Local News

Special Showing of Soldiers Plot In February at DeWitt County Museum

Last year a local film maker partnered with the DeWitt County Museum to present a local based documentary and it's first public showing of 2018 will take place in February.
 
Director of the Museum, Joey Woolridge explains the Soldiers Plot documentary outlines the stories of the soldiers buried at the cemetary on the north side of the community.
 
 
According to Woolridge, the film highlights the stories of the soldiers, some of which are not as well known. 
 
 
Thanks to the contributions from Exelon, there will be a free showing of the Soldiers Plot documentary on Saturday, February 10 at 1 pm. Woolridge says the showings have been well attended and this will be the last chance to see it locally.
 
 
The local showing is at the Warner Library and again the date is Saturday, February 10 at 1 pm. 
 
The Soldiers Plot is available for purchase, contact Woolridge at the DeWitt County Museum for more information by calling 217-935-6066. 

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Senate President Thinks Rauner Will Retool State of State

Governor Bruce Rauner's square off against his primary opponent, State Representative Jeanne Ives, continues to generate lots of discussion among those who follow state politics. 
 
Democratic Senator Tom Cullerton believes Rauner's script will be tweaked after Monday's Rauner and Ives appearance before the Chicago Tribune editorial board.
 
 
He also believes the Governor is too focused on House Speaker Mike Madigan when it comes to the state's ills.
 

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Lawmakers Make Another Push To Adjust Smoking Age

A RENEWED PUSH TO RAISE THE LEGAL SMOKING AGE IN ILLINOIS IS UNDERWAY AT THE STATE CAPITOL.
 
SUPPORTERS HOPE THIS IS THE YEAR THAT TOBACCO 21 LEGISLATION IS PASSED…RAISING THE LEGAL AGE FOR THE SALE AND POSSESSION OF TOBACCO PRODUCTS FROM 18 TO 21. SENATOR JULIE MORRISON OF DEERFIELD IS SPONSORING THE MEASURE.
 
 
KATHY DREA (dray) WITH THE AMERICAN LUNG ASSOCIATION OF ILLINOIS SAYS A RECENT POLL FOUND THAT TWO-THIRDS OF VOTERS SUPPORT THE TOBACCO 21 INITIATIVE. 
 
 
THE BILL INCLUDES THE SALE OF E-CIGARETTES. SUPPORTERS SAY A RECENT STATEWIDE POLL FOUND THAT TWO THIRDS OF VOTERS FAVOR THE TOBACCO 21 INITIATIVE.

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20th Year For Illinois Products Expo

The Illinois Department of Agriculture celebrating 20 “delicious” years of the Illinois Products Expo. 
 
Over 70 Illinois companies will be providing free food samples and selling products at the two-day event later this winter. IDOA Bureau Chief of Marketing Erin Cleary’s highlights one of the vendors. 
 
 
The expo is March 3rd and 4th in the Orr Building on the Illinois State Fairgrounds. Admission is $5. The event also features an Illinois Wine Garden. 

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Missing Elderly DeWitt County Woman Found Safe Late Monday

A situation that could have had a devastating ending was resolved without incident Monday night in DeWitt County.
 
The family of an elderly DeWitt County woman with dimentia reporter her missing to authorities Monday and according to DeWitt County Sheriff Jered Shofner indicates they found her unharmed and returned her to her family.
 
 
The power of social media helped bring the woman home safely. Sheriff Shofner says it continues to be an example of the power of social media in getting an urgent message out in a quick manner.
 
 
He points to their networks of law enforcement to be able to communicate with other agencies as additional reasons the situation was resolved without incident. The woman was found in Fulton County and the Sheriff says it was a message they received that allowed them to be aware of the situation.
 
 
Sheriff Shofner says he had a couple deputies who were scheduled to be off stay on for a few extra hours to help and keep social media updated. He is proud of their efforts throughout the night. 

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Local Insurance Agency Makes Donation To Honor Flight

The Pekin Life Insurance Insurance Company has made a $20-thousand contribution to the Honor Flight of central Illinois.
 
Owner of the Peterson Insurance Agency - Pekin Insurance Agency in Clinton, Jay Peterson indicates their branch contributed to the donation through applications submitted in the month of November by the Pekin Life Insurance Company to the local Honor Flight, which takes veterans to the war memorial sights of Washington, D.C.
 
 
Peterson thanks the community for their business and allowing them the opportunity to help a group like the Honor Flight.

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DeWitt County Museum Acquires Phone Book with Signature of CH Moore Homestead

The DeWitt County Museum was recently gifted an old phone book from 1893 in Clinton.
 
Director Joey Woolridge indicates it made it's way back to the CH Moore Homestead by way of an old friend. She says it is filled with lots of information about life in Clinton, Illinois and the United State's during that time.
 
 
Woolridge finds the occupations of the citizens to be fascinating. She explains a lot of the occupations from 1893 are no longer in existence.
 
 
In 1893, the railroad was a driving force in the economy and Woolridge believes part of the reason for listing occupations in the phone book gave an indication of your standing in society, a big deal in those days.
 
 
The Museum is closed for the season right now but Woolridge is sending out an invitation to anyone who would like to check out the phone book to reach out to her for a private viewing. You can contact the Homestead by calling 217-935-6066. 

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WHOW Hometown Tour: Cerro Gordo/Bement

The annual WHOW Hometown Tour stopped in Cerro Gordo Monday morning to highlight the communities of Cerro Gordo and Bement.
 
Mayor of Cerro Gordo, Brad Williams, says there's a lot happening in Cerro Gordo right now, highlighted by an upcoming million dollar investment in their infrastructure. He says that project was started last year and will finish up this year.
 
 
Mayor Williams also points out Cerro Gordo has recently introduced an incentive to bring people to their community by offering a break on the cost of a new house in a certain TIF district. 
 
 
Superintendent of Cerro Gordo Schools, Brett Robinson indicates their voters also showed an initiative to help grown the community through an upgrade of their Jr/Sr high school faciltiies.
 
 
Superintendent of Bement Schools, Sheila Greenwood is pleased with the strides her district has taken to advance their efforts in technology. She says they are one-to-one with so many other advanced opportunities for all their students.
 
 
The WHOW Hometown Tour makes another stop in Piatt County Wednesday, when we'll be in Monticello. Tune in from 9 am to 10 am Wednesday morning to hear from local leaders in Monticello. 

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Stock Market Staying Strong Despite Rising Interest Rates

Record gains continue on Wall Street. 
 
That’s because money continues to pour into the stock market even though interest rates are going up says GROWMARK economist Kel Kelly.
 
 
And Kelley says even though the stock market is breaking records that doesn’t necessarily go hand-in-hand with the economy. He says it just means new money is being pumped into the market. 

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Rauner, Ives Clash For Only Time Before Primary

Governor Bruce Rauner and State Representative Jeanne Ives met Monday with the Chicago Tribune Editorial Board but Rauner didn't have much interest in talking about his opponent and Ives wasn't exactly shy about her attacks on the Governor.
 
 
Rauner has said little about Ives primary campaign other than to raise the issue of electability..... but Ives wasn't ready to let him look ahead to November.
 
 
Ives scored one clear victory. Rauner donor Richard Uihlein has dropped $500,000 into her campaign warchest. 

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Democratic Gubernatorial Candidate Supporting Labor

Madison County School Superintendent Bob Daiber (DIE-bur) says he is the man to support labor if he is elected governor. 
 
Daiber made campaign stops in Springfield and Wood River Monday to address what he calls a "pro-labor agenda" to preserve prevailing wage in the state of Illinois, and to express his support for collective bargaining agreements.
 
The perceived front-runner for the Democratic nomination is Chicago businessman J.B. Pritzker, but Daiber says that may not be the reality.
 
 
Daiber was a public school teacher for 28 years before he became the head of the Madison County Schools in 2007.

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Big D Food And Liquor Soda Machines Burglarized Early Friday

Multiple soda machines that sit outside Clinton's Big D Food and Liquor were burglarized early Friday morning at approximately 12:30 am.
 
Video of multiple suspects wearing dark clothes and driving a dark SUV  burglarized multiple machines, unlawfully accessing them, authorities believe they were accessed by key as there was no apparent damage. 
 
Authorities indicate an undisclosed amount of money was taken.
 
Clinton Police continue to investigate the incident. 

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Exelon Provides DCSO With New Radar Detectors

Thanks to a donation from Clinton Exelon Nuclear Power Station, the DeWitt County Sheriff's Office will be able to patrol County roads better than they already do.
 
Sheriff Jered Shofner indicates thanks to a contribution from Exelon, they were able to purchase a pair of state of the art radar detectors that will allow them to better monitor traffic, especially in higher volume areas, like the Power Station.
 
 
The new technology allows a deputy out to accurately single out a vehicle. The Sheriff indicates it's a new laser technology available to law enforcement.
 
 
The Sheriff indicates those have been in service for about two weeks but they purchased the radars about a month ago. He says getting his staff trained on the new equipment took about two weeks. 

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Central Illinois Non-Profit Begins New Round of Grant Opportunities

If you are a non-profit group in DeWitt, Logan, Livingston or McLean Counties, a new round of grant opportunities is available through a central Illinois non-profit.
 
Michelle Evans with the Illinois Prairie Community Foundation indicates they have a new round of grant opportunities opening up this week for area non-profits in several categories.
 
 
Evans indicates their grant application is a typical application in line with other grants but she notes they are looking more for the substance of the grant, rather than having it professionally written.
 
 
To get more information about the grant opportunities, you can reach out to Evans at 309-662-4477 or visit www.ilprairiecf.org. 

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Reeling in Eating Habits, Weight

Americans eat too much and we eat the wrong stuff.
 
That is the message from nationally renown clinical nutritionist, Dr. Jim Lavalle. Lavalle says the key to weight loss is counting calories and carbohydrates. 
 
 
Additionally, Lavalle recommends eating your carbs in the afternoon.
 
 
Fasting between meals is a great way to reduce the carbs and calories piling up. Lavalle says there is obviously an exception for those with low blood sugar.
 
 
Lavalle recommends eating three square meals a day. He also points out there is a new trend recommended eating only between the hours of 9 am and 7 pm and a couple times a week only eating between noon and 7 pm. 

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Rochester Football Coach, Derek Leonard, Talks New Illinois Youth Tackling Issues

One of the most successful football coaches in Illinois high school history is weighing in on the proposed ban on tackle football for kids under 12 in Illinois. 
 
Rochester coach Derek Leonard isn't sure the legislature is the right body to deal with football safety concerns generated by head injuries and C-T-E.
 
 
The proposed legislation by State Representative Carol Sente is inspired by former Chicago Bear Dave Duverson who took his life after suffering the effects of C-T-E. Leonard says it's hard to compare the dangers of youth football and playing at the highest level.
 
 
C-T-E is a degenerative disease that has been linked to repeated head trauma. 

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Illinois Revenue Announces Launch of Tax Return Season

The state of Illinois will start accepting income returns for 2017 today. 
 
That puts the state on the same timetable as the IRS, which also starts accepting federal returns today. 
 
Illinois revenue officials recommend the electronic route, saying that's the fastest and most secure of means of getting a tax refund. 
 
They also suggest direct deposit.

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Senate GOP Worried Trump Heading Toward Trade War

Senate Republicans are warning President Trump against imposing further tariffs on imported goods, fearing likely trade retaliation after Trump moved against solar panels from China, and South Korean washing machines.
 
GOP Senators are writing the president that his actions could start a trade war, threatening U.S. industries and jobs. Lawmakers are already anxious Trump may pull out of the North American Free Trade Agreement, a boon for U.S. agriculture since 1994.
 
Among signers or possible signers:  Roy Blunt of Missouri, South Dakota’s John Thune and Mike Rounds, and Iowa’s Chuck Grassley.
 
 
On the line: lucrative U.S. soybean exports and sales of U.S. beef, banned by China for some 13-years, after a case of BSE or ‘mad cow’ disease in the United States. China has already put new restrictions on U.S. soybeans over impurities.
 
 American Farm Bureau Federation trade adviser Dave Salmonsen…
 
 
The administration and the president may go after steel and aluminum imports from China, next.
 
18-U.S. farm groups, including Farm Bureau, wrote Commerce Secretary Wilber Ross earlier, warning such restrictions could ignite a trade war with “disastrous” consequences for U.S. agriculture. A Chinese state-run newspaper wrote in 2016, China will halt U.S. soybean and corn imports if the U.S. imposes punitive tariffs on Chinese goods.
 
Salmonsen says it’s not ‘empty threats’—China has retaliated before…
 
 
And Farm Bureau’s concerned, that ‘something,’ will be targeting U.S. agriculture, worth some 25-billion in sales in China’s market.

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2018 Drought Concerns Shifting South

Last year, drought worries centered around the northern Plains and grazing conditions in the Dakotas and across Montana. 
 
Those areas remain dry, but the intensity has weakened, according to the latest U.S. Drought Monitor. Moving into 2018, drought intensity and area is spreading, extending over the Southwest, southern Plains and Great Plains, according to the American Farm Bureau Market Intel service.
 
Parts of Texas have not seen any measurable precipitation for more than 100 days. A swath from northern Texas, extending into parts of the Oklahoma panhandle region, and further into southern Kansas, is rated in extreme drought, according to the monitor. 
 
All of Oklahoma falls under a drought classification, with much of the state rated in moderate drought. The Monitor reports that agricultural impacts from the drought are being felt in Utah, Kansas and Oklahoma, and include decreasing hay and soybean yields, deteriorating wheat and grazing conditions, and decreasing water supplies as ponds and wells are going dry. 
 
Some of these effects started from moisture deficits dating back to the summer of 2017. 
Meanwhile, much of the Western Corn Belt is under some form of classified drought.

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Weekly Weather Summary

It was a mild finish to the week in central Illinois and State Climotologist Jim Angel tells us what we can expect for the weekend and next week....
 

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Chicago area lawmaker seeks to end tackle football for kids under 12

A Chicago area lawmaker is calling for a radical change in football "feeder programs". State Represenative Carol Sente of Vernon Hills is promoting legislation banning tackle football for children younger than 12 years old. She didn't take the decision to pursue such legislation lightly....
 
 
The law would be named after Dave Duerson, a defensive back on the Chicago Bears' 1985 championship team who took his own life after suffering from C-T-E, a degenerative disease that has been linked to repeated head trauma. Duerson's teammate, Otis Wilson, is among those supporting the legislation.

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USDA Principles A Great Start For Farm Bill

The farm bill roadmap presented by Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue is a welcome sign for the future of the legislation. Micheal Clements with the NAFB has more…
 

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Americans to Eat 1.35 Billion Chicken Wings for Super Bowl

The annual Chicken Wing Report by the National Chicken Council estimates that Americans will consume 1.35 billion wings during Super Bowl weekend, an all-time high. 
The report released Thursday says the number of wings that will be consumed during next weekend’s Super Bowl between the Philadelphia Eagles and New England Patriots is up 20 million wings, or 1.5 percent from last year. NCC spokesperson Tom Super assured consumers “there will be no wing shortage” to contend with when heading out to the grocery store before the big game. 
 
The number of wings consumed, according to NCC is enough to put 625 wings on every seat in all 32 NFL stadiums. The report also finds that 59 percent of U.S. adults who eat chicken wings say they typically like to eat their wings with ranch dressing. 
 
Further, according to the survey, 60 percent of wing eaters prefer traditional, bone-in wings while 40 percent chose boneless.

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NAFTA Wheat Groups Call for Successful Agreement

Wheat organizations from The U.S., Canada and Mexico are urging negotiators to reach a successful North American Free Trade Agreement. 
 
In a letter addressed to negotiators and President Donald Trump, several wheat-based groups from the three nations detailed the importance of the trade agreement to wheat growers and their associated industries. 
 
National Association of Wheat Growers President Gordon Stoner says: “The fact that wheat producers and end users from all three countries would speak with one voice about the importance of NAFTA should speak volumes to our leaders.” 
 
In the letter, the groups emphasized that an updated trade deal is critical to ensure that all stakeholders can work together to provide the highest quality products at the greatest value for both the supply chain and consumers. 
 
Further, the letter states that an integrated supply chain between the three countries is only effective with NAFTA in place.

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CEO Program Participants Form Board

A big step forward has been taken in the formation of an entrepreneurial program for area high school students this week.
 
The Central Illinois CEO program, consisting of the districts Clinton, Blue Ridge, Maroa-Forsyth and Warrensburg-Latham, has it's Board put together. Superintendent of Clinton Schools, Curt Nettles indicates it is a ten member board with representation from each area.
 
 
Tuesday morning, the Board was finalized and Nettles indicates it is a big step forward in getting this great opportunity going for the students of the area. It's targeted start is the 2019-2020 school year.
 
The Board for the CEO program will be very hands on. Nettles says they take on a large part of the leadership of the program and working getting students into the program and being at some of the classes.
 
 
The program is designed to be driven by the community, so when the Board takes over, it will be largely run by community members of the various districts. 

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Clinton Chamber Annual Gun Raffle Underway

It's an almost six month long raffle for a local entity that got underway this past weekend.
 
The annual Clinton Chamber of Commerce annual Gun Raffle kicked off last Saturday at the Chamber Dinner. Director Marian Brisard says they have two guns up for grabs this year as a part of their annual fundraising effort.
 
 
To get tickets for the gun raffle, contact the Clinton Chamber of Commerce by phone at 217-935-3364 or visit clintonilchamber.com. 

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University of Illinois Extension Big Gardening Program Coming Up in February

With most gardeners dormant for the winter months, an upcoming program from the University of Illinois Extension is always highly anticipated.
 
The annual 'Gardening Insights' event is coming up February 24 at Richland Community College. Candace Miller from the U of I Extension office indicates there's a dozen classes and lectures to be a part of this year.
 
 
The event runs from 9 am to 4 pm. Lunch is included. Register by contacting the University of Illinois Extension offices in Clinton, Monticello or Decatur, IL. 

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University of Illinois Extension Bloggers Promoting New Blogs

The University of Illinois Extension has taken on blogging to offer the public more information in a different format.
 
Candace Miller with the U of I Extension says it gives their educators a chance to get their information out in new ways and provide the public with consistent content.
 
 
If you're getting the itch to get into the garden, Miller has a number of recommendation for some reading you can do.
 
 
Miller recommends getting those seed orders in as soon as you can. A lot will sell out really quickly. 
 
For the latest in Extension blogs, visit extension.illinois.edu/dmp. 

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Legislation Bans Tackle Football Under Age of 12

NEW LEGISLATION BANS TACKLE FOOTBALL FOR KIDS UNDER 12 YEARS OLD. 
 
THE BILL IS DUBBED THE DAVE DUERSON ACT…NAMED AFTER THE FORMER BEARS PLAYER WHO TOOK HIS OWN LIFE IN 2011. HE WAS LATER FOUND TO HAVE C-T-E…A BRAIN DISEASE LINKED TO CONCUSSIONS. DUERSON’S SON TREGG IS PUSHING FOR PASSAGE OF THE MEASURE.
 
 
YOUNG CHILDREN WHO PLAY TACKLE FOOTBALL ARE AT A GREATER RISK OF NEUROLOGICAL DAMAGE SAYS CHRIS NOWINSKI, C-E-O OF THE CONCUSSION LEGACY FOUNDATION.
 
 
FORMER BEARS PLAYER OTIS WILSON ALSO SUPPORTS THE BILL AND SAYS HE WILL DONATE HIS BRAIN WHEN HE DIES FOR FURTHER STUDY OF C-T-E.

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$3 Gas Could Be Coming, But Not For A While

Is three-dollar gas in the offing for Illinois? Maybe Chicago, but for the rest of the state it will take a while says GROWMARK’s Harry Cooney.
 
 
According to TRIPLE-A, the average price for gas in Illinois is at $2.65 a gallon with the City of Chicago averaging $2.94.
 
Gas in central Illinois is currently averaging $2.63 a gallon in Bloomington-Normal. $2.51 a gallon in southern Illinois in Carbondale. And $2.58 a gallon in northern Illinois in Rockford. The national average is at $2.56 a gallon.
 
Diesel prices are currently averaging $2.90 a gallon in Illinois, according to AAA. 

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Health Officials Still Encouraging Public To Get The Flu Shot

THE ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH SAYS IT’S NOT TOO LATE TO GET VACCINATED AGAINST THE FLU. 
 
IT’S BEEN A ROUGH FLU SEASON…WITH MORE THAN ONE THOUSAND PEOPLE ADMITTED TO THE I-C-U AND TWO CHILDREN DEAD. PUBLIC HEALTH SPOKESPERSON DIVYA MOHAN-LITTLE SAYS THERE’S STILL TIME TO GET YOUR FLU SHOT.
 
 
SYMPTOMS OF THE FLU INCLUDE A FEVER, COUGH, SORE THROAT, RUNNY NOSE AND BODY ACHES. IF YOU THINK YOU’RE STARTING TO GET SICK…IT’S ADVISED TO STAY HOME FROM WORK OR SCHOOL AND CONTACT YOUR DOCTOR ABOUT GETTING ANTIVIRAL DRUGS LIKE TAMIFLU.

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Clinton Schools Still Awaiting Mandated Services Payments From State of Illinois

Area schools may be getting their checks that are largely known at 'general state aid' payments, but schools across the state are still awaiting their payments for services like transportation and special education.
 
Superintendent of Clinton Schools, Curt Nettles, indicates the payments are coming in regularly from the funds approved as a part of the education budget last year, but payments for things like transportation and special education are behind, by almost a half-million dollars in Clinton.
 
 
According to Nettles, the school is getting payments but they are part of last year's budget though lawmakers are advertising the payments as payments made this year. He points out, Clinton schools are paying roughly 80-percent of the transportation and special education costs.
 
 
 
Another budget process is right around the corner and Nettles believes re-election is going to be a focus for lawmakers and says in the process, almost every sector of the state loses in the ongoing chess match.
 
 
The budget process will likely not come into the spotlight until the Governor's budget address in February. The State of Illinois went two years without a budget the first two year's of Rauner's administration. 

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DeWitt County Museum Turns Attention to 2018

The DeWitt County Museum may be closed for the season, but they are busy at work for the upcoming year.
 
Director Joey Woolridge indicates their Board is hard at work prepping for things like the Apple and Pork Festival and even their Christmas event in another 11 months.
 
 
This month, the Homestead Board added three new board members. Wooldridge indicates the board is getting younger and they're starting to get a fresh perspective.
 
 
The DeWitt County Museum Association is sending out renewal reminders to their members. Woolridge feels one person's membership means one person is attentive to the things happening at the museum but it also shows her people care about the Homestead.
 
 
Woolridge indicates there are lots of perks to being a member at the Museum with lots of levels of membership. 
 
 
To get more information about the DeWitt County Museum, their events or membership opportunities, contact them at 217-935-6066 or visit chmoorehomestead.org. 

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Keeping on Right Track With New Year's Resolutions

A national health expert is offering up some tips for those who have committed to getting healthier in 2018 but may be hitting the wall right now.
 
Dr. Jim Lavalle is a national nutrition and health expert who has worked with the likes of the Chicago Blackhawks among other professional sports organizations. If you've hit the wall on that new year's resolution to get in shape and lose weight, he says it may be time to re-adjust your goals.
 
 
Lavalle encourages anyone wanting to excercise to pick some sort of fitness and do it three to four days a week, and do it consistently.
 
 
Lavalle explains there is a fable associated with fitness that fat turns into muscle. He says that is not the case, so you want to cut out those calories and start to exercise more to burn more calories.
 
 
Lavalle adds, sports drinks need to be avoided as they are sugar water. He instead recommends protein for your post workout. 
 
The best to workout is in the morning, Lavalle says isn't completely accurate. He encourages you to find a time that you can get some exercise, and then do it consistently. 

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With Tax Breaks in Place, Illinois AG Calling For Lower Utility Rates

ATTORNEY GENERAL LISA MADIGAN IS CALLING ON UTILITIES IN ILLINOIS TO CUT THEIR RATES. 
 
THE FEDERAL CORPORATE INCOME TAX DROPPED FROM 35 TO 21 PERCENT UNDER THE NEW TAX LAW…WHICH SHOULD MEAN LOWER COSTS FOR YOU SAYS ATTORNEY GENERAL MADIGAN.
 
 
MADIGAN SAYS HER OFFICE WILL BE WORKING WITH THE ILLINOIS COMMERCE COMMISSION TO GET UTILITIES TO CUT THEIR RATES AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.

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Preliminary Figures Show Illinois Hunters Harvested Almost 150,000 Deer

PRELIMINARY NUMBERS ARE IN AND IT LOOKS LIKE HUNTERS HARVESTED TWO PERCENT MORE DEER OVER THE VARIOUS SEASONS. 
 
HUNTERS TOOK 147 THOUSAND 535 DEER DURING THE 2017-2018 SEASON. 44 PERCENT OF THE DEER HARVESTED WERE DOES AND 56 PERCENT WERE MALES. ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES SPOKESPERSON ED CROSS NOTES THE MOST POPULAR SEASON GOT OFF TO A SLOW START, BUT REBOUNDED WELL.
 
 
CROSS SAYS NOW IT’S TIME TO START PLANNING FOR THE FALL.
 
 
ILLINOIS COUNTIES WITH THE HIGHEST HARVEST TOTALS INCLUDE FULTON, PIKE, RANDOLPH, ADAMS AND JACKSON.
 
44 PERCENT OF THE DEER HARVESTED WERE DOES AND 56 PERCENT WERE MALES.

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Narcan Use Up Among State Troopers

The number of saves Illinois State Police Troopers are making with Narcan is on the rise. 
 
There have already been two saves logged in 2018. ISP made a total of 16 saves last year. In all, there have been 25 saves counted since troopers started carrying NARCAN in late 2015. 
 
Master Sergeant Mike Link, Public Information Officer with the Illinois State Police says whether illegal drugs or alcohol, driving under the influence puts many lives in danger.
 
 
In one incident this year, a trooper responded to a motorist assist call on the ramp from I-270 eastbound to 1-255 southbound in Madison County. That same day, a trooper in Rockford made a save on a 20-year-old female on a liquor store parking lot.

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Former Blagojevich PR Chief Among Dead in Kabul Terror Attack

A former spokesman for former Governor Rod Blagojevich was among four Americans killed in the Taliban attack on a hotel in Afghanistan's capital city. 
 
Glenn Selig was hired by Blagojevich in early 2009 after his arrest on corruption charges. He engineered Blagojevich's series of national tv appearances on shows like The View, Today and Late Show with David Letterman. Selig told WFLD TV he and Blagojevich had no regrets making the national media appearances that some experts say backfired.
 
 
Selig continued to speak on Blagojevich's behalf, even after he went to prison in 2012. Selig was in Kabul on a business trip on behalf of his company. 

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SWCD Previews Upcoming Annual Meeting

There's still time to get your RSVP in for this year's attendance to the DeWitt County Soil and Water Conservation District's annual meeting, February 1.
 
Director of the SWCD, Shelly Finfrock, says this year's meeting features guest speaker Ford Baldwin from Arkansas. He'll be discussing weed resistence.
 
 
At the root, Finfrock says the SWCD helps with things like soil erosion control with subdivisions. They also get into the schools to teach the kids.
 
 
From helping landowners stock their ponds with fish to helping with natural resource preservation, Finfrock says they do a lot in the community.
 
 
Finfrock indicates the SWCD is funded through the State of Illinois, which is predictably, unreliable. They also receive grants.
 
 
RSVP to the SWCD office by this Friday to attend their February 1 meeting at the Abigail in Clinton. Contact the district by phone at 217-935-6504, ext. 3 to get your spot reserved.

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Pair of Clinton Churches, Veterans Group Teaming Up To Host Monthly Food Drives

A pair of Clinton Churches and a DeWitt County veterans group are teaming up to host a montly food drive.
 
Tom Reddington, with the American Legion, indicates the food drives would be scattered across the community throughout the course of the year, but the Clinton Nazarene Church and First Christian Church are working with the Legion to host a montly drive that is put on by the Eastern Illinois Food Bank.
 
 
With the Legion hosting 12 drives this year, Reddington indicates they will need volunteers. They're encouraging church groups, youth groups or anyone interested in volunteering to be a part of their efforts.
 
 
Questions about volunteering can be directed to Greg Taylor at First Christian Church by calling 217-935-3139. 

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University of Illinois College of Aces Dean: Extension Outreach Will Be of High Priority

Extension outreach will continue to be a mission of the University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES). So says dean Kimberlee Kidwell, who’s been on the job over a year now. 
 
 
U-of-I offers educational opportunities to residents in all 102 Illinois counties through 28-units.

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National Farmers Union Announces Farm Bill Priorities

The National Farmers Union is calling on Congress to increase funding for farm programs in the farm bill and pass the legislation as soon as possible. 
 
Announcing the organization's farm bill priorities Monday, NFU President Roger Johnson says the new farm bill “must strengthen the safety net so that farmers and ranchers can manage risk.” 
 
NFU leaders set 14 farm bill recommendations for Congress to follow, including a set of changes to the farm bill’s commodity title. NFU is calling for “increased and robust reference prices” under the Price Loss Coverage program, technical corrections to the Agricultural Risk Coverage program, and an “incentives-based inventory management program” to manage milk supplies based on market demand. 
 
The organization also called for mechanisms to address oversupply of grain and dairy, and for “meaningful” assistance to cotton producers. 
 
NFU also urged Congress to provide additional acreage under the Conservation Reserve Program, “robust” funding for Rural Development programs, and strong nutrition programs.

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Legionella Concerns Arise At Capitol

There's been lots of talk about Legionnaire's Disease at the Capitol with the ongoing saga at the Quincy Veteran's Home. Now that conversation shifts to the Capitol itself. 
 
The Secretary of State's office informed workers there that preliminary testing showed signs of possible Legionella bacteria in the facility’s hot water system. The bacteria can trigger the sometimes lethal Legionnaires’ disease. Dave Druker (Druck-err) with the Secretary of State's office says the bacteria is a threat in mist and vapor form, which makes showers a concern. Druker notes only a select view have showers there and they don't see frequent use.
 
 
Druker offers more insight on the nature of the threat.
 
 
The disease claimed the lives of a dozen residents of the Quincy Veterans Home during a 2015 outbreak. The memo to state workers says transmission of the bacteria in typical day to day office operations is unlikely. 

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Illinois Congressman Calls Tax Reform Positive for Farmers

Congressman Rodney Davis said he had Illinois farmers in mind when voting on Tax Reform Legislation. The Republican says the recent changes are a positive for farmers and will help lessen their financial risk...
 
 
When asked about the status of the 2018 Farm Bill, Congressman Davis said he expects Farm Bill debates to begin in early February…
 
 
That’s Congressman Rodney Davis, representing the 13th district of Illinois.

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FARM BUREAU MEMBERS FOCUSING ON TRADE

The sixth round of North American Free Trade Agreement talks are underway in Canada, and the American Farm Bureau Federation is looking to the talks as a way to modernize the agreement and improve on gains for U.S. ag. AFBF senior director of congressional relations Dave Salmonsen says top trade officials are attending the talks this week, and could tackle hard issues, including agriculture…
 
 
Salmonsen is confident that trade negotiators will address issues important to agriculture…
 
 
NAFTA negotiation rounds are scheduled through the spring…
 
 
That’s AFBF senior director of congressional relations Dave Salmonsen.

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Clinton High School Second Quarter Honor Roll

HIGH HONOR ROLL
 
SENIORS
 
BATESON, DAMION M.
DEFEBAUGH, TESSA K.
ETTIEN, SAVANNAH L.
FATHEREE, MITCHELL D.
FILKIN, MADISON L.
FINFROCK, MEGAN E.
HANSEN, ANDREW J.
HICKMAN, MAC L.
KANE, JONATHON J.
KARR, JOHN C.
OVERBEY, KATHLEEN H.
PATTERSON, KYLI R.
RAUCH, AUSTIN D.
REEVES, BRYCE L.
SARTIE, JENNA R.
SAULSBERY, ALYSSA M.
SCOLES, KAILEE R.
SMITH, LAUREN N.
THAYER, BREANNA N.
THRASHER, MEGAN C.
WATERS, SOPHIA R.
WERTS, MAGGIE K.
WHITE, MILLIE K.
 
JUNIORS
 
BRODEN, LAUREN M.
CALVERT, ZAYIN S.
COOPER, TESS E.
DUPONT-BARLOW, RYTY L.
GOERGEN, CASEY E.
HICKMAN, CLARA E.
HOLTMAN, LINDSEY M.
JAMES, ANNMAREE E.
LONG, BRANDON J.
LUX, EMMA R.
MCGHEE, ANDREW L.
MILLS, ANNA N.
MURPHY-LEACH, JORDAN M.
OVERTON, MATTHEW A.
PATELSKI, KADY A.
POLEN, ZOIE J.
STEVENS, MADELYN J.
STURGEON, KAITLIN E.
UNDERWOOD, SYDNEE E.
UPTON, TYLER K.
WORKMAN, CLAUDIA L.
 
SOPHOMORES
 
BURKE, TORI L.
CARTER, KRAYTON C.
DEMPSEY, JACKSON R.
EARL, OLIVIA N.
FABRIS, SARAH E.
GREEN, DARCY C.
HALE, IAN W.
HORN, TYLER D.
IJAMS, CORRIE
KAUFMAN, MCKAYLA L.
MAIER, ELIZABETH G.
MAXWELL, CLAIRE H.
MCKINSEY, HALEY A.
REEVES, BRETT K.
ROBBINS, HAYLEIGH A.
SCHLESINGER, DESTINY K.
SCHORN, LARISA K.
STERR, KAYLA I.
SVENDSEN, SEAN E.
THORNE, DAMIEN A.
TURNEY, PAYNE E.
WADE, EMILY P.
WAYNE, GARRETT D.
WILLIAMSON, SKYLER H.
 
FRESHMEN
 
BEEBE, CASSIE R.
BLACK, ETHAN C.
CHIPMAN, JENNA B.
CLIFTON, SAVANAH N.
HICKMAN, ZEKE C.
HUSTED, CONNER R.
KAUFMAN, MIA L.
MESSENGER, JACOB W.
OVERBEY, BETHANY K.
PAGEL, ANDREW J.
SWARTZ, RAYA L.
TAYLOR, LYDIA M.
VALENCIA, JUAN
WOLFE, BRENNEN J.
WORKMAN, CORDELL J.
 
A HONOR ROLL
 
SENIORS
 
AYERS, ADDISON M.
BAKER, AUSTIN L.
BORLAND, LUKAS G.
BURTON, JOSHUA C.
CHANEY, NICOLE S.
CHAPMAN, SIERRA N.
CONDIE, REGAN N.
HENNENFENT, DANYE L.
HENNENFENT, DAYLE L.
LUKACH, ELIZABETH D.
MAXWELL, KATELYN J.
ORNELAS, CAMERON W.
PEACOCK, CONNOR R.
REYNOLDS, CHASE A.
SANDERS, OLIVIA J.
SMITH, DALTON T.
WADE, JACOB A.
WERTZ, EMMA N.
WOODS, MARCUS D.
 
JUNIORS
 
ALSUP, CAMDYN R.
BENTON, OLIVIA J.
BIERBRODT, OLIVIA G.
BRODEN, KATHERINE R.
DUNCAN-SAVAGE, WILLIAM J.
FOUGHT, KAITLYN E.
FRYMAN, KAYEDEN S.
GREEN, JACALYN D.
HENSON, GILLIAN C.
HICKS, SARAH V.
LINDQUIST, CHRISTINE L.
LONG, DEREK A.
MCGHEE, ERIN T.
PATTERSON, KANE J.
PATTERSON, KYLE A.
PETERSEN, LOGAN J.
PRUSER, RILEY M.
REYNOLDS, CHRISTIAN A.
SHAW, ALEXANDRIA F.
STARK, AUDREY R.
TAYLOR, EMILY N.
TOOHILL, SPENCER J.
TOOL, AMANDA R.
TORBERT, JAKE R.
WARGEL, KINSER P.
WILLIAMS, HANNAH C.
WOOD, EVELYN M.
 
SOPHOMORES
 
BENTON, LAURA R.
BRENNAN, TY D.
BURTON, CODY W.
ETTIEN, RAVEN L.
FRIESLAND, KAYLA B.
HOSPELHORN, BETHANY G.
MONTGOMERY, KARA N.
OCAMPO, SARAH
PHILLIPS, JACOB A.
RAMIREZ CASAREZ, LETICIA
RHODES, NATALIE A.
SCOTT, ARYN E.
STAUFFER, MAX C.
TAYLOR, LONI J.
THORNE, MAKAYLA R.
TRIMBLE, ALEXIS C.
TRUMMEL, JASMYNE S.
WELCH, CLAYTON R.
WEST, TYLER M.
WOLFE, JACOB M.
WOODBURY, DELANEY R.
 
FRESHMEN
 
BURKETT, SABRINA M.
CHITWOOD, SELAH M.
GRIFFITH, LYRIC S.
HENSON, NATALIE G.
JEWETT, BROOKE R.
KARR, MACKENZIE J.
MCCUE, MARGARET E.
MURPHY, ALYSSA M.
NORD, INGA P.
SHAFFER, HAVEN T.
TAYLOR, KADENCE T.
TORBERT, ALEXA P.
WITTE, JACOB D.
 
B HONOR ROLL
 
SENIORS
 
ATCHISON, ALEXIS N.
BENNETT, SAMUEL S.
BRENNAN, BRYSON J.
CASAREZ, BRENTON A.
CHITWOOD, RYLAN E.
CONATY, KEEGAN W.
DIAL, CARSEN P.
DWYER, KEEGAN T.
EARL, DYLAN G.
FRIESLAND, ALEXIS M.
HARVEY, BAILEY A.
HIESER, KAYLA R.
HOSPELHORN, JACOB S.
JOHNSON, KALEB D.
JOHNSON, KYLE D.
KARR, BLAKE W.
KERN, TENNYSON R.
LEBLANC, ADREANA S.
MAGANA, EDGAR
MAHONEY, DALTON K.
MANDRELL, MORGAN P.
MILLER, JAYDEN J.
MILLER, SAVANNAH L.
MITCHELL, WELBY J.
MOORE, EMMA R.
MURPHY, DANIEL A.
PRUSER, ALLY N.
RIVA, JACOB S.
ROBINSON, RIVER K.
SANDERS, DALTON L.
SHOBE, LUKE M.
TISH, HOPE M.
TURNEY, WYNN J.
WALKER, CONNOR M.
WESTFALL, SETH S.
WILLOUGHBY, HANNAH C.
 
JUNIORS
 
ARMSTRONG, MACKENZIE A.
BENZ, DYLAN J.
BLACK, AVERY M.
BOUGHTON, GRACIE M.
CASE, CALLAHAN W.
CHAMPLEY, CALLIE R.
CHAPMAN, JOSEPH A.
DIAL, RAYMI L.
HAYNES, PEYTON D.
HINTZ, NICHOLAS T.
HORN, TRENT A.
JENKINS, MATTHEW R. JR
KINDER, ALLISON R.
KUNTZ, KAITLYN E.
LYONS, AMELIA J.
MCMATH, KOLTON M.
NORTH, ALYVIA S.
OSORIO, AMAIRANI I.
RICH, SAMUEL M.
SCHEID, NICOLE B.
SMITH, NATHANIEL J.
STONE, ABIGAIL M.
THOMAS, REID J.
THOMPSON, PATRICIA J.
WERTZ, RUSTIN D.
WHEELER, MERSADES V.
WITTE, GENESIS G.
 
SOPHOMORES
 
ALEXANDER, MACY B.
ARNOLD, GRACE K.
AUGHENBAUGH, ETHAN C.
BATESON, ELIZABETH G.
COX, THEODORE M. JR
CROSS, BRADEN D.
CRUTCHFIELD, MARIAH L.
DAKE, CASSIDY R.
DOWNS, MICAH B.
HEMPHILL, BRIAUNA T.
HOLT, MASON E.
KORNEMAN, ELLA G.
MAGANA, LENSLY
MCCAMMON, BRANDON L.
MICHAEL, JODI D.
NEWMAN, ALEC B.
ODANIELL, ETHAN L.
OLIVER, JALEIGH R.
OSWALD, MICHAEL S.
OVEROCKER, KAELA M.
PRIMMER, JACOB G.
QUINN, TRAVIS A.
RICH, JAYDLYNN A.
SANDAGE, EMILY R.
SLOAT, PRESTON A.
SOLIS, EDGAR E.
STRANGE, JOSEPH D.
SWARTZ, GARRETT M.
TAYLOR, KYLE S.
TURNER, JESSICA A.
 
FRESHMEN
 
BALDASSARI, VINCE L.
BARGER, BREANNA M.
BLANKENSHIP, JAYDA N.
BOYER, TEJEN J.
BUGGAR, KYREN S.
CASAREZ, SEBASTIAN
CONATY, CAYL R.
DEERWESTER, ALEXANDER K.
DEVORE, GAVIN C.
EADS SNYDER, FAITH E.
ECKROTE, BRYANNA S.
HARPER, ABBY K.
HOOKER, REECE W.
HUMBLE, HANNAH M.
LOVINS, HAILEY R.
LYONS, MICHAEL W. JR
MAPLE, ADYLYNN J.
MICHAEL, JUDY M.
MOORE, DESTINY M.
PAKIDIS, ROBERT T. JR
PETERSEN, OLIVIA L.
PRUSER, KARLEE M.
RANSDELL, DEANN M.
RODAS, KEVIN J.
ROMERO, SEBASTIAN
ROTH, AINSLEY I.
SAMAYOA-OSORIO, JACQLYNN A.
SANDERS, TRENTON E.
SHANKS, ALAXIS J.
SMITH, KASEY D.
STROCHER, JAIDAH A.
THRASHER, MORGAN M.
TIMERMAN, TANNER
WEISS, KOLBY B.
WILSON, HADLEY R.
WOODS, EVAN D.
YOUNG, COLE G.
ZOMBRO, BAYLEE N

 

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Warner Library Touting Technology Available

If reading more was one of your goals in 2018, the Warner Library in Clinton has plenty of resources to help you accomplish this, and maintain a full schedule.
 
Stopping in to the library to check out a book is not the only option anymore and Director of the Library, Bobbi Perryman indicates they have a plethora of options for those on the go that want to read.
 
 
To get connected with the mobile apps, it is as easy as downloading the app and pulling out your library card.
 
 
For shut ins, Perryman reminds DeWitt County residents they do offer a homebound delivery service in several parts of the county.
 
 
Last week, the Library introduced new operating hours. Perryman indicates it was researched and their Board decided it was best to close an hour early.
 
 
Perryman reminds anyone they still offer their e-newsletter. Just give the library an email address to send it to and you will get a weekly update of all the happenings at the community facility.
 
You can stop in to their facility at 310 North Quincy Street to learn more. 

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Federal Money On The Line For Local Hospitals Unless Illinois Lawmakers Take Action

Federal money for Illinois healthcare providers, to the tune of a couple billion dollars, could be on the line if Illinois lawmakers do not take action, and soon.
 
State Senator Chapin Rose says he has been working hard lately to get Illinois in line with a federal mandate that would revise how the state disperses it's federal money.
 
 
According to Sen. Rose, the assesment hasn't changed in ten years and it is not an easy task. He is working with the Illinois Hospitals Association on changing it and has his eye on the process because it will impact hospitals differently.
 
 
Sen. Rose says $2.5 to $3-billion is on the line and a change in the system likely is not going to be great for any of the players, including Chicago.

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Illinois Lawmakers Hearing More About Pot Legalization

STATE LAWMAKERS ARE GATHERING MORE TESTIMONY ON LEGALIZING RECREATIONAL MARIJUANA IN ILLINOIS. 
 
IN THE FOURTH HEARING ON THE TOPIC…COOK COUNTY BOARD PRESIDENT TONI PRECKWINKLE SAID SHE SUPPORTS MAKING RECREATIONAL POT LEGAL FOR A VARIETY OF REASONS.
 
 
HE SAYS THERE ARE SEVERAL NEGATIVE CONSEQUENCES.
 
 
OPPONENTS ARGUE THAT RECREATIONAL MARIJUANA USE INCREASES CRIME RATES, IS ADDICTIVE AND LEADS TO USING STRONGER DRUGS.

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State, Federal Tax Returns Can Be Filed Starting January 29

TAXPAYERS CAN START FILING THEIR STATE AND FEDERAL INCOME TAX RETURNS ON MONDAY, JANUARY 29TH.
 
AS THE ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE PREPARES TO ACCEPT RETURNS…SPOKESPERSON TERRY HORSTMAN IS REMINDING THAT FILING ELECTRONICALLY IS THE EASIEST WAY TO GO.
 
 
YOU CAN EXPECT TO GET YOUR REFUND IN ABOUT FOUR WEEKS IF THERE ARE NO ERRORS ON YOUR RETURN AND YOU CHOOSE DIRECT DEPOSIT. FOR FORMS AND INSTRUCTIONS…VISIT THE WEBSITE: TAX DOT ILLINOIS DOT GOV.
 
 
IN 2017, 84 PERCENT OF ILLINOIS TAXPAYERS FILED THEIR STATE RETURNS ELECTRONICALLY.

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Durbin Runs Through Weekend, Monday Budget Discussions

Senator Dick Durbin addressed his colleagues on the Senate floor Sunday as Washington found itself in shutdown status. Durbin talked about issues that he believed led to the stalemate.
 
 
Durbin believes a little Metro-East flavor could pave the way for bipartisanship.
 
 
A number of Republican Members of the Illinois Congressional Delegation released a statement urging Senators Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth to re-open the government. 
 
The U.S. Senate has easily passed a bill that reopens federal agencies through February 8th. Democrats dropped their objection to the legislation after Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell agreed to begin debating an immigration bill by February 8th. 
 
Durbin says it's an important moment for undocumented immigrants in the DACA program.
 
 
Durbin says the agreement, which came just before the 81-18 vote, represents a step forward in bipartisanship.
 
 
As the Senate moves forward to restore funding to the government there is agreement on having a debate on the Dream Act. 
 
Illinois Democrat Senator Dick Durbin says he knows it’s a bipartisan issue and one that shouldn’t be caught up in politics so he’s glad for the assurances from Republicans that the Senate will have a full and robust debate about immigration reform next month.
 
 
Senators are looking at trying to now craft a full year budget out of the shutdown.

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DeWitt County Farm Bureau Weighs In On Wind Energy Discussion

Prior to last Thursday night's DeWitt County Board meeting, which dozens turned out for to hear extensive discussion regarding wind energy ordinances, the DeWitt County Farm Bureau submitted a statement to the Board regarding their opinion on the matter.
 
The Farm Bureau released the following statement:
 
"Recognizing that wind development could potentially have the largest impact on DeWitt County farmland in the future, and recognizing that the process to alter ordinances is complex and lengthy, we respectfully suggest that the DeWitt County Board be deliberate and thoughtful in revising a commercial wind energy conversion ordinance that is respectful of landowners’ rights to both enjoy their properties and use their properties as they wish.
 
"As an organization that represents members who own farms of all sizes and shapes, the DeWitt County Farm Bureau feels it is important to the endurance of our rural neighborhoods to foster coexistence as best possible between those who choose to participate in wind development and those who choose not to.
 
"We agree with the DeWitt County, IL Code Book of Ordinances, part 155.130, section D, point 2, which states that a permitted special use should 'not be injurious to the use and enjoyment of other property in the immediate vicinity.'
 
"We believe the cited point stresses that wind tower setbacks be such that non-participating landowners may still find quality of life, while the rights of participating landowners are respected.
 
"While this is not an easy task, and no determination may suit all parties, it is incumbent upon the DeWitt County Board to carefully study specific setback distances, height, light and/or noise restrictions to provide reasonable accommodations for all landowners, regardless of their position on wind development."
 
The County Board sent back three ordinance reviews back to the Regional Planning Commission, an ordinance recommendation and another half dozen back to the Land Use Committee for review. 

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First National Bank To Jump Into Ag Lending in 2018

A DeWitt County financial institution is planning a jump into the ag-lending world in 2018.
 
Market President for First National Bank, Josh Shofner, indicates they are jumping into more lending options in general. He says they have dedicated processors at the bank.
 
 
The bank recently hired Maggie Bites, who is well known in the ag community, and Shofner indicates she'll lead their recently introduced ag-lending department.
 
 
Shofner indicates there's a lot of opportunity in DeWitt County to expand in the ag-financing area. He explains they are going to offer the trending crop-input loans.
 
 
First National Bank in Clinton is located at 2 Kelli Court. You can reach them at 217-935-2148 or visit firstnbtc.com. 

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Former Child Abuse Advocate Executive Weighs In On Nassar Trials

A former executive in the world of child abuse advocacy is weighing in on days-long trial of former USA gymnast trainer, Larry Nassar.
 
The disgraced trainer is accused of sexually assaulting over 120 young gymnasts and is already imprisoned on charges of child pornagraphy. Former executive of the Children's Advocacy Centers of central Illinois, Judy Brucker, indicates Nassar's behavior accurately fits everything known about predators.
 
 
According to Brucker, the grooming of the children and the parents is very in line with how predators work. She explains the trust gained by Nassar with parents and children exemplifies the power and safety adults sacrifice with their trust.
 
 
A heartbreaking part of this story is the fact the young gymnasts went to parents and coaches to disclose the crimes and no did anything about it. Brucker indicates parents need to listen to their kids when these things are disclosed and let them tell how much they are comfortable revealing.
 
 
Brucker's advice for keeping up with your kids and the things happening to them is to have an open line of dialogue. She stresses the importance of communication and watching their behavior.
 
 
Brucker reminds the public the old adage, 'stranger danger', is no longer relevant. She indicates 95% of predators are known to the children or families of the victims. 

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Ag Coalition Formed to Support NAFTA

A new coalition of agriculture groups is focusing on the importance of the North American Free Trade Agreement. 
 
More than 30 organizations across the agriculture sector announced the formation of Americans for Farmers and Families, noting that food and agriculture supports 43 million U.S. jobs and depends on trade with Canada and Mexico. 
 
The group was formed to "ensure” President Trump and Congressional leaders understand the “importance of preserving and modernizing” NAFTA to America’s agricultural economy. 
 
As part of the effort, the coalition will be launching an educational campaign to highlight the positive impact of NAFTA and lay the groundwork for an updated trade agreement that “preserves America’s strong economic standing for decades to come.” 
 
Coalition members include the American Farm Bureau Federation, the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture and many various commodity groups.

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Report: Rural Hospitals Need Transforming

Research by the Bipartisan Policy Center shows a need to reform rural healthcare to better serve rural Americans. 
 
The Bipartisan Policy Center spoke with more than 90 stakeholders about the current state of rural healthcare in the Upper Midwest last year. The research found that a hospital cutback is needed in rural areas to better align access to healthcare. 
 
While that may sound backward, the report says rural communities might benefit if their critical access hospitals are transformed into small inpatient care centers or rural emergency rooms. 
 
The report says not every rural community needs to have a Critical Access Hospital, and that communities should tailor available services to the needs of the community, which for many rural areas are driven by changing demographics. 
 
The report also says rural health systems need to equip health professionals with the tools necessary to provide quality care to patients. The research is available online at www.bipartisanpolicy.org.

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Conaway: Farm Bill on Track for March Unveil

The House version of the 2018 farm bill remains on track for a March unveiling, according to House Agriculture Committee Chair Mike Conaway. 
 
The Republican told Politico the committee is waiting for an official 10-year cost estimate from the Congressional Budget Office to ensure "we can afford the proposal." 
 
The committee started working on the House version of the bill last fall. Lawmakers are trying to come up with a bill that won't increase the federal deficit. 
 
The current 2014 farm bill is projected to cost about $875 billion over a decade, but the Congressional Budget Office is expected to update that estimate this month. 
 
The Senate is further behind the House in its work to craft a farm bill, and some in the chamber fear a farm bill will not be finished or passable this year.

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Crowning A State, National Champion in Apple Cider

There’s a state champ in apple cider and even a national champ. It’s held in conjunction with the Illinois Specialty Growers Conference in Springfield says Ken Johnson, the Cider Contest Coordinator for the University of Illinois Extension.
 
 
The event is sponsored by the Illinois State Horticulture Society.
 

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Jimmy John's Connected to Salmonella Outbreak

For those looking for a freaky fast sub you might want to hold the sprouts. 
 
The Illinois Department of Public Health has asked all Jimmy John’s sub shops to take sprouts off the menu while a Salmonella investigation continues.
 
According to an IDPH news release, A cluster of cases tied to the nasty bug have state investigators believing that the most likely source of the infection is sprouts from multiple Jimmy John’s locations. 
 
Not every store offers sprouts but the IDPH does want to hear from people if they have suffered symptoms of Salmonella after eating at the restaurant. 

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University of Illinois Ag Dean Reviews Changes

Kimberlee Kidwell has been dean of the University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences - or ACES - for a little over a year now and has implemented a number of changes to try to improve the state’s land-grant institution. Kidwell talks about what she sees as a major accomplishment in her relatively new role.
 
 
Kidwell created a task force to examine the future of University of Illinois Extension. She says she expects its report any day;
 
 
Kidwell provided an update on Extension and other U of I College ACES changes to farmers that serve on the Illinois Farm Bureau board of directors.

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Illinois Unemployment Down in December

THE STATE UNEMPLOYMENT RATE DROPPED SLIGHTLY LAST MONTH. 
 
THE JOBLESS RATE FOR DECEMBER CAME IN AT FOUR POINT EIGHT PERCENT…DOWN FROM FOUR POINT NINE IN NOVEMBER. ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF EMPLOYMENT SECURITY POLICY ADVISOR BARTON LORIMOR SAYS ABOUT 15-HUNDRED JOBS WERE ADDED LAST MONTH.
 
 
ADDITIONALLY…REVISIONS WERE MADE TO NOVEMBER TOTALS…SHOWING JOB GAINS OF MORE THAN THREE THOUSAND INSTEAD OF THE PRELIMINARY REPORT OF A SLIGHT LOSS. 
 
LORIMOR URGES ANYONE LOOKING FOR A JOB TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE STATE’S PROGRAMS.
 
 
THE NATIONAL UNEMPLOYMENT RATE FOR DECEMBER WAS FOUR POINT ONE PERCENT.

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Illinois Treasurer Urging Public To Use Gift Cards From Holidays

DID YOU RECEIVE ANY GIFT CARDS OVER THE HOLIDAYS? IF SO, TREASURER MIKE FRERICHS IS URGING YOU TO GO AHEAD AND STARTING SPENDING.
 
MANY PEOPLE SAVE THEIR GIFT CARDS FOR A RAINY DAY…BUT TREASURER FRERICHS SAYS THAT’S NOT A GOOD IDEA.
 
 
FRERICHS SAYS RETAILERS AND RESTAURANTS CANNOT CHARGE INACTIVITY FEES ON THE GIFT CARDS THEY SELL, BUT IF A BUSINESS CLOSES, THE CARD HOLDER IS USUALLY OUT OF LUCK.
 
FRERICHS SAYS GIFT CARDS SHOULD BE TREATED LIKE CASH. IF THEY ARE LOST OR STOLEN, HE SAYS YOU SHOULD REPORT IT TO THE POLICE SINCE SOME RETAILERS MAY ISSUE A REPLACEMENT CARD.

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Weekly Weather Summary

Warmer and wetter conditions are expected after a cold snap. State Climotologist Jim Angel has the latest....
 

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Governor Planning Mega Ad Campaign

Two candidates for Governor in Illinois have spent $23 million over the past three months and you can be sure millions more will be spent. 
 
Governor Bruce Rauner is dropping more money to run a longer ad that features Democrat candidate JB Pritzker wiretapped conversations with then Governor Rod Blagojevich. The ad’s almost 15 minutes long and will rely heavily on audio found on FBI wiretaps. 
 
 
The Pritzker campaign says that Rauner is trying to interfere with the Democratic Primary because he can’t defend his failed record. They also point out that Pritzker was never accused of any wrong doing by the FBI. 

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DeWitt County Leaders Encouraged To Attend Meeting About CEO Program

If you are a DeWitt County business professional that is curious about the CEO program that is being formed at Clinton High School, a special meeting is scheduled for early next week for you to learn more.
 
The DeWitt County Development Council is planning to help fund about half of the start up costs for the program and their President, David Torbert, indicates there is going to be a pressure free meeting Tuesday, January 23 at Clinton High School to learn more.
 
 
According to Torbert, the CEO program is looking for community business leaders. He indicates they will be instrumental in the direction of the program and leading students in a hands on manner.
 
 
The meeting is at 8 am, Tuesday January 23 at the Clinton Schools unit office. Those with questions about the CEO program who have not yet been informed on it can contact Curt Nettles at Clinton High School by calling 217-935-8321. 

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Sen. Rose: Governor's Amendatory Veto Saving Downstate School From Devastating Cuts

Last week, the Governor vetoed a last minute change to the education reform bill that passed last year and a local lawmaker is in the Governor's corner as the bill that passed would cost nearly all of his districts.
 
State Senator Chapin Rose indicates the proposed change came along at the last minute of the veto session and explains it would cost almost all of his districts a significant amount of funding.
 
 
Sen. Rose points out Clinton and Monticello schools are just a few of the winners in the bill amendent but it is a minimal increase. He doesn't feel the bill fits the original purpose of the reforms made in school funding in the state.
 
 
For local districts, the Senator indicates the impacts are varied across his district.
 
 
For now, Sen. Rose indicates the comptroller is going to distribute school funding as the current bill reads until something changes from lawmakers.

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US EPA Announces CERCLA, EPCRA Reporting Requirements for Air Releases of Hazardous Substances from Animal Waste at Farms

Due to a recent court action, many farms with animal operations across the United States will be required to report emissions from animal waste as early as January 22. 
 
EPA had exempted most farms from this requirement under the EPCRA and CERCLA laws but due to a recent lawsuit, the courts eliminated this exemption. EPA has online tools to help animal ag producers determine if this requirement applies to their operations, and help them comply with the law. 
 
To learn more, visit epa.gov/animalwaste or call 1-800-424-9346. 

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Specialty Growers Seek Ready Labor

A lack of ready labor continues to be a key issue for specialty growers. A conference in Springfield heard that message from Kevin Hosey with Knoxville, Tennessee based Seedway Seed. 
 
 
Seedway offers a full line of commercial vegetables and serve as dealers for about 50 major seed companies.
 
Their biggest seller in Illinois is sweet corn followed by pumpkins, cucumbers and squash. 

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Money Being Spent in Governor's Race Surging

It will be nearly ten months before Illinois voters pick their governor, but the money already spent is mind boggling. 
 
Campaign disclosure reports show 28 million dollars was spent in the final three months of 2017. It's no surprise that 9 out of every 10 dollars spent, was spent by the campaigns of Governor Bruce Rauner and Democrat J.B. Pritzker. 
 
Both candidates spent 13 million dollars apiece. While Rauner has more in the bank with 56 million dollars compared to Pritzker's 8 million, Rauner raised 3 million dollars during the period, Pritzker $21 million.

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Ives Believes Chicago's Straw Poll Win Sends A Message

GOP State Representative Jeanne Ives says her grass roots campaign for Governor is continuing to gain ground while Governor Bruce Rauner and Democratic candidate J.B. Pritzker continue to spend millions. 
 
Ives, who describes herself as a conservative reform candidate, won the Chicago GOP Central Committee straw poll 17 to 3 over Rauner, Ives believes its a mistake for Rauner to think ahead to November.
 
 
While Chicago is a known Democrat stronghold, Ives believes a message may be sent to the rest of the state.
 

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Illinois Treasurer Talks Federal Tax Breaks Application For Illinois Taxes

TREASURER MIKE FRERICHS’ OFFICE IS WARNING FAMILIES WITH 529 COLLEGE SAVINGS ACCOUNTS THAT FEDERAL TAX BREAKS DO NOT APPLY TO ILLINOIS TAXES IN CERTAIN SITUATIONS. 
 
THE FEDERAL TAX REFORMS NOW LETs FAMILIES WITH ACCOUNTS LIKE BRIGHT START AND BRIGHT DIRECTIONS USE THAT MONEY FOR “K” THROUGH 12 PRIVATE SCHOOL EXPENSES, INSTEAD OF JUST FOR COLLEGE. BUT TREASURER FRERICHS SAYS PARENTS GOING THAT ROUTE AREN’T ELIGIBLE FOR A STATE TAX BREAK.
 
 
FRERICHS SAYS LAWMAKERS WOULD HAVE TO CHANGE STATE LAW FOR PARENTS TO GET A STATE TAX DEDUCTION.
 
 
FRERICHS SAYS FAMILIES THAT DO TRY TO CLAIM A CREDIT ON THEIR STATE TAXES RISK PENALTIES IF AN AUDITOR CATCHES THE MISTAKE.

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Governor Outlines Plans for To Revamp Property Tax System

GOVERNOR BRUCE RAUNER IS OUTLINING A PLAN TO HELP REVAMP THE STATE’S PROPERTY TAX SYSTEM. 
 
GOVERNOR RAUNER SAYS HE’S PUSHING FOR A LAW BANNING LEGISLATORS FROM MAKING MONEY AS A PROPERTY TAX APPEALS ATTORNEY.
 
 
IN THE MEANTIME…THE GOVERNOR SAYS HE’S SIGNING AN EXECUTIVE ORDER BARRING LAWMAKERS FROM ARGUING TAX APPEALS CASES AND IS AGAIN CALLING FOR VOTERS TO HAVE A SAY IN WHETHER THEIR PROPERTY TAXES GO UP VIA REFERENDUM.
 
 
GOVERNOR RAUNER IS ALSO SIGNING AN EXECUTIVE ORDER PREVENTING LAWMAKERS FROM ARGUING AS A LAWYER BEFORE THE STATE PROPERTY TAX APPEALS BOARD…AND WANTS TO SEE VOTERS VOICE THEIR INPUT ON LOCAL PROPERTY TAXES IN A REFERENDUM.

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FOX News Personality Coming To Springfield

Springfield's Lincoln Day Dinner fundraiser for Sangamon County Republicans has a tradition of drawing top names like Karl Rove, Ben Carson, Ted Nugent and Rudy Guiliani. Sangamon County Circuit Clerk Paul Palazzolo (Pal-uh-zoe-low) says the tradition continues next month with an appearance by Fox News Channel personality Judge Jeanine Pirro.
 
 
The dinner kicks off at 6pm. Pirro replaced former Presidential candidate Herman Cain.

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Durbin Says Freedom of Press is Crucial Amid Trump's Fake News Awards

Senator Dick Durbin says he's not always fond of taking phone calls from reporters with pointed questions, but he says it goes with the job. he's critical of President Trump's Fake News Awards, which have been handed out to the likes of CNN, ABC and the New York Times.
 
 
Durbin says the President's attacks on the media put him in some bad company.
 
 
Durbin suggests that the President is attacking the media because he doesn't want to be held accountable by them.

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County Board Sends Wind Energy Ordinances Back to Regional Planning Commission For Reconsideration

The DeWitt County Board will send four ordinances relating to wind energy in the County back to the Regional Planning Commission, or RPC, for reconsideration.
 
The four recommended changes stemmed from discussion at the Land Use Committee meeting last week. Chair of the Land Use Committee, Sue Whitted, laid out what RPC will be considering based on recommendations from the Land Use Commitee.
 
 
Around a half-dozen other requested amendment changes that were not brought to the full Board were also sent back to the Land Use Committee next month for reconsideration. 
 
The RPC will meet February 20th in what will be a hearing on the ordinances. 

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New DCDC Executive Director Hopes To Tap Into Farmer City Connections

Bridging the gap between the Farmer City and Clinton business community was part of the reason for the hiring of the Executive Director for the DeWitt County Development Council. 
 
President of the DCDC Board, David Torbert indicates the hiring of their part-time Executive Director, Elizabeth Fulks, was in part an opportunity to bridge the divide that exists between the two DeWitt County communities.
 
 
Fulks indicates she's going to have to take some time early on to get to know about the things happening in Clinton, get to know the businesses and also the goals the DCDC is setting.
 
 
Fulks anticipates getting up to speed with a lot of the happenings within the DCDC quickly. She is excited to try and be a bridge for the Clinton and Farmer City communities.
 
 
Torbert says the DCDC is blessed to have someone as active as Fulks to be at the front of their program. He feels her activity in the community was something the DCDC was looking for in their Director. 

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Clinton Chamber of Commerce Annual Dinner Saturday Night

It's the first big event of the year for the Clinton Chamber of Commerce, and it's Saturday night at the Clinton Country Club.
 
The Annual Chamber Dinner kicks off the new year and celebrates the accomplishments of the previous year. Director Marian Brisard indicates this year will have an 80s theme and a murder mystery for the entertainment.
 
 
Brisard feels the annual dinner sets the tone for the year ahead. She indicates the event is a fundraiser for them and they again have a great amount of support for their auction.
 
 
To get tickets for the annual dinner, contact the Clinton Chamber at 217-935-3364. Prices vary from $40 to $60 for tickets.
 
Check-in and social hour begin at 5 pm with the Chamber Annual Meeting at 6:15 pm and then dinner at 6:30 pm, a buffet style dinner, and then the murder mystery entertainment starts at 7 pm.

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Hometown Tour Spotlight: Lincoln

The annual WHOW Hometown Tour spotlight stopped in Lincoln Wednesday morning to talk with local leaders in the community.
 
The Logan County community of about 15-thousand is being commemorated through a hobby of their Mayor, Seth Goodman. Mayor Goodman explains he has a hot-air balloon that will be dedicated to the community as a showing of community pride.
 
 
The Lincoln City Council approved a plan for the Lincoln Police Department to transition to a new facility at the old Adams School off of Fifth Street. Lincoln Police Chief Paul Adams says that facility is going to give them a lot of space to operate.
 
 
 
Lincoln Fire Chief Mark Miller indicates their department is set to take ownership of a brand new fire engine this year. He says it's been a fun project for him and his staff.
 
 
Lincoln High School Superintendent Bob Bagby touted the well rounded education the students of Lincoln are getting at his school.
 
 
Recenlty, the Lincoln Depot renovation was completed dowtown. An extensive highway upgrade was finished along Route 66 and on the west edge of town, a Dunkin Donuts opened up. 

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New Tax Scam Making Rounds

With the general public becoming more aware that the Internal Revenue Service does not call or e-mail citizens with tax related issues, scammers are coming up with new methods to deceive the public. 
 
Michael Devine with the IRS says letters claiming to be from the IRS are hitting taxpayer’s mailboxes.
 
 
Devine says contact the IRS directly at 1-800-829-1040 to verify any situation that seems out of the ordinary.

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Governor Rauner Makes Stop in Lincoln

GOVERNOR BRUCE RAUNER IS SIGNING A NEW LAW THAT FOCUSES ON THE NEEDS OF THE STATE’S FEMALE PRISON POPULATION. 
 
THE LAW HELPS CREATE A WOMEN’S SERVICES DIVISION WITHIN THE ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS ADDRESSING THE CONCERNS OF FEMALE INMATES SAYS GOVERNOR RAUNER.
 
 
THE DIVISION IS TACKLING ISSUES SUCH AS PAST EMOTIONAL AND PHYSICAL ABUSE AND MENTAL ILLNESS AND PLANS TO EXPAND SERVICES TO FURTHER HELP WOMEN GET BACK ON THEIR FEET ONCE THEY ARE RELEASED.
 
 
THAT ILLINOIS CORRECTIONS DIRECTOR JOHN BALDWIN.
 
CURRENTLY, ABOUT 30 PERCENT OF WOMEN IN PRISON END UP BACK BEHIND BARS WITHIN THREE YEARS OF RELEASE. THE DIVISION WILL FOCUS ON THINGS LIKE PAST ABUSE, MOTHERHOOD, WORK SKILLS AND MORE.

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Senate Democrats Pushing For Rural High Speed Internet in Schools

SENATE DEMOCRATS ARE INTRODUCING LEGISLATION TO HELP BRING HIGH SPEED INTERNET TO MORE STUDENTS IN RURAL AREAS. 
 
SENATOR ANDY MANAR OF BUNKER HILL SAYS NEARLY 90 THOUSAND STUDENTS AT ABOUT 100 RURAL SCHOOLS DON’T HAVE ACCESS TO HIGH SPEED INTERNET.
 
 
MANAR SAYS HIS BILL CALLS FOR BROADBAND INFRASTRUCTURE TO BE PUT IN AT THESE SCHOOLS. THE PROJECT WOULD BE A ONE-TIME EXPENSE AND PAID FOR WITH 16 MILLION IN STATE FUNDS AND BY LEVERAGING FEDERAL MATCHING DOLLARS.
 
 
THAT'S SENATOR JENNIFER BERTINO-TARRANT OF PLAINFIELD. 
 
BILL SPONSORS SAYS NEARLY 90 THOUSAND STUDENTS IN ABOUT 100 RURAL SCHOOLS IN ILLINOIS DO NOT HAVE ACCESS TO HIGH SPEED INTERNET.

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Clinton Board of Education Approves High School Introductory Technology Course

The Clinton Board of Education Tuesday night approved a semester long technology course for high school freshman. 
 
Superintendent Curt Nettles brought the idea to the Board of Education at their monthly meeting. He explains it will give freshman an introductory course to the technology used by high school students.
 
 
Dorothy Harrold indicates there is an option for students to opt out of the introductory course and advance to another course after they pass a pre-test.
 
 
Principal of Clinton High School, Jerry Wayne believes the course will give their students the tools early to get the full impact of the devices.
 
 
The measure passed and will be implemented starting next year. 

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Clinton First Christian Church Hosting Huge Speech Competition

A group of home-schooled students are in need of approximately 300 volunteers to judge a speech and debate competition next week at Clinton's First Christian Church.
 
Amy Joy Tofte spoke before the Clinton Rotary Club Tuesday and indicates around 150 students from six states will converge on Clinton for a speech and debate competition at First Christian Church.
 
 
Tofte indicates the event needs around 400 people to volunteer to be a judge. She says they are about a quarter of the way to their 400 volunteers they need.
 
 
With all the families of those in attendance, it is estimated 400 people will be in the community for the weekend, and FCC Pastor, Greg Taylor, says it will be a big deal for the local economy.
 
 
The event is next Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Anyone is welcome to be a judge for this event. Things start as early as 7:15 am and conclude as late as 10 pm. You can stop by the church during these times if you're interested and meals are provided for volunteers. 
 
Click HERE to learn more, or to sign up.

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Local Health Network Available for Addictions, Mental Health Issues in Central Illinois

A central Illinois health network is hosting a March event aimed at equipping parents with proper tools to help their kids avoid drugs and introduce central Illinois to a great resource for addictions of several types. 
 
Sandra Beecher explains her new position at Rosecrance Health Network allows her to serve the community still. She says her office in Champaign has residential treatment.
 
 
Beecher indicates Rosecrance has facilities scattered across the midwest and they are facilities that are very nice. She indicates they do treatments of all types for all ages.
 
 
Rosecrance and The Vineyard Church in Champaign are partnering to host an event called Stairway to Heroin on March 6. It will feature speakers discussing recovery, law enforcement officials and health administrators. The event is free and open to the public.
 
To learn more, contact Beecher at 217-722-6174 or email her at rbeecher@rosecrance.org. 

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IAA Foundation Has 76 Scholarships

The IAA Foundation reminding current and prospective agriculture students about over seventy scholarship opportunities. The deadline to apply is February 1.
 
 
IAA Foundation Director Susan Moore says specific guidelines are available at “iaafoundation.org”. 

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Durbin Stands By Expletive Claims

Senator Dick Durbin is sticking to his guns, saying there is no doubt that he heard President Trump say expletives comparing African countries and Haiti to something akin to a toilet. 
 
He says claims that the President referred to houses of excrement rather than holes, makes little difference.
 
 
Durbin also expressed certainty as to which word he heard.
 
 
In a Tweet, President Trump referred to Durbin as "Dicky Durbin". He said “Senator Dicky Durbin totally misrepresented what was said at the DACA meeting. Deals can’t get made when there is no trust! Durbin blew DACA and is hurting our Military,”'

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Durbin Presses Homeland Security Secretary for Answers on 'S-Holes'

Senator Dick Durbin had a number of questions for Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen on the future of the Dream Act and her memory of last Thursday's White House meeting between President Trump and a number of Senators, including himself. Durbin asked Nielsen if she heard the President use an expletive to describe Haiti and African nations.
 
 
 
Durbin noted Graham used an expletive to refer to the word he claims President Trump said.

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One Injured in Crash Near Maroa Tuesday Afternoon

At least one person was injured in a two vehicle crash south of Maroa in Macon County from late Tuesday morning. 
 
The crash took place near Wise Road on US Highway 51 just after 11 am. 
 
The Macon County Sheriff's office indicates one of the vehicles was torn in half and one victim in the crash was injured and taken by ambulance to a local hospital. The injuries are considered non-life threatening. The driver of the other vehicle was also taken to the hospital. 
 
Authorities say the two cars collided when one lost control and went across the median, hitting the second vehicle and it was cut in half. 
 
Traffic was diverted for a little more than an hour.
 
Authorities from the Maroa Police Department, Maroa Fire Department and Macon County Sheriff's office responded. 

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Warming Centers Open Today and Tomorrow

Due to the extreme cold today and tomorrow morning, two local entities will be open as Warming Centers as announced by the DeWitt County Emergency Management Agency Tuesday morning. 
 
The DeWitt County Friendship Center, on 410 E. Main St in Clinton, is open today and tomorrow from 8:00 AM - 3:00 PM.
 
The Warner Library, on 310 N. Quincy St in Clinton, is open today and tomorrow from 9:00 AM until its new closing time at 8:00 PM.
 
The library also has a bin of hats and gloves if you need them to take warm. It is located at the front of the library and is free to take advantage of. 
 
Local officials say stay indoors as much as possible and limit strenuous outdoor activities.

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DeWitt County Development Council Introduces New Executive Director

Elizabeth Fulks is the new Executive Director of the DeWitt County Development Council.
 
Monday morning, President of the DCDC Board, David Torbert, introduced her and says she comes highly recommended with a lot of connections to DeWitt County.
 
 
Fulks indicates she has worked primarily in the Farmer City area. She hopes to bring her experience and connections from that part of the County along with her.
 
 
For now, Fulks is focused on getting an understanding of the DCDC as an organization and getting to know all the community players. Long term, she wants to start to get in front of them and get to know their needs and learn how DCDC can be an asset to them.
 
 
To get in touch Fulks about anything going on with the DCDC, including their revolving loan fund and leaders breakast coming up next month, visit DCDC-illinois.org or find them on Facebook. 

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University of Illinois Extension Offers Indoor Plant Tips For Winter Months

Are those plants you brought in for the winter months starting to look a little droopy? 
 
University of Illinois Extension Master Gardener Candace Miller says while watering is always recommended, she says some plants looking a little down isn't necessarily a bad thing.
 
 
Some plants are going to need to be near your windows with lots of light, but it can vary from plant to plant.
 
 
Miller encourages a phone call or email to your local U of I Extension office and the Master Gardener in that office can help you through any issues you may have. Just visit extension.illinois.edu. 

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Governor Discusses Veto of School Funding

The State Board of Education warns Governor Bruce Rauner’s veto of the school funding reform bill may bring “further disruption and confusion” for all school districts in the state. 
 
The State Board issued a statement last week indicating efforts to install a new school funding formula depend on lawmakers. Rauner explained his use of amendatory veto powers to rewrite the bill.
 
 
Rauner pinpointed areas that need the most help.
 
 
Lawmakers are scheduled to return to Springfield later this month and could attempt to override Rauner’s amendatory veto.

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Double Crop Forum Set For February 7 in Mt. Vernon

Farmers would be well served to look at the ‘triple threat’. So says Illinois Wheat Association Executive Director Jim Fraley. He’s referring to double-cropping wheat and soybeans to generate income from three different sources—wheat, wheat straw and soybeans. 
 
And Illinois Soybean Association’s Dan Davidson says double–crop opportunities are expanding in the state because of new seed varieties.
 
 
The wheat and soybean associations are teaming up to host a double-crop forum February 7th in Mount Vernon. You can register at “Illinoiswheat.org.” The fee is $20. 

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Monday Accidents Bring Advisory From Local Authorities

Nearly half a dozen accidents because of poor road conditions in DeWitt County today have prompted local authorities to remind motorists to slow down
 
Poor driving conditions and blowing snow on the roads has been the cause of a half dozen accidents in DeWitt County and DeWitt County Sheriff's Deputy John Gaffney indictes there have been no major injuries and most of the accidents are due to driving too fast for the conditions.
 
 
Deputy Gaffney says things aren't expected to warm up much Monday afternoon so he's advising drivers slow down and if you can, stay in. Road conditions are slick with the wind blowing snow across major roads.
 
 
Deputy Gaffney also warns against following to close to snow plows. He says give them their space to work as well. 
A Winter Weather Advisory is in effect until 3 pm this afternoon. A Wind Chill Advisory goes into effect at 6 pm Monday evening and remains in effect until Tuesday at noon. Temperatures are expected to drop all through the night and into the morning and could see wind chills as low as 18-below zero overnight and wind chills between 10-15 below zero during the morning commute. 

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Seniors Invited To Online Safety Seminar Wednesday

DeWitt County seniors are invited out this week to be a part of a seminar about online security.
 
Connie Unruh with DeWitt County Triad is leading the seminar that will focus on keeping your identity and important information safe and secure online.
 
 
That is Executive Director of the Friendship Center, Sissy Leggett. 
 
The seminar is this Wednesday. Get more information by contacting the DeWitt County Friendship Center at 217-935-9411.

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2018 Crucial Year for Potential CEO Program in Central Illinois

2018 is going to be a critical year in the development of the CEO that has nearly a dozen central Illinois districts participating.
 
Warrensburg-Latham Schools are among the districts that are working to get the program off the ground and started. It will likely be a 2019-2020 start but there's a lot of work to be done leading up to that and W-L Superintendent, Dr. Kristen Kendrick-Weikle indicates the program is too good of an opportunity to pass up.
 
 
2018 will be crucial for these schools as they are going to need to get a good amount of the support rallied together. Dr. Kendrick-Weikle explains there's a lot of moving parts to the development of the program.
 
 
Dr. Kendrick-Weikle indicates the schools have raised about half the money they need and they hope to have the fundraising wrapped up by May. The next step will be to put together board of directors, who will essentially take over the functions of the program from there. 

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Congressman Davis Expects Trump To Tackle Infrastructure in 2018

The farm bill and infrastructure are two key things Congressman Rodney Davis believes President Trump will focus on in 2018.
 
With the tax bill overhaul in place, the Taylorville Republican believes the President will shift his focus to the American infrastructure in 2018.
 
 
As for Congressman Davis, he would like to see the House budget appropriations passed but those currently are held up in Congress.
 
 
Congressman Davis is also focused on getting a farm bill passed this year and feels it will at some point this year. 

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Governor Rauner Meeting With Small Business Owners Around The State

GOVERNOR BRUCE RAUNER IS MEETING WITH SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS AROUND THE STATE ABOUT THEIR CONCERNS AND SUGGESTIONS. 
 
GOVERNOR RAUNER SAYS SMALL BUSINESSES ARE THE BACKBONE OF THE ILLINOIS ECONOMY AND THE STATE NEEDS TO HELP THEM THRIVE. HE HEARD FAMILIAR COMPLAINTS FROM OWNERS IN ROCKFORD.
 
 
HE ALSO SAID THE STATE NEEDS TO HELP PROP UP THE MANUFACTURING INDUSTRY.
 
 
RAUNER SAYS SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS ALSO EXPRESSED CONCERNS ABOUT WORKER’S COMPENSATION ABUSE AND FRAUD AND HIGH PROPERTY TAXES IN ILLINOIS.

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LaHood Named To Ways and Means Committee

Congressman Darin LaHood has been tabbed to serve on the House Ways & Means Committee. 
 
The Peoria area Republican received the appointment, replacing Ohio's Pat Tiberi. LaHood looks forward to the post on chief tax writing committee in the House.
 
 
LaHood believes the new committee assignment will give a boost to the 18th Congressional District.
 
 
The Committee has jurisdiction over all taxation, trade and tariffs, and other revenue-raising measures. The appointment will be confirmed by the full House Republican Conference in the coming days.

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Rauner offers short but direct response to Trump's alleged comments on Africa, Haiti

Governor Bruce Rauner is responding to claims President Trump used a (toilet like) expletive to describe Haiti and African nations during a bipartisan meeting.
 
 
Rauner was visiting Rockford to speak with small business leaders.

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Clinton High School Receives Bomb Threat, Saturday Activities Undisturbed

A bomb threat was found at Clinton High School Saturday during a day of competition but authorities deemed the threat non-credible and activities went on undisturbed.

 

Via the high school’s Twitter feed, a threat was detected during a day of dance competitions. Authorities and school officials gathered and decided the threat was not credible, though the building was searched to ensure the safety of all students, coaches and attendees. Activities went on without stoppage and the buildings were not evacuated.

 

Authorities on scene included Clinton Fire Department and Clinton Police.

 

The Clinton M-Squad took first out of 18 teams. They are headed to Sectionals at Mescoutah.

 

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Illinois Attorney General Candidate Victim of Armed Robbery on Campaign Trail

A Democratic candidate for Illinois Attorney General has new motivation to get tough on crime. 
 
Chicago Precinct Committeeman Aaron Goldstein was taking part in publicity photos on the city's Northwest side when he and his campaign team were approached by three suspects in their 20s in broad daylight.
 
One suspect flashed a handgun during the incident in the 4600 block of North Albany Avenue in Albany Park. 
 
The suspects demanded camera equipment and other personal belongings, including cell phones. 
 
No one was hurt and Goldstein campaign officials don't believe the suspects had any political motivation. 
 
Goldstein is among eight Democrats seeking the nod for Illinois Attorney General.

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Lt. Governor Launches New AP Program for High School Students

LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR EVELYN SANGUINETTI IS LAUNCHING A PILOT PROGRAM TO GIVE HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS IN RURAL AREAS MORE ACCESS TO ADVANCED PLACEMENT COURSES. 
 
A-P CLASSES ARE IMPORTANT SINCE A GOOD GRADE ON THE A-P EXAM CAN EARN STUDENTS COLLEGE CREDIT AND SAVE MONEY ON TUITION. LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR EVELYN SANGUINETTI SAYS THE PROBLEM IS, KIDS IN SOME AREAS CAN’T TAKE THE COURSES.
 
 
THE ONE SEMESTER PILOT PROGRAM IS GIVING 75 STUDENTS FROM 10 RURAL HIGH SCHOOLS ACROSS THE STATE THE CHANCE TO TAKE AN A-P CLASS ONLINE.
 
 
SANGUINETTI SAYS A-P CLASSES ARE VITAL SINCE A GOOD GRADE ON THE A-P EXAM IS WORTH COLLEGE CREDIT WHICH WILL SAVE FAMILIES ON TUITION COSTS.

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Durbin Blast's Trump's Alleged Comments About Haiti, Africa

llinois Senator Dick Durbin says President Trump said things that were "hate-filled, vile and racist." during bipartisan immigration talks. 
 
He also says the Commander in Chief isn't being truthful when he denies using an expletive to describe Haiti and African nations.
 
 
Senator Durbin., speaking at a Martin Luther King Jr. breakfast in Chicago, also took issue with the President's choice of immigration terminology.
 
Durbin says his hope of getting a bipartisan agreement approved by the White House died yesterday.

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Final crop estimates are out and include some new records

THE FINAL ESTIMATES FOR THE 2017 CROP IN ILLINOIS INCLUDE SOME NEW RECORDS.
 
THE SOYBEAN YIELD IS ESTIMATED AT 58 BUSHELS PER ACRE, DOWN ONE BUSHEL FROM 2016. BUT PRODUCTION HIT A RECORD HIGH AT 612 MILLION BUSHELS, UP THREE PERCENT FROM THE PREVIOUS YEAR SAYS CROP STATISTICIAN MARK SCHLEUSENER.
PRODUCERS HARVESTED 470 THOUSAND ACRES OF WINTER WHEAT…AND THE YIELD IS ESTIMATED AT 76 ACRES PER BUSHEL. THAT TOPS THE PREVIOUS RECORD BY TWO BUSHELS.
 
THE CORN YIELD IS ESTIMATED AT 201 BUSHELS PER ACRE…UP FOUR BUSHELS FROM 2016 AND A NEW RECORD SAYS CROP STATISTICIAN MARK SCHLEUSENER. AS FOR SOYBEANS…
 
 
ILLINOIS WHEAT GROWERS BEAT THE PREVIOUS RECORD WITH AN ESTIMATED 76 ACRES PER BUSHEL LAST YEAR. OAT PRODUCTION WAS DOWN TWO PERCENT.

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Boil Order Issued in Clinton

A boil order has been issued in Clinton.
 
The area is basically the full northeast quadrant of Clinton plus an area from Jackson St. on the west to Jefferson St. on the south to RailRoad St. on the east to the Washington St.
 
If you have any question call 217-935-3432 during business hours. 

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Local Veterans Groups Hosting Chili Competition

Come out to the American Legion building this Saturday and enjoy some homemade chili and old-fashion entertainment while supporting your local veterans.
 
A friendly chili cookoff competition will take place early Saturday afternoon at the American Legion and Josh Thielen with the Legion indicates you can help decide the chili cookoff winnner and support the Legion, Am-Vets and VFW.
 
 
Former-WHOW broadcaster, Ozzie Pearl, will be the entertainment. He says it's an honor to do this for our local veterans. He'll be doing a Grand Ol' Opry type of show.
 
 
Pearl indicates it takes a lot for the local veterans to do the things they do. He indicates supporting them was the reasoning for the event.
 
 
Chili will begin being served at the American Legion building at 11 am. The event is free but to be a part of the chili cookoff, it will $5 a bowl of chili and $3 for a hot dog. Get more information by searching 'Clinton American Legion' on Facebook.

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Local Financial Institution Reflects on Giving Back in 2017, Excited for 2018

A local bank was very active in giving back to the community in 2017 and hopes for more of the same in 2018.
 
Market President for First National Bank in Clinton, Josh Shofner, indicates the bank went through some transitions in 2016 and in 2017, that allowed them opportunities to give back to the community.
 
 
Shofner indicates the bank did a lot to give back to the community. From a sizeable donation to The Vault to helping the local hospital, the institution was very active.
 
 
To promote a new checking account program, the bank did a gas giveaway during the fall months. During that same time period, they did an investment program for local small businesses and gave away $10-thousand.
 
 
The bank also is in the schools teaching the community's youth about financial responsibility. Shofner says Connie Unruh is in the schools with the kids among other things she'll be doing in the community.
 
 
According to Shofner, the bank hopes to more giving back in the community and groups can reach out to them via their website. 
 
 
Shofner also points out they've been able to be in the community through one of their executives, who is an military veteran, and spoke to local students about his experiences on Veterans Day. 

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Soybean Summit Talking Producation Numbers

They’re talking numbers at the 2018 Illinois Soybean Summit in Springfield. 
 
Champaign County farmer Kris Ehler was part of an agronomy team that reached 108 bushels per acre in soybean production in 2015.
 
 
The world record for soybean production is 171.1 bushels per acre in Valdosta, Georgia. 
 

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Route 66 Legislation Moves Forward in Washington DC

A victory for Route 66 backers in Congress. Peoria area Congressman Darin LaHood says efforts to boost federal recognition of the "Mother Road" are closer to reality.
 
 
The legislation passed out of the National Resources Committee by a unanimous vote. 
LaHood currently serves as the Vice-Chair of the Federal Lands Subcommittee of the National Resources Committee.

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Raid At Madison County Administration Building

The Madison County Board Chairman says he does not know what prompted a raid Wednesday afternoon at the County Administration Building. 
 
State's Attorney Tom Gibbons confirms the newly formed Madison County Public Corruption Task Force investigated possible illegal conduct by county officials which resulted in the execution of search warrants yesterday. Chairman Kurt Prenzler says he is also looking for answers.
 
 
According to multiple media reports, computers were removed from the office of Madison County Administrator, and the office of the Public Relations Manager. 
 
In a statement to the media, Madison County State's Attorney Tom Gibbons said because of the highly sensitive nature of the investigation, no comments will be made by investigators or others until such time as is legally appropriate. 

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IDOT Promoting Getting Around Illinois Website

The Illinois Department of Transportation boasting its Getting Around Illinois digital platform. IDOT’s Kelsea Gurski says there’s plenty of information to digest. 
 
 
Gurski says there’s also a radar layer on the map plus winter weather road conditions. The site is www.gettingaroundillinois.com. 

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Campaign ad exchanges get a little more stinging with Rauner and Pritzker

Bruce Rauner and J.B. Pritzker still have primaries to worry about in the race for Governor, but the financial titans continue to duke it out on the airwaves. 
 
Rauner has launched a new TV attack ad featuring wiretapped audio of Pritzker talking to former Gov. Rod Blagojevich about possible jobs, including Attorney General if he chose Lisa Madigan to become former President Barack Obama's replacement in the U.S. Senate. 
 
Pritzker's counterpunch ad criticizes Rauner in connection with deaths and illnesses at the Quincy Veterans Home. The ad samples newscasters from around the state questioning the Rauner administration’s handling of incidents of Legionnaire’s disease at the Quincy Veterans Home, where 13 people have died since a 2015 outbreak.

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State Senator Calling For Health Director To Resign

State Sen. Sam McCann is offering the strongest response yet to the ongoing concerns about Legionnaire's Disease at the Quincy Veterans' Home. 
 
The Macoupin County Republican is calling on Illinois Public Health Director Nirav Shah to resign, citing communication issues with the newest cases at Quincy.
 
 
He is also calling for a capital plan to help upgrade the infrastructure of the state's veterans’ homes and finish the stalled veterans’ home project in Chicago.

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Rauner Wants Quincy Veteran's Home To Remain Open, Get New Plumbing

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner has wrapped up his week-long stay at the troubled Quincy Veterans Home. 
 
He says the state will install new plumbing at the facility, which has been plagued by deadly bouts with Legionnaires' Disease. However, he isn't interested in closing the doors.
 
 
Rauner says he didn't cut corners in his visit. 
 
 
Legionnaires' has contributed to the deaths of 13 residents at the home since 2015. In addition to installing new water pipes, Rauner says he'll look into the construction of a new dorm facility. 

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Rauner Talks Changes To Quincy Veteran's Home

After staying a week at the Quincy Veterans Home the Governor says the entire water system needs to be replaced after continued outbreaks of Legionnaires’ disease at the home. But the specifics of how to pay for it or just what a complete tear out looks like - are unknown.
 
 
The Rauner administration has taken plenty of criticism on how they responded to the first outbreak that killed 12 people. Rauner says that he still has confidence in the two people leading agencies, the Department of Veterans Affairs the Department of Public Health, who were on the front lines of the response to the outbreak.

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Trump Touts Regulatory Reform During Speech To Farmers

President Donald Trump told Illinois and other farmers attending the American Farm Bureau convention in Nashville his administration has rolled back more federal regulations than originally promised. Farmers listening gave the president rousing approval;
 
 
Trump also touted recently approved legislation designed to cut taxes, including the estate tax. He also pledged to work with Congress to achieve approval of a new federal farm bill before current law expires.

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Lawmakers Discussing Quincy Veterans Home During Panel

In order to get more answers as to why Legionella bacteria remains a problem at the Quincy Veteran’s home the Illinois House and Senate held a joint committee hearing on the matter. 
 
In 2015, 12 people died of Legionnaires disease and in October another person died of Legionnaires. Erica Jefferies the Director of the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs says that they have taken multiple steps to address Legionella bacteria in the water system.
 
 
Jefferies says that despite all of those steps they still do have Legionella bacteria in the home’s water system but they know about it because of the increased testing efforts. 

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Lawmakers Discussing Quincy Veterans Home During Panel

In order to get more answers as to why Legionella bacteria remains a problem at the Quincy Veteran’s home the Illinois House and Senate held a joint committee hearing on the matter. 
 
In 2015, 12 people died of Legionnaires disease and in October another person died of Legionnaires. Erica Jefferies the Director of the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs says that they have taken multiple steps to address Legionella bacteria in the water system.
 
 
Jefferies says that despite all of those steps they still do have Legionella bacteria in the home’s water system but they know about it because of the increased testing efforts. 

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Duckworth Joines Colleagues in Fight Against FCC Net Neutrality

U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth joined Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and other Senate colleagues in calling for restoration of net neutrality rules. 
 
Duckworth talked about the fallout she believes the end of net neutrality would cause a number of troubles.
 
 
Senator Duckworth is teaming up with over 30 of her Senate colleagues in cosponsoring a Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution that would undo action by the FCC and restore the 2015 net neutrality rules.

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Around 250 Attend Church Security Seminar in Clinton Tuesday

Roughly 250 people from all over Illinois attended a special church security seminar at Clinton's First Christian Church Tuesday night.
 
The event was hosted by First Christian Church Pastor Greg Taylor and DeWitt County Sheriff Jered Shofner. Clinton Police Chief Ben Lowers also shared at the Tuesday evening seminar which ran from 6 pm to 9 pm. The Chief says with recent events around the globe, churches are becoming a target of mass violence and church leaders need to be prepared.
 
 
The Chief indicates the unfortunate events of other places were analyzed and discussed. He says the best way to prepare is to look back on things that have already happened and learn from them.
 
 
Clinton First Christian Church Pastor Greg Taylor indicates religious leaders from all over Illinois converged on the Clinton sanctuary to be a part of the meeting.
 
 
Pastor Taylor says churches need to be prepared for unfortunate events and they need to be able to keep their congregations safe.
 
 
Pastor Taylor is inviting any religious leader that could not attend the meeting or did not know about the meeting to contact him at the Clinton First Christian Church and they have literature available they are wanting to distribute so all places of worship can have it and better prepare themselves. 

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House Fire Claims Life of Clinton Woman; Another Man and Firefighter Injured

Just after 9 pm on Tuesday night, Clinton Fire officials were dispatched to 417 North Elm  Street after a report of a garage fire with possible entrapment. 
 
Clinton Engine two arrived at the scene at approximately 9:15 pm finding an approximate 1,200 square foot, 1 story home with an attached garage that had fire and smoke emitting from it. 
 
Firefighters immediately began searching the interior of the home pulling two occupants from the structure. Both occupants were transported by ambulance to Warner Hospital and Health Services. 
 
One later was pronounced dead and the other is being treated by Springfield Memorial Hospital in Springfield, Illinois. 
 
One Clinton Firefighter was injured in the rescue efforts and was transported by ambulance to Warner Hospital and Health Services and is being treated for minor injuries.
 
The fire was contained to the one home. Clinton Fire Department units remained on the scene till 23:58. 
 
Aall Clinton Fire Companies along with Kenney Fire Protection District, Wapella Fire Protection District, Maroa Fire Protection District were called out and the Waynesville Fire Protection District to cover Clinton’s Fire Station.
 
The fire is under investigation by the State of Illinois Fire Marshal’s Office.
 

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Health Officials Implore Public To Take Flu Seriously

WITH MORE CASES OF THE FLU BEING REPORTED THIS YEAR…THE STATE’S CHIEF MEDICAL OFFICER IS URGING THE PUBLIC TO TAKE THE THREAT SERIOUSLY. 
 
PREVENTION IS THE FIRST STEP SAYS DOCTOR JENNIFER LAYDEN…WHO ADDS THAT IT’S NOT TOO LATE TO GET YOUR FLU SHOT.
 
 
DR LAYDEN ALSO RECOMMENDS WASHING YOUR HANDS A LOT AND STAYING HOME WHEN YOU’RE SICK SO YOU DON’T CONTAMINATE OTHERS. AND WHEN YOU DO GET ILL…
 
 
LAYDEN SAYS YOU SHOULD PROBABLY TAKE YOUNG CHILDREN AND SENIORS TO THE DOCTOR TO GET CHECKED OUT SINCE THEY ARE MORE SUSCEPTIBLE TO COMPLICATIONS FROM THE FLU. SYMPTOMS TO LOOK OUT FOR INCLUDE A VERY HIGH FEVER, DIFFICULTY BREATHING AND NOT BEING ABLE TO EAT MUCH.

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State Police Watching For Drivers Staying Too Close

One of the pet peeves that many motorists have is when another vehicle comes up from behind, and rides the tail end of the lead motorist and often times simply will not pass no matter the conditions. 
 
Illinois State Police Trooper Jason Wilson says there is a specific law that addresses that situation.
 
 
Wilson says offenders can be ticketed if caught.

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Blood Supplies Running Low

Seasonal illnesses and the holiday season are two of the reasons the blood supply dwindles this time of year. 
 
American Red Cross spokesman Joe Zydlo (ZIHD-low) says they are issuing an urgent call for blood and platelet donors.
 
 
Tad Middleton with Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center, says the flu has impacted their ability to collect donations.
 
 
You can donate at any of a number of blood drives coming up this month throughout Illinois. You can find out where to give blood by doing a quick search using your favorite internet search engine.

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DeWitt County Land Use Committee Discusses Concerns of Opponents of Potential Wind Farm During Contentious Meeting

An unusually large crowd filled the DeWitt County Courtroom Monday evening for the monthly land use committee. 
 
The land use committee Monday discussed the changes a group of DeWitt County residents in opposition to the proposed wind farm in northern DeWitt County are proposing. The group wants to have notification changes in place for the public and DeWitt County Zoning Administrator, Angie Sarver, feels a change in the notification for the public would single out wind energy.
 
 
The heighth of the wind turbines is also among the nearly dozen changes to the ordinance those in opposition are requesting. The information Sarver has indicates the taller the wind towers are, the  fewer that get installed, however, the group wants to have the tower height be reduced to avoid the red-flashing lights required by the FAA.
 
 
The Committee decided they would not give a recommendation to the Board but allow them to decide on the height of the structure. 
 
The biggest talking point among the opposition to the wind farm is the setback distance from a property line. Committee Chair for the Land Use Committee, Sue Whitted says the proposed 32-hundred feet is too much but would like it to be greater than the ordinance's 15-hundred feet.
 
 
In discussing the setback distance change recommendation for the full DeWitt County Board, Board member Jay Wickenhauser pointed out the arguments had mostly come from the opposition but he pointed out there were land owners with signed agreements who needed to be thought of in this process.
 
 
The committee ultimately decided to also send this issue back to the full board to discuss without a recommendation as there was not a consensus among the five-member committee. 
 
Sarver recommended adding an ordinance clarifying zoning jurisdiction and incorporated areas of the county where the County controls the zoning. She explains this allows them to have a say in the process, stemming from much of the community's opposition to the project.
 
 
Sarver indicated throughout the meeting, many of the concerns voiced by the oppositions are already addressed in the ordinance in place. 
 
The Board sent the ordinance change proposals back to the full DeWitt County Board to be discussed next Thursday night at 6 pm.

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New Director at DeWitt County Friendship Center Hopes To Increase Community Involvement

The DeWitt County Friendship Center will officially have a new leader at the start of February and she hopes to increase community involvement at the DeWitt County senior gather spot.
 
Paula Jiles is taking over for the retiring Sissy Leggett, and Leggett is confident Jiles will come in and make some headway and take the Friendship Center to new heights.
 
 
Jiles knows she has big shoes to fill but has some ideas she's ready to run with when the reigns are officially turned over to her.
 
 
One of Jiles' biggest goals is to increase participation from seniors of the center, seniors of the community and from the community as a whole.
 
 
Jiles has been working with Leggett to learn the ins-and-outs of the Friendship Center and she'll officially take over February 1 and looks forward to continue on with the relationships in place and forge new ones. 

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Warner Library's New Director Excited For Opportunity

Earlier this month, the Warner Library announced a change atop their leadership ladder.
 
Bobbi Perryman has been with the Warner Library in Clinton almost 18 years and was officially named Director as Joan Rhoades stepped down for health reasons. Perryman credits a lot of the progressive things the Library has taken on in recent years to Rhoades and her leadership.
 
 
If you follow the library on social media, you will probably start to see some live streaming of their events and happenings. Perryman wants to give those things a try this year.
 
 
 Perryman indicates she has taken on a lot of the roles of the Director of the Library but not in an official capacity until the first of the year, when the move was announced. 

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Heyworth Schools Looking Forward to 2018

With a new calendar year upon us, local school leaders are excited about the opportunities ahead and that is the case in Heyworth.
 
Superintendent or Heyworth Schools, Lisa Taylor says they have a lot of exciting things happening, so the new year is a time to reflect on the things they are doing well and to also look ahead. 
 
 
Looking ahead to 2018, with all the things good happening in Heyworth, the State of Illinois' situation is not looking as great as it could be. She says the challenge for Heyworth is to make due despite what they will or won't get from the State.
 
 
In 2018, Heyworth Schools are embarking on a faciltiies planning process and partnering with the City of Heyworth to improve the shared facilties. 

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Rotering Calls For Illinois To Get Tougher on Sexual Harassment

The Golden Globes Awards Show became as much a public service announcement aimed at sexual harassment as it was a show honoring achievement in film and television. 
 
Meanwhile, Democratic Attorney General candidate Nancy Rotering believes Illinois needs to rewrite the script when it comes to its sexual harassment laws. She says laws would focus on the worst of the worst, the repeat offender.
 
 
Rotering also believes another idea that might help is a confidential phone line at the Attorney General's office for sexual harassment complaints.

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University of Illinois President Wants To Hold The Line On Tuition

University of Illinois President Timothy Killeen wants tuition to stay put for University of Illinois students at the three system campuses. 
 
Killeen says he will recommend the school freeze its base tuition for incoming, in-state freshmen for a fourth consecutive year. He hopes to slow the exodus of Illinois high school grads to college outside the state's borders. 
 
If the University Board agrees, Champaign-Urbana tuition would stay at 12-thousand dollars, Chicago 10-thousand-6-hundred and in Springfield the tuition level would remain at 94-hundred dollars.

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Infrastructure Key in Helping Reverse Downward Farm Income Trend

The farm economy has faced four years of record low income, but a senior economist at the Illinois Farm Bureau says there are several factors that can help reverse that trend. 
 
One is a significant investment in transportation infrastructure, according to Mike Doherty. 
 
 
Doherty says another key to the ag economy is maintaining and advancing trade agreements. He also believes the recently adopted tax reforms should help the balance sheet of farmers.

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Flu Hitting Illinois A Little Harder This Year

INFLUENZA IS HITTING ILLINOIS A LITTLE HARDER THIS FLU SEASON. 
 
THERE IS CURRENTLY WIDESPREAD FLU ACTIVITY IN ILLINOIS…WITH MORE CASES BEING REPORTED NOW THAN AT THE SAME TIME LAST YEAR SAYS STATE CHIEF MEDICAL OFFICER DOCTOR JENNIFER LAYDEN.
 
 
DR. LAYDEN. SHE SAYS MANY EMERGENCY ROOMS AND DOCTOR’S OFFICES REPORT BEING SWAMPED WITH FLU PATIENTS.
 
 
LAYDEN SAYS IT’S TOO EARLY TO SAY IF ILLINOIS FLU CASES HAVE PEAKED. SHE NOTES THE MOST COMMON STRAIN GOING AROUND OFTEN CARRIES MORE SEVERE SYMPTOMS.

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DeWitt County Development Council Looking Forward to 2018

With a pair of successful fundraising campaigns in the books, a part time employee hired and plenty of momentum behind them, the DeWitt County Development Council, or DCDC, is looking forward to a new year.
 
David Torbert is the President of the DCDC and indicates there's plenty to be excited about for the new year, including being a big donor for the developing CEO program through Clinton High School and many other central Illinois schools. 
 
 
The DCDC has hosted Leaders Breakfasts for local business leaders with topical information presented and Torbert indicates another is planned for next month.
 
 
Many would wonder what DCDC is doing to further economic development in Clinton and DeWitt County, and Torbert is hopeful as they continue to get themselves re-established, they can take on more and start to work to grow the business community.
 
 
Torbert says their Board is in good shape as they are almost full and they are very appreciative of the support they received again this year through their State Farm Challenge fundraising campaign. 
 
To learn more about the DCDC, visit dcdc-illinois.org or find them on Facebook. 

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DeWitt County Triad To Offer More Senior Seminars This Year

The group DeWitt County Triad, aimed at protecting local seniors through a variety of avenues, is planning a proactive year to be more active in front of seniors.
 
Connie Unruh indicates her involvement through Triad is to get in front of seniors and teach them about avoiding scams and falling victim to identity fraud. 
 
 
Teaching seniors the ins and outs of technology and what are real notifications and what are scams has been a focus for Triad in recent months. Unruh indicates that will likely be their starting point in early sessions and they will progress from there.
 
 
According to Unruh, Triad is trying to direct seniors, but also their families, to their Facebook page to keep as many people informed of the things coming up so they can keep their loved ones in the loop.
 
 
January 17 is the first targeted seminar at the DeWitt County Friendship Center. Contact the Friendship Center at 217-935-9411 for more information. 

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Sen. Rose Talks Upcoming Budget

The upcoming election cycle in Illinois could provide the base for another showdown in Springfield as budget time in Illinois looms on the horizon.
 
State Senator Chapin Rose knows the election may be the hold up in the budget process this spring but he's hopeful lawmakers will come together and put something together that will work for the people of Illinois.
 
 
The Governor will address the state later this month and then deliver his budget address in February.

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DeWitt County Roads in Good Shape After Winter Weather

With wintry weather past central Illinois, DeWitt County Sheriff Jered Shofner updated DeWitt County drivers this morning on road conditions.

 
 
Today's highs are expected in the 30s and by the end of the week we will see temperatures in the 50s. 
 
He notes primary roads are in good shape, secondary roads are a little slick but should improve.
 
He reminds motorists this is still winter weather, so slow down and give yourself a few extra minutes to get to your destination. 

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Arkansas Plant Board Rejects Proposed Changes to Dicamba Regulations

The Arkansas State Plant Board, as well as the board’s pesticide committee, made no changes to its proposed regulations on dicamba use in the state. 
 
An Arkansas Department of Agriculture spokesperson says, quote - “The  board met on Wednesday to consider a request from a subcommittee of the Arkansas Legislative Council to reconsider its recommendations on ‘scientific-based evidence,’ as well as creating northern and southern zones in the state, and ambient temperature and humidity as they relate to nighttime temperature inversions.” 
 
Both the plant board and the committee voted in favor of retaining the recommendations as they are currently written. The current recommendations prohibit the application of dicamba-based herbicides after April 15th of this year. 
 
However, according to Arkansas policy, the discussion isn’t done yet as the rule-making process in Arkansas is a little more complicated than many other states. 
 
The proposed regulations once again will head to the Administrative Rules and Regulations Subcommittee for consideration on January 16th.
 

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USDA Wants More Done to Combat Crop Insurance Fraud

The Inspector General at the U.S. Department of Agriculture says the Risk Management Agency hasn’t done enough to combat crop insurance fraud. 
 
Since 2001, the RMA has contracted with the Center for Agribusiness Excellence at Tarleton State University in Texas to collect data on producers who have unusual crop insurance claims that merit further review. Every year, the center produces lists of producers that might need to be spot-checked by the Farm Service Agency, as well as by private insurance companies.
 
Most farmers that wind up on the spot-check list reduce their claims after a review. In 2015, those lowered claims saved about $61 million. However, the USDA says the Risk Management Agency needs to expand its use of the data turned up by the Center for Agribusiness Excellence. 
 
For example, the inspector general says the RMA hasn’t collected information from the insurance reviews to identify any possible weakness in the insurance program. The IG also found that the Farm Service Agency is more likely to find fraud than most insurers are. 
 
The RMA is also going to finalize some changes in their review processes to better identify the root causes of insurance claim errors.

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Lincoln High School To Name Basketball Floor After Hall of Fame Coach, Neil Alexander

If you're a high school basketball fan in Illinois, when you talk about Lincoln Railers basketball the name Neil Alexander is likely not far behind.
 
The Hall of Fame basketball coach is going to have the floor he's coached on for a couple decades named in his honor this Saturday night at the Lincoln High School basketball game against Chicago Harlan. Superintendent of Lincoln High School, Bob Bagby says it's an honor well deserved.
 
 
Bagby says Alexander is always willing to do what is best for his student athletes but also the students of Lincoln High School. Alexander retired from teaching last year. 

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Keep That Furnace Maintained During Bitter Cold

Below-freezing temperatures have gripped the Midwest for about two weeks, and the weather taking its toll on many homes. 
 
Keeping the heat at a comfortable level may be overworking your furnace. Jay Barrett, Sales Manager at Barrett Heating and Cooling in Alton says properly maintaining your unit is important in getting efficient use out of the equipment.
 
 
Barrett says there are fewer parts that can break in electric heat exchangers, so they are seeing more calls for repairs coming in for furnaces powered by natural gas or oil.

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EPA Encouraging Public To Be Aware of Vehicle Recalls

THE ILLINOIS ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY IS URGING THE PUBLIC TO MAKE SURE THERE AREN’T ANY PENDING RECALLS FOR THEIR VEHICLES. 
 
THE I-E-P-A AND THE NATIONAL SAFETY COUNCIL ARE LAUNCHING THE “CHECK TO PROTECT” CAMPAIGN SAYS AGENCY SPOKESPERSON KIM BIGGS. THEY’RE ASKING MOTORISTS TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE CHECK TO PROTECT DOT ORG WEBSITE.
 
 
IT’S ESTIMATED THAT ONE OUT OF FOUR CARS OUT ON THE ROAD TODAY IN ILLINOIS HAS AN OPEN RECALL WHICH YOUR LOCAL DEALERSHIP WILL FIX FOR FREE. 
 
THAT WEBSITE AGAIN IS: CHECK TO PROTECT DOT ORG.

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Keeping Your Chimney Maintained Could Prevent House Fires

Illinois has seen deep cold in recent weeks, and some residents have the luxury of having a chimney for their home to keep warm. But one central Illinois fire official is reminding residents of the importance of proper chimney maintenance. 
 
Andy Goodall is the Assistant Fire Chief in Taylorville. He says homeowners should have their chimney inspected by a professional annually to make sure it is in working order.
 
Goodall says it’s also important to avoid using corrosive firewood in chimneys, as that will create buildup in the chimney that could spark a fire.

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Tax Credit Program Stirs Up $36-Million in Donations

One day after being able to donate to a new tax credit scholarship program the state says tens’ of millions have been pledged. The program was created during the process to reform school funding and it allows donors to apply a 75 percent tax credit up to 1 million dollar donation. Individuals or corporations are eligible to donate. 
 
So far $36 million has been donated to scholarship granting organizations around the state. The scholarships are to private K-12 schools and the application process to receive one begins on January 24th. Eligibility requirements maintain that students must come from homes that have an annual income below 300 percent of the federal poverty level. 
 
The dollars won’t be spread equally around the state. Donations are made in predetermined regions selected by the donor. 

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'Smart Street Lighting' On The Way in Illinois

THE STATE IS HELPING COMMUNITIES UPGRADE THEIR STREET LIGHTS TO ENERGY SAVING L-E-D’S. 
 
THE ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF INNOVATION AND TECHNOLOGY IS URGING MUNICIPALITIES TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE STATE’S NEW MASTER CONTRACT FOR SMART STREET LIGHTING. ACTING SECRETARY KIRK LONBOM SAYS SWITCHING TO L-E-D LIGHTS WILL BENEFIT LOCAL BUDGETS.
 
LONBOM SAYS THEY WILL BE REACHING OUT TO LOCAL OFFICIALS.
 
 
THE CONTRACT GIVES LOCAL OFFICIALS ACCESS TO BETTER PRICING AND LONBOM HOPES TO OFFER MORE OPPORTUNITIES TO HELP COMMUNITIES UPGRADE TECHNOLOGIES IN THE FUTURE.

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Weekly Weather Summary

A brief break in the cold could be on the way but not before more wet, wintry weather. State Climotologist Jim Angel has more....
 

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Clinton High School Hosting Second Annual New Year's Shootout Saturday

The Clinton Maroons boys basketball program is going to be on display with some excellent basketball squads Saturday at Clinton High School and their coach calls this squad "the team Clinton has been waiting for for a long time".
 
At 8-3 overall and a matchup with Shelbyville Friday, the Maroons will take on Bloomington Central Catholic Saturday night in the cap of a day of basketball at Clinton High School. Coach Clay Haurberg indicates leading up to their contest, there is going to be some really good teams in town.
 
 
Coach Haurberg believes BCC is going to give the Maroons a good test and provide them with a good barometer for where they are as the postseason starts to get closer and closer.
 
 
Before the Maroons host BCC Saturday, they take on a tough Shelbyville squad on the road. Coach Haurberg calls it a big weekend for his team but has been pleased with their offensive effort most of the season and says their breakdowns come usually on defense and rebounding.
 
Game time Saturday night is at 7:30 pm and can be heard on The Big 1520 AM/92.3 FM WHOW and online at dewittdailynews.com. 

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U of I Extension Offers Tips on Reusing Christmas Trees

If you haven't taken down your Christmas tree yet, or maybe you have and it remains out in your yard waiting to be collected, there's plenty of things to do with it if you wanted to pull it back.
 
Candace Miller at the University of Illinois Extension Office indicates there are a lot of things you can do with a leftover Christmas tree. She explains simply setting it up in your yard can give natural wildlife a habitat this time of the year.
 
 
Repurposing your tree into a winter wreath can be an option. Miller explains just about any evergreen type works well for whatever you might end up doing with it.
 
 
If you're simply looking to discard the tree, Miller encourages a call to your local municipal building and inquiring about a recycling program they may offer or if they'll come and pick the tree up for you. 

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Expert Says Being Pro-Active Key To Farm Succession

The main key to passing the family farm from one generation to the next is being pro-active, according to Oklahoma State University professor, Dr. Shannon Ferrell.  NAFB Farm Broadcaster, Jared White, has more...
 

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Sears Closing More Illinois Stores

Sears Holdings is closing more Sears and K-mart stores. 
 
Kmart stores will close in West Frankfort, Mt. Vernon and Rockford. 
 
Sears stores will shut down in Orland Park, Bourbonnais and Marion. 
 
The stores are among more than a hundred that will close in March and April.

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Landmarks Illinois Seeking Nominations for Most Endangered List

Landmarks Illinois looking to add to its endangered historic places list. The deadline to nominate a site is January 15th says the agency’s Frank Butterfield. 
 
 
The list has been compiled since 1995 and recent additions include the Central High School and Neighborhood in Champaign, Marbold Farmstead in Greenview and the Massac Theatre in Metropolis.
 
To see the complete list or make a nomination visit www.landmarks.org.” 

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Governor Staying in Quincy

Governor Rauner is taking an up close look at the issue of health and safety at the Illinois Veterans Home in Quincy. 
 
He spent Wednesday night there and plans to stay there several days. 
 
The facility has seen 13 residents die after repeated outbreaks of Legionnaires' disease since 2015. Legionnaires is caused by bacteria in contaminated water. 
 
Legislative committees plan hearings next week into the issue.

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Independent Seed Dealer Sees Signs of Life in Ag Economy

Despite a rough planting and growing season, it still wasn’t that bad of a year in some parts of Western Illinois. That assessment from John Hennenfent—owner of Munson Hybrids in Galesburg.
 
 
Even though there’s been a stretch of depressed commodity prices, Hennenfent says the farm economy is not all doom and gloom in his part of the state. 
 
 
Munson added a Wisconsin warehouse in 2017 to better serve customers in the upper Midwest. 

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Gander Mountain Stores To Reopen in Four Illinois Locations

The roller coaster ride for the shuttered Gander Mountain is taking an upturn. 
 
The rebranded Gander Outdoors will open in Springfield, Peoria, Rockford and O’Fallon. 
 
The outdoors store was acquired last year by Camping World, which is slightly retooling the store's format.

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Durbin Continues Push for Dreamers To Stay Put

Senator Dick Durbin continues to lead the push for legislation that will keep young immigrants in the DACA program from being deported. 
 
He says public opinion is swinging in favor of keeping the dreamers in the US, whether the state is red or blue.
 
 
Last month, Republican Illinois Congressmen Rodney Davis and Adam Kinzinger and 30 of their GOP colleagues signed a letter to Paul Ryan stressing the need for legislation that protects DACA recipients from deportation. 

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Congressman Davis Says Farm Bill Top Priority in 2018

One of Central Illinois Congressman Rodney Davis’ top priorities for 2018 is a new farm bill. He wants to keep the many effective parts of the current farm bill in place while strengthening the bill’s weaknesses.
 
 
Davis says the government also needs to promote agricultural research in higher education to encourage young people to fill future high-paying agricultural jobs. The existing farm bill expires later this year. 

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City of Clinton Faces Familiar Challenges in 2018

The biggest challenge facing the City of Clinton in 2018 is one that is very familiar but unsolved for community leaders. 
 
Stagnation is how City Administrator Tim Followell describes the current state of the community and indicates it is a challenge they are very familiar with but continue to try to address.
 
 
To fix the issue, Follow says it comes down to showcasing or improving the quality of life in the community. He says the community has a good amount of things to attract people to the community.
 
 
Followell says the City is always looking at the big picture and things that are going to be good for the community even when the decisions are tough. 

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DeWitt County Non-Profit Hoping For Private Funder For Season Program

Keeping homes warm and efficient can be a challenge for some with a modest income and a local non-profit does what it can to boost area families in those efforts.
 
But in 2018, a partnership could be in the works to expand the program known as the weatherization program through Community Action. Their Executive Director, Alison Rumler-Gomez says she cannot reveal the potential investor but they're excited about an opportunity that could be coming in 2018.
 
 
Funding for the weatherization program does not match the need they see at Community Action. Rumler-Gomez explains its about making their clients homes more efficient through simple, but sometimes costly upgrades.
 
 
Spending on a given project can reach upwards of $15-thousand and that can limit the amount of projects Community Action can fund. Rumler-Gomez indicates it's all about giving their clients more flexibility in their budgets to better themselves.
 
 
Rumler-Gomez hopes to have an announcement on the private-funder for the weatherization program early this year. She also encourages anyone interested in taking advantage of the program to get on their waiting list by calling their Lincoln corporate office at 217-732-2159. 

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Smoke Alarm Effort Underway Through State Fire Marshall's Office

The State Fire Marshall's office is teaming up with the Illinois Fire Safety Alliance to spread smoke alarms to more homes in the new year. 
 
Under the “Be Alarmed!” program, free smoke alarms with sealed 10-year batteries and fire safety tips will be distributed through a number of fire departments around the state. 
 
The smoke alarms will also be provided no assembly required as fire department personnel will install the alarms in homes.

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Illinois Leads in Outbound Moves

Illinois residents are leaving the state at a higher rate than other Americans leaving their home state. 
 
United VanLines reports Illinois has the highest percentage of outbound moves, ahead of the Tri-State area states of New Jersey, New York and Connecticut. Austin Berg with the Illinois Policy Institute population loss was a problem with roots in the early part of this decade.
 
 
Berg fears as people leave, so will companies.
 
 
The top four destination states in the National Movers Study are Oregon, Idaho, Nevada and Vermont. 

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2017 Sixth Warmest on Record

LAST YEAR WAS ONE FOR THE RECORD BOOKS ACCORDING TO THE STATE’S CLIMATOLOGIST.
 
2017 SHAPED UP TO BE THE SIXTH WARMEST YEAR ON RECORD IN ILLINOIS SAYS STATE CLIMATOLOGIST JIM ANGEL.
 
 
THOSE TEMPS DID VARY QUITE A BIT WITH FEBRUARY WAY ABOVE AVERAGE AND AUGUST PRETTY COOL. STATEWIDE PRECIPITATION LAST YEAR CAME IN MORE THAN TWO INCHES BELOW NORMAL. 
 
 
ANGEL SAYS ILLINOIS SAW A VERY WET SPRING BUT NOW THERE ARE A FEW SPOTS WITH DROUGHT CONDITIONS.

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Treasurer Streamlining Property Claims Process

STATE TREASURER MIKE FRERICHS SAYS GETTING ANY UNCLAIMED PROPERTY YOU’RE DUE IS NOW EASIER AND FASTER THAN EVER. 
 
TREASURER FRERICHS SAYS PAPERWORK HASSLES FOR HIS OFFICE'S I-CASH PROGRAM HAVE BEEN GREATLY REDUCED WITH TWO NEW WAYS TO FILE A CLAIM.
 
 
 FRERICHS SAYS “FAST TRACK” ALLOWS SMALL CLAIMS TO BE QUICKLY APPROVED.
 
 
TO SEARCH THE DATABASE AND SUBMIT A CLAIM FOR ANYTHING YOU’RE OWED, VISIT THE WEBSITE: ILLINOIS TREASURER DOT GOV BACKSLASH ICASH.

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Warner Library Leader Steps Down, New Director Named

The Warner Library in Clinton has a new leader.
 
Director Joan Rhoades stepped down as Director effective January 1, and Bobbi Perryman, previously serving as Assistant Director, has been promoted to Executive Director.
 
Rhoades has been with the library in various capacities since 1988. 
 
Perryman has been with the Library since 2000. 

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Tradewind Investing in More Than Land With Leases in DeWitt County

Investing in more than the land is the goal of the company planning a wind farm north of DeWitt County.
 
Tradewind Energy Development Director Tom Swierczewski says there's a lot of unique qualities in their relationship with their land owners. He recognizes the importance of the agreement that is in place with the company and the land owners and wants the land owners to be completely comfortable with what they're agreeing to.
 
 
According to Swierczewski, their land owners are not only encouraged to look over the documents with a lawyer, but Tradewind also goes as far as to cover their legal fees. He calls it a partnership with their landowners.
 
 
Swierczewski gets asked often the financial benefit for land owners and it can range anywhere from $10,000 to $20,000 per year.
 
 
This effort to sign landowners to leases is not anything recent. It dates back almost ten years and Swierczewski says they continue to sign land owners up and get support in the community.
 
 
The lease is also written with heavy consideration towards the landowner. Swierczewski explains the lease provides the landowner final approval before any dirt is moved or any equipment is put on their property.
 
 
Swierzcewski estimates between 85 and 140 turbines being constructed in rural DeWitt County, depending on the size of the turbines they decide to use. 
 
Tradewind hopes to have a proposal ready to present to the County in the first quarter of this year. 

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Push for Teachers Paying Off in Monticello

The Monticello Board of Education recently invested in local advertising efforts to find teachers for their vacancies in the district.
 
Superintendent of Monticello Schools, Dr. Vic Zimmerman indicates those efforts are paying off as they've been able to fill vacant positions.
 
 
Saying filling the vacancies was thanks to the billboards and advertisements is not something Dr. Zimmerman says is 100-percent accurate, he notes people did take notice of those things and reached out to them.
 
 
Dr. Zimmerman attributes the shortage of teachers to the environment of education when students that are now graduating were leaving high school.
 
 
Dr. Zimmerman also points to the State of Illinois' changes in the pension system as another factor in the educator shortage. He feels being an educator is still a great job to have and he feels Monticello Schools are a great place to work as well.
 
To find out more about jobs in Monticello, visit sages.us. 

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More Cold Air On Its Way

There’s a reason it’s been bitterly cold for much of Illinois. DTN ag meteorologist Bryce Anderson details the atmospheric conditions.
 
 
Wind chill advisories and wind chill warnings were set to expire throughout much of the state on Tuesday. 

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Flu Running Rampant This Season

The flu bug rang in the New Year with Illinois clearly in its grip. 
 
Hospital Sisters Health System has seen the number of flu cases in its hospitals throughout Southern and Central continue to expand. Jeff Hayes, Director of Quality and Patient Experience for the Central Illinois Division of HSHS, said the uptick in cases came quickly.
 
 
The Litchfield cases led to the closures of Litchfield Schools for two days. While there has been grumbling about the effectiveness of flu shots, Hayes says just because you may have the flu after getting the flu shot, doesn't mean your effort has been wasted.
 
 
In most recent Illinois Department of Public Health reports, the flu threat has been upgraded from a regional concern to a widespread one. 

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Congressman Davis Mocks Bernie Sanders

Republican Congressman Rodney Davis of Taylorville says he continues to get positive feedback about the recently passed tax reform plan as he travels along the 13th Congressional District. Davis blasted one of the high profile opponents of the reform plan while touting its benefits.
 
 
Davis says Illinoisans will see the benefits of the tax plan in less than a month.
 
 
Davis says tax reform will make American companies more competitive in the global economy.

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Tradewind Energy Acknowledges Objectors, Wants To Work Together For Betterment of Community

The proposed windfarm in DeWitt County has drawn the ire of a faction of DeWitt County community members and it is not going unnoticed by the company hoping to set up their towers on the north side of the county.
 
Tom Swierczewski is the Development Director for Tradewind and recognizes there are objectors in the community but hopes they can work together and everyone get what they want.
 
 
Tradewind broke ground last month on a location on the downtown square and Swierczewski invites anyone at any time to come in and have a conversation about any concerns they have.
 
 
Contact information for Swierczewski is on the front door. With the holidays now in the rear view window, Tradewind hopes to set and published office hours. 

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Clinton Public Works Department to Begin Collection of Christmas Trees This Week

The Public Works Department within the City of Clinton will begin collection of those discarded Christmas trees this week.
 
Public Works Director Steve Lobb reminds residents they collect those live Christmas trees that are likely to be taken down this week, if they haven't been already.
 
 
According to Lobb, they will collect trees for about two weeks but if residents don't get those out in the next few weeks, collections will likely continue as brush pickup starts up again.
 
 
For those able, Lobb reminds residents the yard waste facility will also take those trees if you don't want to wait for crews to get to your home to collect the tree. 

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Winter at the Miller Park Zoo

Area students still have a few days before school reconvenes and a local entity in Bloomington-Normal is hoping you'll consider paying them a visit during this time.
 
If you're looking for something to do this winter, Superintendent of the Miller Park Zoo, Jay Tetzloff, indicates that the zoo may be the place for you.
 
 
Snow leopards, which have no cold weather restrictions, will be out and about, enjoying the chilly weather as well as house cats. 
 
The Miller Park Zoo is open everyday of the year, with two exceptions for Thanksgiving and Christmas, from 9:30 AM until 4:30 PM.

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Social Security Cost of Living Adjustment in the New Year

With the new year comes changes with Social Security.
 
According to Jack Myers, the Cost of Living Adjustment will be a 2 percent benefit raise that will start to show up on social security checks in January.
 
 
Myers adds that the Cost of Living Adjustment is directly related to inflation and is automatically adjusted to reflect that inflation due to the language in the Social Security Act.
 
 
To learn more about Social Security, you can visit www.ssa.gov.

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Facilities Planning in Heyworth School District

Facilities planning is in its early stages in the Heyworth school district.
 
According to superintendent of Heyworth, Lisa Taylor, two architectural contracts have been approved and the next step is to come up with a protype classroom.
 
 
Taylor continues to add that the high school is a hub of the community and that they'd like for the community to have a voice in the expanding of their facilities.
 
 
Taylor indicates that there will be a couple community forums in January and February to discuss facilities planning and 21st Century Learning.

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Threats at Clinton Junior High School, The Vault Top Stories for 2017

As we enter a new year, today on Regional Radio News, we're looking back on 2017 and the top five stories from the year.
 
No. 5 (From February)
 
>>Clinton High School Set To Roll Out CDL Program Later This Month
 
If you're a farmer or grain elevator operator, a first of its kind program at Clinton High School might get your attention.
 
Clinton High School is set to roll out their long anticipated CDL program later this month. Principal Jerry Wayne indicates they have six students ready to begin the course in partnership with Richland Community College.
 
 
According to Wayne, the program will come at no cost to students as Write Stuff For Kids of Clinton has stepped up to foot the bill to start out.
 
Wayne believes the six students initially in the program is a good starting point for the program. He hopes to see that number grow as the program continues to build.
 
 
Wayne indicates this is the first CDL program offering at the high school level in Illinois. He credits Superintendent Curt Nettles with putting in the legwork to get this program off the ground. 
 
UPDATE: By the end of the spring semester, around a half-dozen students had completed the course at Clinton High School and administrators anticipate the program continuing forward again in 2018.
 
No. 4 (From February)
 
>>Clinton City Council Approves Gas Station, Micro-Brew Groundwork
 
The groundwork has been laid for a new gas station and micro-brew businesses in Clinton.
 
Monday night at the Clinton City Council meeting, the Council approved bringing an area of the community into a TIF district for a new gas station in Clinton. City Administrator Tim Followell indicates there's also a TIF re-development agreement for the coming oil company.
 
According to Followell, once the plans are all finalized at the next Council meeting, that will open the door for the company to begin the process of acquiring the properties on that block and begin their preparations of the land.
 
 
Additionally, the Council began laying the foundation for the community to host the increasingly popular micro-breweries. According to Followell, the Council approved the re-zoning of areas of town to host these establishments.
 
 
With the ordinance change, the next step for the community is to wait for the developers to come forward with plans. 
 
UPDATE: The MachOne gas station has begun construction with plans to have an opening in the spring.
 
The micro-brew, planned for downtown Clinton, continues its development in the former dry cleaners location.
 
No. 3 (From December)
 
>>Ribbon Cutting Held For Trade Wind Energy Location in Downtown Clinton
 
A special ribbon cutting ceremony and open house was held Tuesday morning to welcome Trade Wind Energy to the Clinton business community.
 
The location will be next to the Edward Jones location in the former Magill Hotel, owned by the DeWitt County Restoration Association, or DCRA. Tom Swierczewski is Development Director for Trade Wind and speaks highly of the organization and says their retail space was too good to pass up.
 
Trade Wind Energy comes to the community with the goal of establishing a wind farm on the northwest portion of the county but according to Swierczewski, they also want to be a good community partner and give back and invest in local groups. 
 
 
Adams says having Trade Wind Energy join Edward Jones Financial in the Magill Hotel. She adds the addition of Trade Wind Energy is also a vote of support for wind energy in DeWitt County.
 
 
Swierczewski invites anyone to stop by their office to sit down and talk about the issues that are already present with Trade Wind Energy's presence in the community. They are located on the north side of the square next to Edwards Jones Financial in the former Magill Hotel. 
 
No. 2 (From February)
 
>>Clinton Jr. Hig School Put on Lockdown After Threat
 
An unsubstantiated threat forced the lockdown of Clinton Junior High School this morning.
 
Authorities were notified this morning shortly after 9 am of a threat made to the junior high school inscribed on a bathroom stall. Police Chief Ben Lowers indicates a thorough search of the school found the threat to be unfounded and students were released to normal activities just after 10:30 am.
 
With this being the second unfounded threat to the school in as many weeks, the Chief says they will take each threat seriously regardless of the source and treat students and staff safety as their top priority.
 
 
Authorities continue to investigate the threat. 
 
[Less than a week later] Local authorities were once again called to Clinton Junior High School Tuesday at approximately noon for another threat made to the school.
 
A threat to the building was made for the third time in less than three weeks and according to a message sent via School Reach, the threat, which forced the lockdown of students, was once again unsubstantiated after two thorough searches of the building. 
 
[The next day] Clinton Junior High School students gathered for an all-student body assembly first thing Wednesday morning in light of a rash of threats made at the building.
 
According to Superintendent Curt Nettles, the message from him was the behavior was appreciation for 99-percent of the student body that go through the day without causing a disturbance.
 
One final threat was discovered after school hours and the string of incidents ceased by the end of the month. 
 
No. 1
 
>>The Vault Project Ready To Move Forward
 
The Vault is a grassroots movement by a Clinton woman to bring a place for youth to have a safe place to hang out and find help if they need it.
 
Michelle Witzke set out to raise approximately $60-thousand for The Vault and in community support this year she has raised triple that. She explains there is enough to close on the building on the square and get started working on sustainability.
 
 
According to Mark Witzke, they expect to close on the site in the next few weeks with getting plans together soon thereafter. He hopes to get the project going with construction around mid-to-late summer.
 
 
Michelle says the community has been a great support so far. She explains a lot of skilled labor is going to be donated which should help them save a lot of money.
 
 
Along with entertainment that has been picked out by the youth, there will be support services. Witzke envisions counseling and tutoring along with other types of support services.
 
 
Witzke says they are aiming for $440-thousand for labor and construction costs but they will need additional monthly pledges to help keep the project going and sustainable.
 
Renovation of the inside of the former 'Indecent Xposure' is getting completely gutted inside and they are focused on getting things just the way they want inside.
 
 
Witzke hopes to have the first level of the facility by February of next year and the lower level complete by June of next year. She is thankful for all those that have helped out to this point.
 
 
Funding for The Vault continues to be a positive as well. Witzke indicates they have officially received their non-profit designation and have received several grants in recent months.
 
 
explains they have started a program for monthly giving for anyone interested.
 
 
While financial contributions are very much welcome and appreciated, Witzke hopes skilled laborers will consider giving of their time or supplies. She says having those contributions could be a big boost in the future.
 
 
According to Witzke, The Vault has raised just short of $260,000 and they would like to reach $300,000 by years end. She also points out they are a 501-C3 charitable organization.
 
She indicates reaching $300,000 would allow them to open their first floor of the former Indecent X-Posure building on the square and achieve part of their goal for providing a safe place for youth to go in the community.

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