Local News

Wind Energy Labor Leader Talks Jobs

Discussion, even criticism at times, surrounding a potential wind energy project in DeWitt County has been the aspect of jobs coming to the County.
 
The labor leader of such jobs recently sat down on the WHOW Morning Show to discuss the aspect of local jobs. Randy Harris says any time you discuss construction jobs and them being temporary jobs, the careers are permanent but any job is temporary.
 
 
According to Harris, they have worked with Tradewind in other projects in the midwest and he feels they are going to be a good partner in keeping jobs local.
 
 
Because of the booming industry of wind energy in central Illinois, Harris says they will have a lot of workers that come from not only central Illinois but also DeWitt County.
 
 
A lot has been made about Tradewind selling the project once it is off the ground. Project Development Director, Tom Swierczewski says it is a standard practice to sell the project and calls Enel a top-notch company to do business with.
 
 
Harris backs the comments of Swierczewski noting this is how the industry operates and the transition is seemless for the community. 

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Community Action Executive Director To Begin Teaching

The Executive Director of Community Action is going to take a more active role with their clients.
 
Alison Rumler-Gomez is going to begin leading and entrepreneurial class for their clients and she says it's exciting for her because she's always had a passion for teaching.
 
 
According to Rumler-Gomez, starting a small business can be a way for a portion of their clientele to stay off the welfare system. She says sometimes it can be as simple as filling a $300-$400 gap.
 
 
The class will also address financial pieces to running a business and individuals setting themselves up financially to do that. She hopes to give their clients the confidence to take on a small business if they're motivated to do so.
 
 
Gomez encourages a visit to capcil.info and checking out their 'Client Management" page for details on the start date for the course and you can get involved. 

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Monticello Schools Ready To Move Forward With Facilities Updates

The third time was a charm for a facilities referendum in Monticello and school leaders in the community are ready to move forward.
 
Superintendent Dr. Vic Zimmerman says a renovation and expansion of current facilities was what the community wanted and now they will work to get an architect hired and then work on construction management for the project.
 
 
Dr. Zimmerman points out high-quality facilities are expected for a good education environment and says bringing those up to 21st century standards are important for preparing students for what is next in their lives.
 
 
Dr. Zimmerman says the cost of the project will come up just short of $30-million. He says they are currently working on the financing pieces and the district is estimating for no more than a 26-cent increase on the current tax rate, leaving it still one of the lowest rates in the area. 

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Warner Library To Digitize Civil War Books Thanks To Grant

More items will be added to the digital archives at the Vespasian Warner Public Library District with support of a digitization grant of $1,888 from the Illinois Prairie Community Foundation. 
 
The funding will allow the library to transcribe and digitize three handwritten books, which show the contributions of DeWitt County men who served in the Union Army during the Civil War.
 
Two of the books are muster roll books for the 20th Illinois Regiment, Company E, which record the names of the men who served in the company, where they fought, who was wounded, killed, or deserted.  
 
The third is a book of personal experiences created in 1891 by the local chapter of the Grand Army of the Republic.  These are first-hand accounts of the contributions DeWitt County made to preserve the Union, which do not exist elsewhere.
 
All three books are unique and irreplaceable.  Because of the nature of the books and their fragile condition, they are not currently accessible to the public. However, through the transcription and digitization process, the books will be made available for everyone to enjoy.
 
The Vespasian Warner Public Library District has more than 900 local history items in its collection which can be accessed for free at http://www.vwarner.org/local-history. 
Transcription of the books has already been started and the final digitized items will be uploaded to the archive in the spring of 2019. 
 
For more information, contact the library at 217-935-5174 or stop in to 310 North Quincy Street. 

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Bill Targets Videos of Accident Scenes

RUBBERNECKERS ARE GOING TO HAVE TO PUT THE PHONE DOWN UNDER LEGISLATION PASSED BY THE HOUSE FRIDAY.
 
IT’S ALREADY ILLEGAL TO USE YOUR PHONE WHILE DRIVING, BUT REPRESENTATIVE CHARLES MEIER OF HIGHLAND WANTS TO RAMP UP THE PENALTIES FOR THOSE TRYING TO GET VIDEO OF AN ACCIDENT SCENE.
 
 
THE BILL ALSO NEEDS APPROVAL FROM THE SENATE AND GOVERNOR TO BECOME LAW.

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Sexual Assault Nurse Legislation Has Ramped up Timetable

A new amendment to legislation in Illinois designed to improve the medical community's response to sexual assault calls for hospitals to train nurses in sexual assault care by 2021. 
The initial proposal set the deadline for 2023. Under the bill, hospitals would have to have a specially trained medical provider present within 90 minutes of a sexual assault patient's arrival.
 
The Illinois Health and Hospital Association says the time frame would not give hospitals enough time to train an estimated 650 nurses that would be needed to meet the proposed standard. 

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Legislation Protects Samaritans Freeing Animals Locked in Hot Cars

HOUSE LAWMAKERS PASSED A BILL THURSDAY PROTECTING GOOD SAMARITANS RESCUING A DOG OR CAT LOCKED IN A HOT CAR. 
 
THE MEASURE PROVIDES SOME LIABILITY RELIEF FOR SOMEONE WHO MUST BREAK A WINDOW TO FREE A DOG OR CAT IN SERIOUS DANGER. IT’S SPONSORED BY REPRESENTATIVE DAVID OLSEN OF DOWNERS GROVE WHO SAYS THE GOOD SAMARITAN MUST STILL TREAD CAREFULLY.
 
 
THE SENATE AND GOVERNOR MUST ALSO APPROVE THE LEGISLATION BEFORE IT BECOMES LAW.

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Secretary Of State Partnering With White Sox

Secretary of State Jesse White may have been a Chicago Cubs farmhand in his younger days, but when it comes to the life or death game of organ and tissue donation, he easily finds himself on the same team with the Southsiders. 
 
White joined Pale Hose announcer Ed Farmer for a Monday press conference. Farmer wasn't on hand just to hear his own voice. The topic hits close to home.
 
 
Mr White Sox himself, Harold Baines, was also on hand for the White's press conference.

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Weekly Weather Summary

It was a more seasonable week in central Illinois this past week and state climotoligist Jim Angel gives us an idea of what to expect next week.
 

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Bill Aims To Protect Identity of Lottery Winners

BIG MONEY LOTTERY WINNERS COULD REMAIN ANONYMOUS UNDER LEGISLATION CLEARING THE SENATE THIS WEEK.
 
CURRENTLY…A LOTTERY WINNER’S NAME, ADDRESS AND SIZE OF THE JACKPOT ARE A MATTER OF PUBLIC RECORD. BUT UNDER A BILL FROM SENATOR LAURA MURPHY OF DES PLAINS…WINNERS OF MORE THAN 250 THOUSAND DOLLARS COULD SUBMIT A WRITTEN REQUEST TO KEEP THEIR INFORMATION CONFIDENTIAL.
 
 
THE WINNER’S INFO WOULD STILL BE ACCESSIBLE VIA A FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT REQUEST. THE BILL NOW HEADS TO THE HOUSE FOR CONSIDERATION.

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Clinton High School Band To Get New Uniforms

If you are out to catch a Clinton High School football game next year, you'll notice a new look for the high school band.
 
The Board of Education last week approved new uniforms for the group led by Nathan Wheeler and Superintendent Curt Nettles says the current uniforms date back to when Mr. Wheeler was a student at CHS.
 
 
The band raised 12-thousand dollars and Nettles indicates the rest will come from the school budget.
 
 
In December, the Band Boosters began a drive to raise money for the new band uniforms. 

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Monticello Approves New Public Works Building

This week, the Monticello City Council approved a new public works building.
 
Mayor Larry Stoner says it will consolidate their current operation as they are spread all over the community at different locations.
 
 
According to the Mayor, the new building will be a much bigger facility and replace a tract of land with a couple small buildings. He feels it will be a much better situation for the department.
 
 
There will be an expansion of their machine shed service area to repair their vehicles. Additionally, the Mayor points it will have new offices for their staff as well.
 
 
Designs on the project will start to come out in the coming months. This project gets approval at the same time the City has an ongoing wastewater treatment rebuild happening as well. 

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Sen. Rose Sponsoring Mahomet Aquifer Legislation

Protecting the Mahomet Aquafer is the aim of legislation approved by the Senate Thursday. Ray Watt has the story....
 

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Jerry Kill Named SIU Athletic Director

Former Southern Illinois football coach Jerry Kill is taking over the athletics department, effective immediately.
 
Chancellor Carlo Montemagno made the move Thursday after deciding not to renew athletic director Tommy Bell's contract, which expires next month. He says it is time "to make a change in leadership that will help the program fulfill its potential."
 
Kill coached at SIU from 2001 until 2007, leading the Salukis to three straight Gateway Conferences championships. He also coached at Northern Illinois and Minnesota, where he was named 2014 Big Ten Coach of the Year before seizures caused by his epilepsy forced him to step down. He served as offensive coordinator at Rutgers in 2017, retiring from coaching in December.
 
He returned to SIU in January as a special assistant to Montemagno. The chancellor said he has not yet established a timeframe for Kill's new role but said he will oversee athletics "for the immediate future."

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Rauner: Don't Blame Me For Late Fees

Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza says the state has paid out more than a billion dollars in late fees on overdue payments in the past three years. 
 
Governor Bruce Rauner says Mendoza is pointing her finger in the wrong direction with the political blame game.
 
 
Rauner had more colorful adjectives to put in play...
 
 
Illinois late-pay charges since mid-2015 have reached $1.14 billion. That's $100 million more than the amount for the previous 18 years.

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Local Lawmakers Sponsoring Specific Tax Revenue Estimate Declaration

Illinois Republican Leaders Senator Bill Brady and Representative Jim Durkin are sponsoring a resolution declaring a specific tax revenue estimate for Illinois, which they say is necessary to craft a new state budget…
 

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Comprehensive Plan for DeWitt County in Early Stages of Development

DeWitt County is working to develop a 15-20 year comprehensive plan for its future.
 
Pete Iosue (eye-oh-see) with Teska (tusk-uh) Associates is developing the plan and indicates it is going to be very thorough. Everything from parks to economic development and financials, the plan will be a roadmap for the future.
 
 
Iousue indicates everything is in the early stages of getting the plan together. He hopes later this year they have more details for the community but before that, they plan to engage the community about what they would like to see.
 
 
As Teska Associates does their own research, Iosue says they are finding some interesting demographics of the County. What stands out to Iousue is that the County has a very low tax rate and the median age is a little higher than surrounding areas.
 
 
Iousue indicates they look at factors for people to quote- "age in place" but also attract young families to the community. 
 
There is also a survey to be taken. You can take that survey and get more information at www.dewittcountyplan.com. 

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DNR Officials Dealing With Interesting Deer Case in McLean

A community deer is not necessarily becoming a problem in a small McLean County community, but it could be.
 
A deer has for some time, been roaming the community and is friendly towards people but it's not as innocent as it seems. DNR Conservation officer, John Williamson explains the people of McLean, Illinois can approach the deer without it getting spooked.
 
 
While it may not seem like a big deal, Williamson says it can turn dangerous very quickly. He explains when deer go into heat, they become very aggressive, and if you get a doe with fawns, they can be a danger to anyone near them.
 
 
So what do authorities do in these situations? Williamson indicates they've met with the community about how getting the deer to a rehabber will be done. He indicates getting the deer rehabbed, and ready go back into the wild could take quite a while.
 
 
According to Williamson, they are not releasing where the deer will go. He indicates the belief this particular deer is approaching one year old. 
 
Deer can live upwards of 15 years in the wild and approach 20 years in captivity. 

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Senate Passes Bill Banning Tobacco Sales To People Under 21

YOU WILL HAVE TO BE AT LEAST 21 TO BUY TOBACCO PRODUCTS IN ILLINOIS UNDER A BILL PASSED BY THE ILLINOIS SENATE WEDNESDAY. 
 
THE MEASURE RAISES THE AGE TO PURCHASE SMOKES FROM 18 TO 21. SUPPORTERS, LIKE SENATOR JOHN MULROE OF CHICAGO, SAY THIS WILL REDUCE THE NUMBER OF SMOKERS SINCE MANY PEOPLE GET STARTED IN THEIR TEENS.
 
 
BUT OPPONENTS, LIKE SENATOR KYLE MCCARTER OF VANDALIA, SAYS 18 AND 19 YEAR OLDS ARE OLD ENOUGH TO DECIDE FOR THEMSELVES.
 
 
SOME COMMUNITIES, MOST RECENTLY PEORIA, HAVE ALREADY RAISED THE SMOKING AGE. NOW IT’S UP TO THE HOUSE TO APPROVE THE STATEWIDE LEGISLATION.

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Bill Allows Public To Show FOID Card Electronically

FORGOT YOUR FOID CARD? NO PROBLEM UNDER LEGISLATION PASSED BY THE SENATE WEDNESDAY. 
 
THE BILL LETS THE STATE POLICE CREATE AN ONLINE DATABASE THAT THE PUBLIC CAN USE TO PULL UP THEIR FOID OR CONCEALED CARRY CARD ELECTRONICALLY IF THEY NEED TO SHOW PROOF. IT’S SPONSORED BY QUAD CITIES SENATOR NEIL ANDERSON.
 
 
HIS BILL LETS THE STATE POLICE CREATE AN ONLINE DATABASE PEOPLE CAN USE TO PULL UP THEIR CARD IF REQUIRED.
 
 
IT’S CURRENTLY A MISDEMEANOR OFFENSE TO BE CAUGHT WITH A GUN BUT NO FOID CARD. A SIMILAR LAW LETS DRIVERS SHOW POLICE PROOF OF CAR INSURANCE ON THEIR PHONES.

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Mushroom Season In Illinois

A stretch of warm sunny weather has many in the state thinking about the morel mushroom season. 
 
It’s been a slow start due to unseasonably chilly April temperatures, but picking conditions should be getting good and soon says Tim Schweizer with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.
 
 
Schweizer reminds that mushroom hunting is permitted at state parks and you don’t need a license or have to pay for a permit, but turkey hunters have dibs on those sites until 1 p.m. each day during turkey season. 
 
The spring turkey hunting season runs through May 10th in the southern zone of Illinois and May 17th in the northern zone. 

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Legislation Advances Giving Frail Visitation Rights

Legislation designed to ensure visitation rights for people who have been prevented from visiting their sick or elderly parents.has breezed through the Illinois House. 
 
State Representative Sara Jimenez sponsored the Frail Individual Family Visitation Protection Act.
 
 
If a caregiver unreasonably prevents a family member from visiting a frail individual, the court may order the caregiver to permit visitation between the frail individual and the family member if the court finds that the visitation is in the frail individual's best interests. 
 
The bill now moves to the Senate. 

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Illinois Landmarks Added To Endangered List

Illinois State Fairgrounds facilities in Springfield and Du Quoin are in less than fair condition. 
That's the concern expressed by the historic preservation group Landmarks Illinois in their latest endangered historic buildings list. Landmarks President Bonnie McDonald says the Fairgrounds are part of an important staple of the Illinois way of life.
 
 
McDonald is also concerned about two neighboring buildings at the Springfield fairgrounds: the shuttered Coliseum, which has been a destination for horse shows for decades, but is closed because of structural concerns. She's also concerned about an unlucky Barn #13....
 
 
Earlier this year, the state hired an engineering firm to repair Barn 13. At DuQuoin, over a dozen buildings at the fairgrounds need significant repairs and new roofs, but funding sources have not been secured. The Grandstand in particular needs a new roof. 

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Durbin Concerned About State Department

As Mike Pompeo gets his day in the US Senate for a nomination for Secretary of State, US Senator Dick Durbin says much of his concern lies in what’s become of the of infrastructure of the department. 
 
 
Durbin says President Trump has cut the budget at the State Department thirty percent and if Pompeo gets the nod to be the nation’s top diplomat he’ll need to step in and rebuild what’s be done. But Durbin says he’s seen little assurance that Pompeo will be willing to do just that. 

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Tradewind Representatives Pleased With Last Week's County Board Rulings

Compromise is how the development manager for the Alta Farms Wind Project in DeWitt County describes last week's rulings by the DeWitt County Board.
 
The County Board approved a 2000 foot setback distance for the turbines, a corporate zoning regulation that follows state law and decommissioning regulations. The Board, however, voted down a measure that would restrict the height of the towers to 499 feet.
 
Tom Swierczewski calls the decisions a compromise and says they were very concerned about the tower height restrictions but were pleased with the County's close decision.
 
 
While Tradewind has not submitted a design yet for application, Swierczewski indicates they are finalizing their design and encourages landowners that are participating and not participating to give their input on the design.
 
 
Swierczewski indicates they are considering machines that range from 480 feet to 600 feet. For comparison, in Macon County, their towers are roughly 496 feet. 

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Lincoln Heritage Committee Event At Warner Library Thursday

The Lincoln Heritage Committee of DeWitt County, the Warner Public Library, DeWitt 
County Genealogical Society, DeWitt-Clinton?Chapter DAR, and the C.H. Moore 
Homestead DeWitt County Museum together are present a program titled 
'Illinois'Bicentennial, With a Tip of the Hat to the Lincoln’s this Thursday night.
 
The presentation features Dr. Samuel Wheeler. Dr. Wheeler is the tenth State Historian in 
Illinois history and specializes in the history of the Prairie State, the Civil War Era, and the 
life and legacy of Abraham Lincoln. 
 
In addition to serving as a member of the Illinois Bicentennial Commission, Dr. Wheeler is 
the Director of Research and Collections at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and 
Museum in Springfield, where he oversees the state’s most treasured artifacts and 
documents related to the sixteenth president and the first two centuries of Illinois history.
 
The event will be held on Thursday night a 6:30 pm at the Warner Public Library's Revere 
Ware Room, 310 North Quincy Street in Clinton. For more information about this event,
please contact the Clinton Area Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Bureau at 217-935-
3364.

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DNR's Annual Clinton Lake Cleanup Day This Saturday

The annual Clinton Lake cleanup day hosted by the Department of Natural of Resources is this Saturday.
 
DNR CPO John Williamson hopes local residents who frequent the lake will take some time to come out, help out and give back to a resource that is a great benefit to the local community.
 
 
Williamson says they boy scout groups along with local outdoor groups that help. If they get enough manpower, they are typically done by noon. 
 
 
Williamson indicates they get everything fishing items to aluminum cans and plastic tubing. He speculates they still may be cleaning up garbage from when the lake was built in the 70s and they are still finding areas they haven't hit in years past. 

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Safe Digging Month in Illinois

Safe Digging Month winding down across Illinois, and Marianne Manko (Man-co) with the Illinois Commerce Commission says there’s a simple way to prevent serious accidents and that’s by locating underground utilities. You can do that through the JULIE system.
 
 
The Joint Utility Locating Information for Excavators or JULIE is available by dialing 811. This toll-free number operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. 
 
Locate requests have a 28-day life, so it is recommended the digging project begins within 14 calendar days from the call. 
 
Once a site has been accurately marked, it is safe to begin digging around the marked areas.

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NAFTA Ministers Back in Washington D.C. After Short Turnaround

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and his two counterparts in the North American Free Trade Agreement negotiations are back at it in Washington, D.C. 
 
This marks a quick turnaround for the Mexican Economy Secretary and Canadian Foreign Minister, who were just in Washington last week for a meeting that both countries described as “productive.” 
 
Negotiators stayed in D.C. over the weekend and kicked off their fourth-straight week of talks on Monday. One source told Politico that the pace of talks in basically up to Lighthizer, saying “concessions right now can only come from the USTR.” 
 
The source added that they haven’t seen any concessions from him yet. To further complicate things, President Trump once again took to Twitter and warned that the U.S. might make stricter immigration laws in Mexico “a condition of the new NAFTA agreement.”
 
Mexico quickly dismissed the idea, saying it would be unacceptable to condition the renegotiation of NAFTA to migratory actions outside this framework of cooperation. 
 
In spite of the Twitter complication, the outlook is still described as hopeful that the ministers can get a deal done as soon as possible. The quicker it happens, the better the chance of
getting an updated pact through Congress this year.

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Farmers for Free Trade Report Highlights Damage from Chinese Retaliation

Farmers for Free Trade released a new report that highlights the significant impact that Chinese retaliation from steel and aluminum tariffs will have on a number of U.S. industries. 
The report shows that many American commodities will be hit hard, including U.S. wine, almonds, walnuts, pork, cherry, and several other commodities. The report also says certain states’ economies will be hit very hard. 
 
The report is part of an ongoing effort by Farmers for Free Trade to show the negative impacts tariffs on American agriculture, as well as amplify the voices of farmers who are hurt by them. Some of the top states hit hardest will include California, Iowa, Washington, Missouri, and North Carolina. 
 
Chinese retaliatory tariffs are 15 percent on most products, while U.S. pork exports face a 25 percent tariff. Former Senators Richard Lugar and Max Baucus, Co-Chairs of Farmers for Free Trade, say tariffs end up as a tax on American farmers. 
 
“They increase the cost of exporting, depress the prices of farm futures, and end up hurting the bottom lines of farmers across the country,” the two say in a release. “They also incentivize trading partners like China to look elsewhere for their imports.” 
 
Lugar and Baucus point out that means trading relationships that took decades to develop can vanish overnight. Farmers for Free Trade is a bipartisan campaign to rebuild support for trade at the grassroots level.

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Farmer's Receiving Less of the Food Dollar Than Ever Before

Farmers are receiving less of the food dollar than ever before. NAFB's Micheal Clements has more…
 

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Fake Pot Kills Another

The death toll climbs. A fourth person is dead and it’s is being connected to synthetic cannabinoid use in Illinois. 
 
The Illinois Department of Public Health says it’s a woman in her 30’s from central Illinois. The IDPH recently received a massive donation of vitamin K to help in the on-going care of the sickened individuals. IDPH’s Director Dr. Nirav Shah says if anyone is using the drug and suffers from severe bleeding they need to get help quickly.
 
 
More than 150 people have become ill after using the fake pot that’s been laced with rat poison. Large amounts of vitamin K are needed in the treatment to help the patient’s blood clot again. That effort can include the person taking 30 pills a day for 6 months.

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Authorities Continue Distracted Driving Awareness Push

Two hands on the wheel if you’re listening in the car…. it’s distracted driving awareness week in Illinois. “Drop it and Drive” is this year’s slogan. 
 
Illinois Department of Transportation Secretary Randy Blankenhorn says we all need to pay more attention to the most important thing we are doing when were behind the wheel – driving.
 
 
The Illinois State Police will be on the lookout too. It’s a good reminder that there is no driving and texting and talking on a cell phone in a car has to be done hands free.

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Threat Found At Clinton Junior High School Tuesday

At approximately 3:25 pm Tuesday afternoon, authorities were notified of a threat to Clinton Junior High School.

 

Superintendent Curt Nettles says the threat, found on a bathroom wall, was deemed to be erroneous and normal protocols were followed and authorities were notified.

 

Clinton Police Chief Ben Lowers would not comment on the situation.

 

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County Board Chair Talks County Board's Wind Energy Decision

Last week, the DeWitt County Board approved three ordinance recommendations from the Regional Planning Commission and the Zoning Board of Appeals and rejected another.
 
Board Chair David Newberg indicates one upheld recommendation dealt with state laws regarding corporate limits. This gives local governments more control over these issues. He calls it a common-sense measure. 
 
 
The other ordinances dealt with setbacks and decommissioning. According to Newberg, they set in place requirements for funding to be available to bring down the towers. Additionally, the setbacks from structures will become 2000 feet.
 
 
A height restriction of 499 feet was shot down by the County Board Thursday. Newberg indicates the vote shows the difference in opinions of Board members.
 
 
Newberg says his position on the tower heights was he did not believe restricting the height would kill the project so he voted for the ordinance change. 
 
 
Newberg recognizes it is not often the Board goes against the recommendations of the Zoning Board of Appeals but notes there were three of four ordinance recommendations passed.
 
He feels the County Board has a lot of integrity and they made the decision they thought was best for DeWitt County.

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Weekly Crop Report

CORN PLANTING IS SLOWLY GETTING UNDERWAY AS WE HEAR IN THE WEEKLY CROP REPORT. 
 
ON AVERAGE THERE WERE LESS THAN THREE DAYS SUITABLE FOR FIELD WORK THIS PAST WEEK. CROP STATISTICIAN MARK SCHLEUSENER SAYS PRODUCERS WERE ABLE TO GET SOME CORN IN THE GROUND.
 
 
FOUR PERCENT OF WINTER WHEAT HAS HEADED AND THE CONDITION OF THE CROP HAS IMPROVED SLIGHTLY TO 56 PERCENT IN GOOD TO EXCELLENT CONDITION. 
 
 
AVERAGE STATEWIDE TOPSOIL MOISTURE IS RATED AT THREE PERCENT SHORT…80 PERCENT ADEQUATE AND 17 PERCENT SURPLUS.

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Madigan Remains Head of Democratic Party

Speaker of the House Mike Madigan remains the leader of the Democratic Party in Illinois. 
 
The in Springfield marks the sixth time Madigan has been elected state party chair. He says going into this election cycle that his party is together and ready to win in November.
 
 
Madigan told a radio show on Monday that he’s a very young 76 and has no plans on retiring from political life. 

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Legislation Addresses Women, Mammogram Notifications

STATE LAWMAKERS ARE WORKING ON LEGISLATION TO HELP BETTER DETECT BREAST CANCER.
 
THE HOUSE PASSED A BILL THIS WEEK REQUIRING DOCTORS TO LET PATIENTS KNOW AFTER A MAMMOGRAM IF THEY HAVE DENSE BREAST TISSUE, WHICH CAN INCREASE THE RISK OF BREAST CANCER. REPRESENTATIVE MICHAEL MCAULIFFE OF CHICAGO IS SPONSORING THE MEASURE.
 
 
A SIMILAR BILL IS PENDING IN THE SENATE. LAST YEAR LAWMAKERS PASSED A LAW REQUIRING INSURANCE COVERAGE OF AN M-R-I IF DOCTORS WANT TO TAKE A CLOSER LOOK AFTER A MAMMOGRAM. REPRESENTATIVE PATTI BELLOCK OF WESTMONT SAYS WOMEN NEED TO KNOW THEIR OPTIONS FOR FURTHER TESTING…SINCE IT CAN BE HARDER TO DETECT PROBLEMS FOR SOME.
 
 
ILLINOIS LAW ALREADY REQUIRES INSURANCE COVERAGE OF AN M-R-I FOR WOMEN WITH DENSE BREASTS IF A DOCTOR IS UNSATISFIED WITH A MAMMOGRAM.

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Food, Farming Cool Again

Xavier (Zay-vee-yur) Morgan grew up in Chicago, not typically a place you might think would interest someone in farming or food issues. But he went to the Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences. And, he's now a senior studying agriculture policy and leadership at the University of Illinois; 
 
 
One of Morgan's classmates at the U of I, Danielle Brinkmann of Carlyle, is one of the few students in the U-of-I ag college that grew up on a farm;
 
 
Brinkmann and Morgan could be hot commodities when they graduate, since some farming and food-related jobs go unfilled. That's a big reason some Illinois high schools and junior colleges have re-started agricultural curriculums. 

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Effingham County A 'Sanctuary State For Gun Owners'

The Effingham County Board has passed a resolution declaring the county as a “sanuctuary for gun owners”. 
 
Although the resolution may not have much legal standing, county board member David Campbell says it is more about standing up to the state of Illinois that he says is infringing on residents’ unalienable rights. Campbell says many other Illinois counties have inquired about Effingham County’s resolution since it was passed.
 
 
Campbell says the county’s resolution was modeled after Iroquois County’s resolution that also has already been approved.

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E-Coli Concerns Expanding To More Products

As answers continue to be sought from public health officials on an e-coli outbreak the suggestion is to avoid more types of romaine lettuce. 
 
The Illinois Department of Public Health says that 53 cases have been confirmed nationwide with one in Illinois. And now IDPH says leave whole heads of romaine lettuce in the store.
 
 
That’s Melaney Arnold with IDPH. She adds that you can ask the store where their lettuce comes from; you’re trying to avoid products from Yuma, Arizona. 
 
Arnold notes that many stores have pulled it already, but you can remain safe by avoiding any unknown product all together. 

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Durbin Holding Off Backing Pompeo

The US Senate is poised to vote on the nomination of Mike Pompeo as Secretary of State. The first vote comes from the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and then the whole Senate gets’ their say. 
 
US Senator Dick Durbin says he still has to wait for some assurances out of Pompeo on how he may calm the waters surrounding national security. 
 
 
It looks like the vote will be very close both at the committee level and in the full Senate. A full nomination vote is expected later this week.

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Donation To Help Fake Weed Victims Get Better

State health officials are still dealing with the fallout from a tainted synthetic cannabis epidemic that sickened hundreds and killed 3. 
 
Individuals who have taken the drugs and are in recovery have lengthily ongoing treatments to do and those efforts have been given a boost by a big donation. Valeant Pharmaceuticals is giving the state 800,000 tablets of vitamin K. IDPH Director Nirav Shah says the users of laced drugs are in need of help.
 
 
Those who have been impacted by using the drug could have a long road to recovery. Patients may have to take 30 vitamin K tablets a day for six months. The donated tablets will make the treatment free for those in need.

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AAA Talks National Distracted Driving Month

Distracted Driving Awareness Month is nearly over, but law enforcement and transportation officials are joining forces in the final days of April to grab driver attention. 
 
A half million dollars in federal highway safety funds will be split between nearly a hundred police agencies to step up distracted driving enforcement through April 30. 
 
Beth Mosher with Triple A, a partner in the safety effort, talks about the core values of the campaign.
 
 
Mosher says the campaign is also tackling one of the biggest distracted driving issues, highway hypocrisy.
 
 
Sending or receiving a text takes a driver's eyes off the road for an average of 4.6 seconds, the equivalent of driving blind at 55 mph for the length of a football field.

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Clinton High School Names New Football Coach

The Clinton Maroons will be under the direction of Chris Ridgeway, last year's defensive coordinator.
 
Superintendent Curt Nettles made the announcement Monday afternoon that Ridgeway would succeed Nick Blackburn, who stepped down as head coach of the program earlier this year.
 
 
Nettles indicates the fact Ridgeway if familiar with the students and the community was a big selling point but also feels his vision for the program is one they were sold on.
 
 
This will be the third coach in three years for the Maroons and Nettles says Ridgeway wants to be here for the long-term and invest in the lower levels of football in the community.
 
 
Ridgeway will be approved as the new coach at the next Clinton Board of Education meeting in May. 

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Clinton Police Looking For Information in Local Vandalism Case

The Clinton Police Department is asking for the public’s assistance with any information regarding criminal damage to property incident. 
 
Sometime during the overnight hours Saturday, a suspect vehicle drove into/over the mechanical box at the medical helicopter landing zone off of Cromwell Drive on the north side of Memorial Park Cemetery. 
 
Anyone with information is urged to call Clinton Police at 217-935-9441 or Clinton Area Crime Stoppers at 217-935-3333.
 

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Clinton Schools Continue To Work Towards Increase in Teacher Pay

Teacher pay has been the reason for numerous teacher walkouts and strikes in various parts of the country and Clinton Schools are working to make sure that doesn't happen.
 
Superintendent Curt Nettles had hoped a resolution would get voted on last week at the monthly Board of Education meeting but that was put on hold as more details come together.
 
 
With a teacher shortage on the hands of school leaders in Illinois, Nettles says it is very important to make teaching in Clinton attractive to retain the good educators they have.
 
 
The pay increase is for support staff and administration but teachers currently have one year left on the contract they negotiated three years ago.
 
Nettles feels there needs to be the focus on making sure teachers are paid fairly. 

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Clinton YMCA Strong Kids Campaign Underway

The most important fundraising campaign of the year is underway for a local non-profit.
 
The Clinton YMCA's annual Strong Kids campaign kicked off last week and Executive Director Rennie Cluver says the annual campaign helps the youth and families of the community afford the programs of the YMCA.
 
 
Cluver indicates the Strong Kids campaign doesn't extend to just youth and their families. He points out it also helps seniors who cannot afford their programming.
 
 
According to Cluver, Strong Kids is a necessity for them to survive. He explains their Strong Kids covers a good amount of their yearly operating budget and does not extend to all their re-investment in their programs.
 
 
Mailers have been sent out about the Strong Kids campaign. To get involved, contact the Y at 217-935-8307 or stop into their facility at 417 South Alexander Street to learn more. 

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National Distracted Driving Awareness Week

Local law enforcement will be focused on distracted drivers this week.
 
Clinton Police Ben Lowers says his officers will zoning in making sure motorists are driving without phones in their hands and other distractions in their vehicles.
 
 
It's not just cell phones that can cause distractions in the vehicle. Chief Lowers explains agencies throughout the state will be participating in this effort.
 
 
Texting while driving distracts the driver visually, manually and cognitively, putting everyone on the road at risk. Sending or receiving a text takes a driver’s eyes off the road for an average of 4.6 seconds, the equivalent of driving blind at 55 mph for the length of an entire football field.  

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Sizing Up Rauner, Pritzker Money Impact on Local Races

It’s money, money and even more money. 
 
So says Monmouth College political science lecturer Robin Johnson as he sizes up this November’s Illinois gubernatorial race between Republican incumbent Bruce Rauner and Democratic challenger J.B. Pritzker. Pritzker spent $70-million of his own money leading up to the March 20th primary with Rauner reaching into his pocket for $50-million. Johnson was asked what type of impact that race will have on local races.
 
 
There's now another candidate in the race for governor. West central state Senator Sam McCann announced Thursday that he is running on the Conservative Party ticket.

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Baldwin, Ernst, Introduce Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network Bill

Senators Tammy Baldwin and Joni Ernst Thursday introduced legislation to fund the Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network. 
 
The two say the legislation will provide farmers with critical support and resources to respond to the difficult economic times. A recent study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found agricultural workers have a higher suicide rate than any other occupation. 
 
The Facilitating Accessible Resources for Mental health and Encouraging Rural Solutions for Immediate Response to Stressful Times, named the FARMERS FIRST Act, will establish helplines, provide suicide prevention training for farm advocates, create support groups and reestablish the Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network. 
 
Senator Baldwin of Wisconsin says the legislation “will provide funding for local resources and expand access to stress reduction strategies and suicide prevention programs.” 
 
Ersnt of Iowa says “we must do more” to ensure farmers and ranchers “have access to the mental health resources and supports they need.”

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Late Winter Hurting Lawn, Garden Sales

The late winter and early spring cold weather has put a damper on many outdoor activities and it has also impacted sales at lawn and garden centers. 
 
Martha Smith with the University of Illinois Extension says those retailers are hurting so far.
 
 
Sales are expected to pick up with warmer weather in the forecast.

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Conaway Hopeful House Will Consider Farm Bill in May

House Agriculture Chairman Mike Conaway is hopeful the U.S. House will consider the 2018 farm bill next month. 
 
Conaway told reporters he wants to bring the bill to the full U.S. House in May, but says the must-pass National Defense Authorization Act will be taking up time on the floor in
coming weeks, according to Politico. 
 
The bill faces a partisan divide as no Democrats on the House Agriculture Committee voted in favor of the legislation earlier this week. 
 
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi says the bill does not include enough support for agricultural producers, and that the nutrition title proposals would waste tax payer money and increase hunger and poverty. 
 
In the Senate, Ranking Agriculture Committee Democrat Debbie Stabenow says the House version of the bill is “impossible to pass.” She alleges that House Agriculture Committee leadership has “abandoned” the broad, partisan coalition that passed the 2014 Farm Bill.
 
Stabenow says she “remains committed” to working Senate Agriculture Chairman Pat Roberts to “write a bipartisan bill” that focuses on “farmers, families, and rural communities.”

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Late Start To Growing Season

The late start to the growing season in the corn belt and the northern plains has farmers and traders worried. But, as a commodity marketing class at the University of Illinois found out, there is much more to be learned from the data. 
 
Todd Gleason has more...
 

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Urban Youth Want In On Food, Farming

45-thousand young adults make up the student body at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Seven-and-a-half percent of that total have enrolled in the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences or ACES. Most of those students, like senior Jennifer Aguilar (AG-you-lar) actually come from urban or suburban parts of Illinois;
 
 
Aguilar is from Chicago, but her classmate Ben Kimes grew up 100 miles or so northwest in Pecatonica, population 22-hundred. They both enrolled in an agricultural policy and leadership class at the U-of-I and spent their spring break in Washington, D-C discussing issues like food stamps, or as the federal government calls it, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP:
 
 
Kimes, Aguilar and their classmates have also spent time down on the farm. The U-of-I course instructor estimates only two-in-10 students enrolled in the College of ACES has actually been on a farm or have met an Illinois farmer. 
 

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State Receives $16 Million To Fight Opioid Crisis

THE STATE DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES IS RECEIVING A 16 MILLION DOLLAR GRANT TO FIGHT THE OPIOID CRISIS IN ILLINOIS. 
 
THE MONEY COMES FROM THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT AND WILL BE USED TO FIGHT THE EPIDEMIC ON SEVERAL FRONTS SAYS D-H-S SPOKESPERSON PATRICK LAUGHLIN.
 
 
LAUGHLIN SAYS THIS MONEY IS VITAL IN COMBATING THE OPIOID EPIDEMIC.
 
 
THERE WERE ABOUT TWO THOUSAND OPIOID RELATED DEATHS REPORTED IN ILLINOIS LAST YEAR. THOSE SEEKING HELP WITH THEIR ADDICTION CAN CALL THE STATE’S 24-HOUR HELPLINE AT 1-833-2-FIND-HELP.

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State Police Urging FOID Card Holders To Renew Early

IF YOUR FOID CARD IS EXPIRING THIS SUMMER…THE ILLINOIS STATE POLICE ADVISES RENEWING IT NOW.
 
FOID CARDS ARE GOOD FOR 10 YEARS…AND STATE POLICE SERGEANT JACQUELINE CEPENDA SAYS MANY WILL BE EXPIRING SOON.
 
 
YOU CAN RENEW YOUR FOID CARD ONLINE AT: ISPFSB DOT COM.

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Central Illinois Students Participate in Truck Safety Seminar

A local trucking company hosted teens in central Illinois at Progress City earlier this week to stress the importance of truck safety. 
 
Mitzie Hartman is the Safety Coordinator for McLeod Express and she says it stresses the importance of safety around commercial motor vehicles. She says it stresses safety and eliminating distractions.
 
The program puts youth in a truck to give them an idea of what a truck driver sees as they drive and the Macon County Farm Bureau stepped up to add implements to the seminar as well. 
 
Students from Clinton to Central A&M and Sullivan in everywhere in between were part of the event from 9 am to 2 pm. 

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Weekly Weather Summary

Perhaps we're headed to more seasonable weather in Illinois. This weekend is looking nice and the week ahead looks just as good. State Climotologist Jim Angel has more...
 

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Clinton Fire Erecting Training Facility On East Side of Town

Near the former animal shelter in Clinton, you'll notice some small construction taking place.
 
Clinton Commissioner of Public Safety, Dan Ballenger indicates the fire department is putting up a structure they'll be able to train in throughout the year.
 
 
Ballenger says if you're curious what training looks like for a firefighter, they do those exercises on Wednesday nights.

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DeWitt County Board Approves Re-Paving of County Building Parking Lot

The DeWitt County Board Thursday night approved a resurfacing project of the County Building parking lot.
 
Board Chair David Newberg says it is something that has been needed for some time and points out bids came in a little over their budget price but it considers unforeseen expenses.
 
 
The whole parking lot is going to be completely stripped down and resurfaced and Newberg hopes things come in under budget.
 
Newberg indicates the weather will be the biggest determining factor in how quickly things get started and finished. He notes the work will be done in two segments so the whole lot does not go out of service. 

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Peterson Insurance Receives More Awards

A good 2017 has led to more awards for a Clinton insurance agency.
 
Peterson Insurance raked in more awards in 2017 through Pekin Insurance. Owner Jay Peterson says they are fortunate to have great community support behind them.
 
 
Peterson says they have good customers and good clients. He also calls their family fortunate to have 52 years in Clinton and a good company to partner with along with a great staff in Clinton.

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Congressman Davis Talks Partisan Politics of Farm Bill Proposal

Democrats involved in the Farm Bill process have been blasting Republicans for excluding them from the process of crafting the next farm bill and a central Illinois Congressman discussed their recent discussions.
 
Congressman Rodney Davis says Democrats were opposed to what he calls, the common sense reforms they want to see aimed at families on benefit programs in the country.
 
 
Congressman Davis called out Democrats he's worked with in the past for not participating when given the opportunity.
 
 
Congressman Davis says crop insurance is being protected in the upcoming farm bill and they are implementing CSB programs in the EQIP program. 

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Clinton Fire Responds To Early Friday Vacant Structure Fire

Just before 5 am Friday morning, Clinton Fire crews along with officers were dispatched for smoke in the area of Dollar General on Van Buren. 
 
Officers arrived in the area first and a deputy located a house in the 500 block of West south on fire. Crews arrived at the scene of a one-story house with smoke coming from the roof and windows on the first floor and fire from a basement window. 
 
Crews were advised that the house should be vacant. 
 
Crews began an outside attack on the fire through the basement window to know the fire down while another crew made entry and performed a primary search on the first floor.
 
 Due to conditions crews could not search the basement. 
 
Ventilation was performed to give interior crews better visibility and complete the primary search in the basement and finish knocking down the fire primary search was negative. 
 
Another crew then performed a secondary search that was negative. 
 
Crews remained on scene to extinguish hot spots and assist the state fire Marshall in the investigation. 
 
No injuries to citizens or fire personnel. 
 
Crews on scene were Clinton police, DeWitt County Sheriff's deputies, Kenney fire, Wapella fire, Maroa fire, and Red Cross officials and DeWitt County EMS were on the scene. 
 
Waynesville provided station coverage during the incident. 

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Warner Library's Bi-Annual Book Sale This Weekend

The Friends of the Library's bi-annual book sale is this weekend.
 
Warner Library Director, Bobbi Perryman, indicates they do the sale in spring and the fall and this Saturday is their first for 2018, giving the community the opportunity to support the library through purchasing books but also movies on DVD and blue-ray.
 
 
Saturday at the sale, all bags of books are one dollar. 
 
Be a part of the book sale from 9 am to 4 pm Friday and then 9 am to 3 pm on Saturday at the Library at 310 North Quincy Street. 

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Clinton Schools To Implement Early Dismissals in 2018-19 For Teacher Development

Starting next year, Clinton Schools will be implementing early dismissals for the purposes of teacher development.
 
In the three years at Clinton Schools, Superintendent of Clinton Schools, Curt Nettles says they haven't had early dismissals but they plan to introduce six next year.
 
 
According to Nettles, the professional development will be very personalized for each teacher to take on what they believe will make them better teachers.
 
 
Parents will receive information from their building principals and Nettles indicates they want parents to be ready for the dates to make arrangements. He also points out they plan to use early dismissals for the final day before Christmas break and spring break. 

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Community Action Discusses Struggles Finding Educators

Community Action's vast service area employs around 130 people in six counties and the biggest portion of those employees are dedicated to the Head Start program.
 
Executive Director Alison Rumler-Gomez indicates, like school districts, Community Action struggles to find educators for their classrooms. 
 
 
Meeting the Head Start requirements is a challenge for Community Action and Rumler-Gomez indicates it is because of a requirement that has to do with early childhood education.
 
 
To fill the need, Rumler-Gomez says a lot of the support staff they have bounced around and join the classroom to some capacity. 
 
 
For Rumler-Gomez, the challenge is meeting different requirements from the state and federal levels. She points out, they are advocating for a streamlining of those requirements.
 
 
Rumler-Gomez says they have to turn down a lot of quality and qualified candidates because of all the education components. She feels frustrated because they're so desperate to fill the need. 

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Momentum Picking Up Behind Sam McCann

The Governor’s race has another possible candidate this fall. State Senator Sam McCann from Plainview announced today that he will run as a Conservative Party candidate. 
 
 
McCann turned in his resignation from the Senate Republican Caucus today. He and his running mate still need to collect 25,000 signatures to get on the November ballot. 
The Rauner campaign issued the following statement about McCann. “Sam McCann is the worst kind of political opportunist who is only running for Governor to line his own pockets.”
 
McCann picked Veterans’ Rights Activist Aaron Merreighn (Marine) from Riverton as his running mate. 

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Job Numbers Reach 11 Year Lows

Workers are finding more jobs in Illinois. The state’s unemployment rate continues to fall. The Illinois Department of Economic Security says that joblessness now stands at four point six percent. Bob Goff with IDES says the number is significant. 
 
 
Goff says that manufacturing and financial services all picked up more jobs 
than they lost last month.

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Farm Bureau President Talks Issues That Could Impact Midwest

Illinois farmers would just like to get a crop in the ground this spring, meanwhile many national and international issues could affect Midwest agriculture. 
 
One of those is trade and the tariff talks with China. Illinois Farm Bureau president Rich Guebert says they’ve been encouraging trade resolutions instead of tariffs for long term partnerships.
 
 
The US House last week unveiled its farm bill proposal. While SNAP will be fiercely debated, Guebert says there are several initiatives he hopes will not be touched.
 
 
Guebert says there are plenty of state issues they’re tracking, including redistricting, budget talks, and several bills passed through committees that could directly impact agriculture.

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DeWitt County Board Approves Two ZBA Recommendations, Rejects Tower Height Recommendation

It is rare the DeWitt County Board goes against the Zoning Board of Appeals but that is what happened with one wind energy ordinance Thursday night at the DeWitt County Board meeting. 
 
A recommendation passed for wind farms near corporate villages or municipalities within one and a half miles must get approval from that village or municipality before being erected. 
 
A setback distance of 2000 feet also passed as did a decommissioning plan that includes an agreement between the landowner and the County that appropriate funds will be available in an escrow account and be reviewed every three years. 
 
The Board rejected the recommendation to limit the tower height to 499 feet. Terry Ferguson called out Tradewind Energy for not giving reasons for why they opposed the limitation. He felt the RPC and ZBA did their due diligence as to why the came up with their recommendation.
 
 
Melonie Tilley also believes the RPC and the ZBA did what the Board asked and also called for the support of their recommendation.
 
 
The recommendation needed seven votes to pass and anything short would fail. Here's how the vote played out Thursday night:
 
 
Board member Cole Ritter had recused himself from the action items. 

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Clinton Junior High School Principal To Transition To Unit Office Role

Clinton Junior High School Principal Drew Goebel will be transitioning to a role in the unit office. 
 
Superintendent Curt Nettles indicates starting July 1, Goebel will be moving to the Unit Office as the district's Director of Business and Support Staff.
 
 
Nettles indicates Goebel received his specialist degree which will allow him to be a superintendent but it also gives him the tools necessary to take on other unit office work.
 
 
Goebel's principal job has been posted and Nettles anticipates that process picking up over the next month. 

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Central Illinois Groups Celebrating Earth Day This Weekend

The celebration of Earth Day is a big deal for local conservation groups and several will have special events this weekend.
 
Richie Wolf is part of the Rock Springs Nature Center part of the Macon County Conservation District. He indicates they have an annual event they will host Saturday for Earth Day and will have the Raptor Center, canoeing, wagon and pony rides.
 
 
Wolf notes there's plenty more and it's a free event from noon until 4 pm. There are small fees for the canoeing and the pony rides. He says Earth Day is also an opportunity to promote conservation and in the morning that day, they will be organizing a clean up of the Sangamon River that runs through the conservation area.
 
 
On Sunday, the Miller Park Zoo in Bloomington celebrates Earth Day with their Party for the Planet event. Superintendent Jay Tetzloff says they have plenty for kids and it's part of a huge Earth Day celebration across the country.
 
 
Tetzloff indicates they use the day to promote ways to help conservation and highlighting the animals in their collection.
 
 
Saturday at the Scovill Zoo in Decatur, they will be recognizing National Penguin Day and observe Earth Day with a keeper chat on their Humboldt penguins and discussions about conservation. Their event runs from noon to 4 pm. 

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Macon County Museum Hosting Special Event About Local Baseball

Central Illinois baseball enthusiasts will not want to miss out on a program at the Macon County Museum this weekend.
 
Macon County Museum Director Nathan Pierce explains they are welcoming Millikin Professor Dr. Bob Sampson will talk about the origins of baseball in Illinois.
 
 
Dr. Sampson will talk about how early baseball would see hazards in the field of play, the game originally was spelled as two words, and in Decatur, the game was played near the busiest railroad junction. 
 
The program starts at 1:30 pm at the Macon County Museum located at 5580 North Fork Road on the far east side of Decatur. 

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Southern Illinois Lawmaker Believes New QVH Should Be In Upcoming Bduget

State Senator Andy Manar continues to raise concerns about the Quincy Veterans Home. 
 
He believes the best way to deal with the Legionairre's Disease concerns there would be to start from scratch and he believes finding the money for it should be a priority.
 
 
The Bunker Hill Democrat is seeking a bipartisan solution.
 
 
Last month, Manar called for a formal audit of the Rauner Administration's handling of the Legionnaire's crisis at the Quincy Veterans Home.

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Redistricting Reforms Push On Again In Springfield

PROPONENTS OF REDISTRICTING REFORM ARE PLEADING THEIR CASE AT THE STATE CAPITOL THIS WEEK.
 
THE CLOCK IS TICKING TO GET A CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT ON THE NOVEMBER ELECTION BALLOT…ASKING VOTERS TO HAVE AN INDEPENDENT BOARD DRAW LEGISLATIVE DISTRICT MAPS…NOT CURRENT LAWMAKERS. HOUSE REPUBLICAN LEADER JIM DURKIN SAYS IT’S TIME TO GET THIS PASSED.
 
 
SENATOR JULIE MORRISON OF DEERFIELD IS SPONSORING A CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT INSTITUTING A NEW SYSTEM.
 
 
CRITICS OF THE CURRENT PROCESS SAYS IT’S TIME TO END GERRYMANDERING…WHERE MAPS ARE DRAWN TO GIVE INCUMBENTS THE BEST CHANCE OF STAYING IN OFFICE.

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Legislation Headed To Senate To Allow Parents To Give Students Medical Marijuana At School

PARENTS COULD GIVE THEIR SICK KIDS A DOSE OF PRESCRIBED MEDICAL MARIJUANA AT SCHOOL UNDER A BILL PASSED BY HOUSE LAWMAKERS.
 
THE MEASURE HAS BEEN DUBBED “ASHLEY’S LAW” AFTER AN 11-YEAR OLD GIRL WHO WASN’T ALLOWED TO TAKE MEDICAL CANNABIS FOR HER SEIZURES AT SCHOOL. HER FAMILY LATER SUED THE SCHAUMBURG SCHOOL DISTRICT OVER THE ISSUE. 
 
THE LEGISLATION MAKES SURE PARENTS AND CAREGIVERS CAN ADMINISTER THE MEDICATION ON SCHOOL GROUNDS OR A SCHOOL BUS AND IS SPONSORED BY REPRESENTATIVE LOU LANG OF SKOKIE.
 
 
THE LEGISLATION STILL NEEDS TO BE APPROVED BY THE SENATE AND THE GOVERNOR.

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Durbin Concerned Over Potential Guard Use At Border

Senator Dick Durbin used his role as Vice Chairman of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee to deliver some pointed questions about the President's call for sending National Guard resources to the nation's southwest border. 
 
Dubin expressed concerns about the strain of the potential deployments to General Joseph Lengyel, Chief of the National Guard.
 
 
Durbin also maintained the White House doesn't have its legal ducks in a row with the border security plan.
 
 
Durbin said he's concerned the Trump Administration is diverting limited Department of Defense resources to the border to carry out a deportation agenda. 

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Bill Would Bring State Jobs Back To Springfield

A BILL THAT AIMS TO BRING MORE STATE GOVERNMENT JOBS BACK TO SPRINGFIELD PASSED THE ILLINOIS HOUSE WEDNESDAY. 
 
THE LEGISLATION MAKES SANGAMON COUNTY THE DEFAULT LOCATION FOR STATE JOBS, UNLESS THERE IS A SPECIFIC REASON FOR THE POSITION TO BE LOCATED SOMEWHERE ELSE. IT’S SPONSORED BY REPRESENTATIVE SARA WOJCICKI-JIMENEZ (woe-jisky-him-en-ez).
 
 
THE MEASURE REQUIRES POSITIONS TO BE SET NEAR THE STATE CAPITOL UNLESS THERE IS A SPECIFIC REASON TO BE LOCATED SOMEWHERE ELSE…LIKE AT A STATE PRISON.
 
 
IF THIS BECOMES LAW…IT WILL NOT APPLY TO CURRENT EMPLOYEES. THE MEASURE, WHICH NOW MOVES TO THE SENATE, ONLY ADDRESSES NEW POSITIONS AND VACANCIES.

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New Casey's General Store Coming To Clinton

A new Casey's General Store is coming to Clinton.
 
City Administrator Tim Followell indicates the former Three Star Restaurant will be demolished and that will become the location for the new gas station.
 
 
According to Followell, the ongoing Ameren project will not interfere with anything. It will just be more construction in a smaller area.
 
 
There's no word on the future of the current Casey's General Store on the east side of the community. 
 

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Ford Giveaway Winner Receives Car in Clinton

Mike Haller from Pekin was the winner of a giveaway from Ford and Tuesday morning received his customized Ford Mustang at Anderson Ford in Clinton.
 
Haller says he is a Ford guy with a fleet of Fords in his family.
 
 
John Chlor, Communications Manager with Ford Performance, says the giveaway targeted their dedicated owners. He says the Ford Mustang Haller won is one of a kind and almost entirely customized.
 
 
Owner of Anderson Ford, Randy Anderson feels giving away the Mustang in Clinton is in line with their passion for the vehicle.
 
 
Tuesday was also National Mustang Day. Chlor explains in 1964 the brand new Mustang was first rolled out at the World's Fair in Flushing, New York. 
 
 
 

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TSB Non Profit Talks Financial Literacy

Next week is Money Smart Week and local financial institutions non-profit arm is promoting what they're doing in Clinton to help people learn how to properly manage money.
 
Connie Unruh leads the TS Institute Financial Literacy program in central Illinois and indicates they've reached out a lot to youth.
 
 
The goal of the Financial Literacy program is to help people become smarter with their money. She says it's all about bettering the communities they serve.
 
 
TS Institute is going to be instrumental in the CEO program at Clinton High School. 
 
Unruh indicates there will be special learning opportunities next Saturday at the Warner Library and they will be holding dedicated learning camps in the community in June aimed at junior high and high school students. 

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Sen. Rose Reacts To Graduated Tax Proposal

Enough with the higher taxes already. 
 
That’s the reaction of one central Illinois lawmaker to proposals to change the way the state levies income taxes. Ray Watt has the story....
 

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Republicans Working To Increase Penalties For Attacking DCFS Workers

Efforts continue to increase the penalties for assaulting DCFS workers. 
 
One attempt has already been made to do just that but it failed. So the bill’s sponsor is renewing her call to make assaulting a DCFS worker in the line of duty the same as attacking a police officer. Republican Representative Tony McCobmie of Savanna is behind the bill.
 
 
Committee Democrats didn’t support the bill because it was a mandatory increase to a prison sentence. But McCobmie has support from both sides of the isle. 

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Patti Blagojevich Makes Appeal To President

Now that legal channels seem to be closed for former Governor Rod Blagojevich to appeal his corruption conviction, his wife took to Fox News to make a direct case for President Trump’s help on a pardon or commutation of his sentence. 
 
Patti Blagojevich told Tucker Carlson this week that her husband is in jail for asking for campaign contributions. Trump knows Blagojevich through an appearance on his reality TV show, Celebrity Apprentice.
 
 
The President could either end Blagojevich’s time in prison or grant a full pardon and wipe the former Governor’s record clean.

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Lt. Governor Continues To Press Case That Trust Act Isn't Sanctuary State

In the bitter GOP primary campaign, Governor Bruce Rauner was accused of making Illinois a sanctuary state when he signed the Trust Act. It limits local and state police cooperation with federal immigration authorities. 
 
Lt. Governor Evelyn Sanguinetti continues efforts to stress what she says is the true nature of the Trust Act.
 
 
The Trust Act prevents police from searching, arresting or detaining someone solely strictly because of their immigration status.

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City Budget Projects Small Deficit

Despite the projection for a deficit budget in the upcoming fiscal year, the Treasurer for the City of Clinton does not believe that is how the year will end.
 
Clint Lichtenwalter says the projected deficit for the upcoming fiscal year is much less than the previous two years and notes while those projected deficits were greater, the City ended up in the black each time.
 
 
An approximate million dollar project that is coming this year is the water meter replacement project. Lichtenwalter indicates this will come from the Water Department budget and then will get broken down from a couple contributors from there.
 
 
Revenues are projected to be the same. Lichtenwalter indicates despite threats of cutbacks from the State, those never seem to happen. He indicates reserves are also projecting to be stronger in the upcoming fiscal year.
 
 
Finally, the self-funded health insurance is very strong and Lichtenwalter points out the pensions are looking very strong, especially in comparison to other municipalities across the state.
 
 
The Council approved the budget for the City and Warner Hospital and Health Services.
 
The Council also approved the purchase of portable and base radios for the fire department at a cost of just over $16-thousand. The purchase is thanks to a grant the fire department received. 

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Community Action's Annual Cheeseburger in Paradise Fundraiser This Weekend

A hot ticket in Lincoln is admission to the annual Cheeseburger in Paradise fundraiser hosted by Community Action.
 
The fundraiser this Saturday is again sold out but Executive Director Alison Rumler-Gomez says community members can still support their efforts this weekend through a raffle they are doing.
 
 
Cheeseburger in Paradise is the biggest fundraiser of the year for Community Action and Rumler-Gomez indicates the night is about bringing the community of support together and they have started highlighting the success stories from their programs.
 
 
According to Rumler-Gomez, the funds raised from the Cheeseburger in Paradise can be as much as $25-thousand. The funds do not have any restrictions and can go to any which way to help the agency.
 
 
Rumler-Gomez looks forward to the event and thanks the community for their continued support through Cheeseburger in Paradise.

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Wrigley Field, Dana Thoma House Among Illinois' Top Buildings

VOTERS ARE CHOOSING THEIR FAVORITE BUILDINGS AS PART OF THE ILLINOIS TOP 200 PROJECT…AND WRIGLEY FIELD IS LEADING THE LIST. 
 
THE HOME OF THE CUBS SINCE 1916 IS TAKING THE NUMBER ONE SPOT SAYS ABRAHAM LINCOLN PRESIDENTIAL MUSEUM SPOKESPERSON CHRIS WILLS.
 
 
OTHER FAVORITE ILLINOIS BUILDINGS INCLUDE THE BAHA’I HOUSE OF WORSHIP IN WILMETTE, WILLIS TOWER, TRIBUNE TOWER AND THE FARNSWORTH HOUSE IN PLANO. VOTE FOR THE NEXT CATEGORY, HISTORIC SITES, ONLINE AT: ILLINOIS TOP 200 DOT COM.

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Weekly Crop Report

PRODUCERS WERE KEPT OUT OF THE FIELDS ONCE AGAIN AS WE HEAR IN THE WEEKLY CROP REPORT.
 
THERE WAS ON AVERAGE LESS THAN TWO DAYS SUITABLE FOR FIELDWORK THIS PAST WEEK CROP STATISTICIAN MARK SCHLEUSENER HAS AN UPDATE ON WINTER WHEAT.
 
 
THERE WERE A FEW REPORTS OF CORN PLANTING. 
 
 
USUALLY ABOUT FIVE PERCENT OF CORN HAS BEEN PLANTED BY NOW. 
 
AVERAGE STATEWIDE TOPSOIL MOISTURE IS RATED AT ONE PERCENT VERY SHORT, TWO PERCENT SHORT, 65 PERCENT ADEQUATE AND 32 PERCENT SURPLUS.

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Durbin With President On Airstrikes, Against Tweets

U.S. Senator Dick Durbin is on board with President Trump's military action in Syria but he's not too fond of what the Commander in Chief is doing with 140 characters or less. 
 
Durbin says he supported the decision to launch air strikes in Syria, especially since he got help from the United Kingdom and France. But he was critical of Trump tweets that discussed military tactics in advance. 
 
 
Durbin acknowledges that this is a new era in politics and there is no sign the President will stop or even slow down his tweeting.

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Bustos Says Democrats Being Left Out of Farm Bill Process

Western Illinois Congressman Cheri Bustos says Democrats are being squeezed out of Farm Bill talks. She serves on the House Ag Committee.
 
 
The current Farm Bill expires in September. 

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Another Defeat In Court Blagojevich

Former Governor Rod Blagojevich has not seen his lucky change in the courtroom, including with the nation's most famous court. 
 
For the second time, Supreme Court Justices have refused to hear an appeal by Blagojevich of his corruption convictions. 
 
There were no comments released with Monday's decision, which keeps Blagojevich's 14 year prison term intact. He is scheduled to be released in 2024. 
 
Blagojevich's lawyers had wanted the high court to take up his case to make clear what constitutes illegal political fundraising. 
 
Blagojevich was accused and later convicted of illegal "horse trading" in seeking possible successor to former President Obama in the U.S. Senate.

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April is Invasive Plant Pest, Disease Awareness Month

Having a frank discussion about invasive species. 
 
That’s what Samantha Simon likes to do. She’s the Invasive Species Coordinator for the United States Department of Agriculture. 
 
 
April is Invasive Plant Pest and Disease Awareness Month and the USDA is promoting its Hungry Pests initiative with information available at "hungrypests.com." 
 
Two of the more common invasive species in Illinois are the emerald ash borer and European gypsy moth. 

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Warner Hospital And Health Services CEO Pleased With Upcoming Budget

At tonight's Clinton City Council meeting, the Warner Hospital and Health Services budget will be presented for approval.
 
CEO of Warner Hospital and Health Services, Paul Skowron, says he is very pleased with this year's budget as they anticipate a surplus budget.
 
 
Skowron says the positive budget outlook is allowing them to embark on cosmetic updates on the facility. He explains they plan to resurface the concrete in front of their the emergency room and the Family Medicine facility.
 
 
This will be the fourth budget Skowron presents to the City Council and he says things have come to a long way and indicates his vision continues to be a new hospital facility in the community. 
 
 
The Council tonight will also be approving a line of credit for the City-owned facility. Skowron indicates in the three-and-a-half years he's been in Clinton, they have never had to dip into that line of credit but they ask for it year after year. 

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DARE Program To Wrap Up in Clinton Schools This Week

A 13-week curriculum for youth in Clinton Schools will wrap up this week.
 
The DARE program is led by Clinton Police Chief Ben Lowers and he indicates the program finishes off this week. He indicates, last week, his grade school students got to talk to some junior high school and high school role models.
 
 
The DARE curriculum has changed a lot in recent years. Chief Lowers says the early focus was on abuse of drugs and alcohol but now the challenges facing youth are different from when the program first started.
 
 
For the Chief, the effectiveness of the program are tough to measure, he feels if they can have an impact on even one child, the program has served its purpose.
 
 
The DARE program is not only a great opportunity to teach youth but Chief Lowers says it can be a great opportunity for a positive interaction with local law enforcement officials.
 
 
Chief Lowers says being proactive in the schools is what he is all about and making positive interactions in the schools and hopes all the students have a different approach to law enforcement because of their experiences with them in Clinton schools. 

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Lawmakers Looking To Make Breastfeeding More Accessible in Public

STATE LAWMAKERS ARE WORKING ON BILLS TO EXPAND BREASTFEEDING OPTIONS FOR WOMEN.
 
ONE MEASURE REQUIRES COURTHOUSES TO SET UP AT LEAST ONE LACTATION ROOM, SEPARATE FROM THE RESTROOM, THAT HAS A CHAIR, TABLE, ELECTRICAL OUTLET AND A SINK. IT’S SUPPORTED BY KELLY CASSIDY OF CHICAGO.
 
 
ANOTHER BILL SETS THE SAME REQUIREMENTS FOR BUILDINGS IN THE STATE CAPITOL COMPLEX IN SPRINGFIELD.
 
 
THAT MEASURE HAS PASSED THE SENATE AND NOW MOVES TO THE HOUSE.

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Largest Dry Mill Ethanol PLant in Illinois

Illinois is home to the largest dry mill ethanol plant in the U.S. It’s Marquis Energy located in Hennepin in Putnam County. They now produce 360-million gallons per year. 
 
Company CEO Mark Marquis says Illinois River access has been key to their success.
 
 
The first truckload of corn was delivered to Marquis Energy in April of 2008. Most of their corn comes from a 70-mile radius. 

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IDOT Promoting Safe Motorcycle Season

AS THE WEATHER FINALLY BEGINS TO WARM UP, THE ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION IS URGING MOTORCYCLISTS TO BE CAREFUL AND “RIDE SMART.” 
 
RIDERS ARE ANXIOUS TO GET OUT ON THE OPEN ROAD…BUT ARE MORE LIKELY TO GET INTO AN ACCIDENT SAYS I-DOT SPOKESPERSON KELSEA GURSKI.
 
 
GURSKI SAYS RIDERS SHOULD MAKE SURE THEY WEAR HIGH-VISIBILITY CLOTHING, A HELMET AND EYE PROTECTION AND TAKE ADVANTAGE OF I-DOT’S FREE MOTORCYCLE TRAINING PROGRAMS. 
 
 
MORE DETAILS ARE ONLINE AT: START SEEING MOTORCYCLES DOT ORG.

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Governor Wants Look At German Education System

The Governor’s trade mission to eastern Europe is underway. 
 
Rauner is stopping in Germany and Poland to woo new companies to Illinois and create business partnerships. He is also going to learn more about how Germany’s school system works getting teenagers on a career track for hands on technical jobs that don’t always need a college education, or college debt.
 
 
It’s expected that Rauner will announce a few business ventures between Illinois and those European countries this week.

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Department of Public Health Warns Of E. coli Outbreak

THE ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH IS WARNING ABOUT A MULTI-STATE OUTBREAK OF E. COLI INFECTIONS LINKED TO CHOPPED ROMAINE LETTUCE. 
 
PUBLIC HEALTH SPOKESPERSON DIVYA MOHAN-LITTLE SAYS UNTIL THEY IDENTIFY THE SUPPLIER, DISTRIBUTOR AND BRAND AFFECTED…YOU SHOULD NOT EAT ROMAINE AND WATCH OUT FOR THESE SIGNS OF ILLNESS.
 
 
ALL OFFICIALS KNOW SO FAR IS THAT THE LETTUCE CAN BE TRACED BACK TO THE YUMA, ARIZONA AREA.
 
 
THERE ‘S JUST BEEN ONE CONFIRMED CASE IN ILLINOIS SO FAR…BUT MORE THAN 30 OTHER CASES HAVE BEEN REPORTED IN 11 STATES. 22 PEOPLE HAD TO BE HOSPITALIZED. 

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Storm Season Upon Us

Strong storms are anticipated throughout parts of this weekend in central Illinois and this time of the year is storm season in Illinois.
 
The National Weather Service is reminding residents of the various terminology when storms pop up. Chris Miller with the NWS in Lincoln talks about what the various terms mean and what you should be doing when you hear them.
 
 
With the recent rain and snow falls, Miller reminds residents flash flooding has killed more people in Illinois in recent years than any other weather phenomenon. 

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Don't Let Your Guard Down Against The Flu

We are not out of the woods yet when it comes to the flu bug.
 
That is the message from Dr. Kent Redcross who indicates the flu is just as aggressive now as it was at its height in January, February and March.
 
 
It is not too late to get the flu shot but Dr. Redcross says now is the time get it before the flu season passes.
 
 
Dr. Redcross says always wash your hands frequently and cover your mouth when you a cough. He says it's all about containment of the germs. 

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Manar Proposes Minimum Teacher Salary

NEW TEACHERS WOULD BE GUARANTEED A STARTING SALARY OF AT LEAST 40 THOUSAND DOLLARS UNDER LEGISLATION PENDING IN THE ILLINOIS SENATE.
 
THE CURRENT MINIMUM OF NINE TO 11 THOUSAND DOLLARS FOR FULL-TIME TEACHERS WAS SET BACK IN 1980. BILL SPONSOR, SENATOR ANDY MANAR OF BUNKER HILL, SAYS IT’S TIME FOR THAT TO BE UPDATED.
 
 
MANAR SAYS THIS WOULD ALSO ATTRACT MORE YOUNG PEOPLE TO THE PROFESSION. THE MEASURE PASSED A LEGISLATIVE COMMITTEE AND AWAITS A VOTE BEFORE THE FULL SENATE.

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IEMA Highlighting Importance of Volunteers During Disasters

THE ILLINOIS EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY SAYS VOLUNTEERS PLAY A CRUCIAL ROLE WHENEVER DISASTER STRIKES. 
 
VOLUNTEERS CAN HELP WITH ANYTHING FROM SANDBAGGING BEFORE A FLOOD TO ASSISTING DISASTER VICTIMS AT A LOCAL SHELTER. I-EMA SPOKESPERSON PATTI THOMPSON SAYS IF YOU’RE REALLY INTERESTED IN PITCHING IN…IT’S IMPORTANT TO GET INVOLVED BEFOREHAND.
 
 
THOMPSON SAYS MANY GROUPS OFTEN PUT VOLUNTEERS THROUGH TRAINING BEFORE THEY CAN HELP OUT IN THE FIELD. GET MORE DETAILS ONLINE AT: READY DOT ILLINOIS DOT GOV.

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ASA President Testifies to Congress Regarding Trade Tariffs

The American Soybean Association President says retaliation by China against U.S. tariffs would undercut prices received by soybean farmers, and further hurt a depressed farm economy. 
 
Testifying to lawmakers Thursday, ASA President John Heisdorffer asked members of Congress to help soybean farmers “be part of the solution,” rather than “collateral damage.” Heisdorffer, an Iowa farmer, highlighted the importance of maintaining China as a robust market for U.S. soybean exports, and the lasting effects implemented tariffs and a trade war would have on soybean farmers. 
 
Farm income has fallen by 40 percent since 2013, and Heisdorffer says “farmers cannot absorb additional hits to the farm economy.” 
 
In 2017, China imported 1.4 billion bushels of U.S. soybeans, 62 percent of total U.S. exports and nearly one-third of U.S. annual soy production. 
 
According to a study conducted by Purdue University, soybean exports to China could drop dramatically if China chooses to impose a 25 percent tariff on U.S. soybeans.

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Trump Announces E15 Waiver Support to Farm State Lawmakers

The Trump Administration is apparently planning to allow E15 sales year-round. 
 
During the White House agriculture roundtable Thursday, President Trump announced his support for E15 sales year-round without a cap on RIN prices, according to attendee, Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley. 
 
Ethanol groups have argued that allowing year-round sales of 15 percent ethanol blended fuels would be a “win-win” for agriculture and refiners, who have alleged that RIN prices are overburdensome. 
 
President Trump told the group “We’re going to raise it up to 15 percent,” adding the move “makes a lot of people happy.” Growth Energy applauded the comments from Trump, calling the move a “common-sense fix.” 
 
Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor says a waiver lifting the Reid Vapor Pressure limits on summer-time E15 sales “allows retailers to offer better options alongside traditional blends all year long." 
 
National Farmers Union President Roger Johnson applauded the move as well, but says “more can and should be done for higher blends of ethanol.” 
 
NFU called on the dministration to eliminate similar barriers to expanded use of higher blends of ethanol, such as E30. 

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DeWitt County Care Systems Outreach Worker Expanding Role in Farmer City

Diane Cusey works with seniors all over DeWitt County with Medicare cover and she'll now be in Farmer City more.
 
Cusey says the demand for her help in Farmer City has increased and so now she will be spending an extra day a month in the eastern DeWitt County community.
 
 
Cusey reminds DeWitt County seniors who may be homebound she is available at various points in the month to do in-home visits.
 
 
To get an in-home visit with Cusey scheduled or to meet with her when she's in your community, contact her at the DeWitt County Friendship Center at 217-935-4560. 

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Cerro Gordo Schools Break Ground on Facilities Expansion

Last Friday, Cerro Gordo schools broke ground on an expansion and renovation of the junior/senior high campus.
 
Superintendent of Cerro Gordo Schools Brett Robinson indicates this is the culmination of several meetings and a great deal of work by the community to rally support.
 
 
There are a lot of different components to the updates and additions. According to Robinson, there will be a connecting addition to bring the high school and gymnasium together.
 
 
Robinson indicates they are going to have new offices, a STEAM lab, and they plan upgrades to the other parts of the facilities.
 
 
Despite the age of the facilities, the districts are going to be able to renovate several areas of the current buildings but Robinson points out, they wanted to make sure student safety was the top priority.
 
 
With last week's groundbreaking, dirt is now moving and the project will be working around the school day for the rest of this year and Robinson indicates the additional work will begin this summer and estimates a completion date of late summer next year.

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Social Security Discusses Retirement, Medicare

During this Social Security month, officials are clearing up how retirement benefits and Medicare coverage works.
 
Jack Myers with Social Security points out, they are not affiliated with Medicare but they can help folks get into those programs. He says that is often confusing for some ready to retire.
 
 
Myers explains if you are receiving Social Security benefits, you are automatically enrolled in Medicare Part A and B. He talks about what to do if you are not already taking Social Security.
 
 
According to Myers, something to consider when deciding if you want to join Medicare is your coverage through your work. He also notes there is an initial enrollment period but you can qualify for a special enrollment period later.
 
 
There is a lot to consider when enrolling in Medicare. For any questions or more information, visit the Social Security website at socialsecurity.gov. 

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Rauner Says Yes To Sending Guard Troopers To Border

President Trump has indicated he'll send National Guard troops to secure the nation's southern border. 
 
Some Governors are balking at the request, others are enthusiastic. Governor Bruce Rauner says there's a precedent for such requests.
 
 
The Illinois Senate is urging Gov. Bruce Rauner to reject a presidential call to send National Guard troops to help secure the U.S.-Mexican border. 
 
The Democratic-controlled Senate voted 33-22 to urge Rauner not to comply if President Donald Trump makes a request. 

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Rauner Leading Another Trade Mission

The Governor is on the move this coming week. 
 
Republican Bruce Rauner is taking another trade mission and says that he will have announcements about German and Polish companies coming to Illinois. 
 
 
Rauner has ventured out on trade missions before; traveling to Japan, China and Israel. 

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Democrats Cry Foul Over Republicans Willingness To Spend Tax Increase

As the budget making process begins. 
 
Democrats are pointing out that Republicans may have complained about the income tax increased that passed last year – but they are happy to spend it this year. 
 
The Governor and four legislative leaders met this week to start work on the spending plan and Senate President John Cullerton says because Bruce Rauner is fine including all the extra revenue from the tax hike in the upcoming budget revenue forecast, he should stop telling everyone that his plan is to make a small rollback of the increase.
 
 
Both Democrats and Republicans agreed to name budgeteers to lead the negotiations. 

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Budget Making Process To Begin Soon

The budget process is getting its unofficial start this week at the state capitol. 
 
Republican Governor Bruce Rauner called a meeting with the four legislative leaders to set the table for a 12 month fully funded budget. Rauner and Republican House Minority Leader Jim Durkin, wanted and got, Democrats to agree to finding out just how much revenue they will have to spend this year. 
 
 
The revenue estimate will include all of the additional money raised by the income tax increase. Republicans say they need to include the additional money in the projections but don’t have to spend every last dollar.

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One Teen Hurt, Another Apprehended in Dispute in Farmer City

A 17-year old teen was arrested after shooting another 17-year old in Farmer City Wednesday afternoon.
 
The dispute took place just before 3 pm Wednesday afternoon in the 300 block of West Green Street. 
 
The suspect was taken into police custody while the other teen was treated for injuries at Carle Hospital in Urbana.
 
Farmer City Police, the DeWitt County Sheriff's Office, and Illinois State Police Crime Scene Services are investigating the incident.
 
They are seeking public information on the shooting. You can contact the Farmer City Police Department with any information by calling 309-928-2111. 

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Clinton YMCA Exploring Opening Branch in Monticello

Clinton YMCA Monticello Branch could be a reality in the next few years.
 
Executive Director of the Clinton YMCA, Rennie Cluver says this has been something talked about between the two communities over the last year and the reality of it happening is starting to gain some momentum.
 
 
According to Cluver, this was not something the Clinton YMCA was pursuing, in fact, the Y was content with where they were. However, it makes a lot of sense for a YMCA presence in Monticello.
 
 
The community of Monticello is very excited about this idea and while the Clinton Y is behind the idea as well, Cluver indicates they need to do their due-diligence to make sure it is a feasible possibility.
 
 
Cluver says the YMCA will have a partnership with Monticello regardless of if a new facility is part of the plan or not. He says there is enough momentum and resources to start programming without a dedicated facility. 

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CCEF Fundraiser To Support Junior High Trips Field Trips

Earlier this spring, Clinton Junior High School students made a trip to the Heartland College Space Learning Center thanks to contributions from the Clinton Community Education Foundation.
 
Clinton Junior High School principal Drew Goebel raved about the trip and Christina Soberalski says it was a two-fold trip for the youth.
 
 
The money raised from the upcoming Derby Day fundraiser for the CCEF will be going to the trip next year and Soberalski says, it also fits well into the curriculum for the students.
 
 
CCEF leaders say they plan to sponsor this field trip every year for junior high school students.
 
This year's Derby Day Fundraiser is May 5 at the Clinton Country Club. Get details about tickets by visiting clintonedfoundation.org and get tickets by stopping into DeWitt Savings Bank. 

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Congressman Davis Looking To Streamline Opioid Medication Information

Limiting the opportunities for individuals to get opioid prescriptions is the goal for Congressman Rodney Davis.
 
He's proposing pharmacists to take information from someone picking up an opioid prescription and then put that information into the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program.
 
 
Davis indicates this idea was that stemmed from officials in Normal, IL and he hopes it eliminates something those officials saw where individuals were filling a prescription at local pharmacies.
 
 
Davis also recently discussed the K2 synthetic marijuana epidemic that is claiming lives in Illinois. He says parents need to talk to their kids about the drug and also wants to see a better effort in monitoring synthetic drugs that come in from overseas and work with the postal service and law enforcement to find out where they are coming from and stopping them from getting into the hands of individuals. 

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Equal Rights Amendment Gets Approval in Senate

It’s been a long drawn out process but lawmakers in Illinois voted this week to ratify an amendment to the US Constitution. 
 
The Senate voted 43 – 12 to adopt the Equal Rights Amendment. 
 
Illinois failed to ratify it years ago when it first came to a vote and the 1982 deadline for approval came and went. But in the era of Me Too, bill sponsor Senator Heather Steans says, women are being heard more than ever.
 
 
If the House votes to ratify, Illinois could be the 37th state to approve it. 38 states are needed but Congress would need to approve an extension to the deadline that expired in 1982.

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Durbin Talks Privacy With Zuckerberg

It's day two of Senate questioning of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg on privacy concerns tied to questions about the use and alleged abuse of data. 
 
(On Tuesday) Yesterday, Senator Dick Durbin tried to make the issue of privacy relateable for Zuckerberg.
 
 
Zuckerberg also addressed the issue of the right to privacy.
 
Durbin Talks Privacy With Zuckerberg
 
Durbin believes the privacy question, basically, comes down to what information Facebook is collecting, who they’re sending it to, and whether they ever asked me in advance my permission to do that.”

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Bustos Worried About Consequences from China Trade Dispute

Western Illinois Congresswoman Cheri Bustos worried about the 'devastating' consequences resulting from a trade dispute with China.
 
 
Bustos serves on the U.S. House Agriculture Committee and is also waiting for resolution on North American Free Trade Agreement renegotiations, but she says that issue also remains cloudy. 
 
The Rock Island Democrat says there is also little to report on new Farm Bill talks. 

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Brief Warm Up This Week, Cold Air To Return

A brief warm up for Illinois this week. Temperatures will be in the 60s and 70s through Friday, but then cooler temperatures are back for the weekend and even a chance of snow again on Sunday says meteorologist Dan Hicks with Freese-Notis Weather. 
 
 
Hicks says statistics show most of the Midwest experienced the coolest first seven or eight days of April on record or at least the top five coolest. 

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Attorney General Office Made Almost $1 Billion Dollars

The Illinois Attorney General says her office is a money-making proposition for the state of Illinois. 
 
Lisa Madigan reports that the AG’s office brought in almost $900 million in settlements from lawsuits, tracked down past fines and other sources of revenue. She adds the state makes out pretty good on the funding they give her to run the office.
 
 
19 million came from a settlement with Moody’s Investors Services.

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Mach 1 Gas Station Starting To Take Shape

The progress of the Mach 1 gas station on Van Buren Street has picked up since mid-March as the weather starts to turn.
 
City Administrator Tim Followell indicates motorists have likely noticed crews have parts of Van Buren Street and Business 51/Grant Street closed down at this time is to get entrances built for the complex.
 
 
Followell says things remind behind schedule still because of the winter weather but believes lost time could get made up as the weather turns and is also hopeful the partial closure of the streets near the construction is short lived.

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Clinton Farmer's Market Readying for 2018

Spring or summer vibes have been in short supply so far this year but that isn't stopping local organizers from the Clinton Farmer's Market who are well underway readying for this summer.
 
Elizabeth Burns with the Clinton Area Farmers and Artisans Market says if you are thinking of seed starting to get on the square this summer, now is the time to get those started.
 
 
The market will start on May 5 and Burnes indicates they are again giving away trees this year. She also notes they working on having things for kids and families to do and are reaching out to local non-profits to join them on Saturday mornings.
 
 
For producers interested in being a part of this year's markets, Burnes says they've lowered their rates for producers. She also points, if you have spare produce from your own garden, you can simply bring it by the market and they will sell it for you and give you the funds after the day is done.
 
 
For more information, contact Burnes at 217-722-2496 or you can find the Clinton Farmers Market on Facebook. 

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Scovill Zoo Highlights History On Opening Week

It's the baby animal season and central Illinois zoos are highlighting the new, cute faces at their facilities.
 
Scovill Zoo in Decatur has several new animals including baby goats in their petting zoo and Director Ken Frye indicates one aspect of their history that is sometimes forgotten is Scovill Zoo was originally a farm before their expansion.
 
 
Frye indicates they are still anticipating more baby goats and the miracle of life for goats is not something the zoo keeps from patrons so a baby goat birth could take place while you are visiting this spring.
 
 
Scovill Zoo in Decatur opened this past weekend. For the latest on Scovill Zoo, visit scovillzoo.com or find them on Facebook. 

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Tuesday Was Equal Pay Day in Illinois

Equal pay day was Tuesday in Illinois.  April 10 was day that women need to work too in order to have made as much money as a man in the same job made just last year. 
 
Democrat State Senator Toi Hutchinson says minority women have to work even longer into the new year to find wage equivalency. 
 
 
The day was set aside to gain attention to the wage gap between men and women in the workplace.

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National Work Zone Awareness Week

It’s not quite the summer road work season but projects are starting to pop up on area roadways and interstates and the Illinois Department of Transportation is calling attention safety to the workers who fix our roads. 
 
IDOT Secretary Randy Blankenhorn wants drivers to slow down and be alert when driving in construction zones. He says 29 people were killed in work zones in 2018 and drivers can do their share to lower those numbers.
 
 
This is National Work Zone Awareness Week. Along with being safe in a construction zone, authorities are also reminding drivers that fines for speeding in those areas begin at $375.

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Madigan's Office RSVPs To Leader's Meeting

House Speaker Mike Madigan's office confirms he will be on hand for Thursday's "Leaders meeting" called by Governor Bruce Rauner. 
 
Madigan spokesman Steve Brown.....
 
 
Rauner wants to begin discussions on a new budget and is emphasizing his demand for a full fiscal year budget.

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Durbin Appealing To GOP Leaders to Support Dream Act

Senator Dick Durbin is focusing his energy on trying to prevent deportation of young people in the DACA program on his colleagues on Capitol.Hill.
 
Durbin is appealing to GOP leaders to support the Dream Act, that he is sponsoring along with Republican Senator Lindsey Graham after some disappointing results from the White House.
 
 
Undocumented immigrants in the DACA program face the prospect of losing their work permits and being deported to countries Durbin says they barely remember. 
 
Many dreamers remain in the country after a federal court issued an order blocking President Trump’s repeal of DACA, Dreamers that have DACA can continue to apply to renew their status for now.

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Department of Public Health Launches New Opioid Data Dashboard

THE ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH IS LAUNCHING A NEW INTERACTIVE WEBSITE FEATURING STATISTICS AND TRENDS IN THE OPIOID EPIDEMIC. 
 
THE “OPIOID DATA DASHBOARD” OFFERS SEVERAL DETAILS ABOUT HOW THE DRUGS ARE AFFECTING PEOPLE IN DIFFERENT AREAS OF THE STATE SAYS PUBLIC HEALTH SPOKESPERSON MELANEY ARNOLD. IT CAN BE BENEFICIAL TO LAW ENFORCEMENT, HEALTH CARE PROVIDERS, LOCAL GOVERNMENTS AND COMMUNITY GROUPS.
 
 
IT ALSO INCLUDES INFORMATION ON THE RATE THAT OPIOIDS ARE BEING PRESCRIBED.
 
 
ARNOLD SAYS THEY HOPE VISITORS TO THE SITE CAN USE THE INFORMATION TO COME UP WITH SOLUTIONS FOR COMBATING THE OPIOID CRISIS IN THEIR AREA.

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Attorney General Sues Electric Provider

The state is suing an electric company for aggressive and deceptive tactics.
 
Attorney General Lisa Madigan says that Major Energy Electric Services has been making confusing claims to new customers.
 
 
Madgian’s suit says the customers in Com-Ed regions are the one’s affected. And she says in almost every instance the bills for people who signed up with Major Energy were higher than they would have been if they would have stayed with Com-Ed.
 

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April is Social Security Month

April is Social Security Month.
 
Jack Myers with Social Security says they are really pushing their 'My Social Security' portal is a great tool they are hoping everyone will check out. He explains it's a great resource for workers that are young or old.
 
 
According to Myers, a lot of questions center around when benefits will be paid. He explains those go out a month after application and this applies to most benefits across the board.
 
 
Social Security is also discussing the basics Medicare Parts A and B and what folks should know about disability benefits.

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Time To Start Thinking Grain Bin Safety

Not a lot of field work is being done in Illinois as winter weather has creeped into spring for much of the state. But now is a good time for farmers to pause and think about grain bin safety says Eric Vanasdale, Senior Loss Control Representative with Country Financial. 
 
 
Nobody has died in an Illinois commercial grain storage facility since 2013, according to the Grain and Feed Association of Illinois, which conducts several training sessions every year.

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Senator Duckworth Becomes First Sitting Senator To Give Birth

The family of US Senator Tammy Duckworth has expanded again, as she becomes the first sitting Senator to give birth while in office.
 
Duckworth and her husband Bryan Bowlsbey welcomed Maile (My-lee) Pearl Bowlsbey into the world today. 
 
Duckworth had her first child while serving as a US Congresswoman. 
 
In all 10 women have given birth while serving in Congress but none, until now, did so while a Senator. 

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School Funding Reform Champion Pleased With Downstate Schools Funding

State Senator Andy Manar pleasantly surprised with the impact of the new school funding reform bill, specifically on downstate districts. 
 
The final new state money numbers were announced by the Illinois State Board of Education late last week. 
 
 
Manar says the funding formula may be set, but lawmakers must continue to protect the formula going forward.
 
 
The bill also requires this year’s state funding level to be the baseline for how much money each district will receive next year.

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Rauner Calls For Meeting With Legislative Leaders

The Governor is laying out a spring legislative agenda that he says is full of bipartisan legislation. 
 
The plan looks and sounds much like it has for the past three years; term limits, pension reform and a balanced budget. Rauner says that he will call on leaders from both sides for a budget meeting.
 
 
Rauner says the first task will be for all sides to agree on what tax revenues will look like this year. 
 
Once the revenue side is taken care of Rauner says they can begin the conversation on spending. 

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Governor Not Budging On Tax Hikes

Soon, budget discussions will heat up at the Capitol. Governor Bruce Rauner is continuing to talk about a rollback of the recent income tax hike, with one condition.
 
 
Gov. Bruce Rauner says he has called a meeting for Thursday with legislative leaders to discuss the final weeks of the spring session.

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Fake Weed Kills Third User

Public Health officials are still sounding the alarm bell on synthetic marijuana in Illinois as a third person has died from using. 
 
The number of severe reactions to the drug now total more than a hundred. Spice, K2 or fake weed are names that the drugs are often sold under. 
 
Illinois Department of Public Health’s Melaney Arnold says you don’t have any way of finding out what you’re really using when taking one of these drugs.
 
 
The overdose cases are centered around Peoria and Tazwell County and the Chicagoland area.

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Clinton High School Caught Up in Threat That Has Swept the Nation

Clinton High School was caught up late Sunday night, in a threat that has swept almost the entire country that originated in New Mexico.
 
The threat was alleged against "CHS" originally on Snapchat and ended up making its way onto other formats. Clinton Police Chief Ben Lowers says just after midnight Monday morning, their office was inundated with phone calls about the alleged threat.
 
 
Superintendent of Clinton Schools Curt Nettles, making sure the threat was not credible went into the early morning hours as several individuals were working to find the source of the threat and determine its credibility.
 
 
Once the threat was deemed to be a threat that was not a threat made locally, Chief Lowers says the objective became damage control.
 
 
Chief Lowers is critical of social media and the fact a simple message crafted in a matter of moments can cause so much chaos and dedication of resources across the country.
 
 
Nettles indicates they did bring in a few additional security measures to the building Monday morning as a precautionary measure. 
 
A juvenile in New Mexico has been arrested for the post. 

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CCEF Derby Day Filling Up Fast

There is still time to get tickets to this year's Derby Day Fundraiser put on by the Clinton Community Education Foundation, but space is limited at this time. 
 
Eileen Carter with the CCEF says it's a fundraiser they yearly host at the Clinton Country Club that is organized around the Kentucky Derby.
 
 
Christina Soberalski explains the fundraiser starts at 4 pm and almost everything centers around Kentucky Derby themed events including food, drinks, and games.
 
 
Soberalski also notes you do not want to miss the entertainment of the Derby but also the dueling pianos that are a great time each and every year.
 
 
May 5 is the date for this year's Kentucky Derby and the date for Derby Day. You can get your tickets by stopping into DeWitt Savings Bank. Tickets are $125 for a couple and $75 for an individual. 
 
Later this week on Regional Radio News, we'll have what the CCEF plans to dedicate this year's funds to. 

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Congressman Davis Talks Upcoming Farm Bill Talks

Recent reforms to the farm bill saved taxpayers over $100-billion and Congressman Rodney Davis hopes to continue those reforms with the upcoming farm bill negotiations.
 
Congressman Davis says the last farm bill flipped the emphasis from SNAP benefits to agriculture and he hopes to now focus on getting those on the food and nutrition benefits into the workforce.
 
 
Congressman Davis says he sees this problem in his district. He wants to invest money into workforce training for those on benefit programs to meet the demand of employers.
 
 
The central Illinois Congressman is hoping his colleagues on House Ag Committee will work with him to help get those on the benefit programs into good paying jobs. 

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April is Child Abuse Prevention Month

APRIL IS CHILD ABUSE PREVENTION MONTH AND THE ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF CHILDREN AND FAMILY SERVICES SAYS EVERYONE HAS A ROLE TO PLAY IN KEEPING KIDS SAFE. 
 
125 THOUSAND CHILDREN ARE ABUSED EACH YEAR IN ILLINOIS…OFTEN BEFORE THEY ARE OLD ENOUGH SPEAK UP FOR THEMSELVES SAYS D-C-F-S’ CATHY SMITH.
 
 
PREVENT CHILD ABUSE ILLINOIS EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR DENISE MCCAFFREY SAYS SHE’S INSPIRED BY THE “ME-TOO” MOVEMENT AND SAYS IT’S TIME TO WORK TOGETHER TO STOP ABUSE.
 
 
CHILD ABUSE CAN BE PHYSICAL, MENTAL OR SEXUAL, AND ALSO INCLUDES NEGLECT. MANY PROFESSIONALS ARE REQUIRED BY LAW TO REPORT SUSPECTED ABUSE…AND SMITH SAYS IF YOU BELIEVE A CHILD IS AT RISK, YOU SHOULD DO YOUR PART AND CALL THE D-C-F-S HOTLINE AT 1-800-25-ABUSE.

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Parents Urged To Sign Up For Recall Notices

THE LATEST CHILD PRODUCT RECALL REPORT FROM THE GROUP “KIDS IN DANGER” SHOWS AN INCREASE IN RECALLS LAST YEAR. 
 
THERE WERE 93 RECALLS IN 2017…AN INCREASE OF 22 PERCENT. NEARLY A THIRD WERE KID’S CLOTHING WITH CONCERNS ABOUT FLAMMABILITY AND CHOKING. ATTORNEY GENERAL LISA MADIGAN SAYS PARENTS AND CAREGIVERS NEED TO DO THEIR HOMEWORK BEFORE MAKING A PURCHASE…AND THEN STAY VIGILANT.
 
 
KIDS IN DANGER EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR NANCY COWLES SAYS THERE WERE 93 RECALLS IN TOTAL.
 
 
YOU CAN SIGN UP FOR THOSE ALERTS AT RECALLS DOT GOV. IT’S ALSO A GOOD IDEA TO FOLLOW CHILDREN’S PRODUCT MANUFACTURERS ON FACEBOOK AND TWITTER SINCE RECALLS ARE OFTEN POSTED ON SOCIAL MEDIA.

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Josh Shofner Named First National Bank President

First National Bank has named Josh Shofner as bank President and added two new local board members as of March 2018, new members include Dr. Sid Rohrscheib and Randy Rice.
 
Shofner will begin his 19th year at First National Bank in May, working closely with the lending staff and clients. During his time at First National Bank, he has also served as a board member with other nonprofit organizations such as the Clinton YMCA, Clinton Rotary, and as a school board member in a neighboring district for over 14 years. He resides in Weldon with his wife, Charity, and their 13-year-old daughter. 
 
Dr. Rohrscheib has provided basic surgical care in Clinton since 1995. 
 
Rice serves as the County Coroner and became a partner of Calvert Funeral Homes in 2012. He's also a member of the Rotary Club, on the YMCA board and is a past Chamber board member. 

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Farm Credit Illinois Names Scholarship Recipients for 2018

Farm Credit Illinois recently awarded a total of $80,000 towards youth and rural community development through its annual agriculture scholarship and community improvement grant programs.
 
Noah Benedict of Dewey will graduate from Mahomet-Seymour High School and attend the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to study agribusiness markets and management. His parents are Chad and Becky Benedict.
 
Cierra Crowell of Lincoln will graduate from Lincoln Community High School and attend Southern Illinois University Carbondale to study equine science. Her parents are Jerry and Lotis Crowell.
 
Megan Finfrock of Clinton will graduate from Clinton Community High School and attend the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to study crop sciences, concentrating in crop agribusiness. Her parents are Marvin and Shelley Finfrock.
 
Reed Jostes of Maroa will graduate from Maroa-Forsyth High School and attend Southern Illinois University-Carbondale to study agricultural education. His parents are Josh and Heidi Jostes.
 
Mahomet-Seymour FFA and Mahomet 4-H's Happy Helpers Club also received community improvement grants. 
 
$110-thousand in community improvement grants were awarded this year. 
 
A total of $60,000 in scholarships were awarded to high school seniors throughout central and southern Illinois to pursue agriculture-related majors and careers. Each of the 30 high school seniors received a $2,000 agriculture scholarship; two of the recipients were designated as Urban Agriculture Scholars.

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Scovill Zoo Opening For Season This Weekend

It's opening weekend for the Scovill Zoo in Decatur.
 
Director Ken Frye says it's going to be a little cooler than they are used to for their seasonal startup.
 
 
It is the baby season at the zoo. Frye notes they have five baby goats right now and they expect more. They also have baby ducks and others.
 
 
The Scovill Zoo is adding twilight hours on select dates this summer and doing annual events as well. Get all the details at scovillzoo.com. 

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Central Illinois Foster Care Group To Host Fundraiser Next Saturday

A central Illinois non-profit aimed at providing services for abused children will be hosting a walk/run event next Saturday, Agril 14, in Logan County's Kickapoo Park.
 
The Center for Youth and Family Solutions is hosting a "Refuse to Lose" fun run or walk next Saturday and Melissa Robbins says registration begins at the park at 8:30 am. You can also register online.
 
 
Jessica Laurence indicates they serve families who have abused children and need foster care and counseling. They serve families all over central Illinois.
 
 
Again the event is next Saturday morning, April 14, at Kickapoo Park in Logan County. 
 
A family of four can run or walk for $35 and a pre-registration gets you an event t-shirt. Robbins encourages a visit to ticketstripe.com or find the Center for Youth and Family Solutions on Facebook and get a link there. 

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ISP Collecting Opioids

A small step towards battling the opioid epidemic, the Illinois State Police will have secure drug drop off containers for the public to use. Citizens with extra medication or pills they don’t want or need around anymore can now bring them to 5 state police district headquarters. ISP’s Director Leo Schmitz says it’s a step towards ending the epidemic.
 
 
ISP district headquarters in Collinsville, Des Plains, Elgin, LaSalle and Joliet will take the drugs. And it’s not only opioids that you can drop off, the ISP will take all other prescriptions and over the counter medicine. 

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Weekly Weather Summary

April has gotten off to a chilly start and the trend will continue into the next week. State Climatologist Jim Angel has the latest...
 
 

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The Vault Remembers Spencer Toohill

The loss of Clinton High School student Spencer Toohill from late March is a big loss for the community but also The Vault in Clinton.
 
Director of The Vault, Michelle Witzke indicates Toohill was one of their top student leaders and says he embodied what The Vault was all about. 
 
 
Witzke says after the news of Toohill's passing spread around the student body, The Vault served as a gathering place for students to come and remember him. If you drive by The Vault today, you'll notice the window decorated with messages in memory of Toohill. 
 
 
Toohill was a junior at Clinton High School. He was active in band and theater. 
 
 
 

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The Mill in Lincoln Re-Opened This Week

The Mill in Lincoln is re-open for the season and they are looking at some new things for 2018.
 
Geoff Ladd with the Route 66 Scenic Byway says they are adding additional hours on the weekend to accommodate tourists.
 
 
This winter, The Mill has added some things to their collection and planning for events this year. Ladd indicates an acquisition in media is going to be a big addition. 
 
 
A Route 66 library is also being added to The Mill that will have many Route 66 publications. Ladd says The Mill is a big economic driver in Logan County. He says people that come to see The Mill also stop at other sites in Lincoln and Logan County, they visit the local restaurants and the local gas stations and sometimes stay in the local hotels.

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Congressman Davis Reacts To Trade War With China

US Congressman Rodney Davis says China does not trade fairly and they need to do a better job.
 
He reacted to the President's response to the steel tariff's and indicates China's practices are a matter of national security. He also points out, the day after the President's response to the steel tariff's, Granite City steel re-opened.
 
 
Davis says he is disappointed with the retaliation by China. He points out not all American products are not all getting into the Chinese marketplace.
 
 
May futures dropped four-percent earlier this week after the news of the Chinese tariffs. 
 
Some of these issues will also come up in the upcoming farm bill. 

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Over 1,000 Illinois Students To Compete in Archery State Title This Weekend

You can win a state title in archery. 
 
The Illinois Department of Natural Resources hosts the National Archery in Schools Program Illinois State Tournament at the Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield this Friday and Saturday says IDNR’s Ed Cross.
 
 
The competition features over one-thousand participants from thirty-plus schools. 

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Governor Rauner Becomes Grandfather

He’s now a Grandpa. 
 
The Governor – Bruce Rauner and First Lady Diana announced on social media that they welcomed their first grandchild, a baby girl into the world. 
 
A Rauner spokesperson declined to say which one of the family’s children had the little girl. Rauner seems to have been preparing to be there for the birth though. 
 
His schedule hasn’t included any public events for a few days. 

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Attorney General Wants Hospitals To Take Larger Role in Dealing With Sexual Assualts

Attorney General Lisa Madigan is promoting legislation that calls for the medical community to provide personnel who can provide comprehensive help and treatment of sexual assault victims.
 
 
Madigan acknowledges the legislation is facing some resistance.
 
 
Currently, there are roughly 150 of the specially trained nurses on the payrolls of Illinois emergency rooms.

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Civil War Museum Reopens

A hidden gem for Civil War buffs has reopened.
 
 The Grand Army of the Republic Memorial Museum in Springfield has reopened after closing in August to update the museum's offerings. Curator Chuck Hill has been busy reorganizing the museum's artifacts from the organization that proved to be the forerunner to veterans groups like the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars.
 
 
The most impressive artifact of all was one that was seen and heard as the Civil War ended in Virginia.
 
 
Between now and October, the museum will be open Thursday through Saturday from 10 to 4. Admission is free and donations are accepted. 

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Blue Ridge Schools Readying For Every Student Succeds Act

The former 'No Child Left Behind Act' is being replaced and central Illinois schools are bracing for the new standards.
 
Blue Ridge Schools Superintendent, Susan Wilson, explains the new law, titled 'Every Student Succeeds Act' will replace the old law and it essentially, asks each school to set their goals in line with the federal standards.
 
 
According to Wilson, this will show up on the annual school report cards and they will receive a grade on things like attendance and academics.
 
 
While the system is new, Wilson is still unsure how things will work but calls it a more 'realistic' approach.
 
 
President Barack Obama introduced the measure in 2015. 

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National Weather Services Discusses Cold, Wet Spring

It's been a cold, wet spring and the National Weather Service says we have been stuck in a weather pattern where northwest weather patterns are hitting the Midwest.
 
Chris Miller with the National Weather Service in Lincoln says we're about a month behind in the traditional weather patterns as we right now, are seeing patterns normal for late February and early March.
 
 
Miller says there will be a little warm air that gets to central Illinois but it is quickly followed by a cold spell and he is predicting this pattern continuing for at least another two weeks.
 
 
Miller predicts the current weather pattern delaying planting and says going through the rest of month, it looks like the cold weather pattern should continue. 
 
He expects heat that is building up in the southwest will start to build up to the midwest and near the Rockies but that could be into May and we could see a situation where we avoid spring and go right into summer. 

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Still Unclaimed Property in Illinois

The Illinois State Treasurer's office hopes to reunite Illinois residents with their unclaimed property. 
 
That could include bank accounts, insurance policy proceeds and forgotten safe deposit boxes. Residents can check the database by going to Illinois-treasurer-dot-gov and clicking on the “I-Cash” link. 
 
Treasurer Michael Frerichs says his office is currently sitting on nearly $3 billion dollars that doesn't belong to the state, but may be owed to you.
 
 
There are multiple situations where a person or business could be owed money. Treasurer Frerichs even has experience in an instance, where money was owed to him.
 
 
The unclaimed property division in 2017 paid out more than $160 million in claims, the largest being $1.3 million.

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Soybean Farmers Caught in Trade War

Farmers took a big hit this morning when China reacted to proposed tariffs from the US. 
 
The Chinese government slapped a proposed 25 percent tariff on soybeans. The market reacted quickly and the 2018 crop lost more than a billion and half dollars of expected value. 
 
Ron Moore, a soybean farmer from Roseville and Chairman of the American Soybean Association says that he’s been left frustrated by the escalating trade tensions between the US and China. According to Moore the US farmer needs the world’s consumers to grow their business.
 
 
China buys 61 percent of US soybean exports and that amounts to 30 percent of all US soybean production. 

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Illinois Lawmakers Discuss Sports Betting

SENATE LAWMAKERS ARE CONSIDERING LEGALIZING SPORTS BETTING IN ILLINOIS. 
 
SENATORS ARE GATHERING TESTIMONY ON HOW LEGAL SPORTS BETTING WOULD WORK SHOULD A FEDERAL BAN BE OVERTURNED BY THE U-S SUPREME COURT. CHRIS GROVE, A GAMING ANALYST AT EILERS AND KRAJCIK GAMING (eye-lers and kray-check) SAYS A LEGAL GAMBLING SYSTEM WOULD NEED TO BE ENTICING ENOUGH TO LURE USERS AWAY FROM THE BLACK MARKET. THAT MEANS NOT LIMITING GAMBLING TO JUST CASINOS AND RACETRACKS.
 
 
DAN SPILLANE, AN ATTORNEY WITH THE N-B-A, SAYS IT’S TIME TO GIVE SPORTS FANS A SAFE AND LEGAL WAY TO PLACE BETS AND MAINTAIN THE INTEGRITY OF GAMES
 
 
OTHERS STRESSED THE NEED FOR A LEGAL GAMBLING SYSTEM TO BE CONVENIENT AND MOBILE IF LAWMAKERS WANT TO LURE BETTERS AWAY FROM THE BLACK MARKET.

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Clinton High School Third Quarter Honor Roll

HIGH HONOR ROLL
 
SENIORS
 
AYERS, ADDISON M.
BATESON, DAMION M.
CHANEY, NICOLE S.
ETTIEN, SAVANNAH L.
FILKIN, MADISON L.
FINFROCK, MEGAN E.
HENNENFENT, DANYE L.
HENNENFENT, DAYLE L.
HICKMAN, MAC L.
KANE, JONATHON J.
MAXWELL, KATELYN J.
MILLER, JAYDEN J.
OVERBEY, KATHLEEN H.
PATTERSON, KYLI R.
REEVES, BRYCE L.
SANDERS, OLIVIA J.
SAULSBERY, ALYSSA M.
SCOLES, KAILEE R.
SMITH, LAUREN N.
THAYER, BREANNA N.
WATERS, SOPHIA R.
WERTS, MAGGIE K.
WILLOUGHBY, HANNAH C.
WOODS, MARCUS D.
WOOLDRIDGE, HANNAH L.
 
 
JUNIORS
 
BIERBRODT, OLIVIA G.
BRODEN, KATHERINE R.
CALVERT, ZAYIN S.
COOPER, TESS E.
DUPONT-BARLOW, RYTY L.
GOERGEN, CASEY E.
HENSON, GILLIAN C.
HICKMAN, CLARA E.
HICKS, SARAH V.
HOLTMAN, LINDSEY M.
JAMES, ANNMAREE E.
KINDER, ALLISON R.
LONG, BRANDON J.
LONG, DEREK A.
LUX, EMMA R.
LYONS, AMELIA J.
MCGHEE, ANDREW L.
MILLS, ANNA N.
MURPHY-LEACH, JORDAN M.
OVERTON, MATTHEW A.
POLEN, ZOIE J.
PRUSER, RILEY M.
STEVENS, MADELYN J.
STURGEON, KAITLIN E.
TOOL, AMANDA R.
UNDERWOOD, SYDNEE E.
UPTON, TYLER K.
WILLIAMS, HANNAH C.
WORKMAN, CLAUDIA L.
 
 
SOPHOMORES
 
AUGHENBAUGH, ETHAN C.
BURKE, TORI L.
BURTON, CODY W.
CARTER, KRAYTON C.
DEMPSEY, JACKSON R.
EARL, OLIVIA N.
FABRIS, SARAH E.
HALE, IAN W.
IJAMS, CORRIE
MAIER, ELIZABETH G.
MAXWELL, CLAIRE H.
MCKINSEY, HALEY A.
MONTGOMERY, KARA N.
PRIMMER, JACOB G.
REEVES, BRETT K.
SCHLESINGER, DESTINY K.
STERR, KAYLA I.
SVENDSEN, SEAN E.
TURNEY, PAYNE E.
WADE, EMILY P.
WAYNE, GARRETT D.
WILLIAMSON, SKYLER H.
 
FRESHMEN
 
BEEBE, CASSIE R.
BLACK, ETHAN C.
CLIFTON, SAVANAH N.
HICKMAN, ZEKE C.
HUSTED, CONNER R.
KAUFMAN, MIA L.
MESSENGER, JACOB W.
NORD, INGA P.
OVERBEY, BETHANY K.
PAGEL, ANDREW J.
SWARTZ, RAYA L.
TAYLOR, LYDIA M.
TAYLOR, KADENCE T.
TORBERT, ALEXA P.
VALENCIA, JUAN
WITTE, JACOB D.
WOLFE, BRENNEN J.
WORKMAN, CORDELL J.
 
A HONOR ROLL
SENIORS
BAKER, AUSTIN L.
BURTON, JOSHUA C.
CHAPMAN, SIERRA N.
DEFEBAUGH, TATUM R.
DEVORE, TANNER B.
FATHEREE, MITCHELL D.
KARR, BLAKE W.
KARR, JOHN C.
KERN, TENNYSON R.
ORNELAS, CAMERON
PEACOCK, CONNOR R.
RAUCH, AUSTIN D.
REYNOLDS, CHASE A.
ROBINSON, RIVER K.
SARTIE, JENNA R.
WERTZ, EMMA N.
WHITE, MILLIE K.
 
JUNIORS
ALSUP, CAMDYN R.
ARMSTRONG, MACKENZIE A.
BENTON, OLIVIA J.
BOUGHTON, GRACIE M.
BRODEN, LAUREN M.
CHAMPLEY, CALLIE R.
FOSTER, MASON C.
FOUGHT, KAITLYN E.
FRYMAN, KAYEDEN S.
KNAPP, JAMAICA M.
KNAPP, RAVEN X.
LINDQUIST, CHRISTINE L.
NORTH, ALYVIA S.
PATELSKI, KADY A.
PATTERSON, KANE J.
PATTERSON, KYLE A.
PETERSEN, LOGAN J.
REYNOLDS, CHRISTIAN A.
SCHEID, NICOLE B.
STONE, ABIGAIL M.
TAYLOR, EMILY N.
TORBERT, JAKE R.
WARGEL, KINSER P.
WITTE, GENESIS G.
WOOD, EVELYN M.
 
SOPHOMORES
ARNOLD, GRACE K.
BATESON, ELIZABETH G.
BENTON, LAURA R.
BRENNAN, TY D.
CRUTCHFIELD, MARIAH L.
ETTIEN, RAVEN L.
FRIESLAND, KAYLA B.
GREEN, DARCY C.
HEMPHILL, BRIAUNA T.
HOLT, MASON E.
HORN, TYLER D.
HOSPELHORN, BETHANY G.
KAUFMAN, MCKAYLA L.
LANG, TREVOR M.
NEWMAN, ALEC B.
OCAMPO, SARAH
OVEROCKER, KAELA M.
PHILLIPS, JACOB A.
RHODES, NATALIE A.
ROBBINS, HAYLEIGH A.
SANDAGE, EMILY R.
SCOTT, ARYN E.
STAUFFER, MAX C.
TAYLOR, KYLE S.
TAYLOR, LONI J.
TRUMMEL, JASMYNE S.
WEST, TYLER M.
 
FRESHMEN
BARGER, BREANNA M.
BUGGAR, KYREN S.
CERVANTEZ, ARIANNA A.
HENSON, NATALIE G.
JEWETT, BROOKE R.
KARR, MACKENZIE J.
LYONS, MICHAEL W. JR
MCCUE, MARGARET E.
PAKIDIS, ROBERT T. JR
RANSDELL, DEANN M.
SHAFFER, HAVEN T.
SMITH, KASEY D.
WEISS, KOLBY B.
WOODS, EVAN D.
YOUNG, COLE G.
 
B HONOR ROLL
 
SENIORS
 
ASH, CLARA L.
ATCHISON, ALEXIS N.
BAKER, DAMEON L.
BENSON, NOAH R.
BLANKENSHIP, CIERA D.
BORLAND, LUKAS G.
BRENNAN, BRYSON J.
BROWN, TILER M.
CASAREZ, BRENTON A.
CONATY, KEEGAN W.
DEFEBAUGH, TESSA K.
DIAL, CARSEN P.
DWYER, KEEGAN T.
ERVIN, EMILY A.
FRIESLAND, ALEXIS M.
HANES, COLE R.
HARVEY, BAILEY A.
HAYDEN, GARRETT C.
HOOD, JOSHUA B.
HOSPELHORN, JACOB S.
JACOBS, GABBRIELLA R.
JOHNSON, HALEE M.
LUKACH, ELIZABETH D.
MAGANA, EDGAR
MESSENGER, RACHAEL A.
MITCHELL, WELBY J.
MORRIS, HANNAH F.
MURPHY, DANIEL A.
NICHOLLS, CELESTE A.
OSGOOD, FRANKLIN B.
POWELL, DALLAS A.
PRUSER, ALLY N.
SANDERS, DALTON L.
SHOBE, LUKE M.
SMITH, DALTON T.
THRASHER, MEGAN C.
TISH, HOPE M.
TURNEY, WYNN J.
WADE, JACOB A.
WESTFALL, SETH S.
 
JUNIORS
 
CASE, CALLAHAN W.
CASTILLO, JULIAN N.
CHAPMAN, JOSEPH A.
CLIFTON, SYDNEY M.
COLEMAN, TABITHA L.
CONN, JUSTICE N.
DUNCAN-SAVAGE, WILLIAM J.
GLIDDEN, GABRIELLE F.
GREEN, JACALYN D.
HACKETT, AUSTIN L.
HAYNES, PEYTON D.
HINTZ, NICHOLAS T.
HOOPS, MADELYN J.
HORN, TRENT A.
JENKINS, MATTHEW R. JR
JORDING, JARED A.
KUNTZ, KAITLYN E.
LOWE, JESYKA D.
MCGHEE, ERIN T.
MCMATH, KOLTON M.
MORSE, JACOB W.
OSORIO, AMAIRANI I.
RICH, SAMUEL M.
RICHARDS, BAILYN I.
SHAW, ALEXANDRIA F.
SMITH, NATHANIEL J.
STARK, AUDREY R.
THOMAS, MYA N.
THOMAS, REID J.
WERTZ, CAMERON J.
WERTZ, RUSTIN D.
WHEELER, MERSADES V.
 
SOPHOMORES
 
AGUILAR, AUREANNA N.
ALEXANDER, MACY B.
BOND, EVA M.
BOYER, JOSIE E.
COOPER, CONOR W.
COX, THEODORE M. JR
CROSS, BRADEN D.
DAKE, CASSIDY R.
DAWSON, ALEXIS F.
DEAVERS, EVAN L.
DOWNS, MICAH B.
GUILLIAMS, GAGE J.
HARDWICK, LUCAS D.
HENDRIEX, TERRY L.
ISHMAEL, ABBY L.
KEMPLIN, ALEXIS S.
KORNEMAN, ELLA G.
LANE, KIMBERLY F.
LEBLANC, TRISTA C.
MAGANA, LENSLY
MARTIN, HUNTER M.
MASON, SIERRA L.
MCCAMMON, BRANDON L.
NICHOLLS, ASTASIA C.
NORD, ELSIE M.
ODANIELL, ETHAN L.
OLIVER, JALEIGH R.
OSWALD, MICHAEL S.
PEAVLER, CODY E.
QUINN, TRAVIS A.
RAMIREZ CASAREZ, LETICIA
RICH, JAYDLYNN A.
SLOAT, PRESTON A.
SMITH, ERICA R.
SOLIS, EDGAR E.
SPALDING, DALTON M.
SPURLING, MACKENA K.
STRANGE, JOSEPH D.
SWARTZ, GARRETT M.
THORNE, DAMIEN A.
THORNE, MAKAYLA R.
TRIMBLE, ALEXIS C.
TURNER, JESSICA A.
WEISS, KOLETON M.
WELCH, CLAYTON R.
WILSON, GRANT
WOLFE, JACOB M.
WOODBURY, DELANEY R.
ZBINDEN, CHRISTOPHER E.
 
 
FRESHMEN
 
ATKINS, BENJAMIN J.
BALDASSARI, VINCE L.
BALDWIN, CHANCE
BECK, KAILE A.
BLANKENSHIP, JAYDA N.
BOYER, TEJEN J.
BURKETT, SABRINA M.
CASAREZ, SEBASTIAN
CHIPMAN, JENNA B.
CHITWOOD, SELAH M.
DEERWESTER, ALEXANDER K.
EADS SNYDER, FAITH E.
GRIFFITH, LYRIC S.
HARPER, ABBY K.
HOOKER, REECE W.
MAPLE, ADYLYNN J.
MCCORMICK, KAIDYN I.
MCFEETERS, PIERCE K.
PAGE, EMILY M.
PETERSEN, OLIVIA L.
POLEN, CHASITY A.
PRUSER, KARLEE M.
RODAS, KEVIN J.
ROTH, AINSLEY I.
SAMAYOA-OSORIO, JACQLYNN A.
SANDERS, TRENTON E.
SCHMID, CARSON R.
SHANKS, ALAXIS J.
SMITH, EMILY M.
TIMERMAN, TANNER
TIPPET, ALEXANDER P.
ZOMBRO, BAYLEE N.

 

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NRCS Addresses Clinton Rotary Club

The National Resource Conservation Service's Darren Moser spoke before the Clinton Rotary Club Tuesday afternoon talking about everything from what they do for local farmers to what they do for the environment.
 
Moser says the primary purpose of the federal organization is to design and engineer practices for conservation, which includes avoiding soil erosion and improving water quality.
 
 
The partnerships component to NRCS is relatively new and Moser explains prior to the 2014 farm bill, central Illinois was chosen as one of six locations in the US to be chosen to try to match funds for the regional conservation practices programs through partnerships with ADM and Tate and Lyle.
 
 
According to Moser, farmers can get financial assistance for three programs associated with conservation assistance. 
 
 
Moser points out, the Conservation Stewardship Practices program become the largest assistance program in the country three years ago. The local NRCS office encompasses the counties of DeWitt, Macon, and Piatt. 

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Six Inches of Snow On Easter Sunday

Six to seven inches of snow fell across central Illinois on Easter Sunday.
 
Chris Miller with the National Weather Service in Lincoln says central Illinois fell in the five to six inches prediction but in some areas, there were as much as seven inches of snow.
 
 
Other parts of the state though got very little snowfall. Miller says northern and southern Illinois received only a couple inches of snow in some spots, otherwise, there was some rain or no precipitation at all.
 
 
Miller says the Easter Sunday snow was only the seventh time it's snowed on the holiday in 140 years and the last time there was a major event was 40 years ago.
 
 
Miller says central Illinois is stuck in a cold weather pattern and cannot seem to break out of it and indicates there could more snow late Friday then again Sunday and into Monday. 

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Annual Weldon Springs Foundation Meeting This Friday

The Weldon Springs Foundation will hold its spring meeting on Friday at the Clinton United Methodist Church parlor.  
 
Social will be at 6:00 p.m. with the meeting at 6:30 p.m. Organizers ask anyone attending please bring a plate of finger food to share. 
 
Summer events with volunteer opportunities will be discussed.   
 
To become a member of the Weldon Springs Foundation, you can bring dues to the Friday gather. Dues are $10 for an individual,  a family membership for $20, a business  membership for $35. You can also mail them to Weldon Springs Foundation, P.O. Box 323, Clinton, IL 61727.  
 
The purpose of the Foundation is to support the park and we encourage those interested in the park to become members.

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Teens get off to strong start in organ donation

llinois Secretary of States Jesse White's office reports teens haven't hesitated to become organ donors. A new state law that took effect this year cleared the way for 16 and 17-year-olds to become organ donors and Secretary White says they stepped up immediately....
 
 
More information is available at www.lifegoeson.com. 

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La Nina impacting Illinois spring weather

Water temps in the Pacific Ocean impacting spring weather in Illinois. And those water temps are cooler—creating a La Nina effect or cooler and wetter weather says DTN Chief Agriculture Meteorologist Bryce Anderson.
 
 
The central portion of Illinois experienced snow last weekend and the northern and western portions of the state the weekend before.

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Bill Proposed Could Put A Big Chill On Industry

Could anyone person in the state or even the country be able to stop a project from moving forward? That’s the concern if a pair of bills finds approval in the Illinois Legislature. The bills will grant anyone, anywhere the ability to sue a number of state agencies to stop an administrative decision. Those lawsuits could stand in the way of a highway being built, a campground constructed or a livestock facility being sited. Bill Bodine with the Illinois Farm Bureau says that it would add the potential for so many extra legal costs that it could kill a desire for agriculture expansion.
 
 
Bodine says in the case of a livestock facility there are already government regulations and processes put in place to find a proper site. Other opponents say this would harm business expansion in a state that is already lagging other Midwest ones in job creation.

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ZBA Approves Setback Distances, Turbine Heights

The Zoning Board of Appeals has approved setback distances and wind turbine height restrictions in DeWitt County. 
 
The ZBA approved a setback distance for the towers of 2,000 feet and a height not to exceed 499 feet. ZBA Chair Andy Hedrick says the recommendations came from the Regional Planning Commission and indicates they rarely go against the RPC's recommendations.
 
 
With the adjustment to the ordinance, Hedrick speculates DeWitt County is now in the top end of setback distances for central Illinois. He says it was a balance trying to protect landowners who want the turbines on their property and those that do not.
 
 
The previous ordinance had no restrictions on turbine height and the turbines only had to be 1,500 feet from the nearest house. 
 
Hedrick says the ZBA's next big decision will come up when a wind farm proposal comes before them.
 
The proposed regulations now head to the DeWitt County Board for final approval on April 19. 

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Clinton City Council Approves Development Proposals

A number of development proposals were approved Monday night at the Clinton City Council meeting.
 
The Council approved the acquisition of the Pinehurst development and City Administrator Tim Followell indicates it is east of Illini Drive and north of the tension basin. It is a repossession for the City and he hopes to get some development on it before the TIF district expires in 2025.
 
 
According to Followell, there will be an annexation in the 600 block of North Moore Street and it will be the location for Gulliford Portable Toilets. 
 
 
Finally, the City approved the special use permit for Four Paws Salon to move to the edge of the community to the former Copper and Brass Room.
 
 
Additionally Monday night, the Council approved the donation of $6,000 to the Celebrate Clinton Association for the Fourth of July fireworks display.
 
The Council also approved the purchase of seven trees for just over $2,000. 

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Business Expo Recap: Clinton Am Vets Promoting Work With Veterans of All Ages

Last week at the annual Clinton Chamber of Commerce Business Expo, businesses and non-profits spent several hours in front of the community.
 
Marc Rogers with the Am Vets indicates they were trying to get in front of veterans of every age to promote how they can help both active veterans and veterans who have returned home.
 
 
This week, the Am Vets will be welcoming back a pair of local veterans from Washington, D.C. as a part of the Honor Flight that allows local veterans to visit Washington, DC and see all the Memorials. Rogers indicates Gary Thompson and Mike Cover will be making the trip.
 
 
The Am Vets this year started offering a scholarship for Clinton High School students and Rogers hopes the organization will name the inaugural recipient this month. 

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Steel Plow, Cell Phone Among Top Inventions

THE STEEL PLOW…CELL PHONE AND THE PILL TOP THE LIST OF BEST ILLINOIS INNOVATIONS IN THE LATEST TOP 200 ONLINE POLL.
 
EVERY TWO WEEKS ILLINOISANS ARE ASKED TO VOTE FOR THE STATE’S GREATEST BOOKS…TOP BUSINESSES…AND NOW THE TOP INVENTIONS AND INNOVATIONS. ABRAHAM LINCOLN PRESIDENTIAL LIBRARY AND MUSEUM SPOKESPERSON CHRIS WILLS SAYS MANY OF THE WINNERS REFLECT THE STATE’S ROOTS IN AGRICULTURE.
 
 
OTHER TOP INVENTIONS INCLUDE THE BIRTH CONTROL PILL DEVELOPED IN PART AT A COMPANY IN SKOKIE AND SKYSCRAPERS. THE NEXT CATEGORY IS TOP BUILDINGS IN ILLINOIS AND IS NOW POSTED ONLINE AT: ILLINOIS TOP 200 DOT COM.

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Lt. Governor May Be Key To Peace With Ives

Governor Bruce Rauner has a key issue to deal with as the march toward the general election battle with Democrat J.B. Pritzker moves forward. 
 
Rauner needs to mend fences with his primary opponent, State Representative Jeannie Ives, or at least her supporters. Lt. Governor Evelyn Sanguinetti could be of help in opening a dialogue. The Lt. Governor says she's no stranger to the West Point grad.
 
 
Sanguinetti has also shared that she opposed legislation Governor Rauner signed that paved the way for state funded abortions. That was one of the key issues that many believe led to Ives' surge in popularity. 

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First Weekly Crop Report Released

THERE’S NOT MUCH ACTION IN THE FIRST WEEKLY CROP REPORT OF THE SEASON THANKS TO WET WEATHER IN ILLINOIS. 
 
THE RAIN KEPT PRODUCERS OUT OF THE FIELDS FOR MUCH OF THE PAST WEEK SAYS CROP STATISTICIAN MARK SCHLEUSENER.
 
 
SCHLEUSENER SAYS TWO PERCENT OF WINTER WHEAT HAS HEADED.
 
 
AVERAGE STATEWIDE TOP SOIL MOISTURE IS RATED AT THREE PERCENT SHORT…60 PERCENT ADEQUATE AND 37 PERCENT SURPLUS. SOUTHERN ILLINOIS IS THE WETTEST AFTER RECEIVING MORE THAN THREE INCHES OF RAIN LAST WEEK. 

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Fake Pot Claims Another Life

Another death from synthetic cannabis has been reported in Illinois. 
 
The state’s Department of Public Heath continues to warn against the use of fake weed, spice or K2. The drug has now killed two and sent dozens to hospitals with symptoms as awful as bleeding from the eyes. 
 
IDPH’s Melaney Arnold says you’re taking a big risk when using the drug because you have no idea what it contains.
 
 
The IDPH won’t say where the deaths are taking place but the largest concentrations for reported overdoses and hospitalizations are in Chicago and Peoria and Tazewell County. 

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Earth Team Volunteer Program Having Success in Illinois

The Natural Resources Conservation Service touting the success of the Illinois Earth Team Volunteer program. 
 
State Coordinator Jean McConkey says some great work is being done throughout Illinois.
 
 
McConkey says retired teachers and current high school and college students have the perfect skill set to help with Illinois Earth Team efforts. You can find out more on-line at “nrcs.usda.gov” and typing “Illinois Earth Team Volunteer Program” in search box. 

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Chamber Business Expo Highlight: DeWitt County Development Council

The revamped DeWitt County Development Council took part in last week's Clinton Chamber of Commerce Business Expo and it was a perfect venue for continuing their efforts to get in front of the community and its businesses.
 
Director of the DCDC Board, David Torbert indicates the Business Expo provided them the opportunity to network with the community's businesses.
 
 
Torbert indicates they also wanted to highlight what the DCDC can do for area businesses and what kind of resources they have.
 
 
Torbert feels the DCDC is in a great spot with a very diverse board, a new part-time Executive Director and back-to-back successful fundraising campaigns in the community. 

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Gardeners Starting To Get Itch To Get Outside

Gardeners of all types are ready for the weather to permanently break so they can get out and move some soil.
 
University of Illinois Master Gardener, Candice Hart, says one thing gardeners can do right now is some pruning. 
 
 
Hart says it is not too soon to get those gardens cleaned up if you can find a day that is warm enough to get out. She also notes, if you are up for it, it isn't too soon to get some things in the ground.
 
 
Master Gardeners at the University of Illinois can help with any of your garden planning or planting needs. Contact or visit your local U of I Extension office to for help on any challenges you come across this season. 

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Lincoln High School Leading Charge For Social Media Training

Last week on Regional Radio News, we outlined the challenges stemming from social media in Clinton schools.
 
The challenge is not limited to just Clinton schools as Lincoln High School Superintendent, Bob Bagby recently implored his local Regional Office of Education to hold a training on the matter.
 
 
Social media changes so frequently, it can be a challenge for administrators to keep up with. Bagby credits the ROE for putting on some training. He says the data shows training is needed for front-line community leaders.
 
 
Threats against schools are not the only thing that results from social media. Bagby says bullying has taken on a new form in schools today thanks to social media.
 
 
Lincoln High School is one of many schools that utilizes a school resource officer through the local police force and Bagby calls the partnership 'beneficial'. He feels disciplinary issues in the school have dropped in half thanks to Officer Butterfield being in the building.
 
 
Bagby says student safety in the last ten years has drastically changed and indicates planning happens every few months though, Bagby points out, threats are being taken seriously and that message is being sent to the students making them. 

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Fake Weed Turns Deadly

A death is now being linked to fake weed or a spice. 
 
The Illinois Department of Public Health warned last week about the drug causing a rash of gruesome symptoms including bleeding from the eyes. But using has turned fatal according the IDPH. The death joins 38 reported cases of bleeding from the eyes after people use the drug also known as K2. 
 
Melaney Arnold with IDPH says they battle a belief that using the drug has little to no side effects.
 
 
Details on the deceased person have yet to be released but people who have wound up in the hospital have tested positive for an anticoagulant found in rat poison.

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2 Local Men Join Community Foundation's Board

The Illinois Prairie Community Foundation Board of Directors has elected two local men to the board. Josh Barnett will serve on the board’s Grants Committee while Adrian Barr will join the board’s Governance Committee.
 
Barnett is Development Coordinator at Advocate Charitable Foundation, the philanthropy arm of Advocate BroMenn Medical Center and Advocate Eureka Hospital. Prior to Advocate, Barnett was a financial advisor and spent several years overseeing marketing, communications and stewardship at Calvary United Methodist Church in Normal. 
 
Barnett is also a member of the McLean County Board representing more than 17,000 District 10 residents on Bloomington's east side. Within the County Board, he is a member of the Transportation Committee and Property Committee. Outside of his day jobs, Barnett volunteers with the Kiwanis of Bloomington, McLean County Chamber of Commerce, IPCF’s Grants Committee and many more organizations.
 
Barr is Managing Attorney for Prairie State Legal Services’ Bloomington office. In his current role, Barr supervises the delivery of civil legal services to low-income people and seniors in McLean, Livingston and Woodford counties. Barr’s devotion to improving our community extends beyond his work at Prairie State. He serves on the board of directors of the Immigration Project, a nonprofit organization in Bloomington providing immigrants with affordable immigration legal services; serves on the Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Access to Justice Name Change Standardized Forms Subcommittee, and has chaired it since 2015; and currently is the president of the United Way of McLean County's Agency Executive Council and also serves on the board of directors of the United Way of McLean County. In addition, he is a member of the PILI Eleventh Judicial Circuit Pro Bono Committee and is active in the McLean County Bar Association’s Pro Bono Committee.
 
Illinois Prairie Community Foundation, now in its 20th year, encourages and facilitates philanthropy in McLean, DeWitt, Livingston and Logan counties by connecting donors who care with causes that matter to them. The Foundation currently manages assets of more than $16 million in 160 funds including endowments and donor advised, fiscal sponsorship and scholarship funds. 

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Vietnam Vets Honored with 50 year Pin

Vietnam vets were recognized at a special ceremony by the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affair to mark a 50th anniversary of the war. During the ceremony vets were presented with a special pin honoring their service. IDVA Director Erica Jefferies says it’s a small way honor the service of Vietnam vets who were not welcomed back the right way.
 
 
The IDVA is also looking to honor the work of 200 veterans as part of the state’s bicentennial events. To nominate someone go the IVDA webpage.

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Illinois Presidents Honored at ALPLM

Illinois has had its share of men call this state home and then wind up in the White House and one museum is taking time to honor them. The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum has a new exhibit to take a look at not only Lincoln, but also Grant, Regan and Obama. The ALPLM’s Chris Wills says a number of artifacts are impressive.
 
 
The exhibit has been up and running for a few weeks now and will be on display through the end of the year.

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Rauner wants to see capital bill but without new tax dollars

Governor Bruce Rauner is continuing to express his support for a capital bill to meet the state’s infrastructure needs. However, he's doesn't want to make that happen through new tax avenues.... 
 
The Governor isn't ready to choose a size of the long delayed capital bill...
 
 
National research group TRIP, working in tandem with the Illinois Chamber of Commerce, reports Illinois' deficient, congested roads are costing Illinois drivers $16.4 billion each year. The report shows about one-third of the state’s roads were in poor or mediocre condition and about one-tenth of its bridges are structurally deficient. The report says a substantial increase in local and state funding is needed to address the issue of ailing roads and bridges 

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