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We look forward to hearing from you.

Letter to the Editor: National Agriculture Day


Posted March 21, 2018


Dear Editor:


               When I think of National Agriculture Day and farming, I can’t help but reminisce about my days as a child, helping my father on the farm and doing my best not to slow the operation down. I can distinctly remember my father teaching me to shift gears and work the clutch the first time I drove a tractor. Those memories run deep, and now that I have two small children of my own, I want them not only to realize the enjoyment and responsibility that farming has brought to my family, but also understand the greater effect our business of agriculture has on the rest of the population.


                As a young child, the majesty of farming lies in the thought of playing in the dirt for a living. But as a person grows older, a deeper, more fond respect begins to form for the men and women who choose agriculture as a career. You soon learn that no role in agriculture is too small to go unrecognized. Everyone from the vegetable farmer with a couple acres to the larger farms with thousands of acres each leave their individual imprint on the world of agriculture.


         As my children grow, I want to teach them how it all ties together. From the seeds we plant, to raising a healthy crop, to the livestock and people that today’s ag products feed, producers and consumers are connected in a complex web. Many of you probably see the semis with funnel-shaped bottoms headed up and down Route 51 every day. These trucks are loaded with corn and soybeans, grown by local farmers, to be sent to processors like ADM and Tate and Lyle in Decatur. Eventually, they will be made into thousands of agricultural by-products, including food grade sweeteners, ethanol, biofuels and animal feed.


                I think it is exciting that we can make what we grow here into a variety of things that are used around the globe. But despite the impressive reach of our farm products, the number of farms in the United States has been cut in half since 1950. This means that as the population grows, fewer farmers are challenged to grow more food on less ground than previous generations. It also means that we as farmers are responsible for making choices that are best for the land, and best for our ability to grow food that feeds your family and mine.


            While these changes may continue to present a challenge for me, it will also be a challenge for my children, should they wish to farm. As generations become further away from farming, my kids will also have another responsibility: showing non-farm consumers how crops are grown and how many lives are touched by agriculture here in Central Illinois. As a relatively young farmer myself, I know I must take this challenge on as well, ultimately by giving my children – and anyone else who passes by – a front-row seat to the ins and outs of raising today’s crops and livestock. 

So, as National Agriculture Week, March 18-24, is recognized, I’d invite you to reach out to a farmer you know, or even one you don’t. Take a visit to a local farm. You may be surprised at the willingness of farm families to give you a quick ride in a tractor or show you around!

Neil Whitted

Clinton, IL 61727


Letter to the Editor: Opposing Tradewinds Energy Wind Farms Project


Posted March 19, 2018


Dear Editor:


Dewitt County should stand against the development of a proposed wind farm by Trade Winds Energy, LLC in DeWitt County Illinois.

With regard to Bald Eagle Breeding and Research: From 2007 to 2012, a pair of bald eagles gathered at Clinton Lake each year to mate and give birth to eaglets. Clinton Power Station worked with IDNR to preserve their habitat as two or three eaglets were born each year during this period. The station also facilitated a study to track the breeding/birth cycles and raise awareness for bald eagles. This activity resulted in an Eagle Cam that captured the eagle family’s movements at Clinton Lake.

Since that time, there has been a significant resurgence of the American Bald Eagle in and around Clinton Lake, and their territory encompasses most if not all of the land proposed for the Wind Tower Farm proposed by Trade Winds Energy, LLC in DeWitt County Illinois.

A significant number of residents of DeWitt County Illinois oppose the development of a proposed wind farm by Trade Winds Energy, LLC in DeWitt County Illinois.

I am among those who are opposed to the project as I believe it will impact the overall quality of life for those who live near the turbines. Additionally, not only does it create a problem known as “Infra-sound”, but also causes me nausea and a feeling of vertigo even driving by a large Wind Farm, even from a great distance.

We need to focus on creating an environment to attract sustainable economic development, including the creation of permanent job opportunities for local residents, while attracting homeowners who would rather enjoy the wildlife in and around Clinton Lake. We should maintain our uncluttered horizon, except for the flocks of Canadian Geese, migrating ducks, and the increasing sightings of our great Nations’ symbol, the truly amazing American Bald Eagle.

When it comes to the development of a proposed wind farm by Trade Winds Energy, LLC in DeWitt County Illinois, just say NO.

Let’s put this to a public referendum.

The bald eagle will continue to be protected by the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act even though it has been
delisted under the Endangered Species Act

from U S Fish and Wildlife Services @

Under law (16 U.S.C. 668(a); 50 CFR 22). it is illegal to wound, kill, molest or disturb Bald or Golden Eagles
(16 U.S.C. 668c; 50 CFR 22.3)

The fine doubles for an organization

The 1972 amendments increased civil penalties for violating provisions of the Act to a maximum fine of $5,000 or one year imprisonment with $10,000 or not more than two years in prison for a second conviction. Felony convictions carry a maximum fine of $250,000 or two years of imprisonment


Bradley D. Barnes, MBA

Clinton, IL

Letter to the Editor: Randy Keith for 101st State Rep Republican Nomination


Posted March 1, 2018


Dear Editor:


Dear Editor,


During a state election time in Illinois when we are seeing a mass exodus of Legislators in our Illinois General Assembly and I see a small town local man who has the sincere passion to make our state a better place and to “put Illinois back to work,” I can’t help but think about the chorus line in Tim McGraw’s country music hit, “Humble and Kind;

“Hold the door, say please, say thank you
Don't steal, don't cheat, and don't lie
I know you got mountains to climb but
Always stay humble and kind
When those dreams you're dreamin' come to you
When the work you put in is realized
Let yourself feel the pride but                                                                                                        

Always stay humble and kind”

……..then I think of Monticello’s Randy Keith. 


Randy is a good ole small town country boy who retired after working nearly 40 years at Kraft Foods in Champaign.  Randy is a true family man, a loving husband, father and grandfather and he LOVES to fish.  Randy has sincerely served Piatt County in leadership since 2014, as the Piatt County Board Chairman. 


And I feel Randy Keith has truly displayed the real meaning of “serving the people” of Piatt County through his leadership.


Especially now, when all we seem to hear or read about in “politics” in America is corruption, two words jump out at me that we desperately need in the political arena, and they are “service” and ‘integrity”. 


And when I think of Randy Keith as State Representative of the 101st District in the State of Illinois, I think of “service & integrity”, while at the same time being very “humble & kind”.

I am voting for Randy Keith and I encourage you to do the same.


Charlie Montgomery

Monticello, Illinois 61856


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