Influenza A and strep throat are among a number of illnesses that have been running through Clinton schools in the last few weeks.
As a result, Clinton Elementary School Principal Sasha Young says they saw over 90 kids out at one point last week, and the numbers have been high the last few weeks.
CEO of Warner Hospital and Health Service, Paul Skowron, says the trends seen in the school are reflective in their emergency room, family medicine and walk-in clinic.
Lincoln and Douglas Elementary Schools Principal Beth Wickenhauser sent out an email to parents this week reminding them to not send students back to school until they have been without a fever, diarrhea and vomit-free for 24 hours.
She indicates a number of illnesses are floating around their buildings right now as well.
Is your house chaotic at bedtime? Do you have a hard time getting kids out the door or to go to school? Perhaps a seminar coming up next week could help.
Pre-K coordinator at Clinton Schools, Lauren Johnson indicates their 'establishing routines for preschoolers and their families' seminar will be next Wednesday night at 6:30 pm at Lincoln School gym and next Thursday morning at 11 am at the Clinton YMCA Community Room. She says it's a chance to set a plan to get your young kids on a routine you set.
Principal of Lincoln and Douglas Elementary Schools in Clinton, Beth Wickenhauser, says kids with routines find comfort in know what is next in their day. She says it makes them better-behaved individuals as well.
Additionally, Wickenhauser says establishing a routine will help children get more sleep, adding, a lot of parents underestimate how much sleep their young kids need.
Childcare will be available for the March 7 seminar with light refreshments available. The March 8 seminar will offer a light lunch as well. You can RSVP to the seminar by contact Johnson via phone at 217-650-9382 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
State Representative Dan Caulkins (R-Decatur) has signed on to co-sponsor House Resolution 153 today, legislation stating opposition to any measure that would allow for the creation of a graduated income tax on Illinois residents.
Representative Caulkins discussed the resolution following a Capitol press conference introducing the resolution Wednesday morning.
Last year, a House Democrat sponsored House Bill 3522, which sought to impose a graduated income tax. Under this plan, the non-partisan Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability revealed that 77% of Illinois taxpayers would see an increase in their income tax liability for a total of over $5.2 Billion in new taxes.
The interim leader of the Illinois Board of Higher Education is saluting Governor J.B. Pritzker when it comes to proposed spending for Illinois public colleges and universities.
Board officials say If passed, Gov. JB Pritzker’s budget proposal would mark the largest percentage increase since fiscal year 2002 for public universities, and the highest increase in overall higher education operations in three decades.
Interim Director Nyle Robinson believes the spending plan could slow Illinois' "other" exodus problem and sway Illinois college students to stay home...
Robinson believes a new grant program could also be a booster....
Pritzker's higher ed budget would bring in an additional $55.2 million for public universities and 13.9 million for community colleges and adult education.
Pritzker is also proposing $75 million in a re-appropriation for higher education emergency capital projects, and a $150 million lump sum for deferred maintenance.
A local grocer is anticipating to see long term impacts from Democratic Governor JB Pritzker's starting wage hike to $15.
Dave Jackson, owner of Clinton Save-A-Lot, is expecting to see some inflation in a few years though anticipates it having minimal impact on his store.
Jackson contends high school employment and fixed income consumers will be impacted the most. He adds consumers can expect to see automation from retailers and grocers as a result of the inflation they will experience.
Jackson believes retailers will start planning now to address the hike.
Just like the city did a few years ago for electric aggregation, now the city is joining a natural gas aggregation group.
City Administrator Tim Followell says the city will join Monticello and a few other small communities to try to save homeowners on their natural gas bills. The city is joining the process late so it is going to be in motion very quickly.
A recent change by Ameren opened up the possibility for communities to come together and go out to bid for their natural gas pricing.
Followell hopes this will be a good savings opportunity for residents as wintertime bills tend to run a little more expensive because of the consumption of more natural gas.
Followell stresses all residents are automatically enrolled in the program but have the option to opt out if they choose. He notes that the option will come in the form of a mailing. Additionally, their provider, Good Energy, will never come knocking on your door, so be aware of other vendors trying to take advantage of this change.
Republican lawmakers are working to oppose a graduated income tax in Illinois.
State Representative Dan Brady has signed on to co-sponsor House Resolution 153, legislation stating opposition to any measure that would allow for the creation of a graduated income tax on Illinois residents.
Brady says numbers offered by the Governor are vague in a lot of areas.
According to Brady, a graduated tax would not tax enough people to increase revenue.
All 44 members of the Illinois House Republican Caucus are co-sponsors of HR153.
Ameren Illinois was recently recognized by the Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance for a couple of its programs. One is called "Energy Efficiency for All," which it describes as a ground-breaking initiative to open-up access to energy efficiency programs for moderate-to-low income customers.
The other, according to Energy Efficiency Director Kristol Simms, is the Ameren Illinois Scholarship Program.
The program focuses on communities and customers that need support the most, making sure they have accessible and affordable programs. They partner with community-based programs to add energy-efficiency education and outreach to the things that they do.
A Monticello business is closing. Shopko, a discount retailer with a store on Illinois route 105 on Monticello's south side, has announced it is closing its doors.
The store's fixtures are also for sale.
No specific closing date has been announced, but signs at the store indicate they're going out of business sale has begun.
With a new year comes new year's resolutions, and some may want to find financial relief in 2019. Connie Unruh is the financial literature coordinator with TS Institute and she says the way to financial peace is setting SMART goals.
SMART goals are Specific, Measurable goals that are Attainable and Realistic in a set Timebase. Unruh believes actually sitting down and writing out what you owe versus what you make can help get a grasp of what are truly achievable finanical goals in the new year.
Unruh teaches finanical education classes open to the public at the First Christian Church in Clinton. The next session will be Wednesday, April 10th.
THE 21ST ANNUAL ILLINOIS PRODUCTS EXPO WILL BE HELD THIS WEEKEND IN SPRINGFIELD.
THE EXPO FEATURES ILLINOIS COMPANIES OFFERING EVERYTHING FROM PIZZA AND SALSA TO LIP BALM AND DOG TREATS SAYS STATE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE SPOKESPERSON MORGAN BOOTH.
THE EXPO WILL BE HELD IN THE ORR BUILDING ON THE STATE FAIRGROUNDS AND RUNS FROM 10 TO FIVE ON SATURDAY AND 10 TO THREE ON SUNDAY AT THE ORR BUILDING ON THE ILLINOIS STATE FAIRGROUNDS. ADMISSION IS FIVE DOLLARS AND INCLUDES FREE FOOD SAMPLES. KIDS 10 AND UNDER ARE FREE. WINE TASTING IS AVAILABLE FOR AN ADDITIONAL FEE.
If you are a high school student in central Illinois that wants to make a difference in your community, a McLean County non-profit wants your help.
Michele Evans with the Illinois Prairie Community Foundation indicates that Youth Engaged in Philanthropy is a group of high school students that are overseers of a grant cycle. The Illinois Prairie Community Foundation serves DeWitt, Logan, and Livingston Counties in addition to McLean County.
Evans says so far they only have members from McClean County and are seeking to add members from their other counties. Youth Engaged in Philanthropy meets once a month on Sundays and is a great way to help out your community.
For more information on Youth Engaged in Philanthropy visit www.ciyep.org.
While it won't be a unique support group, a central Illinois non-profit is hoping to bring what they believe is a much-needed support group to Clinton and DeWitt County.
Angie Raymer with Community Care Systems says grandparents raising, or helping to raise, their grandkids is a big challenge among the senior population and she wants to see a support group for those people.
Raymer indicates they are targeting those individuals who need the support of peers and maybe are not getting that among their friends or at home, a support group can be a great outlet.
Grandparents raising grandkids can be a big challenge. Raymer says one of the most difficult things is balancing being a grandparent but also being the caregiver.
Raymer is understanding of those folks that don't want everyone to know what is happening in their lives but points out, it is likely your neighbors or even your friends are likely having the same experiences as you and instead of ignoring the problem, it is best to help each other through their
While no support group meetings are set, Raymer would like to hear from seniors in the community on if they would attend and their overall thoughts on what they would like in a support group. To provide input, contact Raymer by phone at 309-661-6400.
This week (February 25th - March 2nd) is America Saves Week across the country.
Each year, the American Savings Education Council and America Saves coordinate the "America Saves Week" to get people thinking about retirement. Jack Myers with Social Security says it's a good reminder to take a review of your retirement plan.
Myers adds it's never too early or too late to start planning and saving for retirement. He emphasizes simply having a plan is a step in the right direction.
Myers points out there are many online tools to help you save for retirement. You can visit americasaves.org to get information about saving. He also notes that Social Security is likely to be a portion of retirement planning, so you can also check out socialsecurity.gov for additional retirement tools.
The payment of SNAP benefits was pushed up for everyone in February because of the government shutdown.
Coming in March the payments might be on time for some and a little early for others says DHS’s Meghan Powers.
SNAP payments are generally made throughout the month so some folks will see them a sooner than normal. DHS hopes that getting the benefits out a little ahead of schedule can ease any strain on budgets and purchases for those that had to stretch the dollars during the shutdown.
It was a bipartisan move far important than anything involving legislation.
Newly installed Republican State Representative Mike Murphy has survived a very sudden health scare. The longtime restauranteur was attending a gathering of pipe trades union officials last week when he suddenly began choking on a roast beef slider at a Downtown Springfield Hotel. Democratic State Senator Michael Hastings of Tinley Park walked into the room and immediately spotted Murphy in distress. He was able to save Murphy by performing the Heimlich Maneuver. Hastings is no stranger to pressure situations. The Army Veteran received advance combat lifesaving training before deploying to Iraq, Iran and Syria. Murphy was happy to see Hastings in the right place at the right time...
Hastings attended West Point and played football for the Army Cadets before making his way to war zones and the Capitol.
Western Illinois Congresswoman Cheri Bustos says President Trump was wasting time when he declared an emergency intended to get funding for his planned border wall.
The Congresswoman was back in the 17th District over the weekend meeting with constituents and holding her 'Cheri on Shift' events where she job shadows various workers in various different fields including working at a McDonald's in Rock Island.
HOUSE LAWMAKERS ARE DISCUSSING A BILL THAT WOULD EXPAND MENTAL HEALTH EDUCATION IN SCHOOLS.
REPRESENTATIVE KARINA VILLA OF WEST CHICAGO IS SPONSORING THE MEASURE…SAYING HER TIME AS A SCHOOL SOCIAL WORKER DEMONSTRATED THE NEED FOR MORE THOROUGH LESSONS ON MENTAL HEALTH. SHE ONCE HAD A 5TH GRADER COME TO HER AFTER READING AN ARTICLE ON THE SUBJECT FOR CLASS.
THE BILL REQUIRES TEACHERS INCLUDE MENTAL HEALTH AND ILLNESS IN REGULAR HEALTH EDUCATION CLASSES, AND TO DISCUSS THE LINK BETWEEN PHYSICAL AND MENTAL HEALTH. IT’S SUPPORTED BY REPRESENTATIVE DEB CONROY OF VILLA PARK.
THE BILL UNANIMOUSLY PASSED A HOUSE COMMITTEE AND NOW FACES A VOTE BEFORE THE FULL HOUSE.
An advocacy group for business owners in Illinois is disappointed with the process to bring a gradual increase to the minimum wage in Illinois.
The National Federation of Independent Business member business owners believes they do not need government to tell them what their minimum wage should be. Mark Grant, Director for the Illinois NFIB says it was clear early this was something that was going to be discussed.
Grant indicates they were disappointed with the way the process played out. He says it was very much against the things Governor Pritzker said before the process started and then the way he portrayed it to the state when it was signed into law.
Grant indicates the restaurant industry was the only group for the proposal but he points out, they kept their provision to pay their servers a wage below minimum wage plus the tips they make.
We'll be ushering the month of March with more cold air in central Illinois.
Chris Miller with the National Weather Service in Lincoln says to plan on things continuing to be cold into the weekend. He says it is going to be well below normal mostly after Wednesday with another windy weekend expected.
Looking ahead to next week, Miller says it will continue to be cold and in fact, indicates things are looking to remain cold into the first few weeks of the month.
The wind this coming weekend should not be as strong as it was Sunday throughout the state. Miller notes they are still watching the system that is going to be moving through and advising anyone traveling be aware of the wind and the havoc it can cause.
Last week's Zoning Board of Appeals hearings on the proposed wind farm in the northwest corner of DeWitt County was dominated by those opposed to the project.
Tradewind Energy's Alta Farms II project proposal was the subject of a nearly two-week-long hearing for testimony and evidence and Tradewind did not have anyone speak last week, as all their testimony was heard the first week.
Among the speakers, last week opposed to the project was Wilson Township Road Commissioner Thomas Musick. Musick pointed out several issues he has with the proposal, one being the to tile a field not being long enough. Current ordinances are written for 12 months but Musick recommends a length of 36-48 months.
Additionally, Musick is concerned with ice shedding from the turbines. He explains the accumulation of ice on a turbine can wreak havoc when conditions are right.
Musick points out there will be 17 turbines are going to be right on the road. He contends there needs to be a reconsideration of how close to the roads these will be.
Over the weekend on Regional Radio News, DeWitt County Board chair David Newberg gave an updated approximate timeline of events going forward in regards to the hearings and what is next for the proposal.
If you're a producer in central Illinois with questions about the upcoming federal crop insurance deadline, a DeWitt County insurance group is encouraging you to stop by Monicals in Clinton this week for a free seminar on everything you need to know.
Jay Peterson, owner of the Peterson Insurance Agency in Clinton, explains their program is Wednesday, February 27 at Monicals in Clinton and they will be covering everything you need to know about the March 15 federal crop insurance enrollment deadline.
Peterson notes the Wednesday luncheon is a good opportunity to get the basics on the program and what additional coverage will be available but he points out a lot of producers will want to choose plans based on their individual situations.
The luncheon again is Wednesday, February 27 starting at 10:30 am at Monicals Pizza in Clinton at 121 Sunrise Court just off US Highway 51.
Get your RSVP to the Peterson Insurance agency by calling 217-935-6605.
Around 60 people gathered at The Abigail on Clinton's east side Friday morning for the annual meeting of the DeWitt County Soil & Water Conservation District.
Myron Kirby, Chair of the local SWCD, served as emcee for the event. He told the crowd that 2018 was another good year for conservation efforts within the county.
Shelley Finfrock, Office Manager of the SWCD, noted the district is embarking on a project to update the Clinton Lake Watershed conservation plan. She says they're currently in the process of applying for grant funding to move the project forward.
Sondra Baker, Administrative Coordinator at the district, touched on some of the outreach performed by the SWCD. She serves as coordinator for the annual Illinois Envirothon competition for high school students. Baker notes the team from Clinton High School won both the local and state competition last year.
The meeting also included presentations from local representatives of the USDA's Farm Service Agency, and NRCS. Dr. A. Lane Rayburn, Professor of Crop Sciences at the University of Illinois, provided the keynote presentation.
During the business portion of the meeting, Kirby and Randy Dean were both re-elected to 2 year terms on the DeWitt County Soil & Water Conservation District board of directors.
Whether you're looking for new employment opportunities or feel stuck in your current work environment, a local non-profit job placement organization is seeking to help you through an event in DeWitt County Wednesday.
Workforce Investment Solutions in Decatur will be holding an event Wednesday at the Clinton Richland Community College Education Center between 10 am and 2 pm. Larry Peterson explains it is a chance for anyone looking to advance their skills or find new opportunities to connect with them and begin the process to fast-track their career.
Peterson explains Workforce Investment Solutions is a federally funded program that seeks to bridge the gap between employers who need skilled workers and getting workers the skills to fill those available positions.
The economy has grown so much recently the market is almost a job seekers market with so many jobs available and not as many as people to fill positions. Peterson says it has created a shift that now employers are offering to train their employees.
Those open interviews in Clinton next week are Wednesday, February 27 at the Clinton Richland Community College Learning Center from 10 am to 2 pm. If you cannot make the event but would like to talk to someone at Workforce Investment Solutions, you can contact them by phone in Decatur at 217-875-8751 or stop into their office at 757 West Pershing Road in Decatur.
If you need help with those taxes, the Warner Library in Clinton is again offering free tax help the community.
Director Bobbi Perryman recommends making an appointment before you stop in. She indicates there are no requirements to take advantage of this free service on Thursday or Saturday mornings.
Perryman says the free tax help is thanks to a grant from AARP who partners with the local RSVP chapter and their volunteers are in the library helping the community out during this time of the year. Perryman says they are extremely grateful for the volunteer hours given by the seniors at RSVP.
To schedule an appointment and get more information, contact the library at 217-935-5174.
Dates for this year's DeWitt County 4-H fairs are set.
Lindsey Burden with the University of Illinois Extension Office says things open up with the annual horse show and concludes with the annual 4-H fair at the DeWitt County fairgrounds.
Burden says it's not too late to join 4-H and to be a part of this year's fair. To learn more about 4-H and all the things happening, contact the University of Illinois Extension office in Clinton at 217-935-5764.
Two State Senators will play key roles in state efforts to shore up the state's sagging infrastructure.
State Senator Andy Manar, Chairman or the Senate Appropriations Committee, will join forces with Chicago Democrat, State Senator Martin Sandoval, head of the Senate Transportation Committee, for a statewide listening tour to collect local input regarding construction projects and infrastructure investment.
Manar says he's already received some startling input from Illinois Acting Transportation Secretary Matt Magalis when it comes to the health of the state's bridges...
Manar says the solving the bottom line challenge for fixing state infrastructure is daunting...
It's been ten years since Illinois last had a capital program.
THE ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION SAYS THE STATE NEEDS TO A CAPITAL BILL TO PAY FOR MUCH NEEDED ROAD AND BRIDGE REPAIRS.
TESTIFYING AT A SENATE HEARING…I-DOT ACTING SECRETARY MATT MAGALIS SAID THE STATE’S TRANSPORTATION INFRASTRUCTURE IS DETERIORATING FASTER THAN IT CAN BE MAINTAINED.
I-DOT DIRECTOR OF HIGHWAYS PAUL LOETE SAYS THE RECENT CRACKS IN A MAJOR CHICAGO BRIDGE DEMONSTRATE THE URGENCY OF THE SITUATION.
LAWMAKERS AND GOVERNOR PRITZKER ARE HOPING TO PUT TOGETHER A CAPITAL PLAN TO HELP PAY FOR THESE NEEDS AND OTHER PROJECTS. THE QUESTION WILL BE HOW TO PAY FOR IT.
It was a mild finish to the work week in central Illinois and more mild weather mixed with rain is expected this weekend..... State Climatologist Office Spokesperson Brian Kerschner has what is ahead into next week.
It is the final stretch of hearings and votes for a proposed wind farm in the northwest corner of DeWitt County.
The past few weeks, the DeWitt County Zoning Board of Appeals has been hearing evidence and testimony for the Tradewind Energy Alta Farms II wind project. DeWitt County Board Chair David Newberg indicates the final hearing Friday should be the end of the hearings and anticipates the ZBA voting sometime in March.
Newberg indicates, once the proposal passes through the ZBA and reaches the County Board, they plan to schedule a special meeting just for the vote of the wind farm, likely to take place at a special location for the anticipated interest in the vote.
Newberg points out, when the County Board takes up the issue, there will be no new testimony or evidence that can be considered.
Minimum wage hikes and raising minimum salaries for educators are just a few of the proposals coming from a Democrat-controlled legislature in Springfield, and those two proposals specifically would greatly impact schools in Illinois and the leader of Clinton Schools is reacting to the two pieces of legislation.
Superintendent of Clinton Schools, Curt Nettles indicates raising the minimum teacher salary to $40,000 a year isn't necessarily a budget strain but he doesn't like it because it takes away local control. He says Clinton Schools offer a very competitive starting salary to their teachers.
The minimum wage increase will impact Clinton Schools. Nettles indicates there will be a portion of their support staff receiving raises and while it won't force them to cut back, the district will have to evaluate other parts of their budget a little more.
According to Nettles, the overall big picture of the minimum wage hike along with the rise of the minimum teacher salary won't have a major impact on the district.
Western Illinois Congresswoman Cheri Bustos has a new role in Washington. She is now serving on the House Appropriations Committee.
Bustos will also continue to serve on the House Ag Committee in the new session of Congress.
What’s “consent”? Members of the Illinois House want students to understand what it is and for it to be taught in sex education classes to students starting in the sixth grade. Democratic Representative Ann Williams is the bill’s sponsor.
Williams says it’s an important aspect of education that needs to be taught and consent is not given by the way someone dresses.
You may not think that much about it, but the minimum wage hike could have a deep impact on the community of Clinton.
Tim Followell indicates the starting salaries they offer to certain employees is not that significant and a minimum wage hike to $15 over the next several years could have a big impact. He notes it is something they have been looking into for a few years and are now serious about.
According to Followell, plan on hearing more about what the City has planned, whether it be fewer employees in a department or fewer first responders to the scene. He says almost every part of local government will be impacted.
Local businesses are already thinking about how this is going to impact them. Followell says he's made contact with a number of the community's business leaders and they too are wondering what is next for them with this change.
While businesses can raise prices on their goods or services, Followell says there's nothing for government to raise their prices on. The next best option is to raise taxes which he points out they are doing their best to refrain from.
The $15 an hour minimum wage became law earlier this week when Governor Pritzker signed it ahead of his budget address where he touted it further.
Minimum wage increases and legalization of recreational marijuana are not things a central Illinois lawmaker is behind but sports betting, done correctly, is something State Senator Chapin Rose says he might support.
Sen. Rose says with the US Supreme Court ruling last year to legalize sports betting in the country, there's no reason at this point for Illinois not to do it, but it needs to be done right.
The Mahomet Republican says he won't support any sports betting bill and also points out sports betting, and further, legalized recreational marijuana, will not solve the financial woes of the state.
Of the specific criticisms Sen. Rose had to say about the Governor's budget address, he felt the Governor was inconsistent in claiming the budget was reliant on existing revenues but then also said he needed $1.1-billion to make it balanced.
Superintendent of Clinton Schools Curt Nettles will be with the district for at least three more years after the Board of Education extended his contract Tuesday night at their regular monthly meeting.
Nettles says he and his family are happy in Clinton and looks forward to the years ahead.
In the years ahead, Nettles says their goal remains to keep the budget balanced and keep their reserves in a healthy standing.
Additionally, expanding programs and curriculum is a focus for them. From more programs in the high school to a STEM lab in the junior high, Nettles says they want to make sure students have plenty of opportunities.
According to Nettles, the district is going to work on better investing their money. He explains they want to maximize their investments.
Now is the time to get your child scheduled for their pre-k screening.
Pre-K Coordinator Lauren Johnson indicates they are taking registrations now for their March 18-21 pre-k screenings. She says you can call or email her about setting up a time but she's also going to be available March 4 and 7 from noon to 6 pm to meet with any parents that have questions before they get registered.
Principal of Lincoln and Douglas Elementary Schools, Beth Wickenhauser explains the screenings take about 30-45 minutes and they work with children between ages 3 and 5 to assess their readiness for pre-k.
Wickenhauser indicates their pre-k grant has allowed them to expand their numbers and also bring Johnson to the district staff. She says the grant is a great resource for the community to provide pre-k classes for its youth.
Right now, 120 students are enrolled in the pre-k and points out they take students with developmental delays first and they enroll right when they turn 3 years old, which may come in the middle of the school year.
To get registered for the upcoming pre-k screenings March 18-21, you can contact Johnson with a phone call to 217-650-9382 or email email@example.com.
Illinois’ new governor, J.B. Pritzker, today proposed a nearly $39 billion fiscal 2020 budget that he said will serve as a bridge to “a stable fiscal future” for the financially shaky state until it can change its income tax system. House Republicans expressed surprise that the proposal relies so heavily on gimmicks previously decried by Democrats and the same failed policies that have created record debts.
State Representative Dan Brady was encouraged by some things the governor said about higher education, however, he said his concerns lie with the discussion of a progressive income tax and with the governor’s pension holiday proposal.
State Representative Dan Caulkins says while the governor delivered a good speech the contents of it wasn’t very encouraging.
State Senator Chapin Rose believes the governor struck the correct tone but is not sure the numbers add up.
To address the mounting pension debt, the Governor proposed the legalization and taxation of marijuana and sports gambling along with restructuring the tax system.
LAWMAKERS ARE REACTING TO GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER’S BUDGET ADDRESS.
DEMOCRATS ARE COMMENDING THE GOVERNOR’S FRANKNESS ABOUT THE STATE’S FISCAL CONDITION, COMBINED WITH HOPE FOR THE FUTURE. THAT INCLUDES SENATOR OMAR AQUINO OF CHICAGO.
REPUBLICAN LEGISLATORS SAY THEY APPRECIATE THE GOVERNOR SAYING HE WANTS TO LISTEN TO THEIR CONCERNS AND IDEAS BUT QUESTION NEW SPENDING AND BORROWING MONEY TO PAY DOWN THE STATE’S PENSION DEBT.
Local Conservation is the theme for the annual meeting of the DeWitt County Soil and Water Conservation District this Friday.
SWCD's Sondra Baker says they will welcome Dr. A Lane Rayburn from the University of Illinois. She adds they also take the opportunity to promote the programs of the SWCD and the things they do in the area.
If a good speaker wasn't enough to attract local producers or those interested in conservation, Baker says they'll be offering a locally raised breakfast.
Part of the business meeting will include two-persons elected to two-year terms to the Board of Directors.
The event is free although the SWCD will accept donations to help offset the cost of the meal. You can RSVP by contacting Baker at 217-935-6504 EXT 3.
Again the annual Soil Water Conservation District annual meeting is this Friday morning at 8 am.
The Wednesday budget address by Democratic Governor JB Pritzker hit on almost every major topic facing the state of Illinois, and then some.
From the pension crisis to restructuring taxes to the legalization of marijuana, Governor Pritzker touched on a lot of high priority topics. He says though, the key to fiscal stability, is long term planning.
Governor Pritzker says the legalization of marijuana would not only create much-needed revenue in Illinois, but it would also create jobs.
The Governor talked about restructuring the tax system in Illinois and Wednesday outlined his ideas for where he wants Illinois to go.
With a nearly $3-billion pension crisis facing his administration and the state, the Governor talked about his plan to address the growing crisis.
Many educators have been curious what the Governor will have to say about public education and Wednesday he addressed his plans for funding early education in Illinois.
An increasingly popular topic across the nation is the legalization of sports betting and the Governor indicates he would like to legalize sports betting in the state and tax it.
Governor Pritzker says the state can also grow by promoting the development of sustained wealth in black and brown communities. He wants to increase the number of minority-owned businesses eligible for state procurement opportunities.
The State Champion Lady Maroons M-Squad brought their state championship trophy to the Clinton Board of Education monthly meeting Tuesday night at Clinton Junior High School.
The Lady Maroons pom dance, lyrical and jazz took home championships and were awarded high point award for their lyrical routine as was the Grand Champion in the Class A division.
Coach Jenny Gaff says their success was unexpected but a great experience.
Coach Gaff says the girls also competed at the IHSA State finals and had a strong showing there. She says it capped off a long season where the girls put in a lot of work.
Coach Gaff says their performances at the IDTA championships last weekend were the best they have performed all season.
The push to $15 an hour is now the law in Illinois. Democrat Governor JB Pritzker signed the new minimum wage bill yesterday.
Pritzker says he’s proud to be able to follow up on a major campaign promise and give one point four million workers in Illinois a wage they can live on.
Illinois’s minimum wage will increase by a dollar next year and settle to $15 an hour in six years.
THE SENATE’S TASK FORCE ON SEXUAL HARASSMENT AND DISCRIMINATION IS HIGHLIGHTING PAST ACCOMPLISHMENTS AND FUTURE GOALS.
THE TASK FORCE MADE SEVERAL RECOMMENDATIONS LAST YEAR AS THE ME-TOO MOVEMENT GAINED STEAM…AND HELPED PASS SEVERAL NEW LAWS. THAT INCLUDES ETHICS REFORMS AND ADDRESSING THE BACKLOG OF SEXUAL HARASSMENT CLAIMS IN THE LEGISLATURE. BUT CO-CHAIR, SENATOR MELINDA BUSH OF GRAYSLAKE, SAYE MORE MUST BE DONE.
BUSH SAYS THAT INCLUDES A BILL REQUIRING ALL HOTELS AND CASINOS TO ADOPT ANTI-HARASSMENT POLICIES AND HAVE SOME SORT OF PANIC BUTTON FOR EMPLOYEES.
PREVIOUS LEGISLATION REQUIRED SEXUAL HARASSMENT PREVENTION TRAINING AND AIMED TO CLEAR THE BACKLOG OF CLAIMS FILED IN THE LEGISLATURE.
Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker is scheduled to unveil his first annual budget proposal amid an estimated $3.2 billion deficit.
The Democrat will address a joint session of the General Assembly on Wednesday with his plans for state spending in the fiscal year that begins July 1.
His administration this month estimated that without action, the state could be in a $3 billion hole in the spring of 2020.
Pritzker campaigned on a progressive income tax and legalizing recreational marijuana. But the graduated income tax would have to be voted on and that couldn’t happen until 2020.
Legalized marijuana could produce up to $1 billion in new tax revenue. But legislation has yet to be proposed and it’s unclear how soon cannabis could be sold if the law is approved.
Hear today's address on The Big 1520 AM/92.3 FM/106.5 FM WHOW and online at dewittdailynews.com.
First Lady M.K. Pritzker and Lt. Governor Julianna Stratton paid a visit to Lincoln's Logan Correctional Center earlier this month, to learn more about the needs of women detained by the Corrections Dept.
For Stratton, it was her second visit to the state's largest lockup for women. Stratton says many of the inmates have common threads to their path to becoming an inmate....
Last year, then Governor Rauner signed legislation to create a women’s division within the Illinois Department of Corrections.
That effort was designed to look at the unique needs of female inmates but also help them when they're released and return full time to role of mother.
It’s all about building relationships with a new Governor and General Assembly seated in Springfield.
Illinois Farm Bureau is putting the wheels in motion this week with the Governmental Affairs Leadership Conference and one of the items being promoted is the organization’s ‘Adopt-A-Legislator’ program says IFB president Rich Guebert.
The Governmental Affairs Leadership Conference took place Tuesday in Springfield with more than 400 farmers participating and some of the issue sessions included such topics as trade, industrial hemp, and mental health.
Community Action Partnership of Central Illinois, CAPCIL, began what was at the time, a one of a kind program and organizers say it has been a huge success.
Katie Dalpoas (dal-paws) says the food pantry cooperative allows their clients to come in, work for a certain amount of time in their Clinton office, and earn credits to shop in their food pantry. She says a lot of people want to earn what they can buy and this allows them to do that.
The response from their clients has been excellent but Dalpoas notes they have received tremendous support from grocers, businesses and non-profits to help keep their food pantry stocked.
The program's success in DeWitt County allowed Community Action to take the program and try it in Logan County. Dalpoas says while it is smaller, it is still having the same impact.
The Client Management Program in Community Action has helped reduce over 10-percent of their clients' dependence on welfare programs. Dalpoas notes that was from 2017.
If you're interested in being a part of the Community Action food pantry program, you can call their corporate office in Lincoln at 217-732-2159.
The ebb and flow of sales taxes in Clinton continue as the latest report begins to show a trend in the months that have proceeded the closure of the Clinton Walmart.
City Administrator Tim Followell indicates the sales tax dollars are in an up and down trend right now and points out, the vehicle sales at local dealerships can sway figures a lot more than all the purchases at a retail store.
While the loss of Walmart was certainly a big loss for the community, Followell says the up and down nature of the sales tax figures was a trend long before Walmart closed.
As sales tax figures remain up and down, the City will face further funding challenges in the wake of the minimum wage hike that is on it's the way to the Governor.
Tune in later this week as Followell outlines the things the City of Clinton will have to think about as that legislation gradually becomes law.
You'll see a new face in a management role at the Clinton Community YMCA.
Clinton native, David Torbert, has been hired as the new Director of Adult and Youth Sports, and Director of Camp Osage, at the Y. He's been in the new role for about a month and hopes he can help others enjoy the local YMCA just as he did.
Rennie Cluver, Executive Director of the Clinton YMCA, is excited to see the energy Torbert has already brought to the staff. He says Torbert's addition is expected to bring more opportunities for both youth and adult programming.
Camp Osage is the YMCA's annual summer camp, which begins the first day after school ends. Torbert says planning has already begun for this year's camp.
Cluver notes Camp Osage is by far the most important program offered by the YMCA. He says the staff are doing their best to include a variety of activities to meet the widening interests of students.
Sign-up for this year's Camp Osage is expected to begin in April. In the meantime, Torbert is being kept busy with the continuing youth basketball program, and sign-ups are underway for youth indoor soccer leagues. Learn more about those by contacting the Clinton Community YMCA.
Springfield, IL - A total of five new bills have been introduced in the Illinois General Assembly with the goal of helping to protect the Mahomet Aquifer, the primary water source for Central Illinois. The package of bills is supported by a bipartisan group of Senators and Representatives who are working to pass them into law.
State Senator Chapin Rose says -quote- "The Mahomet Aquifer is one of the most important and vulnerable natural resources in the state, supplying drinking water for hundreds of thousands of people. It's incredibly important that we protect this resource for our families and our future generations." - end quote
The package of legislation includes five bills that are all based on recommendations from the final report of Mahomet Aquifer Task Force.
Senate Bill 2073 creates a permanent body, the Mahomet Aquifer Council, to serve as a watchdog and to provide oversight for the Mahomet Aquifer.
Senate Bill 2071 would provide $1 million in funding for equipment for the University of Illinois' Prairie Research Institute (PRI) so that the organization can continue to research and study the aquifer.
Senate Bill 2072 would provide $2.3 million in funding for ongoing PRI operations.
Senate Bill 2070 would appropriate $4 million for the utilization of helicopter-based time-domain electromagnetics technology for the purpose of mapping and studying of an area of the aquifer known as Zone 2. This zone is where a recent leak of natural gas occurred.
Senate Bill 2074 would allow State Treasurer to accept restitution payment from Peoples Gas, if a court finds the company liable for a recent leak of natural gas into the aquifer.
The bipartisan group of central Illinois lawmakers hopes the bills are called in the spring legislative session.
While many school leaders are taking a wait and see approach with Democratic Governor JB Pritzker, one Piatt County school leader is optimistic.
Sheila Greenwood is the Superintendent of Bement Schools and says she is optimistic Pritzker will have a budget sooner for the state and believes he has surrounded himself with good people to get good advice from.
While funding for public education in Illinois has gotten better in recent years, Greenwood says she is in the camp that it is still the biggest challenge facing education in Illinois. She explains while more money is dedicated to them, how much of that they get is still a question.
Greenwood says right now, the Bement school district says they are still in good shape financially. She notes, like many districts, they are seeking substitute teachers and face a shortage of teachers available when they have job openings.
The Abraham Lincoln Memorial Hospital Foundation is supporting Logan County school children thanks to a grant they are providing to put a counselor in each school.
ALMH's Angela Stoltzenburg explains MOSAIC is a program mimicked from Sangamon County but it gives students support right there in their school building.
The program doesn't just put the counselors in the school and then checks in every now and then. Stoltzenburg indicates they are tracking the progress of at-risk students and says they are getting back encouraging results early on.
The importance of this program can be very beneficial for kids today. Stoltzenburg explains recognizing what kids are going through early can keep them from dealing with issues longer than they need to.
Currently, the program offers support for three schools in Logan County with the goal to expand to all schools. Additionally, they are hiring staff to expand the service. If you're interested in being a part of MOSIAC in Logan County, visit choosememorial.org for more information.
A donation today (TUE) to the National FFA organization could go a long way toward changing a life. NAFB's Eric Pfeiffer explains…
Groups and businesses have already started registering for the 2019 Clinton Chamber of Commerce Business Expo March 27 at Clinton High School.
Chamber Executive Director Marian Brisard says registration has opened for the annual event and she hopes it will be another great year with lots of vendors.
Brisard says pricing for the annual event varies.
Brisard also points out the business expo is a great networking opportunity as it is a place where numerous businesses from across the community and central Illinois are all together in one place for about three to four hours.
Again the Chamber Business Expo is Wednesday, March 27 at Clinton High School from 4 to 7 pm. If your business or non-profit is interested in being a part of this year's event, you can visit clintonilchamber.com or contact them at 217-935-3364.
Congressman Rodney Davis of Taylorville has been named a ranking member of the Subcommittee on Highways and Transits.
He says being able to work that closely on infrastructure makes him hopeful he can make a difference in improving what is a crumbling system in America.
Governing for the people of central Illinois and the entire country isn't as tough as it may sound. According to Congressman Davis, if central Illinois benefits from a new infrastructure plan then the whole country will too.
Davis is optimistic the subcommittee will take a bipartisan approach and get things done to improve roads and bridges across the nation.
If you are a recipient of Social Security benefits, you need to be on the lookout for your 10-99s for tax season.
Jack Myers with Social Security in Springfield says those are mailed out each year and they are vitally important when filing your taxes.
With tax season here, Myers says the scam calls are going to increase and get more intense. He says this is something everyone should be aware of as your awareness surrounding tax season heightens.
Myers indicates any time Social Security will try to reach you, it is more often than not going to be correspondence through the mail and not a phone call, especially an 800-number phone call.
Get more information about SSA-1099s or a MySocialSecurity account by visiting socialsecurity.gov.
The Illinois National Guard has a new leader. Richard Neely has been promoted from Brigadier General to Adjutant General. Neely has almost 30 years of military experience. He wants the National Guard to be ready to deploy war both on physical battlefield and in cyberspace.
Neely plans a sharp focus on keeping recruitment numbers up.
FFA Week kicks off Monday and area chapters are excited about the opportunity.
Tri-Valley FFA President Cole Newbauer says FFA Week is an exciting time to showcase FFA and the difference it makes in their lives. He says it's also a good opportunity to drum more interest from potential members.
Lincoln FFA Chapter Secretary Lauren Steenburgen says the theme days helps draw attention to FFA members and opens up the conversations with their peers in the school.
This coming week on the noon farm show, here from these chapters and numerous others as Farm Broadcaster Jared White highlights area chapters and the happenings within them.
HOUSE LAWMAKERS ARE DISCUSSING A SHARED PARENTING BILL FOR CASES OF DIVORCE.
THE LEGISLATION REQUIRES COURTS TO PRESUME THAT BOTH MOM AND DAD SHOULD HAVE EQUAL TIME WITH THEIR CHILDREN WHEN THEY GET DIVORCED. IF A JUDGE DEVIATES FROM A 50-50 SPLIT, THEY HAVE TO ISSUE A WRITTEN STATEMENT EXPLAINING WHY SAYS ILLINOIS FATHERS FOR EQUALITY PRESIDENT CHAD LOUDERMILK.
REPRESENTATIVE LINDSAY PARKHURST OF KANKAKEE IS CRITICAL OF THE MEASURE.
THE IDEA IS TO PREVENT A PARENT FROM BEING ALIENATED FROM THEIR CHILD. THE JUDGE WOULD CONSIDER OTHER FACTORS INCLUDING WHERE THE KID GOES TO SCHOOL, DISTANCE BETWEEN PARENT’S HOMES AND IF THERE ARE ANY SAFETY CONCERNS LIKE ABUSE.
A new group of lawmakers has formed at the Capitol. Democratic State Representative Carol Ammons of Urbana made the reveal at a morning news conference.....
Ammons talks about the priorities of the caucus....
Among the Reps joining Ammons in the caucus are Rep. Will Guzzardi, Rep. Kelly Cassidy, Rep. Theresa Mah, Rep. Delia Ramirez, and Rep. Anne Stava-Murray.
There's a new sheriff in town when it comes to policing the Illinois General Assembly, in fact, it's a breakthrough that there is a sheriff period.
After a four year wait, the state finally has a legislative inspector general.
Former Appellate Judge and Menard County States Attorney Carol Pope was the unanimous choice of the Illinois House.
She will investigate complaints against state lawmakers.
Camelot is coming to Springfield today. The new photography exhibition “American Visionary: John F. Kennedy’s Life and Times” opens today at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum.
Alan Lowe, the executive director of the library and museum, previews the exhibit.....
Legendary photojournalist Lawrence Schiller, who worked for the likes of Life Magazine, is the curator of the exhibit. He took his fair share of photos of President Kennedy. He looked back on an age where photojournalism was king, something that sets the era apart from today when some believe you can just send out any reporter to a story with an I-Phone.....
Highlights of “American Visionary” include:
a 1953 photo booth snapshot of the Kennedy newlyweds, possibly taken on their honeymoon
a candid 1958 photograph of Kennedy playing with his baby daughter, Caroline, in her bassinet
a 1960 photograph of people peering at Kennedy through the window as he prepares for a campaign speech
a 1961 photograph of the First Couple and others heading to Kennedy’s inauguration ceremony, with the White House blanketed in snow
a haunting photograph of the first lady departing the White House on the day of Kennedy’s state funeral in 1963.
Romance scams aren't limited to just draining your bank account anymore.
The Better Business Bureau says there are now variations on the scam that could land you in jail if you participate willingly or unwillingly in moving dirty money or drugs for the scammer that has convinced you they have a romantic interest in you.
BBB Investigator Don O'Brien says most mules have actually met the person on the other end of the email, and have been roped into their criminal activity.
Money mules at times have been prosecuted, facing jail time and hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines and restitution payments.
It was another distinguished year for the Peterson Insurance group in Clinton.
Owner Jay Peterson says he was selected by his peers to lead the Inner Circle Club as the President. Additionally, Peterson says they continued to rake in the awards.
Peterson credits his hard-working staff and the customer loyalty they have to their success. He says their staff comes in every day and works hard and he says that is their focus each day.
Over the strong objections of Republicans who called it unfair and rushed, the Illinois House approved legislation Thursday that would increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2025.
The vote, which came after a two-hour debate, was 69-47. With the Senate approving the bill last week, Senate Bill 1 now goes to Gov. J.B.. Pritzker. State Representative Dan Caulkins (R-Decatur) voted against the proposal and talked about it after the vote.
Under the plan, the state’s minimum wage would go from $8.25 to $9.25 on Jan. 1, 2020, and then to $10 on July 1, 2020. It would then go up $1 more each Jan. 1 after that until it reaches $15 in 2025.
If you've ever wondered what it is like to see how authentic maple syrup is made, this weekend a Macon County organization has your answers.
The Rock Springs Nature Center at the Macon County Conservation District is hosting a maple syrup making demonstration. The Center's Richie Wolf says this is the time of year when maple trees are producing their sap, so it's an ideal time to tap into that resource.
According to Wolf, the sap is much like the blood of the tree. The taste of authentic maple syrup is much, much different from your typical maple syrup you'd find at the grocery store.
This Saturday is the only time the Rock Spring's Nature Center will host the demonstration. The event is free but Wolf says they are asking for RSVPs at maconcountyconservation.org.
The sessions are one hour at 11 am, noon and 1 pm.
Another grandstand act has been announced for the 2019 Illinois State Fair… Dan and Shay will be headlining on August 11th.
That’s Morgan Booth with the Illinois Department of Agriculture. The Fair will continue to announce headline acts over the next few Thursdays.
The National Weather Service in Lincoln has issued a Winter Weather Advisory for the Regional Radio listening area thru Sunday afternoon.
The Weather Service says another winter storm system will effect Illinois this weekend, mainly tonight through Sunday evening, and will bring periods of snow, freezing rain and rain to central and southeast Illinois.
The highest snow totals appear to be northwest of the Illinois river, where 2 to 4 inches of snow are possible. Snowfall of 1 to 2 inches may occur southeast of the Illinois river toward the I-72 corridor.
The Weather Service added that light icing from freezing rain is also possible from late tonight through Sunday morning, before warm air changes that precipitation to all rain. Icing amounts should remain minor, less than a tenth of an inch.
Stay tuned to Regional Radio for the latest weather information.
The Clinton Fire Department and the Clinton Eagles are teaming up once again this year for their annual Daytona 500 fundraiser.
Commissioner Dan Ballenger says it's an afternoon and evening of fun at the Eagles centered around the Daytona 500 with raffles and food. The proceeds benefit three DeWitt County fire departments.
The Clinton Fire Department intends to use the funds raised this year to continue to construct their training facility on Cain Street. According to Ballenger, it is made of old shipping containers they are turning into a three-story structure.
Thanks to donations and fundraising efforts, the facility is going to cost the department roughly $50,000. Ballenger notes without those fundraisers and donations, they would be looking at a cost of roughly $200,000.
Free screenings and lots of health information are just a few of the highlights of this weekend's Wellness Expo at the Lincoln Park District.
ALMH's Angela Stoltzenburg says a big focus for them is for everyone to 'know their numbers'. She says if you get any of the screenings they offer at the Lincoln Farmers Market, the machines will be at the wellness expo.
Stoltzenburg adds there's going to be plenty of kids activities with inflatables, a vendor and lots of demonstrations, there is something for everyone.
9 am to 1 pm is the time for the event at the Lincoln Park District. You can get more information by finding Abraham Lincoln Memorial Hospital on Facebook.
WHOW THE BIG 1520 Radio in Clinton, got quite the gift for Valentine’s Day on Thursday—an updated transmitter.
The 2003 Broadcast Electronics transmitter with updated modules, was purchased by WHOW’s owner, the Miller Media Group’s Kaskaskia Broadcasting, Incorporated, in January from a radio station in northwest Illinois that recently went off-the-air.
Clifton Moving and Storage of Decatur, with assistance from WHOW engineer Wayne R. Miller, disconnected the transmitter from its former site, and hauled it over 150 miles to the Big Red Barn south of clinton, in January.
Miller, assisted by the Clifton movers and an electrician from ProAir Heating, Cooling and Electricial of Clinton and Bloomington-Normal, put the B-E transmitter on the air on Thursday afternoon.
The new transmitter replaces an aging model that was built by a company that is now out of business. The aging WHOW transmitter has been difficult to repair and maintain the past 2 years, according to station president Randal J. Miller.
WHOW THE BIG 1520 transmits with 5000 watts daytime, covering an area from Pontiac to Effingham and the Illinois River to the Indiana State Line, with over 7 hours a day of agriculture programming, local news and weather, and Clinton High School sports. WHOW is also heard 24/7 at 92.3 FM in DeWitt County and 106.5 FM in Logan County. WHOW is also streamed at dewittdailynews-dot-com, on the WHOW mobile app, and on Amazon Alexa.
It wasn't quite Publishers Clearing House but the Clinton Community Education Foundation made just as grand of an entrance in Clinton Schools classrooms Thursday morning.
The annual CCEF teacher grants were awarded to the classrooms of the winning educators across four of the five buildings in the district and Foundation board members Russell Long and Barbara Gullone says this was a great year of teacher grants.
Gullone indicates they are looking for creative ideas to enhance the district classrooms. Long believes they got the creativity they were looking for.
Christina Soberalski has been planning to host children's author Patricia Polacco and part of the CCEF grants this year were to help pay the expenses to bring her to Clinton. Additionally, she indicates there will be three sessions with one to include the opportunity to come out and hear her speak.
2nd-grade teacher Bethany Coffman indicates her classroom is making STEM upgrades thanks to the $500 grant she received.
4th-grade teacher Kristin Wilson says her class is going to use a $500 grant to purchase technology to help track their kids' activity during recess.
Carissa O'Brien, a fourth-grade teacher at Clinton Elementary School, indicates she is going to be purchasing picture books for her students that help them identify and deal with emotions. Her grant is for just over $412.
3rd-grade teacher Rebecca Howell indicates her $811 grant is going to be for special critical thinking puzzles for her students to do during a designated part of their day.
Special education teacher Autumn Kenney (below) says her CES classroom is going to expand on their program that improves communication skills and teamwork skills. Her grant is for just over $628.
Clinton Junior High School teacher Jessica Hubrich says the grant will go towards her special education classroom to help her students.
Danielle Ward, a sixth-grade teacher at Clinton Junior High School, explains her classroom is receiving document cameras that are going to help her students increase their learning comprehension.
In the junior high school, Amy Whisker says her classes will receive upgraded sewing machines, something they are desperately in need of. Her grant is for $1000.
Savannah Riegler (below), ag mechanics teacher at Clinton Junior High School, says her grant for $220 will help purchase a new nail gun and air tank for their projects.
Kendra Abner's Consumer Science class at Clinton High School is going to take on international cooking and she explains they are going to use their $500 grant for the authentic ingredients they are going to need.
Wayne Snearly, the automotive teacher at Clinton High School, says he is seeking to use his $358 grant to upgrade the equipment in their shop to help students work on newer model vehicles.
First-grade teacher Amanda Brady indicates the first-grade class at Lincoln School is going to be purchasing books for their students to take home. Their grant is for $500.
Fifth-grade teacher Samantha Rybacki is working to bring children's author David Biedrzycki to the community next year. Additionally, the CCEF is providing funding for Clinton Junior High School students to return to the Heartland Community College Challenger Academy again, a trip students are on this week.
The Clinton Police Department's School Resource Officer, Mike Bennett has been working with the school's youth for about four years now through a one-week self-awareness program.
According to Bennett, the program helps the youth recognize what is happening in their surroundings and avoid bad things happening to them before they can even get started. He says it stretches from youth in the junior high all the way to the high school, covering a wide variety of topics.
Yesterday on Regional Radio News, we outlined the community's youth recognizing their peers' challenges with depression and the subsequent ways they deal with that. Clinton Police Chief Ben Lowers believes this program is one way to reach youth and indicate to them they are cared for.
Chief Lowers says he has witnessed Bennett and his fellow officers present the program to the students. The Chief believes the most valuable part of the course is when Bennett talks to the youth about what is out in the world beyond Clinton and DeWitt County.
According to Chief Lowers, he and Bennett are taking part in The Vault to be mentors there.
Later this month, Bennett will begin making the rounds with the self-awareness program in the school district. We'll hear more about this program in the next few weeks on Regional Radio News.
A central Illinois non-profit aimed at supporting fellow non-profit groups has opened up their spring grant cycle.
If you are a central Illinois group, Michele Evans with the Illinois Community Prairie Foundation hopes you'll consider applying for one of their grants this spring.
The spring grant cycle will award over $140-thousand and Evans notes they also are able to award money back to the community through private donors who earmark their donations to certain non-profits.
If you visit ilprairiecf.org, you will find all the information for the current grant cycle. Evans says you don't need to have a professional grant writer on your staff to be awarded a grant. She explains they seek quality groups who will put the grants to good use.
The Illinois Community Prairie Foundation serves McLean, Logan, DeWitt and Livingston counties.
Evans indicates they have a program that engages their communities' youth but right now they desperately need youth to volunteer, especially outside of McLean County. Next week on Regional Radio News we'll hear more from Evans on what they are looking for from youth in central Illinois.
The WHOW Hometown Tour's final stop was in Monticello earlier this week and it put the spotlight on the Piatt County community that has a lot in common with a lot of other central Illinois communities.
Monticello City Administrator Terry Summers says there's a lot going on with city improvements, pointing to a streetscape project that is going on nearly three-years-old which will include upgrades to allow people to get from the downtown area to their swimming pool. He says the project is underway and should be done in time for Monticellobration in September.
Additionally, Summers says they are working to improve their public works campus. With improvements already complete, he indicates there is still more to come.
The Monticello City Council recently approved paving of a segment of their Sangamon Bike Trail. Summers says that will be wrapped up this year.
The City's big project, the new waste-water treatment facility, a $14-million project, is going to be close to, if not complete and online, by the end of the year.
The non-profit group serving as the Illinois affiliate to the National Endowment for the Humanities is holding a series of meetings statewide in an attempt to find common ground between urban and rural parts of the state.
Illinois Humanities manager of statewide engagement, Matt Meacham (MEECH-um), says its public forum next Tuesday will examine law enforcement and community relations in Rockford;
For every forum in a city, Illinois Humanities plans to hold one in a rural community. The group will hold a session on the social and economic impacts of incarceration next month in Thomson, home of a state-turned federal, maximum security prison in northwest Illinois;
While based in Chicago, Illinois Humanities also has offices in downstate Edwardsville. It plans additional city-country forums through 20-19.
THE ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES SAYS MARCH FOOD ASSISTANCE BENEFITS WILL BE ISSUED ON MARCH FIRST.
FEBRUARY “SNAP” BENEFITS WERE PAID EARLY BECAUSE OF THE FEDERAL SHUTDOWN…SO D-H-S WILL SEND OUT MARCH’S ALLOCATION ON THE FIRST IN HOPES OF EASING THAT GAP SAYS SPOKESPERSON MEGHAN POWERS.
SO THE MARCH FIRST DATE WILL BE ON TIME FOR SOME AND EARLY FOR OTHERS BUT WHAT ABOUT THE FOLLOWING MONTH?
CUSTOMERS TYPICALLY GET THEIR BENEFITS AT VARIOUS TIMES DURING THE MONTH, SO THIS WILL BE ON TIME FOR SOME AND EARLY FOR OTHERS. POWERS SAYS APRIL AND MAY PAYMENTS WILL DEPEND ON PASSAGE OF A FEDERAL BUDGET.
A mid-Missouri kidnapping and attempted carjacking Tuesday night during a long police pursuit into Southern Illinois left two people dead, and a woman critically hurt. Illinois State Police say 39-year-old Leslie Austin of Jefferson City, Missouri abducted his 33-year-old girlfriend and her 10--year-old daughter in Jefferson City and was involved in multiple shootouts with police.
Illinois St Police Captain Timothy Tyler says the kidnap victim escaped her captor in Bond County near Greenville, but not unscathed.
She is expected to survive. The child and all police involved were unharmed. Police say the suspect tried to find another vehicle moments later with deadly consequences...
A 67-year-old North St. Louis County, Missouri man was killed. Austin later drove down a dead end street and died shortly after a shootout with police. It's not clear if police or Austin fired the fatal shot.
Illinois Farm Bureau set to lay out its legislative priorities. They’ll do so next week at the annual Government Affairs Leadership Conference in Springfield says IFB’s Ryan Whitehouse.
DeAnne Bloomberg is a former county farm bureau manager and now works in Issues Management for IFB.
The conference is next Tuesday at The President Abraham Lincoln –Double Tree Hotel in Springfield.
It's easy for adults to speculate what the challenges kids face in today's world but if you want to know what kids are up against, talk to the kids.
That's what the leadership for The Vault did recently as they sat down with their student leaders to get their thoughts on what challenges kids face and Michelle Witzke says it was then their goal to decide how The Vault can help the community's youth.
The things the students had to say about their peers were not encouraging. Witzke says things related to depression were the top challenges facing students in Clinton.
Witzke indicates The Vault is blessed to be able to utilize Clinton Police Chief Ben Lowers as a resource as a part of their safety team. She says he has been a great resource to help in understanding the problems youth find themselves in nowadays.
Witzke indicates their team continues to work towards developing programming that can be uplifting to the community's youth and making sure they know The Vault is a resource available to them.
The WHOW Hometown Tour made its final stop Tuesday morning in Piatt County at Monticello City Hall.
Local leaders talked about the latest happenings in the central Illinois city including Monticello athletic director Dan Sheehan who says the community, and the students, are still riding high from a 3A football state title Thanksgiving weekend at the University of Illinois.
The city received unfortunate news last week when it was announced they would be losing their ShopCo is closing down. Business Development Director Callie McFarland believes there was not much the city could have done about the loss of the chain which has been announcing closures all over the country.
Monticello Police Chief John Carter reminds area residents Monticello is an additional resource to dispose of those unwanted or unused prescription drugs. The 'Drug Take Back' initiative seeks to give communities a safe outlet to dispose of prescription drugs so they don't end up in the wrong hands.
Monticello City Administrator, Terry Summers indicates a lot is happening from the city's perspective. He explains they will be welcoming new alderman to the city council this year.
There was plenty more talked about during the WHOW Hometown Tour's stop in Monticello Tuesday morning. Hear more in the coming days on Regional Radio News.
A Peace Meal meal coordinator is trying to remove the stigma surrounding Peace Meal.
Shelly Tolly, Peace Meal Home Delivered Meal Coordinator, indicates that, contrary to popular belief, Peace Meal is open to any senior over the age of 60 regardless of their financial background.
Tolly says that the meals have a suggested donation of $3.50 and are available at a congregate site or there are home-delivered meals for qualifying seniors.
To sign up for the meals or to volunteer call (217)345-1800 or 1-800-543-1770.
The numbers keep adding up this winter. And not just snow totals either says Freese-Notis meteorologist Dan Hicks.
Snow totals are the big story in other parts of the state. 51 inches in Moline since late November; Rockford 44.8; and Peoria 28.4 inches.
Governor JB Pritzker joined members of the American Legion in honoring President Abraham Lincoln on the 210th anniversary of Honest Abe's birth.
Pritzker took part in the annual wreath laying ceremony at Lincoln's Tomb in Springfield. Pritzker says Lincoln's example is helping him guide the state through tough fiscal times....
Pritzker went on to take part in a popular tradition at Lincoln's Tomb, rubbing the nose of the Lincoln Statue outside his tomb. Legend has it, rubbing the nose brings good luck.
BUSINESS GROUPS ARE SEEKING CHANGES TO A MINIMUM WAGE PROPOSAL THAT PASSED THE SENATE…BUT GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER IS URGING THE HOUSE TO PASS IT AS IS.
THE CURRENT BILL RAISES THE MINIMUM WAGE OVER SIX YEARS UNTIL IT HITS 15 DOLLARS AN HOUR. GOVERNOR PRITZKER SAYS IT’S THE PRODUCT OF MANY TALKS.
MANY BUSINESS OWNERS WOULD LIKE TO SEE A SLOWER PHASE-IN SCHEDULE AND REGIONAL WAGE LEVELS SET FOR DIFFERENT PARTS OF THE STATE THAT MAY HAVE A LOWER COST OF LIVING.
The push back against the move to a $15 minimum wage continues.
The Illinois Chamber of Commerce says they have a number of problems with the increase. Chamber CEO Todd Maisch says markets should determine wages and if lawmakers really do want to bump pay higher they need consider the needs and business realities in all parts of Illinois.
Maisch says that a regionalization of a minimum wage would be a good step along with a training wage for teenagers or a seasonal wage to cover summer workers.
Ameren Illinois reporting 102 wires, 37 distribution poles and 30 sub-transmission poles down from high winds and ice on Monday. The company's Tucker Kennedy discusses some of the issues crews are facing.
Nearly 6,000 customers are still without power this morning.
With tax season upon, everyone is on high alert to make sure the 'Is' are dotted and 'Ts' are all crossed correctly.
With everyone trying to make sure everything is in order with April 15 looming, Social Security says to be aware of people trying to take advantage of your heightened urgency. Jack Myers with Social Security in Springfield says one thing they are starting to see is impersonators of Social Security personnel going after the public.
With the advancements in technology, Myers adds, they are also getting reports from the public that these attempts are starting to manipulate caller ID numbers to reflect the national toll-free Social Security number.
Myers reminds the public, Social Security almost exclusively reaches out to individuals via the mail, although there are those circumstances you might receive a call from your local office, you are likely to be anticipating that phone call.
Myers says the best way to find contact information for Social Security is to simply get on their website, socialsecurity.gov and find that information there. And again, stresses the domain is dot-g-o-v.
Work is underway inside the Pritzker administration to continue criminal justice reforms. The Justice, Equity and Opportunity initiative will get stakeholders from all over to take another look at the issues says the Lt. Governor Juliana Stratton.
Some of the pressing priorities include sentencing reforms and prison overcrowding.
U.S. lawmakers hope to avert another government shutdown this Friday and avoid a further toll on agriculture and other government-dependent sectors.
The thought of another partial government shutdown is too much to bear for most politicians, including those from the president’s own party—and especially those from heavy agricultural districts.
Central Illinois Republican Rodney Davis…
The historic 35-day shutdown of USDA and other departments forced FSA county offices to close, temporarily, denying producers key services. EPA efforts to write a new rule for year-round E15 use, were also interrupted.
Senate Ag Chair Pat Roberts told a Farm Foundation audience last week…
But Illinois’ Davis says preventing another shutdown will take compromise…
Congressional negotiators reported some progress on the key issue of border barrier funding the president’s requested. But, whether that’s enough or too much for each side was still in question, heading up to the next shutdown deadline, Friday.
Put February 23 on your calendars to be a part of the annual Clinton Chamber of Commerce Agribusiness Banquet.
Chamber Agribusiness Committee Chairperson, Janel Baum-Thomas indicates they have gone away from market discussions in the last few years. Last year they had Eric Snodgrass from the University of Illinois to talk about the weather and the year before that was a round-table discussion with local ag-professionals.
This year Thomas says they are welcoming Matt Bennett from Bennett Consulting.
Bennett says this opportunity to speak close to home is something he is looking forward to. He indicates he'll be talking with attendees about navigating the challenges of 2019 and how to prepare a marketing plan.
Again, the agribusiness banquet Saturday, February 23 at the Clinton Country Club with a social hour starting at 5 pm, dinner at 6 pm and Bennett to present at 7 pm.
Tickets are free through the sponsors of the banquet. You can get free tickets during the WHOW Morning show by listening between 7 am and 8 am each morning leading up to the banquet.
Plan on seeing Clinton Fire Department personnel and trucks around the community in the next few weeks.
Blake West with the Clinton Fire Department says their annual fire safety sweep is underway, which means in the next week or two, they will be stopping by your house to make sure you have an operating smoke alarm, and if you do not, the firefighters will make sure they leave with one working in your home.
The annual sweep is also a time of fundraising for the fire department and Commissioner Dan Ballenger says the funds this year are earmarked for their training facility that is being completed now. Ballenger says they have big plans for the structure that is being built on Cain Street.
Plan on firefighters stopping around the community tonight but West says their primary days out will be Tuesdays through Thursday until they have stopped at every door in Clinton.
A match made in heaven - pun-intended.
DeWitt County Big Brothers Big Sisters - a DeWitt County non-profit aimed at matching local youth with mentors - and The Vault in Clinton are working on details to begin a special partnership for the community's youth.
Heather Peavler with Big Brothers Big Sisters says with the overlapping missions of the two non-profits, it's a perfect match.
The Vault's Michelle Witzke says this would be a great partnership. She explains they currently have a program like this now but Big Brothers Big Sisters stepped in, it might allow them to expand on their program.
Now that The Vault is open, they are excited about being able to publicly talk about it. Both Witzke and Peavler say their goals are to help youth reach their full potential.
Uncertainty is the buzz word for how one school leader feels about the new Governor in Illinois.
Superintendent of Heyworth Schools, Lisa Taylor, says any time there is a change in leadership in Springfield it brings a lot of uncertainty among school leaders.
While education funding and the flow of dollars to schools has become much more consistent in recent years, Taylor indicates that is still front of mind for her but she also points to the teacher shortage as a major challenge facing schools in 2019.
Taylor is very concerned about the perception of public education and points to laws that have set unrealistic expectations for educators and instead of blame being placed on those policies, it has crippled how the public views education in a lot of places.
Earlier this week lawmakers took up legislation that would require districts to pay teachers a minimum of $40,000 a year by 2023 and Taylor says that would be crippling legislation if the state is not going to provide additional dollars for that.
One of the more fascinating times in the history of the United States will be on display at the McLean County Museum tomorrow.
2020 marks the 100th anniversary of the outlawing of alcohol sales in the United States and 100 years ago this year, the ratification of the 18th amendment took place. Candace Summers indicates she'll be doing a presentation on the year leading up to the complete outlaw of alcohol sales in the United States.
Chicago's crime scene during the prohibition is well documented but Summers says central Illinois had it's own things happening as it relates to manufacturing and selling alcohol.
The program starts at 6:30 pm at the McLean County Museum at 200 North Main Street in Bloomington. It is free to attend.
Senator Dick Durbin has expressed his opposition to President Trump’s nominee to be U.S. Attorney General, William Barr. In a gathering of the Senate Judiciary Committee, expressed his concerns about Barr’s stance on transparency for Special Counsel Mueller’s findings and executive power, laid out in a memo to the Trump Administration....
Durbin believes Barr is standing behind the "unitary executive theory" which claims constitutional law shows the President possesses the power to control the entire executive branch.
HOUSE LAWMAKERS ARE DISCUSSING A UNIVERSAL COLLEGE ADMISSION BILL.
UNDER THE LEGISLATION, STUDENTS IN THE TOP 10 PERCENT OF THEIR GRADUATING CLASS AND MEETING TEST SCORE REQUIREMENTS WOULD AUTOMATICALLY BE ADMITTED TO ANY THE STATE’S PUBLIC COLLEGES OR UNIVERSITIES. IT’S SPONSORED BY REPRESENTATIVE ANDRE THAPEDI OF CHICAGO.
CRITICS…LIKE THE UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS’ KEVIN PITTS WORRY SOME OF THOSE STUDENTS MIGHT NOT BE PREPARED, REGARDLESS OF THEIR RANKING.
THAPEDI SAYS THIS WILL ALSO BOOST MINORITY ENROLLMENT. CRITICS WORRY THIS WILL KEEP OTHER HIGH PERFORMING STUDENTS WHO AREN’T AT THE TOP OF THEIR CLASS FROM BEING ACCEPTED.
Record cold, more snow and temperature swings that felt like spring have already made for a wild first week of February but don't sleep on those severe storms.
That's the message from the National Weather Service. Chris Miller with the Lincoln office indicates it is not uncommon for severe weather to pop up this early in the year.
The National Weather Service has indicated weather trends are pointing to a more seasonable and dry month of February.
A cold weekend is coming and State Climatologist Office Spokesperson Brian Kerschner outlines the next week....
THE STATE SENATE IS VOTING TO RAISE THE MINIMUM WAGE IN ILLINOIS.
THE BILL PHASES IN THE INCREASE…STARTING AT NINE-25 AN HOUR NEXT YEAR AND TOPPING OUT AT 15 DOLLARS AN HOUR IN 2025. SENATOR CHAPIN ROSE OF MAHOMET QUESTIONS HOW MUCH THIS WILL COST BUSINESSES, COLLEGES, SCHOOL DISTRICTS AND MORE.
SUPPORTERS POINT OUT THERE IS A SMALL BUSINESS TAX CREDIT TO HELP OFFSET THE INCREASE. THE LEGISLATION NOW HEADS TO THE HOUSE FOR CONSIDERATION.
Join the first Christian Church in Clinton for their 13th annual wild game dinner this Monday.
The meal is free for anyone starting at 6 pm.
If you are wanting to come, organizers ask you to bring either a wild game dish or a side or dessert.
Additionally, hear Mike Garthauss, with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources fisheries, who will be presenting on historical and current data from his research of Clinton Lake in the last ten years.
Garthaus will focus on largemouth bass, crappie, walleye, hybrid striped bass, catfish and habitat projects.
Again the wild game dinner is Monday, February 11 at First Christian Church in their Family Life Center in Clinton, located at 100 North Jackson Street.
The 2019 Clinton Chamber of Commerce annual dinner took on a new format this year and Chamber officials believe it was a great success.
Executive Director Marian Brisard says instead of doing an auction and fundraiser, they decided to make the annual dinner a celebration with a nice meal and musical entertainment provided by the Clinton High School jazz band.
There was a brief awards ceremony as a part of the dinner and Brisard says they awarded a large business, medium business, small business and non-profit of the year.
Brisard complimented the Clinton High School jazz band for their performance and says it was a great display of the talented youth in the community.
(Images courtesy of EMC Photography)
Left to right: new Chamber Board President Byron Conner, outgoing President Ed Cicenas, Chamber Executive Director Marian Brisard
Left to right: Chamber Executive Director Marian Brisard, Justin Fentress Representing Clinton Rotary Club (Chamber's Non-Profit of the Year), Chamber Board President Byron Conner
Chamber Executive Director Marian Brisard with Byron Conner, representing Clintonia Eagle Theater (Chamber of Commerce small business of the year)
Left to right: Chamber Executive Director Marian Brisard, Brad Barton of ACE Hardware (Chamber of Commerce medium business of the year), Chamber Board President Byron Conner
Left to right: Chamber Executive Director Marian Brisard, Clinton Schools Superintendent Curt Nettles (CUSD 15 - Chamber large business of the year), Chamber Board President Byron Conner
Put February 25 on your calendar if you are in the Blue Ridge district if you want to ask questions of the Board of Education.
Superintendent of Blue Ridge Schools, Susan Wilson, indicates 'Blue Ridge Connect' allows the public to hear about things happening in the district and gives the public a chance to bring their concerns to the Board of Education.
Wilson says the conversations go off in all sorts of directions and believes the best way to get information and opinions out there is face to face conversations. She adds in addition to school board members, there will be school administrators at the event to ask questions of.
Again, the third annual Blue Ridge Connect is February 25 with a light dinner served at 6 pm and a short presentation to follow and then the floor opens up for the community to speak to their school leaders and school board members.
Get links to RSVP by clicking here.
Earlier this week we highlighted a one of a kind winter event in central Illinois, the Argenta Ice Fest.
In its third year, the annual festival that highlights an Argenta celebrity, Aaric Kendall, the group Argenta in Motion, or AIM, is the organizer of the annual event. Robin Walters says the group's mission is to better their community through hosting various activities and beautification projects.
The upcoming Argenta Ice Festival is a dual-purpose fundraiser and fun event they host for the community. Walters says the funds raised help them put on their other events through the year but it's also nice to do something unique and bring people together during a time of the year when you normally aren't thinking about going outside.
The Argenta Ice Festival is this Saturday from 11 am to 6 pm in downtown Argenta and it stretches to their local parks as well. Walters indicates there's something for everyone. Get more information by finding the event's Facebook page or visiting argentafest.org/ice-fest.
Acts for the Illinois State Fair are being announced. And the first headliner for 2019 is Pentatonix. The act was a massive hit two years ago and will be back this summer. The Department of Agriculture says they will be on the Grandstand State August 14th.
Tickets aren’t on sale just yet but will be in the spring. The State Fair will continue to announce shows over the next few weeks.
An annual event for a central Illinois non-profit is set for March 9.
Big Brothers Big Sisters annual Bowl For Kid's Sake brings their supporters together for a couple hours of bowling, pizza and prizes and Heather Peavler with Big Brothers Big Sisters says their DeWitt County event is set for Saturday, March 9 at Logan Lanes in Lincoln.
Peavler indicates all their fundraisers, including Bowl For Kid's Sake, goes right back into their programs to help youth across central Illinois and support their matches with their "bigs".
Get signed up for the March 9 event by visiting bbbscil.org to find links to the website for registration.
Warner Hospital and Health Services have long felt crowded in their emergency room and now the administration and their board are working to tackle the issue.
CEO Paul Skowron indicates to Regional Radio News he and the hospital board are exploring an expansion of the emergency room, which would mean building a new building for their executive offices.
According to Skowron, last week, they introduced the visuals to the hospital board. He indicates they got a good response from the board on perhaps starting something within the next year or year-and-a-half.
The hospital has been dreaming of expansion and even new facilities to some degree for a few years now and Skowron says this is the first step in what that might look like as the hospital continues to grow and evolve with 21st-century medical care.
According to Skowron, the renovation of the ER would add about 900-square feet in added space.
THE STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION IS ANNOUNCING IMPROVEMENTS TO THE STUDENT ASSESSMENT TEST.
THE ILLINOIS ASSESSMENT OF READINESS, FORMERLY KNOWN AS THE “PARCC” TEST IS GIVEN TO STUDENTS IN THIRD THROUGH EIGHTH GRADES IN MARCH, FOCUSING ON ENGLISH LANGUAGE ARTS AND MATH. THE CHANGES FOR THE UPCOMING TEST WILL BE SUBTLE SAYS ACTING CHIEF EDUCATION OFFICER RALPH GRIMM.
THE BOARD'S RAE CLEMENTZ SAYS IT WILL BE A LITTLE SHORTER THIS YEAR…WITH MORE CHANGES TO COME. THAT INCLUDES MOVING TO A COMPUTER-ADAPTIVE DESIGN IN 2021.
OTHER FUTURE PLANS INCLUDE QUICKER RESULTS AND MAKING SURE ALL SCHOOLS CAN GIVE THE TEST ONLINE. IT'S GIVEN TO THRID THROUGH EIGHTH GRADERS EACH MARCH.
Springfield's Andrew Peterson heard the words synonymous with game shows, "you can win a new car". Win he did during a taping of the legendary CBS game show The Price is Right that aired this week.
Peterson won the Showcase Showdown with Host Drew Carey recapping his winnings....
Peterson won a Fiat 500, a washer and dryer, 4K smart tv, trip to New York and hip hop themed DJ gear. The show was taped in December, but Peterson was forced to keep his success a secret until this week's airing.
THE STATE SENATE IS WORKING ON A PLAN TO GRADUALLY RAISE THE MINIMUM WAGE IN ILLINOIS.
SUPPORTERS SAY THIS WILL BE THE YEAR TO GET THE FIRST BOOST IN THE MINIMUM WAGE SINCE 2010 SIGNED INTO LAW. THE INCREASE WILL BE PHASED IN OVER THE NEXT SIX YEARS UNTIL IT REACHES 15 AN HOUR IN 2025. IT'S SUPPORTED BY A-F-L C-I-O PRESIDENT MICHAEL CARRIGAN.
SOME QUESTION WHETHER THAT MUCH OF A HIKE IS NEEDED ACROSS THE STATE. BILL SPONSOR, SENATOR KIMBERLY LIGHTFORD OF MAYWOOD RESPONDS.
THE LEGISLATION INCLUDES A PAYROLL TAX CREDIT FOR BUSINESSES WITH 50 OR FEWER EMPLOYEES TO HELP OFFSET THE ADDED COST. IT PASSED A SENATE COMMITTEE AND WILL NOW BE CONSIDERED BY THE FULL SENATE.
Congressman Darin LaHood says the State of The Union speech that was delivered by President Donald Trump was a great moment for the President. He adds that from the honored guests in the balcony to the message delivered it was a speech that all sides of the country could support.
LaHood says now the Senate and House need to sit down and find a way to support border security and immigration reforms.
This year has been an experiment to some degree by Illinois schools thanks to a change in the revamped funding formula.
Districts in Illinois have been piloting the digital learning days this year thanks to the revamped funding formula which allows educators to electronically or in advance of school cancellations that has students take on school work outside the classroom.
Dr. Kristen Kendrick-Weikle, Superintendent of Warrensburg-Latham Schools says the law change has been taken advantage of in some areas but they elected to take a wait and see approach.
According to Dr. Kendrick-Weikle, she has some concerns with the idea of how that would be implemented.
Dr. Kendrick-Weikle says she wants to get more information before her and the Board of Education make any decisions going forward.
Additionally, there is the chance the district never actually gets to implement a policy like this. Area superintendents say this could be something Governor JB Pritzker makes a change on in the coming year.
Tradewind Energy's first appeal to the Zoning Board of Appeals took place Tuesday night to establish a wind farm in the northwest corner of DeWitt County and drew an expected big crowd on the first night.
Tom Swierczewski, the project development manager for the Alta Farms II wind project presented what was the first presentation on what the project would look like. He indicates it covers three townships across 12,000-plus acres with 88 agreements with landowners.
According to Swierczewski, there will be no more than 67 turbines of different with a height of no taller than 591 feet. Additionally, they plan to use "one or more" models.
The project would create access roads and each turbine would be connected to one central location and Swierczewski says the project would have a central location where the turbines would be controlled.
In addition to the turbines the project would construct, Tradewind is also asking to construct up to four meteorological towers. Swierczewsi says these would be a little different from the towers they used almost a decade ago when they first started exploring the project.
Pending approval from the County Board, Tradewind hopes to get the project going in the late spring or early summer with a targeted completion for next year.
Testimony in front of the ZBA will continue Thursday and Friday of this week and then February 19 through February 22 (Tuesday-Friday).
All meetings are at Clinton High School from 5 pm to 10 pm.
The new ServPro ownership is stressing community involvement.
Michael Moore with ServPro indicates that they are launching a teen suicide awareness and prevention initiative as a way of giving back to the community.
Moore says the goal of the initiative is to raise $30,000 to train teachers and first responders in Clinton and the surrounding areas. Moore says after speaking with local law enforcement training is needed most.
Moore indicates to meet their goal ServPro is hosting a 10K/5K/one-mile fun run on November 2 at Weldon Springs.
There are still going to be some rough winter days ahead for much of Illinois and the Midwest. That assessment from DTN Chief Agriculture Meteorologist Bryce Anderson.
Anderson says that means much of Illinois can expect winter like weather well into March.
LAWMAKERS ARE TRYING AGAIN TO RAISE THE MINIMUM SALARY FOR TEACHERS IN ILLINOIS.
A SENATE COMMITTEE APPROVED A BILL THAT GRADUALLY INCREASES THE AMOUNT SCHOOL DISTRICTS HAVE TO PAY TEACHERS TO 40 THOUSAND DOLLARS IN 2023. SENATOR ANDY MANAR OF BUNKER HILL SAYS THE MINIMUM HASN’T BEEN UPDATED IN NEARLY 40 YEARS.
SENATOR JENNIFER BERTINO-TARRANT OF PLAINFIELD SAYS IT’S TIME FOR AN UPDATE.
OPPONENTS SAY WAGES SHOULD BE NEGOTIATED LOCALLY AND WORRY ABOUT THE ADDITIONAL FINANCIAL BURDEN TO SCHOOL DISTRICTS. SIMILAR LEGISLATION WAS VETOED LAST YEAR BY THE GOVERNOR.
THE MEASURE NOW MOVES TO THE SENATE FLOOR FOR A VOTE.
ADVOCATES ARE TRYING AGAIN TO PASS A TOBACCO 21 LAW IN ILLINOIS.
THE MEASURE, RAISING THE AGE TO PURCHASE TOBACCO PRODUCTS FROM 18 TO 21 PASSED LAST YEAR…BUT WAS VETOED BY THE GOVERNOR. SENATE PRESIDENT JOHN CULLERTON SAYS HE’S CONFIDENT THEY CAN GET IT DONE THIS TIME AROUND.
SENATOR JULIE MORRISON OF DEERFIELD IS SPONSORING THE MEASURE AND SAYS THE IDEA IS TO REDUCE YOUTH ACCESS TO SMOKING.
THE BILL INCLUDES CIGARETTES, CHEWING TOBACCO, E-CIGS AND OTHER TOBACCO PRODUCTS. 36 COMMUNITIES ALREADY HAVE A TOBACCO 21 LOCAL ORDINANCE.
THE ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES IS AWARDING NEARLY 29 MILLION DOLLARS IN LOCAL PARK GRANTS.
THE MONEY WILL FUND 89 LOCAL PARK PROJECTS AROUND THE STATE SAYS D-N-R SPOKESPERSON ED CROSS.
THE GRANTS COME FROM THE OPEN SPACE LAND ACQUISITION AND DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM…WHICH IS FUNDED BY THE STATE’S REAL ESTATE TRANSFER TAX.
OS-LAD GRANTS HAVE FUNDED MORE THAN 17-HUNDRED PARK PROJECTS OVER THE LAST 30 YEARS.
The DeWitt County Development Council has long been associated with the revolving loan fund and after several years of re-establishing themselves in the community, the group is reminding local businesses they still have the loan for area business owners.
DCDC Board President David Torbert (pictured right) says while they continue to get re-acquainted with local business owners, they are also reminding them the revolving loan fund might be something to consider if they are expanding or adding new jobs.
Torbert sings the praises of their Board Secretary, Lance White (pictured left), who has helped revamp the revolving loan fund and allow it to be available to more business owners. Initially, it was targeted for new and start-up businesses but White says as he looked at it, it just needed some adjustments.
March 7, DCDC is hosting a leaders breakfast at Cinco De Mayo in Clinton to promote their revolving loan fund. Torbert indicates they asking those interested to RSVP by visiting dcdc-illinois.org or you can contact find the DCDC on Facebook and send a message to them there.
The third annual Argenta Ice Fest is this Saturday and organizers are hoping for cold weather for this event that is unlike any other in central Illinois.
Robin Walters with the host group Argenta in Motion, or AIM, explains Argenta is home to Olympic gold medal ice carver, Aaric Kendall, and they wanted to do something to showcase that and so their ice fest brings him back to their community for this one-day event.
Walters explains the day is full of lots of activities for kids. Kendall works on three large-scale ice carving projects that he does for the community throughout the day.
When Kendall is not working on an ice sculpture in front of the community, Walters says there's going to be plenty going on. From an ice breaker challenge, a winter version of tough mudders, a beer/wine tent, a chili cookoff and snow dogs will do a training demonstration without ice.
Argenta Ice Fest is this Saturday in downtown Argenta. Activities start at 11 am and things conclude at 6 pm. Get more information by finding the event's Facebook page or visiting argentafest.org/ice-fest.
With scholarship season upon us, the Clinton AmVets are reminding high school seniors to pick up one of their applications.
Ed Beck, First Vice Commander of Post 14, indicates that the Clinton AmVets are offering a local scholarship again due to the generous donation by Dennis Davenport. Beck says the AmVets is offering 11 $1,000 scholarships to Clinton high school seniors with a veteran affiliation.
Beck says the application is short with no essay. The application is due March 1 and is based in part on need.
Beck indicates that Dennis Davenport makes annual donations to the scholarship fund along with fundraisers from the Post. Darrell Tucker indicates that there is a state AmVets scholarship as well.
The Clinton Amvets Post 14 scholarship application is available in the Clinton High School Guidance office, online at cusd15.org, and from any Post 14 member. The local and state applications are due March 1.
After a record-setting cold followed by an 80-degree improvement in temperature, the last thing likely on the minds of Clinton residents is the status of the summer maintenance schedule, but that is exactly what Public Works Director Steve Lobb is thinking about.
Planning and evaluation are primarily at the front of mind for Lobb and his crews. He indicates they are evaluating areas that need improvement and where the limited dollars they have can go the farthest.
According to Lobb, the majority of the funds for summer work comes for the motor fuel tax and those have been pulled from cities' revenue streams for many years now.
As dollars dwindle and dwindle from the budgets for annual street work, Lobb notes the costs of construction continue to go up and that is causing a problem.
Among the challenges of keeping up with road work locally, Lobb says the inevitable mandates lawmakers hand down and most just increase the cost of a project.
Lobb says there are projects that need attention now and the list is only going to grow and he notes that is going to lead to some areas only getting worse before they get better.
Hemp is on the mind of the new acting Director of Illinois Ag. John Sullivan is set to take over an agency that is looking at or currently regulating some unique crops.
The IDOA is a regulator of medical marijuana and soon to be involved in setting the rules for growing industrial hemp. He wants producers to have plenty of choices when it comes to growing the crop.
Sullivan also wants to see what IDOA and the state can to about boosting rural broadband speeds.
New Illinois Department of Agriculture Director John Sullivan has laid out some of his top priorities.
They include expanding high-speed internet access in Illinois and continuing to grow ag education opportunities.
New Governor J.B. Pritzker picked Sullivan as his choice to lead the state ag department back in late December.
A tough decision by a fire chief results in being invited to the State of the Union on Tuesday.
Taylorville Fire Chief Mike Cruz canceled a city wide Christmas parade the evening a tornado struck that Christian County town. Cruz made the decision hours before the annual celebration was set to begin. Republican Congressman Rodney Davis who invited Cruz says he wants to honor someone who made a heroic decision no matter the outcome.
The Taylorville tornado injured more than 20 people but did not kill anyone.
Land of Lincoln Goodwill Industries has announced they will be opening a new Clinton location and it will be adjacent to the recently announced Tractor Supply store in the old Walmart building.
The retailer plans an opening of late spring or early summer. The 78-hundred square foot store will be the 15th retail location in central Illinois, headquartered in Springfield.
The new location will provide both new and gently worn clothes for men, women, teens and children in addition to housewares, shoes, accessories, jewelry and small appliances as well as a special boutique section.
Additionally, the store will serve as a drop-off location.
The planned hours of the store will be from 9 am to 9 pm Monday through Saturday and then 11 am to 7 pm on Sundays.
This story will be updated.
If you've noticed the signage at Warner Hospital and Health Services being spotty and inconsistent in its functionality, you're not alone.
Administration at the city-owned entity is aiming to fix the issues once and for all. CEO Paul Skowron indicates they've been dealing with issues with their electronic sign on Van Buren Street for some time and he feels it's time they get it taken care of.
Skowron indicates the new sign will be a huge improvement with better clarity and they will be able to easier get messages out to the community.
Along with the new signage, Skowron indicates they are adding new computers to help keep up with the new system. He says these are all budgeted improvements and hopes it increases the visibility of all the things happening at Warner Hospital and Health Services.
With the Zoning Board of Appeals hearings to begin on a proposed wind farm in DeWitt County, Tradewind Energy says they are excited about the upcoming series of hearings.
Tom Swierczewski is project development manager for the Alta Farms II wind project in northwest DeWitt County and he indicates they are excited to get their story and plans out for the first time to the public.
The much-anticipated series of meetings will be held at Clinton High School starting tomorrow night with several hundred expected to be in attendance throughout the few weeks of the testimony. Swierczewski says they will be available for questions from the ZBA and the public.
The ZBA has set aside two weeks for the hearings. Swierczewski says they are looking forward to the hearings and are hoping once they wrap up they can get before the County Board, get approval there and begin their project.
Swiercewski says they are continuing negotiations with Arcosa, formerly Trinity Structural Towers, and they hope they can reach an agreement upon getting their special use permit. He indicates Arcosa serviced the towers that are now at the Mt. Pulaski wind farm.
The dates for the hearings will be Tuesday, February 5. Then Thursday, February 7 and Friday, February 8 and then February 19 through February 22 (Tuesday-Friday).
The hearings will last from 5 pm to 10 pm.
Anyone wishing to speak before the ZBA must sign up on the first night of the hearings otherwise your testimony will not be heard.
After all the testimonies have been heard, the ZBA will make their decision, however that date has not been determined.
A mild warm-up is coming to central Illinois following the unbearably cold of the mid-week and the National Weather Service says don't get used to it.
Curt Huttle with the National Weather Service in Lincoln says after a brief warmup this weekend and early this week, we're going to go back to more seasonable temperatures.
If you were hoping for a warmer spring, Huttle says it might not be shaping up to pan out. In terms of severe weather, it's still a little early to predict what could be coming down the pike.
Huttle indicates April is going to be cool, but looking like it won't be as cool as last year. Additionally, he says we could be looking a little drier April, especially compared to last year when it snowed five inches on Easter Sunday.
Local deer harvest figures are up for the 2018-19 hunting season.
DNR Conservation Police Sergeant John Williamson says the across central Illinois, figures are up.
Williamson indicates the early hunting season produced better results than the later season. He feels weather had a lot to do with the early success. He adds the boost in deer taken indicates the deer population has rebounded from the CWD outbreak of 2012-2013.
After the 2013 CWD outbreak, Williamson indicates the decision to let the deer population work itself out without restricting permits has worked itself out, as it has before.
Williamson says this time of the year, you're likely to encounter deer in the mid-to-late afternoon when the day is the warmest.
Senator Dick Durbin says America needs a cure for its cure when it comes to cost. Durbin says he has a plan to curb the cycle of prescription price hikes. He will unveil the FLAT Act (The Forcing Limits on Abusive and Tumultuous (FLAT) Drug Prices Act of 2019) next week along with Iowa Republican Charles Grassley.
Durbin says big Pharma companies are benefitting from a government granted monopoly and that's led to price hikes for drugs old and new. Durbin is especially troubled with the needs to diabetics....
Durbin's legislation would end Food and Drug Administration exclusivity for a drug with price increases of ten percent in a year. Current monopoly periods of 5 to 12 years for pharmaceuticals prevent production of generic equivalents and Durbin says that opens the door to radical price hikes.
GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER IS SIGNING AN EXECUTIVE ORDER THAT BOOSTS THE STATE’S EFFORTS IN FIGHTING THE H-I-V EPIDEMIC.
ABOUT 40 THOUSAND ILLINOISANS ARE LIVING WITH H-I-V…AND MORE THAN 13-HUNDRED CASES ARE DIAGNOSED EACH YEAR. GOVERNOR PRITZKER SAYS THIS ORDER WILL RE-INVEST IN PREVENTION AND TESTING SERVICES.
AIDS FOUNDATION OF CHICAGO PRESIDENT JOHN PELLER. HE SAYS EFFORTS TO REACH OUT TO MINORITIES ARE ESPECIALLY CRITICAL.
THE ORDER ALSO REQUIRES THE STATE TO WORK WITH MEDICAID MANAGE CARE COMPANIES TO ENSURE THOSE LIVING WITH H-I-V ARE GETTING THE HEALTHCARE THEY NEED.
Nicor Gas stores about 150 million cubic feet of gas every year for use in the winter.
Spokesman Bernie Anderson says the company buys it in the summer when the rates are lowest. It’s pumped into the ground in places like Troy Grove.
Anderson says on peak use days, like this week when temperatures were below minus-ten, the stored gas fills customer demand. Nicor says about a third of the gas it delivers over the winter has been stored since summer.
"Think Global, Eat Local" a new program offered by the University of Illinois Extension Offices.
The effort aims to assist community members in addressing the need for additional food access. The extension's Chris Lueking says stats from a recent study show a certain percentage of Americans struggle to get the food they need.
Lueking says the webinar opens February 21st at Noon and it’s a great way to learn how to provide your community with healthier food options.
You can find out more at web-dot-extension-dot-illinois-dot-edu or by contacting your local extension office.
The American Red Cross is putting out an emergency call for blood and platelet donors, as the recent winter storms and government shutdown together have combined to limit the donations received in recent weeks.
Agency organizers are asking you to find a blood drive near you and roll up your sleeve. Joe Zydlo, spokesman for the American Red Cross, says Mother Nature and some lawmakers combined to create this unfortunate circumstance.
The Red Cross must collect approximately 14,000 blood and platelet donations every day for the patients at about 2,600 hospitals and transfusion centers nationwide. You can find a list of blood drives near you at www.redcrossblood.org
THE ILLINOIS STATE POLICE IS BOOSTING ENFORCEMENT EFFORTS FOR SUPER BOWL WEEKEND.
MORE TROOPERS WILL BE ON THE ROADS THIS WEEKEND, LOOKING FOR WHAT THEY CALL THE “FATAL FOUR”: SPEEDING, DRUNK DRIVING, NOT WEARING A SEATBELT AND DISTRACTED DRIVING. TROOPER MINDY CARROLL ASKS PEOPLE CELEBRATE THE GAME RESPONSIBLY.
THE STATE POLICE IS URGING THE PUBLIC TO PARTY RESPONSIBLY THIS WEEKEND. THAT INCLUDES MAKING SURE YOU HAVE A SAFE WAY TO GET HOME.
DURING LAST YEAR’S SUPER BOWL WEEKEND…STATE POLICE ISSUED MORE THAN 23-HUNDRED TICKETS AND INVESTIGATED THREE ALCOHOL RELATED CRASHES.
This week featured record cold and then a warmup in the 50s this weekend. So what is ahead? State Climatologist Office spokesperson Brian Kerschner has the details....
February 1, 1839, was the first time the Baptist Church of Clinton began serving the community and this weekend they will be celebrating 180 years in Clinton.
Paster John Roberson says they have a Sunday full of celebratory happenings. From a gospel choir to a fried chicken lunch, he is excited about celebrating with his congregation and the community.
Roberson indicates it's a great accomplishment to have a church that has existed and thrived for 180 years and he feels a great deal of responsibility in leading the First Baptist Church of Clinton.
Roberson says if First Baptist Church isn't the oldest church in Clinton, it is one of the oldest. He says the Church was formed just four years after Clinton was founded and has been in four different locations across the 180 years with only 40 pastors to lead their congregation.
The DeWitt County Development Council's monthly business spotlight on Regional Radio News continued this February when Lance White from the State Bank of Lincoln joined the WHOW Morning Show.
White is a Clinton native who has been with the State Bank of Lincoln in various capacities for 25 years now.
White has been with the DeWitt County Development Council for two years as their secretary. David Torbert, President of the DCDC Board, indicates White has been instrumental in revamping their Revolving Loan Fund.
White indicates the DCDC has made the Revolving Loan Fund more business-friendly. Next week on Regional Radio News, we'll have more details on those changes.
Clinton's KFC/Taco Bell is now just a Kentucky Fried Chicken.
Management at the location indicated to employees the Taco Bell franchise of the location ceased at midnight Thursday.
All Taco Bell signage inside the restaurant has been removed.
Upon a visit to the location on State Highway 54, no one was available for comment.
Regional Radio News reached out to corporate offices for both KFC and Taco Bell for comment with no immediate response.
If you want to get Valentine's season off to a fast start, the downtown business community in Bloomington is offering up a free event featuring chocolate and wine.
Candace Summers with the McLean County Museum indicates they will be taking part in the event with their peers in downtown Bloomington. The 'Tour de Chocolat' is tonight (Friday) and Summers says you'll want to make sure you hit all the businesses participating.
Summers says the offerings by all the businesses are worth coming out for and hopes you'll stop into the McLean County Museum to check out their gift shop or simply learn more about them. The event is from 5 pm to 8 pm.
To more information on the event, visit downtownbloomington.org.
PATIENTS IN ILLINOIS NOW HAVE ANOTHER OPTION WHEN IT COMES TO PAIN MANAGEMENT.
THE OPIOID ALTERNATIVE PILOT PROGRAM IS NOW OPEN…LETTING THOSE WHO TAKE POWERFUL AND ADDICTIVE PAINKILLERS USE MEDICAL MARIJUANA INSTEAD. ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH SPOKESPERSON MELANEY ARNOLD SAYS THOSE INTERESTED NEED TO VISIT THEIR DOCTOR.
THROUGH THE OPIOID ALTERNATIVE PILOT PROGRAM…PATIENTS CAN GET MEDICAL MARIJUANA INSTEAD OF THE ADDICTIVE PAINKILLERS THEY ARE CURRENTLY USING.
PATIENTS WILL THEN GET AN ELECTRONIC CARD TO USE AT A LOCAL MEDICAL CANNABIS DISPENSARY. THE REGISTRATION IS VALID FOR 90 DAYS AND CAN BE RENEWED IF A DOCTOR AGREES.
Regional Radio News has learned that officials with Preferred Care Medical Center in Monticello, have closed that office effective today.
Preferred Care opened their Monticello office just over a year ago. They continue to operate other locations in Eureka, El Paso, Roanoke, and Metamora.