Local News

No Injuries in Roadside Accident Involving DeWitt County Deputies Thursday Night

A DeWitt County deputy's squad car escaped heavy damage and no one was hurt in an incident in rural DeWitt County Thursday night that could have ended much worse than it did.

 

DeWitt County Sheriff Mike Walker tells Regional Radio News, one of his deputies was directing traffic on the scene of a vehicle that had gone off the road on Route 54 near Parnell Road when a driver approached the scene and lost control of the vehicle and ran into the deputy's squad car. Sheriff Walker says they are very fortunate no one was hurt.

 

 

If any citations or tickets are issued, it will be issued by the Illinois State Police. Sheriff Walker says State Police were on the scene after the incident involving their squad car and is just relieved no one was hurt.

 

 

With more potential treacherous weather on the way this weekend, the Sheriff implores everyone to be safe on the roads and use caution. 

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Elderly Still Targets of Scams

It takes a community effort to prevent our elderly neighbors from being the victim of scams.

 

DeWitt County TRIAD is still seeing the elderly being the target of scams and Tony Harris says the challenge is scams are always changing. He believes it is important for local authorities to stay up on the latest in scam trends.

 

 

According to Connie Unruh with TRIAD, the grandchild/grandparent scam is still catching people. This scam plays on the emotions of an elderly person who thinks a grandchild is in trouble. Unruh points out, it was believed this scam had run its course but it is still popping up.

 

 

The local scam alert hotline through the DeWitt County Sheriff's Office is 217-935-9507. Harris and Unruh remind residents if you are unsure about any phone call you get, do not give out personal information, hang up and call the Sheriff's hotline to give them the details and talk with them about if the call is legitimate. 

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Weekly Weather Summary

A wet week highlighted this week's weather. What is in store for the weekend and the week ahead? State Climatologist Trent Ford tells us....

 

 

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Tax Filing Season Begins Monday

YOU CAN START FILING YOUR STATE AND FEDERAL TAX RETURNS NEXT WEEK. 

 

MONDAY IS THE FIRST DAY FOR TAX FILING…AND ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE SPOKESPERSON SAM SALUSTRO HAS THIS ADVICE.

 

 

SALUSTRO SAYS THE QUICKEST WAY TO GET YOUR REFUND IS TO FILE ELECTRONICALLY AND REQUEST DIRECT DEPOSIT. LAST YEAR…ABOUT 88 PERCENT OF ILLINOIS TAXPAYERS OPTED TO E-FILE.

 

 

VISIT: TAX DOT ILLINOIS DOT GOV AND CLICK ON “MY TAX ILLINOIS” TO BEGIN FILING YOUR RETURN. TAXES ARE DUE BY APRIL 15TH.

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DeWitt County Zoning Administrator To Retire at End of February

DeWitt County Zoning Administrator Angie Sarver will retire at the end of February.

 

Land Use Committee Chairman Terry Ferguson made the announcement at the Thursday night DeWitt County Board meeting and Friday morning on the WHOW Morning Show, DeWitt County Board Chair David Newberg thanked Sarver for her many years of service to DeWitt County.

 

 

The Land Use Committee will be charged with the hiring process to find Sarver's replacement. Newberg indicates some things in the job description could be adjusted before the job is posted.

 

 

Newberg wishes Sarver the best in her retirement. 

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Lincoln Continues To Work Towards Fifth Street Renovation

City leadership in Lincoln has long been working towards an extensive renovation of Fifth Street Road.

 

Mayor Seth Goodman says the road has its rough patches in many places and for some time, they have been working to acquire parcels of land to get things taken care of. He explains that would go from Route 66 to the bridge that passes over Interstate 55. 

 

 

According to Mayor Goodman, the history of the project saw some potential growth but since the focus has since shifted to simply repairing it to a more suitable driving standard.

 

 

A lot of work still has to go into this project but the Mayor says they are focused on taking things one step at a time in the process.

 

 

Businesses along the Fifth Street Road include International Paper, The Center for Youth and Family Solutions, Heritage Packaging Corporation, Community Action, Picture This Photography and Sysco. 

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University of Illinois Extension Nutrition Expert Talks Healthy Winter Eating

Getting quality fresh food can be tough this time of the year with so much produce out of season but a University of Illinois Extension nutrition expert has a few tips to get quality, healthy food.

 

With most of the country under the blanket of cold weather, finding quality fresh produce can be difficult but Caitlin Mellendorf explains fish-based soups and chowders are starting to become a trend.

 

 

Citrus fruits are in season right now and Mellendorf says there's plenty of good ways to get those incorporated in your meals. Lemons and kale are in season right now. 

 

 

According to Mellendorf, if the fresh produce section of the grocery store doesn't have a lot of variety or nothing looks good, frozen or canned fruits and vegetables are a great alternative.

 

 

You can find more healthy ideas for winter meals by visiting the University of Illinois Extension website, extension.illinois.edu/dmp and Mellendorf posts to a blog there with ideas and recipes. 

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Community Action Seeking Community Members To Participate in Community Engagement

A central Illinois non-profit is hoping its community members will step up and provide input that will be important for them in planning for the future.

 

Community Action will soon begin its community engagement process and are actively seeking community members to step up and help them direct the course for the future. Executive Director Alison Rumler-Gomez says this is part of their community assessment which is a portion of their strategic planning.

 

 

The focus groups are where Community Action needs folks to step up. Rumler-Gomez says it is very important for residents in DeWitt, Logan, and Piatt Counties to step and be a part of this process and share what they are feeling about the services provided by Community Action.

 

 

Upon the completion of gathering data from the engagement meetings, Community Action takes the information their strategic planning process. Rumler-Gomez says their whole staff will use that to help decide the course for the organization.

 

 

Community Action sends out invitations via the mail and email but Rumler-Gomez encourages anyone that may have something to contribute to contact them. She hopes to get good participation this year. You can contact Community Action at 217-732-2159. 

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Clinton Schools To Start District Planning

With school board members that are mostly new to their posts, the leader of Clinton Schools believes now is a good time to begin a district planning process.

 

Wednesday Morning on the WHOW Morning Show, Superintendent Curt Nettles complimented his current board for their quickness to bond and work together well. He adds they are very community-oriented individuals.

 

 

A greater focus on the vision and mission statements of the district is the goal of this district planning process. Nettles explains teaching and learning and professional development will be among the top priorities in this planning process.

 

 

The culture of the district is also a priority during this planning process. Nettles explains they have been focusing on this but the Board intends to formalize some of the things they are doing.

 

 

As the Board of Education embarks on this process, Nettles elaborated more on the professional development piece of the planning and explains this has taken a greater focus in districts across the country and there is data to suggest it is working.

 

 

Nettles believes it could be easy to create this plan but then fall back into the habits of daily routines. It will be his focus to keep the administration and staff focused on the things they want to do and continually come back to it to make any adjustments as needed.

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Soil Health Focus Of 2020 IL Conservation Cropping Seminars

Farmers from across Illinois have had the opportunity to learn more about soil health this week at the annual Conservation Cropping Seminars.  NAFB Farm Broadcaster Jared White has more... 

 

 

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Social Security Talks Small Business, Wage Reporting With Tax Time Here

With tax time upon us, the Social Security Administration is discussing the latest in wage reporting for small businesses.

 

Jack Myers with Social Security says small businesses that employ tens-of-millions of individuals can check out the Business Services Online at socialsecurity.gov. 

 

 

The Business Services Online tab is going to allow an employer to file wages electronically and verify an employee's name and Social Security number. Myers points out, businesses with fewer than 250 people can submit wage reports on paper still.

 

 

Small business owners can produce, print and electronically submit up to 50 W-2s through the Businesses Services Online feature and Myers points out individuals do need to register to use that services. Visit socialsecurity.gov/bso/bsowelcome.htm for more information. 

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Governor Signs Law To Give Students Time Off to Vote

A NEW STATE LAW WILL GIVE ILLINOIS STUDENTS TIME TO VOTE DURING THE SCHOOL DAY. 

 

GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER SAYS HE SUPPORTS ANY INITIATIVE THAT MAKES IT EASIER FOR ILLINOISANS TO CAST A BALLOT. HE SIGNED THE BILL IN FRONT OF THORNTON FRACTIONAL HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS WHO CAME UP WITH THE IDEA.

 

 

THE IDEA FOR THE LEGISLATION CAME FROM THORNTON FRACTIONAL HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS IN CALUMET CITY…AND WAS SPONSORED BY SENATOR ELGIE SIMS.

 

 

THE LAW ALLOWS FOR TWO HOURS OFF OF SCHOOL TO VOTE IN ANY ELECTION INCLUDING PRIMARIES AND A GENERAL ELECTIONS.

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Governor Commits to Universal Home Visits by 2025

GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER HOPES TO EXPAND THE STATE’S HOME VISITING PROGRAM TO ALL ELIGIBLE FAMILIES IN ILLINOIS BY 2025.

 

500 ADDITIONAL CHILDREN WILL BE SERVED THIS YEAR…WITH THOUSANDS VISITED OVER THE NEXT FIVE YEARS SAYS GOVERNOR PRITZKER. HE SAYS IT’S VITAL TO REACH FAMILIES DURING THOSE EARLY YEARS.

 

 

THE GOVERNOR SAYS THE EARLY YEARS ARE SOME OF THE MOST IMPORTANT DEVELOPMENTALLY IN A CHILD’S LIFE, WHICH MAKES HOME VISITS SO IMPORTANT.

 

 

THE GOVERNOR SAYS THE STATE HAS RECENTLY SECURED MILLIONS OF DOLLARS IN FEDERAL FUNDING TO IMPROVE EARLY CHILDHOOD PROGRAMS ACROSS ILLINOIS. THAT INCLUDES INCREASING THE EARLY CHILDHOOD WORKFORCE AND RAISING SALARIES TO IMPROVE RETENTION RATES.

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GOP Leadership Calls for Investigation into Automatic Voter Registration Program

Republicans say that we are at a critical time in the election process in Illinois and now the security of process is being brought into doubt now that more than 500 non-citizens have been registered to vote. 

 

Republican State Rep. Tim Butler says he and others aren’t alleging an act of fraud on behalf of the Secretary of State’s office in registering those voters but they do want to know why 570 some non-citizens were registered to vote.

 

 

Republicans say some credit needs to go to the Secretary of State because they are looking at how the registration happened. But they would like to possibly have the AVR program suspended until it can be proven that it will work correctly.

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City of Clinton, Farmer City, DeWitt County Shift to New Alert System

The entities the City of Clinton, DeWitt County, and Farmer City have all transitioned to a new community alert system.

 

Residents are likely familiar with the former 'Code Red' alert system and according to Clinton City Administrator, Tim Followell, the three entities have transitioned to a new system, Hyper-Reach for their mass notification system.

 

 

According to Followell, as the public becomes more familiar with the new system, they are falling behind in letting the public know about things happening, like a recent boil order that they had a hard time making sure people knew about.

 

 

The majority of notifications someone on this network would receive is boil orders but Wednesday morning on the WHOW Morning Show, Followell pointed out emergencies such as weather or power plant-related emergencies would be sent out through this system.

 

 

Visit clintonillinois.com or dewittcountyill.com to find the Hyper-Reach link and get signed up. 

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DARE Program Starting in Clinton Schools

Officers from the Clinton Police Department will be heading into 5th-grade classrooms at Clinton Elementary School for the annual DARE program.

 

Clinton Police Chief Ben Lowers indicates the DARE program is a 12-week curriculum for 5th grade students. Chief Lowers will lead the curriculum along with School Resource Officer Mike Bennett.

 

 

Chief Lowers notes while many are aware that the DARE program discusses drug and alcohol usage, it recently was updated to include topics such as bullying and what it means to be a good citizen.

 

 

Chief Lowers feels that if students get anything out of the DARE program it's positive interaction with the local law enforcement. He says you can't put a price on that.

 

 

The DARE program in Clinton schools began in 1992 by current Sherriff Mike Walker. We'll have more on the early days of the DARE program with the Sheriff in the coming days on Regional Radio News. 

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Clinton Chamber of Commerce Announces Finalists for Annual Dinner Awards

The Clinton Chamber of Commerce's annual dinner is this weekend and the event is moving a different venue.

 

Executive Director Marian Brisard says the dinner will be at The Abigail and they hope it will be more of a networking atmosphere this year. She explains they will have a brief meeting and transition right to their awards.

 

 

There will be some entertainment in the building. According to Brisard, a caricature artist will be there and they will have several raffles to buy into.

 

 

Brisard recently announced the award finalists....

 

 

The awards banquet is this Saturday evening. This will be the second year for the Chamber to try to facilitate a networking atmosphere and she hopes the high reviews of the event will maintain this year. 

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Governor Pritzker Wants More Answers on AVR Program

The Illinois Secretary of State’s office wrongly registered more than 500 non citizens to vote through an automatic voter registration program. 

 

Democratic Governor JB Pritzker says more needs to be known about how the mistake was made so Illinois’ elections can be secure.

 

 

The Illinois GOP is calling for a suspension of the program.

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Illinois National Guard Members Headed Overseas

National Guardsmen and women from Illinois are deploying from southern Illinois to eventually head to the US Central Command of Area Responsibility in the Middle East. The 2nd battalion of the 103rd infantry regiment is heading to Fort Bliss in Texas before going overseas.

 

The Illinois Adjutant General Richard Neely said at a send-off ceremony that as those citizen-soldiers were preparing to leave those family members left behind need to be recognized.

 

 

Members of the National Guard deploying serve from around Marion, West Frankfort, Mt. Vernon, Effingham, and Litchfield.

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Ag Meteorologist Talks February Outlook

Are any significant snow events expected in February in Illinois? DTN chief agriculture meteorologist Bryce Anderson sizes up those chances.

 

 

Anderson is expecting the final stretch of January to end with moderate temperatures.

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Monticello To Offer Business Boot Camp in February

Starting in February, a Piatt County community is bringing back a much anticipated and highly successful entrepreneur program. 

 

The City of Monticello is again offering its 'Business Boot Camp' program starting in February. Director of Community Development Callie McFarland says if you took this program in the past, you might be interested in going through it again because they are bringing in new speakers with new topics in this latest round.

 

 

According to McFarland, things can change just as quickly in the world of business like any other sector of society and feels it is a good thing to keep up the best practices in today's world. With the updated speakers and topics in this round of classes, it's a good opportunity to get a refresher.

 

 

The five-week program covers around 15 topics. McFarland feels they bring in animated and informative speakers who are entertaining for three-hours. At the end of the four weeks of speakers and information, there is the opportunity at a $5,000 grant for the first six months of rent and utility costs for the business. McFarland says it can be a huge lift for many business owners.

 

 

According to McFarland, the businesses that have gone through the boot camp, some open and do well while others may not open at all. She feels that is not a bad thing though because some potential business owners may realize they are not ready to open. 

 

For potential business owners in Piatt County interested in this opportunity, you can visit monticellobootcamp.com and the program starts February 18. 

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ALMH Foundation Seeking Vendors for 2020 Farmers Market Season

Coming off the year's first winter storm and bitterly cold temperatures a lot of people aren't planning trips to their local farmers market but a Logan County entity is already in the planning stages for theirs.

 

The Abraham Lincoln Memorial Hospital Foundation's summer farmers market is a mainstay in the Lincoln and Logan County community on Saturday mornings and Market Coordinator Chelsea Campbell says they are taking vendor applications and explains what some of the requirements are to be a vendor.

 

 

The ALMH Farmer's Market is more than just vendors selling produce. Campbell explains they offer short classes on preparing some of the foods you find at the market, they have food vendors selling breakfast and coffee and smoothies among other things.

 

 

If local vendors are interested in being a part of this year's ALMH Farmer's Market, you can visit the thealmhmarket.org.

 

For those wanting to know more about the market, search "ALMH Market" on Facebook. 

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Bement Schools Highlighting Careers Partnership With Parkland College

A Piatt County School district is highlighting the positive things happening with their students through a careers program with Parkland College.

 

Bement High School students take part in a dual-credit program that Superintendent Dr. Sheila Greenwood calls a unique opportunity. Students learn skills for things like computer networking, criminal justice, and CNAs.

 

 

Education will soon be an option for students to take starting next year and Dr. Greenwood explains the district pays for the courses for students. She notes students are giving the program high reviews.

 

 

It is not out of the question for some Bement students to walk the graduation stage with an associate's degree already in their back pocket at the same time. Dr. Greenwood says not only is that a huge head starts for their education, but financially it is very beneficial.

 

 

Dr. Greenwood adds Paxton-Buckley-Loda, Rantoul, Champaign Schools, Fisher, St. Joseph-Ogden, Tonolo Unity, GCMS, Heritage, Tuscola, Mahomet-Seymour, Urbana, Monticello and Villa Grove are all part of this program. She believes it also helps students decide if continuing education is best for them or if they should learn a trade and enter the workforce right away. 

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Illinois 15th in Robocalls

The state of Illinois ranked 15th in the nation in the total number of complaints regarding Robo-Calls in 2019. Matt Zajechowski (Zaj-A-how-ski) with Digital Third Coast explains how the numbers were gathered...

 

 

While it isn't fool proof, the National Do Not Call Registry is still available via the Federal Trade Commission but the best advice according to Zajechowski is to simply ignore any call you get from a number you don't recognize.

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Clinton Y Renovation Underway

The much-anticipated renovation of the front entryway at the Clinton YMCA is underway.

 

The project began in early January and Executive Director of the Y, Rennie Cluver told Regional Radio on the WHOW Morning Show Monday morning, they had to get some infrastructure things situated before they started moving material and now things are starting to take shape.

 

 

According to Cluver, there are four main walls that will be coming down. As those come down, he anticipates things moving along in a timely manner.

 

 

Bringing in local contractors was a point of emphasis for the Y Board during this planning process. Cluver says it is great to have talented local business owners to be able to make this project happen.

 

 

For members coming in for programs or using the facility independently, Cluver says it is putting them out a bit but is thankful they all are understanding of the things happening and are willing to work with the Y to allow this project to plug along.

 

 

The main entryway remodel comes on the heels of the wellness center upgrading and updating its equipment from last fall.

 

Cluver hopes to show off all the changes with an open house in the spring when everything is finished. 

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