bills and some lawmakers and constitutional officers are asking the Governor to borrow to help pay down the backlog. Bruce Rauner says much has been made out of using bonds to dig out of the hole but that doesn’t fix the fundamental problems of being more than $16 billion behind.
 
 
Rauner says current state budget is going to run a $1.7 billion deficit and so cuts will have to be made before going to make a bond offer.

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UPDATED BREAKING NEWS: School Shooting At Mattoon High School

A shooting has been reported at Mattoon High School Wednesday.
 
At approximately 11:45 am this morning, authorities were called to the scene of reports of several shots were fired. One person has been shot with one person in custody.
 
Mattoon Schools released the following statement about the shooting early Wednesday afternoon:
 
Mattoon High School officials were made aware of an active student shooter at approximately 11:33 a.m. this morning on the Mattoon High School campus. 
 
The School Resource Officers and school officials headed to the cafeteria where they heard shots fired.
 
The suspect fired shots in the school cafeteria, before he was subdued and disarmed. 
 
Emergency procedures were activated and students and staff exited the high school. As a result of shots being fired, one student was injured.  
 
First responders arrived, secured the facility, and transported the student to the hospital. The injured student’s parents were notified and all students were transported to Riddle Elementary School to be released to their parents.  
 
We are saddened that this event has happened and we will provide counseling to students in need. We will continue to work with emergency personnel to determine what happened. 
 
We appreciate the quick response of school staff and first responders. Most importantly, we offer our thoughts and prayers to the injured student and all who are affected by this tragedy.

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Raising Aide Pay Discussed By School Board

Pressure is mounting from Board members on the Clinton Board of Education to raise the bar for the compensation of staff at the district.
 
For several months, Ron Conner has been an outspoken proponent to raise the levels of pay for Clinton staff and Tuesday night at the Board of Education meeting, the pay of aides in the district was the subject of discussion.
 
Conner contends the pay for aides in Clinton is not up to par of area schools.
 
 
Conner says many districts have a pay scales that their districts follow and implores district staff to explore their scales and see how Clinton compares.
 
 
According to Superintendent Curt Nettles, the district is exploring a scale for aides. He indicates the work aides do is very intense based on their assignments.
 
 
Board member John Blythe indicates the district has looked at the disparity before and says the current pay is something that fits the district.
 
 
The Board will continue to explore a teacher aide scale and hope to implement something for the start of the next school year because of financial challenges of making a change mid-year.
 
The Board approved the hiring of four additional aides for kindergarten and first grade.

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Warner Hospital And Health Services CEO Discusses Cardiac Rehap Expansion With Clinton Rotary

Expansion of programming at Warner Hospital and Health Services in Clinton was the topic members of the Clinton Rotary Club heard about Tuesday afternoon.
 
CEO Paul Skowron indicates they need more space for their cardiac rehab facility because their demand is growing beyond the space they have available.
 
 
Suzanna Legner is the Chief Nursing Officer at Warner Hospital and Health Services. She explains they are in the process of getting quotes in for the expansion and there are three phases to the expansion.
 
 
Additionally, Skowron explains there is also a component coming for prompt care. Skowron explains this is going to be a service that would expand the clientel for their business.
 
 
The Warner Hospital Board and Health Services Board recently gave Skowron and the administration at the city-owned facility the thumbs up to move forward in pursuing same day care. 
 
The Dr. John Warner Hospital Foundation is going to help back the expansion in the cardiac rehab department. Skowron indicates they are going to soon be fundraising for that effort. 

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New DeWitt County Recovery Program in Formation Phase

A new face in the community is trying to start a recovery program in Clinton.
 
Brother Randy Myers, Leading Minister at United Methodist Church, is looking to start a local Celebrate Recovery (CR) program. The program is faith based and is for people with hurts, habits and hang-ups.
 
 
Myers adds that they are in the formation phase of this program. A venue is not a problem; however, they do need 12 people, who are not clergy, to lead the program.
 
 
A training event for CR is scheduled to start September 30th from 9 am to 11 am at Decatur First Church of the Nazarene. The training will take several weeks.
 
 
To learn more about the program, you can call (217) 820-0907.

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Miller Park Zoo Mourns Loss of Sunbear, Candy

A central Illinois zoo is mourning the loss of the oldest sun bear in North America.
 
Miller Park Zoo in Bloomington was home to Candy the sun bear and Site Superintendent Jay Tetzloff says it is a tough loss for their staff and guests she was part of the zoo for over 20 years.
 
 
Tetzloff says the zoo is asking anyone wanting to remember Candy the sun bear to direct those memorials to the Zoological Society, the fundraising arm of the City owned entity. 

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In Wake of Illinois Earthquake, IEMA Reminds of Scheduled Drill

On a day when an earthquake shook Southeastern Illinois and a major quake has caused destruction in Mexico City, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency is asking residents to prepare for a potential earthquake with a statewide drill one month from now. 
 
On Oct. 19 at 10:19 a.m., Illinois will join other states and countries in practicing three simple actions that could save your life in a major quake: drop, cover and hold on. 
 
Next month's drill is dubbed The Great ShakeOut earthquake drill. Southern Illinois has two seismic zones, making it the biggest area of concern. 
 
A half million people took part in the drill last year. 300,000 people are signed up so far this year. 
 
Schools, businesses, government agencies, families and others can register to participate in the drill at www.shakeout.org/centralus.

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Rauner To Support Both Ends of State in Amazon Bid

Internet retail giant Amazon is looking for a location to build a second headquarters. It’s seen as a huge opportunity to land thousands of high paying white collar and technical jobs. 
 
Governor Bruce Rauner and others from Chicago are working on a bid to bring them to the city. But Rauner says he will also be working to see that other parts of the state are being supported.
 
 
Rauner says a group of industry and state leaders are in Seattle today laying groundwork to support bids made on behalf of Illinois.

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Durbin Criticizes Latest 'Trumpcare' Plan

Senator Dick Durbin is speaking out against the latest version of what he calls Trumpcare. Durbin accused his Republican colleagues of trying to ram through the latest effort to repeal and replace Obamacare without sufficient analysis.
 
 
Durbin says there is opposition from the medical community to the latest concept, Cassidy-Graham.
 
 
Durbin is also calling for extension of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which provides health insurance coverage for more than nine million children and pregnant women nationwide. 

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Democratic Race for Attorney General Could Be Wide Open

The sudden pending opening in the Attorney General's office has set off a flurry of activity. 
 
Chicago Tribune columnist Rick Pearson reports one of Chicago Alderman Ed Burke's two lawyer daughters is circulating petitions to run for the Democratic nomination for A-G now that Lisa Madigan has announced she won't seek another term. 
 
Burke informed the Cook County Democrats his daughter was circulating petititions but wouldn't identify which one. 
 
State Representative Elaine Nekritz, a Northbrook Democrat, who recently announced she was leaving the General Assembly, is also circulating petititons. 
 
There is also word State Rep. Scott Drury could leave the race for Governor and run for Attorney General instead. Reports out of Chicago also indicate former Comptroller and one time Democratic rising star Dan Hynes could rise from the political ashes and make a run for A-G.

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Ameren Taking Part in National Farm Safety Week

Ameren Illinois working to keep all farmers safe out on the fields. 
 
The utility’s George Justice says some power lines can contain so much energy that you don’t have to touch it to feel the effects of the electricity in the line.
 
 
Justice says all farmers or anyone looking to dig should always call 8-1-1 because it could save lives.
 
 
Calling the Julie 8-1-1 system is free. This is National Farm Safety Week. 

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Alleged Racial Incidents At SIU-E

A pair of alleged racial incidents at SIU Edwardsville are being investigated by campus police. 
 
A note containing a racial slur was left on a student's on-campus apartment door last week. 
The weekend before, a boulder in the SIUE quad was discovered with the Confederate flag painted on it. SIUE Spokesman Doug McIlhagga (MAC-ill-HAY-guh) says these two incidents are being taken very seriously.
 
 
He says the university "will not tolerate that kind of activity and behavior on this campus."

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Clinton Police Department Promotes Officer To Sergeant

Monday night at the Clinton City Council meeting, Officer Sean Crissey was officially promoted to Sergeant.
 
Police Chief Ben Lowers introduced Crissey to the Council Monday and he was officially sworn in. Sgt. Crissey has maintained several designations in his two years with the department.
 
 
Monday's meeting was relatively quiet. 
 
The Council approved a Water Treatment Plant purchase for filter media at a cost of just over $42-thousand. 

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Local Authorities Prepare For Tens of Thousands of Visitors This Weekend

As the DeWitt County and Clinton community prepares for thousands of visitors this weekend, local authorities will be out monitoring what is traditionally a very mild crowd.
 
Clinton Police Chief Ben Lowers indicates authorities station themselves just off Center Street in Clinton and are active around the community as the crowds make their way to the CH Moore Homestead grounds.
 
 
According to the Chief, the event has rarely seen major incidents that require their attention. He explains the problems remain minor like traffic congestion, maybe a fender-bender or other minor vehicle trouble.
 
 
Chief Lowers explains the nature of the festival lends itself to a crowd that comes for the flea market and food. He notes with the absence of alcohol at the event, that can generally keep crowds from getting out of hand.
 
 
Chief Lowers indicates locals who wish to not participate in the festival generally know the areas of town to avoid but he says the western half of the community becomes very congested and indicates avoiding areas like Van Buren Street and Grant to Highway 51. 

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DeWitt County Angel Tree Keeping Name, Other Parts of Program

Don't call it a face lift, it's more like a reboot. 
 
That's the message from Sue Calvert who heads the DeWitt County holiday program, Angel Tree, aimed at providing area youth with Christmas presents. She explains after an initial round of changes, the community reaction was strong enough to force them to re-think how they want to proceed with the program going forward.
 
 
According to Calvert, the program this year will allow for the community to continue to shop for youth in the community. She says the amount of shopping they will ask of the community will be much less compared to years past.
 
 
Calvert indicates much of the criticism towards the program surrounds abuse from people who are on the receiving end and she assures this public this is something she works very hard to monitor and prevent.
 
 
Registration for this year's Angel Tree program is underway. There are several income and other criteria to meet to be a part of it. To get more information, contact the school office your child attends.
 
You can also learn more about the volunteering opportunities within Angel Tree by contacting Calvert at suecalvert13@gmail.com. 

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Clinton City Council Discusses Weekend's Apple and Pork Festival

Members of the Clinton City Council made brief remarks regarding this weekend's Apple and Pork Festival.
 
Commissioner of Streets and Public Improvements, Nan Crang, reminded residents of the street closures for the weekend.
 
 
Commissioner of Public Safety, Dan Ballenger indicates the cooling tent that was up at the festival last year will be up again this year. With temperatures expected near 90-degrees and heat index values in the upper 90s, it could be a resource for a number of visitors.
 
 
This weekend's Apple and Pork Festival will also have the usual first responder command post set up at the corner of Woodlawn and Center Street if attendees have any issues they need taken care of. 

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Youth Ag Safety Expert: No Extra Riders on Tractors During Harvest Season

National Farm Safety and Health Week underway and the message from a youth ag safety specialist is to not have extra-riders on the tractor. Marsha Salzwedel is with the National Farm Medicine Center in Wisconsin.
 
 
Salzwedal says there are many ways to nurture a young child’s interest in farming—including Lego’s, barn sets, toy tractors, gardening and even video game simulators.

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Weekly Crop Report

IT WAS A WARM, DRY WEEK FOR ILLINOIS CROPS AS WE HEAR IN THE WEEKLY CROP REPORT.
 
TEMPERATURES WERE ABOVE NORMAL AND RAINFALL WAS PRETTY SPARSE. CROP STATISTICIAN BRAD SUMMA SAY 89 PERCENT OF CORN IS NOW IN THE DENT STAGE.
 
 
70 PERCENT OF SOYBEANS ARE TURNING COLOR AND 32 PERCENT ARE DROPPING LEAVES. 53 PERCENT OF THE SOYBEAN CROP IS RATED IN GOOD TO EXCELLENT CONDITION.
 
 
89 PERCENT OF SORGHUM IS TURNING COLOR AND 58 PERCENT IS MATURE.
 
AVERAGE STATEWIDE TOPSOIL MOISTURE AT 31 PERCENT VERY SHORT, 44 PERCENT SHORT AND 25 PERCENT ADEQUATE. 

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Rauner Recaps Trade Mission

Gov. Bruce Rauner has wrapped up a nine-day trade mission to Japan and China. Rauner said Illinois faces familiar obstacles to business investment from overseas.
 
 
Illinois continues to get face time with top Chinse officials. 
 
This week, Congressman Darin LaHood is visiting China. The Peoria Republican will lead Members of Congress on a trip to promote trade, business, and cultural exchange between the United States and China. He serves as co-chair of the US-China Working Group. 
 
The trip’s 8 day itinerary includes high level meetings with government officials and U.S. companies operating in China, including the Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Defense, U.S. embassy in China, and Boeing. 

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Movement on Rauner, AFSCME Dispute Not Expected Until 2018

The labor dispute between AFSCME represented state workers and Governor Bruce Rauner has gone quiet of late and it will remain that way a while longer. 
 
A court decision that blocked Governor Rauner from imposing labor terms has been on appeal for sometime, but it appears oral arguments won't occur until early next year. 
 
AFSCME has been working on an expired contract since mid 2015. 

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Rauner Discusses Themes on Overseas Trip

The Governor returned from an overseas trip that took him to Japan and China to reinforce trade relationships and to build new ones. 
 
Bruce Rauner says he didn’t want to travel overseas until the state had a budget. Rauner says though he heard plenty about Illinois troubles but there are companies that are looking to the bright spots that Illinois has to offer.
 
 
Rauner says he touted the benefits of the state’s transportation network. 

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Apple and Pork Festival Still Going Strong Headed Into Year 49

As the Apple and Pork Festival enters it's 49th year, the yearly festival continues to remain a staple of the community and central Illinois.
 
Director of the DeWitt County Museum, Joey Woolridge indicates the festival started in modest fashion with a booth with a couple of kettles and a few sandwiches and now it is an event that draws anywhere from 75,000 to 100,000 people to DeWitt County.
 
 
As Saturday and Sunday go along, parking comes at a premium. Woolridge encourages those coming into town to stop outside of town at the high school and take the trams to the homestead.
 
 
As the festival has evolved, the Festival grounds are full of non-profit groups that do fundraising for the weekend. Woolridge indicates there are numerous groups that make their budgets for the year, and if they don't, they come very close.
 
 
The Apple and Pork Festival is this weekend in Clinton.
 
We'll have plenty more on the Apple and Pork Festival this week on Regional Radio News. 

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DeWitt-Piatt Bi-County Health Department Reaches Out to Community Mothers

The DeWitt-Piatt Bi-County Health Department has seen a decrease in their case load in their Family Case Management Program.
 
Tara Wickline indicates that the program helps educate expectant mothers about their pregnancy, delivery, newborn care, and development. 
 
 
With the drop in their case loads they are currently doing outreach and have a commercial that will air before the movies at the Clintonia Eagle Theater, a facebook page and a potential cookbook in the works.
 
 
Wickline adds that the decrease in cases could be because of an unfair stigma that people attach to the program.
 
To find out more information about the program by searching for DeWitt Piatt Bi-County Health Department on facebook.

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Ag Leaders Continue Efforts To Save KORUS

Pressure from the Ag community continues to build, as the President and his administration continue to toy with the idea of withdrawing the U.S. from the Korea-U.S. free trade deal, KORUS.
 
President Trump and his trade advisers are still considering if the U.S. should ditch KORUS, but farm groups are not waiting around to find out if the administration will.
 
Hundreds of farm leaders from heartland states like Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, Iowa and others are descending on Washington, D.C. to make ag’s case for keeping KORUS and expanding farm trade.
 
National Pork Producers Council spokesman Dave Warner says help is coming from inside the administration, as well…
 
      
 
South Korea is now the number five U.S. pork market, at valued at $365 million last year. The U.S. beef industry took in about$1 billion, making Korea its number two market, as KORUS tariffs move to zero.
 
Ag leaders in Congress are not sitting still, either. Longtime Ag Senator Chuck Grassley…tape
 
        
 
As for renegotiation of KORUS, Grassley isn’t sure. He says, with NAFTA, the U.S. and Mexico were both willing to make improvements. The suggestion of course, is that South Korea may not be so willing to change its deal with the U.S.

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Crop Conditions and Yield Projections Not Correlated in 2017

Despite unfavorable crop conditions reports earlier this week, USDA “doubled-down” on its yield analysis, raising both corn and soybeans yield projections in September’s World Agriculture Supply and Demand Estimates on Tuesday.
 
Does September’s yield data suggest that the crop conditions reports are irrelevant for projecting yields on the US crops during the pre-harvest time period? Mike Zuzolo is a Market Analyst with Global Commodity Analytics…
 
 
For instance, Zuzolo points out that Illinois yields for corn was pushed one bushel higher in the September report to 189 bushels per acre, but…
 
 
If the correlation between crop conditions and yield projections continue to not add up for Zuzolo, the way he sets a marketing plan will change dramatically…
 
 
That’s Mike Zuzolo from Global Commodity Analytics.

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Lisa Madigan Won't Seek Another Term

Sources reported late Friday morning that Attorney General Lisa Madigan would not seek another term. Now her father's office confirms the news.
 
House Speaker Michael Madigan's office has released a statement on Lisa Madigan's decision to not seek a fifth term as AG.
 
Throughout her life as an individual and as a public servant, Attorney General Lisa Madigan's achievements have been the result of her determination to fight for her convictions and to stand up for what she believed was right. I've always been proud of her desire to fight for those who need help the most, which has driven her sense of duty as a person and as Illinois' attorney general.
 
“It has been my privilege to watch her fight for the people of Illinois and do the right thing every day. She has authored tougher laws against criminals who prey on children and victims of sexual assault, fought for homeowners faced with losing their homes, and worked to ensure a more open and transparent state government.
 
“No father could be prouder of his daughter's personal and professional accomplishments, and I look forward to watching her continue her commitment to helping people in a new capacity.”

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New Legislation Freezes Your Credit Report Cost

THE MASSIVE EQUIFAX DATA BREACH IS PROMPTING NEW LEGISLATION IN THE ILLINOIS HOUSE. 
 
ATTORNEY GENERAL LISA MADIGAN SAYS FREEZING YOUR CREDIT REPORT IS THE BEST WAY TO SAFEGUARD YOUR INFORMATION…BUT FOR MOST PEOPLE, THAT COSTS 10 DOLLARS FOR EACH REPORTING AGENCY.
 
 
SHE SAYS CURRENTLY THERE IS A 10 DOLLAR COST FOR MOST PEOPLE.
 
 
THE BILL ALSO REMOVES THE COST FOR LIFTING THE FREEZE. MADIGAN URGES AFFECTED CONSUMERS NOT TO WAIT FOR THE LEGISLATION, AND TO CONTACT EQUIFAX, EXPERIAN AND TRANSUNION TO BLOCK YOUR REPORT IF YOU AREN’T PLANNING ON TAKING OUT A LOAN OR GETTING A NEW CREDIT CARD RIGHT AWAY.

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Cash Rental Rates for Illinois Farmland Declining Slightly

Like farmland values, cash rental rates are declining slightly statewide, but there’s still a lot of variability says Ray Brownfield, owner and managing broker of Land Pro LLC.
 
 
The highest cash rent average in Illinois is $289 per acre in Logan County and the lowest at $71.50 in Johnson County. The statewide average at $218 per acre. 

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Ninth US Constitution, Citizen Day Recognized in Illinois

SECRETARY OF STATE JESSE WHITE IS CELEBRATING THE NINTH ANNUAL U-S CONSTITUTION AND CITIZENSHIP DAY.
 
THE CELEBRATION IN CHICAGO INCLUDED THE SWEARING IN OF NEARLY 60 PEOPLE FROM 25 COUNTRIES TO BE U-S CITIZENS. SECRETARY WHITE URGED THE NEW AMERICANS TO GET INVOLVED IN THEIR COMMUNITIES.
 
 
U-S DISTRICT COURT JUDGE JOAN GOTTSCHALL PRESIDED:
 
 
SUNDAY MARKS THE 230TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE SIGNING OF THE U-S CONSTITUTION.

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Weekly Weather Summary

It was another mild week in central Illinois with more cloudy days than sunny days as parts of the state felt the remnants of Hurricane Irma. University of Illinois Extension's Todd Gleason has more....
 

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New DeWitt County 4-H Year Underway

While the registration period officially opens today, DeWitt County 4-H groups are already meeting to s tart the new year.
 
That's the message from Kim Gibbons at the University of Illinois Extension office who indicates the new year is a great time for youth to join, but it isn't limited to just the fall, as someone can join at any time.
 
 
Joining a club is very easy and Gibbons says a lot of clubs are geared towards the interests of the youth. She notes just because you're in a certain club doesn't mean you can't take on other projects.
 
 
Leaders and officers in the clubs plan meetings, projects and community service projects. The big end of year 4-H Fair in DeWitt County is generally the most visible time for 4-H but Gibbons indicates throughout the year very little emphasis is put on the 4-H Fair.
 
 
Shooting sports and the STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) have really taken off in DeWitt County. Gibbons notes students interested in being a part of those groups don't have to be in 4-H to participate.
 
 
To get more information on 4-H and getting into a club, contact the DeWitt County University of Illinois Extension office in DeWitt County at 217-935-5764. 

 

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Monticellobration this Weekend

Monticello Main Street is throwing their annual Monticellobration this weekend.
 
Kerry Redshaw indicates that this year's theme is Festifall. This celebration of Fall will include 50 vendors selling everything from pottery to  pumpkins.
 
 
Saturday will start off with the Pet Parade that's put on by the animal shelter in Monticello where participants will be given prizes for best dressed pet, best tricks and the pet and owner who look the most alike. There will also be pony rides, amish buggy rides, face painting, and joyful bubbles among other family friendly events.
 
 
Redshaw adds that there will be a scarecrow walk, where people can reserve and decorate a lampost for 25 dollars and the money from that will go to Willow Tree Missions in Monticello.
 
 
Tune in this Saturday to 95.9 AM WEZC 10 am to noon for periodic updates at Monticellobration.

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Report Indicates Illinois' Tate Leaving

It's the end of an era for Fighting Illini sports and we're not talking about the demise of "War Chant". 
 
The Alton Telegraph reports the athletic program's unofficial historian, Loren Tate, is stepping away from the keyboard, ending his Tatelines column based out of the Champaign News Gazette. 
 
Reports out of Champaign say Tate, a longtime fixture on Illini broadcasts here, will continue some radio duties. The 86-year-old Tate played basketball at the U of I after graduating from Monticello High School. 
 
He left the area in the mid 50s to serve as Sports Editor for the Hammond Times in Hammond, Indiana then returned to Champaign to work for the News-Gazette in 1966. 
 
He continued writing for the paper while he served as sports director of WICD TV through the late 70s. He later migrated to radio working on WDWS, he moved up to Executive Sports Editor of the News-Gazette in 1987. 
 
He also is a member of the IHSA Basketball Hall of Fame, the Hammond Sports Hall of Fame, and the Monticello High School Hall of Fame and he received the University of Illinois honorary Varsity I award. 
 
He also authored the book "A Century of Orange and Blue: Celebrating 100 Years of Fighting Illini Basketball".

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State Group Examining Food Transparency

Many surveys show consumers want to know more about where food comes from, how it’s produced, and who produced it. 
 
The Food and Agricultural Road Map – or FARM Illinois – held an event this week in Chicago to explore what it called, “From seed to shelf,” and how Illinois food companies and farmers can improve transparency. Tyler Strom serves as the managing director for FARM Illinois;
 
 
Strom explains what else FARM Illinois has in store to help ensure food and agriculture continue to be major drivers of the state's economy.
 
 
FARM Illinois aims to keep the state - and Chicago in particular - as a major regional, national and global food hub. You can find more information online at farmIllinois - that's one word - farmillinois-dot-org.

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Chicago Lawmakers Participates in 'Adopt a Legislator' in Downstate This Week

A local Farm Bureau “Adopt a Legislator” program brought Chicago State Senator Laura Murphy to three downstate farms this week. 
 
Western Illinois State Rep. Dan Swanson helped with part of the tour.
 
 
Swanson is involved in a family farming operation near Alpha in Henry County. 

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UIS Among Hardest Hit By Loss of International Students

There's been lots of talk about the impact of the extended state budget crisis on Illinois colleges and universities. 
 
Now that money is flowing again and MAP grant dollars are going out to students, new trouble arises, a decline in international students. The University of Illinois at Springfield has depended on international students for its continued growth. Chancellor Susan Koch reports fall enrollment is down by 8.69 percent and a decline in students with visas has played a huge role.
 
 
Some blame President Trump's push for a travel ban on some Islamic nations as one reason international students are staying away. 
 
Some reports indicate students from nations not impacted by the ban like China and India are going to other countries because they no longer believe Americans are as accepting of all foreign students. 

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Illinois Not As Dry As Other Parts of Midwest

Certain parts of Illinois are very dry, but nothing like Montana. The state has been ravaged by drought and wildfires and the impact has impacted virtually every farmer and rancher says Hans McPherson with the Montana Farm Bureau. He spoke with the RFD Radio Network Thursday.
 
 
McPherson describe the smoky conditions he's been experiencing. 
 
 
In addition, McPherson says the Montana winds are not relenting this summer, which has escalated the problem. He adds that growth of hay and alfalfa in irrigated fields has also been stalled because there has been very little sunlight with all of the smoke in the air. 

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Unemployment Up In August

THE ILLINOIS UNEMPLOYMENT RATE INCREASED SLIGHTLY LAST MONTH. 
 
THE JOBLESS RATE ROSE FROM FOUR POINT EIGHT PERCENT IN JULY, TO FIVE PERCENT IN AUGUST. STATE DEPARTMENT OF EMPLOYMENT SECURITY SPOKESPERSON BOB GOUGH (goff) SAYS THERE WAS A LOSS OF 37 HUNDRED JOBS LAST MONTH AS WELL.
 
 
JOB GROWTH FOR AUGUST WAS SEEN IN TRADE, TRANSPORTATION AND UTILITIES, AS WELL AS EDUCATIONAL AND HEALTH SERVICES AND THE CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY.
 

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Warner Hospital and Health Services Health Fair Highlights Mammography Upgrades

The Warner Hospital and Health Services annual health fair provided the community the opportunity to learn about all the departments and services within the city owned entity.
 
The biggest highlight of the afternoon was the updates within the radiology department and the mammography area. Cathy Varvel says they got a lot of people through to see the updates and many were asking great questions.
 
 
She says the 3D image is providing a more complete scan of the breast which is providing better results at the same time.
 
 
Board member Nate Ennis says the addition of the 3D mammography service is all about offering services so the community can stay close to home.
 
 
Organizers of the Health Fair were pleased with the turnout. Along with Warner Hospital and Health Services staff, there were other area healthcare providers, non-profit groups and activities for youth. 

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DeWitt County Farm Bureau Providing Information on Wind Farms To Area Landowners

Wind energy and wind farms are among the hot topics locally and a local entity is providing landowners with information they might need very soon.
 
It is a possibility a wind farm could come to DeWitt County and the DeWitt County Farm Bureau is providing their member landowners with information to make a decision on if that is something they'd like on their properties.
 
DeWitt County Farm Bureau Manager Janel Baum-Thomas says they are focused on landowner rights as the Farm Bureau has not taken a position on this issue yet.
 
 
According to Baum-Thomas, you'll want to make sure any future agreements cover an entire property and how the removal of those wind towers would be covered if it ever came to that.
 
 
Finally, the Farm Bureau is discussing ag impact mitigation returns. She says this is a requirement for developers in Illinois.
 
 
Members of the DeWitt County Farm Bureau were presented with information earlier this month. Anyone can join the Farm Bureau and will be kept up on the latest happenings. There are different levels of membership within the Farm Bureau. To learn more, contact Baum-Thomas at 217-935-2126 or visit facebook.com/dewittcountyfarmbureau. 

 

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Congressman Davis Discusses Opioid Epidemic Sweeping Illinois

US Congressman Rodney Davis recently spent several hours in DeWitt County meeting with local leaders and first responders and health care professionals discussing the opioid epidemic sweeping the country.
 
Finding treatment in rural America was a common theme among the many things that came up in his meetings and Davis says the federal government is making record investments into getting those battling substance abuse help.
 
 
While getting someone help when they are ready for it is a big point of emphasis, Congressman Davis believes there has be investments into discussing the dangers of drug and substance abuse.
 
 
Additionally, Davis discussed criminal justice reforms. He hopes to see reforms with how law enforcement deals with those that come in for abuse. 

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Community Action and the Community Services Block Grant

The Community Services Block Grant is what allows Community Action to be what it is.
 
According to Alison Rumler-Gomez, executive director of Community Action, the program is used to teach career readiness, financial literacy and give housing counseling as well as energy assistance to help people figure out why they're below the poverty line.
 
 
Rumler-Gomez adds that classes in DeWitt County start at the end of September and are filling up quickly. She indicates that you should contact them as soon as possible if you'd like a spot.
 
 
To learn more about Community Action and their programs you can contact them at (217) 732-2159 or for general inforamtion you can visit their website at capsil.info.
 

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Sente Joins General Assembly Exodus

There's another departure from the Illinois General Assembly. House. Democratic State Rep. Carol Sente of Vernon Hills says she won’t seek re-election next year. She recently notified House Speaker Michael Madigan that she wouldn't run for another term in 2018.

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State Police report decline in Labor Day Weekend Fatalities

Illinois State Police say there was a steep drop in fatal traffic crashes over the Labor Day weekend this year compared with last year. State police released figures Tuesday showing five fatal traffic crashes this year, compared with 19 last year, and five fatalities this year compared with 23 in 2016. State police handled nearly 200 crashes during the holiday weekend. Illinois State Police Director Leo Schmitz says it was one of the safest Labor Day travel weekends in the last six years.

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Blagojevich speaks

Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich has delivered a blunt assessment of his time behind bars, saying he takes it “one day at a time” 5 1/2 years into a 14 year prison term. Chicago tv station WMAQ has begun airing two hours of interviews with Blagojevich, who is spending his days at a Colorado lockup. Blagojevich says his career change has been humbling....
 
 
Blagojevich still takes issue with his 14 year sentence, which was upheld after some of his corruption convictions were thrown out by Judge James Zagel...
 
 
He continues to express hope for exoneration.

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Ameren Illinois Crews Headed To Florida

Crews from Ameren Illinois headed to Florida. The utility's Brian Bretsch says help will be provided in restoring power to areas hit hard by Hurricane Irma storm…
 
 
The power crews will likely be in Florida for at least two weeks.

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Bustos hopes for movement on infrastructure

Quad Cities Congresswoman Cheri Bustos has drawn national attention for her ability to succeed as a Democrat in a district that heavily supported Donald Trump for President last fall. While she isn't exactly aligning herself with the President, she finds common ground with the President on a key issue, improving the nation's infrastructure.....
 
 
Bustos works closely with the infrastructure situation as a member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. 

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U-of-I makes revisions to farmland management policy

The University of Illinois moving forward with revisions to its farmland management policy. The school has acquired around 10,000 acres of farmland through various gifts over the years, but moved to an open bid format for cash leases back in 2004. U-of-I College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences Dean Kimberlee Kidwell wanted to see that changed—using a “best candidate” approach instead.
 
 
Illinois Farm Bureau president Rich Guebert Jr expressed support for the revisions earlier this summer. 
 
Kidwell says the policy change also means the most qualified applicants for U-of-I farmland will be offered operating contracts at a predetermined rate based on local market conditions.

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Anderson Ford, Clinton Athletic Boosters Teaming Up For DriveOne Event

The partnership between a local car dealer and a school group in Clinton continues this week.
 
The Clinton Athletic Booster Club's partnership with Anderson Ford in Clinton continues this Friday when Anderson hosts another Drive One For Your School event at their Clinton dealership location. Booster President Brian Ennis explains this is a huge fundraiser for their group.
 
 
Being Homecoming weekend, Ennis is hoping plenty of folks will be around and stop by and take a drive. According to Ennis, only one person per address can stop by and drive and drivers must be 18.
 
 
The goal for the test drives is 300 and Ford Corporation donates $20 per drive. Ennis says that money, combined with funds raised from their home game pork chop and apparel sales all go back into the Clinton Schools sports programs.
 
 
The Drive One For Your School event is Friday from 9 am to 6 pm at Anderson Ford in Clinton. The event has traditionally taken place in conjunction with the Homecoming activities at Clinton High School. 

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Clinton Chamber Prepping for Annual Christmas Parade

The Clinton Chamber of Commerce is beginning their preparations for the annual Christmas Parade. 
 
Executive Director Marian Brisard says the preparations are underway for this year's afternoon parade which is set for the last Saturday of November. 
 
 
The parade is free for anyone to enter. Along with preparations for entries, the Chamber is starting to prepare for their annual Grand Marshall designation. Brisards explains those nominations can start to be made, and forms are available on the Chamber website.
 
 
Visit the new Clinton Chamber website, www.clintonilchamber.com to find the newsletter, which has the entry forms for the parade and the Grand Marshall nominations. 

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Blue Ridge Schools Excited About CEO Program Potential

A group of about a dozen central Illinois schools are organizing to create a business opportunity for their seniors in high school.
 
Among the group of districts will be Blue Ridge Schools and Superintendent Susan Wilson, they have formed a steering committee to get things going.
 
 
According to Wilson, the program is going to require a certain amount of funds to be raised but notes it is not coming from the districts. She explains it will be a partnership with the community.
 
 
Wilson feels the way the program is set up, it will create a community effort to give students the opportunity. 
 
Students will learn the basics about business from business leaders in each community. They will create their own business and take that business to a trade show. 

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Labor Day Traffic Fatalities Down By 78%

TRAFFIC DEATHS DROPPED BY 78 PERCENT OVER THE LABOR DAY WEEKEND IN ILLINOIS.
 
ALTHOUGH ONE DEATH IS TOO MANY…ILLINOIS STATE POLICE SERGEANT MIKE LINK SAYS THEY ARE PLEASED WITH THE DECLINE.
 
 
LINK SAYS STATE POLICE ISSUED MORE THAN THREE THOUSAND TICKETS FOR SPEEDING AND 765 TICKETS FOR NOT WEARING A SEATBELT. 
 
 
LAST YEAR IN ILLINOIS…19 PEOPLE DIED IN 23 CRASHES DURING THE LABOR DAY HOLIDAY.

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Crossbows To Be Allowed Archery Deer Season

HUNTERS WILL BE ABLE TO USE A CROSSBOW DURING THE ARCHERY DEER SEASON UNDER A NEW STATE LAW. 
 
THE LAW REPEALS PAST RESTRICTIONS ON USING A CROSSBOW SAYS ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES SPOKESPERSON ED CROSS.
 
 
CROSS SAYS YOU WON’T HAVE TO DO ANY SPECIAL PAPERWORK TO USE A CROSSBOW.
 
 
ARCHERY DEER SEASON RUNS OCTOBER FIRST THROUGH JANUARY 14TH IN ILLINOIS, EXCEPT FOR THE TWO FIREARM DEER HUNTING WEEKENDS IN NOVEMBER AND EARLY DECEMBER.

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BBB Advice For Victims of Data Breach

At least 143-million people have been victimized in a sweeping security breach. The credit-reporting bureau Equifax was hit by hackers earlier this year. The Better Business Bureau is offering some advice if you have been impacted by the breach. The stolen information includes names, mailing addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses. BBB spokesman Shellie Kreter (KRAY-tur) says freezing your credit is one of the more reliable ways to protect yourself from identity thieves from establishing new lines of credit in your name.
 
 
Equifax has set up a website just to deal with the breach and the public's questions. You can find that link at "equifaxsecurity2017.com."

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Clinton Chamber Special Haunted House License Plates Available Now

The first order of a specialty license plates is out commemorating the Clinton Chamber's Haunted House.
 
The specialty Terror on Washington Street's Haunted House 24th anniversary commemorative plates are available now and Chamber Executive Director, Marian Brisard says those plates can be order for $20.17 at the Chamber office, good until the end of  October.
 
 
According to Brisard, this is the second time the Chamber has done this fundraiser before. She notes it is through the Secretary of State's Office and while it is a fundraiser for the Chamber, it also promotes the dates of this year's Haunted House.
 
 
To order you plates, contact the Clinton Chamber of Commerce at 217-935-3364 or visit them in Suite 101 on the South Side of Mr. Lincoln Square. 

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Local Lawmaker Fighting for Fair Maps in Illinois

A central Illinois State Senator is taking the fight for fair mapping districts in Illinois to the Supreme Court.
 
State Senator Chapin Rose says the people of Illinois should be choosing the lawmakers to represent them through the maps that are drawn up, not the political party that is in power at the time. He points to a petition a half-million people signed at the last election to get legislation passed as further reason this should happen sooner rather than later. 
 
 
Should the Supreme Court should rule in their favor, he is hopeful the ruling would take effect when the next mapping process takes place in a few short years.
 
 
Senator Rose explains computers are drawing the maps and essentially guaranteeing a certain political party has dominance in an area for an entire decade. 

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Weekly Crop Report

CORN HARVESTING HAS BEGUN IN ILLINOIS. 
 
AFTER ANOTHER COOL AND DRY WEEK…82 PERCENT OF CORN IS NOW IN THE DENT STAGE SAYS STATISTICIAN MARK SCHLEUSENER.
 
 
47 PERCENT OF SOYBEANS ARE TURNING COLOR AND 13 PERCENT ARE DROPPING LEAVES. 57 PERCENT OF THE CROP IS RATED IN GOOD TO EXCELLENT CONDITION. 
 
 
84 PERCENT OF SORGHUM IS TURNING COLOR AND 13 PERCENT IS DROPPING LEAVES. 
 
AVERAGE STATEWIDE TOPSOIL MOISTURE IS NOW RATED AT 19 PERCENT VERY SHORT, 45 PERCENT SHORT AND 36 PERCENT ADEQUATE.

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McCann Gets Another Challenger in Senate Race

A downstate senator will likely face another challenger from his own party next spring. 
 
The Sangamon County GOP central committee has unanimously voted to back Steve McClure, an assistant state's attorney, for the seat in the 50th state senate district that has been held by Sam McCann since 2011. The State Journal-Register reports party leadership doesn't think McCann is "true to our core principals anymore." 
 
McClure says he believes that to be true.
 
 
McCann is no stranger to opposition from within the party. In 2016, Governor Bruce Rauner backed another candidate after McCann voted against the governor on a labor arbitration issue. 

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US Beef Industry Says Trump Withdrawal From KORUS Will Cost Millions

The U.S. beef industry says if President Trump withdraws the US from the Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement, millions of dollars and thousands of jobs will be lost throughout the Midwest and other regions.
 
As the president tries to appeal to blue collar workers in the rust belt who voted for him, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association tells the White House, scuttling KORUS is also a ‘job killer’ in the heartland. NCBA’s trade adviser, Kent Bacus…
 
 
Bacus says NCBA’s told the president and his staff, it’s not just urban manufacturing that’s on the line with KORUS…
 
 
U.S. beef sales in number-two buyer Korea are up over 80-percent or to around one-billion dollars under KORUS, as tariffs move to zero over ten-years.  But there’s more…
 
 
Walk away from KORUS and Bacus says the Koreans have no incentive to keep that, and could even raise the levy on U.S. beef, back to its pre-KORUS 40-percent. Bacus says his industry fears a NAFTA-style renegotiation of KORUS could result in gains for other sectors at the expense of farm trade.

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Illinois Farmers Continue To Push For Support of Korean-US Trade Agreement

Trade continues to have the attention of Illinois farmers. They responded to a call to action last week concerning “KORUS” (chorus)—the Korean-U.S. Trade Agreement, according to Mark Gebhards, the director of Governmental Affairs for the Illinois Farm Bureau.
 
 
Illinois Farm Bureau President Rich Guebert also authored a letter to the Illinois congressional delegation last week lobbying for continued support of the five-year-old agreement with South Korea. 

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FARM INCOME PROJECTED TO INCREASE SLIGHTLY

The recent projections of farm income released by USDA’s Economic Research Service in their 2017 Farm Sector Income Forecast suggest that while farm income may have hit rock bottom in 2016, there will be an uptick in both net farm and net cash income in 2017 American Farm Bureau. Federation Chief Economist Dr. Bob Young says livestock sales are driving the slight increase…
 
      
 
Forecasts for both livestock and crop cash receipts are promising. Livestock cash receipts will increase by 4.8 percent and crop cash receipts will increase by 1.6 percent in 2017. With an increase predicted though, Dr. Young cautions that the year’s overall farm income is hard to predict…
 
 
Given recent projections, Young offers this planning advice to farmers…
 
 
That’s AFBF chief economist Bob Young.

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Eastern Illinois Numbers Down, But Slightly

Eastern Illinois University continues to see declining enrollment but the bleeding may be slowing. 
 
Fall semester enrollment is down by five percent at the Charleston based school but that's the lowest decrease from fall to fall in six years. Enrollment for the school sits at just over 7-thousand students, nearly 400 fewer than a year ago. 
 
Eastern officials believe the extended budget impasse and a statewide decline in college enrollment have contributed to shrinking numbers.

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DeWitt County Habitat For Humanity Refocused, Optimistic

The DeWitt County Chapter of Habitat for Humanity has started construction on their latest home and already has an additional two approved families for more homes in the next few years.
 
That's just a few of the reasons leaders in the DeWitt County non-profit are extremely optimistic about the future of the organization. Rick Heath indicates the turn around has stemmed from a refocused effort by their board to make sure the organization can be sustainable.
 
 
Exelon has long been a supporter of Habitat for Humanity. Heath notes they not only provide financial support but a lot of man power and feels it is great to have them staying in the community.
 
 
Earlier this year, Habitat was among several DeWitt County non-profits to receive funds from the William Davenport Estate and Heath says that was a very generous gift but it also allows them to be sustainable for years.
 
 
Habitat has two additional approved families for builds after their current project taking place on Isabella Street in Clinton. After recent years of hard searches for families, Heath credits the diligence of their Board to put in hard work to get their message out.
 
 
At the home at 220 Isabella Street in Clinton, the work has started and Habitat is seeking volunteers to come out each Saturday from 8 am to 2 pm and help out with the build. For more information on getting involved in Habitat, contact them at 217-935-4663. 

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Cub Scout Pack 142 Accepting New Members All Year Long

This past Tuesday was Recruitment Night for Cub Scout Pack 142.
 
And according to Ed Cicenas, it's no problem if you missed recruitment night because the Cub Scouts accept new members all year long and, if you're interested in joining, to check out their new facebook page.
 
 
Cicenas adds that the goals are to learn things, instill leadership skills and have some fun along the way.
 
Cut 2: cubnotboy2 :53 CUE: create tomorrow's leaders
 
If you'd like to join Cub Scout Pack 142, you can contact them via facebook by searching Cub Scout Pack 4142 Clinton, IL.

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Ameren Introducing Drones Into Everyday Operations

Drones are becoming an increasingly popular way for businesses to conduct business and the same is true for the Illinois utility company, Ameren Illinois.
 
Riley Adams is Manager of Electirc Initiatives with Ameren and indicates drones are being used on every day jobs like inspections of power poles across the state.
 
 
Drones have good cameras and are efficient to use. Adams indicates though, while Ameren is using a standard drone you can purchase at most retail outlets, they have to get approved by the FAA and their staff has to get trained.
 
 
Ameren continues to seek ways drones can be best used in every day operations. Adams indicates their line crews could soon be using drones.
 
 
Adams indicates the drones have already proven to be useful to their staff in emergency situations and power outages as well. 

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Senator Duckworth Talks Infastructure

Senator Tammy Duckworth isn't impressed by a report card on the nation's infrastructure. 
 
She believes now is the time for Congress to act on recomendations from the Blue-Green Alliance, which represents the nation's largest labor unions and environmental organizations.
 
 
Duckworth says improving the nation's infrastructure could serve as the elixir for many ills.
 

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Secretary of State Warning About Cars From Houston Flooding

SECRETARY OF STATE JESSE WHITE IS WARNING CONSUMERS ABOUT FLOOD-DAMAGED CARS ON THE MARKET.
 
AFTER ALL THE FLOODING FOLLOWING HURRICANE HARVEY AND LIKELY IRMA…SECRETARY WHITE SAYS YOU NEED TO BE WARY WHEN BUYING VEHICLES FROM THOSE AREAS.
 
 
WHITE SAYS HIS STAFF WILL BE KEEPING AN EYE OUT FOR CARS FROM STATES WHERE FLOODING HAS BEEN BAD. APPLICANTS WILL HAVE TO SUBMIT A HURRICANE DISCLOSURE STATEMENT IN ORDER TO OBTAIN A CLEAN ILLINOIS TITLE.
 
 
SIGNS OF FLOOD DAMAGE TO A CAR INCLUDE A MUSTY ODOR IN THE INTERIOR, RUST AROUND THE DOORS AND UNDER THE HOOD, UPHOLSTERY OR CARPETING THAT DOESN’T MATCH AND MUD OR SILT IN THE GLOVE COMPARTMENT.

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Congressman Davis Discusses Debt Ceiling Agreement

US Congressman Rodney Davis says the debt ceiling being raised this week was something that needed to be done.
 
He says it comes down to paying bills and also helping those in the south dealing with the devastation from Hurricane Harvey.
 
 
Davis wanted more than a three month extension, noting he does not like having a deadline. 
 
He called the agreement with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi the Presidents olive branch to the Democrats. 

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DeWitt County Business Helping Houston Victims

A local business collected three trailers filled with supplies needed in Houston, Texas in wake of the devastation from Hurricane Harvey.
 
Rich Roth, owner of ServPro of Clinton indicates he got an overwhelming response from the community after a call for things the folks in Texas needed.
 
 
Roth indicates Clinton and Houston churches are coordinating to ge the supplies to those in need in Houston.
 
 
Roth thanks the community for stepping up and giving generously the way they did. He indicates so many businesses, groups and entities stepped up to help out with the drive. 

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Illinois Youth Deer Hunt Set For First Full Weekend of October

KIDS WILL GET TO PARTICIPATE IN THE FIREARM DEER SEASON DURING THE YOUTH HUNT IN A FEW WEEKS. 
 
THE ILLINOIS YOUTH FIREARM DEER HUNT WILL BE HELD OCTOBER SEVENTH THROUGH THE NINTH. STATE DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES SPOKESPERSON ED CROSS SAYS IT’S OPEN TO HUNTERS WITH A VALID YOUTH DEER PERMIT WHO HAVE NOT TURNED 18 YET.
 
 
CROSS SAYS IT’S A GREAT WAY TO NURTURE A FUTURE GENERATION OF OUTDOOR ENTHUSIASTS.
 
 
ALL COUNTIES EXCEPT COOK, DUPAGE AND LAKE, AS WELL AS A PORTION OF KANE COUNTY ARE OPEN FOR THE YOUTH DEER SEASON. MORE INFORMATION IS AVAILABLE ONLINE AT: DNR DOT ILLINOIS DOT GOV.

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Net Farm Income Revised Upwards, But Impact Minimal in Illinois

The USDA has revised net farm income figures upward for the 2017 marketing year, but the impact will be minimal in Illinois—because most of the gains were made in livestock sector.
 
 
That’s Illinois Farm Bureau senior economist Mike Doherty. He says those farmers that cash rent have basically had a breakeven year.
 
 
The 2017 USDA farm income forecast also predicts real estate debt to reach a historic high in 2017 driven by continued demand for cropland combined with anticipated low interest rates and strong crop yields.

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Comptroller Dishes Out School Payments

Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza is telling Illinois school districts, the check is in the mail. 
 
$541 million in general state aid payments are being distributed to districts across the state. 
 
Typically, that money would have been shipped out in early August, but was delayed by the recent school funding debate. 
 
Another 264 million dollars is being shipped out Friday for the September payments to schools.
 
>>Governor Turns To Borrowing
 
Governor Rauner is making an announcement on cutting the state's bill backlog. 
 
In a press release, Rauner announced he intends to exercise borrowing authority to issue $6 billion in bonds to pay down a portion of the state’s bill backlog. 
 
The borrowing is something Comptroller Susana Mendoza called for and will allow the state to pay a lower interest rate than the current interest rate penalty of 12 percent a year on its debt.

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Sen. Rose Appointed To Task Force To Focus on Mahomet Aquifer

Earlier this year, the State of Illinois approved a Task Force to continue efforts to protect an Illinois natural resource.
 
State Senator Chapin Rose explains the Governor signed the task force into law earlier this year and earlier this week, Senate Minority Leader Bill Brady appointed Rose to the task force, which will focus on continued efforts to protect the Mahomet Aquifer, which provides water for over 500-thousand Illinois residents.
 
 
One area the task force will likely focus on is several closed landfills that lie atop the aquifer across it's landscape. Sen. Rose indicates it is unknown exactly how those might impact the water of the Mahomet Aquifer.
 
 
There are still appointments to be made but Sen. Rose says next summer they will provide a report to the Senate. He adds he will propose using the University of Illinois' Prairie Research Institute to do ground monitoring research. 

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Farm Bureau Hosting Annual Tractor Drive Sunday

The agriculture community in DeWitt County will be on full display this weekend with the annual DeWitt County Farm Crawl and the annual tractor drive hosted by the DeWitt County Farm Bureau. 
 
Manager of the DeWitt County Farm Bureau, Janel Baum-Thomas indicates their annual tractor drive on Sunday benefits their Foundation's scholarship along with their education materials for DeWitt County teachers.
 
 
Registrations are still being taken all the way up to the start of the event. Baum-Thomas hopes interested drivers will contact them to at least give a heads up they want to participate.
 
 
The route of the drive includes stops across DeWitt County including at Triple-M Farms to be a part of their Sunday Farm Crawl.
 
 
The event gets underway at the DeWitt County Fairgrounds off Business 51 on the north side of Clinton. Tractors take off at 8 am and return around 4 pm.
 
Participation is $50 and entries can be registered the morning of the event. 
 
For more information, visit dewittcountyfarmbureau.com or contact the Farm Bureau at 217-935-2126.

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Warner Library Semi-Annual Used Book Sale This Weekend

The Warner Library is having its semi-annual sale today and Saturday.
 
According to Children's Librarian, Paula Lopatic, The Friends of the Warner Library Used Book Sale starts at 9 am on both days and end an hour before the library closes.
 
 
Lopatic indicates that a change will be implimented this year to the Buck a Bag special. In previous years, the special ran from noon to 3 on Saturday, but with the many donations made this year, it will run all day Saturday.
 
 
She adds that so much of what the library is able to offer the public by way of programs and summer reading clubs is because of the donations The Friends of the Library make.
 
 
To learn more information, you can contact the library at (217) 935-5174.

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Exelon Clinton Power Station Celebrates 30th Anniversary with Open House

A local entity had their annual open house last night.
 
Exelon's Clinton Power Station celebrated its 30th anniversary with, according to Public Relations Director Brett Nauman, community members who were offered the opportunity to learn how nuclear power operates, radiation safety, kid friendly activities, give-aways, and most importantly, free food.
 
 
Nauman adds that Exelon is glad to still be in and a part of this community. 
 
 
Several checks were awarded through the evening. Daryl Tucker received one of these checks for Am Vet post 14. The thousand dollars that Exelon contributed will go directly to helping veterans.
 
 
The Vault was voted on by Exelon employees to be their charitable agency of choice this year and Michelle Witzke couldn't be more pleased.
 
 
Around 300 members of the community came out to the Power Station's open house.
 
 
 

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Construction Underway on Latest Habitat For Humanity Home

Habitat For Humanity has started their latest home on Isabella Street.
 
Bob Cox indicates the foundation for the home has been laid and they are targeting getting the basement laid out over the next few weeks before they work their way up.
 
 
Rick Heath with Habitat extends a big thanks to their contractors who have stepped up to provide them with materials and manpower. He says not only do they generously give, they do quality work.
 
 
Starting this Saturday, Habitat For Humanity is seeking volunteers to help get the home moving along. Cox indicates they work from 8 am to 2 pm with a light lunch provided.
 
 
Cox indicates they'd like to know who can be available ahead of time. To get in touch with Habitat about volunteering at the site or in other capacities, contact them at 217-935-4663. 

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DeWitt County School District Thankful For New Funding Model

It took nearly a month of overtime but the State of Illinois leadership finally came up with a new funding model for schools in the state.
 
That is to the delight of almost everyone, including Blue Ridge Schools and Superintendent Susan Wilson. While having the funding mechanism now in place, she questions what the private school waivers are going to look like and how that will impact Illinois public schools.
 
 
Despite the questions she has for the waivers, she notes the evidence based model is well thought out and researched.
 
 
Wilson indicates the district had a plan in place in the event they weren't going to see state money for a long stretch of time.
 
 
According to Wilson, Blue Ridge will actually come out better than they were before. She estimates that to be an additional $25,000 or $30,000 from the state.

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State Unveils Comprehensive Plan For Addressing Opioid Epidemic

STATE OFFICIALS ARE UNVEILING A COMPREHENSIVE PLAN FOR COMBATTING THE OPIOID CRISIS IN ILLINOIS. 
 
THE PROBLEM HAS BECOME AMERICA’S DEADLIEST DRUG CRISIS, AND THE GOAL OF THE NEW PLAN IS TO REDUCE OPIOID RELATED DEATHS IN ILLINOIS BY 33 PERCENT IN THREE YEARS. STATE PUBLIC HEALTH DIRECTOR DR. NIRAV SHAH SAYS OPIOID OVERDOSES HAVE KILLED NEARLY 11-THOUSAND PEOPLE IN ILLINOIS SINCE 2008.
 
 
THIS NEW ACTION PLAN FOCUSES ON PREVENTION, INCLUDING STRESSING THE HIGH RISK OF ADDICTION. IT ALSO CALLS FOR MORE TREATMENT AND RECOVERY PROGRAMS SAYS THE STATE DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES’ MARIA BRUNI.
 
 
BRUNI SAYS THEY ARE SECURING FEDERAL GRANTS TO HELP FUND THOSE EFFORTS. ADDITIONALLY, THE PLAN ADDRESSES RESPONSE BY INCREASING THE NUMBER OF FIRST RESPONDERS WHO CAN PROVIDE IMMEDIATE OVERDOSE TREATMENT.

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Peoria Air Guard Unit Deploys Second C-130, Crew for Hurricane Relief

The Illinois National Guard has deployed another C-130 cargo aircraft to points south to help with hurricane relief, this time in advance. 
 
The Peoria based 182nd Airlift Wing sent a Hercules aircraft and its crew of seven to the U.S. Virgin Islands to help prepare for Hurricane Irma. 
 
Last week, the unit sent a C-130 to Texas to help with relief efforts tied to Hurricane Harvey.

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Pumpkin Crop Benefiting From Cool, Dry Weather

What does a cool and dry season mean for the Illinois pumpkin crop? It’s actually not that bad says John Lyons with Indian Creek Farmstead near Petersburg.
 
 
Lyons also grows gourds and squash on his farm. The operation includes five buildings and he calls the enterprise “Agritainment”—including retail, barnyard, wagon rides, food and beverage, school tours and special events such as weddings and family gatherings. 

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Late Season Pests Concern for Illinois Soybean Farmers

Soybean farmers throughout various parts of Illinois dealing with a couple of late season pests. GROWMARK Agronomy Services Manager Tim Laatsch says if not treated, yield can be impacted.
 
 
Laatsch says there are many different insecticides that can be used for both grasshopper and stink bug control, but he encourages farmers to carefully read label directions especially as it relates to the pre-harvest interval. 

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Lake Land College Celebrating 50 Years This Month

Lake Land Community College in Mattoon will be celebrating 50 years educating young minds at their homecoming celebration later this month. The school was founded in 1966, but the first classes were held at Lake Land in September of 1967. 
 
Lake Land’s Director of Alumni Relations Dave Cox says this year’s anniversary and homecoming celebration is a time to recognize the school’s accomplishments in its first 50 years.
 
 
The homecoming celebration will go from September 27 through October 1.

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Illinois Pork Producers, Farm Bureau Partnering in Tree Buffer Program

The Illinois Farm Bureau and Illinois Pork Producers Association teaming up for a tree-buffer program. IPPA Executive Director Jennifer Tirey says the buffers serve as windbreaks and provide other environmental benefits for hog farmers.
 
 
Hog farmers can apply to participate in the program through October 7th at “ilpork.com.” 

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Durbin Reacts To DACA Plan

When it comes to the debate over the fate of young undocumented immigrants in the DACA program, one of the staunchest defenders of the program's "Dreamers" has been Senator Dick Durbin. 
 
Durbin joined Republican colleague Lyndsey Graham of South Carolina to call for passage of the Dream Act, to ensure nearly 800-thousand DACA beneficiaries could remain in the U.S. He accused the President of an about face.
 
 
With the program set to end in six months, Durbin says DACA backers don't have the option of delays.
 
 
Graham said he always believed DACA was an overreach by President Obama, but he also equally understands the plight of the Dream Act kids who often know no other country than America.

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Democratic Gubernatorial Candidate Releases Attack on Trump Administration for DACA

Democratic gubernatorial candidate J.B. Pritzker is releasing new ads, but they're not ads directly urging voters to choose him next year. 
 
Pritzker has bought radio ads, attacking President Trumps's decision to end the DACA program for young undocumented immigrants. The ads aren't just recorded in English.
 
 
In the Spanish ads, Pritzker calls the Dreamers part of the Illinois family. Pritzker has sent a letter to Congressional leaders urging them to take action to protect those in the DACA program. 
 
Illinois has the fourth largest number of people in the program. While Governor Rauner is taking heat from some conservative corners for his support of legislation limiting law enforcement activity against illegal immigrants, Pritzker said quote: It’s time Bruce Rauner came out of his cowardly silence and stood up to Donald Trump and for DREAMers.”

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Exelon Hosting Wednesday Open House

A few decades ago, there was concern across Central Illinois when Illinois Power built a nuclear plant in Clinton, just a few years after the incident at Pennsylvania's Three Mile Island nuclear plant. 
Some were worried about nuclear power safety, others cost overruns. Now, 30 years after the plant started pumping out power atomic style, the plant's current owner is throwing a public celebration of the plant's anniversary. 
Exelon is hosting a community open house tomorrow from 4 to 7 p.m.
 
Visitors will learn more about the plant and can take a tour of the plant's control room simulator.
 
Hear updates from the open house on The Big 1520 AM/92.3 FM WHOW, 95.9 FM WEZC and online at dewittdailynews.com. 

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Clinton Fire Responds To Neighboring House Fires

Just after 12:30 am this morning, Clinton Fire Officials were dispatched a fire of neighboring homes at the corner of Johnson and Gibson Streets.
 
According to Fire Chief Jeff Hoke, the two homes were found to be fully involved when authorities arrived on scene. 
 
 
One fire was able to be brought under control but the other structure could not because of unsafe conditions.
 
 
Crews were still on scene until about 7 am this morning. Crews from Wapella, Kenney, Maroa, Hickory Point, Farmer City and Waynesville was on stand by at the Clinton Fire Station.
 
The State Fire Marshall will investigate the incident.

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Community Action Cuts Ribbon on Food Pantry Co-op

Community Action officially opened the doors to their new food pantry co-op Tuesday morning with a ribbon cutting ceremony.
 
The new program is thanks to a donation from the William Davenport Estate and Director Craig Farnham (pictured right) indicates it is a program unlike anything DeWitt County has in place.
 
 
While the program is gaining steam with those who want to take advantage of it, Farnham notes they are also getting positive feedback from those they've reached out to for other items they might need.
 
 
Next week starts the orientation for those that sign up for the program. Farnham says you can stop in to the Clinton Community Action office in the Cedar Square subdivision or contact him by calling 217-732-2159. 
 
 
 
 

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DeWitt County Farm Crawl This Sunday

Family fun on the farm is the goal of a pair of DeWitt County ag professionals this weekend.
 
The annual DeWitt County Farm Crawl is Sunday and Triple M Farms' Mariah Anderson says it's a day full of fun for the family at Triple M Farms and Timberview Alpacas.
 
 
Each farm will each have their own attractions. At Triple M Farms, they will have face painting for the kids, antique tractors and the Clinton and Blue FFA Chapters will each have something for the kids.
 
 
At Timberview Alpacas, Elizabeth Lord indicates they will have the Clinton Fire Department out with their remote control truck, duel giant slides and hayrack rides that go all day.
 
 
The Farm Crawl is this Sunday from 10 am to 5 pm. Admission is free. Get more information at dewittcountyfarmcrawl.com or at the Farm Crawl Facebook page by searching DeWitt County Farm Crawl. 

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Heritage Behavioral Health Services Offers Treatment and Support in Recovery

Heritage Behavioral Health Services offers many paths to treatment.
 
Jessica Smiley, Director of Outpatient Services, indicates that Heritage offers four different pathways for medication assisted treatment for recovery from heroin addiction.
 
 
Smiley adds that Heritage has a crisis line that you can call if someone is at risk of hurting themselves or others, which is 362-6262, but if a person is in immediate risk, the best options is always to call 911.
 
 
There is a stigma that surrounds going to see a therapist, but Smiley indicates that offering support rather than judgment is important.
 
 
If you would like to schedule an appointment with Heritage, you can call (217) 570-0900 or visit the mat 40 Clinton Plaza. Again, the crisis number is 362-6262.

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American Soybean President, Rosevill Farmer Wants Lockand Dam Upgrades

A Western Illinois farmer in a key ag leadership role wants to see upgrades to the lock and dam system. Ron Moore of Roseville serves as president of the American Soybean Association.
 
 
Moore will finish up his term as ASA president in December. 

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Heritage Behavioral Health Services in Clinton

A Decatur based entity has officially made it's way to the Clinton community in the past few months and is ready to offer their services.
 
Heritage Behavioral Health Services stepped up last year when HRC closed down by taking over case management services and crisis services in the community. According to Jessica Smiley, Director of Outpatient Services at Heritage, the response has been steady.
 
CFO of Heritage, Candi Clevenger, adds that they are a Medicaid provider and with more insurance available they are able to help more people, especially with substance abuse.
 
 
To get a hold of Heritage Behavioral Health Services to schedule an appointment or to learn more information, you can call them at (217) 570-0900.
 
Tune in tomorrow to learn more about crisis intervention.

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Decatur Project Threatens Popular Attractions of Farm Progress Show

A project under consideration by officials in Decatur and Macon County threatens some popular events of the Decatur edition of the biennial Farm Progress Show.
 
The Beltway Project of Macon County is a proposal that is a western bi-pass in Decatur and the proposal runs through parts of the demo fields on Progress City. Events Manager for Farm Progress, Matt Jungmann says it's just something they're going to have to get figured out together.
 
Jungmann hopes to get all the players at a table to work things out. He says the impacts of the show, which comes to Decatur every two years, would be detrimental to the field demonstrations, which is a huge attraction.
 
Additionally, the economic impact of losing those demonstrations and attendees could be huge. He predicts there's a 45 mile radius of communities and cities impacted by those that come to Decatur every other year.
 
 
Jungmann indicates officials have been willing to meet however some unexpected things changed plans to meet. He is targeting the middle of the month hoping to get the conversation going with local leaders. 

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Warrensburg-Latham Schools Introduce Pre-K Parent Educator

Bridging the gap between parents and the school is the goal of a new positition at a local district.
 
Warrensburg-Latham schools have hired a pre-kindergarten educator to be available to parents of the youth. Dr. Kristen Kendrick-Weikle explains the position hopes to be a support for parents of first time school kids.
 
 
According to Dr. Kendrick-Weikle, the educator will also be available to help with the transition to a full day of kindergarten.
 
 
The district participates in the Federal Pre-K program and Dr. Kendrick-Weikle indicates it is their recommendation to have this kind of support. She also points out the position is a part time position.
 
 
Warrensburg-Latham's website, wl.k12.il.us has a link to contact information for administration for more information. 

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Red Cross seeks blood donors with supplies running low

The American Red Cross is putting out a call for donors, as Hurricane Harvey caused a chain of events that has led to a shortage of blood. Joe Zydlo, spokesman for the American Red Cross, says he's hoping the public will respond as they have in the past, and come to the aid of those in need not only now, but over the long-haul.
 
 
You can get more information by going to www.redcrossblood.org.

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FPS Already Being Planned for 2019

As the Farm Progress Show packed up and moved on from Decatur this weekend the planning for the next show has already begun. But it’s not for the next show in Iowa; it’s about the return show in 2019 according to Show Manager Matt Jungmann.
 
 
The Show returns August 27 through the 29th in 2019.

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Annual DeWitt County Event Adds Social Media Contest

Organizers of next week's annual DeWitt County Farm Crawl are introducing social media into this year's event.
 
Mariah Anderson explains they are doing a social media scavenger hunt with those on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
 
 
The scavenger hunt takes participants to various areas of DeWitt County along with videos and pictures.
 
The Farm Crawl is next Sunday from 10 am to 5 pm. The Crawl includes Timberview Alpacas and Triple-M Farms. 
 
Get more information about the event next week on Regional Radio News. 

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Farm Progress Show Leaves Economic Impact

The Farm Progress show has wrapped up in Decatur but the impact of more than a hundred thousand visitors and exhibitors is felt much further than just around Macon County. Show Manager Matt Jungmann says all those visitors each night needed a place to stay and eat and that takes a lot of hotel rooms.
 
 
The show heads to Boone Iowa next year before returning to its home back at Progress City USA in Decatur for 2019.

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Peoria Air Guard Unit Sends Assets to Texas

The Illinois National Guard has sent some assets to help with disaster relief efforts in Texas. Seven airmen and a C-130 Hercules cargo plane from the Peoria based 182nd Airlift Wing left Thursday for Dallas. The guard personnel are expected to work through the Labor Day weekend to help with recovery from Hurricane Harvey.

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Fertilizer Industry Wants Lock and Dam Upgrade

The fertilizer industry has a big presence in Illinois and a major part of their reach is through transportation—all forms—says the Fertilizer Institute’s Chris Jahn.
 
 
And Jahn says the fertilizer industry is among those pushing for major investment in the aging lock and dam system.
 
 
Jahn, a native of Wyoming, spoke recently at GROWMARK’s annual meeting in Chicago. 

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Weekly Weather Summary

Last month was the 12th coolest August on record and September is looking to be a continuation of the weather in August. State climatologist Jim Angel has more...
 

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Two Illinois visits in three weeks for U.S. Ag Secretary

Another visit in Illinois for U.S. Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue. His latest stop at the Farm Progress show in Decatur earlier this week. A good sign says Illinois Farm Bureau’s Executive Director of Governmental Affairs Mark Gebhads.
 
 
Perdue attended a Farm Bill listening session at the Farm Progress Show on Wednesday. He was also in Illinois earlier in August—stopping at several farms as part of his RV Tour. 

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Community Action Finding Challenges With Latest Program

A central Illinois non-profit organization is trying to match the challenges they're finding with a program they rolled out earlier in the year.
 
Community Action's Kitchen to Kitchen program is designed to provide home cooked meals to those in need in their communities but they are coming across some challenges. Katie Alexander explains they deliver a meal Monday, Wednesday and Friday hoping to bridge the gap in getting local residents food they need.
 
 
Alexander indicates they are finding some people have not been able to afford the meals. She notes they cost around $8 and are hoping some community groups will step up to help them bridge the cost so they can provide people in need with some food.
 
 
Visit capcil.info for more information on the Kitchen to Kitchen program. You can a menu or contact form. You can also call Community Action at 217-732-2159 for more information or to partner with them. 

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September Looking Like It Will Be Cooler

Sticking with the trend of August, September is looking to be much cooler than normal.
 
That's the prediction of the National Weather Service in Lincoln. After an August in parts of Illinois with zero 90-degree days, NWS Meteorologist in Lincoln, Chris Miller, says September should remain in that trend.
 
 
August saw less than normal rainfall and much cooler temperatures. Miller says precipitation in Illinois has been sporadic and indicates there are areas with enough and then right down the road with not enough.
 
 
Miller says the long term outlook could change if another tropical storm like Harvey pops up. He says remnants from those often times can eliminate any drought conditions happening over a given period of time. 

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Rauner, Top Leaders On Hand For Education Funding Bill Signing

It was one of the greatest visual displays of bipartisanship in recent Illinois political memory as top Republicans and Democrats gathered in Chicago and Governor Rauner signed school funding reform legislation.
 
 
State Senator Andy Manar, who had pushed for school funding reform with all of his legislative might in recent years, left no room for understatement.
 
 
The new law eases state mandates on physical education and driver's education. It also creates a tax credit for those donating to private school scholarship funds.

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LaHood Ready For Comprehensive Tax Reform

Central Illinois Congressman Darin LaHood ready for comprehensive tax reform. He’s happy to hear that the White House wants to move in that direction.
 
 
LaHood also wants to protect the tax deduction for implements. He says that provision under the tax code has worked very for farmers and the ag community. 

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2018 Candidate Pritzker Tours Central Illinois

The 2018 Illinois gubernatorial race already underway and one Democratic candidate makes a swing through Central Illinois. 
 
J.B. Pritzker visited Taylorville Thursday afternoon to talk to area residents about what he wants to do for the state of Illinois. Pritzker says he’s listening to all residents of Illinois, from urban and suburban Chicago to the southern tip of Illinois.
 
 
Pritzker told those in attendance after two and a half years as Governor, Bruce Rauner has shown he does not have the best interest of all Illinois residents at heart.

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