Local News

Illinois Turkey Harvest Numbers Slightly Down

Spring turkey harvest numbers are slightly down in 2021 compared to 2020.

 

DNR Deputy Director Rachel Torbert indicates turkey hunters harvested a preliminary statewide total of 13,383 wild turkeys during the 2021 Illinois Spring Turkey Season. This year’s preliminary harvest total compares with the 2020 statewide turkey harvest of 15,831. 

 

 

A windy spring could have contributed to the slight decrease in harvest numbers this spring according to DNR Conservation Police Captain John Williamson.

 

 

The top five counties for spring wild turkey harvest in 2021 were Jefferson (421), Pike (353), Jo Daviess (352), Marion (332), and Wayne (298).

 

DeWitt County hunters harvested 49 turkeys this spring. In Logan County, hunters took 28 turkeys and 10 turkeys in Piatt County.

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Gov. Pritzker Announces "All in for the Win" Campaign

As the rate of COVID vaccinations slows in Illinois – the state is upping the game when it comes to encouraging people to take the jab.

 

It’s called All In for the Win. Governor JB Pritzker says a free shot will qualify you for portions of a $10 million prize pool. People 18 and above will be in a pool of $7 million in cash prizes and those from 12 – 17 can win a Bright Start College fund with $150,000 in it.

 

 

To qualify you need to receive your first shot by July 1st and drawings will continue all summer.

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June is Men's Health Awareness Month

June is Men's Health Awareness Month in Illinois. Dr Andrew Peterson from OSF Healthcare notes that with the pandemic restrictions ending, now is a good time to remind men about needed screenings available that can help with preventative care for conditions that tend to affect men more than women.

 

 

Dr Peterson says that regular exams can help to prevent leading causes of death among men including heart disease, cancer and other preventable health issues.

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State Will Help Seniors With Medicare Questions Later This Month

THE ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT ON AGING IS OFFERING HELP ONLINE TO SENIORS LOOKING INTO MEDICARE. 

 

THE MEDICARE SYSTEM CAN BE CONFUSING, SO THE AGENCY IS PARTICIPATING IN A VIRTUAL “MEDICARE FAIR” ON WEDNESDAY, JUNE 23RD FROM TWO TO SIX P-M SAYS STATE HEALTH INSURANCE ASSISTANCE PROGRAM DIRECTOR SANDY LEITH.

 

 

LEITH SAYS IT’S A GREAT CHANCE TO GET ANSWERS TO ALL YOUR QUESTIONS SUCH AS…

 

 

YOU CAN SIGN UP FOR THE MEDICARE FAIR NOW THROUGH JUNE 21ST BY VISITING THE DEPARTMENT ON AGING’S WEBSITE.

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Rep. Ford Uses Battle With Prostate Cancer To Promote Screenings

ONE STATE LAWMAKER IS SHARING HIS BATTLE WITH PROSTATE CANCER TO ENCOURAGE MORE PEOPLE TO GET SCREENED FOR THE DISEASE. 

 

CHICAGO REPRESENTATIVE LA SHAWN FORD SAYS HE WAS SCREENED LAST OCTOBER AND HIS P-S-A LEVELS CAME BACK QUITE HIGH. DOCTORS WERE CONCERNED ABOUT HOW AGGRESSIVE THE CANCER WAS AND FORD HAD SURGERY IN JANUARY. HE STRESSES THE NEED TO BE CHECKED REGULARLY.

 

 

FORD IS URGING MEN TO BE PROACTIVE AND MAKE SURE THEY ARE TESTED.

 

 

THE SURGERY WAS SUCCESSFUL AND FORD SAYS HE WAS RUNNING A 5-K A MONTH LATER. HE ADDS THAT PROSTATE CANCER IS MORE PREVALENT IN AFRICAN AMERICAN MEN THAN IN OTHER RACES.

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Weekly Weather Summary

Another warm and humid week for Illinois. Outlooks for next week show some slight rain and we should return to more seasonable temperatures. State Climatologist Trent Ford has the report...

 

 

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BBB warns of grandparents scam

With a busy travel season expected this summer coming out of the pandemic, the Better Business Bureau wants you to be aware of a scam that tricks thousands of people nationwide each year. It's called the "Grandparent Scam," and you are being urged not to fall for the ruse if someone claiming to be a grandchild or close relative calls asking for money if you cannot verify their circumstances.

 

Don O'Brien, investigator with the Better Business Bureau, says it can be easy to fall victim to crooks that try to play on your emotions.

 

 

This scam has been around since about 2008 and has continually evolved.

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IL Dept. of Labor urges employers to emphasize trench safety

THE ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF LABOR IS STRESSING THE IMPORTANCE OF TRENCH SAFETY.

EMPLOYERS NEED TO TRAIN WORKERS IN RISK MANAGEMENT AND THE BEST WAYS TO PREVENT CAVE-INS SAYS AGENCY SPOKESPERSON PAUL CICCHINNI (chick-kini).

 

 

TRENCHING IS ONE OF THE MOST DANGEROUS JOBS AT A CONSTRUCTION SITE SAYS DEPARTMENT OF LABOR SPOKESPERSON PAUL CICCHINI (chick-kini), SO EMPLOYERS MUST HAVE SPECIALLY TRAINED WORKERS TO OVERSEE SAFETY.

 

 

CICCHINI SAYS IN A TRENCH COLLAPSE, JUST A CUBIC YARD OF SOIL CAN WEIGH AS MUCH AS A SMALL CAR.

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Summer lawn watering tips

THE UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS EXTENSION OFFICE IS OFFERING SOME SUMMER LAWN CARE TIPS. 

 

NOW THAT THE WEATHER IS REALLY HEATING UP, IT'S TIME TO DECIDE IF YOU WANT TO PUT THE EFFORT AND MONEY INTO WATERING YOUR YARD ALL SUMMER SAYS U OF I HORTICULTURE EDUCATOR RICHARD HENTSCHEL. IF THAT'S THE ROUTE YOU WANT TO GO...

 

 

HORTICULTURE EDUCATOR RICHARD HENTSCHEL SAYS IF WANT TO KEEP YOUR YARD LOOKING GREEN, YOU REALLY NEED TO COMMIT TO WATERING DEEPLY AND INFREQUENTLY. THAT MEANS AN INCH TO AN INCH AND A HALF OF WATER ABOUT ONCE A WEEK. ADDITIONALLY...

 

 

HENTSCHEL POINTS OUT THAT KEEPING A LUSH LAWN WILL REQUIRE ADDITIONAL FERTILIZER AND SUGGESTS MOWING MORE OFTEN AT A TALLER HEIGHT. THE TALLER GRASS WILL SHIELD THE ROOTS FROM THE SUN A LITTLE BETTER SO YOUR YARD WON'T DRY OUT AS QUICKLY.

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IL Treasurer Mike Frerichs' Office Highlighting Unique Properties Returned

LLINOIS TREASURER MIKE FRERICHS’ OFFICE IS LAUNCHING A NEW CAMPAIGN TO HIGHLIGHT SOME OF THE UNIQUE ITEMS RETURNED TO PEOPLE THROUGH THE “I-CASH” PROGRAM. 

 

THE EFFORT INCLUDES ONLINE ADS AND DIRECT MAILING, REMINDING THE PUBLIC THAT THEY MAY HAVE UNCLAIMED PROPERTY WAITING FOR THEM SAYS TREASURER FRERICHS.

 

 

TREASURER FRERICHS SAYS HE’S ALWAYS TRYING TO PROMOTE THE I-CASH PROGRAM.

 

 

FRERICHS SAYS ABOUT ONE IN FOUR PEOPLE ARE SUCCESSFUL WHEN THEY SEARCH THE ONLINE DATABASE AND CLAIMS AVERAGE ABOUT ONE THOUSAND DOLLARS. VISIT ILLINOIS TREASURER DOT GOV SLASH ICASH TO TRY YOUR LUCK.

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Clinton Police Make Arrest in Two-County Storage Unit Burglaries

A Clinton Police Department investigation into multiple burglaries of storage units has led to the arrest of a Lincoln man. 

 

Friday June 4th Clinton Police were summoned to the business of “Storage Unlimited” located on Illinois Route 54 East to investigate the discovery of at least 17 storage units forced open and at least eight units burglarized during the early morning hours of June 4th. 

 

On Tuesday, June 15, Clinton Police Detectives arrested Thomas Slayton, 28, Lincoln, for multiple counts of Burglary, Possession of Burglary Tools and Possession of Stolen property/Theft. Slayton was transported to the Dewitt County Jail where he was turned over to Dewitt County Sheriff’s Office Corrections personnel pending an appearance in court.

 

Clinton Police were assisted in the arrest by Lincoln Police and the Logan County Sheriff’s Office.

 

Chief Ben Lowers said in a statement this week, quote - “I’d like to commend our officers and Investigations Unit on their diligent work to resolve these cases in a swift and timely manner. We want to send a message that theft and burglary in our community will not be tolerated and we are dedicated to bringing those responsible to justice for their criminal actions.” 

 

Authorities remind all suspects are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

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Monticello Chamber of Commerce Business Expo Friday

The Monticello Chamber of Commerce Business Expo is today (Friday) from 3-6pm in downtown Monticello.

 

Shelly Crawford-Stock, Monticello Chamber of Commerce Executive Director, indicates they will be highlighting the many local businesses in Monticello. She notes businesses will be hosting giveaways along with food and live music.

 

 

Crawford-Stock says the business expo has been ongoing for many years and serves as a reminder of the businesses in the Monticello community. With many of the businesses hit hard by the pandemic, Crawford-Stock hopes the community will come out and show their support.

 

 

The Monticello Chamber of Commerce Business Expo is from 3-6pm Friday. Monticello Main Street will be hosting live, acoustic music from Dave and Lisa from 5-8pm as part of the Music on Main concert series. Both events are on the downtown Monticello square.

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Suicide Rates During COVID

Suicide rates did not increase as much as some have expected during COVID, but one local mental health expert says it's too early to tell.

 

Executive Director of the Piatt County Mental Health Center Tony Kirkman indicates it is too early to say suicide rates did not increase during COVID. He notes data usually lag along with the number of factors brought by the pandemic.

 

 

Kirkman believes one reason might be the destigmatization of mental health among the younger generations. He says in today's day and age people are more willing to discuss mental health and to seek help when they need it.

 

 

Kirkman says if you or a loved one is experiencing mental health issues the first place should turn to is your friends and family. If you don't feel comfortable or that isn't an option, there are various local and state resources.

 

 

Kirkman indicates taking the first step of recognizing you need help is the hardest part. Kirkman liked therapy to a quick lube station for your car. You are receiving resources to help you get your levels back in check.

 

 

To contact the Piatt County Mental Health Center, visit piattmhc.org or call (217) 762-5371.

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National Weather Service Discusses July, Summer Humidity

Yesterday on Regional Radio News we outlined the sudden dry trend in which we find ourselves in central Illinois.

 

As we wrap up June and turn the calendar to July, Chris Miller at the National Weather Service in Lincoln is keeping an eye on the moisture that could potentially be makings its way to the midwest, unfortunately, there doesn't appear to be much on the horizon.

 

 

According to Miller, the condition of the corn crop can play a large role in the weather of the summer. He explains if the crop is not in good condition, it will not be as humid as usual. Additionally, the weather of the upper-midwest, which drives moisture to central Illinois, is in a very dry pattern as well.

 

 

Looking beyond July, Miller says above-normal temperatures are expected, which is not out of the ordinary. He says nothing too extreme is expected.

 

 

As we hit the weekend, portions of central Illinois remain under an umbrella of dry air that seems to be skipped over when moisture makes its way through. Miller says this continues a pattern of the last few years where there is no local moisture for the atmosphere to draw from. 

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Sen. Barickman Calls Budget 'Fatally Flawed'

A Central Illinois lawmaker, who is mulling a decision to run for Governor, says Illinois' new state budget is "fatally flawed."

 

The budget, which passed on June 1, was initially set to take effect next summer. However, some mistakes in the legislation led to a Senate vote to correct the errors. According to State Sen. Jason Barickman, the legislation was a disaster from the beginning.

 

 

The Bloomington Republican added that when Gov. Pritzker corrected the legislation; he could have scaled back a bill that provides politicians with an 18-hundred dollar a year pay raise.

 

The House must also accept the changes. The state's new fiscal year begins July 1.

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Commodity Markets Have Brutal Thursday

It was a brutal day at the Chicago Board of Trade. Big red numbers in the commodity market on Thursday.

 

 

That’s Hugh Whalen with MID-CO Commodities in Bloomington, speaking shortly after the close on Thursday.

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Recreational Marijuana Equity Act

A new state bill allows for minority businesses to receive recreational marijuana licenses.

 

Tony Kirkman, Piatt County Mental Health Center Executive Director, reminds last year when recreational marijuana was legalized, a lottery system was established to award licenses. The reasoning was to award licenses to minority owners, but larger companies received the licenses.

 

 

The General Assembly recently passed the Recreational Marijuana Equity Act, which creates two additional lotteries of 110 total for minority dispensary owners. In addition to the 110, the bill also allows the lottery for last year's 75 licenses to move forward.

 

 

Kirkman notes the original recreational marijuana bill provided for twenty percent of the tax proceeds would go to substance abuse and mental health providers. The new state budget allocates $15 million to the Substance Use and Prevention Recovery Department.

 

 

Kirkman says this is much-needed funding to allow mental health providers to continue serving the communities they serve.

 

The bill now heads to the Governor's desk.

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Republicans remain upset over Governor's budget process

The budget passed a few weeks back by Illinois lawmakers wasn’t proof-read. The spending plan lacked a few key dates in the text to spell out just when spending on some state programs could begin. So it was with the stroke of the pen, an amendatory veto, that Governor JB Pritzker fixed it and sent it back to lawmakers to re-approve it. Republicans didn’t support the measure the first time and this time around were upset about the sloppy way it was put together.

 

House GOP member Mike Marron says mistakes were made because the budget arrived at the last minute.

 

 

Republicans don’t have a particular fix right now – but say the budget should be ready to be viewed for a few days before voting to approve it or not. The House and Senate used Democratic majorities to approve the changes.

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Central Illinois Drying Out

Heading into 2021, we were too dry. Then things got better thanks to a wet stretch in February and March. 

 

Now as we head to the summer, things are drying out again. Chris Miller at the National Weather Service in Lincoln told Regional Radio News Wednesday on the WHOW Morning Show, there are parts of southern Illinois that are just fine, but much of central and northern Illinois is dry.

 

 

Normally this time of the year, we can expect around three-quarters of an inch of rain on a weekly basis. Miller indicates once again, a stretch that goes from Lincoln to Clinton over towards Champaign and as far south as Effingham and Shelbyville that is under a dome of dry weather and is well below normal for moisture.

 

 

Towards the end of the week and into the weekend are the best chances for rain showers that could relieve this dry run we're on. Miller indicates because the storms will be developing over parts of Illinois, not every area that needs moisture is going to get it. 


 

Through the rest of the summer, Miller says right now nothing is showing a truly wet pattern coming in July or August. He says temperatures will be hot and then cool off slightly for a short time and then return to hot and cycle that way through the next few months.

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Adjustments to FOID card

Small steps forward were made in adjusting the FOID card system in Illinois. One of the biggest changes will be with collecting fingerprints. They aren’t going to be required to get a card but if you submit them you will be granted an automatic renewal if you qualify. Republican Rep. Deanne Mazzochi says the fixes won’t slow down gun violence or speed up the process to issue new ones.

 

 

The bill will create electronic versions of the cards.

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Juneteenth is now an official state holiday in Illinois

JUNETEENTH IS NOW AN OFFICIAL STATE HOLIDAY IN ILLINOIS. 

 

UNDER A NEW STATE LAW, THE HOLIDAY WILL BE CELEBRATED ON JUNE 19TH EVERY YEAR, MARKING THE DAY IN 1865 WHEN THE LAST SLAVES WERE FINALLY FREED IN GALVESTON, TEXAS. “FREEDOM DAY” IS A VITAL PART OF HISTORY THAT SHOULD BE REMEMBERED EACH YEAR SAYS SENATOR KIMBERLY LIGHTFORD OF MAYWOOD.

 

 

GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER SIGNED THE NEW STATE LAW NEXT TO A RARE SIGNED COPY OF THE EMANCIPATION PROCLAMATION IN SPRINGFIELD. IT MARKS JUNE 19TH AS A NEW HOLIDAY. REPRESENTATIVE LA SHAWN FORD OF CHICAGO EXPLAINS THE SIGNIFICANCE.

 

 

THE LAW TAKES EFFECT NEXT YEAR AND WILL BE A PUBLIC SCHOOL HOLIDAY AND A PAID HOLIDAY FOR STATE EMPLOYEES WHEN JUNE 19TH FALLS ON A WEEKDAY.

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House approves Chicago schools elected board bill

THE ILLINOIS HOUSE VOTED WEDNESDAY TO CREATE AN ELECTED SCHOOL BOARD FOR CHICAGO PUBLIC SCHOOLS. 

 

C-P-S IS CURRENTLY THE ONLY DISTRICT IN THE STATE WHERE BOARD MEMBERS ARE APPOINTED INSTEAD OF ELECTED. IF SIGNED INTO LAW, THE LEGISLATION SETS UP A 21 MEMBER FULLY ELECTED BOARD BY 2027. IT’S SUPPORTED BY REPRESENTATIVE KAM BUCKNER OF CHICAGO.

 

 

THE CHANGE IS A LONG TIME COMING SAYS REPRESENTATIVE DELIA RAMIREZ OF CHICAGO, WITH HER BILL SETTING UP A FULLY ELECTED 21 MEMBER SCHOOL BOARD BY 2027.

 

 

IF SIGNED INTO LAW, THE LEGISLATION WILL BE PHASED IN, WITH A HYBRID BOARD TAKING OFFICE IN 2025. C-P-S IS CURRENTLY THE ONLY DISTRICT IN THE STATE THAT DOES NOT ELECT SCHOOL BOARD MEMBERS.

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Clinton Board of Education Amends Budget, Approves Position for K-5 Special Education Department Lead

The Clinton Board of Education met for a brief meeting Tuesday night.

 

Clinton Schools Superintendent Curt Nettles on the WHOW Morning Show Wednesday told Regional Radio News they approved budget amendments. The district will finish Fiscal Year '21 in the black.

 

 

The Board approved the district to create a position for a K-5 Special Education Department head. Nettles explains a leader is in place at high school and junior high school. 

 

 

Additionally, Thursday night the Board of Education discussed allowing staff members who reside outside the district to allow their children to attend Clinton Schools and waiving the tuition fees. Nettles explains the other things like registration fees would apply.

 

 

Nettles notes that was a proposal that was only discussed and could be taken up for a vote in August or September.

 

The Board of Education will not convene in July.

 

Also Tuesday night, the Board approved handbook updates for the 2021-22 school year and its behavior policy. Minor adjustments were made to both according to Nettles. 

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Clinton Police Chief Talks Local Scams

Tuesday was World Elder Abuse Awareness Day and on Regional Radio News, we highlighted the battle seniors face regarding scams.

 

Many may say, well our local seniors don't deal with those things but Clinton Police Chief Ben Lowers says that simply is not the case. While seniors can be the most susceptible, almost everyone is constantly bombarded with scam phone calls.

 

 

It's not anything groundbreaking, but Chief Lowers indicates imposters are simply playing a numbers game. Additionally, these people are very good at what they do and tap into the public's emotional reactions.

 

 

The evolving world of technology is opening us up to more and more opportunities for scams. Chief Lowers offers some things we can do to not end up the victim of a scam.

 

 

The Chief continues to encourage you not to answer calls from unfamiliar phone numbers, and if you do thinking the number looks familiar, hang up once you realize the call is not who you may have thought it was from. 

 

Additionally, Chief Lowers says they continue to see local folks falling for these scams. Especially in the case of a wire-transfer type of scam, local institutions will sniff some of these out but it happens far too frequently, local authorities continue to see local seniors and residents victims of scams that could have been prevented if common sense was used. 

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Warner Hospital Hopes to Get Front Parking Lot Right This Summer

After trying to save money on a project in front of Warner Hospital in Clinton, the city-owned entity is having to go back and redo a project they thought they had fixed a few years ago.

 

CEO Paul Skowron explains the parking lot in front of the facility on White Street in Clinton will undergo its second nearly full renovation. In 2019, they did this but with materials, they felt would get the job done and save the hospital money. It did not work out.

 

 

With the cyber-attacks of recent weeks across varying industries, Skowron points out a recent upgrade they've made is to review their ransom-ware software within the hospital. He stresses to the public, the security of their system and patient information is always top-of-mind for them.

 

 

Among other improvements within the city-owned facility is an upgrade of their phone system. Skowron recognizes this isn't the most appealing piece of news for the public but it will allow them to be more efficient. 

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