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Meth Arrest Made in Clinton Thursday

A Clinton man was arrested Thursday by Task Force 6. 
 
As the result of a Task Force 6 (TF6) investigation, Cade R. Bray, 40, of Clinton, Illinois was arrested and charged with Participation in Methamphetamine Manufacturing, a Class X felony and Disposal of Methamphetamine Manufacturing waste, a Class 2 felony.  
 
He is incarcerated in the DeWitt County jail pending a bond hearing.  If convicted, these Felonies range from probation up to 30 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections.
 
No other information will be released at this time.  
 
TF6 is a multi-agency enforcement unit specializing in narcotics enforcement.  TF6 is composed of officers from the Clinton Police Department, DeWitt County Sheriff’s Office, McLean County Sheriff’s Office, Piatt County Sheriff’s Office, Illinois State University Police Department, and the Illinois State Police.
 
The public is reminded that charges are merely accusations and criminal defendants are presumed innocent unless proven guilty.  
 
Persons having information regarding illegal drugs are encouraged to contact the TF6 tip line at www.taskforce6.com.

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Iowa State Climotologist Discusses La Nina and Crop Production

The La Nina impact on the Illinois winter is still somewhat up in the air among weather experts but a national weather expert was recently in Peoria for the Peoria Farm Show to talk with producers about how weather will impact commodity prices coming up.
 
Dr. Elwynn Taylor, climatologist at Iowa State, says La Nina trends tend to lower the trend line yields and that could have an impact on the grain prices.
 
 
Dr. Taylor weather in South America brings a lot of volatility in weather in areas where they grow their crops.
 
 
Dr. Taylor points out La Nina brings not as much moisture as El Nino weather patterns. He indicates the areas that are dry leaving the fall could face some risk but from Iowa/Missouri and Illinois borders going west could be hurting if we don't get much moisture this winter. 

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State Officials Fighting Opioid Epidemic Through Seizing Packages in Mail

STATE OFFICIALS ARE TOUTING EFFORTS TO FIGHT THE OPIOID EPIDEMIC IN ILLINOIS VIA THE MAIL.
 
GOVERNOR BRUCE RAUNER VISITED THE CHICAGO INTERNATIONAL MAILING FACILITY AT O’HARE AIRPORT TO CHECK OUT CUSTOMS AND BORDER PROTECTION PROCEDURES FOR DETECTING DRUGS. HE SAYS NEARLY TWO THOUSAND PEOPLE DIED OF OPIOID OVERDOSES LAST YEAR IN ILLINOIS…OFTEN BECAUSE THE DRUGS WERE LACED WITH FENTANYL.
 
 
THE CHICAGO I-M-F IS USING A COMBINATION OF ADVANCED TECHNOLOGIES AND K-9 UNITS TO TARGET PACKAGES WITH FENTANYL.

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Local Author To Be at DeWitt County Museum Friday

A local lawyer has published two books about Abraham Lincoln and his time practicing law in central Illinois.
 
Guy Fraker indicates his book, A Guide to Lincoln's Eighth Judicial Circuit, gives readers an interactive view at the places Lincoln spent time at during his time in central Illinois.
 
 
The last couple decades, Fraker has intensified his interest in Abraham Lincoln, an interest that dates back to an early visit to Salem, Illinois.
 
 
Fraker learned a lot about Lincoln and says he came away with a viewpoint that is not all that flattering. He explains he admires Lincoln more but liked him less after his research.
 
 
Fraker says one book does not necessarily lead to the other, rather it is two different viewpoints of his career. He explains he visited lots of people and places he knew and used his perspective to guide him. 
 
He'll be signing his book at the Candle Light Tours from 5 pm to 8 pm this Friday night at the CH Moore Homestead, where his books will be available for purchase.
 
Having Fraker at the Homestead is quite an honor for them as he has been a guest speaker at Harvard University and a premier Lincoln event in Gettysburg, PA.

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Lawmakers Hear About Recreational Marijuana

STATE LAWMAKERS ARE HEARING TESTIMONY ON THE POTENTIAL ECONOMIC IMPACT OF LEGALIZING RECREATIONAL MARIJUANA IN ILLINOIS. 
 
PROPONENTS SAY TAXING AND REGULATING RECREATIONAL POT COULD RAISE HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS FOR THE STATE. T-V TRAVEL HOST AND MARIJUANA LEGALIZATION ADVOCATE RICK STEVES SAYS THERE ARE OTHER BENEFITS AS WELL.
 
 
ADAM ORENS IS WITH THE MARIJUANA POLICY GROUP IN DENVER AND SAYS COLORADO EXPECTS TO SEE MORE THAN ONE POINT FIVE BILLION DOLLARS IN SALES THIS YEAR.
 
 
SUPPORTERS HOPE TO PASS A LEGALIZATION BILL NEXT YEAR. OPPONENTS ARGUE THIS WOULD LEAD TO MORE PEOPLE DOING HARDER DRUGS.

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Illinois Teachers Push for PE

Illinois teachers are responding to the reduction in mandatory physical education in Illinois Schools. 
 
Bridget Shanahan with the Illinois Education Association (IEA) says the union has launched the “Keep Learning, Keep Moving” campaign to preserve daily physical education (P.E.) classes. She says it isn't just about fitness alone.
 
 
Shanahan says some districts were already out of bounds with state law before Governor Rauner signed legislation in August that allowed school boards to have kids in p.e. as little as three days a week.
 
 
With 135,000 members, the IEA is the state's largest union for educators. 

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Durbin Wants Action on DACA By New Year

Senator Dick Durbin is making a renewed push for Republican leaders in Congress to bring the bipartisan Dream Act to the floor for a vote before the end of the year. 
 
With President Trump planning to bring the DACA program to a close, Durbin says time is running out for undocumented immigrants with true passion and dedication for this country.
 
 
In July, Durbin and Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) introduced the bipartisan Dream Act, which would allow immigrant students who grew up in the United States to earn lawful permanent residence and eventually American citizenship. 

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House Fire Destroys Rural DeWitt County Home

A homeowner is safe after a fire totally destroyed their residence late Saturday.

 

Just before 11 pm Saturday night, emergency responders were called to a house fire on Green Valley Road in rural DeWitt County.

 

Responders were called to the scene of a home fully involved in a fire.

 

Crews had a two-and-a-half inch line out and the fire was out within 30 minutes. Fire crews indicate the blaze was tough because there were two ceilings and then a hot spot on the main level burned through the floor.

 

There was one occupant in the home at the time of the fire, who was able to leave the home without harm.

 

There were no injuries to the crews at the scene, who were there until roughly 4 am.

 

Crews on scene were from Kenney, Clinton, Maroa, Wapella, Waynesville, Warrensburg, Chestnut along with EMS crews and the DeWitt County Sheriff's office.

 

The Red Cross assistant responders and the homeowner.

 

The State Fire Marshall is investigating the fire but has not filed a report. The home has been deemed a total loss.  

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Peoria Farm Show Celebrating 10 Years

The annual Peoria Farm Show is celebrating 10 years.
 
The event, at the Peoria Civic Center, has an antique tractor show that is organized by Jerry Tibbs, who says the annual show brings out the best of the collectors of antique machines.
 
 
There will be a special marketing meeting Thursday morning at the show. The Stewart-Peterson Group will host the meeting and the group's Cathy Ekstrand says they'll discuss markets.
 
 
There is no registration required to be a part of the market meeting. The Farm Show runs until Thursday afternoon and organizers encourage attendees to vote for their favorite antique tractors while they are there. 

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UPDATED: Monticello Teen Dies in Fatal Crash on Interstate-72

UPDATED 12 PM
 
The Champaign County Coroner has identified the Monticello teenage girl killed in a Tuesday afternoon single-vehicle crash as Tori Lanter.
 
Lanter was pronounced dead at Carle Foundation Hospital at 5:55 pm from injuries sustained from the crash. 
 
Lanter was the driver of a Scion that had crashed into the guardrail in the eastbound lane on Insterstate 72 near Champaign and rolled across the median to the westbound lane and crashed into the guardrail, rolling several times.
 
A 20-year Allerton man was in the vehicle as well and was ejected from the car.
 
Both Lanter and the passenger were presumed not to be wearing their seatbelts. 
 
The Champaign County Coroner's Office and the Illinois State Police continue to investigate the accident. 
 
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A Monticello teen has died in a single vehicle rollover accident near Champaign on Interstate 72 Tuesday afternoon.
 
Just before 4 pm Tuesday afternoon, a silver Scion dirven by an unidentified 17-year old Monticello woman, hit the eastbound guardrail and then crossed over the center median and crossed the westbound lanes, smashing into the westbound guardrail and rolled multiple times.
 
The driver of the vehicle was partially ejected and died after being transported to an area hospital. The passenger of the vehicle was last reported in critical condition.
 
Ejected from the vehicle was a passenger, identified as a 20-year old Allerton man.
 
The interstate was closed for nearly four hours as Illinois State Police conducted a crash scene reconstruction.
 
Both the driver and passenger were assumed to not be wearing their seatbelts. 
 
Traffic reopened on Interstate 72 just before 8 pm. 

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The Vault Hosting Chili Supper At Boys Basketball Game Friday

Come out and support The Vault this Friday night as and check out a high school basketball rivalry.
 
The Vault in Clinton is hosting a chili supper before and during the boys basketball game against Maroa-Forsyth Friday night in the home opener for the Maroons. Rustin Wertz says it should be a good time.
 
 
Michelle Witzke indicates the funds raised will continue to go towards their renovation project at their location in downtown Clinton as they continue towards their goal of having the upper floor renovated by this spring.
 
 
Friday night's varsity game tips at 7:30 pm. Chili will begin being served at 5 pm. Witzke was recently recognized as the Grand Marshal of the Clinton Christmas Parade and put The Vault on display during an open house last Saturday. 

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Clinton Police Welcomes Former Farmer City Police Chief To Force

The Clinton Police Department is welcoming the former Chief of Police in Farmer City to their force.
 
Clinton Police Chief Ben Lowers explains with changes in enforcement and prosecution of city ordinances, the hiring of Larry Woliung makes a lot of sense right now, especially because he brings a lot of knowledge in city management and code enforcement.
 
 
According to Chief Lowers, there are some 'problem properties' and calls the police's response to complaints a reactive priority. He is excited to have a law enforcement officer focused on these areas in the community.
 
 
The Chief hopes Officer Woliung's presence can be one of a peacemaker and good community relations. He explains the position will be about outreach and educating the community on the ordinances in place.
 
 
Chief Lowers says the community and it's leadership has been involved in this effort and to discuss what areas of the community to focus on. Additionally, he says this position will allow their patrol officers to keep their focus on their day to day tasks. 

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United Way Impacting DeWitt County

A rotarian spoke to his peers at the Tuesday afternoon Rotary meeting.
 
According to The United Way's Ryan Huffer, there are four lines of effort that the non-profit participates in: education, self-sufficiency, health, safety, and basic services.
 
 
He adds that the United Way funds eight programs in DeWitt and through these programs, United Way impacts 1 in 4 people in DeWitt County.
 
 
Huffer says what's really special about United Way is that community volunteers decide where the fundraised money goes in the community. The volunteers looks at data on the programs to help them decide if those programs get the money and how much they'll invest.
 
 
To learn more about United Way of Decatur and Mid-Illinois you can go to uwdecatur.org or call them at (217) 422-8537.

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Red Cross Asking for Holiday Donations

The holiday season is known for the spirit of giving and the American Red Cross is asking for your help in giving the gift of life. 
 
The holidays are traditionally a slow time for blood donations. Red Cross spokesman Joe Zydlo (ZIHD-low) says he'd like to see donors offer up one more donation in 2017.
 
 
All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply of blood is available. Appointments can be made by calling 1-800-RED CROSS, on the new Red Cross Blood Donor App, or by visiting redcrossblood.org 

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Rauner Quiet on Donations from Moore Supporter

A major contributor to Governor Bruce Rauner’s campaign has been shown to be a financial supporter of the embattled Alabama’s Republican candidate for Senate - Roy Moore. 
 
Dick Uihlein (U-line) gave Citizens for Rauner more than $2.5 million in contributions in the 2014 election cycle. And now the Democratic Governor’s Association is calling on Rauner to give that money back. 
 
Rauner was asked directly about returning that money and he dodged the question.
 
 
Rauner was given a second chance to say what he was planning on doing with the contribution and he sidestepped the question again.

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Illinois Congressmen Waiting To Back Rauner

Governor Bruce Rauner is at the beginning of his reelection campaign and for now he isn’t picking up the endorsements of many other Republican lawmakers, especially those in Congress. Reps. Bost, Shimkus, Roskam and LaHood are all either saying they are holding out on whom to back or won’t get involved one way or the other at this point. 
 
Rauner shrugged off the lack of commitment from some of the D.C. delegation.
 
 
Jeanne Ives right now is the only other declared candidate for Governor on the Republican side of the ticket.

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Illinois College Program Aims To Fill Ag Jobs

There are “thousands” of unfilled jobs in the ag industry. And a new program in Agribusiness at Illinois College in Jacksonville aims to help fill those positions says the school’s Michael Woods. 
 
 
Subject areas include ag lending, ag service and sales and farm management. Coursework also covers ag finance, ag economics and commodity and futures markets. More information on the program is available at “ic.edu/agribusiness”. 

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Illinois College Program Aims To Fill Ag Jobs

There are “thousands” of unfilled jobs in the ag industry. And a new program in Agribusiness at Illinois College in Jacksonville aims to help fill those positions says the school’s Michael Woods. 
 
 
Subject areas include ag lending, ag service and sales and farm management. Coursework also covers ag finance, ag economics and commodity and futures markets. More information on the program is available at “ic.edu/agribusiness”. 

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Children's Advocacy Center Full Time Children's Therapist in DeWitt County

A full time children's therapist will be available in DeWitt County thanks to several local entities.
 
According to Judy Brucker, because of the pilot money given to the Children's Advocacy Center by the DeWitt 708 Board to provide counciling in DeWitt County, gave them the data to apply for a 250,000 dollar grant from the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority. This grant money helps children in Livingston, DeWitt, and McLean counties.
 
 
Brucker adds that while it is sad that there is a need for a full time therapist in Clinton, it is better that they have this resource available locally and that it is being used to help children in the area.
 
 
The grant is for three years, but Brucker indicates that the Children's Advocacy Center will do what it takes to keep the services going past that.
 
For more information, you can call the Children's Advocacy Center at (309) 888-5656 or you can visit their website at childrensadvocacycentersofillinois.org.

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Community Action Starting Wait List For Weatherization Program

With Community Action's weatherization program full for this year, they are starting a waiting list for next year.
 
Ryne Komnick, weatherization director for Community Action, says the program aims to provide eligible individuals with home renovations to make their house more energy efficient. He explains the program is funded through the same sources as LIHEAP, but is focused on making your home energy efficient rather than paying for your utility bills.
 
 
The work is completed by a work crew from another Illinois Community Action agency. To register for the program, home owners need to call Community Action to set up an appointment. Komnick indicates they are full this program year, but are starting a waiting list for the following year.
 
 
Komnick says if you don't qualify for LIHEAP you can still qualify for weatherization. If you do qualify for LIHEAP, you are automatically eligible for weatherization. To see if you qualify you can visit the state's website on weatherization or the Community Action website. Komnick indicates that the program is open to renters in addition to home owners.
 
 
To be placed on the wait list for next year's program, call Ryne Komnick at (217) 732-2159 ext 244.

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Social Security Gives Tips for Scams

With the open enrollment period for Medicare Part D underway, Social Security is reminding seniors to be alert to phone scams.
 
Jack Myers with Social Security indicates that the most common phone scam is when someone calls claiming to be from Social Security and demands you to give them money over the phone.
 
 
Myers says that Social Security occasionally overpays individuals and will request them to send them back that money. If that happens Social Security will send a letter in the mail and will not call you on the phone. If you receive a scam and are concerned you can call Social Security to see if you were overpaid.
 
 
One tip Myers offers to individuals is to not ask the people on the other end for the Social Security phone number. The number they give you could be a part of the scam. Social Security will always communicate through writing and will not make threats against you.
 
 
To verify if you were overpaid by Social Security you can call 800-772-1213. 

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Not Expected To Be White Winter

THE STATE’S CLIMATOLOGIST GIVES US AN IDEA OF WHEN WE CAN EXPECT TO SEE THE FIRST SNOWFALL IN ILLINOIS. 
 
STATE CLIMATOLOGIST JIM ANGEL SAYS NORTHERN ILLINOIS HAS ALREADY SEEN A LITTLE BIT OF SNOW. CENTRAL ILLINOIS USUALLY HAS TO WAIT UNTIL EARLY TO MID DECEMBER AND IT CAN BE LATE DECEMBER TO MID JANUARY FOR FAR SOUTHERN ILLINOIS.
 
 
ANGEL SAYS LA NINA WILL BE A FACTOR WHICH USUALLY BRINGS WARMER AND WETTER WEATHER TO ILLINOIS. HE NOTES IT WILL JUST DEPEND ON HOW STRONG THAT EVENT IS THIS WINTER.
 
 
ANGEL SAYS NORTHERN ILLINOIS USUALLY GETS ABOUT THREE FEET OF SNOW IN THE WINTER…CENTRAL ILLINOIS SEES TWO FEET ON AVERAGE AND SOUTHERN ILLINOIS TYPICALLY ONLY GETS A FOOT OR LESS OF SNOW EACH YEAR.

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Fall Harvest Wrapping Up

PRODUCERS ARE WRAPPING UP HARVEST AND FALL ACTIVITIES AS WE HEAR IN THE FINAL WEEKLY CROP REPORT OF THE SEASON. 
 
IT WAS A WARM, DRY WEEK IN ILLINOIS AND AVERAGE STATEWIDE TOPSOIL MOISTURE DECLINED TO 10 PERCENT SHORT, 83 PERCENT ADEQUATE AND SEVEN PERCENT SURPLUS. CROP STATISTICIAN MARK SCHLEUSENER HAS AN UPDATE ON THE WINTER WHEAT CROP.
 
 
95 PERCENT OF SORGHUM HAS BEEN HARVESTED…THREE POINTS BEHIND THE FIVE YEAR AVERAGE. PASTURE CONDITIONS IMPROVED OVER THE WEEK…WITH 40 PERCENT RATED IN GOOD TO EXCELLENT CONDITION.
 
 
CONDITIONS WERE WARM AND DRY LAST WEEK IN ILLINOIS AND AVERAGE STATEWIDE TOPSOIL MOISTURE DECLINED TO 10 PERCENT SHORT, 83 PERCENT ADEQUATE AND SEVEN PERCENT SURPLUS.

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Congressman Davis Weighs In On Roy Moore

Congressman Rodney Davis isn't sitting on the fence when it comes to the Roy Moore question in Washington. 
 
The Taylorville Republican believes Republicans are playing a losing hand if they support Moore for Attorney General Jeff Sessions' former U.S. Senate seat in Alabma.
 

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Adding Grain Drying Capacity in Illinois Means Expanding Natural Gas Infrastructure

Expansion of natural gas infrastructure remains an important issue for the Grain and Feed Association of Illinois. 
 
If natural gas infrastructure expands so too does grain drying capacity, which is a big issue for much of Illinois this fall says the organization’s executive vice president Jeff Adkisson. 
 
 
Adkisson says there are some grain elevators that want to add grain drying capacity, but are limited because they would have to pay the utility company to expand the natural gas infrastructure. 

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Clinton Board of Education Discusses Former Washington School Lot, Future of Building Trades Program

The razed Washington School lot in Clinton has been vacant with the intent of the Clinton Board of Education to potentially sell or donate the property but a recent proposal for a building trades program in Clinton has put that action on hold.
 
The potential building trades program at the high school is still in the works but at last Tuesday's Clinton Board of Education meeting, Superintendent Curt Nettles put the ball in the court of the Board on what they would like to do going forward.
 
 
If administration could find a qualified instructor for such a course at the high school, it is possible the district could offer building trades at the high school as soon as next school year.
 
 
Former Board President, John Blythe, proposed a summer course in partnership with Richland Community College. 
 
 
Board President Mike Walker threw his arm of support around the idea of holding on to the properties until a building trades program is established or it is decided the school cannot support a building trades program.
 
 
The Board decided they would continue to pursue a building trades program or partnership of some sort before they decide the future of the lot.
 
Nettles indicated last Wednesday on Regional Radio, he would like to know within the next few months if they could get a program going for 2018-19 school year. 

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Opioid Crisis, Support for Mental Health Among Topics for Blue Ridge Parents Academy

Blue Ridge schools are hosting the latest Parents Academy and there's something for everyone.
 
Wednesday night, the latest session will take place and Superintendent Susan Wilson says there's something for everyone with topics to include the opioid crisis and support services for mental health disorders.
 
 
Parents Academies gone by have, in some cases, been targeted for parents with students in a certain age bracket but Wilson says this one is sure to be relevant to parents with students of all ages.
 
 
Wilson says they will probably highlight technology again in January or February of this year and points out it could be the final session topic for the next several years because there is a lot going on with technology in the district.

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Medicare Part D Enrollment Still Ongoing

Don't wait to the last minute to get in and see your local outreach worker of the Medicare Part D open enrollment period.
 
That's the message from Executive Director of the DeWitt County Friendship Center, Sissy Leggett, who says every senior should be in tune that now is the open enrollment time and there's still plenty of time to stop in get help.
 
 
Leggett says this time of year especially, but all year, seniors need to guard their personal information. You're likely to get bombarded with scam calls from every which direction, so hold on to that information very closely.
 
 
Leggett points because of identity theft from stolen numbers, Medicare is making a change. They are removing social security numbers from medicare cards and replacing them with a specific number for each customer. She says that new card will be mailed out between April of 2018 and April of 2019. 

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Cursive To Be Taught By Law in Illinois Schools

A new state law coming next school year will require schools to teach cursive writing. 
 
The day and age of typing out emails and text’s won’t take away from penmanship says Democrat Senator Kimberly Lightford. It’s a needed skill she notes and schools will have to teach it. 
 
 
Students better have those pencil sharpened for the 2018 school year. 

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Honor 200 Underway for Illinois Veterans

The Honor 200 is underway. A program centered around the state’s bicentennial celebration that will honor veterans. Governor Bruce Rauner has more details.
 
 
The nominations can be made at Illinois dot gov slash veterans.

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Controversial Documentary Coming to Illinois Communities

The historic Egyptian Theater in downtown DeKalb will be the place to be tonight as the venue hosts one of the first of several local screenings throughout Illinois of the controversial documentary entitled, “Food Evolution.” 
 
The film, which highlights the debate over G-M-Os in food, has received rave reviews from media outlets such as the New York Times and viewer-rated venues such as Rotten Tomatoes. 
 
In the DeKalb audience, and part of a panel that will follow the screening, will be Kevin Folta, an Illinois-native who now heads the horticulture department at the University of Florida;
 
 
In a commentary for the online Huffington Post, Folta said the “Food Evolution” documentary provides viewers with both sides of the debate over genetic engineering;
 
 
The screening in northern Illinois kicks off a series of more than a dozen screenings of “Food Evolution” that will take place across Illinois in the months ahead.

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First Weekend of Firearm Season in Illinois Sees Harvest of 51,365 Deer

Hunters in Illinois harvested a preliminary total of 51,365 deer during the first weekend of the Illinois Firearm Deer Season on Nov. 17-19.  Hunters took 54,452 deer during the first firearm weekend in 2016.
 
Illinois’ seven-day Firearm Deer Season will conclude Nov. 30 through Dec. 3.  
 
Other deer hunting opportunities in the weeks ahead include:
 
• Muzzleloader-Only Deer Season on Dec. 8-10;
• Late-Winter Antlerless-Only and CWD Deer Seasons (first segment) in select counties only on Dec. 28-31, 2017;
• Late-Winter Antlerless-Only and CWD Deer Seasons (second segment) in select counties only on Jan. 12-14, 2018;
• Archery Deer Season continues through Jan. 14, 2018 (archery is closed Nov. 30-Dec. 3 in counties open for Firearm Deer Season)
 
For details on deer hunting, open counties, and other information, check the IDNR website at  https://www.dnr.illinois.gov/hunting/Pages/DeerHunting.aspx

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What USDA reorganization could mean for Illinoisans

U-S Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue has already made at least one mark on the U-S Department of Agriculture by realigning the so-called “people’s department” created by President Abraham Lincoln. Perdue has moved all of the U-S-D-A agencies that serve farmers under one umbrella. The acting administrator for U-S-D-A’s Farm Service Agency, Steven Peterson, explains what it could mean to Illinois farmers;
 
Steering through federal government agencies can be a tricky proposition for some. Peterson provides more on how the U-S-D-A realignment could work;
 
The farmer Perdue nominated to oversee this part of his realignment plan still awaits U-S Senate confirmation. Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey’s nomination to be undersecretary for farm production and conservation has been held up over support of the federal renewable fuels standard. Perdue says he has been wearing a “Free Northey” t-shirt to get the U-S Senate to move on Northey’s nomination.
 

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Census of Ag Helps Farmers Influence Future Policy

USDA Census of Agriculture forms will start showing up in farmers’ mailboxes in December. 
The national census is conducted by the National Ag Statistics Service every five years and it’s extremely important that farmers take time to respond. 
 
Barbara Ratner is the census and survey director at NASS and she say quote - “The census is aimed at getting a complete count of all farms, ranches, and the people who operate them. The census looks at land use and ownership, operator characteristics, production practices, income, and expenses.” 
 
The last Census of Ag found two million farms and ranches covering more than 914 million acres in America. The census is a critical item that gives farmers and ranchers a chance to influence future policy decisions. 
 
Ratner adds quote - “This information is important to all those agencies that serve farmers, ranchers, and the rural communities they live in. Everyone from federal, state, and local government agencies to agribusinesses and trade associations all look at the numbers.”
 
Federal law requires all agricultural producers to complete the census and requires NASS to keep all of the information private.  

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Monsanto, Farm Groups Suing California Over Glyphosate

Monsanto, along with U.S. farm groups, has filed a lawsuit against California aimed at stopping the state from requiring cancer warnings on products containing glyphosate. California recently added glyphosate, a component of Roundup, to the state’s list of cancer-causing chemicals and will require products to contain the label as well. The action followed the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer claim in 2015 that glyphosate was “probably carcinogenic.” In the lawsuit, filed in federal court in California, Monsanto and groups representing corn, soy and wheat farmers reject that glyphosate causes cancer, according to Reuters. The groups say the state’s requirement for warnings would force sellers of products containing glyphosate to spread false information. The case-header shows as the National Association of Wheat Growers against the California Environmental Health Hazard Assessment office. Leading the coalition is the National Association of Wheat Growers and the National Corn Growers Association, among many other state and national organizations.

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Pro-Trade Republicans Unhappy with U.S. NAFTA Positions

Pro-trade Republicans are increasingly worried that the Trump Administration will pull out of the North American Free Trade Agreement, rather than negotiate a deal that keeps core benefits intact. 
 
As the fifth round of talks winds up on Tuesday, Pennsylvania Republican Charlie Dent says quote - “I think the administration is playing a dangerous game with the sunset provision.” 
 
He says the threat of NAFTA disappearing every five years makes it difficult for businesses in his district, which includes Hersey’s, to invest in supply chains and manage their operations. 
 
Business groups have said millions of jobs would be in jeopardy if tariff rates in Canada and Mexico revert back to what they were in the 1990’s. 74 House of Representatives members signed a letter to the administration this week opposing U.S. proposals on rules-of-origin which would require 50 percent U.S. content in NAFTA-built vehicles and 85 percent regional content. 
 
Representative Pete Sessions disagrees with the Trump approach of “trying to beat someone in the negotiations,” saying we need to offer a fair deal. Half of the $231 billion in exports from Texas goes to Mexico and Canada. He says quote - “If we want them to take our cattle, we need to take their avocados.”

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Panel Discusses Steps Forward Regarding Dicamba

Dicamba drift damage has been, and continues to be, a huge story in agriculture. The big question is what does the future hold for the product? 
 
At a recent press conference hosted by DTN, University of Missouri weed scientist, Dr. Kevin Bradley says the damage done this past growing season was significant…
 
 
Bradley says there’s never been a problem like this in U.S. agriculture before. As proof of that, he cites research from Bob Hartzler at Iowa State University…
 
 
While physical drift of the product itself has been a problem, improper tank cleaning has also been found to be an issue. It doesn’t take much leftover dicamba in the tank to do crop damage.
 
He says temperature inversions with a volatile product can cause drift, and Bradley says there shouldn’t be any more night time spraying of dicamba, which is part of the new label requirements.
 
Jean Payne is the president of the Illinois Chemical and Fertilizer Association. Going into 2018, she says it’s important for commercial applicators to remember that even if dicamba drift doesn’t necessarily put a huge dent in someone’s harvest results, it’s still a violation of law…
 
 
Jay Magnussen is a farmer and full-time agronomist in northwest Iowa. He says dicamba is not an easy product to use correctly. As an agronomist, he doesn’t want to spend time next summer walking through damaged fields. One way to move forward in the dicamba debate is communication between farmers…
 
 
It’s important for applicators to remember the new label requirements include training before the next spraying season begins.

 

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ALPM Opens White House Christmas Exhibit

Come to the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum for the start of a special holiday exhibit. The ALPM is taking a look back Christmas at the White House. Chris Wills with the museum says visitors will see unique items from Christmas’ past.
 
 
The display will be up from now till New Years Eve.

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ISU study examines personalities of Illinois farmers

What started as a master’s degree thesis has now blossomed into a national study trying to gauge the personalities of Illinois and other farmers. Illinois State and Purdue University are collaborating on a survey they’d like you to complete if you farm. Aslihan (AAHs-leh-hahn) Spaulding is an agriculture professor at I-S-U;
 
 
The internet-based survey plans to examine such things as conscientiousness and agreeableness personality traits along with entrepreneurship of farmers;
 
 
Spaulding says it only takes 10 minutes to complete. If you farm, she urges you to go to the Illinois State University Department of Agriculture Facebook page to find the link to the online survey.

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Unemployment Up Slightly in October in Central Illinois

Central Illinois saw slight losses in unemployment in October.
 
DeWitt County unemployment in October was 4%, compared to 3.9% in September.
 
McLean County had one of central Illinois' lowest unemployment percentages, at 3.8 for October. That was up from 3.6 in September.
 
In Macon County, unemployment was 5.2-percent for October, up from 5.1 in September, but was a full percent less than a year ago.
 
Logan County unemployment went above the 4-percent threshold, 4.1 for October, compared to 3.9 in September.
 
Unemployment in Piatt County remains low at 3.7 percent, up from 3.5 percent in September.
 
Brown County's 2.8 percent unemployment sets the pace in Illinois while the Pulaski County 7.5-percent unemployment is the highest in the state.
 
The Illinois unemployment rate was 4.7-percent for October, compared to the 3.9-percent national average.

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IRAP Taking Applications Now for Spring

The Illinois Recreational Access Program (IRAP) is encouraging youth and adult hunters to plan now to enjoy spring turkey hunting during the 2018 Illinois Spring Turkey Season, with access to excellent turkey habitat available through IRAP. 
 
IRAP, a program of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR), has free hunting sites available to the public for the upcoming youth turkey hunting season, and seasons 3 and 4 during the regular spring turkey season in 2018. 
 
A recommended first step for adult hunters is to apply for the first lottery drawing for 2018 Spring Turkey permits.  The application deadline for the first lottery is Dec. 1. To participate as a youth hunter, one must first fill out an IRAP application and send it in by February 23, 2018 to be eligible for the youth drawing.  A total of 190 sites are available in 44 counties for the two-weekend youth season.
 
Another 180 sites are available in 45 counties to turkey hunters for spring seasons 3 and 4.  These sites are open on a first-come, first-served basis.  To be eligible, a hunter must first apply for his or her spring turkey permit through the IDNR lottery (first lottery application deadline:  Dec. 1).  Once they receive their permit, hunters can apply for an IRAP turkey site.  Preference is given to youth hunters and first-time adult hunters (those who have not hunted turkey in the past five years).   In 2017, nearly all who applied secured a hunting site. IDNR spring turkey permit information can be found at https://www.dnr.illinois.gov/hunting/turkey/Documents/SpringTurkeyPermitInformation2018.pdf

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Treasurer Frerichs Announces Latest Online Auction

ILLINOIS TREASURER MIKE FRERICHS IS ANNOUNCING THE LATEST ONLINE AUCTION…JUST IN TIME FOR THE HOLIDAYS. 
 
NEARLY 450 ITEMS WORTH ABOUT 66 THOUSAND DOLLARS WILL BE UP FOR BID MONDAY (NOV 27) THROUGH FRIDAY (DEC 1). THE UNCLAIMED PROPERTY INCLUDES SOME UNIQUE FINDS SAYS TREASURER FRERICHS.
 
 
FRERICHS SAYS THE AUCTIONS ARE ALWAYS A HIT.
 
 
VISIT ILLINOIS TREASURER DOT GOV TO PREVIEW THE ITEMS.

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Clinton Christmas Parade Grand Marshal Humbled By Nomination

The Vault, a youth gathering place that has been in the works for over a year and the head of the effort is humbled to be the Grand Marshal of the Saturday Clinton Christmas Parade hosted by the Chamber of Commerce.
 
Michelle Witzke has been hard at work to secure funding and a home for a vision of a new youth center on the downtown square. She would not take all the credit for the honor though.
 
 
Witzke says being the Grand Marshal is a testament to the support of the community, something that overwhelms her with emotion almost every day.
 
 
The Christmas Parade will conclude on the square Saturday afternoon and Witzke invites anyone interested to come by the former Indecent Xposure site for an open house and tour of The Vault and see how much space they are working with.
 
 
Witzke thanks all the contractors and laborers that have stepped up to provide man hours and supplies at a discounted cost or no cost. She says the support for them has saved them a lot of money and will allow them to get things opened up to the youth that much quicker. 
 
Additionally, she thanks the students at the high school that have volunteered their time to the effort and given them input on the things they would like to see at The Vault.
 
Next week on Regional Radio News, we'll highlight a chili supper fundraiser that will take place at Clinton High School during the boys high school basketball game. 
 
For more information on The Vault, visit thevaultclinton.wixsite/thevault. 

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DeWitt County Museum, CH Moore Homestead Kicking Off Annual Christmas Season Friday

If you and your family are looking for something to do after a day of shopping and leftovers, the CH Moore Homestead and DeWitt County Museum hopes you'll keep them in mind.
 
Their annual Christmas season kick off events are a great way to usher in the holiday season and Director Joey Woolridge says it all starts with a visit from Santa that provides a great photo-opp and then the Homestead opens up for their first of the season candle light tours.
 
 
Woolridge says the candle light tours offer a very different feel to the museum that you just cannot get through the year. Additionally, the ladies of their board decorate the various rooms with a different theme.
 
 
The theme for this year's candle light tours is Golden Memories. Woolridge indicates it commemorates the 50th anniversary of the DeWitt County Museum Association.
 
 
Also this year, Woolridge has prepared a special exhibit thanks to DeWitt County. The old County Courthouse's time capsule was donated to the Homestead and Woolridge has pulled the items from it and has a display with information surrounding those artifacts. 

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Monticello Area Arts Council Mini Tree Festival

The purpose of the Monticello Area Arts Council (MAAC) is to support and foster the arts in the Piatt County community and a way they're doing that this holiday season is their Mini Tree Festival.
 
According to Mandy Gleason from the MAAC, community members will decorate Christmas Trees that stand 4 feet or less and, for a dollar, you can vote for the tree you like the best.
 
 
Gleason adds that there were several unique trees made last year and this year there are even more groups and individuals signed up to participate.
 
 
The event kicks off Friday, November 24. You can stop in and vote on Saturday the 25th and the next two Saturdays in December the MAAC from 10 am - 4 pm. There will be activities for kids as well.
 
To get more information about the MAAC you can visit their website at  monticelloareaarts.org. 

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Mach 1 Gas Station Making Progress Despite Mother Nature

The planned Mach 1 gas station in Clinton has started to move dirt and the goal is to have the shell of the building up before the snow flies to get interior work done during the winter.
 
City Administrator Tim Followell says the movement of dirt is started with footings on the site and progress is continuing despite the up and down weather patterns of the last few months.
 
 
Followell says as long as mother nature doesn't hold them up too much with an abundance of rain or cold weather, the gas station is on pace for a spring grand opening.
 
Followell appreciates the crews working through a lot of dirt and mud at times but keeping the roads around the site relatively clean and not disrupting traffic near the school and the hospital.

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Black Friday Shopping Tips

Millions of Americans will be hitting retail outlets later today for the start of the mad rush for Black Friday deals.
 
If you are planning to be among them, local authorities have some safety reminders for you during a high stress time of year. Chief Ben Lowers indicates if you plan to venture out whether it is Thanksgiving night or early Friday morning, it is best to travel and shop in pairs.
 
 
If you plan to hit up the mall in local cities, the Chief reminds shoppers to remember where you've parked and when you return to your vehicle, make sure your keys are handy as you get to your vehicle.
 
When walking around the store you are at, Chief Lowers says it is best to carry wallets or cash or credit cards in your front pockets. 
 
Additionally, when you leave your vehicle to go shopping, put away all expensive electronics and other valuables and make sure your vehicle is locked.

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Scovill Zoo Winter Programs

Though the Scovill Zoo is closed for the winter, their work and programs have not stopped.
 
According to Ken Frye, their PJ Party with Santa will take place on December 9 for kids ages 3-10, volunteer classes start in February, and the Mobile Zoo program will be active all winter.
 
 
Frye adds that they will be finishing a new monkey building and will start working on ideas for new bird exhibits that will likely debut in the spring. 
 
To contact the Scovill Zoo about their winter programs you can call them at (217) 421-7435.

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2017 A Good Year for Pumpkin Pies

Despite a scare in mid-August, the 2017 pumpkin crop is looking good. Not the jack-a-lantern type, although those did well, too.  But, as Todd Gleason reports, the kind used for pumpkin pie filling had a good 2017….
 

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Slight Majority of Americans Favor NAFTA

New findings from the Pew Research Center show 56 percent of Americans believe the North American Free Trade Agreement is good for the United States. Just one-third, 33 percent, of respondents to a Pew Research poll say the trade deal is bad for the United States. The study surveyed more than 1,500 adults at the end of October as President Donald Trump has raised questions about the fairness of the agreement. Relatively small shares of Americans say that NAFTA benefits Mexico or Canada more than the U.S. However, Republicans are more likely than Democrats to say NAFTA benefits those two countries more than the U.S., and the partisan gap is especially wide when it comes to Mexico. Meanwhile, for agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture data points out that since NAFTA’s implementation in 1994, U.S. agricultural exports to Canada and Mexico have more than quadrupled.

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Illinois State Police To Be Every 20 Miles on Interstates

Mind your speed and be sure to have your seat belt on because the Illinois State Police will be out in droves over the state. 
 
The ISP says they will have troopers every 29 miles along interstates 55, 57 and 80 this weekend. They will be looking to control speed, DUI, distracted driving and folks not buckled up says Trooper Chris Owen.
 
 
The ISP and Illinois Department of Transportation enforcement of the fatal fours as they are called will also be supported by local law enforcement.

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Clinton Board of Education Discusses Changes To Election System

The Clinton Board of Education Discusses possible changes to the amount of representation on the Board of Education Tuesday night at their monthly board meeting.
 
Currently, up two three representatives can be from a given township but the Board discussed a possible change to that. Board President Mike Walker points to the last election when there could have been an open position had Cole Ritter not taken out a petition.
 
 
According to John Blythe, having too many people on the Board in a certain could lead to favoring that portion of the community and recognizes the confusion that the current ruling creates when it comes to election night.
 
 
From the audience, Terry Redman spoke in favor of the comments of Blythe. He explains other smaller areas of DeWitt County that feed into Clinton wouldn't have representation on committees.
 
 
The Board directed Superintendent Curt Nettles to look into the legalities of when an appointment comes open if a fourth member of a township can be brought on the Board, otherwise, the consensus was to leave the system as is until they received further information. 

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City of Clinton Arborist Discusses Ash Trees

As residents get out to continue or wrap up their leaf cleanup, the City of Clinton Arborist has a recommendation for anyone with an ash tree on their property.
 
Steve Lobb says every ash tree in the city is contaminated with the emerald ash borer, or EAB. EAB has swept the country almost wiping out the ash tree population and it could be time to start thinking about what to do with that tree before it is too late.
 
 
Research is limited and Lobb indicates there are some things that suggest the trees could be saved but it may not be worth the investment.
 
 
Lobb says when an ash tree dies, it becomes brittle quickly and can be a dangerous tree.
 
He implores anyone with an ash tree to start the planning process for likely bringing it down before it becomes a danger to your home and property. 

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Properly Dealing With Thanksgiving Leftovers

There's sure to be plenty of food to go around when friends and family part ways this Thanksgiving and the USDA has some tips to make that food you're taking home is going to be safe to eat later on.
 
Sarah Litchman with the USDA says you're going to want to get things packaged up and in the refrigerator or freezer fairly soon after the meal.
 
 
Litchman reminds you when preparing the Thanksgiving meal, there's four key steps: clean, separate, cook and chill.
 
 
Visit foodsafety.gov for all food safety this Thanksgiving season. There you'll find all the certified USDA recommendations for your holiday cooking plans. 

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Thanksgiving Meal Cheaper This Year

As grocery stores fill up with last minute shoppers for the Thanksgiving meal many are cooking for you should find the pinch in your pocketbook to be a little less than last year. 
 
The American Farm Bureau conducts a yearly price survey of staple items on the Thanksgiving Day table and for the second year in a row you’re paying less. To feed a family of 10 the cost is projected at $49.12, less than a dollar cheaper than in 2016. Turkey is less expensive this year averaging $1.40 a pound. And AFBF’s John Newton says you won’t have any problem finding pumpkin pie thanks to our states farmers.
 
 
Milk, rolls, eggs and sweet potatoes all decreased in price. Some of the things that increased were whipping cream, cranberries and a veggie tray. 

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What USDA Reorganization Could Mean For Illinoisans

U-S Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue has already made at least one mark on the U-S Department of Agriculture by realigning the so-called “people’s department” created by President Abraham Lincoln. 
 
Perdue has moved all of the U-S-D-A agencies that serve farmers under one umbrella. The acting administrator for U-S-D-A’s Farm Service Agency, Steven Peterson, explains what it could mean to Illinois farmers;
 
 
Steering through federal government agencies can be a tricky proposition for some. Peterson provides more on how the U-S-D-A realignment could work;
 
 
The farmer Perdue nominated to oversee this part of his realignment plan still awaits U-S Senate confirmation. Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey’s nomination to be undersecretary for farm production and conservation has been held up over support of the federal renewable fuels standard. Perdue says he has been wearing a “Free Northey” t-shirt to get the U-S Senate to move on Northey’s nomination.

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Thanksgiving Facts

Minnesota is the top turkey producing state raising 20 percent of the nation’s 228 million birds.
 
The National Turkey Federation says that we will eat more than 46 million at Thanksgiving. Another 22 million are eaten at Christmas. 
 
American’s eat more turkey than any other county. 
Turkeys raised in commercial production are usually White Hollands.
 
Over 15 to 18 weeks a turkey will consume about 75 to 80 pounds of feed 
to make it to market weight. 
 
Ben Franklin was a notable fan of the turkey – he wrote in a letter to his daughter that the turkey should be the national bird - not the eagle. Not sure I’d like to see a Turkey on the back of my money.
 
President Abraham Lincoln declared the final Thursday in November to be a national day of Thanksgiving. President Franklin Roosevelt set 
Thanksgiving to always be on the 4th Thursday of the month – as not to impact holiday shopping. 
 
There are four towns in the US with Turkey in their name including Turkey, North Carolina. 
 
Now that Thanksgiving Dinner is over what to do with the leftovers…..
 
USDA says eat the leftovers in 3 or 4 days and that’s if you get them in the fridge right away and don’t leave them out on the table all afternoon. 
 
The number one way of enjoying leftovers? A simple turkey sandwich.

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SIUE Tops Growth Over 20 Years

New data released from the Illinois Board of Higher Education shows SIUE is the fastest-growing public institution in the state over the past 20 years. Between 1996 and 2006, SIUE has demonstrated a 26.8% growth in total enrollment.
 
Scott Belobrajdic (BELL-oh-BRAY-dik), the Associate Vice Chancellor for Enrollment Management at SIUE, says many of those enrolled are focusing on online courses.
 
 
Even with a slight dip in Fall enrollment, SIUE's enrollment growth from 1996 is 23.7%.

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Clinton City Council Approves New Vehicles for Police Department

At the Monday night Clinton City Council meeting, a purchase of a new squad car for the police department was approved.
 
Police Chief Ben Lowers says the new vehicle will be an SUV model, staying along the lines of the types of vehicles already in their fleet. The newest vehicle will serve as the K-9 unit for their K-9 officer and his handler. 
 
 
With the venture into the SUV model law enforcement vehicle, Chief Lowers says they provide officers much needed space with all the equipment they carry around every day.
 
 
Since all the SUV model vehicles are a newer trend to law enforcement, the exact length of life on them is unknown at this point but he anticipates not having to plan for vehicle purchases for another few years. 

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County Approves New Fiscal Year Budget

The first of December will be the new budget year for DeWitt County and Monday night, the Board approved the budget that's been on file for the last 30 days.
 
Board Chair David Newberg indicates it is a very strong budget that features the beefing up of salaries and staff and a levy that is only a fraction higher than last year.
 
 
The budget underwent some small adjustments in the last 30 days, which is why it goes on file for that period of time. Newberg says the past year has been positive and that is reflected in the upcoming budget.
 
 
The budget takes effect December 1. Newberg thanks all the department heads at the County Building and all the Board members that dedicated a lot of hours to making the budget balanced for the upcoming year.

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USDA Talks Deep Frying Turkey, Using Stuffing

Deep frying a turkey and properly utilizing stuffing this Thanksgiving season is one of the most common questions coming to USDA health officials this year.
 
Sarah Litchman with the USDA food safety division says deep frying a turkey can be dangerous if done improperly. She has these tips if you are a trying it out for the first time this year.
 
 
Litchman says this year they are getting a lot of questions regarding stuffing and indicates the recommendation is to not stuff the turkey while your cook and don't stuff it the night before either.
 
 
Visit foodsafety.gov for all food safety this Thanksgiving season. There you'll find all the certified USDA recommendations for your holiday cooking plans. 

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Lawmakers Begin Work on Reducing Harassment At Capitol

Lawmakers hope to reduce concerns about sexual harassment in the workplace. They will look for ways to combat harassment and discrimination. 
 
The ranking Republican, State Representative Sara Wojcici Jimenez (Woe-jiss-kee Huh-men-ez). She says the state has failed to take care of the basics, namely putting a watchdog in place in recent years.
 
 
She discusses impact of failure to name an inspector general
 
 
The group is being called upon to “conduct a comprehensive review of the legal and social consequences of sexual discrimination and harassment, in both the public and private sectors, and make recommendations to the General Assembly.” 

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Durbin, Duckworth Want Rauner To Weigh In On GOP Tax Plans

U.S. Senators Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth are calling on Govenor Rauner to publically weigh-in on the Republican tax plans in the House and Senate and how these plans would impact Illinois families. 
 
The House passed its version last week while the Senate is working out its own version. Speaking Thursday, prior to the House vote in favor of the GOP tax plan, Rauner was staying mostly mum on the subject.
 
 
Durbin and Duckworth say the House and Senate bills would finance massive tax cuts for the largest corporations and wealthiest Americans by raising taxes on millions of middle-income families and eliminating vital tax breaks for people in Illinois.

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Harvest Nearly Complete in Illinois

THE FALL HARVEST IS NEARLY COMPLETE IN ILLINOIS. 
 
SOYBEAN HARVESTING IS DONE AND CORN IS JUST ABOUT THERE SAYS CROP STATISTICIAN MARK SCHLEUSENER.
 
 
92 PERCENT OF SORGHUM HAS BEEN HARVESTED…AHEAD OF THE AVERAGE PACE. 
 
 
AVERAGE STATEWIDE TOPSOIL MOISTURE INCREASED TO EIGHT PERCENT SHORT, 78 PERCENT ADEQUATE AND 14 PERCENT SURPLUS.

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DCFS Promoting Safe Sleeping For Babies

What is more calming or peaceful than watching a baby sleep? But the Department of Children and Family Services wants parents to be reminded that there is a safe way for babies to sleep. 
 
Suffocation while sleeping and SIDS are among the leading causes of death for babies under a year old. DCFS’s Jennifer Florent says to lower the risk of those two things happening babies need to sleep safe.
 
 
And Florent adds - keep that baby on its back when falling asleep. 

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Deep Southern Illinois Takes Another Jobs Hit

A major employer in deep southern Illinois is going to lay off 170 employees. 
 
Honeywell is idling a plant that converts uranium ore into uranium hexafluoride or UF6, a key ingredient in the enrichment of uranium that is used in nuclear power plants. 
 
The facility in Massac County is the only place in the United States where that work is done. Honeywell says a declining worldwide need for UF6 is causing the layoffs. 
 
According to a press release the plant will move to an idling phase and will be ready to restart if the UF6 market improves.

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Thanksgiving Travel Safety Tips

Millions of people will hit the roadways this Thanksgiving week to spend time with friends and family and local authorities are reminding motorists of some simple things to keep yourself safe this week.
 
Clinton Police Chief Ben Lowers indicates many college students may be home for the first time this week and the Wednesday night before Thanksgiving is annually, one of the biggest nights for local bars. He reminds everyone planning to go out, never drink and drive.
 
 
Holiday travel tips remain similar to all travel tips. Chief Lowers says make sure your vehicle is up to date on it's maintenance and you have your travel plans ironed out ahead of time and someone knows when you leave and when you arrive.
 
 
Thanksgiving is one of the heaviest travel holidays of the entire year, so authorities remind those heading out to give yourself some extra time if you are headed through congested areas. Additionally, make sure you buckle your seatbelts and put the phones away. 

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Thanksgiving Meal Preparation Tips

A local health expert has some simple things that can be done Thanksgiving Day to keep your family and friends free of foodborn illnesses.
 
Caitlin Huth is a Health and Wellness Educator at the University of Illinois Extension office and says one of the best ways to avoid spreading germs from the different dishes you'll be preparing is to be washing your hands a lot.
 
 
According to Huth, a Thanksgiving can go south quickly if a turkey is not cooked to the proper temperature. She says you want to make sure it meets the cooked temperature in three different spots.
 
 
A recent push from a food safety perspective has been the promotion of eliminating the practice of washing raw meat. Huth says cooking your Thanksgiving turkey without washing is simply the best practice.
 
 
Huth also recommends when you are done preparing one dish, take any utensils that may crossover for use on other dishes and wash them. Additionally, it is a good idea to wash any surfaces you are working on after the completion of each food you are working with. 

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New Maroa-Forsyth School District Taking Pulse of Community in First Year

The first year Superintendent of the Maroa-Forsyth School district says it's his goal to sit back, listen and get the pulse of the community.
 
John Ahlemeyer (all-meyer) says coming to Maroa-Forsyth is a bit of a homecoming for him. He spent nearly 30 years in the Chicago area but originally from the Fieldcrest area, he says this move for him brings him closer to his family.
 
 
In his first year at Maroa-Forsyth, Ahlemeyer says his goal is to be open and honest and build relationships in the school district and community. He says he needs to just sit back and listen.
 
 
Ahlemeyer has an interesting perspective coming from the Chicago area and now working in downstate. While often on the other end of criticism from downstate leaders, Chicago area schools and downstate schools share a lot of common challenges according to Ahlemeyer.
 
 
Ahlemeyer plans to embark on a strategic planning process next summer. He wants a committee consisting of school staff, community members and others to help outline the future goals of the district. 

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Illinois Corn Touting More Uses Than Just Ethanol

Corn can produce anything crude oil can. That's what the Illinois corn industry is touting. And Rodney Weinzierl with the Illinois Corn Growers Association says it's more than just ethanol. 
He says starch from corn is the key driver and can be used in the production of tennis shoes.
 
 
Weinzierl says a similar method is used for the production of degradable sutures used in the medical industry. 

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AG Urges Consumers Who Lost Money to Scammers Using Western Union To File Claim For A Refund

ATTORNEY GENERAL LISA MADIGAN IS URGING THOSE WHO SENT MONEY TO A SCAMMER THROUGH WESTERN UNION TO FILE A CLAIM FOR A REFUND.
 
THE REFUNDS ARE PART OF A NATIONWIDE SETTLEMENT WITH WESTERN UNION…WHICH ATTORNEY GENERAL MADIGAN SAYS KNEW PEOPLE WERE BEING CONNED AND DIDN’T DO ENOUGH TO PROTECT THEM. THIS INCLUDES CONSUMERS WHO FELL FOR PHONY LOTTERY, PRIZE, I-R-S AND FAMILY EMERGENCY SCAMS AND WIRED MONEY THROUGH THE COMPANY.
 
 
MADIGAN SAYS IF YOU USED THE COMPANY BETWEEN 2004 AND 2007, YOU MAY BE ABLE TO GET SOME OF YOUR MONEY BACK.
 
 
YOU MUST FILE YOUR CLAIM BEFORE FEBRUARY 12TH. VISIT THE WEBSITE: WESTERN UNION REMISSION DOT COM FOR ALL THE DETAILS.

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Governor Touting Apprenticeship Programs

GOVERNOR BRUCE RAUNER IS TOUTING THE VALUE OF APPRENTICESHIP PROGRAMS.
 
GOVERNOR RAUNER SAYS THERE IS NO ONE-SIZE-FITS-ALL APPROACH TO A CAREER…AND THAT APPRENTICESHIPS ARE A GREAT PATH FOR MANY YOUNG PEOPLE.
 
 
GOVERNOR RAUNER SAYS HIS OFFICE HAS BEEN WORKING WITH BUSINESSES TO CREATE MORE APPRENTICE OPPORTUNITIES IN ILLINOIS. HE NOTES THAT APPRENTICESHIPS ARE AVAILABLE IN MANY FIELDS INCLUDING I-T…FINANCIAL SERVICES…MANUFACTURING AND RETAIL.
 
 
THERE ARE CURRENTLY 412 REGISTERED APPRENTICESHIP PROGRAMS IN ILLINOIS…AND THE GOVERNOR SAYS HIS OFFICE HAS BEEN WORKING WITH COMMUNITY COLLEGES AND BUSINESSES TO CREATE EVEN MORE.

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Public Health Officials Remind Public Don't Always Need Antiobiotics When Sick

THE ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH IS REMINDING THAT YOU DON’T ALWAYS NEED ANTIBIOTICS WHEN YOU ARE SICK. 
 
IT OFTEN MAKES US FEEL BETTER WHEN A DOCTOR PRESCRIBES AN ANTIBIOTIC…BUT THEY AREN’T ALWAYS NECESSARY. PUBLIC HEALTH SPOKESPERSON MELANEY ARNOLD SAYS OVERUSE OF ANTIBIOTICS CAN BE DANGEROUS…AS BACTERIA BECOME MORE RESISTANT.
 
 
SHE NOTES THAT ANTIBIOTICS CANNOT CURE VIRAL INFECTIONS SUCH AS THE COMMON COLD, FLU AND MOST SORE THROATS AND COUGHS.
 
 
ARNOLD SAYS IT CAN BE DIFFICULT TO TELL THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A REGULAR COLD AND A BACTERIAL INFECTION. SOME SIGNS INCLUDE SYMPTOMS LASTING LONGER THAN 10 DAYS WITHOUT IMPROVEMENT AND SEVERE OR UNUSUAL SYMPTOMS.

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Weekly Weather Summary

Over the river and through the woods, to grandmother's house we go. Will it be a wet trip? Jim Angel tells us what to expect if you're traveling for Thanksgiving...
 
Cut: wx1117 1:31 CUE: 

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Angel Tree's Annual Pancake Breakfast

The DeWitt County Angel Tree is hosting their annual pancake breakfast this Sunday in Clinton.
 
Director Sue Calvert says this is the only fundraiser they do and this year it is a big one because the program has changed.
 
 
The annual Angel Tree pancake breakfast is Sunday morning from 7:30 am to 12:30 pm at the Clinton United Methodist Church. 
 
The registration deadline for this year's program has passed. If you'd like information on how you can be a part of Angel Tree this year, contact Calvert via email at suecalvert13@gmail.com.
 
Stay tuned to Regional Radio News in the coming weeks for more details on this year's Angel Tree program and ways you can participate this holiday season. 

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Demand For Propane Up Over Late Harvest, But Not Impacting Prices or Supply

There’s still plenty of corn to dry and still plenty of corn to harvest in northern Illinois and areas to the north. 
 
And even though that will drive demand for propane, supply and price should not be impacted. So says Harry Cooney manager of Customer Risk Management with GROWMARK.
 
 
Rail is second in terms of demand in the diesel fuel market, but Cooney says it accounts for only about 10-percent—well behind the over-the-road-trucking industry.

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Hunters Need To Register Deer Kills

It’s a big weekend for hunters. Firearm season opens across Illinois. 
 
And as hunters pick out the perfect spot for their deer stands the Department of Natural Resources is reminding them that they have to register their kill each day with the state. 
 
 
That’s Ed Cross with IDNR. He also stresses firearm safety this hunting season. The second season is November 30 to December 3.

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Northern Illinois Hunters Have To Take Extra Steps

Hunters are filling the woods and wildlife areas this weekend for the start of firearm deer hunting season. But a few extra steps need to be taken if you shoot a deer in northern Illinois. 
Every hunter has to register the deer they kill with the IDNR but in northern counties where chronic wasting disease is a concern Ed Cross with DNR says you need to go to a state check in point before processing the deer. 
 
 
For hunters in areas where chronic wasting disease isn’t a problem you can check your deer online or by calling 1-866-IL-CHECK

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County Public Safety Committee Recognizes Local Partners

A pair of community businesses were recognized by the DeWitt County Public Safety Committee Thursday night at the DeWitt County Board meeting for their recent service to the public.
 
Chairperson of the Public Safety Committee, Cris Rogers, presented CEO of Warner Hospital and Health Services, Paul Skowron, with a certificate of appreciation for a recent effort where the hospital housed EMS ambulances while pavement work was done at the facility on the east side of town. Rogers says it exemplifies their commitment to being a good community partner.
 
 
Additionally Thursday night, Rogers recognized the Clinton Walmart for their partnership and donations to the DeWitt County Animal Shelter.
 
 
Also at the Thursday night Board meeting, Melanie Kinney was approved as the Animal Control Administrator. She has been serving in the role in the interim.

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Fresh Thanksgiving Ideas

If you're looking to mix things up for Thanksgiving this year, the University of Illinois Extension has some ideas for you.
 
Health and Wellness Educator Caitlin Huth says if you do homemade pumpkin pie, she has some ideas at their 'Bushels Blog' on how to use all of that can of pumpkin filling, and it goes well with some peanut butter.
 
 
Huth hosts a couple blogs on the University of Illinois Extension website. She updates them a couple times a week and has some recipes and tips and tricks for food preparation.
 
 
Just do a Google search for University of Illinois Extension and search DeWitt, Macon and Piatt Counties for Huth's blogs.
 
Next week on Regional Radio News, Huth will discuss food preparation safety tips for Thanksgiving and some good, practical practices for preparing your Thanksgiving feast.

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Latest Shotgun Weekend Is Here

The latest shotgun deer hunting weekend is upon us and DNR authorities are again remind hunters of the basic safety tips as they hit the rural areas.
 
DNR Conservation Sargent John Williamson says it is a good idea before you get settled in to your tree stand, make sure you give it a complete once over and check all the straps and harnesses and make sure they are in good shape, especially if this is your first hunt of the season.
 
 
Williamson says with so many things in season right now, DNR officials most often deal with hunters on someone's property without permission. He reminds anyone out hunting to check in with the landowner and verify permission.
 
 
If you're venturing into a new area that you might be unfamiliar with, like a state park or recreation area, visit the DNR website for all the regulations for that area. The website is dnr.illinois.gov.

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Rauner Signs Sexual Harassment Laws, Wants More

Given a crisis the Illinois Legislature can react quickly and that’s what they have done to get laws passed to stem the tide of sexual harassment claims at the Capitol. 
 
The Governor signed legislation today (Thursday) that will require lawmakers, staff and lobbyists to go through training that is designed to recognize harassment and avoid actions that can be harassment. The bill also takes steps to better identify procedures for reporting harassment and the investigation of it. 
 
Another bill signed today will extend the amount of time that Legislative Inspector General has to investigate claims of harassment. There are currently 27 claims at the office that have piled up for the 3 years there was no Inspector General investigate. 
 
Rauner says that more has to be done to make sure that individual can address the complaints. 
 
 
Another bill creates training for lawmakers, staffers and lobbyists to go through to identify what is harassing behavior and a 1-800 hotline to report bad behavior.

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October Unemployment Down

THE UNEMPLOYMENT RATE IS DOWN AND JOBS ARE UP ACCORDING TO THE OCTOBER REPORT FROM THE ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF EMPLOYMENT SECURITY.
 
THE STATE JOBLESS RATE DROPPED TO FOUR POINT NINE PERCENT LAST MONTH…DOWN FROM FIVE PERCENT IN SEPTEMBER. I-D-E-S SPOKESPERSON BOB GOUGH (goff) SAYS THERE WAS ALSO AN INCREASE OF 34 HUNDRED JOBS IN OCTOBER.
 
 
GOUGH (goff) SAYS IT’S A GOOD SIGN.
 
 
JOB DECLINES WERE SEEN IN CONSTRUCTION AND GOVERNMENT. THE NATIONAL UNEMPLOYMENT RATE FOR OCTOBER CAME IN AT FOUR POINT ONE PERCENT.

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Durbin, Duckworth Weigh In On Franken Scandal

Illinois' U.S. Senators aren't exactly giving their colleague Al Franken a free pass after claims Franken groped a female radio eleven years ago during a USO tour. 
 
Senator Tammy Duckworth says "These types of actions are simply unacceptable and should be reviewed by the Ethics Committee. Women across America should be able to feel safe in their workplace, and they deserve our support when coming forward with allegations of misconduct.” 
 
Senator Dick Durbin also weighed in. There is never an excuse for this behavior—ever. What Senator Franken did was wrong, and it should be referred to the Ethics Committee for review.

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Parking Meters Removed From Downtown

A subject that has come and gone over the years in Clinton is now resolved.
 
Clinton Police Chief Ben Lowers indicates his staff has removed all parking meters from the downtown Clinton square after instruction from the Clinton City Council early last week.
 
 
According to Chief Lowers, the City will hold on to the meters for around a year. They could possibly be sold to another community who needs them or even sold to private citizens.
 
 
With the removal of the meters, most of the support polls have also been removed. 

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Clinton Chamber Celebrating Another Successful Haunted House

The Clinton Chamber of Commerce recently put a bow on their 2017 Haunted House season and organizers say it was another great turnout.
 
Roughly 4-thousand visitors came to Clinton this year and Chamber Executive Director, Marian Brisard, says that is a number they are very happy with.
 
 
The Friendly Ghost Tours, which allows younger participants to check out the haunted house in a less stressful environment, is a draw several times throughout the season but Brisard says the three events they offered this year could be decreased next year.
 
 
The Chamber also issued commemorative license plates to celebrate 24 years of the Haunted House. Brisard says since those have expired, the Chamber will sell a few for souvenirs. If interested, contact the Chamber at 217-935-3364. 

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Social Security Offering Seniors Help With Prescription Drugs

According to 2016 data, 8.8% of Illinois seniors live in poverty, the 27th highest rate in the country.
 
Open enrollment is underway for Medicare Part D, the prescription drug coverage portion of Medicare, and Social Security officials are reminding seniors of their program called 'Extra Help'.
 
 
That's Jack Myers with Social Security who points out with Medicare Part D covering prescription drugs, 'Extra Help' helps reduce co-pays and deductibles.
 
 
Visit socialsecurity.gov for the application or to find an office near you to contact to apply. 
 
Myers points out, Social Security cannot help seniors enroll in Medicare Part D prescriptions drug plans. 

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Long Time Trader Expects Boom in Farm Economy

Is the agriculture economy ready for a boom? A longtime trader says yes. 
 
Jim Bower with Bower Trading in Lafayette, Indiana says it may not be this year, but it’s coming.
 
 
Bower says either the stock market has to come down or commodity market has to go up because it’s the widest spread he’s seen in his 41 year career. 

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AFBF Chief Says Farmers Need NAFTA

The chief economist for the American Farm Bureau Federation says the Illinois farmer needs the North American Free Trade Agreement. 
 
Dr. Bob Young believes the U.S. should maintain its role with NAFTA.
 
 
NAFTA talks are taking place this week with trade representatives from the U.S., Canada and Mexico all meeting in Mexico City. 

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Frerichs Endorses Pritzker

Democratic gubernatorial candidate J.B. Pritzker locks up another key endorsement in the race for Governor. 
 
State Treasurer Michael Frerichs endorsed him this (Wednesday) morning at the University of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign. The location was no accident.
 
 
On the other end of the educational spectrum, Frerichs is saluting Pritzker for his support of early childhood education.
 
 
Pritzker previously locked up the endorsements of Secretary of State Jesse White and Comptroller Susana Mendoza.

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New Exelon Communications Manager Discusses Exelon Year After Legislation

The new Communications Manager at the Clinton Power Station presented the Clinton Rotary Club with an update on how things are going since the signing of legislation about a year ago.
 
Gabe Goldsmith has been the communications manager for the station for about a month now. He says it has been a lot to take in but is excited about the opportunity.
 
At the Tuesday afternoon Rotary meeting, he calls the plant's mentality, full speed ahead.
 
 
Because the plant is running at near capacity, Goldsmith indicates the upcoming outage in the spring is going to bring the plant up to full capacity.
 
 
Earlier in the month, the power station completed an emergency preparedness drill. Goldsmith says they passed that with flying colors.
 
 
Exelon has a great relationship with the Clinton and DeWitt County community and Goldsmith says they will continue to maintain those relationships. 
 
 
Goldsmith indicates since the passage of the energy legislation last year, the plant has re-hired or hired 150-plus employees to positions that were reduced because of the anticipated closure. 

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Clinton K-8 Teachers Receiving Instruction On iPads

Clinton K-8 students work with iPads in the classroom, then it's off to using the Microsoft Surfaces at the high school.
 
For the educators of K-8 students, they recently went through some professional development training to optimize the potential of the devices. Principal of Clinton Junior High School, Drew Goebel indicates it gives their staff more possibilities for their classrooms.
 
 
While only a select number of teachers went through the training, they will take that information to other teachers in the district.
 
 
Each student across each level of the district goes to class with a device in their possession throughout the school year. The K-8 levels have been working with Apple products for about five years now but the high school only recently introduced the Microsoft Surface to their students. 

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National Winter Preparedness Week

It is National Winter Preparedness week and the National Weather Service is promoting driving safety in winter conditions after a couple consecutive mild winters.
 
Chris Miller says they use the week before Thanksgiving to promote their messages because the holiday travel season traditionally really picks up this time of the year.
 
 
After two consecutive mild winters, Miller says the push this year is for drivers to slow down and arrive safely as the forecast is calling for a return to wet and cold conditions on the roads.
 
 
Those who drive in a four-by-four vehicle or big trucks often times will be more aggressive but Miller says while they can move along fine in bad weather, the issue is always stopping and if you are too close to someone who loses control or you lose control in that vehicle, you could be putting yourself and someone else in harms way.

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Oral History Project Highlights School Consolidations in Illinois

An oral history project details the story of school district consolidation in Illinois. 
 
The work is through the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library & Museum says oral historian Mark DePue.
 
 
54 interviews were conducted for the project. You can find them at “oralhistory.illinois.gov.” 
 

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Kennedy Ad Tackles Gun Violence, Cites Family Legacy

Chris Kennedy’s campaign for governor has rolled out its first television ad of the campaign. He's connecting the impact of gun violence on his legendary family with the blood on the streets of Chicago and elsewhere. 
 
Kennedy's ad immediately notes the impact of the events of June, 1968 at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles.
 
 
Kennedy doesn't just draw on tragic memories in the ad.
 
 
The campaign has also rolled out a new digital ad as well as the Kennedy camp tries to gain traction in the social media realm.

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Durbin Blasts GOP Tax Plan

Senator Dick Durbin blasted Senate Republicans for supporting what he calls a partisan tax plan. Durbin says the tax plan would noticeably hurt middle income families.
 
 
Durbin says there will be greater problems down the road.
 
 
Durbin says under the House Republican plan, which will be voted on this week, the medical expense deduction will be eliminated. He says that means seniors will no longer be able to deduct out-of-pocket medical expenses. 

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Duckworth Opposes Confirmed US Department of Transportation Nominee

U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth spoke out against a nominee for General Counsel of the US Department of Transportation. 
 
The former military aviator told fellow Senators they should reject the nomination of Steven Bradbury, but he was was confirmed before the day was out. Duckworth says he authored legal memos that paved the way for American forces to use torture in the war on terror.
 
 
Duckworth says torture authorization has only made war zones more volatile.
 
 
Duckworth says she's fearful Bradbury might endorse actions that could hurt traffic safety if the President so chooses.

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More Details Available On Saturday Fatal Accident in Rural DeWitt County

A semi car accident north of Clinton Saturday evening claimed the lives of a Clinton couple. 
 
At approximately 5:30 pm Saturday evening, a semi grain truck was turning from Autumn Road crossing 51 north headed southbound when a Chevy Cruz driven by 57-year old Karen Hable of Clinton colided in the northbound lane on US 51. Her husband, 57-year old Anthony Hable was also in the car at the time of the accident. 
 
The couple was pronounced dead at the scene at 5:58 pm.
 
The driver of the grain truck, identified as Andrew Johnson of Decatur, was cited with failure to stop and not wearing a seatbelt. 
 
The DeWitt County Sheriff's office, the DeWitt County Coroner, and Illinois State Police were on scene along with Clinton and Wapella fire departments. 
 
Traffic was redirected throughout Saturday night and crews were on scene into Sunday morning. 

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Founder of Clinton FFA To Be Inducted Into Wall of Honor

The founder of the Clinton FFA Chapter is going to be posthumously honored at this year's Wall of Honor induction at Clinton High School.
 
Principal Jerry Wayne, who is a part of the selection committee, says Clyde E. Frye was selected as this year's inductee. He was responsible for bringing FFA to Clinton High School.
 
 
Fry will be inducted on Friday, January 12, 2018 starting at 6:30 PM with a reception in the west gym of Clinton High School and unveiling of a plaque on the wall in the sports entrance. The recognition ceremony will be between the junior varsity and varsity basketball games in the main gym. 
 
 
Wayne says they have gotten some very good nominations and wants to make sure the Wall of Honor is recognizing individuals who have gone above and beyond in service to the community or in their accomplishments.

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Clinton Crews Readying for Leaf Clean Up Season

It's about time for City Public Works crews to hit the neighborhoods in an effort to get the falling leaves picked up.
 
Public Works Director Steve Lobb indicates the conditions are taking shape for their crews to start dedicating most of their time to this effort.
 
 
When it gets into the thickest of the cleanup efforts, it could take almost an entire day to get through one of the five zones in the community. Lobb also notes the weather can slow them down when it consistently rains.
 
 
Lobb says when you get the leaves to the edge of the curb, his crews will be by within a week to get those, provided the weather cooperates. He notes they use primarily two crews but if things become too much, he has on occasion, turned to a third crew to provide support.
 
Lobb adds the community yard waste facility is now open all day Saturdays and Tuesday and Thursdays. 

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DNR Handicap Hunt Successful Again

Department of Natural Resources officials along with numerous volunteers again hosted a successful handicap hunt this past weekend at Clinton Lake.
 
DNR CPO John Williamson indicates the handicap hunt allowed hunters to get into ACA compliant stands and hunt while controlling the deer population at Clinton Lake.
 
 
The handicap hunt is one of the few that takes place across the state and only a select few are allowed to participate. The event closes off Clinton Lake and the surrounding area for the three days. 

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National Weather Service Says La Nina Winter Developing, Bringing Varying Temperatures

The things happening at the equator this time of year can give weather officials a good idea of what will happen during the winter months.
 
Chris Miller with the National Weather Service in Lincoln indicates the water temperature of the ocean near the equator can dictate the weather patterns La Nina and El Nino. He says right now La Nina is developing.
 
 
According to Miller, a La Nina weather pattern will bring variable temperatures. He notes that pattern has already been prominent in the fall.
 
 
The last few years have brought warmer than normal conditions at times but with the fluctuation in temperatures expected, Miller indicates that could leave us with some nasty conditions when the precipitation comes around.
 
 
A lot more information is available at weather.gov/lincoln. You can find the National Weather Service on Facebook and Twitter as well. 

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Sen. McCann Wants To Make It Easier To Stripe Roads

State Senator McCann is tired of blurred lines and we're not talking about political viewpoints. 
 
He has filed legislation giving local road authorities the potential for financial assistance to stripe dangerous roadways. 
 
McCann says road authorities often aren't able to use state and federal funds to stripe roads because of complicated financial rules. 
 
Currently only motor fuel taxes can be used for striping but increased fuel efficiency and heavy state use of motor fuel taxes has limited those dollars. 

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Weekly Crop Report

CORN HARVESTING LAGS BEHIND, ESPECIALLY IN NORTHERN ILLINOIS AS WE HEAR IN THE WEEKLY CROP REPORT. 
 
90 PERCENT OF THE CORN CROP HAS BEEN HARVESTED…BUT PROGRESS VARIES BY LOCATION SAYS CROP STATISTICIAN MARK SCHLEUSENER. JUST 80 PERCENT HAS BEEN HARVESTED IN NORTHWESTERN ILLINOIS AND 73 PERCENT IN THE NORTHEAST. 
 
95 PERCENT OF WINTER WHEAT HAS BEEN PLANTED AND 85 PERCENT EMERGED. 
 
 
95 PERCENT OF SOYBEANS HAVE BEEN HARVESTED…JUST BEHIND THE AVERAGE PACE. 
 
 
AVERAGE STATEWIDE TOPSOIL MOISTURE IS RATED AT NINE PERCENT SHORT, 84 PERCENT ADEQUATE AND SEVEN PERCENT SURPLUS.

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Pritzker Still Pushing For Progressive Tax But Plans Still in the Works

Democratic Gubernatorial candidate J.B. Pritzker continues to call for a progressive tax structure in Illinois, but as of last week he had no hard numbers just yet for his push to have wealthier Illinoisans pay more.
 
 
A progressive tax would require a constitutional amendment because the Illinois Constitution calls for the current flat tax system in the state.

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Governor Calls Mendoza 'Bank Robber Calling The Cops'

Billions of unappropriated spending was going on last fiscal year and lawmakers and the public just found out about it. Last week more than $2.8 billion in new unpaid bills showed up on the state’s ledger. 
 
That revelation had Comptroller Susanna Mendoza upset at the ability of Governor Bruce Rauner and the current administration to hide extra spending during the budget crisis. After a stinging rebuke on the spending and a veto override on a debt transparency bill Rauner fired back at the Comptroller
 
 
Mendoza said in a statement that Rauner still needs to provide full details about when he knew about the unappropriated spending of $2.8 billion, what his plan is for taking care of it.

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Future Role of US in NAFTA Remains Unclear

What’s the future role of the U.S. with the North American Free Trade Agreement? 
 
That’s a tough read says reporter Jenny Hopkinson. She covers the issue for POLITICO.
 
 
NAFTA talks take place Wednesday in Mexico City with representatives from Mexico, Canada and the U.S. all scheduled to be in attendance. 

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Bustos Not A Fan of GOP Tax Reform Plan

Western Illinois Congresswoman Cheri Bustos expressing deep reservations with the GOP House and Senate tax reform plans. 
 
 
Bustos says she doesn’t have a major issue with lowering the corporate tax rate, but she quote “doesn’t believe corporations should be treated like royalty and the rest of us like peasants.” 

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Homes For Heroes Helping Veterans, First Responders Among Others

If you are an educator, healthcare worker, veteran or first responder and are looking for a new home, a local realtor has a program that might interest you.
 
Jessica DeVore, owner of Green Acres Real Estate in Clinton, explains she was introduced to the program 'Homes for Heroes' which honors law enforcement, firefighters, educators and veterans among others.
 
 
DeVore indicates the program offers a discount and she also donates 30% of that commission.
 
 
DeVore says she is very dedicated to making sure anyone who falls into one of those categories gets the help they deserve. To learn more, visit her website, jessicadevore.com. 

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Friendship Center Director Discusses Retirment

Two weeks ago the leader of the DeWitt County Friendship Center announced her intend to retire at the beginning of 2018.
 
Sissy Leggett has been at the Friendship Center 10 years and says she has enjoyed her time at the senior gathering place in Clinton but just wants to take a step back. 
 
 
Leggett says any accomplishments at the Friendship Center a result of the support they receive from the community and nothing she could do on her own. She points to the industrial kitchen they were able to install as something that was a great showing of the community supporting them. 
 
 
Leggett says one thing she could have seen accomplished was an expansion of their parking space behind their facility. A grant through the State of Illinois was in the works until the budget crisis and since it was been on the back-burner but she would not dismiss the idea it won't ever happen. 

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Social Security Helping Veterans Through Various Programs

Veterans Day has been a time to highlight those who have served and honor them through various ways.
 
Social Security takes part in honoring service members and Jack Myers with Social Security says it's not just something they do in November, but all year round.
 
 
Myers indicates if you were injured on or after October 1, 2001, your claims are eligible to be expedited. Additionally, if you are on active duty but incapacitated, that doesn't mean you can't receive social security benefits.
 
 
When filling out a disability application, Myers says to make a note on your application that you are veteran rated 100% permanent and total. 
 
 
For more information on both these programs or to apply, visit socialsecurity.gov. 

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Senator Manar Says JB Pritzker Good For Democrats

State Senator Andy Manar is endorsing J.B. Pritzker for Governor. Manar doesn't just say Pritzker would be the right fit for Governor, but he believes his intense statewide campaign could lift up the state Democratic party in key spots...
 
 
Manar once was liniked to the Governor's race but opted not to join to focus on his work in the State Senate.

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Ag Secretary Perdue Reveals USDA Priorities

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue says increasing trade, having a legal agricultural labor workforce, and reigning in federal regulations represent the top three issues his department has prioritized. 
 
During a press conference Thursday held at the National Association of Farm Broadcasting convention in Kansas City, Perdue tried to calm farmer-fears that President Trump will pull the United States out of the North American Free Trade Agreement;
 
 
Perdue says NAFTA negotiations, in his words, “may go to the brink,” but that ultimately the administration will secure a better trade deal that will include agriculture. On the challenge many farmers face to find a stable and legal source or labor, Perdue says U-S-D-A is working on that too;
 
 
On regulatory reform, Perdue told farm broadcasters U-S-D-A has submitted several for review by the White House for possible repeal.

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Ag Industry Facing New Challenges From Expanding Global Environment

An ag economist says it’s a global environment for agriculture more now than ever and farmers are facing more challenges as a result. Bill Tierney is with Chicago based Ag Resource Company….
 
 
Tierney has been following the commodity market for 30-plus years. He was in Kansas City this week for the annual National Association of Farm Broadcasting convention. 

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Governor Taking Veto Sessions Setbacks in Stride

Gov. Bruce Rauner suffered a number of setbacks during the just completed veto session. 
Lawmakers achieved overrides on most of the votes taken, but Rauner is taking the votes in stride and he says he doesn't believe it indicates that GOP lawmakers are backing away from him a year before Rauner faces re-election.
 

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Rauner Blasts Veto Override of Debt Transparency Bill

The Illinois Senate voted to override Governor Rauner's veto of debt transparency legislation calling for monthly reporting of incoming bills. 
 
Rauner blasted the override vote and says his plans to boost the state's internet technology would be more helpful.
 
The state will switch from yearly reporting of bills to monthly reporting January first. It's a switch State Comptroller Susana Mendoza has called for since taking office. 

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Governor Pushing Military Card Drive

GOVERNOR BRUCE RAUNER IS URGING ILLINOISANS TO PARTICIPATE IN THIS YEAR’S MILITARY HOLIDAY CARD DRIVE. 
 
THE “CARDS FOR HEROES” PROGRAM COLLECTS HOLIDAY CARDS AND SENDS THEM OFF TO SERVICE MEMBERS TO HELP KEEP THEIR SPIRITS UP SAYS GOVERNOR RAUNER.
 
 
GOVERNOR RAUNER SAYS THE “CARDS FOR HEROES” PROGRAM IS NOW UNDERWAY.
 
 
CARDS CAN BE MAILED TO THE U-S-O OF ILLINOIS OR DROPPED OFF AT YOUR LOCAL STATE VETERANS’ AFFAIRS OFFICE. THEY MUST BE TURNED IN BY NOVEMBER 20TH.

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Michelle Witzke Named Grand Marshal of Clinton Christmas Parade

The leader of a movement in Clinton to bring a youth center to the community has been named the Grand Marshal of this year's Clinton Christmas Parade.
 
Michelle Witzke has been working on The Vault for a couple years now and has been named the Grand Marshal of the upcoming Christmas Parade in Clinton. Clinton Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Marian Brisard congratulates her on a well deserved honor.
 
 
Witzke will ride in the back of a convertible with her husband, who will drive the car. Witzke has been rallying support for the planned youth center at the former 'Indecent X-Posure' location on the square, which is currently being renovated. 
 
The Clinton Christmas Parade is Saturday, November 25 at 2 pm. 

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Governor Weighs in On Sexual Harassment at Statehouse

Governor Bruce Rauner says when it comes to dealing with sexual harassment at the Statehouse, there has been a pattern of failure.
 
 
He hasn't called for State Senator Ira Silverstein's resignation after sexual harassment allegations were leveled against him. 

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Department of Revenue Introduces Invest in Kids Act

THE ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE IS GETTING READY TO ROLL OUT THE STATE’S NEW TAX-CREDIT SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM. 
 
THE INVEST IN KIDS ACT LETS INDIVIDUALS AND BUSINESSES TAKE A TAX CREDIT FOR MONEY DONATED TO HELP LOW INCOME STUDENTS GO TO PRIVATE SCHOOL. DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE SPOKESPERSON TERRY HORSTMAN SAYS THE PROGRAM OFFICIALLY BEGINS JANUARY SECOND.
 
 
HORSTMAN SAYS IN ORDER TO PARTICIPATE, YOU NEED TO FIRST APPLY ONLINE.
 
 
THE AMOUNT OF THE TAX CREDIT WILL DEPEND ON WHICH REGION OF THE STATE YOU’RE SENDING YOUR DONATION. MORE DETAILS ARE ONLINE AT: MY TAX DOT ILLINOIS DOT GOV.

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Weekly Weather Summary

November has been cooler than normal. This weekend will be cool as well but a mild week is ahead. State Climotologist Jim Angel has more....
 

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Secretary of State Dispelling Myths About Giving Blood

SECRETARY OF STATE JESSE WHITE, CHURCH LEADERS AND ORGAN RECIPIENTS ARE RECOGNIZING NATIONAL DONOR SABBATH AND TRYING TO DISPEL SOME OF THE MYTHS ABOUT ORGAN DONATION. 
 
SECRETARY WHITE SAYS PEOPLE OFTEN EXPRESS CONCERNS ABOUT THEIR FAITH WHEN CONSIDERING ORGAN AND TISSUE DONATION.
 
 
TO JOIN THE STATE’S ORGAN DONOR REGISTRY…VISIT LIFE GOES ON DOT COM. WHITE REMINDS THAT 16 AND 17 YEAR OLDS CAN NOW SIGN UP.

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State Passes Law to Require Writing Cursive

SCHOOLS WILL HAVE TO TEACH STUDENTS CURSIVE WRITING UNDER A NEW STATE LAW.
 
THE HOUSE AND NOW SENATE HAVE OVERIDDEN THE GOVERNOR’S VETO OF A BILL REQUIRING PUBLIC ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS TO TEACH AT LEAST ONE UNIT OF CURSIVE. SENATOR KIMBERLY LIGHTFORD OF MAYWOOD SAYS IT’S A PRACTICAL SKILL THAT STUDENTS NEED TO LEARN.
 
 
THE NEW LAW WILL TAKE EFFECT IN THE 2018-2019 SCHOOL YEAR.

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WHOW Local Farm Broadcaster Wins Award At National Convention

Jared White, local farm broadcaster for WHOW THE BIG 1520 AM and 92.3 FM in Clinton, was given the “Excellence in Ag Reporting” Award Friday, at the National Association of Farm Broadcasting annual convention in Kansas City.

White was given the award for the most used story on the N-A-F-B News Service in 2017.  Farm broadcasters from around the country, share stories with each other on the News Service.

White was presented a certificate for his work.

White has been WHOW's local farm broadcaster since 2011, and has been with the station since 2007.

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Local Realtor Teams Up With Clinton Elementary School To Honor Local Heroes

Clinton Elementary School students will be honoring local heroes this Veterans Day thanks to the efforts of a local realtor.
 
Jessica DeVore, owner of Green Acres Real Estate in Clinton, explains a program she is affiliated with, Homes for Heroes has a program for youth to honor their local heroes and she reached out to CES Principal Sasha Young to get the program in the community.
 
 
Young says once she learned about the program, she introduced it to her teachers and had them give the assignment to their students. She says the teachers came up with good ideas for ways for their kids to do this.
 
 
The winners will also be recognized on Veterans Day in the afternoon during a special student assembly. 
 
The coloring contest winners are: 
 
2nd Grade
Preston Howell
Riley Keelin
Charlie Adams
Addi Groves
Sophia Peterson
Emma Tool
Bella Bryant
Lexi Merriman
Aubrey Roberts
Savannah Wheeler
Sophia Goff
Peyton Mills
Emma Rempe
 
3rd Grade
Ben Goebel
Sierra Sickles
Robbie Reid
Seth Trimble
Josie Blakely
Justin Droke Jr.
Curtis Harweger
Audrey Toohill
Kailee Ramirez
Rylie Senters
Briley Carter
Ethan Carter
Ethan Ayers
 
4th grade
Clara Demspey
Leah Mills
John Gentry
Gage Harr
Abel Koritz
Bailey Rhoades
Zack Potts
Bella Tuttle
Savanna Williamson
Halle Wrage
Bella Hoffman
Laney Weaver
Cameron Carter
Adrien Riley
 
5th Grade
Shirley Flores
Brielle Morrison
Andrew Brown
Elijah Soberalski
Adyson Beebe
Mackenzie Peek
Natasha Fatheree
Addison Prothero
Riley Adams
Teyha Spallinger
Regan Filkin
Jasmine Gentry

 

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CHS, CJHS To Host Veterans Day Assemblies

Clinton and DeWitt County veterans will be served to a breakfast at Clinton Elementary School to start the day today and then it is off to the junior and senior high schools for more recognitions.
 
Starting at the Junior High School, the students and staff have their annual assembly to honor the veterans that day. Principal Drew Goebel indicates the Boy Scouts will be involved in the ceremony along with the Am Vets.
 
 
Then it will be off to the high school for their annual gathering where Principal Jerry Wayne says they will do something similar as the junior high school.b
 
 
Being a veteran himself, Goebel feels it is a very good thing the way the school district embraces the veterans of the community and honors them. He believes it is a good thing the district has the students come to school for the day to actively honor veterans.
 
 
Also this weekend for Veterans Day in DeWitt County:
 
A brunch has been planned to honor area veterans and their guest on Veterans Day, November 11, 2017, at Clinton Community High School, Commons Area, 1200 Route 54 West, starting at 9:00 am. 
 
This year commemorates the 100th anniversary of World War I and so the program following the brunch will include a dance, "Belleau Wood," presented by members of Dance Xtreme, directed by Kim Alexander, followed by a program on World War I: The Great War, given by Gary Simpkins of Heyworth, IL. 
 
Hosting the event will be DeWitt Clinton Chapter DAR and the Clinton American Legion Auxiliary.
 
The Veteran's Assistance Commission of Macon County, Inc. invites you to join them as they "Honor Our Veterans" and remember the men and women who fought for our freedom and our country!
 
Startin at 7 pm at the Salvation Army at 229 W. Main St. in Decatur, family, and friends are invited to be a part of the program. 

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Clinton Public Works Crews Busy In November

November is one of the busiest months of the year for the crews that maintain the cleanliness and beautification of the community.
 
Public Works Director Steve Lobb indicates November brings the heavy leaf cleanup season, finishing touches on summer and fall projects and getting Christmas decorations ready downtown.
 
 
Lobb indicates the fall leaf cleanup season has not quite yet hit full swing. He explains the fall has been out of the ordinary and it hasn't allowed the trees to shed all their leaves yet but anticipates the leaf cleanup season hitting full swing very soon.
 
 
If residents do have the means, the city yard waste facility on Clay Street is open for the season and can be taken their all day on Saturdays and Tuesdays and Thursdays. 

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Sen. Rose Supports Transparency Legislation

A local lawmaker is supporting legislation that would require state agencies to submit their bill to the comptroller for review.
 
Sen. Chapin Rose supports the bill that was vetoed by the governor. Gov. Rauner claimed that an upcoming computer system would make this task unnecessary. Sen. Rose says the system is not yet operational, and thinks there should be transparency in Illinois government.
 
 
Sen. Rose originally supported the governor's view in the original vote, but has changed his mind since new information regarding the computer system has become available. He believes there are too many glitches in the system currently, and it cannot be trusted at this time.
 
 
 
The legislation would require state agencies to send their bills to the comptroller after thirty days and would improve transparency. 

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Western Illinois University Judgeting Team Having Banner Year

Western Illinois University’s Livestock Judging Team having a strong run. They’re coming off a fifth place finish at the American Royal in Kansas City last month. 
 
The WIU livestock judging coach is Mark Hoge.
 
 
The Texas Tech team is coached by Aledo, Illinois native Jon DeClerck.

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Illinois Native Speaks Up About Food

Kevin Folta grew up in the leafy Chicago suburb of Downers Grove, but has become an outspoken advocate of biotechnology and other modern farming practices. 
 
Folta now leads the horticulture program at the University of Florida and believes Illinois farmers and others need to become more visible and vocal as well;
 
 
Folta holds two degrees from Northern Illinois University and secured a doctorate degree in molecular biology from the University of Illinois in Chicago. He says most people like farmers, but many don’t like farming;
 
 
Folta returns to DeKalb on Monday, November 27th to participate in a discussion about farming and food. The panel takes place following a screening of the recently released "Food Evolution" documentary at 7:00 p-m at the historic Egyptian Theater. It's free and open to the public.

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Former US Ag Secretary, Illinois Native Eyeing Tax Reform

Former U.S. Agriculture Secretary and Illinois native John Block wants to see a tax reform deal completed by this year. 
 
He’s hoping for repeal of the estate tax and a reduction in the corporate tax rate. 
 
 
Block served as the nation’s ag secretary during the Reagan administration. He was born in Galesburg and has a farm just outside of Knoxville. 

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Governor Rauner Launches Honor 200 Program

GOVERNOR BRUCE RAUNER IS ANNOUNCING THE HONOR 200 INITIATIVE FOR VETERANS.
 
HONOR 200 WILL BE THE SIGNATURE PROGRAM OF THE ILLINOIS BICENTENNIAL CELEBRATION. GOVERNOR RAUNER EXPLAINS HOW IT WILL WORK.
 
 
STATE OFFICIALS WILL WORK WITH VETERAN’S ORGANIZATIONS AROUND ILLINOIS TO PROMOTE HONOR 200 AND TAKE NOMINATIONS. YOU CAN ALSO NOMINATE A VET ONLINE AT: ILLINOIS DOT GOV SLASH VETRANS.

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Department of Employment Security Encouraging Veterans To Take Advantage of Services

THE ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF EMPLOYMENT SECURITY IS REMINDING VETERANS ABOUT THE SERVICES THEY OFFER. 
 
I-D-E-S STRIVES TO HELP RETURNING SOLDIERS GET A JOB…AND RECEIVES FEDERAL FUNDING FOR A VARIETY OF OUTREACH INITIATIVES SAYS SPOKESPERSON BOB GOUGH (goff).
 
 
THE AGENCY CAN HELP VETERANS OVERCOME OBSTACLES TO EMPLOYMENT SUCH AS DISABILTY AND LACK OF AN EDUCATION.
 
 
VISIT THE WEBSITE: IDES DOT ILLINOIS DOT GOV FOR MORE INFORMATION…AND ILLINOIS JOB LINK DOT COM TO SEARCH FOR JOBS.

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State Farm Bank Offers Sponsorship Opportunity to DeWitt County Non-Profits

State Farm Bank offered a sponsorship opportunity to DeWitt County non-profits at the DeWitt County Coalition meeting Wednesday afternoon.
 
State Farm Bank is looking for non-profit organizations to gather a minimum 15 low to moderate income adults to attend a vehicle lending workshop.The non-profit that believes it can accomplish this before the end of November and will be giving a sponsorship of $1,500. More than one non-profit can work together to make this workshop happen.
 
 
The same workshop opportunity will be offered in McLean County.

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Monticello Schools Looking To Wrap Up Plans For Facilities Future

Almost a half decade has been dedicated to what the future of Monticello Schools facilities should look like and officials are hoping to wrap up the planning process in the spring with a referendum.
 
Dr. Vic Zimmerman, Superintendent of Monticello Schools, explains the recommendation will likely not include a new high school, instead it will likely include an addition to the high school and classroom improvements, among other upgrades across the district.
 
 
After a pair of failed referendums, school officials and the Board went back to the community and Dr. Zimmerman points out, the proposed upgrades are what the community told them they  want.
 
 
Current outdoor facilities would remain the same. Dr. Zimmerman says Miller Gym can hold around 800 maximum attendees. He says when they build a gym for Washington School, they will build it big enough for high school competitive events, to hold around 1200 to 1500 people. 

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Decatur's Scovill Zoo Celebrating Strong 2017 Season

The Decatur Scovill Zoo is closed for the winter now but officials indicate 2017 was another strong year. 
 
Thanks to a great turnout for their annual Halloween event, Boo At The Zoo, Director Ken Frye says it took them over the 100,000 attendees threshold this year.
 
 
While it wasn't a banner year for the zoo from an attendance perspective, Frye indicates it was still a solid year as he likes to achieve that 100-thousand number as often as possible.
 
 
The Zoo will reopen in the spring as several of the animals in their collection now head indoors for the winter season. Frye indicates they have several animals that actually enjoy the winter season. We'll have more on the winter at the Scovill Zoo in the coming days on Regional Radio News.
 
You can find Scovill Zoo on Facebook. 

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Senate Calls for Monthly Reporting of Incoming Bills

The Illinois Senate has voted to override Governor Rauner's veto of legislation calling for monthly reporting of incoming bills to the state. 
 
State Senator Andy Manar is singing the praises of the "debt transparency act" which takes effect New Year's Day.
 
 
Mendoza says yesterdays development will help her prioritize bill-paying with the state facing nearly $17 billion in overdue bills.
 

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Many Factors Worldwide Playing Into Gas Price Spike at Home

Gas prices have taken a noticeable jump in recent weeks, and multiple factors are playing into the price increase. According to GasBuddy.com, gas prices are averaging at $2.70 a gallon in Illinois, up almost 20 cents from last week. That is up 52 cents from the same time last year.
 
Tim Sutton with Christian County F-S says many factors worldwide are making American oil more attractive to export.
 
 
Sutton says once the supply of gasoline products gets back in line with the demand, he believes gas prices will drop considerably.

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Illinois Fertilizer and Chemical Association Promoting Required Dicamba Training

Farmers planning to use crop protection products containing dicamba in 2018 must receive training prior to application. It's a new label requirement says Jean Payne with the Illinois Fertilizer and Chemical Association.
 
 
In addition to monetary penalties, Payne says a farmer could also lose his or her certified applicator license if using dicamba without required training.

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Gubernatorial Candidate, Chris Kennedey, Isn't Singing Praises of State's Handling of Sexual Harassment

The Illinois General Assembly took an aggressive stance on sexual harassment Tuesday but Democratic Gubernatorial candidate Chris Kennedy said "what took you so long".
 
 
Kennedy says taking a soft line on sexual harassment makes it harder to draw the best and brightest.
 

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Farmer City Christmas Parade Next Saturday

One of central Illinois' biggest Christmas parades is a week from Saturday and there is still time to be a part of it for groups or organizations around central Illinois.
 
The annual Farmer City Christmas parade is Saturday, November 19 at 2 pm and Chad Wills says it's not too late to participate. He notes he'd like to have a list finalized by the end of the week but they will accommodate last minute entries the day of. 
 
 
Wills indicates over 100 entries make up the parade each year which can last around an hour and a half. He says they have entries from antique cars and tractors, businesses and local celebrities.
 
 
This year, Lance Speaker and David Holt are this year's parade grand marshals. Wills explains those two do great for the Farmer City Raceway, a great asset to the community.
 
 
To get more information about the Farmer City Christmas Parade or to get entered, contact Wills at 309-386-2791. It is free to enter the parade and the route is the Farmer City Fairgrounds, through downtown and ending at Heartland Bank. 

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Veterans Get Free Admission To Lincoln Musuem

Vets looking for something a little different to do on Saturday can tour the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum for free. 
 
The downtown Springfield landmark will grant passes for vets, current service members and Gold Star families. Chris Wills with the museum says they will host a special speaker on November 11.
 
 
The Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs will be at the museum to get vets the latest information about programs and support they are eligible for.

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Children's Advocacy Center's Darknesss To Light Next Week

If you interact with youth in any capacity, a local children's advocacy support is hoping you'll consider taking a brief seminar that can help you identify abuse in kids you may be interacting with.
 
Judy Brucker is the Executive Director of the Children's Advocacy Center in DeWitt, Livingston and McLean Counties indicates the Darkness to Light program, set for Wednesday of next week, is part of a national curriculum they offer their communities.
 
 
If you cannot make the seminar, Brucker indicates they also have the program available to speak to community groups so the information is always available. This is a program that is opened up to the community a couple time per year.
 
 
To get more information on the Darkness to Light seminar, contact Brucker at 309-888-5656. And again the training is next Wednesday, November 15 in Normal. 

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Senate Approves Harassment Measures

The Illinois Senate debated and discussed topics today surrounding sexual harassment at the Capitol. The first step taken was to approve the appointment of a Legislative Inspector General. 
 
That office, in charge of looking into complaints like sexual harassment had sat empty for 3 years. Now that Julie Porter has been approved the Senate also voted in favor of extending the statute of limitations on misconduct claims. That allows for all 27 claims made since the office was vacated to be up for review. 
 
Senator Karen McCounnaughay says it’s a valuable first step but more can be done.
 
 
There is also a pending sexual harassment task force to be assembled by the Senate. One Senator has been publicly named in a harassment case; Ira Silverstein was at the Capitol but told reporters he would not be talking about the allegations against him until he spoke to the new Inspector General.

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Kennedy Pushing New Gun Control Measures

Democratic Governor Candidate Chris Kennedy is calling on lawmakers to rethink gun laws after the latest mass shooting in Texas. 
 
Kennedy is upset that the shooter in the Texas church shooting had a record of domestic abuse. Kennedy would like to see laws here like other states where a gun owner forfeits the right to own the firearm if they are involved in a domestic dispute. 
 
Kennedy expressed disappointment with last month's defeat of legislation banning so called bump stocks. Kennedy also spoke in support of a measure that imposes stricter regulations on gun dealers, and closing gun show loopholes. 
 
Lawmakers are back in Springfield today to start the final week of the fall veto session. Legislation calling for licensing of gun dealers could surface.
 

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Rauner Recaps Middle East Trip

Back from another international trip Governor Bruce Rauner says that Illinois can learn from changes Israel has made. 
 
Rauner says while he was there he worked on building relationships with businesses in the Middle East and sometimes needed to get investors to realize that there is more to the United States other than the East and West Coast. 
 
 
Rauner says he talked to the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on how his nation worked to cut government spending and regulations, things Rauner says Illinois needs to do. 

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Durbin Weighs In On Guns

Senator Dick Durbin wants to see action on gun regulations after the weekend mass shooting at a Texas church. He's calling on his congressional Republican colleagues to work with Democrats on a bipartisan basis to reduce gun violence. 
 
Durbin says he's tired of inaction....
 
 
The only vote the U.S. Senate has held this year on guns has been to overturn a regulation to keep guns out of the hands of individuals with mental illness.
 
Durbin also offered up questions about the availability of assault rifles...
 
 
Last month, Durbin joined Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) and 27 other Senate colleagues to introduce the Background Check Expansion Act, which will expand federal background checks to the sale or transfer of all firearms by private sellers, with certain reasonable exceptions. 
 
Under current law, unlicensed or private sellers are not required to conduct a background check prior to transferring a firearm. Research indicates that as many as a quarter of all gun sales in the United States may occur without a background check even though 94 percent of Americans support comprehensive background checks.

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Country Crop Insurance Expert Wants To See Program Maintained in New Farm Bill

A longtime player in federal crop insurance wants to see the program maintained within a new Farm Bill. Doug Yoder is the Crop Agency Manager at Country Financial.
 
 
Negotiations on a new Farm Bill are underway. The current Farm Bill is set to expire in September of 2018. 
 
The U.S. House Ag Committee hosted a Farm Bill listening session in August at the Farm Progress Show in Decatur. 

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Attorney General Madigan Joins Effort To Block Media Merger

Attorney General Lisa Madigan has joined colleagues from other states in the fight against a planned mega media merger. 
 
Madigan and fellow Attorneys General are appealing to the Federal Communications Commission to block the proposed merger between Sinclair and the Tribune Company. Madigan and her peers say the merger will hurt the public interest by decreasing consumer choices and reducing the diversity of voices in the media marketplace. 
 
The combined Tribune/Sinclair company would be able to reach 72 percent of U.S. television households, nearly double the legal limit of 39 percent. 
 
Sinclair owns and operates TV stations in Springfield and Champaign. 

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Clinton City Council Agrees To Eliminate Parking Meters

Paying for parking in downtown Clinton will be a thing of the past after action by the Clinton City Council Monday night.
 
About three months ago, the Council suspended parking meters for 90 days and Monday night the Council unanimously decided the parking meters would be permanently removed. Owner of Main Street Salon, Diane Peck says there has not been much change in the availability of parking once they were suspended.
 
 
When asked what she would like to see next, Peck said she would like to see them taken out.
 
 
Clinton Police Chief Ben Lowers says the biggest factor for the parking meters is traffic flow. His concern would be tenants in downtown apartments would have the possibility of parking in front of their residence all day without consequence to move.
 
 
City Treasurer Clint Lichtenwalter says the parking meters only bring in around $6000 to $9000 in revenue each year but the Chief pointed out his staff found most of the revenue was from a small portion of the meters while maintenance on the others was greater than what they collected.
 
 
The meters will be removed and likely the poles will be as well as they are a hazard with no good way to cap the tops of them. 
 
Also at the Monday night Council meeting, the annual city levy was placed on file for two weeks. 

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Monticello Schools Struggling To Find Substitute Teachers

Like many area school districts, Monticello schools are struggling to find substitute teachers. 
 
Dr. Vic Zimmerman says not as many college students are going into teaching which is creating a shortage of fill-in educators.
 
 
Monticello has a couple openings coming up at the start of the new semester and says otherwise, they are fortunate to have all their positions filled.
 
 
Dr. Zimmerman points out with them raising the levels for sub-pay, it brings them into the upper-tier of pay in the area but if the teachers aren't there, then they can make the hires or phone calls for substitutions.

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Congressman Davis Reacts To Sutherland Springs Massacre, Talks Gun Control

US Congressman Rodney Davis Monday morning reacted to the Sutherland Springs, Texas massacre from Sunday morning a small community church that left more than 25 people dead and more injured.
 
Congressman Davis calls it a sad testament to "hate and vitriol" and can relate to the fear they feel.
 
 
Events like this and the Vegas country concert massacre reignite an ongoing gun control debate in American and Congressman Davis points out the laws in place kept this individual from getting firearms but still got access to the firearms he needed.
 
 
Congressman Davis goes back to criminals don't care about doing the right things to get a firearm. He believes any time laws are made for firearm usage and ownership, it only impacts law abiding citizens. 

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Weekly Crop Report

IT WAS A COOL, DRY WEEK AS PRODUCERS TRIED TO WRAP UP THE FALL HARVEST. 
 
THERE WERE ABOUT FOUR DAYS SUITABLE FOR FIELDWORK, AND FARMERS MADE SOME PROGRESS SAYS CROP STATISTICIAN MARK SCHLEUSENER.
 
 
92 PERCENT OF SOYBEANS HAVE BEEN HARVESTED, UP FROM 86 PERCENT LAST WEEK. 
 
 
82 PERCENT OF SORGHUM HAS BEEN HARVESTED AND 90 PERCENT OF WINTER WHEAT NOW PLANTED. AVERAGE STATEWIDE TOPSOIL MOISTURE NOW STANDS AT TWO PERCENT VERY SHORT, 14 PERCENT SHORT, 75 PERCENT ADEQUATE AND NINE PERCENT SURPLUS.

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Estate Tax not Only Issue Farmers Are Following In Tax Reform Discussions

As tax reform debate heats up in the nation’s capital, agriculture groups are keeping a keen eye on the estate tax issue.
 
 A house GOP plan unveiled last week calls for complete repeal by 2024, but that’s not the only area farmers are interested in says Mark Gebhards with the Illinois Farm Bureau.
 
 
The Senate is expected to release its tax reform plan later this week. 

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Durbin Continues Push For ACA

Senator Dick Durbin continues to beat the drum for Illinoisans to sign up for insurance through the Affordable Care Act. 
 
The health insurance open enrollment period began November first and runs through December 15th. Durbin says he's promoting ACA enrollment because he says President Trump's worked to make the Affordable Care Act a secret.
 
 
Durbin has spent some time on the subject with a recent report he produced – “1,000 Cuts: A Report on the Trump Administration’s Health Care Sabotage” – which outlines what he calls the Trump administration’s deliberate efforts to undermine the ACA. 

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Warner Hospital And Health Services Renovating Cardiac Rehab Facility

Warner Hospital and Health Services recently renovated their mammography area to include two suites and two units to increase their service and now they have shifted to a similar undertaking in another part of their  facility.
 
CEO Paul Skowron indicates they are going to do some swapping and improving of a couple departments in the hospital with some cosmetic upgrades as well.
 
 
The limited space for the cardiac rehab along with the strong demand has Skowron thinking a new hospital, though he points out it has been on his mind since he came to Clinton three years ago.
 
 
The renovation of the cardiac rehab portion of the facility will likely start at the beginning of the new year. 

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Blue Ridge Schools Roll Out New Website

blueridge18.org has a new look.
 
Blue Ridge Schools officials recently rolled out a new website that is more user friendly and ADA accessible. Superintendent Susan Wilson says she likes the new look and feels it's going to be much easier for their community to navigate.
 
 
Additionally, the new website streamlines the communication across the district. Wilson explains she can type up a single message and it will go out to all their platforms and it can reach their community via text, email and phone call.
 
 
The URL is still the same, it's blueridge18.org. There links at the site to Facebook and Twitter at the bottom of the home page. 

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Fall Unusual But Only A Few Degrees Above Normal

It was an unusual fall in Illinois but it didn't fall - pun intended - that far from the averages.
 
Chris Miller at the National Weather Service office in Lincoln says this fall saw swings of cold and warm weather but all-in-all, the data shows it was only a few degrees above normal.
 
 
Precipitation was down in September and up in October, just in time for the harvest. Miller says this could be an indicator of what is to come this winter.
 
 
Miller says November sets the tone for the overall weather patterns for the winter months. We'll hear more from Miller later this week on the winter months on Regional Radio News. 

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Plenty of Pumpkins For Thanksgiving Season

THANKS TO A STRONG CROP…A UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS PLANT PATHOLOGIST SAYS THERE SHOULD BE PLENTY OF PUMPKINS TO GO AROUND FOR ALL OF YOUR THANKSGIVING NEEDS. 
 
ILLINOIS IS THE LEADING PUMPKIN PRODUCER IN THE COUNTRY, GROWING BOTH JACK O LANTERNS AND PROCESSING PUMPKINS. U OF I PUMPKIN EXPERT MOHAMMAD BABADOOST SAYS THERE WERE A FEW CONCERNS EARLIER IN THE SEASON ABOUT FRUIT ROT, BUT THAT DAMAGE WAS MINIMAL.
 
 
BABADOOST. HE NOTES THE NEAR PERFECT CONDITIONS THROUGH HARVEST HAVE HELPED PRODUCE HEALTHY TOTALS.
 
 
ILLINOIS HAS ABOUT 15 THOUSAND ACRES DEDICATED TO THE PROCESSING PUMPKINS USED IN BAKING…PRODUCING 20 TO 30 TONS PER ACRE.

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October 10th Wettest on Record

LAST MONTH WAS THE 10TH WETTEST OCTOBER ON RECORD IN ILLINOIS. 
 
OCTOBER WAS ONE FOR THE RECORD BOOKS…WITH STATEWIDE AVERAGE RAINFALL COMING IN AT NEARLY FIVE INCHES SAYS STATE CLIMATOLOGIST JIM ANGEL.
 
 
THE AVERAGE TEMPERATURE LAST MONTH WAS FIFTY SEVEN POINT SEVEN DEGREES…THAT’S ABOUT THREE DEGREES ABOVE NORMAL AND MAKES OCTOBER 2017 THE 21ST WARMEST ON RECORD. ANGEL SAYS MANY AREAS OF THE STATE DIPPED BELOW FREEZING FOR THE FIRST TIME THIS FALL.

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Farmers React To Rauner's Harvest Emergency Declaration

Governor Bruce Rauner Sunday declared a harvest season emergency in the state, which allows farmers that secure permits to haul up to a maximum of 10 percent more than truck weight restrictions. Brent Riewerts (REE-verts -- hard "v"), who farms in Rock Island County, explains why farmers sought the action;
 
 
Illinois Farm Bureau asked the governor to issue the declaration two weeks ago to provide relief from continued wet weather in some parts of the state and depressed commodity prices. REE-verts, who serves as vice president of the Rock Island County Farm Bureau, says the action could help some Illinois farmers;
 
 
Farmers need to check with local road authorities whether they plan to issue harvest season emergency permits and whether those will be a blanket permit or individual permits.

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Farm Bureau Asks Governor To Declare Harvest Emergency

Corn and soybean harvest is taking longer than normal this year. So the Illinois Farm Bureau asked the Governor to declare a harvest emergency. 
 
The declaration signed by Bruce Rauner allows farmers to add ten percent more weight in grain trucks that are headed local elevators or delivery points. Illinois Director of Ag Raymond Poe knows that every extra kernel on a truck helps speed harvest. 
 
 
Farmers still need a special permit to add the extra weight to their grain trucks. IDOT says they are ready to get those permits out. The Harvest Emergency is good for 45 days. Continued wet weather has hampered harvest around the state.

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Monticello School Teachers Raising Money For Community Book Reading Effort

Wonder, the New York Times Best Seller that inspired the upcoming motion picture is the theme of a community reading effort in Monticello.
 
Dr. Vic Zimmerman, Superintendent of Monticello Schools, indicates a couple of their teachers started the effort over the summer to raise money for the community and students to read the book. He indicates they've collected around $12-thousand.
 
 
Dr. Zimmerman indicates their guest speaker will be from the Chicago area that has a similar genetic deformity who is doing speaking engagements across the country. 

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Final Days of Fall Veto Session Next Week, Concerns Build Over Budget

Illinois state lawmakers return to the state capital next week for the final round of the fall veto session. Three days are scheduled for Tuesday through Thursday. Debate continues over whether last summer’s approved tax increases solved the state’s budget problems says Jack Tichenor with SIU’s Paul Simon Public Policy Institute.
 
 
The personal income tax rate increased from 3.75 percent to 4.95 percent and the corporate income tax rate jumped from 5.25 percent to 7 percent on July 1, which was the first day of the new fiscal year.
 
In addition to concern over revenue shortfalls, the state continues to deal with a growing backlog of unpaid bills to state vendors. That number now stands at over $16.5 billion. Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza keeps a daily tote board at “illinoiscomptroller.gov.”

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Blue Ridge Ag Teacher Wins Statewide Award

As Illinois continues to face an agricultural education teacher shortage, a new grant program is helping to limit stressors for beginning ag teachers.
 
Jacalyn Meisner, agriculture teacher and FFA Advisor at Blue Ridge High School, Farmer City, Ill., was selected this week as one of four new ag teachers in Illinois to receive recognition as a recipient of the Illinois Agricultural Education Teacher Grant Program. 
 
Meisner applied for the program and earned the award based on her efforts in the classroom, as well as her short- and long-term personal and program goals. 
 
Facilitating Coordination in Agricultural Education District 4 Program Advisor Megan Coy and DeWitt County Farm Bureau Manager Janell Baum Thomas visited Meisner’s classroom on Nov. 2 to surprise the teacher with her award.  
 
Illinois agricultural education teachers completing their first year in the classroom are eligible to apply for the grant.  The amount of the grant payment will increase over the course of the teacher’s first five years in the classroom, up to $10,000 total, if they meet the re-application process, which requires that applicants continue to teach ag in Illinois.
 
The Illinois Farm Bureau, through its charitable arm, the IAA Foundation, created the Illinois Agricultural Education Teacher Grant Program.  Illinois Farm Bureau provided seed money to begin the program, and the IAA Foundation will actively seek additional funding partners to continue adding new groups of first year teachers into the program, with a goal of funding 32 teachers over a 12-year timeframe.

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Weekly Weather Summary

It has been a mostly cloudy week in central Illinois and state climotologist Jim Angel tells us when we could see the sun again.
 

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State Fire Marshall Promoting Changing Smoke Detector Batteries When You Change Your Clocks

The State's fire marshall office is promoting changing the batteries in your smoke detectors when you change the time on your clock this weekend.
 
Saturday night is the expiration of Daylight Saving Time and State Fire Marshall Matt Perez calls this Saturday a good built in reminder to get new batteries in your smoke alarms as well.
 
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) reports that between 2009 and 2013 three in five home fire deaths occurred in homes that either did not have smoke alarms or the alarms did not work. More than half of the non-working smoke alarms either had missing or disconnected batteries. Dead batteries caused nearly a quarter of smoke alarm failures.
 
Illinois law requires every household to have smoke alarms within 15 feet of every bedroom and at least one alarm on each floor of the home. 
 
Families are encouraged to test those alarms at least once a month.

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Rural Economic Development Opportunities

A group of Illinois farmers and their counterparts from Germany shared ideas recently on how both might be able to grow income by generating energy on farms. Illinois Farm Bureau and the Chicago-based German American Chambers of Commerce held a rural energy and economic development roundtable in Bloomington. Jochen (Yolk-HEN) Oestmann (OOST-men) farms in northern Germany and generates renewable natural gas on his farm;
 
 
Laws in Germany requires utility companies to buy most energy generated on farms and OOST-man says it adds to his revenue stream. Champaign County farmer Eric Rund shared his experience growing miscanthus (MIS-can-thus gigantus (JYE-gan-tus) and you guessed it -- it's a tall grass that can be cleanly burned to create energy;
 
 
Rund has a new customer for his MIS-can-thus. The University of Illinois imported a boiler from Germany that can burn the tall grass and heat a greenhouse on the Urbana-Champaign Energy Farm.

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State Police Announce Enforcement Efforts for McLean County in November

Illinois State Police Troopers will be on the prowl in November watching for impaired drivers as a part of their Roadside Safety Checks program.
 
State Police will be looking for drivers operating under the influence, safety belt checks and proper child restraint devices along with speeding, distracted driving and vehicle code violations.
 
Alcohol and drug impairment is a factor in more than 30 percent of all fatal motor vehicle crashes in Illinois. 

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State Fire Marshall Warns of Extinguisher Recall

A recall to tell you about today that could result in a fire growing further out of control. 
 
There are 40 million Kidde brand fire extinguishers that are being recalled because a plastic handle could result in the fire extinguisher not working in an emergency. 
 
The State Fire Marshall’s office says that 134 models are impacted and those extinguishers were made between 1973 and 2017. 
 
The recall is focused on ones with plastic handles and a push button “pindicator”. 
 
If you have one of these extinguishers you need to contact Kidde for a free replacement.

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Clinton Boil Order Lifted

The standing boil order in Clinton has been lifted. 
 
The boil order was issued Monday for N. Center to E. Woodlawn St. to N. Madison St. to E. Julia St. 

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DeWitt County Development Council Again in Fundraising Mode

Last year at this time the DeWitt County Development Council was in fundraising mode for a grant through the State Farm Bank and the organization is again at it this year.
 
The opportunity is available for the DCDC to pull in $50-thousand through a $25-thousand matching fund through State Farm Bank and President of the DCDC Board, David Torbert is confident they can raise the money again this year.
 
 
One of the biggest things the DCDC has done since their reorganization is their quarterly leader breakfasts at the Clinton Country Club that welcomes a guest speaker to give information about ways to improve businesses in the community. Torbert says they have been well received by those that participate.
 
 
The DCDC strives to be a resource to the business community. In the near future, Torbert indicates they are hoping to bring on some part time help to be an available resource and help plan events.
 
 
If you're interested in being a part of the DCDC, getting information from them or applying for the part time position they will be opening up soon, visit dcdc-illinois.org or find them on Facebook. 

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Lincoln High School Looking To Increase Infrastructure Capacity

Technology continues to grow in its importance in 21st century learning environments.
 
That's why Lincoln High School is going to be making improvements to the infrastructure of their building. According to Superintendent Bob Bagby, they need to improve the bandwidth on their internet.
 
 
Keeping up with technology is the goal of Bagby and the Lincoln Board of Education. He says the benefits doing that is showing up in the amount of costly resources they no longer have to purchase as much.
 
 
Lincoln High School enrollment is roughly 850 students in Logan County. 

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Moscow Ballet this Weekend at Kirkland Fine Arts Center

The Moscow Ballet will be performing The Nutcracker this weekend at the Kirkland Fine Arts Center at Millikin University.
 
According to Director of Kirkland Fine Arts, Jan Traughber, there will be two performances of the ballet, which will be accompanied by the Millikin Orchestra conducted by Sergey Bogza.
 
 
Over 100 local children will also be a part of the performance, which, Traughber adds, the Moscow Ballet has down to a science.
 
 
Tickets range from $35-$65 and $10 for students. Traughber indicates that you should buy tickets directly from them and not from scalpers if you want lower prices.
 
 
You can purchase tickets by calling their ticket office at (217) 424-6318 or online at kirklandfinearts.com.

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State Rep. Knows of Culture of Harassment

The #metoo movement has made its way into Illinois politics. 
 
A week ago hundreds of women signed an open letter about a culture of harassment at the state house and this week a female lobbyist came forward and accused a Democratic Senator of harassing behavior. Representative Linda Chapa LaVia says she knows first-hand much of this behavior is tolerated. 
 
 
LaVia’s house committee advanced a bill that requires sexual harassment training for state politicians, staff and lobbyists. The bill should be voted on next week.
 

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Keeping Illinois Competitive

Illinois farmers that want to stay competitive with their South American counterparts have an opportunity to get an up close look this winter. 
 
Illinois Farm Bureau plans to organize an issues study tour to Argentina and Brazil starting in late January through early February. I-F-B Senior Director of Commodities, Tamara Nelsen, explains what the organization and Illinois farmers want to explore;
 
 
If you farm and want to participate in the Farm Bureau Issues Tour to Argentina and Brazil, contact your county Farm Bureau for details on how to apply. You have about two weeks. The deadline is November 14th.
 
 
Illinois farmers that want to venture to the two South American countries must commit to doing some homework before and share what they've found when they return.

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Illinois Grain Insurance Fund Healthy At $7.7 Million

The Illinois Grain Insurance Fund remains in a good position with $7.7 million available. 
 
Established in 1983, the fund provides protection for any farmer doing business with a licensed grain dealer in Illinois says IDOA’s David Gleason.
 
 
The Illinois Grain Insurance Fund also provides grain payable coverage when an elevator fails, which amounts to 100 percent for the first 21-days after the grain is priced. 
 
That lowers to 85-percent between 21 and 160 days after the grain is priced. And after 160 days, there’s no coverage from the fund.

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Governor Offers Illinois As Host State of Hurricane Maria Victims

GOVERNOR BRUCE RAUNER WOULD LIKE TO SEE ILLINOIS SERVE AS A HOST STATE FOR HURRICANE VICTIMS FROM PUERTO RICO.
 
HURRICANE MARIA DEVASTATED PUERTO RICO BACK IN SEPTEMBER, AND RECOVERY HAS BEEN SLOW. ILLINOIS EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY DIRECTOR JAMES JOSEPH SAYS THAT’S WHY THEY ARE ASKING THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT TO CONSIDER ILLINOIS AS A HOST STATE FOR PUERTO RICANS WHO HAVE LOST EVERYTHING.
 
 
JOSEPH SAYS STATE OFFICIALS WANT TO HELP PUERTO RICANS WHO LOST THEIR HOMES WHEN HURRICANE MARIA RIPPED THROUGH THE ISLAND IN SEPTEMBER. THEY WILL BE WORKING WITH THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT TO GET ILLINOIS APPROVED AS A HOST STATE.
 
 
JOSEPH SAYS ALL COSTS WILL BE PICKED UP BY THE FEDS.

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Duckworth Call For Trump Veto of Legislation Impacting Veterans

Senator Tammy Duckworth is calling on President Trump to veto the recently passed bill overturning Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)’s rule limiting forced arbitration. 
She says the deck will be stacked in favor of big banks and financial institutions in cases of fraud and other misdeeds.
 
 
Duckworth explains the unique concerns of veterans.
 
 
The mandatory arbitration rule, which was set to take full effect next March, would stop financial services companies from using forced arbitration clauses to block consumer class action suits. .

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Clinton Dentist Buying Unused Candy

Did you pull the Halloween candy collection buckets from last year and find the remnants of last year's spoils still there?
 
If so, a local dentist office is hoping you'll consider trading some of this year's unused candy for cash. Kim Larkin is the Office Manager for Dr. John Larkin in Clinton and explains they are going to be giving a dollar for a pound of candy and then donating it to local food pantries or non-profits that could use it.
 
 
Starting today (Thursday) and through early next week, you can take your extra sweets to their office at 323 West Washington Street. Larkin says they will have drop off hours during that time.
 
 
Larkin says they will start with a local focus for their donations. 

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Clinton Lake Open For Water Fowl Hunting

The cooler weather is a welcome sign for water fowl hunters in central Illinois.
 
Late last week opened the water fowl season in Illinois and DNR conservation officer John Williamson says local hunters hope for cold weather because the warm water discharge at Clinton Lake will offer hunters good opportunities.
 
 
The warm water discharge at Clinton Lake will also attract eagles through the cold months. Williamson indicates fish and other animals will congregate in that warm water area and give them a spot to hunt.
 
 
Illinois has seen a number of suspicious deaths in the eagle population and Williamson asks the public to be their eyes and ears. He says their officers can't be everywhere at once, so it never hurts to call in something you think may be suspicious.
 
 
To make a report about a tip you have to DNR, contact them at 1-877-2DNRLAW. You can also visit dnr.illinois.gov for the latest in hunting and fishing information.

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National Weather Service Anticipates Warmer Weekend

Halloween was cool and windy for trick-r-treaters but high school football fans will enjoy the upcoming forecast from the National Weather Service.
 
Chris Miller at the National Weather Service office in Lincoln indicates the weekend could be a little wet Saturday but otherwise it will be cloudy and perfect weather for the second round of the IHSA football playoffs.
 
 
Wild weather in Illinois is not out of the question in November as many Illinois residents know. Miller says they are watching Sunday closely as the weather pattern could bring some strong storms.
 
 
Miller says Friday night is expected to be crisp and cool while Saturday is expected to be cloudy, which will limit the highs for the day. He says there's chances of rain across the state as well for Saturday. 

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SE Asia Trade Will Get Attention From Ag Leadership Program

International trade continues to a big deal for Illinois agriculture and one of the key markets is Southeast Asia. 
 
The Illinois Agricultural Leadership Foundation plans to send 29-ag professionals overseas in March and one of the stops will be Vietnam says IALF’s Todd Lowery.
 
 
Other stops in Southeast Asia for the IALF program in 2018 will include Taiwan and Hong Kong.

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Lower Water Levels On Mississippi River Stressing Farmers This Fall

Lower water levels on the Mississippi River causing concern for farmers shipping grain off to the export market. Jeff Adkisson is with the Grain and Feed Association of Illinois.
 
 
With yields better than expected in many areas of Illinois this fall, farmers are also stressed about storage space with carryover crop from last year.

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Warner Hospital and Health Services Administration Planning on Cuts From State

Planning ahead is the name of the game for the Warner Hospital and Health Services Board and its administration.
 
CEO Paul Skowron explains the state is proposing changes to the reimbursement of Medicaid, which is something the city-owned entity is exploring adjusting to.
 
 
Skowron indicates the same day care will be at their existing facility and will be for people with ailments that may not qualify for an emergency room visit but need attention quickly.
 
 
Warner Hospital and Health Services will use existing staff and space to accommodate same day visits. He indicates this type of service is a growing trend in healthcare today. 

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Read Across Clinton Presents To Clinton Rotary Club

Clinton Elementary School teachers discussed a growing program in Clinton, Read Across Clinton.
 
According to CES teacher Therese Schmidt, they wanted to give students, especially low income students, more access to books at home at the beginning of the program.
 
 
CES teacher Bethany Coffman says books are very important to the home life of youth. She explains having books in a home is a key in the development of a child.
 
 
For 2017-18, the teachers are going to continue to pursue grant funding for more books and they also hope to expand the program to other schools in the district. They have received thousands of dollars and books from various drives and grants hosted across the community.
 
 
Kids get to pick out the books they read. The teachers point out when a child selects their books, they are more motivated to read.

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Boil Order Issued in Clinton

Just before 7 am this morning, a boil order was issued in Clinton. 
 
The area is surrounded by N. Center to E. Woodlawn St. to N. Madison St. to E. Julia St. 
 
Call the City's water department office with any questions at 217-935-3432 during regular business hours 

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Woman Steps Forward To Name Sexual Harasser

A woman has stepped forward and put her face behind the movement to out sexual harassment inside of Illinois politics. 
 
Yesterday at a House legislative committee hearing Denise Rotheimer says Senate Democratic Whip Ira Silverstein harassed her. During her testimony, she says last year Silverstein would say uncomfortable things to her, message her on Facebook late and night even killed a bill for a while because he thought she had a boyfriend. 
 
Rotheimer claims she lost 20 pounds and her hair started falling out over the stress of the situation. She also says that she filed a complaint with Senate President John Cullerton and the Legislative Inspectors General Office. 
 
But that office hasn’t had an Inspector General since 2013. 
 
In a statement to media members Silverstein says about Rotheimer’s allegations; “what she is saying is false”. 

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Today's 4-H Not Just About Cows and Plows

4-H is not just cows and plows. That’s what Larry Haigh (hay) says when he describes 4-H. He’s the 4-H program coordinator for Ford/Iroquois County.
 
 
In addition, 4-H continues to stress leadership development, which Haigh says was key when he was a young 4-H member and that experience played an important role in his career path. 

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Speaker Says Sexual Harassment Needs To Be Addressed

In a House committee meeting yesterday a victims’ rights advocate who lobbies the Illinois legislature says she was sexually harassed while trying to do her job. 
 
Denise Rotheimer says that she was harassed in person, over Facebook and via phone by Democratic Senator Ira Silverstein. The allegations were made during testimony as a committee considered enacting annual sexual harassment training for lawmakers, staff and lobbyist. 
 
Speaker of the House Mike Madigan says there also needs to be a task force to address the environment at the Capitol. 
 
 
Silverstein has said what Rotheimer is alleging is false. But he says if he offended her he will apologize.

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Metro-East 4-Lane Highway Discussed

A proposed regional, 4-lane, state highway from Carbondale to southwestern Illinois has been a discussion item for decades. 
 
State Senator Paul Schimpf of Waterloo supports the idea and recently spoke with the Illinois Department of Transportation about the prospects of connecting Carbondale with the Metro East.
 
 
Schmipf says the highway would require expansion of current 2-lane highways to 4 lanes and is important for the future economic vitality of southern and southwestern Illinois.
 
 
IDOT has indicated support for the idea, but at this time the proposal is just a discussion item. 

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Duckworth Urges Colleagues To Demand Congressional Authorization in North Korea

Senator Tammy Duckworth is joining a number of colleagues, including Senators Elizabeth Warren, Chris Murphy, Cory Booker and Bernie Sanders, in demanding Congressional authorization before President Trump could launch a potential preemptive strike against North Korea. 
 
Duckworth says it's clearly a high stakes confrontation and would require a lot more than taking out missile sites.
 
 
Duckworth says the legislation is inspired by what she and colleagues call an escalation of irresponsible and reckless rhetoric against North Korea from President Trump.
 
 
Senator Chris Murphy said "It's important we join forces to reclaim Congress' constitutional role in matters of war and peace before there's no turning back".

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Annual Schools Report Card Released

THIS YEAR’S ILLINOIS SCHOOL REPORT CARD IS OUT…AND SHOWS SOME GAINS WERE MADE THIS PAST SCHOOL YEAR. 
 
THE ANNUAL REPORT CARD MEASURES THINGS LIKE STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT AND TEACHER RETENTION RATES FOR INDIVIDUAL SCHOOLS AND THE STATE AS A WHOLE. OVERALL, THE STATEWIDE REPORT CARD HAS SOME GOOD NEWS SAYS SUPERINTENDENT OF EDUCATION TONY SMITH.
 
 
SMITH SAYS THERE WAS A DECREASE IN THE NUMBER OF STUDENTS HAVING TO TAKE BASIC LEVEL COURSES AT THEIR LOCAL COMMUNITY COLLEGE BECAUSE THEY AREN’T READY.
 
 
THE NUMBER OF KIDS TAKING ADVANCED PLACEMENT AND DUAL CREDIT COURSES INCREASED SLIGHTLY THIS PAST SCHOOL YEAR. THE AVERAGE TEACHER SALARY GREW BY ABOUT ONE THOUSAND DOLLARS TO 64 THOUSAND 516 DOLLARS IN 2017. TO VIEW YOUR LOCAL SCHOOL’S 2017 REPORT CARD…VISIT THE WEBSITE: ILLINOIS REPORT CARD DOT COM.

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