Local News

Clinton City Treasurer Fearful of Pension Shift Proposal in Springfield

Yesterday on Regional Radio News, we outlined the positive things happening at the local level surrounding the pensions in Clinton.


City leaders will be shifting tax dollars geared towards the hospital and will be dedicating those to the fire pension fund. City Treasurer Clint Lichtenwalter indicates the city does a good job keeping both their fire and police pension funds well kept but legislation in Springfield could change that.



Lichtenwalter's prediction is the state pushing better investment returns by consolidating the funds. However, he explains the costs of the proposal are going to be very difficult to rebound from.



Lichtenwalter predicts the proposal would increase the required contributions because of the loss of investment return for a while plus the costs of the selling and buying assets. Lichtenwalter predicts the bill being called for a vote in the veto session. Police and fire authorities are urging lawmakers to push this to the spring legislative season but he fears it may get pushed through before anyone has any time to completely understand the impacts of this on their community. 


Heyworth Schools Implement E-Learning Days

The latest trend in education is the idea of an at-home learning day when inclement weather strikes.


Known commonly as e-learning days, Heyworth schools recently decided to implement such a policy into their student handbook. Superintendent Lisa Taylor says they received a great deal of feedback from their community about how to make this a good policy for everyone.



According to Taylor, the benefit for students at all levels was one of the bigger discussions. They realize they need to consider the burden this could put on parents but e-learning days will only be used when necessary.



Last month, Clinton schools were one of the few in central Illinois to decline the option to implement an e-learning day. Several other districts continue to explore and implement a policy into their school code for use during days when students cannot gather.


Warner Library Offering Second Medicare Program for Seniors

Central Illinois seniors are invited to a repeat program at Warner Library later this week about the basics of Medicare.


It's the open enrollment period for Medicare Part D but there's a lot more to the overall program and Business Manager at the library, Samantha Rusk indicates this was a program that had a lot of good information and was well received the first time they offered it.



The free program is this Thursday, November 14 at 1 pm at the library 310 North Quincy Street.


Congressman Davis Updates on Latest in Impeachment Process

Impeachment proceedings will get underway later this week in Washington, D.C. in the continued saga to oust President Donald Trump.


Tuesday Morning on the WHOW Morning Show, US Congressman Rodney Davis maintains this is a bad idea that is going to tear the country apart. He calls it a disastrous process and believes Democrats are setting a terrible precedent.



Political pundits have suggested Republicans should push the issue and support impeachment to make Democrats cast their votes and use that in the election process next year. Davis believes though, that is a bad idea.



Congressman Davis calls the process a sham. He says Democrats have rejected all the witnesses republicans wanted to bring forward. 



Hearings are expected to begin later this week. Davis says he is disappointed this process will carry into next year and put on hold things like the USMCA and other measures that need to be voted on. 


Trucking Industry Looking for Fine Tuning of Illinois Recreation Marijuana Law

The trucking industry will be watching the final three days of the fall veto session closely. Specifically, they are hopeful of some clean-up language for Illinois’ new recreational marijuana law, which goes into effect Jan. 1. Don Schaefer is with the Mid-West Truckers Association.



The final three days of the fall veto session are Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday this week.


Pritzker on Veterans Day

On this Veterans Day, the Governor of Illinois was at perhaps the most recognizable monument for veterans in the state, Soldier Field.


The Democrat says there is no mistaking the sacrifice that vets made while serving in the armed forces but it was just the start of their service to county and community.



650,000 vets call Illinois home and Pritzker says we must strive to preserve a democracy that was kept secure by veterans past and present.


Social Security Reminding Veterans of Wounded Warriors Benefits

As we recognize our veterans and those who have served our country and remember those who have given the ultimate sacrifice, Social Security is reminding wounded warriors of the benefits they can receive.


Jack Myers with Social Security says veterans will receive expedited attention to their disability claims. He indicates the location where the injury took place while on active duty is not relevant in the claims process but it did have to happen in a certain time frame.



Myers indicates veterans who have a VA compensation rating of 100-percent permanent and total can get an expedited claim. He explains these gestures are their simple way of saying thank you to veterans.



When thinking about social security and its benefits later in life, veterans will also want to make sure their military service time is going toward their earnings records. Myers says veterans who served prior to 1968 need to show proof of their service time to receive bonus credits towards their earnings records.



For veterans or wounded warriors that would like information on the expedition of their disability claims, visit socialsecurity.gov/woundedwarriors. You can also find your nearest Social Security office and contact a representative over the phone or by stopping in.


The Vault Welcoming Det. Richard Wistocki To Talk Cyber Security For Teens

Cybersecurity is a hot topic across all demographics in today's world and Tuesday night in Clinton, cybersecurity expert Det. Richard Wistocki is going to be speaking to teens and parents about the dangers of the world wide web in today's world.


Det. Wistocki is an expert in the field of cybersecurity as it relates to youth and from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm on Tuesday, he'll bring his vast knowledge to The Vault in Clinton. Det. Wistocki says there's a lot to keep track of but things start with parents keeping close tabs on their kids.



Det. Wistocki says the first mistakes parents make is saying "my child would never..." He points out there are age restrictions for social media and kids are getting on those sites posing as young adults as old as 19.



If parents are going to give their kids a cell phone, he encourages not allowing them to keep it in their bedrooms at night. Det. Wistocki says that is when youth are most likely to be targeted by predators.



Det. Wistocki indicates child predators often are classmates of their victims and the other majority are people that target youths on gaming networks or social networks. 


The Detective trains police officers, parents, and youth all over the country. He'll be in Clinton at The Vault from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm on Tuesday. 


City of Clinton Shifting Tax Dollars from Hospital to Fire Pension Fund

The City of Clinton is going to do some maneuvering of tax dollars from one local entity to another.


The financial health of the city-owned Warner Hospital and Health Services is giving city leadership the option to shift funds from the hospital to the fire pension fund. City Treasurer Clint Lichtenwalter explains there's an incentive to getting that fire pension fund built up.



While communities across central Illinois struggle maintaining the pension funds for their police and firefighters, Clinton has been one of the leaders in keeping those balances well funded over the years.



The State of Illinois is pushing changes to the pension system for police and fire that could devastate communities like Clinton. We'll hear more from Licthenwalter on those changes and what that could mean for the City of Clinton tomorrow on Regional Radio News.


National Weather Service Says Second Half of November Should Be Warmer Than Normal

If you can withstand the cold of the latter part of last week and the early part of this week, the second half of November is looking to be a bit warmer than normal.


That's according to Chris Geelhart at the National Weather Service in Lincoln. The start of the month has been on the colder side but he points out temperatures should moderate going into the latter part of the month.



As for the rest of the winter, Geelhart indicates there isn't anything to suggest one trend over another. He indicates it could be a bit wetter than normal.



As scientists in Lincoln try to predict the weather in the days and weeks ahead, Geelhart indicates they actually turn their focus to what is happening in towards the Equator and even parts of Asia. 



Geelhart says it is still too soon to predict a white Christmas and it's also too early to tell what snowfall amounts might look like for the rest of the winter. 


Ameren Using Goats to Remove Invasive Vegetation

Ameren Illinois is experimenting with an environmental-friendly way to remove invasive vegetation in difficult-to-reach areas across its service territory. Dave Schenck with Ameren says the company is piloting the use of 50 goats along a steep and rocky plot of land in Hillview, Illinois.



Tree trimmers with chainsaws could be called in to clear the area but much of the terrain is in a ravine, making walking conditions difficult at times. Schenck says the vegetation management is done for reliability as well as safety.



The goats can remove approximately an acre's worth of vegetation in a week.


Winter Weather Advisory In Effect for Monday; Up to 2 Inches of Snow Expected

From the National Weather Service in Lincoln:



* WHAT...Snow expected. Total snow accumulations of up to two

* WHERE...Portions of central and west central Illinois.

* WHEN...From 6 AM to 2 PM CST Monday.

* IMPACTS...Plan on slippery road conditions as temperatures fall
  Monday morning.


Slow down and use caution while traveling.

The latest road conditions for Illinois can be obtained on the
Internet at www.gettingaroundillinois.com.


Clinton Christmas Parade Entries Due Monday

If you're wanting to participate in the 2019 Clinton Chamber of Commerce Christmas parade, your entry forms are due Monday.


Friday morning on the WHOW Morning Show, Executive Director Marian Brisard told Regional Radio News this year's parade is November 30 on the square. She's hoping for 50-plus entries this year.



Brisard indicates the registration form is available at the clintonilchamber.com website and there's plenty of other ways to get those forms into them ahead of the Veteran's Day deadline.



The Chamber office is closed for the Veteran's Day holiday Monday.


The annual Christmas parade is Saturday, November 30 at 2 pm. Get more information by visiting clintonilchamber.com/christmas-parade. 


DeWitt County Friendship Center Still Pushing Towards Purchasing Van

The DeWitt County Friendship Center keeps the community's seniors active through daily activities and several trips out of town per month but they rely on partnerships with other entities for transportation.


Friendship Center Executive Director Paula Jiles indicates they are currently saving money to purchase their own van and have about $7,000 saved.



Tonight, the community is welcomed out for the Friendship Center's chili and vegetable soup. Jiles indicates the funds raised from that will continue to build up their fund for their van.



Jiles indicates they do have to-go boxes for tonight's chili and vegetable soup fundraiser that is from 5 pm to 7 pm at the Friendship Center at 410 East Main Street in Clinton. 


Local Hunting Statistics

The deer and turkey hunting seasons are in full swing and DNR has some updated local figures for central Illinois.


DNR Spokesperson Rachel Torbert indicates numbers in DeWitt County and surrounding areas are steady with where we were last year at this time.



As always, safety needs to be the top priority for hunters who will be headed out this fall and winter. Torbert reminds hunters to check those tree stands, let someone know where you'll be and have a phone on you, of course, leaving it on the silence feature.



Firearm deer season is November 22-24 and then December 5-8 and the muzzle-loader season is December 13-15.


For any information on the upcoming seasons and safety information, visit dnr.illinois.gov. 


House Republicans Want Reforms

Is there time for ethics reform in the final three days of fall veto session? 


House Republicans think so. They are preparing a number of bills to be called sooner rather than later. Among the new bills would be one to force full disclosure of conflicts of interest and another would ban General Assembly members, spouses, and immediate live in family from paid lobbying work with governmental units. Republican Rep. Tim Butler says much can be done even in a short amount of time to address recent ethical lapses.



The Governor wants to get something done too. But it remain to be seen just how many bills can be passed in three days.


Great War Encampment Coming to Springfield

The Illinois State Military Museum is prepared for its’ Great War Encampment. This weekend in honor of Armistice Day and Veterans Day reenactors will be spread out around the grounds of Camp Lincoln in Springfield to showcase the Great War. Bill Lear with the State Military Museum says this will be one of the best ever.



The story of the First World War runs all day Saturday at the Illinois State Military Museum.


Clinton City Council Puts Annual Levy on File

The annual levy for the Clinton City will be voted on later this month but ahead of that vote, the Council needed to put it on file for public review.


Clinton City Treasurer Clint Lichtenwalter says this year's levy is looking very strong. He indicates property values continue their upward trajectory and the tax levy is going to minimally go up two very good things.



After the housing market took a hit, the EAV declined but Lichtenwalter says things are starting to pick back up. He calls the ebb and flow of the EAV in recent years minimally impactful because of the lack of growth in Clinton.



Lichtenwalter calls the tax rate very steady in the last several years. He says this year's increase is up as opposed the last several years when the rate has dropped.



The Council will approve the annual levy at their next meeting, November 18. 


Social Security Adds New Features to MySocialSecurity Accounts

If you're going to be doing business through your mysocialsecurity portal at the Social Security website, plan to have a few more options next time you visit.


Thursday morning on the WHOW Morning Show, Jack Myers with Social Security indicated to Regional Radio News, they've updated their retirement estimator feature. He indicates the feature itself is well known to the public but now you can do a little more.



Opting out of mailers is a part of the new features at your mysocialsecurity account. Myers indicates going paperless has been an effort by Social Security in recent years and by using your mysocialsecurity account to access some of those mailers, you'll receive that information sooner.



According to Myers, your mysocialsecurity account will allow you to access to the representative payee program portal and take care of several pieces of business. It will now automatically allow you access to that portal through your my socialsecurityaccount.



Check out all these new features and plenty more by visiting socialsecurity.gov and clicking on the mysocialsecurity tab.


Second Chance For Pets, Two Doors Down Brewery Partnering for Saturday Fundraiser

Come out for some locally brewed beer and support Second Chance for Pets of DeWitt County in the process.


Two Doors Down Brewery in downtown Clinton and Second Chance for Pets are teaming up for a Saturday night of fun. Heather Wantland with Second Chance for Pets says there will be celebrity bartenders, a food truck and silent auction from 5 pm to 9 pm.



This will be a new type of event for the DeWitt County group aimed at matching displaced pets to new homes. Wantland hopes not only will it raise some money for their group but she hopes they can get their name out there more than it already is.



Funds raised will help the group maintain the veterinary for their animals. Wantland says they also try to help people in tough situations afford the care for their pets as often as possible. She indicates the cost of care continues to go up and that is their biggest need right now.



Wantland indicates there will be a food truck set up on the street outside Two Doors Down. Things get started at 5 pm and go to 9 pm. Celebrity bartenders include Marian Brisard from the Clinton Chamber of Commerce, Greg and Mariah Anderson from Triple-M Farms, DeAnne Cooley from Four Paws Salon, Dustin Peterson from Peterson Insurance, School Board President Dan Matthews and former Clinton Schools teacher Dave Harding. 


Learn more about Second Chance for Pets and Saturday's event by finding them on Facebook. 


State Police Director Sounds Off on Disregard for Scott's Law











Pritzker Looking For More Disclosures From Lobbyists

The Governor wants further ethics reforms at the state house in the wake of three separate scandals this summer and fall. Democrat JB Pritzker says that as the legislature comes back for the final three days of fall veto session they should take up new rules concerning lobbyists and their connection to lawmakers.



Pritzker notes that lobbyists that work on issues in the city of Chicago have to disclose how much they are being paid. Right now lobbyists don’t have to disclose that information for working on issues at the state house.


Mt. Pulaski Schools Organizing Mandated Threat Assessment Team

The State of Illinois has passed down another mandate to Illinois schools, this time centered around preventing school violence.


Mt. Pulaski Schools Superintendent Fred Lamkey says the State is asking them to collaborate locally to reach students who may be struggling and get them help before they snowball to turning to violence.



According to Lamkey, building relationships with students is one of the best things they can do for them to set them up for success. Educators will go through extensive training as a part of this measure and he indicates that will only help them in their efforts to reach students and build those relationships.



In the past, mandates have come down as a reactionary measure to safety issues in school but Lamkey feels this is a good mandate because it is being proactive in addressing the needs of their students.



In Mt. Pulaski, no additional staff would be required, instead, Lamkey indicates they'll further utilize existing support staff. Costs of mandates can often hamper districts but he says the training of their staff is likely the extent of the costs of his district but notes other districts' costs could vary depending on how in-depth they want to get with their plans. 


The Vault Pleased Community Response to Call for Mentors for Youth

The Clinton community has answered the call from The Vault for more adults to mentor youth.


As the teen community center continues to gain momentum, the leadership called on the community to step up and be mentors for the kids that come into their downtown facility. Executive Director Tammy Wilson indicates it has been great to see their mentors begin to forge relationships with the youth.



Adults of all ages have stepped up and Wilson indicates you're never too old to make a difference with the kids they have in. While the response has been great, they can always use more help. 



Wilson encourages anyone who has a heart for youth to step up. You contact The Vault by visiting thevaultclinton.org, call 217-934-4003 or email thevaultclinton@gmail.com.


How To Use Leaves To Help Yard, Gardens

If blowing and raking leaves into piles to have your a city service pick up or have them taken out to a local landfill is too much of a hassle, a local University of Illinois horticulture expert has a few tips on how to deal with the fallen leaves.


Master Gardner Candice Hart at the University of Illinois Extension office says leaves can make a great compost starter. As you get those gardens cleaned up, she recommends mixing those remains with some leaves.



If composting isn't your thing and you just want to mow over those leaves, that is an option too. Hart indicates those mulched up leaves can provide good nutrients for your lawn.



If you'd like to start a compost pile this winter and need more tips getting it going, visit extension.illinois.edu for materials and publications or find your local University of Illinois Extension Office and contact their master gardener.



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