Local News

Portion Of Closed Off Clinton Lake Reopens Near Power Plant

The portion of Clinton Lake near the power plant is going to be open at a no-wake speed. 

 

DNR Conservation Sergeant John Williamson indicates from IP Point to the Route 48 bridge is open after 20 years of being closed for Homeland Security purposes after the attacks of September 11.

 

 

Communications Manager at Exelon Clinton Power Station, Gabe Goldsmith says this is their way of giving back to the community.

 

 

Williamson says Clinton Lake levels are starting to normalize after a lot of rain this spring. Forecasts for this Memorial Day Weekend are showing chances or rain but mild temperatures. 

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The Vault Still Looking For Volunteers For Partnership Program With Big Brothers Big Sisters

The Vault in Clinton is still seeking volunteers for a partnership program with Big Brothers Big Sisters of DeWitt County.

 

Michelle Witzke with The Vault in Clinton explains they need young adults who would be willing to mentor a junior high school or high school student to step up for a couple of hours a month. She says they have a lot of kids that need someone they can look up to and be a role model for them.

 

 

According to Witzke, they are very much in need of mentors for junior high and high school boys. She estimates they have around 15 youths ready for a big. Witzke indicates they will be hosting an informational meeting for parents, teens and interested mentors on June 26 from 6 pm to 7 pm at The Vault. 

 

 

As the summer gets closer, The Vault is also seeking daytime volunteers. She says they have plenty of help in the evening but when they expand their hours during the day, they will need help to the tune of about four hours a week.

 

 

Witzke adds at their June 26 meeting, representatives from Big Brothers Big Sisters will be on hand with information and available for questions. 

 

To get more information on becoming a 'big' for a young junior high or high school student or to learn about volunteering during the day at The Vault this summer, you can call 217-934-4003 or 309-212-7332 or email thevaultclinton@gmail.com. 

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Warrensburg-Latham Schools Targeting A Lot of Work This Summer

A number of projects will occupy staff at Warrensburg-Latham schools this summer.

 

Superintendent Dr. Kristen Kendrick-Weikle says they will shut down their middle school for removal of floor tiles that contain asbestos. Additionally, they plan to redo their ceiling tiles for better optics but also to update their technology infrastructure.

 

 

According to Dr. Kendrick-Weikle, their buildings are all in one community and one central campus and are in very good condition. While making summer projects easier, she says that is a big advantage for their families.

 

 

Dr. Kendrick-Weikle indicates the district is fortunate to maintain quality facilities thanks to the one-cent sales tax that comes from Macon County taxes and is designated for facility improvements. At the same time, districts levy taxes for a fund called 'health-life-safety' funds. 

 

 

Dr. Kendrick-Weikle feels the one-cent sales tax money is a great resource expense they know are coming and allows them to put funds away and preserve their general tax dollars for other things. 

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Bloomington Zoo Makes National Headlines

The Miller Park Zoo in Bloomington made headlines with outlets like CBS and CNN after euthanizing a flamingo due to injuries sustained when a youth skipped a rock into the exhibit.

 

Superintendent of the Miller Park Zoo, Jay Tetzloff, in a written statement to Regional Radio News said quote - "a juvenile guest accidentally injured a flamingo on Monday by skipping a rock into the habitat. Unfortunately, staff determined the best course of action given the animal's injuries was to euthanize the bird. This was a truly unfortunate accident, and we are working with the juvenile's family to move forward."

 

The flamingo exhibit is just a couple years old and was one of the first major projects of a master plan approved roughly five years ago. 

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Clinton School Administrators Discuss Reaching Every Student

Tuesday night at the Clinton Board of Education, district building leaders discussed with the Board what they are doing to make sure they are reaching every student in their building.

 

Learning in the 21st-century world has changed a great deal and educators are being trained to recognize what moves the needle for each student. Principal of Lincoln and Douglas Schools, Beth Wickenhauser says the challenge they face is how do they recognize that in their students and how do they reach them where they are.

 

 

The word of the year at Clinton Elementary School is "relationships". Principal Sasha Young, who will be a guest on the WHOW Morning Wednesday morning, says they have seen great results by intentionally seeking relationships with their students.

 

 

A team was put together to explore goals for restorative practices and first-year assistant principal at Clinton Junior High School, Jim Peck explains their team worked on setting an example of how to communicate and set a culture. 

 

 

The Clinton High School automotive class was able to showcase their restored Chevy Grand Prix and Principal Jerry Wayne says while its great they are giving their kids the opportunity to find skills they may not have known they had, he feels there remain larger challenges that need to be addressed to fully tap into the potential of their youth.

 

 

With minimal action gaining much discussion among the Board Tuesday, the Board approved a contract extension with FFA instructor, Lee Deal. The Board approved the summer maintenance projects and softball field upgrades. 

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DeWitt County Mental Health Board Hosting Night For First Responders

First responders of DeWitt County will converge on The Abigail in Clinton this Friday night for a special appreciation night and training.

 

Katie Arnold with the 708 Board says they will have a night to recognize the first responders of the County as well as a special guest for a training opportunity.

 

 

According to Arnold, first responders face very difficult circumstances sometimes and often times they will need support after various situations and so this is an opportunity to provide them with that support.

 

 

Arnold says this is well timed as May is Mental Health Awareness month. She feels it is important to recognize the first responders and show appreciation for what they do for the community.

 

Again the dinner is this Friday at The Abigail in Clinton and it is free. Dinner is served from 5 pm to 8 pm and the training is from 6 pm to 10 pm. 

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Rep. Caulkins Speaks Out Opposing Graduated Income Tax Proposal

On Monday evening, the Democrat majority passed a graduated income tax amendment out of the House Revenue and Finance Committee, over Republican objections.

 

 State Representative Dan Caulkins spoke out against Gov. Pritzker’s graduated tax hike and voted against the proposal in committee.

 

 

SJRCA 1 passed out of the House Revenue and Finance Committee on a partisan vote of 9-6, with all Republican members voting ‘No.’ The graduated income tax constitutional amendment now goes to the full House of Representatives for a final vote. If approved by the House, the constitutional amendment would be placed on the November 2020 general election ballot.

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More Reaction to Recreational Marijuana

Smart Approaches to Marijuana-Illinois or SAM-IL, wants state lawmakers to slow down and consider the best options before rushing headlong into the legalization of recreational marijuana. 

 

 

Colton Grace is a spokesman for SAM-IL. Representatives of SAM-IL are continuing to lobby against the current legalization legislation which the organization claims does not account for DUI enforcement or the regulation of home grown marijuana.

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Lincoln Tower Set To Tower Over Downtown Springfield

Abraham Lincoln has towered over Downtown Springfield in a figurative sense since the mid 19th Century. Starting Wednesday, he'll do so literally. 

 

A traveling 31 foot tall Lincoln statue will be installed next week in front of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum. The statue of Lincoln standing next to a modern man holding the Gettysburg Address recently ended his stay in front of Peoria's Riverfront Museum. Scott Dahl with the Springfield Convention and Visitors Bureau is confident Honest Abe will go viral...

 

 

The Lincoln state will remain in Springfield until September, 2020. 

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Lawmakers Pass Gender Nuetral Bathroom Bill

LAWMAKERS PASSED A BILL TUESDAY ENSURING ALL SINGLE-OCCUPANCY RESTROOMS ARE GENDER NEUTRAL.

 

SUPPORTERS SAY THIS WILL BENEFIT TRANSGENDER PEOPLE, PARENTS TAKING THEIR OPPOSITE-SEX CHILDREN TO THE BATHROOM AND ADULTS NEEDING HELP FROM A CAREGIVER. THE MEASURE IS SPONSORED BY REPRESENTATIVE SAM YINGLING OF ROUND LAKE BEACH.

 

 

THE MEASURE EASILY PASSED AND IF SIGNED INTO LAW BY THE GOVERNOR, WOULD TAKE EFFECT IN JANUARY. A COUPLE OF OTHER STATES HAVE A SIMILAR LAW.

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Lawmakers Pass Bill Prohibiting Smoking in Vehicles With Kids

STATE LAWMAKERS ARE WORKING ON A BILL MAKING IT ILLEGAL TO SMOKE WITH KIDS IN THE CAR.

 

THE IDEA HAS BEEN AROUND FOR YEARS IN HOPES OF PROTECTING CHILDREN FROM SECONDHAND SMOKE. THE LATEST VERSION IS SPONSORED BY SENATOR JULIE MORRISON OF DEERFIELD WHO SAYS IT WOULD BE A SECONDARY OFFENSE. THAT MEANS POLICE COULDN’T SOLELY PULL SOMEONE OVER FOR SMOKING WITH KIDS IN THE CAR.

 

 

SENATOR LAURA MURPHY OF DES PLAINES SAYS THIS MAY BE TOO MUCH GOVERNMENT INTERFERENCE IN PEOPLE’S LIVES.

 

 

THE LEGISLATION MAKES THE CRIME A PETTY OFFENSE, WITH A FINE OF UP TO 100 DOLLARS. SOME ADDITIONAL TWEAKS COULD STILL BE MADE BEFORE IT’S VOTED ON IN THE SENATE.

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Illinois Chamber Official: Graduated Tax Plan Needs Numbers

The full Illinois House is now set to consider legislation that would give the voters the chance to create a graduated tax system in Illinois where wealthy residents pay a larger percentage of their income. Tyler Diers with the Illinois Chamber of Commerce believes voters will want specifics, namely hard numbers.....

 

 

The legislation moved out of the House Revenue Committee on Monday

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Sick Clinton High School Student Cleared of Suspected Mumps Case

Results indicate a student at Clinton High School who was suspected to have contracted mumps was cleared after results came back negative.

 

Early last week, it was suspected a student may have contracted mumps and parents were notified by school nurse Jill Martin. 

 

School dismisses for the summer next Friday. 

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DeWitt County Bright Futures Transition Part of Sustainability Plan

Yesterday (Monday) on Regional Radio News, we outlined the DeWitt County Substance Abuse Coalition's plans to absorb the Coalition for Bright Futures and Tuesday, Tony Kirkman from the Piatt County Mental Health Center stopped by the WHOW Morning Show to talk about that transition on their end.

 

He explains five years ago, they received a grant to help address the epidemic of underage drinking in DeWitt and Piatt Counties. Early on in their existence, they went through some transitions but kept their goals largely intact.

 

 

According to Kirkman, the grant required a sustainability plan after five years, which expires later this summer. That is where their transition to becoming a sub-committee of the DeWitt County Substance Abuse Coalition came in.

 

 

Kirkman indicates around $75,000 will go away upon the expiration of their grant. He says that means a workforce reduction but another grant will help them to continue their efforts of outreach and education.

 

 

You can learn more about the Coalition for Bright Futures by finding them on Facebook by searching "We Are More". You can also attend the DeWitt County Substance Abuse Coalition Meetings at The Vault in Clinton. They meet on the third Tuesday of each month at 10 am. 

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Clinton Board of Education to Hear About Automotives Class Project

When the Clinton Board of Education gathers tonight at their regular monthly board meeting, High School principal Jerry Wayne will highlight his automotive class achievement of building a car from almost the ground up.

 

Wayne indicates Wayne Snearly, high school automotive teacher, has helped his students to build a car from the ground up. A shell of a car and parts have all been purchased to make this happen and it has almost been exclusively been built by the students.

 

 

On the agenda for tonight's school board meeting is a presentation by the automotive class and Wayne is hopeful the students will be able to showcase the vehicle for the Board.

 

 

Wayne could not be more proud of the work by the automotive students and says these are skills their students are learning that can lead them down a career path in the future or just be skills they carry with them throughout their lives.

 

 

Tonight the Board of Education, among other items, will approve a contract extension of FFA Advisor Lee Deal, approve summer maintenance projects and upgrades to the softball field at the high school. 

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Weekly Crop Report

FARMERS FINALLY GOT A LITTLE TIME IN THE FIELDS THIS PAST WEEK…BUT REMAIN WELL BEHIND LAST YEAR’S PACE.

 

ABOUT TWO AND A HALF DAYS WERE SUITABLE FOR FIELDWORK…GIVING PRODUCERS A CHANCE TO START CATCHING UP SAYS CROP STATISTICIAN MARK SCHLEUSENER.

 

 

NINE PERCENT OF SOYBEANS HAVE BEEN PLANTED AND TWO PERCENT HAVE EMERGED. 

 

 

64 PERCENT OF WINTER WHEAT IS HEADING AND THE FIRST CUTTING OF ALFALFA HAY IS NOW FIVE PERCENT COMPLETE. AVERAGE STATEWIDE TOPSOIL MOISTURE NOW STANDS AT 44 PERCENT ADEQUATE AND 56 PERCENT SURPLUS.

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House Committee Passes Tax Proposal

The move to change Illinois flat income tax structure is another step closer for voters to consider in two years. It’s a long process but another rung has been climbed on the ladder as a house committee advanced a bill on Monday to the full house for consideration. However the bill out of committee looks quite a bit different than the Senate version did – as the house is choosing not to set tax rates at this time. The President of the Illinois Manufacturing Association Mark Denzler says this proposal sets Illinoisans up to be taxed out of the state. 

 

 

A few more steps still remain; the full house needs to approve it along with getting a signature from the Governor. Then it goes to the public for approval on the November 2020 ballot. 

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Clinton City Commissioner on Former Mayor Stites: Above All, He Was Just A Good Man

Clinton City Commissioner Tom Edmunds was one many individuals that worked with Mayor Stan Stites, who passed away last week at his Clinton home. 

 

Monday night at the Clinton City Council meeting, Commissioner Edmunds recalled his time working with the two-term Mayor who suffered a heart attack while in office and made sure Edmunds was one of his first calls.

 

 

Mayor Roger Cyrulik joined Edmunds remembrance mentioning Stites wrote a couple plays in his post-mayor years. Edmunds says along with being a good mayor, Stites was a good man.

 

 

At the Monday night City Council meeting....

 

>>The Council approved the financial audits and TIF Funds audit with Floyd and Associates, CPAs

 

>>The Council approved the water tower cleaning with Difco, Inc. at a cost of $5250.

 

>>The Council approved a chemical testing machine for the water department at a cost just short of $4700 through Hach.

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DeWitt County Sheriff Talks Pot Legislation

Law enforcement has been outspoken about a proposal to legalize recreational marijuana in Illinois and Monday morning, DeWitt County Sheriff Mike Walker joined in.

 

The Sheriff says the proposal is costly beyond what it brings in. Monday morning on the WHOW Morning Show, Sheriff Walker points to other states that have legalized recreational pot, their revenue is not at all what they projected, plus, they are finding other issues accompanying the changes.

 

 

Those against the legalization says there is also an increase in public safety liabilities. Sheriff Walker says those that vote for this are supporting a bill that increases traffic accidents and deaths.

 

 

Perhaps the biggest argument the law enforcement community is pushing is the fact they have no way to monitor how much marijuana may be in an impaired drivers system. Sheriff Walker says it's not as easy as determining as with alcohol.

 

 

Proponents of the legislation say they have considered what other states have done with their legislation and it takes those lessons into account as they craft a bill in Springfield. 

 

Sheriff Walker also expressed concerns regarding having enough officers and resources to enforce the laws locally.

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Summer Maintenance Bids To Go On File At City Council Meeting Tonight

When the Clinton City Council convenes tonight, the singular bid for summer maintenance will go on file for the annual summer maintenance projects.

 

Public Works Director, Steve Lobb, says they have roughly 35-40 blocks of city roadways they are targeting with this year's budget. He explains they'll strip and repair the roads and seal coat them with oil and chip and while the public may not like that method of road repair, Lobb points out it is the most cost-effective and overall effective way to repair the secondary roads. 

 

 

According to Lobb, the plans are set for where the oil and chip will take place and those maps are available at City Hall. He notes for now that could change depending on how much bids come in at.

 

 

Mother nature dictates when crews are able to get out and get the work done but Lobb says most years they are able to get everything taken care around July and August. 

 

 

Lobb reminds the public, motor fuel tax money typically totals roughly $100,000. While the City brings in around $170,000, they have been putting money aside for big projects like the recently announced $1-million Center Street project. Lobb adds the limited amount of money doesn't allow them to tackle all the projects that need to be taken care of.

 

The bid that will go on file tonight at the Clinton City Council will be for just over $99,400 from Illiana Construction Company. 

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DeWitt County Bright Futures Coalition Now Committee Under DeWitt County Substance Abuse Coalition

The DeWitt County Bright Futures Coalition is now a committee of the DeWitt County Substance Abuse Coalition.

 

President of the Substance Abuse Coalition, Jeff DeLaughter says the Bright Futures Coalition was charged with addressing the epidemic of underage drinking in DeWitt and Piatt Counties and now they will be under the umbrella of the Coalition.

 

 

According to DeLaughter, they will have a representative from the Bright Futures Coalition that will represent them on the Substance Abuse Coalition. He says they will continue their mission or outreach and education to Piatt County and DeWitt County youth to prevent underage drinking.

 

 

The best way to find more about the DeWitt County Substance Abuse Coalition is to visit their Facebook page or to join them for their monthly meetings, the third Tuesday of each month at 10 am at The Vault in Clinton. Their May meeting is tomorrow (Tuesday) morning at 10 am. 

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DeWitt County Emergency Officials Promoting Code Red System

As the weather begins to warm up, the chances are increasing for unexpected severe weather.

 

With that in mind, local officials are promoting the Code Red emergency alert system for DeWitt County. Tony Harris, Director for DeWitt County CENCOM, explains the system is essentially an alert system for the public when events arise.

 

 

The public has plenty of options upon getting signed up for the system. Harris says you can enter your address and select how you want to be notified, whether that be by email, phone call or even text message.

 

 

According to Harris, those that lack access to the internet to get signed up can contact the DeWitt County Sheriff's Office, DeWitt County EMA or even Harris at DeWitt County CENCOM and they can take care of the registration themselves. 

 

Contact information for all those offices and a link to the Code Red system is available at dewittcountyill.com. You can also get the same link at the City of Clinton website by visiting clintonillinois.com. 

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Student Debt Remains Problem, Hundreds of Plans Promoted

May is graduation month at colleges and universities across Illinois and May 29th serves as National 529 College Savings Day. 

 

Joe Buhrmann, manager in Financial Planning Support at COUNTRY Financial says student loan debt remains a growing problem and college savings plans can help alleviate the burden.

 

 

In addition to college savings plans, Buhrmann also encourages families to consider the military as an avenue for higher education and also to aggressively pursue grants and scholarships to lower the financial burden of college. 

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Secretary of State Announces Education Campaign on Move Over Law

SECRETARY OF STATE JESSE WHITE’S OFFICE IS LAUNCHING A PUBLIC EDUCATION CAMPAIGN ON ILLINOIS’ MOVE OVER LAW. 

 

REMINDERS WILL BE ADDED TO DRIVER’S LICENSE AND VEHICLE REGISTRATION RENEWAL NOTICES AND A TEST QUESTION WILL BE ADDED TO THE WRITTEN DRIVING EXAM. THE LAW REQUIRES MOTORISTS TO SLOW DOWN AND SWITCH LANES IF THEY SEE FLASHING LIGHTS ON THE SIDE OF THE ROAD SAYS SECRETARY WHITE.

 

 

DRIVERS CONVICTED OF VIOLATING THE MOVE OVER LAW FACE A FINE OF BETWEEN 100 AND 10 THOUSAND DOLLARS.

 

 

SEVERAL STATE TROOPERS HAVE BEEN STRUCK BY PASSING MOTORISTS SO FAR THIS YEAR, INCLUDING THREE WHO HAVE DIED.

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Rebuild Illinois Plan from Pritzker

Rebuild Illinois is the branding for a capital plan from Democrat Governor JB Pritzker. 

 

The Governor unveiled the plan Friday to lawmakers it comes with spending and new taxes. Billions of fixes and updates are being called for on horizontal and vertical infrastructure projects. 

 

The draft projects spending $41 billion over six years. It will do so by doubling the motor fuel tax and bumping vehicle registration fees, boosting liquor taxes, altering video gaming taxes and the often sought but never realized tax on cable, satellite and streaming services.

 

This comes at a time when members of the Senate have been talking big about a capital plan of its own.

 

The spring session wraps at the end of May.

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Push for Lock and Dam Improvements Continues

Ag and transportation groups continue to bring attention to the nation’s aging lock and dam infrastructure. Plenty needs to be done says Paul Rohde with the Waterways Council.

 

 

Rohde says the infrastructure was built during the Works Progress Administration in 1939 with 19th century traffic in mind.

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Lawmakers Pass Bill Requiring Fire Alarms in Kennels

LEGISLATION HEADED TO THE GOVERNOR’S DESK AIMS TO BETTER PROTECT ANIMALS IN KENNELS.

 

THE BILL REQUIRES KENNELS THAT AREN’T STAFFED AROUND THE CLOCK TO BE EQUIPPED WITH A FIRE ALARM THAT AUTOMATICALLY NOTIFIES FIRST RESPONDERS. SENATOR DON DEWITTE OF ST. CHARLES SAYS IT WAS PROMPTED BY A TRAGIC FIRE IN WEST CHICAGO BACK IN JANUARY.

 

 

THE ALARM OR SPRINKLER SYSTEM WOULD HAVE TO BE INSTALLED IN EACH BUILDING OF THE FACILITY. IT’S NOW UP TO THE GOVERNOR TO SIGN THE BILL INTO LAW.

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Bill Would Let SNAP Recipients Use Benefits at Restaurants

SOME “SNAP” RECIPIENTS MAY SOON BE ABLE TO USE THEIR BENEFITS IN RESTAURANTS.

 

LAWMAKERS PASSED A BILL SETTING UP A PROGRAM WHERE THE ELDERLY, HOMELESS AND DISABLED CAN USE THEIR BENEFITS TO GET A GOOD MEAL AT A RESTAURANT. IT’S SUPPORTED BY SENATOR DAN MCCONCHIE OF HAWTHORN WOODS WHO USES A WHEELCHAIR.

 

 

CURRENTLY, SNAP BENEFITS, WHICH WORK LIKE FOOD STAMPS, CAN ONLY BE USED AT GROCERY STORES AND FARMERS MARKETS. THE BILL STILL NEEDS TO BE SIGNED INTO LAW BY THE GOVERNOR.

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State Police Announce Results from Distracted Driving Week Detail

ILLINOIS STATE POLICE TROOPERS ISSUED MORE THAN 560 TICKETS DURING A SPECIAL DISTRACTED DRIVING EFFORT.

 

DURING DISTRACTED DRIVING WEEK LAST MONTH…TROOPERS ACROSS THE STATE FOCUSED ON DRIVERS WHO WEREN’T PAYING ATTENTION BECAUSE OF TEXTING OR TALKING ON THEIR CELLPHONES. TROOPERS ISSUED 569 DISTRACTED DRIVING CITATIONS DURING THAT TIME…AND ANOTHER 57-HUNDRED TICKETS FOR OTHER VIOLATIONS. LIEUTENANT JOE HUTCHINS SAYS THEY HOPE PEOPLE REALIZE HOW DANGEROUS THEIR BEHAVIOR IS.

 

 

AS PART OF THE EFFORT…STATE POLICE ALSO PROVIDED OVER 250 HOURS OF PUBLIC EDUCATION ON DISTRACTED DRIVING TO SCHOOLS AND COMMUNITY GROUP.

 

 

STATE POLICE URGE DRIVERS TO PUT DOWN THEIR PHONES AND AVOID OTHER DISTRACTIONS THAT MAY NOT BE ILLEGAL BUT CAN STILL TAKE YOUR EYES AND MIND OFF THE ROAD.

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Weekly Weather Summary

This week afforded many farmers time in the fields but a pause is likely coming as more rain, even some severe weather, is forecast for this week. State Climatologist Office Spokesperson Brian Kerschner has more....

 

 

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Law Enforcement Skeptical of Legal Weed

The bill for legalized marijuana in Illinois remains under conversation. It remains up for debate and possible changes as supporters seek passage and opponents remain skeptical that legal weed is good for the state. 

 

Speaking on behalf of the Illinois Sherriff’s Association Sangamon County Sherriff Jack Campbell says his group and most in law enforcement have some big concerns. They begin with being on the front lines of public safety and trying to determine who’s really driving high and what they can do to stop them.

 

 

Police groups also are concerned about the Home Grow component of the law. Worrying about how they really limit those over 21 to just five plants being grown for personal use. 

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Blue Ridge Looking Forward to Streetscape Work Outside Farmer City Campus

A Farmer City streetscape project that has been a long time in the making will finally come to fruition this summer and Blue Ridge officials are very excited.

As the school year comes to a close, each day brings the Farmer City campus of the Blue Ridge district closer to a project that will create better flow in the before and after school hours. Superintendent Susan Wilson says this project has been in the planning stages for some time and she's excited for it to get going.

 

 

The project is a city-developed project so it will be up to their contractors on when that will begin but Wilson is looking forward to having it complete in time for the start of school next year. 

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Lawmakers Pass Bill Making Penalties Tougher for Texting While Driving

NEW PENALTIES AWAIT SOME DISTRACTED DRIVERS UNDER LEGISLATION PASSED BY LAWMAKERS THURSDAY. 

IF YOU SERIOUSLY INJURE SOMEONE BECAUSE YOU ARE TEXTING AND DRIVING…YOUR LICENSE WILL BE SUSPENDED FOR ONE YEAR AND A FINE OF UP TO ONE THOUSAND DOLLARS WILL BE ASSESSED. SENATOR JIL TRACY OF QUINCY SAYS THE CHANGE WAS PROMPTED BY AN INCIDENT IN HER AREA.

 

 

TRACY ADDS IF YOU END UP SERIOUSLY HURTING SOMEONE BECAUSE YOU’RE ON YOUR PHONE WHILE DRIVING…EXPECT TO LOSE YOUR LICENSE FOR A YEAR AND PAY A FINE OF UP TO ONE THOUSAND DOLLARS.

 

 

IF SIGNED INTO LAW BY THE GOVERNOR…THE NEW PENALTIES WOULD TAKE EFFECT NEXT SUMMER.

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Lottery Announces New Ticket To Benefit Police Memorials

A NEW INSTANT LOTTERY TICKET WILL BENEFIT POLICE MEMORIALS AROUND THE STATE.

THE "BLUE" TICKET JOINS THE LOTTERY’S ROSTER OF SPECIALTY GAMES, AND ALL PROCEEDS WILL SUPPORT MEMORIALS HONORING FALLEN OFFICERS. HOUSE REPUBLICAN LEADER JIM DURKIN SPONSORED LEGISLATION CREATING THE NEW GAME. HE SAYS MONEY RAISED WILL ALSO GO TOWARDS THE COST OF BULLETPROOF VESTS.

 

 

ILLINOIS STATE POLICE ACTING DIRECTOR BRENDAN KELLY.....

 

 

THE BLUE TICKET COSTS TWO DOLLARS TO PLAY AND OFFERS A TOP PRIZE OF 20 THOUSAND DOLLARS.

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Clinton 4th Graders At DeWitt County Museum For Annual Ag Day

The DeWitt County Museum was the host Friday for the annual Ag Day put on by the DeWitt County Farm Bureau.

 

Ag Day brings together area implement dealers to showcase the latest in agriculture equipment and show Clinton Elementary fourth grade students what farming was like before advancements in technology allowed for more efficient farming. Executive Director of the DeWitt County Museum, Joey Woolridge says it is can be a real eye-opener for the students.

 

 

Director of the DeWitt County Farm Bureau Janel Baum-Thomas says Ag Day has become more than just a display of modern ag equipment and has become a more complete learning experience about agriculture.

 

 

Woolridge says Ag Day is a long-standing tradition that many people that haven't been back to the Homestead in some time will recall their earliest memories of the DeWitt County landmark as being the ag day event they attended in grade school. 

 

 

 

 

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Former Clinton Mayor Dies at Age 93

Former Clinton Mayor Stan Stites passed away Wednesday at his home in Clinton at the age of 93. 

 

Stites served as Mayor of Clinton for two terms from 1979-1987.  Major projects that were achieved during his service included changing the library - a city library with only a small city tax – to a district library that covered the same area as the school district. Tax funds from the nuclear power plant provided the Warner Library with money for its current facility on Quincy Street.

 

Mayor Stites learned that county and township motor-fuel tax could be used to help pay for a street from West Main to Route 10 which resulted in the city annexing the area which created Illini Drive.

 

Stites also helped secure a grant to build the DeWitt County Friendship Center. 

 

As mayor, Stites named the downtown park “Mr. Lincoln’s Square” to honor Lincoln.

 

A memorial service will be arranged at a later date. The family requests no flowers. Memorials can be made to the Clinton United Methodist Church where Stan previously served as lay leader.

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DeWitt County HRC To Change Encore Name

Encore Thrift Store will be modifying its name to better describe what they do.

 

Executive Director Stephanie Coonce is excited to finally reveal they will soon be known as "Encore Developmental Services". She indicates it was a long process to decide and finalize the name change and feels it better promotes what they do.

 

 

Leaders of the non-profit believe the name "DeWitt County Human Resource Center" has some negative stigmas and connotations surrounding it and they felt it was time for a fresh start.

 

 

President of the Board for Encore, Gary Gullone, says Encore has come a long way in the last four to five years. He points to their improvements to the facility and the financial stability as proof of that.

 

 

Gullone indicates Encore continues to receive money from the 708 Board and Coonce points out they also receive support from United Way and the State Farm Good Neighbor program that allows them to work their client's speech and communication skills. 

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Time Running Out on Spring Session

So much to do with so little time to do it. That is how some feel about the legislative work ahead for lawmakers as the May spring session is ending in about two weeks. Lawmakers have to debate and vote on sports gambling legalization, marijuana legalization, changes to the income tax structure and maybe even a capital bill. Democrat Governor JB Pritzker says it seems packed but there is time to get it all done. 

 

 

And lawmakers have to approve a budget for the next fiscal year too.

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Jobs Up, Unemployment Unchanged in Illinois in April

JOBS WERE UP LAST MONTH IN ILLINOIS.

 

THE STATE UNEMPLOYMENT RATE HELD STEADY AT FOUR POINT FOUR PERCENT IN APRIL…BUT PAYROLL JOBS INCREASED BY NEARLY 21 THOUSAND. ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF EMPLOYMENT SECURITY SPOKESPERSON SAM SALUSTRO SAYS THE BIGGEST GAINS WERE SEEN IN LEISURE AND HOSPITALITY, PROFESSIONAL AND BUSINESS SERVICES AND CONSTRUCTION.

 

 

OVERALL IT WAS A PRETTY GOOD MONTH SAYS SALUSTRO.

 

 

JOB LOSSES WERE SEEN IN MANUFACTURING, INFORMATION AND TRADE, TRANSPORTATION AND UTILITIES. THE NATIONAL UNEMPLOYMENT RATE FOR APRIL CAME IN AT THREE POINT SIX PERCENT.

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House Republicans Demand Balanced Budget With No New Taxes

Last week, House Republican’s said the state can forgo tax and fee increases to balance the budget because state finances are in better shape than expected.  Thursday, with revised and confirmed revenue numbers in hand, members of the House Republican Caucus reiterated their belief that the Fiscal Year 2020 (FY20) budget can be balanced without any tax increases.

 

State Representative and Deputy Republican Leader Dan Brady (R-Bloomington) said while Governor Pritzker had earlier wanted to call for another pension holiday, today’s revenue figures show without any taxes increase, the state can pay for their pensions, in full, in FY20 and have a balanced budget.

 

 

Lawmakers have until May 31 to pass a budget. Under ex-Governor Bruce Rauner, Illinois did not make that deadline in three of his four years in office. 

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Central Illinois Senator Reacts to DCFS Report

A report came out mid-day Wednesday outlining the issues facing DCFS and Governor JB Pritzker says it is his focus to give the agency what they need to protect the state's children.

 

State Senator Chapin Rose has been talking about the issues surrounding DCFS for eight years and believes throwing more money at the agency is not going to solve the deep-rooted problems they face.

 

 

Rose says the things DCFS is concerning itself with right now is not what they should be focused on and points to specific examples in his district where they were impacting kids and communities in ways perhaps they shouldn't be.

 

 

Sen. Rose questions what is the function of DCFS. He explains they are being pulled in all sorts of directions and they have no direct purpose or function as outlined by the State of Illinois and feels if they had a mission, they could help them fix their issues.

 

 

Sen. Rose believes DCFS needs a quote - "functional, complete re-write to actually get to a point to where [they] can exist and function with any sanity". He questions if the objectives of DCFS as it exists currently is the best use of taxpayers money. 

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CHS Principal Addresses Possible Mumps Case

A Clinton High School student may have a case of the mumps and Clinton High School Principal Jerry Wayne weighed in on the situation Thursday morning.

 

On the WHOW Morning Show Thursday morning, Wayne told Regional Radio News they always keep the health of their students at the front of mind and in this time they are making sure students are very aware of what to do to keep from getting sick.

 

 

The vaccination debate continues to be fought by a small number in the public, Wayne says a vaccine doesn't necessarily mean complete immunity and points any parents with questions to their school nurse, Jill Martin. 

 

 

Mumps is primarily spread by direct contact with respiratory droplets. Students are advised to cover their nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing and washing their hands often. 

 

For questions or information, you can contact the district nurse, Jill Martin, by calling 217-935-8337, extension 1007.

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Clinton Police Chief Discusses Upcoming May Days

The annual May Days festival opens up tomorrow (Thursday) afternoon and it is sure to bring the crowds to the downtown area of Clinton.

 

Clinton Police Chief Ben Lowers says May Days is always a fun event for the community and surrounding areas and brings out the crowds. He reminds residents the area just south of the square will be blocked off for the carnival and the square will be blocked off for the duration of the festival this weekend.

 

 

Chief Lowers believes May Days a very clean and well-run festival that rarely brings any issues with it.

 

 

Chief Lowers asks those that plan to attend to leave the pets at home and also to plan to walk around the carnival and square area while leaving the bikes and skateboards at home. He notes if any of their officers encounter pets, bikes or skateboards, they will be asked to return those to their homes.

 

 

May Days are this Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday on the square in Clinton. For a full list of the weekend's activities, visit clintonilchamber.com/maydays-festival. 

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Heyworth Schools Pleasantly Surprised By Bids for School Renovation

Finding competitive bids is a challenge for area schools embarking on big-budget projects, that is unless you are Heyworth schools.

 

The Heyworth district is ready to launch a project that will renovate their athletic facilities along with a number of other smaller projects. Superintendent Lisa Taylor says they found their bids to be very competitive, something area districts are finding to be a challenge in this bidding environment.

 

 

According to Taylor, the Board has accepted the bids and construction is scheduled to begin once school is dismissed for the year. She says they are going to be taking on a new look for their classrooms and those decisions will be made this summer as well.

 

 

Taylor says some of the smaller projects include roofing improvements, boiler replacements, and asbestos work will take place this summer when students are not in the building. She also hopes their new gymnasium will be erected by the time students are back to school so most of the work can take place indoors as the weather begins to turn. She does not anticipate any interruptions to the school day come the new school year in the fall. 

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Pritzker Talks Marijuana

A group of Illinois prosecutors say a bill that would legalize possession and sale of marijuana for recreational use in Illinois has serious constitutional issues. 

 

Prosecutors with the Illinois State Attorneys Association say having lawmakers toss out pot-related convictions would be out of step with the law because lawmakers would issue pardons. 

 

Under the Illinois Constitution, only the Governor can issue pardons, Governor J.B. Pritzker believes the legislation is still in the legal clear....

 

 

Pritzker also says there is room for tweaks....

 

 

GOP State Senator Jason Barickman of Bloomington believes a mass pardon of all low-level marijuana convictions could eliminate the Constitutional issue. 

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Recreational Marijuana Discussions Continue in Springfield

TALKS ON RECREATIONAL MARIJUANA LEGISLATION CONTINUE IN SPRINGFIELD. 

 

THOSE TESTIFYING AT A SENATE HEARING INCLUDE JAY SHATTUCK WITH THE ILLINOIS CHAMBER OF COMMERCE, WHO SAYS EMPLOYERS HAVE SOME CONCERNS. HE OFFERS THESE SUGGESTIONS.

 

 

OTHERS FEAR KIDS WILL GET THEIR HANDS ON WEED…BUT SENATOR TOI (toy) HUTCHINSON OF OLYMPIA FIELDS SAYS THAT’S ALREADY HAPPENING.

 

 

POLICE SAY THEY CURRENTLY DON’T HAVE A WAY TO TEST DRIVERS FOR MARIJUANA AND SAY IT WILL BE IMPOSSIBLE TO ENFORCE THE FIVE HOMEGROWN PLANTS RULE. OTHERS RECOMMEND EXTENSIVE EDUCATION ABOUT THE RISKS OF MARIJUANA AND QUESTION NOT ALLOWING PEOPLE TO SMOKE IN PUBLIC.

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Report on DCFS Out; Governor Calls for Overhaul

GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER SAYS THE ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF CHILDREN AND FAMILY SERVICES IS EMBRACING RECOMMENDATIONS FROM AN INDEPENDENT REPORT ON THE AGENCY.

 

THE REPORT FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO’S CHAPIN HALL FOUND THAT D-C-F-S FOCUSES SO MUCH ON KEEPING FAMILIES INTACT, THAT CHILDREN IN ABUSIVE SITUATIONS ARE LEFT IN DANGER. GOVERNOR PRITZKER SAYS IT’S TIME FOR AN OVERHAUL.

 

 

GOVERNOR PRITZKER SAYS SOME CHANGES ARE ALREADY UNDERWAY SUCH AS REVIEWING THE MOST PRESSING CASES AND RETRAINING CASEWORKERS. OTHERS WILL BE MADE OVER THE NEXT SEVERAL MONTHS.

 

 

GOVERNOR PRITZKER SAYS D-C-F-S WILL IMMEDIATELY REVIEW OPEN HIGH-RISK CASES AND EXPAND TRAINING PROGRAMS FOR CASEWORKERS. A CRISIS INTERVENTION TEAM WILL REVIEW ANY CHILD DEATHS TO DETERMINE WHAT WENT WRONG.

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Clinton Crime Stoppers Seeking Information About Tuesday Bomb Threat at Clinton Junior High School

The Clinton Police Department is seeking your help and information in solving a bomb threat that was reported from the Clinton Jr. High School.    

 

On May 14, 2019, the Clinton Police Department responded to the Clinton Jr. High School located at 701 Illini Dr. regarding a threat that was scrawled on a bathroom wall indicating there was a bomb in the building.

 

In response to this threat, all students and staff were immediately evacuated.  The Clinton Police Department along with school officials conducted a thorough search of the building and ultimately deemed it safe for students to return to the learning environment after no explosive device was located.   This most recent event comes on the heels of a previous bomb threat that was reported from the Clinton Jr. High only eight days prior.

 

Transmitting a bomb threat is a felony crime. These incidents are taken very seriously with the ultimate goal being to ensure that no valid threat ever goes unnoticed.  Any person or persons convicted of transmitting a bomb threat will face dire consequences and could be charged with a class 3 felony. Agencies expend considerable man-hours and defendants can also be ordered to incur the considerable costs for what many times is a lengthy investigation while trying to determine if a true and credible threat exists. 

 

Crimestoppers may pay a cash reward of up to $1000.00 when a felony arrest is made as a result of information that you have provided.  Anyone with any information regarding this threat or any other crimes or wanted fugitives is asked to contact the Clinton Area Crime Stoppers at 217-935-3333.

 

Remember as always; our phone line is not recorded and does not utilize caller identification.

 

We don’t want your name, just your information.

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Another Bomb Threat Found at Clinton Junior High School

A second bomb threat this year was detected at Clinton Junior High School Tuesday morning.

 

Superintendent Curt Nettles says the threat was discovered shortly before the noon hour Tuesday and authorities were notified and students were evacuated until the OK was given to return to the building.

 

 

According to Nettles, they take the threats very seriously and will pursue charges if they need to but he says it is a fine balance to remember they are dealing with young people who may be seeking attention for one reason or another.

 

 

Nettles points out it is only a small number of students who are disrupting things for around 400 students.

 

 

Bomb threats at Clinton Junior High School are nothing new. A couple of years ago there was a rash of threats that happened several at a time over several weeks in the spring and Nettles indicates this is the second threat to the school this spring. 

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University of Illinois Extension Master Gardeners Available for Planting Questions

It'll be a warm welcome - pun intended - when 80-degree weather and sun blankets central Illinois this weekend.

 

The hardware stores will likely be inundated with people purchasing the plants they'll be growing in their home gardens and University of Illinois Extension officials remind the public about their master gardener resources. 

 

Candace Hart with the U of I Extension office in DeWitt County says their master gardeners are available to answer questions but they also have plenty of online resources.

 

 

Master Gardeners always see an increase in inquiries this time of year and Hart says it is never a bother to field questions from anyone doing any type of gardening.

 

 

Extension offices across the state host seminars and various programs for the community along with blogs and helpful resources for various topics. Again the website is extension.illinois.edu. 

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Alzheimer's Advocacy Supporters Rally at Illinois Capitol

Alzheimer's advocates rallied in Springfield earlier this month and Regional Radio News' Christy Webb has the story....

 

 

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Macon County Conservation District Looking for Vintage Baseball Players

A central Illinois entity is looking for baseball players to participate in their old-school baseball league this summer.

 

The Macon County Conservation District is looking for able bodies athletes of any skill level to play baseball from 1858. Richie Wolf indicates the vintage baseball team, The Groundsquirrels, will open their season May 25 at noon.

 

 

Wolf indicates baseball from 1858 is played like the baseball we know today but without gloves and a few twists in the rules.

 

 

The Groundsquirrels are looking for players for this year's season. Wolf explains players are volunteers and they travel all over the area for games throughout the summer.

 

 

According to Wolf, it is free for anyone to play but they ask you to register by calling Jenny 217-423-7708.

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University of Illinois College of Aces Promoting Pronunciation Guide

A number of Illinois towns have often been mispronounced over the years. And that's the motivation of the University of Illinois' Pronunciation Guide says recent U-of-I grad John Bruns.

 

 

The project is through the school's College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences. You can find the guide at "go.illinois.edu/pronunciationguide". 

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State Strengthens Move Over Law

DRIVERS WHO IGNORE ILLINOIS’ MOVE OVER LAW MAY SOON FACE TOUGHER PENALTIES. 

 

NEW LEGISLATION RAISES THE FINES FOR NOT SWITCHING LANES WHEN A VEHICLE WITH FLASHING LIGHTS IS ON THE SIDE OF THE ROAD. SENATOR TONY MUNOZ OF CHICAGO SAYS WITH 16 STATE POLICE TROOPERS STRUCK SO FAR THIS YEAR, THEY NEED TO DO SOMETHING.

 

 

 ILLINOIS STATE POLICE ACTING DIRECTOR BRENDAN KELLY SAYS IT’S A WAY TO DEAL WITH THE GRIEF OF LOSING TWO TROOPERS THIS YEAR TO SCOTTS LAW VIOLATIONS.

 

 

UNDER THE BILL, THE FINE WILL BE 250 DOLLARS FOR A FIRST OFFENSE AND 750 FOR A SECOND OFFENSE. AN ADDITIONAL 250 DOLLAR FEE WILL BE ADDED ON TOP OF THAT TO HELP PAY FOR PUBLIC EDUCATION ABOUT THE MOVE OVER LAW. MOTORISTS WHO HIT A FIRST RESPONDER WOULD FACE FELONY CHARGES.

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State Puts Plan in Place to End HIV Epidemic By 2020

GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER IS ANNOUNCING A PLAN TO END THE H-I-V EPIDEMIC IN ILLINOIS BY 2030.

 

THE “GETTING TO ZERO” INITIATIVE ATTACKS THE PROBLEM FROM SEVERAL ANGLES…ESPECIALLY PREVENTION. THAT INCLUDES INCREASING ACCESS TO “PREP” MEDICATION FOR THOSE VULNERABLE TO H-I-V, ESPECIALLY IN LOW INCOME COMMUNITIES SAYS PUBLIC HEALTH DIRECTOR DOCTOR NGOZI (en-gozi) EZIKE (eh-zee-kay).

 

 

THE PLAN IS THE RESULT OF TWO YEARS OF WORK WITH PUBLIC AND PRIVATE PARTNERS.

 

 

 IT ALSO AIMS TO BOOST AWARENESS ABOUT HOW H-I-V IS TRANSMITTED AND TREAT THOSE ALREADY INFECTED.

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More Marijuana Discussion Happening in Springfield

Quad City area State Senator Neil Anderson is on the negotiating team discussing the new recreational marijuana legislation but he sees several problems with the way the language is currently written.

 

 

Senator Anderson expects a lot of negotiations to take place over the next several weeks. He is also hopeful that they will come to a bi-partisan compromise on the budget. Anderson says that they are expected to adjourn on May 31st. 

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Fire Marshall's Office Honors Fallen Firefighters

Today was a day of honor for fallen firefighters in Illinois. Last year just one firefighter - Chicago Firefighter Juan Bucio lost his life in the line of duty. State Fire Marshall Matt Perez says that Bucio lost his life in a diving accident trying to rescue someone in the Chicago River. He says when a firefighter dies its hits as hard as losing a loved one.

 

 

Already this year two firefighters have died, one in Godfrey and another in Christopher.

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Illinois State Police and American Legion promote youth camp; Clinton Post 103 Offering Chance To Attend

This year marks 47 years in the partnership between the American Legion and the Illinois State Police for the annual American Legion Youth Camp. Illinois State Police Special Agent Melissa Uhles (Yoo-lis) says the camp is for kids with an interest in careers in the military or law enforcement. 

 

 

Local youth have the opportunity to attend the camp.  Clinton Legion Post 103 is looking for local youth interested in law enforcement.  Post Commander, Josh Thielen, says they have funds available to send youth from across the area to the camp.

 

 

Registration for the American Legion Youth Camp in Springfield is due to the Illinois State Police by Thursday, May 30th. The American Legion Youth Camp will be held at State Police Headquarters June 23rd through June 28th.   To learn more, contact the Clinton Legion Post 103 at their Facebook page.

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State Police Talk Planting Season Safety

Planting equipment could be rolling as early as this week across the area as the weather seems to be giving producers a chance to finally get in the fields.

 

As the equipment gets rolled out, State Police are reminding motorists to be on the lookout for the heavy machinery and slow down and give them space. Trooper Matt Frizzle says it's important to be cautious if you are going to pass them on country roads.

 

 

Trooper Frizzle also has a message for farmers who will be getting out in full force very soon to plant....

 

 

Trooper Frizzle indicates as planting season kicks into high gear in the next week or two, it will likely run up on the Memorial Day weekend when authorities will be planning details during the holiday.

 

Authorities continue to remind motorists it is the law to get over for emergency vehicles on the side of the road and they remained focused on the safety of their peers across the state. 

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Weekly Crop Report

WET CONDITIONS CONTINUE TO PLAGUE ILLINOIS FARM FIELDS AS WE HEAR IN THE WEEKLY CROP REPORT. 

 

LESS THAN ONE DAY WAS SUITABLE FOR FIELDWORK THIS PAST WEEK. NOT MUCH GOT DONE SAYS CROP STATISTICIAN MARK SCHLEUSENER.

 

 

35 PERCENT OF WINTER WHEAT IS HEADING AND 37 PERCENT OF THE CROP IS RATED IN GOOD TO EXCELLENT CONDITION.

 

 

AVERAGE STATEWIDE TOPSOIL MOISTURE IS NOW RATED AT 23 PERCENT ADEQUATE AND 77 PERCENT SURPLUS.

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State Waiver on Taxes for Flood Residents

Dealing with flooding or other natural disasters is enough of a headache you don’t need the added pressure of getting your taxes done on time.

 

The Governor and Illinois Department of Revenue is offering some relief to people in 34 flooded counties in the form of a waiver from penalties and interest on income taxes, sales taxes and other taxes that need to be filed. 

 

But if you want a waiver you will have to request one says Revenue’s Sam Salustro. 

 

 

The process can start online with an email – REV dot DISASTER RELIEF at ILLINOIS dot GOV

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Illinois, Missouri Border Bridge Closed for 'Critical Finding'

MoDOT has closed the westbound lanes of the Jefferson Barracks Bridge, the southernmost span linking Illinois to Missouri in the St. Louis region. It was closed Sunday as MoDOT Joe Molinaro, Bridge Engineer for the St. Louis Region says crews inspecting the bridge on I-255 found a crack on a steel beam the underside of the bridge's westbound span. 

 

 

He says as of now, there is no good estimate on identifying a fix and making repairs, but MoDOT now anticipates it will take at least until the end of the week. Molinaro notes the eastbound lanes were also inspected on Sunday, and has been deemed safe. The closure produces even more bottlenecks, as the MLK Bridge leading into St. Louis is closed for repairs, and the lower lanes of US 67 just south of Alton remain closed due to flooding.

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Kinzinger Still Has Faith US Will Win Trade War with China

China for too long has abused the trading system. Those words from Illinois Republican Congressman Adam Kinzinger. He still believes the U.S. will eventually win the ongoing trade war.

 

 

Kinzinger resides in Channahon and represents Illinois’ 16th Congressional District, which includes plenty of farm ground--stretching from Rockford through Ottawa to Watseka. 

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Goodwill Targeting July 12 Grand Opening

July 12 is the targeted date for a grand opening for Goodwill in Clinton.

 

The second-hand retailer's new location in the former Walmart location is being shared with Tractor Supply Company. Pat Anderson with Goodwill says their construction continues and they are hopeful things will remain on track for a mid-July opening.

 

 

Anderson indicates there are aspects of the construction that are complete. He explains they have new front doors, donation drop off doors and windows installed. 

 

 

According to Anderson, the opening of a new store relies on donations that are stored in their central Illinois warehouse in Jacksonville. He notes as they begin to get established, they will slowly get their local donations introduced to their inventory.

 

 

With a mid-July open date targeted by Goodwill, it is indicated to Regional Radio News Tractor Supply Company is seeking a late June opening. 

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May is Mental Health Awareness Month

May is mental health awareness month and a local group is using this month to promote their new website.

 

The DeWitt County Mental Health Board, commonly known as the 708 Board, has never had a web presence before and Sharon Mills says they are excited about its rollout and having a place for the community to go to find more information.

 

 

Mills explains the Mental Health Board helps to provide funding to area agencies that are aimed at providing support to residents that battle mental health issues.

 

 

The DeWitt County Mental Health Board supports area agencies through about a half-million dollars of funding from a tax levy through DeWitt County. 

 

To find the Board on the web, visit dewittcountymhb.com or find them on Facebook. 

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City of Clinton Planning Center Street Project for 2020

The City of Clinton is planning a $1 million improvement project to Center Street to be completed in 2020.

 

Steve Lobb, Director of Public Works, indicates the project will cover the entirety of Center Street from the south end of Van Buren through the north end of Woodlawn. The City will perform curb, gutter, and sidewalk replacement along with a complete resurfacing.

 

 

Lobb says bids will start this winter with work starting in the spring. The city hopes to be completed by Apple and Pork. Handicap accessibility is a major focus for the project as well.

 

 

Lobb indicates the Apple and Pork Festival was a deciding factor for the necessity of the project.  

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Police Week This Week

It's National Police Week across the country.

 

Clinton Police Chie Ben Lowers says this is a week they take time to honor those fallen officials and appreciate the service of those serving the public now.

 

 

Chief Lowers says the rate of officer deaths in the line of duty continues to rise and points to the spike so far for officer deaths in Illinois n 2019.

 

 

Law enforcement continues to be cognizant of the dangers of conducting traffic stops and Chief Lowers reminds the public it is the law to get over when you see flashing lights on the side of the road.

 

 

While the law enforcement community locally has not conducted a Peace Officer Day ceremony in a couple of years, Chief Lowers encourages a visit to Downey Park and to check out the Walk of Honor set up there at the corner of South Street and White Street. 

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Blue Ridge Schools Hoping Energy Efficiency Project Will Reduce High Power Bills

An energy efficiency project this summer hopes to the cure for high power bills for a DeWitt County School District.

 

Blue Ridge schools have battled high power consumption at their Farmer City campus and Superintendent Susan Wilson says they are targeting an energy efficiency project to help reduce those power bills.

 

 

Energy efficiency projects are not cheap, however, Wilson hopes the district begins to see a return on their investment rather quickly with the savings they are projected to realize.

 

 

According to Wilson, the system in place is a good system, however, they need to re-tune their motors and developing sensors to allow room-specific climate control. 

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U.S. GRAINS COUNCIL CELEBRATING WORLD TRADE MONTH

The U.S. Grains Council is celebrating World Trade Month this May by highlighting the top markets for grain exports. Tom Sleight, President and CEO of the U.S. Grains Council, says World Trade Month is an opportunity to celebrate the value of trade for agriculture…

 


Sleight says there are many successes and challenges the Council is highlighting through World Trade Month…

 

 


Developing new markets, part of the work done by the U.S. Grains Council, is the cornerstone of global trade…

 

 


Sleight says farming is a global business, and trade around the world affects farms in the United States…

 

 

 

Learn more about World Trade Month through the U.S. Grains Council social media pages and at Grains.org.

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Trucking Industry Following Springfield Legislative Session Closely

The trucking industry keeping a watchful eye on the state capital this spring. Don Schaefer is with the Springfield based Mid-West Truckers Association.

 

 

The Mid-West Truckers Association represents 3,700 members in 15 different states. 

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Life or Death Campaign Kicked Off By IDOT

Its life or death out there on the state’s highways – that’s the campaign from the Illinois Department of Transportation. It’s the second year for the safety campaign – “Life or Death Illinois”. 

 

The main message will be true stories from those who have lost a family member to a fatal traffic accident. IDOT’s Guy Tridgell says it’s intended to be a strong message. 

 

 

The state’s roadways can be deadly. More than a 1000 people die each year in traffic accidents. 

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DATA SHOWS MIDWEST FARMERS NEED DISASTER RELIEF

Data analysis of spring flooding along the Missouri River highlights the need for disaster relief in the Midwest. NAFB's Micheal Clements has more…

 

 

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Weekly Weather Summary

While this past week the majority of the state saw high levels of precipitation, expect drier conditions coming up. State Climatologist Office Spokesperson Brian Kerschner has more...

 

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Goodwill Hosting Job Fair Thursday

Goodwill is going to need between 15 and 20 employees for their new location in Clinton.

 

If you're in need of work, swing by Warner Library this Thursday for open interviews with Goodwill. Pat Anderson, Vice President of Communications for Goodwill says they will interview from 9 am to 2 pm.

 

 

While it isn't required, individuals interested in applying can visit llgi.org/careers and start the application process. Otherwise, you can just show up and fill out an application on site and begin the process at the library located at 310 North Quincy Street. 

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Peterson Insurance Agency Takes Home More Awards

The Peterson Insurance Agency continues to bring in the awards for the first quarter of 2019.

Owner Jay Peterson says they received a number of awards again for their production and sales. 

 

 

Peterson feels fortunate they continue to have the trust of the community and looks forward to serving them for years to come.

 

Peterson Insurance is located just off the Clinton Square at 117 West Main Street. You can reach them by calling 217-935-6605 or by finding them on Facebook. 

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Rep. Davis 'Optimistic' About Infrastructure

Congressman Rodney Davis says he is "optimistic" after the President's infrastructure meeting with Democratic leaders.

 

Rep. Davis indicates that is he is excited that the President and Democratic leaders were in agreement about a need for an infrastructure bill. He says the details remain to be discussed.

 

 

Davis says he feels the internal division of the Democratic party is a reason why they have not passed much legislation despite their majority in the House.

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Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum Kicks off Railroad exhibit

It's a big year for railroad enthusiasts with the 150th anniversary of the first transcontinental railroad. That fact is not going unnoticed by the folks at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum. They're launching a new exhibit, “All Aboard: America’s Love of Railroads” at neighboring Union Station. The library and museum's Chris Wills previews the offerings....

 

 

There will also be a model of the funeral train that carried Lincoln’s body, and a place for visitors to share their own railroad memories. 
 

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Rep. Davis Announces Upcoming Traveling Help Desks with Staff

U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Ill.) has announced that his staff will be holding a series of Traveling Help Desks in May. Traveling Help Desks are held while Congress is in session to ensure constituents in every corner of the district have an opportunity to connect with staff if they need help with a federal agency or have questions about legislation. These are in addition to Open Office Hours where Davis meets with constituents one-on-one or in small groups.

 

If you need assistance with a federal agency, have policy issues you would like to discuss, or just want to say hi, please stop by to meet with staff. You are encouraged to make an appointment in advance of these help desks. 

 

Events in the area include:

 

Warrensburg Traveling Help Desk
May 15th, 10:00-11:30am
Warrensburg Village Hall

 

Cerro Gordo Traveling Help Desk
May 17th, 10:00-11:30am
Cerro Gordo Village Hall

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Rose and Caulkins announce agreement to help veterans transfer credits to U of I

State Sen. Chapin Rose and Representative Dan Caulkins have announced they have reached an agreement with the University of Illinois to increase access for veterans.

 

The lawmakers worked with the University of Illinois Vice-Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Provost Andreas Cangellaris, reaching an agreement to form a committee to focus on the issue. The group will include Dean Cheryl Hanley-Maxwell and Naval ROTC Commanding Officer Captain Anthony Corapi.

 

Senator Rose was glad to see the long process come to fruition.

 

Representative Caulkins, a veteran himself,  noted other state universities have much more extensive policies on this already, and this will ensure that veterans attending the U of I are treated fairly.

 

The new committee will be tasked with studying the issues and finding ways to make it easier for veterans to transfer credits they’ve already earned and to receive credit for real-time, real-world work experience.

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Clinton Lake Marina Preparing for Summer with Changes

Hard to believe warmer weather and boating season is just around the corner. The Clinton Lake Marina has worked through the winter to improve quality around the lake. This winter, that included replacing the old breakwater at the entrance of the marina. Dave Newberg with the DeWitt County Board says the new orange-and-blue barrier was needed after simply trying to repair the old structure in the past did not work out well.

 

Also new to Clinton Lake, this summer is the leasees operating the marina. Newberg indicates the vendor is still working on finalizing things like food service and mechanics for the summer, but he says the board understands there will be hiccups with a new team.

 

 

The unofficial start of summer isn't until Memorial Day, but you may see some boats popping up on Clinton Lake as the weather heats up.

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Clinton School District 2019-2020 Calendar Set

The Clinton School District has set its academic calendar for the 2019-2020 school year.

 

Superintendent Curt Nettles indicates while the district is awaiting legislation to define a school day, the district has gone ahead and put together their calendar for the next school year. August 21 is set for the first day of student attendance for elementary, sixth grade, freshman and students new to the district. Everyone else will start on August 22.

 

 

Nettles says the district will plan to have "at home learning days" in the case school is canceled. He reports it will be set up to where every student will be able to complete assignments regardless of technology or internet access.

 

 

Nettles indicates that he is not willing to substitute more than three days of classroom instruction for the at home learning days.
 

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Gardeners Still Itching To Get in Gardens

If you haven't had the chance to get your veggie garden going, you're not alone.

 

Master Gardener Candace Hart at the University of Illinois Extension Office says it's been hard string together enough dry days to get your garden ready. For now, we seem to be past the 'freeze warning' phase of the spring.

 

 

If you've been adventurous this spring, you may have those cooler weather vegetables going. Hart says you could probably drop those in the ground now if you get a few hours to prep the dirt.

 

 

For those seedlings you've started inside, Hart says it's best to keep those under a fluorescent light and get them outside when you can until the weather turns long enough to get them in the ground. Initially, though, you'll want to limit their exposure to the outdoors.

 

 

Yesterday on Regional Radio News, we heard from the National Weather Service they are predicting drier conditions heading towards the middle to the end of May. 

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IDOT LAUNCHES YEAR TWO OF "LIFE OR DEATH" CAMPAIGN

THE ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION IS LAUNCHING THE SECOND YEAR OF ITS “LIFE OR DEATH ILLINOIS” SAFETY CAMPAIGN. 

 

THE CAMPAIGN FEATURES TRUE STORIES OF FAMILIES THAT HAVE LOST A LOVED ONE IN A FATAL CRASH. I-DOT SPOKESPERSON GUY TRIDGELL SAYS THEY WANT TO SEND A STRONG MESSAGE.

 

MORE THAN ONE THOUSAND PEOPLE DIE EACH YEAR ON ILLINOIS ROADS…AND MOST CRASHES ARE PREVENTABLE SAYS TRIDGELL. 

 

 

THE CAMPAIGN IS RUNNING ON VARIOUS MEDIA CHANNELS AND AT THE WEBSITE: LIFE OR DEATH ILLINOIS DOT COM.

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History Suggests late Planting Means Lower Corn Yields

Economists from the University of Illinois and Ohio State University say serious planting delays will result in reduced yields this year. Gary Schnitkey of Illinois and Carl Zulauf (Zoo-laff) of Ohio point out that history suggests the odds have increased for lower corn yields in 2019 compared to 2018, and soybean yields will likely not be exceptional. Very little planting has occurred over much of the Corn Belt, as 23 percent of corn was reported planted in the top 18 corn-producing states, compared to a 46 percent average for the last five years at this time in the spring. Late planting does not necessarily mean that 2019 yields will be low. In 2009, much late planting of corn occurred, and national yields were still ten bushels above trend. However, the two economists write that yields have been exceptionally higher across the Midwest recently. With delayed planting, yields are expected to be more towards average. Higher yields kept net incomes high enough for farmers to get by last year, but that may be gone in 2019.

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FARM BUREAU URGES EPA TO FINALIZE YEAR-ROUND E15 RULE QUICKLY

The Environmental Protection Agency must finalize its year-round E15 proposal quickly to allow sales this summer when current regulations would halt E15 sales in many states. NAFB's Micheal Clements has more…

 

 

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Durkin, House GOP seeking seat at budget talks table

Illinois House Republican leaders are calling for a balanced budget and a voice in budget negotiations. House Minority Leader Jim Durkin believes the news that the state received 1.5 billion dollars more than expected in tax revenue last month shows a new spending plan can be crafted without new taxes or tax increases for this year and the future..... 

 

 

The Office of Management and Budget has revealed Illinois received more than $4.1 billion of individual and corporate income tax revenue last month. 


That's up 38% from April 2018.

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Senator Rose Against Expanding MAP Program

Expanding the state’s Monetary Award Program grants for higher education will mean fewer dollars than ever for families and students looking for help to make college more affordable.   Ray Watt has more from the Illinois Statehouse....

 

 

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Warrensburg-Latham Schools Revamping Website

If you need information about Warrensburg-Latham Schools, plan on getting used to a new website.

Superintendent Dr. Kristen Kendrick-Weikle says they revamping their website and she believes it will be much more user-friendly and will better organize everything the community could want to find.

 

 

Districts developing an app for their community has grown in popularity, as Clinton Schools recently rolled out an app as a part of a revamping of their website. Dr. Kendrick-Weikle points out they have had an app for several years now, but the two will work cohesively together once they roll out their new website.

 

 

Making information more available and easily accessible was a focus of the new website and Dr. Kendrick-Weikle believes they have done a good job of that with the new website.


 

 

The district hopes to go live with the new website by July 1. 

 

Dr. Kendrick-Weikle says they are still in the process of building the site and their staff is working hard to get content on there. She says there are a lot of things they are mandated to have available to the community they are working to get on there and they are training their staff on how to update and get information to the website. 

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Groups Rally in Springfield to Oppose Marijuana Legalization

SEVERAL GROUPS VISITED THE STATE CAPITOL WEDNESDAY TO EXPRESS THEIR OPPOSITION TO LEGALIZING RECREATIONAL MARIJUANA. 

 

OPPONENTS LIKE REPRESENTATIVE MARTY MOYLAN OF DES PLAINS CITE SEVERAL REASONS THAT SMOKING POT FOR FUN SHOULDN’T BE ALLOWED.

 

 

ILLINOIS ASSOCIATION OF CHIEFS OF POLICE PRESIDENT STEVEN STELTER IS CONCERNED ABOUT IMPAIRED DRIVING.

 

POLICE ALSO SAY ENFORCEMENT WILL BE AN ISSUE AND OTHERS ARGUE THAT RECREATIONAL MARIJUANA LEADS TO THE ABUSE OF MORE ADDICTIVE DRUGS AND MENTAL HEALTH PROBLEMS.

 

LAWMAKERS WORKING ON THE BILL SAY THEY ARE OPEN TO SUGGESTIONS.

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DNR Looking For More Conservation Officers

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources actively recruiting new conservation officers. A conservation officer has the enforcement authority of a local, county or state police official but works predominantly in nature, enforcing the rules when it comes to poaching and licensing and other laws related to being in public forests, and other wildlife areas. Lt Curt Lewis is a Conservation Police officer... 

 

 

What type of enforcement does a Conservation Officer do? 

 

 

To apply to become a Conservation Officer with the Illinois Department of Resources go to DNR.Illinois.Gov. 

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National Weather Service Long Term Forecast Expecting Drier Mid-May

The National Weather Service Climate Prediction Center's extended forecast for the rest of the month has been released.

 

Meteorologist Scott Baker notes the updated predictions are calling for normal precipitation for the middle of May. 

 

 

Baker indicates the forecast for the end of May is equal chances above or below normal precipitation. He says after this first couple of weeks the rest of the month may be drier.

 

 

For more on the extended forecast go to www.weather.gov.

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Richland Community Hosting Open House Thursday at Clinton Center

Rain or shine, there's going to be fun and food at Richland Community College's Clinton Education Center tomorrow (Thursday). 

 

Rachel Brewer, Site Coordinator for the Clinton Higher Education Center explains they are inviting the community out for their open house from 3:30 to 7 pm tomorrow afternoon. Pending weather, she indicates they are hoping to have a dunk tank, live music, and food on the grill.

 

 

With all the activities for the community to take part in, Brewer hopes the community will want to learn about what's happening at the Richland Center. There will be information about their credit and non-credit courses coming to the Center as well as opportunities to express interest in courses that may not yet be on the schedule.

 

 

The open house is at Richland Community College's Clinton High Education Center at 140 Sunrise Court in Clinton from 3:30 to 7 pm. Check out the Clinton Center page on Facebook to find the event page or get more information about the Clinton Center by visiting richland.edu/clinton. 

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Community Action Touting Impact of Programs, Changes To Further Impact

Community Action Partnership of Central Illinois aims to provide the low-income population with the resources and knowledge to escape a life of poverty and maintain financial stability.

 

With that in mind, their Executive Director was recently surprised when she put together the figures for an impact report to their Board. Alison Rumler-Gomez explains their senior nutrition and transportation services in Logan and Mason County have been a great program for those areas.

 

 

According to Rumler-Gomez, this coming year the focus of the organization is creating a sense of building a wealth mindset within their organization. She hopes that will help their clientele think of Community Action differently so their mindset becomes in line with their mission.

 

 

Rumler-Gomez says the emphasis is going to be on helping their clients develop a mindset of wealth building and abundances. She explains they have developed an app that she feels will help Community Action get to where everyone is now at in the 21st century.

 

 

Rumler-Gomez says they've already piloted the app and plan to roll it out to their Head Start families in August when their new Head Start year opens up. She points out they have a motivational tool to it and feels it will have a powerful impact on their families. 

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Dewitt County EMA Gives Advice for Severe Weather Season

Dewitt County Emergency Management Agency is advising residents to brace for impact as severe weather season ramps up. With warmer temperatures comes the thunderstorms and tornadoes, and Micah Gallardo with Dewitt County EMA says it's time to check those emergency supply kits and plans. He outlines the essential items needed when severe weather hits.

 

 

Although there may be sunny skies when a thunderstorm watch is issued by the National Weather Service, Gallardo warns that doesn't mean a tornado cannot develop. And, if conditions do produce a tornado watch or warning, Gallardo advises everyone in the affected area to take shelter immediately. He gives some signs that might indicate a tornado is near.

 

 

Anyone with questions about severe weather preparedness can contact the Dewitt County EMA at 935-7790 or email Gallardo at mgallardo@dewittcountyill.com.

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Tax Hike Proposed on Cigarettes, Tobacco Products

A NEW PROPOSAL TO RAISE THE TAX ON A PACK OF CIGARETTES BY ONE DOLLAR EMERGED TUESDAY AT THE STATE CAPITOL. 

 

THE ONE BUCK INCREASE WOULD RAISE THE STATEWIDE SALES TAX ON A PACK OF SMOKES TO NEARLY THREE DOLLARS. THAT’S IN ADDITION TO ANY LOCAL SALES TAXES APPLIED. ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH DIRECTOR DOCTOR NGOZI (en-gozi) EZIKE (eh-zee-kay) SAYS THIS WILL HELP REDUCE THE NUMBER OF SMOKERS.

 

 

SENATE PRESIDENT JOHN CULLERTON SAYS THIS WILL GENERATE AN ESTIMATED 180 MILLION DOLLARS A YEAR.

 

 

THE PLAN ALSO RAISES THE TAX ON CIGARS AND OTHER TOBACCO PRODUCTS. IT’S ESTIMATED THE INCREASES WOULD BRING IN ABOUT 180 MILLION DOLLARS IN NEW REVENUE EACH YEAR.

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Yield Implications of Late Corn Planting

Friday the United States Department of Agriculture will release its first estimate of this year's spring crops. The delayed start to the planting season could cause it to drop a much lower corn yield.

University of Illinois Agricultural Economist Scott Irwin and his colleague Todd Hubbs have looked at the history of late planted crops. Irwin says there is a good chance this one will have a lower yield if thirty-percent of it is planted after May 20th…

 


He says historical data shows lower yields…

 


That’s University of Illinois Agricultural Economist Scott Irwin.

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State Ag Pest Coordinator Talks Impacts of Rains on Insect Population

How are pests holding up in all this water? Short answer. They’ll survive.

 

 

That’s state agricultural pest coordinator Kelly Estes. She says producers who utilize cover crops are being challenged this spring because it’s been tough to burn them down with the wet ground and that gives a certain insect a perfect place to set up shop.

 

 

Estes says she is also monitoring for both black cutworm and true armyworm as they are currently migrating in from the south.

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Beware of Energy Supply Scams

Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul wants you to be on the lookout for alternative retail energy suppliers and deceptive practices that some use when selling consumers on switching providers. The pitch comes with saving money from a new supplier but often Raoul says those promises seem empty when the bills start coming in.

 

 

Raoul says that consumers need to be well versed in the cost associated with switching suppliers and that existing energy suppliers have to give notice if eclectic rates or gas rates are headed higher.

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Boil Order Lifted

The boil order issued over the weekend by the Clinton Water Department early Monday has been lifted. 

 

The area was the 1200 block E Main thru the 1500 block of E Main St. 

 

For more information call the Clinton Water Department at 217-935-3432 during business hours.

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Clinton Community Education Foundation Celebrating Another Successful Derby Day Fundraiser

The Clinton Community Education Foundation, or CCEF, held their wildly popular Derby Day fundraiser this Saturday and organizers say it was another hit with their supporters.

 

Derby Day centers around the running of the Kentucky Derby and attendees are able to place bets on the race. Eileen Carter with the CCEF told Regional Radio New Tuesday morning on the WHOW Morning Show, things became interesting when the horse that crossed the finish line first was disqualified and the horse that came in runner up, was deemed the winner of the race.

 

 

The CCEF uses the funds raised to support programs like the Gold Star Banquet at Clinton High School that honors the academic achievements of students. Carter says the contributions of the CCEF allowed parents of students to attend the banquet before the school adjusted things to reduce the time commitment on that night.

 

 

The CCEF supports and promotes a growing program in the lower levels of the school district called Read Across Clinton. Carter explains it promotes summer reading among younger students by providing them with five to ten books of their own.

 

 

Carter says the Read Across Clinton allows students to pick out books of interest to them, provide books for younger siblings as they get older and also give parents material to read to their students without having to spend a lot of money on books. 

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Clinton City Council Welcomes Buchanan, Re-Appoints City Officials, Talk Budget

The Clinton City Council welcomed Ken Buchanan (pictured right) as the newest member to the Clinton City Council and re-appointed city officials.

 

Upon the swearing in of Buchanan, Steven Myers was re-appointed as City Attorney, Cheryl Van Valey as City Clerk, Clint Lichtenwalter as City Treasurer, Tom Edmunds as budget officer, Steve Lobb as Public Works Director, Tim Followell as Public Health Officer and sexton of the cemetery, Jeff Hoke as Fire Chief and Stephen Paige as assistant fire chief. 

 

Commissioner Tom Edmunds and Mayor Roger Cyrulik discussed the upcoming four years of budgeting. Mayor Cyrulik discussed his frustration with the cuts that come from the money taxpayers pour into the city coughers while Edmunds says it is important to keep our local lawmakers in the know of how these proposals will impact the City of Clinton.

 

 

City Administrator Tim Followell indicates there are improvements coming to the sidewalks along the former Spurgeon's to Maverick building. He says there are some issues that need to be replaced. 

 

 

The concrete work was approved at a cost of just over $20,600. 

 

Additionally Monday night, the Council also approved the city's portion of a facade agreement with John Miller, owner of Sorento's, for just over $30,400.

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DeWitt County Substance Abuse Reporting Positive Results From New Meeting Location

The DeWitt County Substance Abuse Coalition entered 2019 with a goal to become more visible to the community.

 

One of the ways the Coalition sought to be more visible was to relocate their monthly meetings to The Vault in Clinton. President Jeff DeLaughter says relocating to The Vault made sense as their location downtown and their big industrial windows were the perfect combination for the community to see them.

 

 

Vice President of the Coalition, Paul Skowron calls their new location inviting and that has paid dividends as the attendance is up for their meetings.

 

 

As the coalition continues to work on increasing visibility, DeLaughter says they will have brochures around the community. He adds you may also see their magnets around the community and you can also find them at the upcoming May Days Festival on the Clinton Square.

 

 

The DeWitt County Substance Abuse Coalition meets the third Tuesday of each month at 10 am at The Vault on the Clinton Square and again DeLaughter reminds, anyone is welcome to be a part of their meetings. 

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Second Chance for Pets Partnering With Chamber of Commerce, Community Action to Help Community

Second Chance for Pets of DeWitt County is partnering with a pair of community organizations to help support local pet owners.

 

The Clinton Chamber of Commerce is now a drop-off point for dog food donations to Second Chance. Heather Wantland with Second Chance for Pets says those donations then end up at Community Action, which is serving as a location for their pet food pantry. 

 

 

Wantland emphasizes Second Chance does not have a facility to store their donations and is thankful groups like the Chamber and Community Action have partnered with them to continue to serve the community and their pets.

 

 

Chamber Executive Director Marian Brisard says they are happy to partner with the DeWitt County non-profit. She goes over the basics of the program but also provides details of how the Chamber fits....

 

 

The closure of Clinton Walmart has impacted the donations and availability of pet supplies for the community and for Second Chance. Walmart was a great supporter through donations of the DeWitt County Animal Shelter and Second Chance. 

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Weekly Crop Report

LAST WEEK WAS A BUST FOR ILLINOIS FARMERS AS WE HEAR IN THE WEEKLY CROP REPORT.

 

RAIN OVER THE PAST WEEK AVERAGED MORE THAN TWO INCHES ABOVE NORMAL, KEEPING PRODUCERS OUT OF THE FIELDS SAYS CROP STATISTICIAN MARK SCHELEUSENER.

 

 

10 PERCENT OF CORN AND THREE PERCENT OF SOYBEANS HAVE BEEN PLANTED, WELL BEHIND LAST YEAR’S PACE AND THE FIVE YEAR AVERAGE. 

 

 

NINE PERCENT OF THE WINTER WHEAT CROP HAS HEADED AND 38 PERCENT IS RATED IN GOOD TO EXCELLENT CONDITION. AVERAGE STATEWIDE TOPSOIL MOISTURE STANDS AT 26 PERCENT ADEQUATE AND 74 PERCENT SURPLUS.

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NCGA LAUNCHES 55TH ANNUAL YIELD CONTEST

The National Corn Growers Association is welcoming growers to enter its 55th annual National Yield Contest. The contest began in 1965 with 20 entries from four states and has grown to more than 7,200 entries from 46 states last year. Speaking from the tractor while planting his 2019 crop, Virginia farmer and owner of multiple yield records, David Hula, says the yield contest is a learning process that improves your crop…

 

 

After years of entering and winning the contest, Hula says he continues to participate because the  lessons learned by achieving a record crop can be carried over to the rest of the farm…

 

 

He says high-yields start with seed selection and the planter…

 

 

Hula says his goal this year is to reach or improve his personal best yields…

 

 

He says by participating, growers will learn more about how to grow a high-yielding crop and learn from other farmers…

 

 

A grower must have an NCGA Membership number to have an entry in the contest which can only be obtained from NCGA. You can find both entry and harvest rules at NCGA.com. The entry period opened Monday and will close June 30th.

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Lawmakers Believe Recreational Marijuana Proposal Reflects Lessons Learned in Other States

THE NEW RECREATIONAL MARIJUANA PROPOSAL REFLECTS SOME OF THE LESSONS LEARNED BY OTHER STATES. 

 

THE PLAN IS THE RESULT OF MANY MONTHS OF HEARINGS AND STUDYING HOW LEGALIZING POT HAS WORKED ELSEWHERE SAYS SENATOR HEATHER STEANS (stains) OF CHICAGO.

 

 

THEY OFTEN HEARD WARNINGS NOT FOCUS JUST ON CREATING A CASH COW SAYS REPRESENTATIVE KELLY CASSIDY OF CHICAGO.

 

 

COLORADO OFFICIALS SAID CONSUMERS DIDN'T REALIZE EDIBLES TAKE LONGER TO TAKE EFFECT THAN SMOKING, SO PEOPLE WERE EATING TOO MUCH IN HOPES OF A QUICKER HIGH. STEANS SAYS THE ILLINOIS PROPOSAL INCLUDE A PUBLIC EDUCATION CAMPAIGN.

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IDOT LAUNCHES YEAR TWO OF "LIFE OR DEATH" CAMPAIGN

THE ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION IS LAUNCHING THE SECOND YEAR OF ITS “LIFE OR DEATH ILLINOIS” SAFETY CAMPAIGN. 

 

THE CAMPAIGN FEATURES TRUE STORIES OF FAMILIES THAT HAVE LOST A LOVED ONE IN A FATAL CRASH. I-DOT SPOKESPERSON GUY TRIDGELL SAYS THEY WANT TO SEND A STRONG MESSAGE.

 

 

MORE THAN ONE THOUSAND PEOPLE DIE EACH YEAR ON ILLINOIS ROADS…AND MOST CRASHES ARE PREVENTABLE SAYS TRIDGELL. 

 

 

THE CAMPAIGN IS RUNNING ON VARIOUS MEDIA CHANNELS AND AT THE WEBSITE: LIFE OR DEATH ILLINOIS DOT COM.

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IDNR Announces Illinois River Closures Due to Flooding

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) has announced the closure of the Illinois River due to flooding. Conservation Police are reporting flooding, dangerous currents and floating debris has created hazardous conditions on the Illinois River.  River closures prohibit recreational river traffic. Public awareness of the area, and what is ahead, is imperative to personal safety.

 

“With river levels rising and additional rain in the forecast, conditions are not favorable for boating on the Illinois River,” said IDNR Director Colleen Callahan. “These conditions are treacherous for not only boaters, but our emergency response personnel who are called upon to respond to and rescue those involved in water mishaps.”

 

The ordered closure will begin at the IL-17 bridge in Lacon (Marshall County/mile marker 185) and continue to confluence in Grafton. The following counties are impacted by the closure of the Illinois River: Marshall, Peoria, Woodford, Tazewell, Fulton, Mason, Schuyler, Cass, Brown, Morgan, Scott, Pike, Calhoun, Greene and Jersey counties.

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Piatt County Woman Killed In Macon County Crash

A Piatt County woman was killed in a car crash Friday.

 

The Champaign County Coroner, Duane Northrup, announced today (Mon) that 77-year old Evelyn Dick, of Bement, passed away after being involved in a motor vehicle crash in Hickory Point Township in Macon County on May 3rd.

 

Dick was pronounced dead at Carle Foundation Hospital in Urbana, Illinois at 3:23 AM on May 4, 2019. Ms. Dick was reportedly traveling on Macon County Highway 20 when her vehicle collided with a second vehicle at the intersection of Greenswitch Road. Ms. Dick died from complications of injuries she received during the crash.

 

No autopsy will be performed. An inquest may be held at a later date. This death is being investigated by the Champaign County Coroner’s Office and the Macon County Sheriff’s Department.
 

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Clinton Water Department Issues Boil Order

A boil order is in effect from 1200 block E Main thru the 1500 block of E Main St. For more information call the Clinton Water Department at 217-935-3432 during business hours 

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DeWitt County Museum Continues 'Buy A Board' Fundraiser

The DeWitt County Museum is making good progress in fundraising for a new porch.

 

Museum Executive Director Joey Woolridge says the effort is seeking individuals to buy a board to help rebuild their front porch. She explains they are more than halfway to that goal.

 

 

Woolridge indicates the front porch needs some improvements and they also have to keep in mind the historical integrity of the mansion when they renovate it.

 

 

Woolridge believes they will make their goal but is not sure when construction might start as it depends on when they make their goal. 

 

To get more information on the Buy A Board campaign, you can check out www.chmoorehomestead.org. 

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Warner Hospital Part of Shift in Public's Mindset Surrounding Healthcare

The healthcare industry is trying to shift the way the public thinks about healthcare and Clinton's Warner Hospital is a part of that effort.

 

CEO of Warner Hospital, Paul Skowron, explains the effort is a relatively new effort in the healthcare industry but it is trying to get people to be more proactive in taking care of themselves instead of waiting for illness or pain to befall them before taking action.

 

 

Educating the public on being more proactive in their healthcare has taken a while and Skowron indicates they are in particular, targeting the senior community to be more proactive in their overall wellness.

 

The healthcare industry has also seen a shift in incentivizing good health through apps and other benefits. Skowron indicates internally, they are offering free screenings to their staff and promoting less smoking. He believes if their staff is healthy, it projects an image of a healthy employer. 

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Pritzker Happy With Senates Work On Income Taxes

The Illinois House will soon debate what they think about the Senate’s stance on a constitutional amendment for a graduated income tax. But the Senate changed what the rates look like increasing the top rate to 7.99 percent and doing away with the estate tax. Governor JB Pritzker says first he’s very happy to have the first step towards a constitutional amendment completed. 

 

 

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Framework For Legal Weed

The path forward for legalized marijuana is growing clearer. This weekend Governor JB Pritzker laid an agreed upon framework for legal weed in Illinois. The drug would be legal to have if you have purchased from a licensed dispensary, if you’re over 21 and you hold no more than one ounce at a time. The plan also lays out the option for adults to grow their own and expunge some marijuana convictions. The bill will be introduced today at the State House. 

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Clinton City Council Welcomes Buchanan, Re-Appoints City Officials, Talk Budget

The Clinton City Council welcomed Ken Buchanan (pictured right) as the newest member to the Clinton City Council and re-appointed city officials.

 

Upon the swearing in of Buchanan, Steven Myers was re-appointed as City Attorney, Cheryl Van Valey as City Clerk, Clint Lichtenwalter as City Treasurer, Tom Edmunds as budget officer, Steve Lobb as Public Works Director, Tim Followell as Public Health Officer and sexton of the cemetery, Jeff Hoke as Fire Chief and Stephen Paige as assistant fire chief. 

 

Commissioner Tom Edmunds and Mayor Roger Cyrulik discussed the upcoming four years of budgeting. Mayor Cyrulik discussed his frustration with the cuts that come from the money taxpayers pour into the city coughers while Edmunds says it is important to keep our local lawmakers in the know of how these proposals will impact the City of Clinton.

 

 

City Administrator Tim Followell indicates there are improvements coming to the sidewalks along the former Sturgeon's to Maverick building. He says there are some issues that need to be replaced. 

 

 

The concrete work was approved at a cost of just over $20,600. 

 

Additionally Monday night, the Council also approved the city's portion of a facade agreement with John Miller for just over $30,400.

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FCC Announces Aggressive Investment in Rural Broadband

The Federal Communications is proposing a significant investment in rural broadband access. The FCC is allocating just over $20-billion over the next ten years with the target of connecting up to four-million rural homes and businesses.

 

 

The new allotment is similar to 2015 when $9-billion was allocated for rural broadband under the Obama administration.

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April Was Cold, Wet

Weather was wetter than normal and colder than normal in Illinois in April. 

The Illinois Climatologist office says that April is now the 6th consecutive month with above average rain fall and all that precipitation is having an impact. 130 river gauges are showing some level of flooding in the state. The Illinois State Water Survey’s Brian Kerschner says that conditions won’t likely improve very much next week.

 

 

Kerschner also says that two week forecast shows a trend towards wetter than average weather.

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Cattle Industry Welcomes Transporting Livestock Across America Safely Act

Cattle industry organizations Wednesday welcomed introduction of the Transporting Livestock Across America Safely Act. 

The bipartisan bill would provide livestock haulers with regulatory relief from the restrictive Hours-of-Service rules by the Department of Transportation. The bill was introduced By Nebraska Republican Senator Ban Sasse and Montana Democratic Senator Jon Tester. 
The U.S. Cattlemen’s Association calls the bill a “prescriptive solution for livestock haulers that gives them the flexibility needed to get their live cargo to its destination as safely and efficiently as possible.” 

The bill would increase the exempt miles under the Hours of Service regulation, increase the current driving time hours and give more flexibility to allow drivers to finish their delivery. 

National Cattlemen’s Beef association’s senior vice president for government affairs, Collin Woodall, says current Hours of Service rules “present major challenges” for livestock haulers. Woodall says the bill recognizes the unique needs of livestock haulers, as “hauling livestock is inherently different than hauling typical consumer goods.”

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Pritzker Fine With Senate Changes to Tax Structure

The Illinois Senate made some tweaks to Governor Pritzker's graduated income tax proposal, namely moving to eliminate the estate tax. The Governor says such move are to be expected..

Speaker Mike Madigan's office says House action will commence as events warrant.

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DeWitt County Friendship Center Hosting Tech Sessions For Seniors

The National Honors Society at Clinton High School and the DeWitt County Friendship Center are teaming up this coming week for a special program for seniors to learn more about the devices they own.

 

Executive Director of the Friendship Center, Paula Jiles, is encouraging seniors interested in being a part of the Cell Phones For Seniors program Thursday to write down questions and have them ready for the high school student that will be paired with them.

 

 

First National Bank will be the site for this collaboration from 10 am to 11:30 am. Seniors can sign up by contacting First National Bank at 217-935-2148 and ask for Connie. 

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Clinton Rotary Hoping to Help Farmer City Establish Their Own Club

The Clinton Rotary Club is coming up on their 100th anniversary in Clinton and they are interested in helping Farmer City form their own group.

 

Tom Reddington with the Clinton club explains they are hoping to begin making contacts in Farmer City to help them get their own Rotary chapter off the ground.

 

 

Reddington says Rotary is a very giving organization and believes Farmer City would be a great fit for a club. 

 

He is hopeful someone in Farmer City will reach out to him by calling 309-838-4072. 

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Congressman Davis Calls For End to Games Surrounding Russian Collussion Case

Congressman Rodney Davis believes American people are tired of all the games surrounding the investigation into alleged collusion between President Donald Trump and Russia.

 

The Taylorville Republican says $30-plus million dollars was used on an investigation with unlimited subpoena power and it is time to put the issue to rest as there is no evidence of any collusion.

 

 

Mueller's report became a best-seller as hearings took place on the report throughout the week in Washington. 

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Bustos Stresses Need For Lock and Dam Funding

Western Illinois Congresswoman Cheri Bustos continues to bring attention to aging locks and dam infrastructure. She was questioned about the issue during a House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Hearing this week in Washington. 

 

 

Bustos serves on the House Appropriations committee and supports a major infrastructure package that would include significant funding for such areas as locks and dams, roads and bridges, airports and rural broadband improvements. 

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Congressman Bost Speaks Out On Veteran Suicide Issues

A bipartisan group of Congressmen are wanting answers from the VA as to what they are doing to reduce the number of veteran suicides in this country. The issue was underscored by four veteran suicides on VA property in April, and the seventh so far this year. 

 

Since 2005, Congress has increased the money it spends on veteran suicide prevention programs more than 250% to $9.4-billion, but the rate of veteran suicides - about 20 per day - has remained constant. And Illinois Congressman Mike Bost of Murphysboro says that must change.

 

 

The first official hearing on the issue was held Monday night in Washington, D.C. If you or someone you know needs help, contact the Veteran Crisis Line 24/7 at 1-800-273-8255, option 1, or go veteranscrisisline.net.

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Mississippi River Rising Again This Spring

The Mississippi River remains high and flood warnings continue up and down the waterway. Jessica Brooks is with the National Weather Service office in the Quad Cities.

 

 

Brooks doesn’t anticipate the Mississippi to reach 1993 flood levels, but the river “will get up there.” She says levels could change depending on the amount of rain the region receives during the remainder of the week. 

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Durbin Questions Barr About Mueller Report

Senator Dick Durbin questioned Attorney General William Barr about Special Counsel Robert Mueller's concerns with Barr's four-page summary of the Mueller Report on Russian Interference with the 2016 Presidential Election. 

 

Mueller sent a letter to Barr saying the memo did not fully capture the context, nature, and substance of his report. 

 

Durbin asked Barr if Mueller himself and former White House counsel Don McGahn could testify without interference...

 

 

Durbin says there is an apparent coordinated effort by Republicans on the Judiciary Committee to divert attention away from the Russia probe to Hillary Clinton's use of private email during her time as Secretary of State. 

 

The House Judiciary Committee has served McGahn with a subpoena as part of its probe of possible obstruction of justice. 

 

Attorney General Barr says a New York Times Report claiming President Trump instructed McGahn to fire Mueller as special counsel was inaccurate.

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DeWitt County Seeking To Get Ahead of Required Wage Increases

A $15 an hour mandate was handed down from the State of Illinois earlier this year and DeWitt County leaders are looking to get ahead and stay ahead, of the requirement.

 

DeWitt County Board Chair David Newberg credits his finance committee chairperson and Board Vice-Chair Camille Redman for being proactive in looking at taking the lead to get out in front of the minimum wage hike.

 

 

According to Newberg, the increased wages are going to be almost an across the board impact. He explains as they move lower-level earners up, they will move those making more up as well.

 

 

Newberg says the mandate is going to make budgeting a little tougher but indicates they will make it work. He also points out they are renegotiating their union contracts this year. 

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Local Authors Explore 2003 Drownings of Three Kids at Clinton Lake

A new book out today (Friday) explores the deaths of three Clinton kids at Clinton Lake in 2003.

 

Authors Edith Brady-Lunny and Steve Vogel explore the drownings of Amanda Hamm's three young children and the investigation and trial that followed. Brady-Lunny says "Unforgiven: The Untold Story of One Woman's Search For Love and Justice" will be received by the community in different ways but feels it is important to present to the public how the court system operates.

 

 

After Hamm was released from prison after serving five years of a ten-year sentence, she married, had three children and was enthralled in a custody battle with the State of Illinois upon the birth of her third child. Brady-Lunny wants the book to ask the question of how much punishment is enough for an individual.

 

 

Vogel says the victims deserve to be remembered and feels the community deserves to have the story told in an objective way. 

 

 

Publishers Daily Reviews wrote quote - "It's these broader questions of abuse, justice, and redemption which galvanize a story made even more powerful (if that is possible) by the personal involvement of author/reporter Edith Brady-Lunny, who witnessed much, if not most, of what's described in this book.

 

"The Unforgiven goes far beyond the usual 'whodunnit' true crime approach, offering pointed considerations of justice and forgiveness.

 

"That it moves beyond the usual documentation of events to consider not just motives but the hearts of all involved places The Unforgiven in a highly recommended category of its own in the true crime field. It deftly employs the high drama of fiction to weave a compelling, can't-put-it-down story that considers different viewpoints as events unfold to an unexpected, riveting conclusion."

 

The book is available at Amazon and wherever books are sold. The authors will be at Warner Library in Clinton June 15.

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The Vault To Reopen To Community's Youth Tonight

The Vault in Clinton has been closed to youth for the better part of a month while major renovations on the facility's lower level have been completed.

 

Michelle Witzke with TheVault says they are pleased the work on the lower level is going to be complete in time for their re-opening this Friday night. The shaft for their lift is in place and they have a new set of stairs in place as well.

 

 

Student leader Harrison Moore is excited for The Vault to reopen. He explains they will have food catered by Cinco de Mayo and will show a movie for those that come out.

 

 

Moore says The Vault has meant a lot to him and he believes they are making a difference among his peers in the community. 

 

 

Organizers encourage any high school student to swing by from 7 pm to 11 pm this Friday night. 

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US Army Corps of Engineers Keeping Tabs on Levees, Locks

There’s much to watch up and down Mississippi River this spring. Flooding season will not go away and it’s creating stress on levees says Tom Heinold with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Rock Island District. 

 

 

As for the Lock and Dam system, Army Corps of Engineers crews have been keeping a close eye on equipment as rising waters continue to present challenges.

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Former Transportation Secretary Backs Federal Gas Tax Hike

Longtime Peoria Congressman and former U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood is weighing in on the funding picture for the state and nation's growing backlog of road and bridge repairs. Today, LaHood announced his support for an increase in the state gas tax. LaHood calls an infrastructure bill a “jobs bill and an economic development bill.” LaHood also called for a federal gas tax boost in a visit with Bloomberg....

 

 

LaHood says the winter has left a devastating impact across much of Continental U.S....

 

 

LaHood also called Illinois one big pothole in his conversation about the push to boost the state gas tax. 

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Central Illinois Lawmakers Weigh In On Proposal To Increase Funding For Child Protection Services

With DCFS in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons lately, Illinois Governor JB Pritzker has proposed increasing funding for their agency and agencies aimed at protecting the state's most vulnerable. 

 

The proposal also increases training opportunities for professionals in the field and area Republican lawmakers differ on the proposal. State Senator Chapin Rose believes the issues in the social service agencies are not surprising given Illinois is dead last in financial support of those agencies.

 

 

Meanwhile, Republican State Representative Dan Caulkins believes it is a worthy cause but wonders where the money is going to come from to fund an increase for those agencies.

 

 

Sen. Rose believes it is the duty of the State of Illinois to help people that cannot help themselves but want to live life to the fullest.

 

 

An increase in funding for social services is just one of a long laundry list of increases, mandates and tax proposals likely to be up for debate in Springfield this spring legislative cycle that is scheduled to conclude May 31. 

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Tradewind Energy Still Uncertain of Next Step With Alta Farms II Wind Project; Leaning Towards Re-Applying

Following the DeWitt County Board rejecting Tradewind Energy's application for a $300 million wind farm in the northwest corner of DeWitt County, officials with the renewable energy company indicate their stance from last Thursday remains largely the same.

 

The company last Thursday indicated they would internally see what was next for them in DeWitt County and Thursday morning Tom Swierczewski indicates that largely has not changed though he is telling his staff they are going to move forward with alternative options for their wind project.

 

 

The company remains committed to their Alta Farms II wind project and Swierzcewski notes they are starting to work on their Wapella Bluffs project, a wind farm on the east side of Highway 51, north of Clinton.

 

 

In leaning towards applying for a permit from again, Swierczewski explains Tradewind is looking at addressing all the concerns expressed throughout the process. He maintains their application was as complete of an application as he has ever put together.

 

 

Tradewind leaders continue to believe the project is good for DeWitt County. He thanks their supporters and says they continue to look to the future. 

 

Leaders of residents against the project say they will continue to work with County leadership to update what they call "outdated ordinances." 

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Clinton Schools Leader Discusses Legislation Proposals in Springfield

With the spring legislative season underway in Springfield, local school leaders are closely watching what things lawmakers will act on by May 31.

 

The budget is the elephant in the room for Springfield but it's likely there will be legislation that passes impacting Illinois schools and Superintendent of Clinton Schools, Curt Nettles says this is becoming an annual event for him and his peers.

 

 

Among the changes potentially coming, perhaps not this year, but down the road could be a change in the physical education requirement for schools. Nettles points out that would not impact Clinton schools but it could be a harmful mandate for other districts.

 

 

The teacher shortage in Illinois has become a major concern among school leaders and Springfield seems to have taken a great interest in the issue. Nettles believes Springfield had a role in creating the problem and now needs to step aside and let local school districts and their leadership do their jobs.

 

 

Other legislation in Springfield that will impact schools will be the teacher minimum salary and minimum wage hike. Nettles has indicated that won't impact Clinton schools that greatly but says those are mandates that continue to take away local control from school boards. 

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Senate Passes Graduated Income Tax Plan

THE ILLINOIS SENATE IS VOTING TO REVAMP THE STATE’S INCOME TAX STRUCTURE.

 

THE SENATE APPROVED AN AMENDMENT TO THE CONSTITUTION, REPLACING THE CURRENT FLAT TAX, WHERE EVERYONE IS TAXED AT THE SAME RATE REGARDLESS OF INCOME…WITH A GRADUATED SYSTEM WHERE YOU PAY BASED ON WHAT YOU EARN. OPPONENTS SAY THIS IS BAD FOR TAXPAYERS…BUT SENATOR DON HARMON OF OAKBROOK ARGUES THAT 97 PERCENT OF ILLINOISANS WILL PAY THE SAME OR LESS UNDER THE NEW PLAN.

 

 

REPUBLICANS, LIKE SENATOR DALE RIGHTER OF MATTOON OPPOSE THE PLAN, SAYING THIS WILL LEAD TO MORE TAX INCREASES.

 

 

THE HOUSE STILL NEEDS TO APPROVE THE AMENDMENT AND THEN IT MUST BE OKAYED BY VOTERS IN THE NOVEMBER 2020 ELECTION. 

 

THE SENATE ALSO PASSED BILLS SETTING THE NEW TAX RATES, REPEALING THE ESTATE TAX AND ANOTHER AIMED AT PROVIDING PROPERTY TAX RELIEF.

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Second Boil Order Issued in Clinton

Two boil orders were issued in Clinton Wednesday. 

 

The initial area is S. Portland from Main to Jefferson then N. of Main on Harrison to Washington to Emma back to Main. 

 

A second boil order was issued Wednesday afternoon. The area is S. Portland from Main to Jefferson then W.to Isabella to Main back to Portland.

 

Call the water department at 935-3432 with questions. 

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The Vault, Warner Library and Farmer City Library Among Groups To Receive Grant Money From Illinois Prairie Community Foundation

The Illinois Community Prairie Foundation earlier this week announced recipients for 77 grants to non-profits in DeWitt, Livingston, Logan and McLean Counties in central Illinois.

 

Among local recipients were The Vault teen center in Clinton, Warner Library in Clinton and the Farmer City Public Library. Michelle Witzke with The Vault told Regional Radio News Wednesday morning on the WHOW Morning Show they will use the $4,000 grant to support their Golden Gears Cafe training program which teaches youth small business and leadership skills.

 

 

The Warner Library received $700 to continue digitization efforts. Business Manager Samantha Rusk indicates their “Memory Lab” provides tools and education for patrons to preserve their memories for a lifetime, while also allowing library staff to digitize many items in archives so they can be posted online for public view.

 

 

Director of the Warner Library, Bobbi Perryman indicates this will be a great opportunity for the community and falls in line with their efforts in recent years of digitization.

 

 

Amy Johnson, Director of the Farmer City Public Library, indicates they received $700 to continue to develop the STEM materials they have available to the community at their library.

 

 

The Farmer City Public Library has been proactive in providing STEM opportunities to the community and Johnson says this grant money will help them further those efforts.

 

 

The Atlanta Public Library received $4,000 for their program "The Discovery Box". Director Catherine Maciariello says the former Union Hall will house a special space for kids called "The Create Space".

 

 

Maciariello calls the Illinois Community Prairie Foundation their primary funder and says it allows them to do a number of things with their programming.

 

 

Michele Evans with the Illinois Community Prairie Foundation says they awarded over $140,000 in grant money to the various groups across the four counties.

 

 

Other local recipients of the grants Community Action Partnership of Central Illinois and the DeWitt/Piatt Bi-County Health Department. Evans says the Health Department received over $1,600 to help continue their dental clinic for their communities.

 

 

Community Action received $1,400 for their “Hand Up Project” project to empower the low-income population to lead a lasting self-sufficient lifestyle through a series of classes and coaching.

 

Other groups receiving funds included:

 

>>The Child Protection Network who received $500 for “Caring After Abuse: A Caregiver Support and Education Group” to provide education about trauma and its effects, self-care tactics for caregivers and information on parenting children who have experienced trauma.

 

>>Girl Scouts of Central Illinois received $650 for “Outdoor Skill Development I and II at Camp Peairs” to support two Outdoor Development events that will help girls develop life and leadership skills, discover new abilities and take on unique challenges in the outdoors.

 

Evans says applications for 2020 grants from the Foundation’s Women to Women Giving Circle and Youth Engaged in Philanthropy (YEP) will be available in October. 

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Illinois Getting Hammered by Rain

A series of systems bringing plenty of rain through much of Illinois this week and Freese-Notis meteorologist Dan Hicks doesn’t see an extended dry period anytime soon.

 

 

Hicks says none of the systems should bring severe weather to Illinois, just rain. 

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Illinois Department of Ag Now Accepting Applications To Grow Industrial Hemp

THE ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE IS NOW ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS TO GROW AND PROCESS INDUSTRIAL HEMP. 

 

SUPPORTERS SAY THIS HAS BEEN A LONG TIME COMING, CITING THE POTENTIAL OF HEMP AS AN ALTERNATIVE CROP AND ITS MANY USES. STATE AGRICULTURE DIRECTOR JOHN SULLIVAN SAYS INTERESTED PRODUCERS SHOULD BE ABLE TO START PLANTING SOON AFTER THEY COMPLETE THE APPLICATION.

 

 

GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER SAYS INDUSTRIAL HEMP HAS THE POTENTIAL TO BE A ONE BILLION DOLLAR INDUSTRY IN ILLINOIS.

 

 

THE APPLICATION IS AVAILABLE AT: AGRICULTURE DOT IL DOT GOV.

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Senate Committee Approves Bills Setting Graduated Income Tax Rates

A SENATE COMMITTEE IS VOTING FOR THE NEW TAX RATES THAT WOULD BE A PART OF THE PROPOSED GRADUATED INCOME TAX PLAN. 

 

THE PLAN IS A LITTLE DIFFERENT FROM WHAT GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER ORIGINALLY PROPOSED…BUT STILL MEANS MOST PEOPLE WILL PAY LESS OR THE SAME SAYS SENATOR TOI (toy) HUTCHINSON OF CHICAGO HEIGHTS. SHE QUESTIONS WHY THERE IS OPPOSITION TO THE NEW TAX RATES.

 

 

BUT OPPONENTS, LIKE SENATOR JASON BARICKMAN OF BLOOMINGTON QUESTION IF THIS IS JUST THE BEGINNING.

 

 

THOSE EARNING MORE THAN 250 THOUSAND DOLLARS WILL SEE AN INCREASE UNDER THE GRADUATED TAX STRUCTURE. THE COMMITTEE ALSO VOTED TO REPEAL THE STATE’S ESTATE TAX. THE MEASURES NOW MOVE TO THE FULL SENATE FOR A VOTE.

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Bement Schools Introduce Short Video Series 'Why Bement'

A Piatt County district is using a short video series to promote the positive things happening in their schools.

 

Bement school leaders and staff have taken on a series promotional videos titled 'Why Bement' and Superintendent Sheila Greenwood explains its an opportunity to promote the things happening in their classrooms and the positive aspects of their district.

 

 

Greenwood says their STEM lab has been a huge asset to their district but she feels like even their staff may not realize how much potential there is. That is just one of the many things they are highlighting in their videos.

 

 

While the videos highlight the things the students and staff are doing, Greenwood says it is a great way to reach out to the community, she also hopes the videos could be a recruiting tool for potential families coming to the area.

 

 

The videos will be put out on the various platforms Bement Schools use, Greenwood calls it a game changer. She feels it helps provide their community with information in a timely fashion. 

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