Local News

New Entrepreneur Camp for Middle School Students Coming to Clinton

 
A different style of summer camp is coming to the community with a focus on business.  
 
First National Bank, Trust Company, and TS Institute have teamed up with the Clinton YMCA for a new week-long camp teaching students how to take a concept and develop it into a viable business.  
 
TS Institute Financial Literacy Coordinator Connie Unruh (UN-rew) explains what students will take away from the entrepreneurship program...
 

 

 
Unruh (UN-rew) also gave some insight into a similar camp aimed at high school students...
 

 

 
The goal of these camps is to get Clinton area students interested in learning more about owning their own businesses and spur enrollment in the CEO Program which is scheduled to begin in the fall of 2019 at Clinton High School. 
 
First National Bank and Trust Company have pledged $3,000 toward the program over the next three years.  The program will partner with local small businesses and introduce high school seniors in Clinton, Blue Ridge, Maroa-Forsyth, and Warrensburg-Latham to the entrepreneurial experience.  
 
For more information on how to register for the entrepreneurial camp contact the Clinton YMCA.

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Heyworth School District Looks to Challenge Students

A new position is available in the Heyworth school district as it entails working with those students who have been high achieving.
 
The Heyworth school district feels confident in helping those students who might be underachieving, making sure those students have the right attention and programs available.
 
According to Lisa Taylor, superintendent of the Heyworth school district, it was teachers who got the idea of bringing back the STEM/STEAM program.
 

 

 
Taylor explains the program has students guide it, allowing the students to come up with a real-world problem that they look to solve.  The students then use the technology within the program to get hands-on experience solving the issue.  
 
 A new lab is being built with advanced technology including 3D printers and tables that raise and lower...
 

 

 
The new program will require a special teacher specifically for the STEM classroom, as trying to get kids to think outside of the box is the main goal for the district.
 

 

 
The STEM/STEAM program is scheduled to begin at the beginning of next school year.

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IVET program seeking more Illinois veterinarians

The agriculture industry could always use more veterinarians in Illinois. And that’s the motivation behind the organization’s Illinois Veterinary and Training program or IVET program, which provides a $40,000 loan that is paid back five years after graduation from vet school. Chet McClure is in the second year of vet school and is an IVET participant.  He’s hoping to practice in east-central Illinois...
 
 
 
 
The program is geared toward those vet students that are going into production animal medicine.

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Lawmakers discuss new gambling expansion package

IN THESE FINAL DAYS OF THE SPRING LEGISLATIVE SESSION...LAWMAKERS ARE DISCUSSING A MASSIVE GAMBLING EXPANSION BILL.
 
SOME SORT OF GAMING PROPOSAL POPS UP EACH YEAR...AND 2018 IS NO EXCEPTION. THIS LATEST PLAN ALLOWS FOR SIX NEW CASINOS, INCLUDING ONE IN CHICAGO. IT ALSO ALLOWS SLOT MACHINES AT RACE TRACKS AND O'HARE AND MIDWAY AIRPORTS. CRITICS ARGUE THE MARKET IS ALREADY SATURATED, BUT SENATOR TERRY LINK OF WAUKEGAN DISAGREES.
 
 
 
DANVILLE IS ONE OF THE TOWNS THAT WOULD GET A CASINO UNDER THE BILL...WHICH MAYOR SCOTT EISENHOWER SAYS IS VITAL HIS AREA'S LOCAL ECONOMY.
 

 

 
BUT COMMUNITIES WHICH ALREADY HAVE RIVERBOATS AND A LOT OF VIDEO GAMING SAY THE MARKET IS ALREADY OVERSATURATED AND FEAR LOSING MONEY IN THEIR AREAS. THE PLAN FELL SHORT OF PASSING A HOUSE COMMITTEE BUT SUPPORTERS MAY TRY AGAIN IN THE NEXT FEW DAYS.

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Rauner unveils infrastructure plan

Gov. Bruce Rauner believes his new infrastructure plan will play in Peoria. He visited the river city to announce an $11 billion six-year plan for maintaining and constructing roads and bridges. Rauner says the new approach is all about being proactive.....
 

 

 
It was no coincidence that Rauner was in Peoria. His infrastructure plan calls for construction of a new McCluggage Bridge.

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Lawmakers approve bill requiring courthouses have a designated breastfeeding/pumping area for mothers

COURTHOUSES WILL HAVE TO SET UP ACCOMMODATIONS FOR NURSING MOTHERS UNDER A BILL HEADED TO THE GOVERNOR’S DESK.
 
THE MEASURE IS SPONSORED BY REPRESENTATIVE KELLY CASSIDY OF CHICAGO WHO SAYS THOSE VISITING AND WORKING WITHIN THE JUDICIAL SYSTEM SHOULDN’T HAVE TO PUMP THEIR BREAST MILK IN THE BATHROOM. SHE EXPLAINS HER LEGISLATION.
 

 

 
THE LACTATION ROOM WILL HAVE TO AT LEAST HAVE A TABLE, CHAIR, ELECTRICAL OUTLET AND A SINK. THE BILL NEEDS TO BE SIGNED BY THE GOVERNOR TO BECOME LAW.

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IMPORTANT REMINDERS FOR BEST DICAMBA APPLICATION EXPERIENCE

As farmers across the country are planting Roundup Ready 2 Xtend soybeans this spring, there are several important things to keep in mind. NAFB's Chad Smith has the story…

 

 

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Lawmakers pass bill raising the minimum teacher salary to $40,000 over next couple of years

SOME TEACHERS MAY BE GETTING A RAISE UNDER A BILL PASSED BY LAWMAKERS WEDNESDAY. 
 
THE LEGISLATION UPDATES THE MINIMUM SALARY FOR TEACHERS IN ILLINOIS…GRADUALLY INCREASING THE AMOUNT OVER THE NEXT FOUR YEARS UNTIL IT HITS 40 THOUSAND DOLLARS. REPRESENTATIVE CHRISTIAN MITCHELL OF CHICAGO SAYS THE CURRENT MINIMUM IS JUST 11 THOUSAND DOLLARS.
 

 

 
IF SIGNED INTO LAW BY THE GOVERNOR…TEACHERS WOULD HAVE TO BE PAID AT LEAST 32 THOUSAND DOLLARS IN THE 2019-2020 SCHOOL YEAR. SUPPORTERS SAYS THIS WILL HELP FILL THE CURRENT TEACHER SHORTAGE IN ILLINOIS.

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First signs of West Nile Virus confirmed in Illinois

THE FIRST SIGNS OF THE WEST NILE VIRUS ARE POPPING UP IN ILLINOIS. 
 
THE STATE DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH BEGAN SURVEILLANCE OF THE VIRUS EARLIER THIS MONTH AND THE FIRST CONFIRMED SAMPLE HAS BEEN FOUND IN POOLS OF MOSQUITOES SAYS SPOKESPERSON MELANEY ARNOLD.
 

 

 
THAT MEANS YOU SHOULD PROTECT YOURSELF FROM MOSQUITO BITES BY WEARING INSECT REPELLANT AND ELIMINATING STANDING WATER AROUND YOUR HOME WHERE THE BUGS CAN BREED. LAST YEAR…WEST NILE WAS FOUND IN 63 ILLINOIS COUNTIES AND INCLUDED 90 HUMAN CASES.

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DeWitt County Board Approves Special-Use Permit for LeRoy Rifle and Pistol Club

The DeWitt County Board passed the motion of granting a special-use permit for the LeRoy Rifle and Pistol Club.  
 
The two-hour board meeting saw members from both the club and residents of Waynesville, the proposed site of the new shooting range, come together at last nights monthly DeWitt County Board meeting.
 
The DeWitt County Zoning Board of Appeals voted 4-2 earlier this month recommending the special-use permit with several stipulations as a requirement.  DeWitt County Board chairman David Newberg listed these stipulations...
 
   
Waynesville residents were in attendance, with multiple homeowners who reside next to the proposed shooting range location.  Resident Dawn Funderberg expressed her concerns, as her property line resides just 230 feet away from the proposed shooting club site...
 

 

President Tim Dazey of the LeRoy Rifle and Pistol Club tried reassuring residents that their company is, in the long run, trying to help the community...
 

 

The county board also motioned to pay all bills, approve the health insurance renewal, and the food service sanitation ordinance.  
 
Kayla Wiggins was appointed Trustee to the Waynesville Community Fire Protection District, Rodney Wilson as Trustee to the Wapella Community Fire Protection District, Charles W (Chip) Atten as Trustee to the Clinton Community Fire Protection District, and Ben Lowers to the DeWitt County Housing Authority.

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Miller Park Zoo Adds Hooded Crane

A local zoo is welcoming the addition of a new animal on exhibit.
 
Jay Teztloff, director of Miller Park Zoo, indicates the zoo has recently added a hooded crane. The crane is the zoo's first since its founding in 1891.
 

 

 
Hooded cranes are cold-blooded animals and can be on exhibit outside up to negative temperatures. Tetzloff adds that the zoo also plans on adding a female hooded crane and hopes to have a breeding pair at the Miller Park Zoo.
 

 

 
Tetzloff indicates the zoo has never had a hooded crane before and it is the zoo's first crane since 2005.

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Clinton Power Station Returns to Service After Planned Outage

Operators at Clinton Power Station returned the unit to full power over the weekend following a scheduled refueling outage which began on April 30. The unit was synchronized to the electrical power grid on May 21 at 6:00 p.m. and reached full power Saturday morning.
 
During this year’s outage, workers installed six new power transformers and performed thousands of inspections and maintenance activities to ensure reliability for another two-year operating cycle.
 
Clinton Power Station is located approximately six miles east of Clinton, Ill. The station can produce more than 1,069 megawatts of carbon-free electricity at full power – enough to power more than a million homes and businesses.

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Three "D" Spring Health Hacks Could Pay Huge Dividends

With spring in the air and the summer months right around the corner, it's that time of the year when people look to hit the refresh button.
 
But while many will do spring cleaning to their homes and apartments, Dr. Ken Redcross suggests doing so for ones mental and physical health. 
 
Dr. Redcross joined the WHOW Morning Show and explained one aspect of the recharging process is to understand the benefits of vitamin D intake...
 

 

 
Along with better intake of vitamin D, taking and using the right medicine is an area of focus to help rejuvenate the body...
 

 

 
While decluttering the medicine cabinet might seem like a small concern, there are big downsides to lingering expired medications...
 

 

 
And while the stress of life is constantly in the way, Dr. Redcross suggests taking a small chunk of time each day to reflect...
 

 

 
For more information on Dr. Ken Redcross's three "D's" to better spring health visit FreeRedCrossD.com.

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Illinois Innocence Project not embracing return of death penalty debate

Officials at the University of Illinois Springfield based Illinois Innocence Project aren't exactly embracing talk of restoring the death penalty in Illinois. Executive Director John Hanlon was unpleasantly surprised to see the issue bubble back to the surface.,..
 
 

 

 
 
Hanlon says evidence is rarely 100% foolproof, which is why he thinks the Rauner Administration's talk of using the death penalty when there is a case "without a reasonable doubt" ....
 
 

 

 
 
During his time at the Illinois State Appellate Defender’s office, Hanlon represented 4 of the 21 wrongfully convicted individuals who were later released to freedom from Illinois’ death row.

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Wall of Remembrance Arrives at State Capitol

Memorial Day weekend began the annual wall of remembrance display at the Illinois State Capitol. A large screen will display the names and stories of Illinois’ service men and women killed in the line of duty. Illinois Army National Guard Colonel Joseph Schweiker says the wall offers a moment to honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice.
 

 

 
Visitors to the wall can leave a photo or note behind honoring another vet or a note of thanks to members of the armed service.
 
The wall will be up through July 4th.

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Rauner honors the fallen

On Memorial Day, a crowd of appreciative supporters in Springfield weren't going to let the blistering heat prevent them from paying respects to those who made the supreme sacrifice. Governor Bruce Rauner addressed the crowd at Camp Butler National Cemetery. 
 
 

 

 
 
Rauner also expressed his appreciation for Gold Star families.

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Work and Jobs Numbers Are Strong

Every major metro area in the state has as pretty robust jobs market right now. The Illinois Department of Employment Security says the economy continues to improve and it’s a boost to those looking for a job or a new career. 
 

 

 
All areas of work, including manufacturing added jobs in year over year numbers.

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Eastern Illinois Food Bank Strives to Feed Those in Need

Millions of people rely on food pantries in order to survive each year.  Just in Central Illinois, nearly one in five children don’t know from where their next meal will come.
 
President and CEO of the Eastern Illinois Food Bank Jim Hires says the goal of EIFB is to help those in the area suffering from food insecurity...
 
 

 

 
 
Hires explained how to define those who are food insecure that need help...
 
 

 

 
 
While EIFB looks to provide food to those who need it, they also are trying to improve what food is being consumed...
 
 

 

 
 
Gathering this fresh food from corporations and securing donations is a huge part of the success for EIFB...
 

 

 
 
For more information to get involved with the Eastern Illinois Food Bank visit EIFoodBank.org.

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Allerton Park Camps Ramping up for Summer Season

The warm tempatures are finally here which means summer is right around the corner.  
 
Summer camps are normally a big attraction for children of all ages.  For those looking to get involved, Public Outreach Coordinator at Allerton Park Mindy Brand explained the types of camps they offer...
 
 

 

 
Brand says they look to get all age groups involved but activites range into many different categories...
 
 

 

 
 
While Allerton Park wants every child to be involved in a summer camp, space is at a limit...
 

 

 
 
For more information on getting involved with summer camps at Allerton Park visit Allerton dot Illinois dot e-d-u.

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Rauner Proposes Schools Choose Funds for Safety or Building

Schools looking for resources to pay for security guards or mental health professionals may have a new way to do so. Republican Governor Bruce Rauner wants schools to be able to take from funds set aside to build facilities and use them to pay for safety or mental health personal. 
 
 

 

 
 
The resources for schools wouldn’t increase. Rather districts would have to choose what they would rather be able to afford.

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WITH CRITICAL FARM BILL VOTE AHEAD, IT'S TIME TO CONTACT YOUR LEGISLATOR

With Memorial Day weekend and a congressional district working period this week, now is the time for farmers and ranchers to urge lawmakers to vote for the farm bill. NAFB's Chad Smith has more…
 

 

 

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"Give Them Distance" campaign reminds motorists about the state's move over law

 
STATE OFFICIALS ARE LAUNCHING THE “GIVE THEM DISTANCE” CAMPAIGN AND REMINDING MOTORISTS TO MOVE OVER IF SOMEONE IS PULLED OVER ON THE SIDE OF THE ROAD. 
 
THE CAMPAIGN FOCUSES ON ILLINOIS’ “MOVE OVER LAW” WHICH MANY PEOPLE DON’T REALIZE WAS EXPANDED LAST YEAR SAYS ILLINOIS TOLLWAY EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR LIZ GORMAN. SHE SAYS IT REQUIRES DRIVERS TO SWITCH LANES IF ANYONE IS STOPPED ON THE SIDE OF THE ROAD…NOT JUST LAW ENFORCEMENT.
 

 

 
GORMAN SAYS THEY ARE ASKING MOTORISTS TO PLEDGE TO “GIVE THEM DISTANCE” WHEN THEY’RE OUT ON THE ROADS.
 
GOVERNOR BRUCE RAUNER SAYS THE STATE’S MOVE OVER LAW WAS EXPANDED LAST YEAR IN HOPES OF PROTECTING THOSE STOPPED ALONG THE HIGHWAY.
 

 

 
DRIVERS ARE URGED TO TAKE THE PLEDGE TO FOLLOW THE MOVE OVER LAW ONLINE AT: GIVE THEM DISTANCE DOT COM. JUST LAST SEPTEMBER AN ILLINOIS TOLLWAY WORKER WAS STRUCK AND KILLED BY A MOTORIST WHO DID NOT OBEY THE LAW.

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Nationwide Reveals Most Common Agribusiness Insurance Claims

Motor vehicle accidents top the list of insurance claims in farming in agribusiness. A statement from Nationwide Insurance says that accidents, workers compensation and misapplication of chemicals or drift issues, have accounted for more than 50,000 claims over the last three years. However, over the past three years, motor vehicles accidents have accounted for more than 20,000 total commercial agribusiness claims. Nationwide, which calls itself the number one farm insurer in the United States, say that by sharing the data, the company hopes "to help agribusiness owners recognize areas of their operation that may need increased safety precautions." Other top agribusiness claims include falls, food-related claims, animal bites, glass breakage, weather damage and fire or loss.

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State Fair giving karaoke fans a chance to take the big stage

It may be the easiest road to trying out your singing talents at the next level, The Illinois State Fair is sparing aspiring singers long drives and waits for auditions for shows like American Idol or the Voice. The State Fair Karaoke Contest challenges young singers around the state to show off their singing chops. Karaoke competitors will face off at a number of county fairs. Then the finalists will face off at the Illinois State Fair August 12th with the winner opening up for country star and Illinois native Brett Eldredge. State Fair Manager Luke Sailer....
 

 

 
 
Sailer says it's only fitting to have the winner paired with Eldredge with Illinois' 200th birthday....
 
 

 

 
 
Registration is underway at the state fair website www.IllinoisStateFair.info. 

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Bloomington Man Killed Near Farmer City

Early Sunday morning a Bloomington man was killed while walking on Interstate 74 near Farmer City according to DeWitt County Coroner Randy Rice.
 
Jared J. Kelch, 26, was walking near west on the interstate and was struck by a westbound semi near mile marker 155 and Old Principal Road near Farmer City. Rice said Kelch was pronounced dead at the scene at 4:25 a.m.
 
Additional details are not yet available. The DeWitt County Coroner's Office and the Illinois State Police are investigating the incident.

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Clinton Superintendent Anticipates Busy Summer

With the end of the school year meaning time off for students, it's not quite the same for the administration.
 
Curt Nettles, superintendent of Clinton schools, indicates June is a busy month with principals preparing end of year reports and the unit office with the end of the fiscal year.
 

 

 
Nettles says that July is slower for everyone and then the work picks back up in August with new teacher orientation and the start of the new school year.
 

 

 
Nettles says summer is a good time for maintenance projects and notes they have a few projects this summer but nothing major.

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Trade Policy Will Be a Key Topic of Discussion at the World Meat Congress

The 2018 World Meat Congress gets underway this week in Dallas. Trade policy issues will be front-and-center at the WMC as a panel of experts will discuss the likely future direction of the global trading system. The panel will be moderated by Ambassador Darci Vetter, former chief agricultural negotiator for the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative.
 
The panel will include Ted McKinney, USDA undersecretary for trade and foreign agricultural affairs, Kenneth Smith Ramos, chief NAFTA negotiator for the Mexican Ministry of the Economy, and Jean-Marc Trarieux, who manages trade issues with North and South America for the European Commission’s Directorate General for Agriculture and Rural Development. Vetter says this is a great opportunity to talk trade…
 

 

 
Vetter noted that vision should be more than just bilateral trade deals…
 

 

 
In addition to the panel on trade, other key note speakers include Sonny Perdue, the Argentinian Agriculture Minister, and Canadian Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Lawrence MacAulay.
 
For a complete agenda and other details, please visit http://www.2018wmc.com.

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Organic Sector Grows 6.4 Percent in 2017

More of America’s grocery carts were filled with organic products in 2017. The Organic Trade Association’s 2018 Industry Survey shows consumers were buying everything from organic produce and organic ice cream to organic fresh juices and organic dried beans. U.S. organic sales totaled a new record of $49.4 billion in 2017, up 6.4 percent from the previous year. That total also reflects new sales of nearly $3.5 billion. Sales of organic non-food products also rose to $4.2 billion, rising 7.4 percent higher to set a new benchmark. The growth rate of organic food sales was below the nine percent pace in 2016. It was impacted heavily by markedly slower growth in the big organic dairy and egg category. However, the pace was still well above that of the overall food market, which was 1.1 percent. Organic increased its penetration into the total food market, now making up 5.5 percent of all food sold in the retail channel. Laura Batcha, Organic Trade Association President, says, “Organic has arrived and everyone is paying attention. Consumers are loving organic and now we’re able to make organic choices in just about every aisle in the grocery store.”

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Blood Donors Needed Heading Into Summer

The American Red Cross is asking you to donate blood as we head into the summer months. The organization says only about 3% of the U.S. population gives blood, meaning repeat donors are carrying the bulk of the load. During this time of year, people do not donate blood as often, according to Red Cross spokesman, Joe Zydlo.
 
Vacations and other summer activities often take precedence over donating blood, and Zydlo says the drop-off really ramps up around Memorial Day and heading into June.
 

 

 
If you want to donate blood, you can find information on where and how to do so at this story at www.RedCross.org, or you can download a free Red Cross app from you mobile app store. The app uses your location to allow you to find the nearest donation center near you.

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Downstate House Lawmakers Pushing For Death Penalty

Democrat and Republican lawmakers in the House are working to reinstate the death penalty in Illinois. The downstate group has a bill in committee that follows through on Republican Governor Bruce Rauner’s proposal for capital punishment for mass murderers and those who kill police officers and firefighters. Rauner kick started the idea of bringing the penalty back to Illinois as part of an amendatory veto to a gun control bill. Then Governor George Ryan put a moratorium on capital punishment in the state in 2000. The practice was outlawed by the legislature in 2011.
 

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Budget Update with State Senator Chapin Rose

With less than two weeks until the month of May is over, the clock is on for the state legislature to try and come up with a balanced state budget.  
 
One of those working in these talks is State Senator Chapin Rose, as he says he's somewhat pleased with how the discussions have gone so far...
 

 

 
 
Trying to solve a big budget crisis hasn't been an easy feat for those in Springfield.  Senator Rose does think the chances of finallizing a buget at the end of the month is a possibility...
 

 

 
 
Even with a sense of better progress and a more collabrative effort between the two parties, there is still fear with whether or not a buget will get finalized...
 

 

 
The spring session for lawmakers ends May 31st.  
 
 

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Memorial Day holiday means first big boating weekend in Illinois

Boating season kicks into high gear this Memorial Day weekend. A few reminders from Tim Schweizer with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. 


 

 

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Warm and Dry Moving into June

The unofficial start to summer is ushered in this weekend with the Memorial Day holiday. This year, that will also mean some summer type conditions. May has been much warmer than normal following an April which was much cooler than average says State Climatologist Jim Angel...
 

 

 
 
Angel says the rest of May should be warm and dry for most of Illinois with temps staying in the mid to upper 80s.  The first official day of summer is June 21.

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Give Them Distance This Holiday Weekend

Give them distance is the idea this summer driving season. It’s the law in Illinois to change lanes and slow down when passing a stopped car on the side of the road. That goes for emergency vehicles or passenger cars. If you’re in that disabled car there are things to do to stay as safe as possible says Beth Mosher of AAA Illinois.
 

 

 
 
More than a decade ago Scott’s Law was passed making it the law to move over for parked emergency vehicles – last year the law was expanded to any vehicle on the side of the road.

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Jobs Plentiful in Illinois

The job market is the best it’s been in more than a decade as the state’s unemployment rate hits a 12 year low. The Illinois Department of Employment Security says the state added more than 4500 jobs in April. 

 

 
 
That’s IDES’s Bob Gough. He says manufacturing jobs were a particular bright spot last month.
 
 
That’s IDES’s Bob Gough. He says manufacturing jobs were a particular bright spot last month.
 

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Memorial Day Services in Clinton

The American Legion Post 103 in Clinton has conducted Memorial Day Services since 1866, marking this year the 152nd year of services held on the day.
 
Marjorie Devore of the American Legion says the location of the services this Monday will be weather depending...
 

 

Devore also gave an overview of speakers and those who will be in attendance...
 

 

For any Veteran wanting to enter with the color guard they are asked to meet on the north side of the cemetery and will be directed from there.  Patrons are also able to park at First Christian Church with transportation to and from the cemetery.  
 
For more information on the Memorial Day Services visit the Clinton American Legion website. 

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Ameren Launches Smart Thermostat Initiative

Ameren Illinois has launched a "smart thermostat" initiative. The goal is to get 300,000 devices installed in residences and businesses. Ameren President and Chairman Richard Mark says the device helps save money and energy. 
 

 

 
He says there is no way the technology could be used to spy on residents. There are some discounts available, and some income-eligible customers can have a smart thermostat installed at no cost as part of the Ameren Illinois Energy Efficiency Program. For more information, call 1-866-838-6918, of go to www.AmerenIllinoisSavings.com

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Sen. Chapin Rose Sponsoring Two Mahomet Aquifier Bills

A local lawmaker is sponsoring legislation to maintain the safety of the Mahomet Aquifier.
 
State senator Chapin Rose is sponsoring two bills that have passed the Senate unanimously. Rose indicates the first bill deals with notification of leaks and was influenced by a recent leak into the Mahomet Aquifier.
 

 

Sen. Rose says the other bill deals with preventing another leak into the Mahomet Aquifier. It would allow for annual inspections by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.
 

 

For more information on the Mahomet Aquifier Task Force visit the Illinois EPA website at www.epa.illinois.gov.

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ISP Out In Full Force This Holiday Weekend

The Illinois State Police will be watching drivers closely on highways this weekend. A boarder to boarder campaign will be underway to station troopers up and down I-80, I-55 and I-57. ISP Director Leo Schmitz says they are working with neighboring states to line interstate.
 

 

So far this year the about 320 people have been killed on Illinois roadways. And last year 10 people were killed over the Memorial Day weekend.

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House debates police monitoring crowds with drones

Police across Illinois could use drones to monitor crowds at sporting events, music festivals and other large gatherings under legislation that was debated in the Illinois House on Friday.  However, SB2562 fell 6 votes shy of passage so the Chicago Democrat sponsor used a parliamentary procedure known as “postponed consideration” to set the vote aside to see if he can round up the needed votes before the scheduled adjournment next Thursday.
 
 Supporters favor giving authorities the tool to try to ensure public safety at crowded events, but opponents say putting drone cameras in the sky would be a major invasion of privacy.
 
The proposal comes in response to the mass shooting at a Las Vegas country music festival last fall, and the fact the shooter had first rented rooms at Chicago’s Blackstone Hotel overlooking Grant Park during the Lollapalooza music festival but never showed up.
 
Under the legislation, police departments could use drones to monitor public or private events of more than 100 people. The devices could be used to track crowd size and movement, as well as identify criminal activity and figure out how many officers should be on patrol.
 

State Representative Tim Butler (R-Springfield) spoke against the proposal during floor debate...

 

 

 

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Victoria Wilson Named a New Member of The National Society of Collegiate Scholars

Victoria Elizabeth Wilson of Clinton, IL has accepted membership in The National Society of Collegiate Scholars (NSCS).  

 

"NSCS is more than just a symbol of academic achievement.  Membership gives students access to a number of amazing benefits including career and networking resources, scholarships, travel, and service projects both on campus and in the community," says Stephen E. Loflin, NSCS Founder and Cheif Executive Officer.  

 

NSCS is a member of the Association of College Honor Societies and is the nation's only interdisciplinary honors organization for first-year and second-year college students.  Membership is by invitation only, based on grade point average and class standing.  NSCS has over one million lifetime members and 300 chapters in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.    

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Congressman Davis Working on Opioid Perscription Verification Act

 
A local representative has introduced a bill to stop the selling of multiple opiates.
 
Congressman Rodney Davis indicates he became aware of the problem after hearing from a police officer in Normal, IL.
 

 

 
Congressman Davis says the bill would require prescriptions for opiates to be monitored by Illinois' prescription drug monitoring program and would prevent other pharmacists from filling the same prescription.
 

 

 
Davis indicates the bill is something that he has been working on for awhile now and was recently referred to the House Energy and Commerce Sumcommittee on Health.

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Snow Leopard Suspected Pregnant at Miller Park Zoo

Snow Leopards have been moved off of the endangered species list and are labeled now as 'vulnerable.'
 
The Director of the Miller Park Zoo, Jay Tetzloff, who runs the snow leopard breeding program in North America, and hundreds of non-profits believe that snow leopards should still be on the endangered species list.
 

 

 
Tetzloff adds that in the past three years, two litters have been born at the zoo to mother Hima resulting in five cubs and they suspect that the she might be pregnant again and are looking forward to Hima raising the cubs.
 

 

 
Hima did not take care of her first litter and so adjustments were made so that she would feel comfortable being isolated. Female snow leopards give birth by themselves in the wild and are isolated in captivity to protect the new born cubs from male snow leopards.
 

 

 
Two North American river otter pups were also born this season at the zoo.
 
To learn more about the Miller Park Zoo, visit their website www.bloomingtonparks.org/facilities/miller-park-zoo.

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Local AmVets Present Scholarships

Clinton AMVETS Post 14 recently developed a Dennis Davenport/AMVETS Post 14 scholarship program for local high school graduates.  AMVET Post 14 member Dennis Davenport requested that AMVET Post 14 facilitate development of the program to help children or grandchildren of Veterans going on to attend a university, junior college or trade school.  Dennis donated $10,000 to go towards the first year of this new program.  
 
To qualify for the scholarship, the applying students had to be from a local high school as well as be a child or grandchild of a Veteran. Once the students had completed the application, the AMVETS Post 14 Scholarship Committee evaluated the submissions. The Scholarship Committee consists of Chairman Ed Beck, member Marvin Hubble, member Darrel Tucker and advisor Dennis Davenport (Alternate Jessie Owens). The Committee’s challenge was to develop an application and scoring criteria for the candidates.
 
After receiving six (6) applications, it was decided by the Scholarship Committee to award all the applicants $1,500 each.  There were five (5) recipients from the Clinton High School.  They were Sarah Emery, Daniel Murphy, Chase Reynolds, Dalton Sanders and Maggie Werts.  There was also one (1) recipient, Isaac Phillips, from University High School, Normal, Illinois (a grandchild of a AMVET Post 14 member).  Pictured are the five CHS recipients holding a facsimile of their checks presented to them at the Awards Ceremony.

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House passes bill enabling farmers to apply for permits to grow industrial hemp

A renewed attempt to legalize industrial hemp in Illinois took a major step as the Illinois House passed SB2298, which would allow Illinois farmers to apply for permits to grow industrial hemp, a variety of the cannabis plant used to make textiles, paper and a variety of commercial and industrial products..
 
 
 
Federal law prohibits the growing of hemp, which is classified by the Drug Enforcement Administration as a Schedule 1 drug, or one with a high potential for abuse. Hemp advocates have long pointed out that it contains very small amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the psychoactive chemical that gives marijuana users a “high.”
 
 
 
At least 16 states have legalized industrial hemp production for commercial purposes.   Illinois passed legislation in 2014 allowing the state’s Department of Agriculture and state universities to grow hemp for research purposes.  The bill passed the House on a vote of 106-3 after being approved in the Senate on a vote of 50-0.
 
 
State Representative Tim Butler (R-Springfield), the sponsor of the bill in the House, said it is a long past due piece of legislation which will help the states farmers diversify...
 

 

 
Agriculture advocates say the bill will offer farmers an additional crop in hemp, the market for which is projected to break $2 billion by 2020.

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Cities and villages press case for end to fee on sales tax collections

Cities, villages and towns are calling for the General Assembly to avoid taking money from them to balance the budget next fiscal year. This fiscal year's budget features reduced tax payments to municipalities through the local government distributive fund (LGDF). In addition, a fee was tacked on to sales tax collections. A number of Mayors urged lawmakers to keep last year's reduction as a one-year move as planned. Jerome Mayor, Mike Lopez, whose village borders the Capital City of Springfield, says since last year his community's budget has been cut to the bone, if not deeper....
 

 

 
 
At one point Jerome was unable to pay village bills for six weeks. 

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Some Lanes Being Reopened for Holiday Weekend

The Illinois Department of Transportation announced today the reopening of lanes where possible for the busy Memorial Day weekend to minimize travel disruption. Non-emergency roadwork will be suspended from 3 p.m. Friday, May 25, through 12:01 a.m. Tuesday, May 29.

 

Work zone speed limits will remain in effect where posted. Motorists should be alert, as lane closures in the following locations will remain in place during the holiday weekend:

 

District 5

Champaign County

• I-74 westbound between mileposts 188 and 186; lane reductions continue.

 

District 7

Macon County

• U.S. 36 over U.S. 51 at the U.S. 36/U.S.51 interchange west of Decatur; closed, detour posted.
• Cantrell Road over U.S. 51 west of Decatur; lane reductions continue, controlled by traffic signals.

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New Report Shows Many Illinoisans at Risk from Exposure to Nitrates in Drinking Water

A new report indicates the issue of nitrates in Illinois drinking water may be larger than previously thought.
 
The Prairie Rivers Network, the Illinois affiliate of the National Wildlife Federation, has issued the report titled Illinois’ Ignored Water Crisis: Preventing Nitrates from Contaminating Illinois Drinking Water.  In it, the organization finds that, since 1980, over 322-thousand people in Illinois have been exposed to nitrate levels in their drinking water that exceed federal standards.  Macon County is the most affected area in the state, where 77.6% of residents on public water systems have been exposed to elevated
nitrate levels exceeding the federal standards at least once.
 
Catie Gregg, Agricultural Programs Specialist with PRN, explains that agriculture is one of the largest contributors to nitrates finding their way into drinking water.  She says despite recent steps in the right direction with the Illinois Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy there's still a lot of work to do.
 

 

 
According to the report, the instances of communities dealing with elevated nitrate levels are increasing.  Gregg also notes that communities are at times dealing with levels that don't exceed federal standards, but yet those levels are still believed to cause adverse health effects.
 

 

 
Gregg believes farming operations are the first line of defense in the fight against nitrates.  She says local Soil and Water Conservation Districts, and other federal programs, offer incentives to bring nutrient management practices onto the farm.  However, Gregg notes those agencies and conservation funding are under attack in the current political climate.
 

 

 
Gregg says edge of field practices, such as filter strips, or in-field practices, such as cover crops, are ways that Illinois' ag sector can help to limit the amount of nitrates finding its way into drinking water.
 

 

 
Increasing numbers of central Illinois communities, like Decatur, Moweaqua and Taylorville, have had to purchase expensive nitrate treatment facilities to reduce nitrate levels in their community water supply.  The Prairie Rivers Network believes conservation is a much less costly way to improve the state's water quality.

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DeWitt County Museum Welcomes Lincoln Chairs To Collection

A pair of well-traveled chairs with purported ties to Abraham Lincoln have recently made their way home to DeWitt County.
 
Joey Woolridge, Director of the DeWitt County Museum, explains that a family recently donated a pair of chairs to the C.H. Moore Homestead that have been passed down for generations.  According to family legend, the chairs originated from a now defunct hotel in Clinton that was visited many times by Abraham Lincoln.  Woolridge says from there the chairs have been across the country.
 

 

 
Woolridge admits that it's almost impossible to prove the nation's 16th President actually sat in the chairs, but she says passing on the story of the chairs is crucial.
 

 

 
These "Lincoln Chairs" join several others in the DeWitt County museum.  Woolridge says early details are starting to come together for an event in the near future to show off all of the collection.
 

 

 
In the meantime, the new Lincoln Chairs are being put on display inside the C.H. Moore Homestead.  You can learn more about the DeWitt County Museum at chmooreshomestead.org.
 

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Vespasian Warner Public Library Asking Residents to Participate in Survey

 
The Vespasian Warner Public Library is asking residents of the library district to participate in a survey.
 
Janet Ward with the Vespasian Warner Public Library indicates that the survey consists of general questions to help the library better plan for its future.
 

 

 
The survey is available at all of the circulation desks in the library and online at www.vwarner.org.
 

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Madigan spokesman weighs in on sports gambling potential

House Speaker Mike Madigan is recusing himself from the discussion on potentially bringing sports wagering to Illinois. His spokesman Steve Brown isn't discussing the reasons for that but he believes the stalled discussion about gambling expansion in Illinois has likely prevented the state from being on the fast track to bring a sports book to Illinois wagering facilities......
 

 

 
 
The Supreme Court recently threw out the nation's ban of sports wagering in most states.

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University of Illinois Extension leads tick surveillance program

 
Tick-borne illnesses being tracked in Illinois. A surveillance program is being led by the University of Illinois. It’s called the I-Tick Network and the coordinator is Beth Gilliam.
 

 

 
Participants from around the state are generally those who are outside on a regular basis. They will keep a record for five days during a two-week period about the ticks they find on themselves. The ticks collected are sent to the University of Illinois for evaluation. 
 

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U of Illinois board approves $263M in construction projects

The University of Illinois is moving forward with more than $263 million in construction projects at its campuses in Urbana-Champaign and Chicago.
 
The Board of Trustees voted last week to approve funding for 10 projects, including new or renovated residential, research and classroom buildings.
 
The projects are financed without state funding, using donations, borrowing and institutional funds. They are part of 1.2 billion dollars in construction improvements the University of Illinois system has made over the past five years.
 
Eight of the projects are at the Urbana-Champaign campus. They include an addition to expand small animal surgery at the Veterinary Teaching Hospital and the replacement of track and field facilities.
 
The Chicago projects include new research facilities at the Medical Sciences Building.

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List of top baby names in Illinois includes Noah, Olivia

The most popular baby names in Illinois last year? Noah and Olivia.
 
The Social Security Administration has released Illinois' top five boys and girls names for 2017.
 
For boys, the top five were: Noah, Liam, Benjamin, Logan and Alexander. The most popular girls' names were Olivia, Emma, Ava, Sophia and Isabella.
 
Nationwide, Liam and Emma topped the list. The Social Security agency says pop culture has also had an effect on naming trends. There's been an increase in girls named Melania in a clear nod to the first lady of the United States. There's also been an increase in names after 'Bachelorette' contestants.
 
The Social Security Agency complies a list of baby names every year and has name records dating back to 1800.

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Syngenta Settlement Details Announced

Syngenta and plaintiffs in a lawsuit against the company have announced a $1.51 billion settlement to resolve class actions and individual cases regarding Agrisure Viptersa. The cases allege that Syngenta sold its "Agrisure Viptera" and "Agrisure Duracade" corn seeds before it should have because new insect-resistant genetic traits in those seeds had not yet received import approval in China. The lawsuits argued that China rejected shipments of U.S. corn because the genetic traits were not yet approved there, causing the U.S. corn industry to lose access to the Chinese market and resulting in lower corn prices. Syngenta denies that it did anything wrong. If the United States District Court of the District of Kansas approves the settlement, then Syngenta will pay $1.51 billion into a Settlement Fund to pay corn farmers, grain handling facilities, and ethanol production facilities who submitted eligible claims. The court will hold a hearing in November to consider whether to approve the settlement.

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Bustos blasting Trump administration for "trade war" with China

Western Illinois Congresswoman Cheri Bustos is blasting the Trump administration for the current state of trade negotiations with China. 
 

 

 
Bustos made her remarks on the House floor last week. She serves on the House Ag committee. 

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Farm Income, Credit, Weakening

Farm income and credit conditions continued to weaken in the first quarter of 2018, but at a slower pace than in previous quarters. According to the Tenth District Survey of Agricultural Credit Conditions, compiled by the Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank, reduced farm income contributed to intensifying cash-flow concerns and tightening lending standards. Cash-flow shortages continued to limit the availability of working capital, and financing needs continued to rise. The report released last week says the decline in the first quarter makes 2018 the fifth consecutive year that bankers have reported lower farm income than the year before. The report says reduced farm income also restricted cash flow and contributed to more farm loan denials than in recent years. In the first quarter, more than eight percent of farm loan requests were denied because of customer cash-flow shortages. And, despite a recent uptick in commodity prices, cash-flow shortages have reinforced concerns about liquidity in agricultural lending.

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DeWitt County Board Meeting Rescheduled

Due to unforeseen circumstances, the DeWitt County Board meeting has been moved from Thursday, May 24 to Wednesday, May 30 at 5:30 pm.

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Clinton High Students Win Illinois State Envirothon

A group of local high school students recently brought home a state championship to Clinton.
 
A five-member team from Clinton High School were named the winners of the 2018 Illinois State Envirothon earlier this month.  Sondra Baker, Program Coordinator for the Illinois State Envirothon, explains the Clinton team beat out 13 other teams from across the state in the conservation themed competition.  
 

 

 
According to Baker, the students compete in written tests in four environmental categories during the two-day competition.  She says a fifth category requires a group presentation on a topic that changes each year.  This year's presentation was on range land management.
 

 

 
The 14 teams that took part in the state event all advanced to the competition by winning local events hosted by Soil and Water Conservation Districts across the state.  Baker says the Clinton team earned the opportunity to represent Illinois in the national competition in mid-July in Idaho, however they will not be able to attend due to previous commitments.  Instead, Baker says the second place team from DuPage County will be given the chance to make the trip to nationals.
 

 

 
The state champion Envirothon team from Clinton High School is comprised of: Megan Finfrock, Tennyson Kern, Anna Mills, and Erin McGee.  
 
The 2018 Illinois Envirothon was made possible by numerous volunteers and corporate sponsorships.  To learn more about the event, visit www.illinoisenvirothon.org.

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Community Action Teaching Entrepreneur Class Across Central Illinois

Community Action is teaching a three-week crash course based on the 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth.
 
According to Executive Director of Community Action, Allison Rumler-Gomez, the class is to help people figure out if they're up to starting their own small business.
 

 

 
Rumler-Gomez adds that the response to the class has been overwhelmingly positive and that part of the class is developing a sense of discipline.
 

 

 
The class is tied to the Community Action thrift store in that they're teaching basic job skills to volunteers while the store generates unrestricted funds for Community Action.
 

 

 
She is currently teaching in Monticello and calls the class "crazy effective," and adds that the class has also helped people realize that starting their own business is not for them.
 

 

 
After Rumler-Gomez finishes the class in Monticello, she'll head to the otherside of the state to teach in Havana and Canton.

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Christian County Becomes the Latest to Declare Themselves as 'Sanctuary County' for Gun Owners

 
Christian County has joined the growing list of counties to declare themselves as a “Sanctuary County” for gun owners in Illinois. The resolution passed unanimously at the May county board meeting.
 
Vicki McMahon is a second district county board member and the chair of the Christian County NRA. She says she hopes the growing number of counties passing this type of resolution is sending a loud and clear message to lawmakers in Springfield.
 

 

 
McMahon says the state is infringing on the rights of legal gun owners by passing law restricting the use or possession of specific firearms.

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Lawmakers Pass Ashley's Law

PARENTS WOULD BE ABLE TO GIVE THEIR KIDS A DOSE OF PRESCRIBED MEDICAL MARIJUANA AT SCHOOL UNDER A BILL HEADED TO THE GOVERNOR’S DESK. 
 
THE LEGISLATION HAS BEEN DUBBED “ASHLEY’S LAW” AFTER AN 11-YEAR-OLD GIRL WHO WASN’T ALLOWED TO TAKE MEDICAL CANNABIS AT SCHOOL FOR HER SEIZURES SAYS SENATOR CRISTINA CASTRO OF ELGIN.
 

 

 
SENATOR JASON BARICKMAN OF BLOOMINGTON SUPPORTED THE MEASURE AND SAYS THIS IS WHAT THE LEGISLATURE IS THERE TO DO.
 

 

 
IT’S NOW UP TO THE GOVERNOR TO SIGN THIS BILL INTO LAW.

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IDOA Announces 2018 Ag Chem Container Recycling

The Illinois Department of Agriculture is offering the ag community an opportunity to be good environmental stewards through its annual agrichemical container recycling program.  Farmers and agrichemical facilities are encouraged to start saving their empty agrichemical containers for select recycling days that will take place later this summer throughout the state.  
 
  Collection sites will accept only high-density polyethylene, #2 plastic agrichemical containers that are clean and dry.  Participants are responsible for rinsing them and removing all caps, labels, booklets and foil seals.   Metal and household pesticide containers are not eligible for the recycling program.
 
The program is a cooperative venture between the Illinois Department of Agriculture, Agriculture Container Recycling Council, GROWMARK, Inc., Illinois Fertilizer and Chemical Association, G. Phillips and Sons, L.L.C., Illinois Farm Bureau, and University of Illinois Extension.
To obtain a free brochure about the program, call the Illinois Department of Agriculture toll free at 1-800-641-3934.
 
The collection sites in the area and dates for the 2018 Pesticide Container Recycling Program are as follows:
In Logan County on August 7th from 1-3pm at Ag-Land FS in Lincoln;
In Tazewell County on August 8th from 9-11am at DCM Crop Care in Deer Creek;
In Champaign County on August 10th from 9-11am at United Prairie in Champaign;
In Christian County on August 23rd from 1-3pm at Effingham Equity in Pana.
 

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Clinton City Council Meeting

Doug Graves, owner of Graves' Stationers on Mr. Lincoln Square for 32 years, addressed the Clinton City Council at a special meeting held Tuesday night.
 
Graves previously requested money from the Tax Increment Financing (TIF) fund to pay for replacing his roof and his application was denied based on the fact that it was not a facade repair. Graves cites several buildings that were given money from TIF funds that were not used for facade repairing.
 

 

 
Graves adds that TIF literature states that one of the redevelopment costs eligible for funding is the "rehabilitation or repair of existing public or private buildings." He indicates that without these funds, his building will be condemned and become a financial burden on the city.
 

 

 
Tom Edmunds indicated that the TIF money that went to the McGill Hotel and the Spurgeons building is different from Graves' business because the city owned those buildings. He goes on to say that TIF money is much more limited than it used to be.
 

 

 
All parties agreed on wanting to uphold the integrity of Mr. Lincoln Square.
 
To learn more about TIF and it's guidelines, you can visit www.clintonillinois.com/home/government/economic-development/.

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Local Boy Scout Troop Working to Reclaim Black Locust Camp

A local "hidden gem" of DeWitt County is being polished and reclaimed through the hard work of local students and volunteers.
 
For decades, the Black Locust Group Camp at Weldon Springs State Recreation Area has laid hidden, unused, and unkempt on the southern edge of the park.  However, a group of local Boy Scouts, and their leaders, have been working hard to bring the camp back to its former glory.  
 
Ed Cicenas, Assistant Scout Master to local Troop 142, explains there have already been countless hours of labor devoted to re-claiming Black Locust Group Camp.
 

 

 
According to Cicenas, the hard work is already starting to pay off.  He notes the local troop has been able to us Black Locust for its own events, as well as hosting other troops from around the area.  In fact, he says earlier this month Black Locust hosted the first Scouting Camporee to be held at the campground in more than 20 years.
 

 

 
Despite the tremendous progress, Cicenas notes there is still more work to do at Black Locust.  He says one major need is to raise thousands of dollars to upgrade the existing, non-operational water and sanitary systems.
 

 

 
The local Boy Scout Troop 142 is continuing its work at Black Locust this summer.  If you'd like to be involved in the project, or perhaps donate to the cause, contact Scoutmaster Donald Husted at 847-345-3818.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Photos courtesy of Ed Cicenas

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Heyworth Schools Exploring Expanding Curriculums

The Heyworth school district recently got the nod of approval for moving forward with crafting plans for updates in facilities.
 
Superintendent of Heyworth Schools, Lisa Taylor, indicates part of the community engagement process, was passing along the success of academics and the possibility of expanding academic opportunities. 
 

 

 
Taylor feels the district is getting creative in getting their students these opportunities. Teachers have stepped up to get their certification to lead the classes and provide dual-credit courses at a very low cost.

 

 
According to Taylor, they do have to bring in two Heartland Community College professor's to lead their dual-credit courses. Additionally, they do offer reimbursements for their teachers to get their masters degrees. 

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ALAH FFA Alumni awards $5,000 in scholarships

The Arthur Lovington Atwood Hammond (ALAH) FFA Alumni has recently selected six students to receive scholarships in 2018. 
 
The chapter, chartered in 2014, has over 100 members with the purpose “to provide leadership, mentoring, and financial assistance to the agricultural education program at Arthur Lovington Atwood Hammond High School.”  The scholarship fund receives donations, fundraising, and proceeds from the variety test plot hosted by Jeff Davis of Hammond. Students fill out an application and are interviewed by Alumni prior to selection. 
 
Receiving $750.00 scholarships are Janette Comstock, Zane Crist, and Colton Romine. 
 
Janette is the daughter of T.G. and Dawn Redfern of Lovington. She will be enrolled at Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville majoring in business. 
 
Zane Crist is the son of Richard and Ericka Crist of Atwood and will attend the University of Illinois in the College of Agriculture and Consumer Economics. 
 
Colton Romine is the son of Tedd and Amanda Romine of Atwood. He will major in Business Management at Indiana State University in Terre Haute. 
 
Receiving a $500.00 scholarship is Kimberly Davis of Hammond. She is the daughter of Scott and Monica Davis. Kimberly is enrolled at Parkland College in Applied Sciences. 
 
The Alumni awarded two scholarships for students to attend the Washington Leadership Conference in Washington, DC later this summer. Receiving scholarships are Katie Gingerich of Sullivan and Makenna Green of Arthur. 
 
Since its inception, ALAH FFA Alumni has invested 3,600 volunteer hours and 65-thousand dollars in the lives of FFA members in District 305.   

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Social Security Promoting Benefits For Veterans, Active Duty Soldiers

Helping those in the armed forces is always something Social Security offers but with Memorial Day right around the corner, the government agency is taking this month to highlight some of the things they do especially for veterans.
 
Jack Myers with Social Security first has some general reminders about the pay and benefits for those in the armed forces.
 

 

 
According to Myers, if a soldier sustains an injury while on active duty, Social Security will expedite their disability claims.
 

 

 
Myers points out this effort is simply one way they can say thank you for their service and sacrifice. 
 
Visit socialsecurity.gov for more information. 

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DCDC Donates Half of CEO Program Startup Funds

A local organization is pledging its support for a program aimed at creating an innovative business experience for local high school students.
 
The DeWitt County Development Council recently presented a check to Central Illinois CEO, helping the program toward its goal of 25-thousand dollars.
 
In a release, David Torbert, DCDC board president said their organization believes the CEO program will be a great benefit to local students and to our local business community. 
 
Through Midland Institute’s CEO program, high school seniors are introduced to the entrepreneurial experience.  Students learn through special projects, regular site visits to area businesses, mentorships, and an intense focus on thriving in a business-like environment.  The students even create individual and group businesses and coordinate all aspects of a year-end trade show to finish out the year-long program. 
 
Central Illinois CEO brings together students from Clinton High School, Blue Ridge High School, Maroa-Forsyth High School, and Warrensburg-Latham High School. The first class will begin in Fall 2019.
 
Central IL CEO was formed in 2017. Funding comes from local businesses who become partners with CICEO for $1,000 a year for three years.  Businesses who wish to participate will become mentors, host site visits, and are guest speakers for the class throughout the year. Supporters of the program can also make donations without being directly involved.

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Congressman Davis Working on Soldiers' Family Bill

Congressman Rodney Davis is working on legislation to change a military policy.
 
Davis says he was inspired to craft this bill after hearing about the Palmer family's troubles...
 

 

 
Congressman Davis hopes to change the military's policies to provide transportation to Dover Air Force Base for families of soldiers who die outside of the U.S.

 

 
Davis recently introduced the bill in the House and it was referred to the House Committee on Armed Services.
 

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Cerro Gordo Students Earning Double Diplomas

There's a few Cerro Gordo students that are earning double diplomas at graduation this weekend.
 
Superintendent Brett Robinson explains there are three students in the Cerro Gordo district that will not only be graduating high school Saturday, but have also earned their Associate's Degree while still in high school.  He explains a program in conjunction with Richland Community College, and some extra hard work, has allowed it to happen.
 

 

 
According to Robinson, prospective students must meet strict guidelines, and there's also a nominal fee involved to enter the program, but he says it is proving to be a popular option for some students.
 

 

 
Robinson notes the benefits for students able to complete the program are pretty obvious.  He says a student leaving high school as a college junior has a clear jump start on their career path.
 

 

 
Superintendent Robinson hopes the program continues to grow in the future.  Graduation for the Cerro Gordo School District is set for Saturday, May 26th.

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Summer Programs at Warner Public Library

Summer reading club sign-up for adults and children are right around the corner and with it comes summer programs. 
 
The Vespasian Warner Public Library once again has big programs planned for the community on Tuesdays during the summer. Some of the programs are magician Jonathan May, animals from the Exotic Wildlife Sanctuary, and the popular mini horses from Heartland Mini Hooves.
 

 

 
Other programs for the children's reading clubs will also be taking place during the summer. They are Whatever Thursdays, where members of the Reading Takes You Everywhere club will do whatever, from reading aloud to kite making. There will be Monday morning story time for Rocket Readers and Toddler Time every Friday for newborns to 36 months.
 

 

 
Sign-up for summer reading clubs starts Monday, May 21 and programs start Tuesday, June 5. To learn more you can contact the library at 217-935-5174.

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Governor & First Lady Moving Back To Executive Mansion

GOVERNOR BRUCE RAUNER SAYS HE AND HIS WIFE, FIRST LADY DIANA RAUNER WILL BE MOVING BACK INTO THE EXECUTIVE MANSION ON MONDAY. 
 
RENOVATIONS BEGAN IN 2015 AND INCLUDE STRUCTURAL REPAIRS, MAKING THE HOME A-D-A COMPLIANT, SETTING UP A VISITOR’S CENTER AND SHOWCASING ILLINOIS PRODUCTS, ART AND MORE. DURING CONSTRUCTION THE RAUNERS HAVE BEEN LIVING AT THE STATE FAIRGROUNDS.
 

 

 
GOVERNOR RAUNER SAYS HE’S LOOKING FORWARD TO LIVING IN THE COMPLETELY RENOVATED HOME.
 

 

 
THE PROJECT HAS BEEN FUNDED ENTIRELY THROUGH PRIVATE DONATIONS. THE MANSION IS SLATED TO OPEN TO THE PUBLIC ON JULY 14TH WITH A BIG CELEBRATION.

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Illinois Unemployment Hits 12 Year Low

THE ILLINOIS UNEMPLOYMENT RATE HIT A 12-YEAR LOW LAST MONTH. 
 
THE APRIL JOBLESS RATE CAME IN AT FOUR POINT FOUR PERCENT...DOWN SLIGHTLY FROM MARCH AND THE LOWEST LEVEL SINCE 2006. STATE DEPARTMENT OF EMPLOYMENT SECURITY SPOKESPERSON BOB GOUGH SAYS JOBS INCREASED BY 47-HUNDRED LAST MONTH.
 

 

 
GOUGH SAYS THE ECONOMY CONTINUES TO PICK UP.
 

 

 
LEISURE AND HOSPITALITY AND CONSTRUCTION ALSO ENJOYED SOME JOB GAINS IN APRIL. LOSSES WERE SEEN IN THE GOVERNMENT SECTOR.

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Equipment Sales Sluggish, but Positive

The latest monthly tractor and combine sales report from the Association of Equipment Manufacturers shows increased combine sales. U.S. retail sales of combines jumped almost 59 percent last month, compared to April of 2017. However, total tractor sales in the U.S. rose less than one percent, versus this time last year. AEM Senior Vice President of Ag Services Curt Blades notes that the downward trend in net farm income “obviously is a concern” since it is such a big factor in equipment sales. He says there is still a lot of uncertainty with the year one-third over. The report goes on to show that while sales of tractors over 100 horsepower jumped almost 18 percent in Canada, they fell about seven percent in the U.S., compared to a year ago. Meanwhile, Canadian retail sales of combined didn’t fare quite as well as the U.S., as they rose just 9.2 percent, compared to a year ago.

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Farmers Union Urges USDA to Proactively Address Farm Suicide Crisis

The National Farmers Union says many farmers and ranchers are coping with alarming levels of stress, and that farmers and ranchers commit suicide at a rate five times that of the general population. In a letter to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, NFU President Roger Johnson urged the Department of Agriculture to “develop a response to the farm suicide crisis.” Johnson noted that financial risk, volatile markets, unpredictable weather, social isolation, and heavy workloads can all place significant strain on farmers’ and ranchers’ mental and emotional well-being. Johnson highlighted USDA’s vast network, including more than 2,100 Farm Service Agency offices that interact with farmers and ranchers on a daily basis. He proposed that USDA develops training materials to help FSA personnel better identify and respond to the signs of mental stress, and assess the causes of mental stress in farmers and ranchers, and identify best practices in responding to that stress.

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House Fails to Pass Farm Bill

The Friday attempt to approve the Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018 failed in the U.S. House, 198-213. 30 Republicans voted against the bill, along with 183 Democrats, without a Democrat supporting the legislation, as expected. The House Freedom Caucus refused to budge on its demand that the House considers immigration issues before passing a farm bill, thus voting against the bill. The House Freedom Caucus consists of roughly three-dozen conservatives that have made immigration a signature issue. Democrats in the chamber cheered as the bill failed as the minority party says it was given no chance to provide input on the bill, and objects to changes in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. House Agriculture Chairman Mike Conaway disagreed, stating on the House floor that Democrats refused to provide input before lawmakers voted down a motion by Democrats to send the bill back to committee.
 
Conaway calls the vote a setback that follows a streak of victories throughout the week leading up to the vote. He says: “We may be down, but we are not out.” The Republican says lawmakers will deliver a new farm bill to the President on time, adding farmers and ranchers “deserve nothing less.” Meanwhile, Ranking Democrat of the House Agriculture Committee, Collin Peterson, says the failure provides “a good opportunity for us to return to the table” and “fix” the bill before moving forward.

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Clinton High School Graduation Sunday, Eighth Grade Promotion Monday

The end of the school year is here and with that comes high school graduation and eighth grade promotion.
 
According to superintendent of Clinton schools, Curt Nettles, the goal of Clinton schools is to provide students of all grade levels with the best education and opportunities that they can.

 

 
High school graduation is this Sunday at 2 pm and Nettles says that this is a particularly proud moment for parents and the students making that walk across the stage.
 

 

 
Eighth grade promotion is scheduled for the evening after high school graduation. It will start at 7 pm.

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St. Louis Fed Survey Shows Farm Income Down Once Again

Farm income declined in the first quarter of 2018, the 17th-consecutive quarter of lower income numbers. The latest Agricultural Finance Monitor, published by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, shows quality farmland values and cash rents were also slightly lower than in 217. The St. Louis Fed surveyed 24 agricultural banks in the Eighth Federal Reserve District, which includes several Midwest and Mid-South States. The majority of the bankers reported income declines compared to a year ago. Quality farmland values were 1.4 percent lower than in the first quarter of last year. That’s the first decline since the second quarter of 2017. Ranchland or pastureland values rose sharply for the second consecutive quarter. In similar fashion, cash rents for quality farmland dropped slightly in the first quarter of this year when compared to 2017. Cash rents for pastureland or ranchland increased. Other questions in the survey included the number of farmers using off-farm income to maintain cash flow. 41 percent of the banks said that 25 percent of their farmer-customers had off-farm income. More than half of the banks said that a quarter of their farmer-clients were in severe financial difficulty.

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Weekly Weather Summary

May has been warmer and drier than normal, and it looks like the trend will continue into June. State Climatologist Jim Angel has more...
 

 

 

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Three Arrested In Counterfeit Bills Investigation In Bloomington

he Bloomington Police Department reports three Chicago residents were recently arrested following an investigation into counterfeit $100 bills.
 
On Saturday, May 12, 2018, officers received forgery complaints at five retail stores located in east Bloomington.
 
A short time later, after receiving the complaints, officers located a vehicle matching the same description given by witnesses as the suspect vehicle. Officers stopped the vehicle near the intersection of Eastland Drive and Prospect Road. Officers conducted a search of the vehicle and recovered items matching those purchased with counterfeit money as well as several counterfeit $100 bills.
 
As a result of their investigation, Kayonna D. Howard, age 18, of Chicago, Illinois was arrested for multiple counts of Burglary without Causing Damage, multiple counts of Theft by Deception with Intent less than $500, and multiple counts of Obstruction of Justice/Destroy Evidence.
 
Denokey K. Midderhoff, age 18, of Chicago, Illinois was arrested for Obstruction of Justice/Destroy Evidence.
 
A 17-year-old male, of Chicago, Illinois was also arrested for Theft by Deception.
 
Howard and Midderhoff were transported to the McLean County Jail. The juvenile was released.  

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Grand Opening of Frozen Yogurt Shop This Friday in Monticello

A new business is opening in Monticello tonight (Friday).
 
According to the Director of Community Development for the City of Monticello, Callie Jo McFarland, an independently owned frozen yogurt shop called FroYo Factory will occupy a former gas station that has been empty for over a decade.
 

 

 
McFarland adds that the family run business will be on Market Street and with it's eye-catching colors, it would be difficult to miss. 
 

 

 
FroYo Factory will open at six in the evening with a ribbon cutting where the Mayor of Monticello, Larry Stoner, will officially welcome the business to the community.
 

 

 
To learn more about FroYo's grand opening tonight, visit their page on Facebook by searching fyfactory.

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Brews at the Zoo Fundraiser Tonight

The Miller Park Zoo is having a unique fundraiser tonight (Friday).
 
According to Superintendent of the Miller Park Zoo, Jay Tetzloff, Brews at the Zoo is back for its third year. It is an adult only fundraiser for the Miller Park Zooilogical Society. There will be local brews from local breweries, wine, and some food available.
 

 

 
Tetzloff adds that there will be animal encounters and indicates that this will be the perfect time to view nocturnal animals.
 

 

 
Tetzloff says that the numbers for Brews at the Zoo have almost doubled every year and hopes to keep that growth going. He adds that a few drinks come with your ticket and if you'd like more, there will be additional drinks available for purchase.

 

 
To purchase tickets for the Brews at the Zoo fundraiser before Friday, you can visit millerparkzoo.org and click on the link to the Miller Park Zooilogical Society or you can call the zoo at 309-434-2250.

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University of Illinois Extension Hosting Summer Gardening Programs

If gardening is something that interests you, then the University of Illinois Extension have some programs for you this summer.
 
Candice Hart, University of Illinois Extension master gardener, indicates she has been doing a hands-on horticulture project every month and the series continues into the summer months.
 

 

 
Hart says the price for each project varies depending on the supplies. To register for the events there are a variety of options...
 

 

 
To register visit the Extention's website, go.illinois.edu/dmp, or call the DeWitt County office at (217) 935-5764.

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Millikin University to break ground on new Center for Theatre and Dance

Millikin University in Decatur is hosting a groundbreaking ceremony today (FRI) for its new Center for Theatre and Dance. The ceremony will take place on the Miller Quad located behind Shilling Hall next to the Richards Treat University Center construction site on Millikin's campus.
 
Millikin President Dr. Patrick White, Millikin Trustee Phillip Blankenburg, Dean of the College of Fine Arts Laura Ledford and Millikin students will be on hand for remarks.
 
Millikin University announced on Oct. 11, 2017 that it would break ground on its new Center for Theatre and Dance in 2018 with plans to open the building in fall 2020. The $29 million facility will include a 260-seat flexible theatre, collaboration spaces, four acting studios, two dance studios and two design classrooms as well as a costume studio, costume classroom, and offices and support facilities for current staff. The architectural partner for the project is Decatur, Ill., firm BLDD.
 

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Illinois Visitors Hit High In 2017

GOVERNOR BRUCE RAUNER SAYS 2017 WAS A RECORD YEAR FOR TOURISM IN ILLINOIS. 
 

NEARLY 114 MILLION PEOPLE VISITED ILLINOIS LAST YEAR…UP THREE PERCENT FROM 2016. GOVERNOR RAUNER HOPES TO SEE EVEN MORE TOURISTS THIS YEAR AS THE STATE CELEBRATES IT’S 200TH BIRTHDAY.

 

 

 
STATE TOURISM DIRECTOR CORY JOBE CREDITS THE INCREASE TO NEW MARKETING EFFORTS.
 

 

 
17 PERCENT OF TRAVELERS CAME TO ILLINOIS FOR BUSINESS IN 2017…AND 83 PERCENT FOR PLEASURE. THE STATE’S TOURISM INDUSTRY SUPPORTS MORE THAN 335 THOUSAND JOBS.  VISITORS TO ILLINOIS SPENT MORE THAN 39 BILLION DOLLARS IN 2017. 
 

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Lawmakers Pass Bill Allowing Immediate Family Members Cancel Fallen Service Members Leases

IT’S A SIMPLE BILL, BUT ONE DESIGNED TO MAKE THE LIVES OF FAMILIES WHO HAVE LOST A SOLDIER A LITTLE EASIER.
 
FAMILIES HAVE ENOUGH TO WORRY ABOUT WHEN A PARENT, SIBLING OR CHILD IS KILLED IN ACTIVE MILITARY DUTY SAYS SENATOR DAVE KOEHLER OF PEORIA. HIS BILL, WHICH HAS NOW PASSED THE HOUSE AND SENATE, LETS IMMEDIATE FAMILY MEMBERS OR DEPENDENTS CANCEL THE FALLEN SERVICE MEMBER’S LEASE IF NECESSARY.
 

 

 
IT’S NOW UP TO THE GOVERNOR TO SIGN THE BILL INTO LAW.

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Defending the Farm from Fraud and Identity Theft

Identity theft is a well-known threat that can be costly to farmers and ranchers. NAFB's Micheal Clements has more…

 

 

 

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Senator Rose's Staff to Hold Open Office Hours in Clinton on Friday

Staff for DeWitt County's local state senator will be in town on Friday.
 
The Office of State Senator Chapin Rose will host traveling office hours in Clinton tomorrow (FRI).
 
Constituents are welcome to come to Rose’s Traveling Office Hours Friday morning from 9 to 10:30 am at the Friendship Center in Clinton.
 
Staff will be available to take citizen’s concerns, answer questions, and provide information on several issues. Appointments are not required.
 
The DeWitt County Friendship Center is located at  410 East Main Street in Clinton.

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Richland Community College Commencement Ceremony This Friday

Richland Community College will hold its Commencement Ceremony at 7 p.m. Friday, May 18, at the Decatur Civic Center. For anyone unable to attend the ceremony, a live video stream of the event can be found at www.ustream.tv/channel/richland-community-college. 
 
Prior to commencement, the Health Professions pinning will be held at 5 p.m. in the auditorium of the Civic Center.

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Clinton Board of Education Approve School Safety Resolution; Change Liability Insurance

The Clinton Board of Education approved a resolution on school safety at their monthly meeting Wednesday night.
 
Superintendent Curt Nettles indicates that the resolution will give the Illinois School Board Association the ability to discuss it at their November meeting and possibly use it as their own resolution. The resolution is for giving school districts the ability to make their own school safety policy.
 

 

 
Nettles stresses that the resolution just makes it a discussion item at the School Board Association meeting. The Board also approved joining the Prairie State Insurance Cooperative for district liability and workman's compensation insurance. Nettles says the move will a money saving one.
 

 

 
The Board also approved the appointments of Matt Koeppel as district athletic director and Josh Maxwell as CJHS principal.

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May Days Returning This Weekend

The annual May Days festival returns to Clinton this weekend, with new additions along with longtime favorites.
 
Marian Brisard, executive director of the Clinton Chamber of Commerce, reminds community members that presale carnival tickets are available for 22 tickets for $20 through 3 pm today at many local businesses. 
 

 

 
Brisard indicates this year that the outlay of May Days will look a little different this year...
 

 

 
Brisard reports that the festival has a packed schedule this year. The carnival opens today (Thursday) at 5 pm for Family Day and the CHS Thespian troupe has a sing-off fundraiser from 6-8pm.
 

 

 
Saturday features many new activities including Trunken Treasures and wrestling, as well as the waterball competition and the American Legion porkchop supper. The carnival concludes on Sunday with a Dance Xtreme performance.
 

 

 
Brisard would like to thank the sponsors for allowing them to provide live entertainment on the square during the festival. May Days starts today at 5 pm and runs until Sunday at 5 pm.

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Congressman Davis Continues To Be Critical of Democrats in Farm Bill Process

Central Illinois Republican Congressman Davis continues to be critical of his colleagues across the aisle in the process of crafting a new farm bill.
 
Both sides have battled in recent weeks about the crafting of the new farm bill as the current bill expires later this year. Democrats say they were not invited into the process while Republicans contend Democrats had no intention of being involved.
 
Davis continues his criticism of his colleagues' objection to measures that would help those on government benefits programs get into the workforce.
 

 

 
Congressman Davis says the bill, in its current form, would allow for individuals on welfare programs to get into programs to find good employment opportunities. He feels Democrats objection to the measure is a sign of their desire to grow government programs.
 

 

 
Congressman Davis hopes the bill gets to the House floor by the end of the month so it can be sent to the Senate. The next step will be a conference committee that will likely craft the bill in its final form. 

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Shooter Injured After Shootout at Dixon High School

A man confronted a Dixon police officer at Dixon High School just after 8 o'clock (this) Wednesday morning.  The suspect fired shots at the officer, who then returned fire.  Dixon Police say the man was injured and taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries.  The police officer was not injured, and no students or staff were injured. 

Dixon High School and all Dixon Public Schools were on lockdown as a result of the incident.    Dixon is located in northern Illinois, about 2 hours west of Chicago.

Dixon Police believe the suspect acted alone.

The suspect's name has not been released.

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Heavy Rain Causes Flooding Problems at Warner Hospital Tuesday Afternoon

A heavy rain Tuesday afternoon caused some problems at Clinton's Warner Hospital.

C-E-O Paul Skowron told Regional Radio News that some 3 inches of rain came down in that area of the city.  The storm sewers couldn't handle that much rain in a short time, so the drains outside the main entrance, and the drain outside the emergency room door, all turned into gushers.

As a result, water seeped into both the reception area and the emergency room.

Hospital crews were able to begin clean-up immediately after the rain ended, and ServPro of Clinton was then called into do the heavy clean-up and de-humidify the area.

Skowron hopes that all will be back to normal in that area of Warner Hospital in a few days.  Both the reception area and the emergency room continue to function as normal.

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Clinton Police Chief Talks Upcoming May Days Festival

May Days Festival is here and that means an increase in activity in the downtown area of Clinton.
 

Local law enforcement is reminding the public they are not allowed to bring bikes or pets to the festival going area. It doesn't matter the reason, Chief Ben Lowers says it puts too many people at risk. 

 

 

May Days is this Thursday through Sunday. The footprint of this year's festival is going to be a little different. Organizers indicate this year's carnival will be located just off the square, allowing for better flow of traffic around Center Street.
 
Additionally, law enforcement will have extra patrols out this weekend, specifically looking for bikes and pets around the square and carnival. 

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Clinton Elementary School to Host Fourth PBIS Day

With the school year coming to a close, most students are ready for summer.  This anticipation for summer break can sometimes lead to poor behavior in the classroom.  
 
For those students who do act properly, Clinton Elementary School has been rewarding students for excellent behavior throughout the school year with their PBIS program...
 

 

 
Assistant principal Ben Mooney explains the Positive Behavior Intervention System has had different themed events with the upcoming celebration being centered outdoors...
 

 

 
Assistant principal Mooney also believes the PBIS program has shown a more well-behaved student body...
 

 

 
PBIS is scheduled to take place at the end of the month. 

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Area Student Wins State Art Contest

A local high school student's artwork has won a statewide contest.
 
Cerro Gordo High School and the Cerro Gordo HS Art room would like to congratulate Jean Srichoo who was the GRAND PRIZE WINNER of the State of Illinois Poppy Poster Contest sponsored by the American Legion.  This honor means that Jean's poster design was chosen over all the posters in the State of Illinois and it received the top award.  He also received $500.  

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Veterans Affairs to Hold Town Hall on Wednesday in Effingham

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has scheduled a town hall in central Illinois to discuss the Veterans Administration health care system.
 
The town hall will be held from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday at Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1769 in Effingham.
 
VA spokesman Kevin Harris says the town hall is being held to allow feedback from veterans, their families and other beneficiaries of the health care system.
 
Veterans Affairs is the government's second-largest department, responsible for 9 million military veterans in more than 1,700 government-run health facilities.
 
Many issues in the department need attention, including a multibillion-dollar overhaul of electronic medical records aimed at speeding up wait times for veterans seeking medical care as well as expanded mental health treatment for veterans at higher risk of suicide.

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Pritzker Won't Support Death Penalty Coming Back to IL

Governor Rauner wants the death penalty back in Illinois. It’s part of a plan of action he has along with some gun control measures to increase public safety. His Democrat challenger for Governor, J.B. Pritzker says the death penalty debate shouldn’t be tied to gun control and it shouldn’t become part of Illinois’s justice system again.
 

 

 
Rauner’s move to reinstate the death penalty comes as part of an amendatory veto that will be debated and voted on by lawmakers.

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Congressman Davis Proposes Bill To Deal With Nuclear Waste

Disposing and storing nuclear waste is the focus of a bill Congressman Rodney Davis is working on in the nation's capital.
 
The 13th Congressional District Republican says his bill proposes shipping nuclear waste to a depository in Nevada. 
 

 

According to Davis, the footprint of nuclear waste is very small and he feels it needs to be in a safe, isolated area.
 

 

Davis says the storage is actually going to be more environmentally safe in an isolated area than it would be in nuclear plants across the country. 

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WHOW Gets OK to Build Local FM Signal in Lincoln

The Miller Media Group's Kaskaskia Broadcasting, Incorporated in Clinton, has announced that the Federal Communications Commission has approved its application to build a new FM signal at 106-point-5 in Lincoln, for its Central Illinois newstalk and agriculture station WHOW.

Company president Randal J. Miller is hopeful that the new signal will go on the air this summer.

The new Lincoln FM signal for WHOW will cover all of Logan County, so that listeners there can hear WHOW's local news and sports coverage, over 6 hours a day of agriculture programming, and weekend sports programming from the CBS Sports Radio Network.

WHOW at 106-point-5 FM in Lincoln will operate 24 hours a day, and join another FM signal WHOW has at 92-point-3 in Clinton, and the BIG 1520 AM signal that covers Central Illinois.

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Clay Wheeler Appointed Bloomington Chief of Police

Chief Clay Wheeler was appointed Chief of Police during the City Council meeting last night. Chief Wheeler is a 27-year veteran of the Bloomington Police Department.
 
Chief Wheeler joined the department in 1991 as a patrol officer.  Chief Wheeler served as a member of the Bloomington Police Department's Crisis Response Team, as a hostage negotiator, Field Training Officer, and as a Detective in the Bloomington Police Department's Criminal Investigation Division.
 
Chief Wheeler was promoted to Sergeant in 2007.  While a sergeant he was instrumental in the adoption of Problem Oriented Policing within the Bloomington Police Department.  He was promoted to Lieutenant in 2011, and Assistant Chief in 2011.
 
During his tenure, Chief Wheeler received 1 Distinguished Achievement Award, 1 Exemplary Performance Award, 2 Meritorious Service Awards and 5 Unit Citations. He also has been awarded the Education Ribbon and several Letters of Commendation regarding his exemplary work and service to our community.
 
Chief Wheeler holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Psychology and Criminal Justice from the College of the Ozarks.

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Tour DeWitt Returns For Fourth Year

Tour DeWitt is returning to DeWitt County in 2018 and organizers are ready to welcome riders of all types.
 

Steve Lobb took over the event around four years ago and indicates have a long ride and a short ride anyone of any level can tackle.

 

 

According to Lobb, Tour DeWitt had fallen off for a few years after a long run. H explains he got involved and turned it into a ride for the Child Protection Network, which helps the Children's Advocacy Center in DeWitt County.

 

 

This year's Tour DeWitt is set for Saturday, June 30. Get more information by finding the Tour DeWitt Facebook and get links to registration pages and information about the event as well.

 

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4H Youth Educator Shares Overview of Programs

4H has been around for over 100 years, aiming to help guide children through different aspects of learning.  As 4H Youth Coordinator Jamie Boas (base) says its a very hands on learning experience...
 

 

 
 
While Boas explains there are plenty of programs for those under the age of eight, there are a variety of different offerings for those ages 8-18...
 

 

 
 
Along with all the activities offered each year, a new program is being offered for the 4H in Clinton...

 

 
Boas also explains there will be a new program sprouting up in a nearby city...
 

 

 
 
For more information on 4H visit DewittCounty4H.com.

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Help Mom Save Money Through Social Security

Did that Mother's Day gift fall a little short this year? If your mom is on Medicare Part D, perhaps she wouldn't mind if you helped her save a couple thousand dollars this year.
 

Social Security offers a program to help save those on the Medicare Part D prescription drug plan roughly $4,000 a year and Jack Myers says that is a gift that can keep on giving.

 

 

 
For those already on Medicare Part A and B, you are already enrolled in Part D. Myers points outs there are some limits to the program.
 

 

 
To get more information on the Extra Help program, visit socialsecurity.gov/extrahelp or you can call 800-772-1213 and that application can be done over the phone.
 
Myers points out it reduces deductibles, co-pays, and premiums and help those prescription drug costs become more affordable.

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Rauner Calls For Death Penalty In Illinois

The Governor says he wants to reinstate the death penalty. The proposal is part of an amendatory veto focused around a gun bill. Rauner wants mass murderers and anyone who kills a law enforcement officer to be able to face capital punishment. 

 

 

 
Rauner also wants to place a 72 hour waiting period for purchases of any type of gun, ban bump stocks and have a plan to authorize restraining orders to disarm violent individuals. Rauner calls it a thoughtful proposal. And it now heads to the house for consideration. 
 

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House Expected To Take Up Farm Bill This Week

Kevin McCarthy, the House Majority Leader, says Congress will take up the farm bill debate sometime within the week. The House schedule has the week’s session running from Tuesday through Friday. The House Rules Committee has issued a notice that it expects to “grant a rule that may provide a structured amendment process for floor consideration of H.R. 2, the Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018.” The Hagstrom Report says it’s not clear yet if Republicans have the required 215 Republican votes they’ll need to pass the bill. House Democrats say no Democrat will vote for the bill because of the changes it would make to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

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Young Beekeepers Encouraged to Apply for Award

Young beekeepers have a little extra time to apply for an award by Bayer that recognizes their work.
 
The Young Beekeeper Award recognizes youth who are working in their community supporting honey bee focused initiatives. This year, the three prizes will be awarded to the next generation of beekeepers. Becky Langer, Project Manager for Bayer’s North America Bee Care Program, explains who can apply for the award…
 

 

 
First prize will receive $3,000, with prizes for second and third place winners, as well. Langer says protecting bee’s is a priority for Bayer, along with developing the next generation of beekeepers…
 

 

 
 
Jake Residorf won the award last year. He says his project focuses on educating others about bee health…
 

 

 
Learn more about the award and submit applications before May 31, 2018 by visiting the Bayer bee health website, www.beehealth.bayer.us.

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Threat Leads To Evacuation Of Clinton Junior High Monday Afternoon

Another threat at Clinton Junior High School led to students being evacuated late in the day Monday.
 
In a School Reach call to parents, Clinton Junior High Principal Drew Goebel indicated that at approximately 3:10 Monday afternoon a student reported to school staff that a threat was found inscribed in a bathroom stall.  Per protocol, students were evacuated from the building.  The Clinton Police Department and school officials conducted a search of the building, but no evidence was found to substantiate the threat.  The school was deemed safe and extra-curricular events proceeded as planned.
 
Clinton Police and the school district are investigating the source of this most recent threat, as well as threats made earlier in the month. Also in the message, Goebel encouraged parents to discuss the false threats with their students.  Parents or students with any information regarding the incidents are asked to contact school officials.

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Local Law Enforcement Celebrating National Police Week

It is National Police Week across the country and our local law enforcement are taking time this to remember officers that have fallen in the line of duty both locally and across the country.
 
Clinton Police Chief Ben Lowers indicates there have been three law enforcement officials that have lost their lives while on patrol. He says the most recent was in 1993. 
 

 

 
The relationship between the public and the police has seemingly been deteriorating in recent years and Chief Lowers indicates the statistics would indicate respect for law enforcement is also on the decline.
 

 

 
According to Chief Lowers, being a police officer or law enforcement official is a tough profession to be in and he feels a lot of the controversy around police and the public is driven by the media.
 

 

 
Chief Lowers says he enjoys helping people and finds the few opportunities to better someone's life worth it. 

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Read Across Clinton Looks to Provide Home Libraries for Students

Clinton Elemantary school is striving to keep students reading over the summer with their Read Across Clinton campaign...

 

 

 
Principal Sasha Young explains that the books are purchased through donations made over the year...
 

 

 
Young also explains that the campaign looks to help those families who finically may struggle and can't afford to have reading material in the home...
 

 

 
No matter the skill level of the reading material, Young says just getting students to enjoy reading is the main goal...
 

 

 
This summer marks the fourth year of the Read Across Clinton campaign.

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YEP Initiative Strives to Give Back, Seeking Youth From DeWitt, Logan Counties

Wanting to give back to the community is a big goal for the Youth Engaged in Philanthropy, or Y-E-P, and they want to engage youth in other parts of their service area.
 
Y-E-P is an initiative for the Illinois Prairie Community Foundation, as each year they are given 10,000-dollars from an anonymous donor and that money is given out to local non-profits that affect youth. 
 
Maddisan Murphy of the Foundation gave some examples of non-profits that received money from the YEP initiative...

 

hree mentors help to oversee the efforts of the youth in Y-E-P, but all fundraising and efforts to get money donated are done by the Y-E-P members...

 
 

 

With plenty of involvement from youth in the McLean County area, the group is calling on youth in other parts of their service area to join them. Murphy and fellow member Calise Lim explained how to join the Y-E-P...


 

n order to join the Youth Engaged in Philanthropy, members must be incoming freshman through seniors in high school.  For more information visit www.ilprairiecf.org.    

 

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Missing Veterans Legislation Moving Forward in Springfield

There are Amber Alerts to find missing children and Silver Alerts for seniors and earlier this year, Wisconsin became the first state to issue an alert for vulnerable veterans….now Illinois wants to follow suit with a bill sponsored by State Representative Dan Swanson of Alpha. 

 

 

 
The measure was approved in the House Veterans Affairs Committee and now heads to the full House for consideration. 
 
The legislation amends the Missing Persons Identification Act to add veterans suffering a physical or mental health condition that is related to their service to the definition of a “high-risk missing person” for the purposes of an immediate search.

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West Nile Virus Surveillance Underway

THE ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH SAYS NOW IS THE TIME TO START TAKING PRECAUTIONS AGAINST THE WEST NILE VIRUS. 
 
WEST NILE IS THE MOST COMMON MOSQUITO-BORNE ILLNESS IN ILLINOIS…AND PUBLIC HEALTH SPOKESPERSON MELANEY ARNOLD SAYS SURVEILLANCE IS UNDERWAY.
 
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ARNOLD SAYS THE BEST WAY TO REDUCE THE RISK OF WEST NILE IS TO ELIMINATE STANDING POOLS OF WATER AROUND YOUR HOME WHERE MOSQUITOS CAN BREED AND WEARING INSECT REPELLANT WITH DEET, PICARIDIN OR OIL OF LEMON EUCALYPTUS.

 

 
ARNOLD SAYS WEST NILE SURVEILLANCE IS UNDERWAY AS COMMUNITIES ARE URGED TO SEND IN BATCHES OF MOSQUITO POOLS AND DEAD BIRDS FOR TESTING. THE FIRST SIGNS OF THE VIRUS USUALLY SHOW UP IN MID TO LATE MAY.

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Clinton Elementary Students Learn About Agriculture At Annual Ag Day

The CH Moore Homestead and the DeWitt County Farm Bureau team up each spring to provide elementary students in Clinton a chance to learn about agriculture in an up-close and personal way.
 
The event is in the month of May and Farm Bureau Director Janel Baum-Thomas says they get to talk to farmers and check out some old-school machinery along with modern machinery.
 
 
Organizers indicate the youth are always intrigued by the farm equipment but they say the biggest hit is always the farmers that come out and do presentations. 

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CHS Principal Talks End of Year Activities

The end of the school year is around the corner and Clinton High School Principal Jerry Wayne says it's always a busy time.
 

Between sports wrapping up and graduation on the horizon, there's also plenty of other things happening that recognizes their students. Wayne says a big event is their Gold Star Banquet, next week.

 

 
The end of the semester is also later next week and then graduation follows Sunday, May 20.

 

Prom was April 28 in Clinton and the final day of classes in the district is May 18. 

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CJHS Principal Talks End Year

The end of the year is near for local students and Clinton Junior High School Principal Drew Goebel indicates they are starting wind things down at his school building.
 

A new field trip is being taken by seventh-grade students to a Civil War re-enactment in Downs. Goebel indicates a number of schools are participating and he looks forward to going on this trip with them.

 

 

Goebel indicates there are still some spring assessments they are doing with their students. Last night, junior highers gathered at the school for a dance and then things conclude with their promotion ceremony May 21.
 
You can follow all things Clinton Junior High School by visiting the district website, www.cusd15.org, find the Junior High School and use the social media icons to follow the things happening.

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Congressman Davis Backs President's Decision To Pull Out of Iran Nuclear Deal

Congressman Rodney Davis is praising President Donald Trump's decision to pull out of the Iran Nuclear deal earlier this week.
 

Davis called the deal 'short sited' and did not think it was a good deal. He feels Iran is not committed to disarmament and was never behind the deal originally.

 

 

This was a big week in foreign affairs news in the United States and Congressman Davis says President Trump has committed to trying new tactics with North Korea. 
 

 

Congressman Davis remains pessimistic North Korea will de-nuclearize but is pleased the Trump administration continues to pressure them. However, he believes Iran has no intention to give up any nuclear weapons or working with world powers in doing so.

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Avoid Tick Born Illnesses This Year

CASES OF TICK-BORNE ILLNESS HAVE BEEN INCREASING…AND THE ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH HAS SOME TIPS TO PROTECT YOURSELF AND YOUR FAMILY. 
 

TICKS CAN CARRY DISEASES LIKE LYME DISEASE, SPOTTED FEVER…AND NEW ON THE SCENE…THE BOURBON VIRUS. PUBLIC HEALTH SPOKESPERSON MELANEY ARNOLD SAYS THE BEST THING YOU CAN DO TO PREVENT A BITE IS TO WEAR INSECT REPELLANT CONTAINING AT LEAST 20 PERCENT DEET. SHE ALSO ADVISES CHECKING EVERYONE FOR TICKS BEFORE THEY COME INSIDE.

 

 

ARNOLD SAYS TICKS CAN ALSO CARRY THE FAIRLY NEW BOURBON VIRUS.

 

 

SYMPTOMS OF TICK-BORNE ILLNESS INCLUDE FEVER, CHILLS, ACHES AND PAINS AND THE TELL-TALE BULLSEYE RASH.

 

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MS Talk to Host Fundraiser this Saturday

Have a pizza pie and help a DeWitt County non-profit this weekend. 
 
Multiple sclerosis is a potentially disabling disease of the brain and spinal cord.  In order to help those who suffer from this catastrophic disease, MS Talk looks to help those who suffer from MS in Dewitt County...
 
 

 

 
 
Tammy Lippert is one of the MS Talk co-founders.  She explains that in Dewitt County there are quite a few that suffer from this disease...
 
 

 

 
 
In an effort to help make Multiple sclerosis more of a talking point, MS Talk will host a fundraiser this coming weekend at Monicals Pizza...
 
 

 

 
 
Guest speaker Sherell Dement is a physical therapist as she will look to provide expertise and opinions on how to battle MS.  MS Talk also looks to help just about anyone in the community, not only those who suffer from one specific disease...
 
 

 

 
 
Part of the proceeds from Saturday sales at Monicall's Pizza will benefit the MS Talk foundation. You must present the flyer for the event for the proceeds of your sale to go to MS Talk. Find it at the Monicals website or at local retailers in Clinton.  

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The Vault Seeking Support Through Many Avenues

The Vault in Clinton continues to build momentum and excitement in the community and support for the project can come in many forms.
 
Michelle Witzke says financial benefits are just one of the many ways you can support the project right now. She indicates they recently started accepting electronic forms of donations through PayPal.
 

 

 
The Vault is in need of several material pieces for the project. With progress inside the center being made, Witzke indicates they could use donations of the electronic variety, like sound systems or video game systems or televisions. 
 

 

 
Physical labor donations are needed right now too. There's a lot of what Witzke calls finish work to be done inside the center.
 

 

 
To get involved in The Vault, whether it be through financial support, material donations or labor donations, contact Witzke at thevaultclinton@gmail.com or visit thevaultclinton.com. 
 
Then find them on Facebook for the latest on the project. 

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Spring Bringing More Safety Concerns

An increase in residential activity and even criminal activity tends to increase this time of the year and local law enforcement is passing along their annual reminders of springtime safety.
 
Clinton Police Chief Ben Lowers reminds residents this is the time of year when car burglaries increase and those can be prevented by simply locking your car doors at night and when your vehicle is left unattended. 
 

 

 
More people will be out walking, running and biking and kids will be out more frequently playing now as well. To that end, Chief Lowers reminds residents to be aware of those pedestrians as motorists and be mindful of increased motorcycle traffic as well.
 

 

 
Noise complaints from gatherings also increase this time of the year. Additionally, Chief Lowers reminds those out to keep their pets contained and also pick up after them when you're out and about.
 

 

 
With the planting still in full swing, the Chief also reminds motorists to be mindful of farmers out trying to get their crops in the ground and be careful around the heavy machinery. He also says be very cautious if you're going to pass any of those vehicles in rural areas. 

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State Agrichemical Container Program Has Recycled 2.1-Million Pounds of Plastic

The Illinois Department of Agriculture continues to roll on with its agrichemical container recycling program. 
 
It started back in 1990 and since that time the agency has collected 2.1 million pounds of plastics says Rick Severns with IDOA’s Bureau of Environmental Programs. He says the recycled materials are put to good use. 
 

 

 
You can find a complete list of container drop off locations at the IDOA’s website and typing “agrichemical container recycling program” in search box.

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Regulators Approve Ameren Efficiency Plan

The Illinois Commerce Commission has approved Ameren Illinois' voltage optimization plan. 
 
The plan is supposed to reduce energy consumption and system losses by operating the grid at lower voltages. This is made possible with new cost-effective sensors, controls, and communication systems that allow utilities to maintain lower voltage levels than they previously could. Citizen's Utility Board Executive Director Dave Kolata says a lot of machines run better when voltage is optimized.
 

 

 
The decision has been applauded by a number of consumer advocates, which have pursued assurances the utility would prioritize its optimization efforts in low-income communities to reduce monthly bills.

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ERA Vote Waiting in House

A vote will have to wait on the Equal Rights amendment in the Illinois House. The Senate has voted to ratify the much delayed constitutional amendment but the House hasn’t taken the measure up yet. Republican Representative Steve Anderson says that vote is a long time in coming.
 

 

 
The time to ratify the amendment was decades ago but supporters of the process hope that if enough states vote in favor then Congress will extend the window to approve it. 

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Clinton Schools Name New Athletic Director

Clinton Schools have named a new district athletic and activities director.
 
Matt Koeppel comes to the district from Olympia High School. Superintendent Curt Nettles indicates Keoppel has experience coaching in football, soccer, and basketball.
 

 

 
Nettles says the mix of coaching and teaching appealed for Koeppel and the search committee felt Koeppel could continue to help build programs in Clinton.
 

 

 
There were 21 applicants for the position. Kpeeoppel has a taught physical education and driver education with a Masters from Illinois State University.
 
Koeppel's hiring will be approved at next week's Clinton Board of Education meeting on Wednesday. 

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Clinton Education Foundation To Be At IGA Friday, Saturday

It is a big seven-day stretch for the Clinton Community Education Foundation, CCEF.
 
The Foundation hosted their annual Derby Day fundraiser this past Saturday at the Clinton Country Club and Christina Soberalski with the Foundation indicates they'll be at Clinton IGA for a cookout this weekend.
 
 
The upcoming Gold Star Banquet that celebrates academic excellence is, in part, sponsored by the CCEF. Eileen Carter with the CCEF indicates they take on the cost of the tickets for students and their parents so they all can attend.
 
 
Additionally, the CCEF also helps fund the Read Across Clinton initiative. Soberalski says Read Across Clinton is coming right around the corner and the CCEF is one of the donors so the school can purchase books for youth for the summer months.
 
 
The goal is for every child at Clinton Elementary School to get to take ten books home for the summer months. 
 
Next week on Regional Radio News, CES Principal Sasha Young and Assistant Principal Ben Mooney will talk more about the program and how it has impacted their students. 
 
Again, check out the IGA cookout to benefit the CCEF Friday and Saturday. 

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Garden Planting Season Here

The weather has finally turned and horticulture enthusiasts are now able to get out in their gardens and get those going.
 
Master gardener at the University of Illinois Extension office, Candice Hart says the biggest question they seem to get this time of year is when can those warm-season vegetables get out there?
 
Hart indicates it is probably safe to get those out now, just be aware of the weather forecast.
 
 
Getting that garden cleaned out is key to getting those gardens ready for the new season. If you laid mulch in the fall, Hart indicates pulling it back will help warm the soil up.
 
 
No-till gardening has taken off in recent years and Hart says it can be a personal preference but it isn't necessary. She says unless you're trying to improve your soil, it isn't necessary. 
 
 
Hart says if weeds have taken over your garden, tilling is not necessarily going to get rid of them. She says you can apply a herbicide to get rid of them and notes to follow the directions on when to plant your flowers or vegetables. 
 
Contact your local University of Illinois Extension office for more information on your planting questions. 

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Social Security Promoting Spring Check-In

 
Doing a spring check-in of your Social Security house is the focus for those in the government agency.
 
Jack Myers says there's a laundry list of some things to do this spring that is a good idea to make sure everything is in order.
 
 
Catching any issues early can keep you from any problems in the long run. Myers also points out it can be especially beneficial if you have the documentation, which can lead to a resolution of the issue much quicker.
 
 
One final area to take a look at would be estimate benefits.
 
Myers encourages making this something you do each year. 
 
He encourages a visit to socialsecurity.gov and also recommends creating an My Social Security account. 

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Governor Talks Meeting With Legislative Leaders

Governor Bruce Rauner has never been able to sign a full year budget for the state during his tenure in office. 
 
Rauner, a Republican, and the four legislative leaders met on Tuesday to discuss the finer points of the budgeting process for this year. Rauner says his parameters include no new taxes and a truly balanced budget. And this year he’s ready to hammer out an agreement.
 
 
The Democrats in the meeting saw things a bit differently, they liked the progress made and said both sides generally agree on many issues.

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Peoria Lawmaker Wants Registered Apprenticeships At Local Schools

A downstate lawmaker looking to offer high school students other opportunities besides college. 
 
37th District State Senator Chuck Weaver wants to see career focused apprenticeship programs set up at local schools. That’s the push behind his Senate Bill 3226. 
 
 
The Peoria Republican’s legislation would direct the Illinois State Board of Education to establish guidelines allowing local high school students over the age of 16 to enroll in registered vocational apprenticeship programs. Also, the United States Department of Labor would have to sign off on the programs.
 
Weaver’s legislation has won approval in the Illinois Senate and now awaits action in the Illinois House. 

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Little Caesar's To Be Part of Mach1 Gas Station

The 7800 square foot Mach1 gas station will include a Little Caesars.
 
That is the message from Michael Meyer with Meyer Oil Company who owns and operates Mach1 gas stations in central Illinois. He indicates they also will a have full-scale liquor and wine offering. He says it won't be your typical offerings for a gas station.
 
 
They will have two car wash bays with a couple different offerings and Meyer explains the new features for the Clinton location will be a tire shine and a hot foam wax.
 
 
While a clean restroom is not anything directly related to revenue of the store, Meyer indicates they are committed to offering clean restrooms to their customers.
 
 
Meyer indicates they are targeting an August 1 opening. 
 
Additionally, in Clinton, he says they will have a gaming area. He adds they are excited to have several services. 

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Maroa-Forsyth Schools Answering School Violence Issues With Additional Mental Health Staff

A local school district is hoping to provide support for their students through beefing up support staff.
 
Superintendent of Maroa-Forsyth Schools, John Ahlemeyher (all-meyer) recognizes there needs to be a discussion surrounding school safety how to protect students from violent acts but he and the school board are going the next step and he explains, they plan to hire another social worker for the upcoming school year.
 
 
Ahlemeyer says it isn't hard to find the trends in who is committing the crimes in recent years. He feels schools, and society as a whole has to do more to support youth who are not successful in normal settings of growing up.
 
 
Additionally, Ahlemeyer points out they are going to be getting the school an assessment of the security of their buildings. He says it is time to have someone objective take a look at the things they've done and what they have in place.
 
 
In his first year, Ahlemeyer feels the district is right where they need to be from a security perspective. He is hopeful state and federal governments will free up funds for schools to have access to for security purposes. 

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Monticello Mayor Talks School Facilities Plan

In March, voters in Monticello approved a plan to upgrade school facilities and the Mayor of the community is behind the project as well.
 
Monticello Mayor Larry Stoner is a retired educator in and knows first hand all about the facilities in the district. He feels it is going to a great thing for the students, families, and community.
 
 
The Mayor knows full-well the success the students of Monticello have had and he points to communities around them that have updated or built new facilities and he feels their community needs to keep up and draw new families to their community.
 
 
Mayor Stoner says having a school district with updated facilities is just one more thing to sell to prospective families about your community and he feels it just the community more visibly appealing place to be.
 
 
The Mayor is excited to see the start of the project get going and feels it will bring something else exciting happening. 

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Budget talks continue revenue questions linger

BUDGET TALKS CONTINUE AT THE CAPITOL BUT THERE’S STILL NO AGREEMENT ON HOW MUCH MONEY THE STATE HAS TO SPEND IN THE NEXT FISCAL YEAR. 
 
SENATE PRESIDENT JOHN CULLERTON SAYS THEY HAVE A DECENT ESTIMATE OF THE STATE’S REVENUES BUT THAT SEVERAL FACTORS MAKE THAT NUMBER IMPOSSIBLE TO PIN DOWN EXACTLY. HOUSE REPUBLICAN LEADER JIM DURKIN SAYS THEY NEED THAT NUMBER TO PREVENT EXCESSIVE SPENDING.
 
 
 
BUT SENATE PRESIDENT JOHN CULLERTON SAYS THEY ARE CLOSE ENOUGH NOW.
 
 
THE LEGISLATURE TYPICALLY TRIES TO GET A BUDGET PASSED BY THE END OF MAY BUT THAT HASN’T HAPPENED THE LAST FEW YEARS. THE NEW FISCAL YEAR BEGINS JULY FIRST.

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Clinton Fire Truck To Hoist American Flag For Tuesday Fire Fighter Memorial Service in Springfield

The Clinton Fire Department for the second straight year will hoist the American Flag for the firefighter memorial service in Springfield.
 
Firefighter Blake West indicates Tuesday's ceremony will feature the newest fire engine for the department as well as a red American LaFrance truck in Springfield.
 
 
West estimates there will over 2000 firefighters in Springfield along with numerous citizens to honor firefighters that have died in the line of duty. 

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City Council Re-Appoints City Officers

Monday night at the Clinton City Council meeting, the Council approved City officials for another year.
 
Appointments included: 
 
City Attorney Steve Myers
Cheryl Van Valey as City Clerk
Tim Followell as City Sexton of the cemetery and Public Health Officer
Clint Lichtenwalter as City Treasurer
Tom Edmunds as budget officer
Steve Lobb as Public Works Director
Fire Chief Jeff Hoke
Steven Page Assistant Fire Chief
 
All terms are for one year. 

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Lincoln Farmer's Market Opening Saturday

The Lincoln Farmer's Market opens this Saturday and organizers are ready for another exciting year.
 
The Abraham Lincoln Memorial Hospital Farmer's Market is a producer-only farmer's market and Angela Stoltzenberg feels the Lincoln Farmer's Market is a wellness destination and their vendors are the farmers who grow the produce they sell.
 
 
The collaboration between the Lincoln hospital and the farmer's market allows more access to healthy food for the public. Stoltzenberg indicates it also allows them to give the public access to health and wellness activities and resources.
 
 
Stoltzenberg explains they are going to beef up their offerings for the opening of the market season. Everything from inflatables for the kids to cooking demonstrations and live music, the market will have something for everyone this Saturday.
 
 
The Lincoln Farmers Market runs from 8 am to noon each Saturday at the Logan County Fairgrounds. Stoltzenberg feels their market has been a huge success as it draws around 1500 people weekly.
 
Get more information by finding the ALMH Farmer's Market on Facebook or visit almhmarket.org. 

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Heyworth Schools Community Engagement Process Helps Start Master Planning Process

Heyworth Schools recently wrapped up a series of community engagement meetings to help formulate a plan for the future of their facilities.
 
Superintendent of Heyworth Schools Lisa Taylor was pleased with the turnout of their community to provide them input. She points out the community saw a lot of the needs for their facilities the district had targeted as well.
 
 
Taylor says it was refreshing to have the community be forward thinking in regards to their facilities. She calls it a good process to be a part of.
 
 
Funding the future project will likely result in some borrowing along with drawing from TIF funds for capital improvements. Taylor explains the district has options and they have some decisions to make, pointing out, they likely do not have to raise property taxes.
 
 
The next step is to get a plan together to present to the community. Taylor says the Board wants to be very intentional about making the improvements without impacting property taxes. 

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Weekly Crop Report

PLANTING PROGRESS IS REALLY PICKING UP AS WE HEAR IN THE WEEKLY CROP REPORT. 
 
THE WARM WEATHER IS HELPING MOVE THINGS ALONG SAYS CROP STATISTICIAN MARK SCHLEUSENER.
 
 
29 PERCENT OF SOYBEANS HAVE BEEN PLANTED AND ONE PERCENT EMERGED. 
 
 
14 PERCENT OF WINTER WHEAT IS HEADING AND 53 PERCENT OF THE CROP IS RATED IN GOOD TO EXCELLENT CONDITION. 
 
AVERAGE STATEWIDE TOPSOIL MOISTURE WAS NEARLY UNCHANGED AT ONE PERCENT VERY SHORT, 13 PERCENT SHORT, 76 PERCENT ADEQUATE AND 10 PERCENT SURPLUS.

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Study Examines Where Food Dollar Goes

A U-S Department of Agriculture Department study shows more than 85 cents of every dollar we spend on food goes to such things as transportation, processing and marketing. That leaves about 15 cents for farmers, a record low since the agency has conducted the study. Patrick Canning with U-S-D-A's Economic Research Service helped lead it and provides some details;
 
 
When eating out, the share of each dollar we spend that goes to farmers dropped more than 10 percent, to a little more than four-cents. That’s a record-low since USDA started conducting the survey; 
 
 
Whether it be food we prepare and eat at home or on-the-run, when adjusted for inflation, farmers received on average a little over 12 cents of each dollar spent on food.

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Senate Wants To Cut Cord on Public Sector Golden Parachutes

Lucrative golden parachutes aren't just the domain of CEOs in the private sector and Illinois Senators spoke out against the practice with one voice last week. 
 
They unanimously approved the Government Severance Pay Act, which moves the legislation to the House. Better Government Association policy director Madeleine Doubek said big payouts are seen in all corners of the public sector.
 
 
Doubek believes recent severance payouts show the need for the legislation, which would eliminate severance packages for public employees let go because of misconduct.
 
 
Under the legislation, severance packages for all public employees would be limited to no greater than 20 weeks compensation. The changes would only apply to future employees.

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IDOT Approves $36-Million in Federal Grants For Bike Paths and Trails

THE STATE DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION IS AWARDING 36 MILLION DOLLARS IN FEDERAL GRANTS TO ILLINOIS COMMUNITIES. 
 
I-DOT SPOKESPERSON GIANNA URGO SAYS THE MONEY WILL FUND 53 PROJECTS AROUND THE STATE.
 
 
URGO SAYS THE IDEA IS TO HELP COMMUNITIES PROMOTE ALTERNATIVE MODES OF TRAVEL BESIDES DRIVING. 

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Governor Gives Thumbs Up For Behavior Health Initiative

THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT IS GIVING ILLINOIS APPROVAL TO LAUNCH A NEW TWO BILLION DOLLAR BEHAVIORAL HEALTH INITIATIVE. 
 
GOVERNOR BRUCE RAUNER SAYS THE BETTER CARE ILLINOIS PROGRAM WILL MAKE THE STATE A NATIONAL LEADER IN HEALTH SERVICES. IT WILL FOCUS ON PREVENTATIVE AND COMMUNITY BASED CARE FOR ALL AGES.
 
 
THE INITIATIVE IS POSSIBLE THANKS TO A FEDERAL WAIVER FOR ILLINOIS TO USE MEDICAID DOLLARS FOR 10 PILOT PROGRAMS THAT GOVERNOR RAUNER SAYS WILL LOWER COSTS BUT IMPROVE QUALITY OF CARE.
 
 
THE IDEA IS TO ADDRESS A PERSON’S WHOLE WELL BEING BY INTEGRATING RESOURCES AND CARE OPTIONS.

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Governor Frustrated By Slow Budget Talks

GOVERNOR BRUCE RAUNER SAYS PROGRESS HAS BEEN SLOW IN NEGOTIATING A NEW STATE BUDGET.
 
THIS IS THE TIME OF YEAR WHEN BUDGET TALKS OFTEN BEGIN TO RAMP UP…BUT GOVERNOR RAUNER SAYS THE PACE HAS BEEN FRUSTRATING SO FAR.
 
 
THE GOVERNOR SAYS HE’S LOOKING FOR A FULL YEAR BUDGET…NOT A SIX-MONTH DEAL…THAT DOESN’T RAISE TAXES AND IS BALANCED.

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Progress At The Vault Taking Off

The sprinkler system is in, drywall is starting to get hung and a snack bar is taking shape in The Vault in Clinton.
 
Michelle Witzke says while the project is just a little behind her original goal but is excited about the progress.
 
 
The project has taken off because of a great deal of fundraising success. According to Witzke, spring was very strong as they have now raised over $300-thousand.
 
 
According to Witzke, the Phase I goal has been made and that should allow them to get their first floor open up. She indicates they are, at the same time, turning their attention to fundraising for their second phase of the project.
 
 
Witzke reminds the public, The Vault is a vision for a teen-center in the community that would provide a safe and fun outlet for youth in a time when there are a lot of ways for them to find trouble.
 
 
The Vault is still in need of support and help in several ways. You can learn more about the project by visiting thevaultclinton.com or emailing thevaultclinton@gmail.com. Also, find them on Facebook for the latest on the progress of the project. 

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CJHS Principal Talks Transition To New Job

Clinton Junior High School Principal Drew Goebel will be transitioning to a district administrative job next year and says he's looking forward to the new challenge.
 
Goebel received his administrative certification recently and indicates he is anxious to get into a more hands-on role and looks forward learning from Superintendent Curt Nettles about the ins-and-outs of the administrative side of running a district.
 
 
Goebel indicates he looks forward to learning from Supertindent Curt Nettles and asking questions and feels the staff he'll be working with is a group of good individuals. 
 
 
The new position will take Goebel away from daily contact with junior high school students. He indicates that will definitely be something he misses but is hopeful he can still interactive with the students.
 
 
According to Goebel, he wants to make sure and be out with students as he makes his way through the district. With the unit office being attached to the high school, Goebel indicates there will still be the opportunity to be around kids during the day. 

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DNR Authorities Remind Public Leave Young Wildlife Alone

The baby wildlife season is here and while the young babies are cute and fluffy, local Department of Natural Resources Authorities are reminding residents to leave them alone.
 
DNR Conservation Officer John Williamson says if you see a baby animal like a deer or bird or rabbit, just leave it alone. He says you likely won't see the parents and them leaving their babies is natural.
 
 
DNR officials also remind the public birds often leave the nest before they can fly. These birds will live on the ground for a few days while they grow flight feathers, and you may hear them making noises calling for their parents. They do this so their parents will continue to feed them, and it doesn’t mean they are in trouble. Keep children and pets away.
 
Do not attempt to rescue fawns. Fawns stay very still to conceal themselves until they are old enough to keep up with their mother. The mother will not stand near the fawns for fear of alerting predators to their presence. Leave fawns alone and the mother will return once you leave the area. 
 
Wild birds and animals can become habituated to people when they are provided food. Do not leave pet food outside at night, clean up under bird feeders, secure the lids on garbage cans to keep raccoons and other wildlife out. Nuisance animals can become dangerous to people.
 
Handling wild animals can result in the handler being bitten. According to the Centers for Disease Control, wild animals that bite a person must be euthanized immediately to be tested for rabies. 
 
The Illinois Wildlife Code provides legal protection for wildlife. It is against the law to keep wild animals as pets, or to raise wild animals believed to have been abandoned.  Additionally, agency responses to incidents involving wildlife can be costly to taxpayers.  For example, in response to community concern about a young wild deer in McLean Co. this spring, IDNR and USDA Wildlife Services’ personnel and other costs totaled nearly $7,000 to investigate the matter, and to capture and relocate the deer to a licensed wildlife rehabilitator.
 
Anyone with questions about care for possibly abandoned wildlife can contact a licensed wildlife rehabilitator. To learn more about potential wildlife conflicts, and keeping people, pets and wildlife safe, visit the Living with Wildlife in Illinois website at http://web.extension.illinois.edu/wildlife/.

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Senate Considers Bill To Help Voting From Jail

A bill in the Senate right now would give those in jail but yet to be convicted of a crime a better ability to vote. 
 
The House passed legislation that makes county election officials work with corrections and jails to get inmates voting material and access to the polls. State Rep. Peter Breen, a Republican, disagreed with the bill and says lawmakers are focusing on the wrong group of people to help.
 
 
Democrats who passed the measure say that it’s a right to be able to vote while waiting out pretrial motions in jail. The Senate has the bill in committee.

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USDA Opens Comment Period on GMO Labeling law

The Department of Agriculture is seeking public comment on a rule to establish the National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard mandated by Congress in 2016. 
 
The rule will regulate how genetically modified, or bioengineered ingredients, would be disclosed to consumers on food labels. 
 
Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue says the rulemaking “presents several possible ways” to determine what foods will be covered by the final rule, and presents label options, as well. 
 
American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall in a statement called the proposed rule fair, saying it “ensures that food facts win the day over hype.” 
 
The proposed rule is open for comment for 60 days and appeared in the Federal  Register Thursday. Public comment can be made online at www.regulations.gov. The deadline for comments is July 3, 2018.

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House Considers Home Health Care Pay Raise

The House has a bill from the Senate to consider that backs giving home health care workers a raise. 
 
The bill would boost wages in the state’s community care program from $11 an hour to nearly $20. Supporters say it’s needed to support those who care for the state’s oldest citizens. 
 
But there is a cost connected to it, $800 million would be spent on the wage increases. Republican Rep. Jim Oberweis says the price tag comes at a time the state can ill afford it.
 
 
The House has the bill now. If enacted wages would increase a dollar an hour every year till 2021, topping out at $25 an hour.

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Companies To Update Treatment Options of Soil-Borne Diseases

Over the next few years, companies will release new and updated ways to use seed treatments to control soil-borne diseases in corn and soybeans. 
 
Todd Gleason reports researchers at the University of Illinois are looking to assess how well each of these might work…
 

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CBO Publishes Farm Bill Analysis

The Congressional Budget Office says the House Agriculture Committee's farm bill draft would reduce nutrition spending by $9.2 billion, offset by a $7.7 billion increase in spending on federal administrative costs. 
 
The CBO report on the legislation says changes to the Republican-supported bill that passed out of the House Agriculture Committee would reduce nutrition spending because some people would lose eligibility, according to the Hagstrom Report. 
 
Additionally, spending for job training and other parts of the retooled Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program would increase administrative costs. 
 
The report also expects that states would not be able to offer training to all eligible recipients when the work requirement takes effect in 2021, or even by the end of 2028. 
The full House of Representatives is expected to consider the farm bill, titled the Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018, within the next few weeks.

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Bunge: China Has Stopped Buying U.S. Soybeans

China has stopped buying U.S. soybeans as a result of a trade war between the two nations. 
 
Bunge (BUNG-ee) Ltd. CEO Soren Schroder told Bloomberg this week that China is instead buying soybeans from Canada and Brazil. China last month announced the planned tariff on U.S. soybeans, shifting the nation's buying habits. 
 
The tariffs are part of an ongoing trade dispute between the U.S. and China that started with President Trump's steel and aluminum tariffs. The soybean tariff has not yet been imposed. 
 
However, Chinese traders appear to be moving away from U.S. soy because of the potential cost increase. Bunge is the world's biggest oilseed processor, and Shroder says the company has been able to fulfill demand in China by filling shipments with supplies from outside the United States. 
 
A recent study projected that U.S. soybean exports are projected to drop by $4.5 billion to $7.7 billion because of the 25 percent tariff.

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Warner Hospital Plans Upgrade of Elevator

 
Warner Hospital and Health Services will be upgrading their facility elevator.
 
CEO Paul Skowron says the new elevator will be state of the art and it is much needed, as their current elevator is now over 30 years old.
 
 
The planned upgrade for the hospital will cost under $200-thousand and Skowron calls that a very good cost for this type of project.

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Clinton Farmer's Market Hoping To Bring Non-Profits Along For Season

If you're a DeWitt County non-profit, there's an opportunity for free promotion on Saturday's this summer and fall.
 
The Clinton Farmer's Market is hoping to work with area non-profits to set up and promote themselves at their Saturday morning markets on the Mr. Lincoln Square. Elizabeth Burns with the market says it's something they started last year and want to try all summer this year.
 
 
The market opens today (Saturday) from 8 am to noon. Burns says they can provide all the setup necessities you might need, like tent, table, and chairs. 
 
Burns will have information available at the market. You can also reach them via their Facebook page or call 217-722-2496. 

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Still Time To Participate In DeWitt County Comprehensive Plan

There is still plenty of time to participate in a survey that will be instrumental in the roadmap for the future of DeWitt County.
 
Pete Iosue with Teska Associates indicates the survey is roughly five minutes long with general questions about how residents feel about the community and what they would like to see improved.
 
 
The website for the survey is dewittcountyplan.com and Teska hopes to have community engagement opportunities during the summer months and later this year have a detailed plan for the County to look over. 

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Warner Library Talks Getting Library Card

Earlier this week on Regional Radio News, we outlined this summer's reading club at the Warner Library in Clinton and librarians remind the community - to participate, you need a library card.
 
Adult Services Librarian, Janet Ward indicates getting a library card is simple. Just stop in but keep in mind a few things to bring along...
 
 
A library card gets you access to the entire circulation at the library including BluRays, DVDs, and television shows. 
 
The library is located at 310 North Quincy Street in Clinton, just north of the Clinton Square and the DeWitt County Courthouse. Their summer reading club kicks off May 21. 

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708 Board Looking for New Member

The local 708 Board is looking for a new board member.
 
According to Sharon Mills, Administrator for the 708 Board in DeWitt County, the board is looking for someone who would advocate for community members with mental illness, those who struggle with substance abuse, and those with disabilities. You do not need to have a background in mental health.
 
 
Mills adds that the time invested by board members is up to them and highlights one of their bigger projects, the Children's Mental Health Forum, which several local organizations are involved in.
 
 
The board meets monthly at the Warner Public Library.
 
If you'd like to learn more about the 708 Board, contact Mills via email at smmills@ilstu.edu.

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Rock Springs Preparing for Summer Camp

Summer camp season is almost here and kids in central Illinois have no shortage of options for things to do.
 
Rock Springs Nature Center's Richie Wolfe indicates their summer camp registration is underway. He feels it's a great time in the outdoors learning about conservation practices and nature.
 
 
Visit maconcountyconservation.org for all the details on their summer camp season. 

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Warner Hospital And Health Services To Offer Lung Cancer Screening

A recent report that tabbed central Illinois with health issues and that has a local healthcare leader concerned and he is hoping to do something about it.
 
CEO of Warner Hospital and Health Services Paul Skowron indicates the health rankings pointed out DeWitt County has a high lung cancer rate. To that end, Skowron is working to bring a lung cancer screening to the community.
 
 
Skowron hopes to get people thinking about healthier habits in their personal lives.
 
 
A date for the screening has not yet been announced but you can visit warnerhospital.org for a full list of healthcare options for you in Clinton. 

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CHS Principal Discusses Teacher Shortage, Next School Year

The current school year may not be wrapped up but that doesn't mean school leaders are not looking ahead.
 
This time of the year is when leaders take a look at their staffing for the upcoming year and try to get everything shored up. Clinton High School Principal Jerry Wayne indicates that is a challenge because of the teacher shortage.
 
 
Wayne indicates it can be a tough balance trying to find the right candidate for a program but also finding someone to lead a program so it can remain intact for their students.
 
 
Wayne hopes to see legislation that can get more people into education. He says teachers are some of the impactful people in a person's life and they need quality individuals in the classrooms leading the community's youth. 

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Monticello's New Waste Water Treatment Plant Project Plugging Along

Progress for a new wastewater treatment plant in Monticello continues and is about a year into the two-year timeframe.
 
Mayor Larry Stoner says the project has not been held up by the weather and indicates things are moving right along. He indicates it is a complete replacement of the existing plant but they also have to have a functional plant while the new one is being put up.
 
 
Originally, city leaders planned to phase the project in but the Mayor indicates a loan became available that was going to allow them to tackle the project all at once. He also calls this a necessity for everyone in the community, even though, it is not all that exciting.
 
 
The Mayor indicates this project has been much needed because the infrastructure in place just has not been able to handle the needs of the community.
 
 
The project will come in at about $14.5-million.
 
Mayor Stoner says that part of the community has a lot of work being done as they have a new public works facility being erected on the other side of the street. 

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One Lap of America Coming To Gateway

What started out as a highly-illegal coast-to-coast auto race in the early 1970's has evolved into a much tamer version of its former self. The One Lap of America is coming to Gateway Motorsports Park in Madison on Sunday, and it's free to attend and see the various creations touring the country.
 
The event could include anything from exotic sports cars to mild versions of various makes, but Gateway Motorsports Park spokesman John Bisci (BEE-she) says they all must drive from one destination to another.
 
 
The 2018 edition of the Tire Rack One Lap of America is a controlled tour with stops at racetracks across the country. The One Lap of America will cover 12 states and will visit Gateway Motorsports Park’s road course and drag strip on Sunday, May 6, with the first event on the road course to begin at 8:30 am.

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Fallen Officers Honored in Springfield

Eight members of the law enforcement community lost in the line of duty have been honored at the annual Police Memorial Ceremony in Springfield. Secretary of State Jesse White addressed the crowd of police from around the state.
 
 
State Treasurer Michael Frerichs wishes the ceremony would be somewhat obsolete.
 
 
Six officers lost in the line of duty in the past year were honored as well as two railroad detectives from the early 20th Century. 

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13.5-Million Objects Part of 'Story of Illinois'

In 200 years there are many stories to tell. That’s where the “Story of Illinois” comes in—a joint project between the Illinois State Museum and the Illinois Association of Museums.
 
 
Illinois State Museum interim director Robert Sill says the digital “Story of Illinois” can be accessed at “story.illinoisstatemuseum.org”. 
 
There will also be a special exhibit honoring the state’s bicentennial celebration on-site at 502 South Spring Street in Springfield. 
 
The “Bicentennial and Beyond: The Illinois Legacy Collection” will open June 30th. 

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Clinton Farmer's Market Opens Saturday

The Clinton Area Farmer's and Artisans Market opens this Saturday.
 
Late weeks rains should move off and provide a nice morning to open the season. Elizabeth Burns says they plan to have some produce for those coming by but the big deal for them is the celebration of Arbor Day.
 
 
If you're considering being a vendor at the market this season, Burns says participation is as easy as simply showing up. She asks it be something you raised locally. 
 
 
Selling produce at the farmer's market is a great opportunity for extra income but Burns points out, you don't have to have a traditional garden to grow things. She explains there are a variety of gardening methods and you can learn about them at the market this Saturday.
 
 
This will be the 18th year of the Farmers Market in Clinton. Burns indicates it has been quite an 18 years trying to get established but they are trying new things to get more participation from both vendors and customers.
 
 
The market runs from 8 am to noon on the Mr. Lincoln Square. Burns says they are down on the square through almost all weather events, they take their tables and tents to the stage area if it rains.
 
Market dates for May are May 5, 12 and 26 and then every Saturday until October, including Apple and Pork weekend. Get more information by searching 'Clinton Area Farmers and Artisans Market' on Facebook. 

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Warner Library Anticipates Another Big Year For Summer Reading Club

It's that time of the year where the weather has turned, kids are out playing and the end of the school year is in site.
 
That means it's almost time for summer reading club at the Warner Library in Clinton and leaders anticipate another big year full of fun and good books. Children's Librarian Paula Lopatic says summer reading club is broken into two groups for the kids.
 
 
The community always steps up to support the summer reading club. Lopatic says their non-profit arm, The Friends of the Warner Library, book sale supports the program. Additionally, there are local business and non-profit entities that support their efforts.
 
 
Keeping kids reading skills sharp while they are away from school for the summer months is very important. Lopatic says it's not about making kids read for hours on end during a day but keeping those skills sharp helps them when they return to class the following fall.
 
 
The summer reading club kicks off the week of May 21 and there will be plenty of programs and activities for youth to participate in throughout the summer months.
 
Get a full calendar of events and important dates by visiting the library at 310 North Quincy Street in Clinton or visit vwarner.org. 

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Senate Approves Legislation To Require Schools To Teach LGBT History

THE ILLINOIS SENATE PASSED A BILL WEDNESDAY REQUIRING SCHOOLS TO TEACH L-G-B-T HISTORY TO STUDENTS.
 
THE MEASURE REQUIRES A UNIT ON THE CONTRIBUTIONS AND ROLE OF LESBIANS, GAYS, BISEXUAL AND TRANSGENDER PEOPLE. SPONSOR SENATOR HEATHER STEANS (stains) OF CHICAGO SAYS THIS IS ABOUT MORE THAN A HISTORY LESSON.
 
 
IT WILL BE UP TO SCHOOLS TO DECIDE WHAT GRADE LEVEL TO INTRODUCE THE MATERIAL. THE BILL NOW MOVES TO THE HOUSE FOR CONSIDERATION.

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State Officials Urging Public To 'Start Seeing Motorcycles'

AS THE WEATHER WARMS AND MORE BIKERS HIT THE ROADS…STATE OFFICIALS ARE URGING EVERYONE TO “START SEEING MOTORCYCLES.” 
 
A KEY COMPONENT OF THE SAFETY CAMPAIGN IS RECOGNIZING THAT MOTORCYCLES AND CARS MUST SHARE THE ROAD SAYS BIKE ENTHUSIAST GOVERNOR BRUCE RAUNER.
 
 
RIDERS ARE URGED TO MAKE SURE THEY WEAR HIGH VISIBILITY CLOTHING, BOOTS, GLOVES AND A HELMET, AND NOT DRINK AND RIDE. 
 
 
LAST YEAR IN ILLINOIS…162 PEOPLE WERE KILLED IN MOTORCYCLE CRASHES.
 
THE STATE OFFERS FREE MOTORCYCLE COURSES FOR BEGINNERS AND ADVANCED RIDERS…VISIT START SEEING MOTORCYCLES DOT ORG FOR MORE INFORMATION.

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Learn To Engage With Consumer, European-Style

A Chicago-based group wants Illinois farmers, those in agribusiness and other parts of the Illinois food industry take some lessons from some Europeans next month. 
 
The German-American Chamber of Commerce offers the opportunity to learn how Germans and other European countries engage consumers with facts about food and farming. Corinna (core-RIN-ah) Jess manages trade missions for the German-American chamber;
 
 
If you qualify, the five-day excursion will only cost you airfare and $600-dollars;
 
 
If you're interested in the transatlantic dialogue on consumer engagement taking place at the end of June, go to online to FarmWeekNow-dot-com. Or, you can go to the German-American Chamber's midwest website at g-a-c-c-midwest-dot-org for more information and to register.

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Governor Thinks McCann is Madigan Pawn

Governor Bruce Rauner may have another foe in the November election. 
 
Republican State Senator Sam McCann has launched a third party candidacy and has an effort underway to get on the ballot. McCann and Rauner have been at odds over the past three years but Rauner says the Republican and now Conservative Party candidate is in the running because of outside political forces.
 
 
Rauner narrowly won his primary election and had a large majority of his conservative base take their votes to his challenger Jeanne Ives.

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District Scheduling Could Be On Way For High School Football

The Illinois High School Association could soon be responsible for scheduling most high school football games in the state. Jim Taylor reports…..
 

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City Administrator Discusses Upcoming Water Meter Project With Clinton Rotary

Extreme water losses are how Clinton City Administrator Tim Followell described the current state of the community's water production.
 
The City isn't losing water but rather they are producing more than is being tracked when you use water in your home and that is causing concern, which is why an upcoming change is being made.
 
Followell says the water meters in homes in Clinton are, in some cases, over 40 years old with a life expectancy of 10-15 years. He says they are now going be working to get new meters in homes in Clinton.
 
 
Residents will see their waters bills go up most likely. Followell indicates most of the use of water in a home is termed, low flow, and that will now be tracked with a better meter in place.
 
 
According to Followell, three entities are teaming up in this effort which is over $1-million. The City is leading the effort and is working to save taxpayers as much as possible.
 
 
Residents will receive a letter about the upcoming project. Followell indicates they will be reaching out to residents about getting meters in their homes up to date. 

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Warrensburg-Latham Schools To Try Again On Professional Develpment Seminar

A few years ago, Warrensburg-Latham schools hosted a professional development seminar and this summer, they are going to give it a try again.
 
Superintendent, Dr. Kristen Kendrick-Weikle says they received high marks for it their last time and it provides opportunities for networking with local educators.
 
 
Dr. Kendrick-Weikle says area educators have a lot of great information to share with their peers. She explains the concept, standards spaced grading, is a popular topic among educators lately that will be discussed.
 
 
Additionally, trauma-informed practices have been a buzz-word in the education world and Dr. Kendrick-Weikle says they have educators who will discuss this practice and how to work with students.
 
 
Analyzing data is becoming a bigger part of a teacher's job and Dr. Kendrick-Weikle says they will help educators understand the data they have and how to improve their teaching based on that information. She says there is a lot of things to learn at their professional development seminar at on August 6 and 7. 
 
Get more information by visiting www.wl.k12.il.us. 

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Governor Has Three Part Plan For Vets Home

After 13 deaths and multiple outbreaks of Legoinaiirs disease at the Quincy Veterans Home over a period of years, Governor Bruce Rauner is unveiling a three part plan to address the problems. 
 
Rauner says a step might be to buy a vacant nursing home that sits close to the Quincy Veterans Home. 
 
 
The reality of buying and renovating the Sycamore nursing home might not be complete before the end of the year. Rauner says a long term goal will be to build a new veterans home in Quincy that will serve the needs for multiple generations of vets and their families. 

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Senate Approves Legislation For Penalties of Violaent Attacks in Churches

THE ILLINOIS SENATE IS APPROVING TOUGHER SENTENCES FOR VIOLENT ATTACKS COMMITTED IN CHURCH.
 
THE BILL, SPONSORED BY SENATOR BILL HAINE OF ALTON, RAISES THE MINIMUM PENALTIES FOR VIOLENCE, ESPECIALLY WITH A WEAPON, IN A CHURCH, SYNAGOGUE OR MOSQUE.
 
HE SAYS A CRIME IN 2009 PROMPTED THE CHANGE.
 
 
TWO OTHER PEOPLE WERE STABBED IN THE INCIDENT. THE LEGISLATION NOW HEADS TO THE HOUSE FOR APPROVAL.

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Lyme Disease Bill Wins Approval in Illinois House

A Lyme Disease bill has been introduced in Springfield. It's authored by State Representative Dan Swanson of Alpha and named in honor of a 12 year old girl. 
 
 
The bill allows physicians to prescribe more aggressive treatment for Lyme Disease without the fear of disciplinary action. 
 
Swanson says the girl has had to seek care out of state due to potential disciplinary action that could be taken against her Illinois physician for treating her post-treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome (PTLDS) or Chronic Lyme Disease. 
 
Advocates for Lyme Disease sufferers say the current recommended treatment of the disease, 10 to 21 days of antibiotics, is insufficient for people with advanced or chronic levels of the disease. 
 
Nine states have enacted similar legislation including: Iowa, California, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire and Virginia. 
 
Swanson’s bill has won approval in the Illinois House and now moves on to the Illinois Senate.

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Scalise Visits Springfield With Congressman Davis

GOP House Majority Whip Steve Scalise of Louisana visited Springfield Tuesday for a fundraiser for Taylorville Republican Congressman Rodney Davis.
 
Scalise battled back from critical injuries last summer after he was shot during a baseball practice while Davis was at the plate in suburban Washington. Scalise says his friendship has only grown because of the events of that summer morning in Northern Virginia.
 
 
Some polls show Davis' race with Springfield Democrat Betsy Dirksen Londrigan is beginning to tighten up. 

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CJHS Principal: Cafeteria Fire Could Have Been Much Worse

What could have been a terrible situation was not as bad as it could have been.
 
That is how Clinton Junior High School Principal Drew Goebel described a late Monday night fire in the kitchen of his school building. He indicates a basket of rags caught fire and were extinguished by the sprinkler system in the building, but acknowledges, they were very fortunate it was not worse.
 
 
A number of people were instrumental in getting the kitchen returned a normal state with no remnants of the smoke or fire. Goebel says the Fire Department and the Health Department went above and beyond to help them out.
 
 
Goebel says the remnants of the smoke was completely gone when he came into the school Tuesday morning as school resumed normally Tuesday. 
 
The teamwork displayed throughout the course of the situation and then in the cleanup made him proud of the community. 

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Exelon Clinton Power Station Outage Underway

The yearly outage of the Exelon Clinton Power Station is underway for 2018.
 
The outage brings approximately 18-hundred workers to DeWitt County and Gabe Goldsmith, Communications Manager at the Clinton Power Station, indicates they essentially shut down the plant for routine maintenance and refueling for about a month.
 
 
Electricians, pipe fitters and carpenters are amont the numerous trades they bring for the outage and Goldsmith indicates the work at the station is a 24-hour process.
 
 
The outage is a huge boost to the local economy. Goldsmith says over the course of the next month, these contracted workers will stay in the local hotels and eat at local restaurants.
 
 
The plant officially went offline Monday morning and the refueling should allow for a two-year operating cycle. 

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Clinton High School Names New FFA Advisor

Clinton High School has named a new FFA Advisor to replace the out-going Jamison Holt.
 
Lee Thomson will take on her first program at Clinton High School and says ag education has been a passion of hers for many years now and looks forward to continuing to build on what good things are currently taking place.
 
 
Thomson wants to see nearly 100-percent participation with her students. She hopes to build relationships with the students and find where in the program is going to fit them best.
 
 
Thomson hopes to make the transition seamless for the students and indicates they have a similar vision. She hopes to continue what he's done and also put her own stamp on the program.
 
 
Clinton High School Principal Jerry Wayne says it was important to bring someone in to continue with the strong program that has in place. He points out they got a good group of candidates but says Thomson brought a lot of things they wanted.
 
 
Wayne says the students felt really comfortable with Thomson in the classroom and felt an excitement about the future with their longtime leader departing after this year. 
 
Another goal Thomson has is to have a good relationship with the community and she hopes it is a two-way street for both sides. Additionally, her vision for the program is a strong presence in the community through volunteering and community service projects among many other things. 

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Bloomington Police Make Drug Arrests

Thursday, April 26, 2018, Bloomington Police Officers investigated a drug complaint in a retail parking lot in the 1600 block of East Empire. 
 
As a result of their investigation, Crystal K. Taylor, age 35, of Staunton, Illinois was arrested for Methamphetamine Delivery 15 to 100 grams, Possession of Methamphetamine 15 to 100 grams, Possession of Methamphetamine under 5 grams, Possess amount up to 15 grams Controlled Substance, and Possession of 10-30 grams of Cannabis.
 
Johnny Taylor, age 43, of Livingston, Illinois was arrested for Methamphetamine Delivery 15 to 100 grams, Possession of Methamphetamine 15 to 100 grams, and Possession of Methamphetamine under 5 grams.
 
During a search of the vehicle, officers recovered over two ounces of Ice, a highly pure and potent form of Methamphetamine, (approximate street value of over $6,000) $3,790 in Currency, 1.5 grams of Cocaine, 27 grams of Cannabis, drug paraphernalia and evidence of drug distribution were seized as evidence.
 
Both were transported to the McLean County Jail.

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Weekly Crop Report

A FAIRLY DRY WEEK GAVE PRODUCERS TIME TO CATCH UP IN THE FIELDS AS WE HEAR IN THE WEEKLY CROP REPORT. 
 
NEARLY SIX DAYS WERE SUITABLE FOR FIELDWORK SAYS CROP STATISTICIAN MARK SCHLEUSENER, AND MUCH NEEDED.
 
 
SEVEN PERCENT OF SOYBEANS HAVE BEEN PLANTED…COMPARED TO 12 PERCENT LAST YEAR. 
 
 
FIVE PERCENT OF WINTER WHEAT IS HEADING AND 81 PERCENT OF THE CROP IS RATED IN GOOD TO EXCELLENT CONDITION. 
 
AVERAGE STATEWIDE TOPSOIL MOISTURE DECLINED TO THREE PERCENT VERY SHORT, 11 PERCENT SHORT, 74 PERCENT ADEQUATE AND 12 PERCENT SURPLUS.

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Medical Marijuana Industry Salutes Illinois Senate

A bill that would use medical marijuana to help fight opioid addiction has coasted to passage in the Illinois Senate. 
 
Under the bill, patients with a prescription for opioids would qualify for the state’s medical marijuana program on a temporary basis. Chris McLeod with HCI Alternatives, which operates dispensaries in Springfield and Collinsville, acknowledges critics claims the legislation would help the slow growing industry, but he says the goal is take a bite out of the opioid crisis.
 
 
McLeod notes you can't just add up the damage to society through coroners records.
 
 
Under the bill, patients would receive a 12-month temporary card to buy medical marijuana.

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Illinois Top 200 Moves On To Historic Sites

VOTERS ARE CHOOSING THEIR FAVORITE HISTORIC SITES IN THE LATEST TOP ILLINOIS 200 POLL. 
 
THE TOP 10 COVER MORE THAN ONE THOUSAND YEARS OF ILLINOIS HISTORY SAYS ABRAHAM LINCOLN PRESIDENTIAL LIBRARY SPOKESPERSON CHRIS WILLS.
 
 
OTHER TOP VOTE GETTERS INCLUDE THE JOHN DEERE NATIONAL HISTORIC LANDMARK IN DIXON, LINCOLN’S HOME, CAHOKIA MOUNTS, ROUTE 66 AND FORT MASSAC.
 
THE POLL FEATURES A NEW CATEGORY EVERY TWO WEEKS. NEXT UP IS FAVORITE ILLINOIS SCENIC SITES. VOTE NOW ONLINE AT: ILLINOIS TOP 200 DOT COM.

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Bipartisan Gun Legislation Drafted

It's a rare phenomenon. Last week, bipartisan legislation was filed on firearms related safety concerns. 
 
Under a new bill, family members of a gunowner or law enforcement personnel could seek an emergency “firearms restraining order” to take guns from individuals posing an immediate and present danger to themselves or others. 
 
Republican State Representative Peter Breen of Lombard was the leading Republican negotiator for the bill. He says the legislation is all about balance.
 
 
Breen says the legislation is groundbreaking in many regards...
 
 
The target of a firearms restraining order request must be given a full hearing within 14 days, where it must be proven by strict clear and convincing evidence that the person is dangerous.

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Small Fire At Clinton Junior High School Monday

At approximately 9 pm Monday night, a small fire was discovered in the kitchen of Clinton Junior High School.
 
Clinton Fire crews arrived to find smoke in the kitchen, alerted through the kitchen sprinkler system. 
 
Crews extinguished the fire and remained on scene to remove smoke from the building and crews left the scene just before 11 pm.
 
Superintendent Curt Nettles indicates there was no structural damage and everything worked properly and school would resume Tuesday as planned. 

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