Local News

Clinton Board of Education Honors Late Ron Conner

It is customary to recognize outgoing Board of Education members for their time serving the community.

 

Unfortunately, that time was never allowed to Ron Conner, who passed away over the summer while still seated on the Board of Education. Tuesday night, Superintendent Curt Nettles recognized the long-time Clinton High School principal and his service to the community.

 

 

Nettles praised Conner's outgoing nature to understand what was going on and why decisions were being made. Nettles appreciated Conner's approach.

 

 

Nettles says it is still strange not to have Conner around but he still there are reminders or him being around.

 

 

Ron's family was presented with a plaque from the Illinois School Board Association and his nameplate that sat at his seat on the School Board. 

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Mt. Pulaski Schools Project Coming Along But Minimal Noticeable Progress

A major schools project in a Logan County district is moving along but you wouldn't know it if you were going strictly by what it looks like.

 

The Mt. Pulaski district is updating their facilities with an addition to their main building and it's going to eventually be a great benefit for their students and community but right now, Superintendent Fred Lamkey says it doesn't look like there's been significant progress.

 

 

Wednesday morning on the WHOW Morning Show, Lamkey told Regional Radio News the update includes five new classrooms, a media center, and an all-purpose room. He adds they needed to update the flow of their buildings. 

 

 

Lamkey says they needed to update their classrooms and get them up to 21st-century learning standards. They are hoping they could be moved in by the fall of next year but Lamkey indicates that is very aggressive for everything they have to do and believes the holidays of next year will be the latest they'll be using all their updates. 

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Rock Springs Nature Center in Thick of Restoration Projects

The Rock Springs Nature Center in Decatur has a couple of projects that their guests likely have noticed and those are continuing to plug along.

 

Richie Wolf with the Rock Springs Nature Center says their two cat-tail ponds are under construction and are empty. The renovation is made possible thanks to a grant from the Department of Natural Resources.

 

 

The ponds will become one big pond and Wolf explains they are adding pathways for canoe and kayak launches.

 

 

Wolf indicates their bike trail is getting improvements at a couple of points. They will be shutting things down to renovate the bridges along the trail.

 

 

The volunteer and bus parking lot have been re-paved. Wolf says it comes just in time for school field trips this fall.

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City Leaders Pleased With Start of Business Boot Camp

The recently started Business Bootcamp in Clinton is drawing praise from city leaders who are pleased with the turnout the program has drawn in its inaugural year.

 

City Administrator Tim Followell on the WHOW Morning Show Tuesday pointed out the third session of the program is Wednesday evening and he has been very pleased with the turnout and the response from their participants.

 

 

Followell explains the business boot camp gives individuals or couples looking to start up their own business the knowledge and tools for everything they will need.

 

 

The latest class introduced prospective business owners to marketing and Followell says their participants were very engaged. This week attendees will learn about the banking side of getting a loan for their business. 

 

 

At the end of the boot camp in October, those that have attended all four sessions and intend to open a business in downtown Clinton will have the opportunity to apply for a $5,000 grant to get them started. 

 

Followell feels the City may be on to something and is already exploring how to bring Farmer City into the program in future camps. 

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City Council Approves Brush Pick Up Program Changes

3 months are dedicated to brush cleanup each year by Clinton City crews and so changes to the program have been approved.

 

Monday night at the Clinton City Council meeting, the Council approved the changes that were a few months in the works under first-term Commissioner of Streets Ken Buchanan. Buchanan calls the changes major.

 

 

According to Buchanan, the change suspends pickup during December, January and February, however, if there is a storm that deems the program to be started back up, they will take care of those needs during that time.

 

 

Buchanan continues to implore the public to use the yard waste facility. Additionally, the size of the loads' City crews will pickup is now limited. 

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Weekly Crop Report

PRODUCERS ARE GETTING READY FOR THE FALL HARVEST AS WE HEAR IN THE WEEKLY CROP REPORT.

 

CROP PROGRESS STILL TRAILS LAST YEAR’S SCHEDULE, BUT MAY SOON BE READY TO HARVEST IN A FEW SPOTS SAYS CROP STATISTICIAN BRAD SUMMA. HE SAYS 67 PERCENT OF CORN IS IN THE DENT STAGE AND 14 PERCENT IS MATURE.

 

 

25 PERCENT OF SOYBEANS ARE TURNING COLOR AND THREE PERCENT ARE DROPPING LEAVES. 42 PERCENT OF THE CROP IS RATED IN GOOD TO EXCELLENT CONDITION. 

 

 

JUST 35 PERCENT OF PASTURES ARE RATED IN GOOD TO EXCELLENT CONDITION. 

 

THE THIRD CUTTING OF ALFALFA IS NOW 88 PERCENT COMPLETE.

 

AVERAGE STATEWIDE TOPSOIL MOISTURE CAME IN AT 12 PERCENT VERY SHORT, 25 PERCENT SHORT, 57 PERCENT ADEQUATE AND SIX PERCENT SURPLUS.

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This Week is Farm Safety and Health Week

THIS IS NATIONAL FARM SAFETY WEEK AND THE ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE HAS SOME REMINDERS FOR THE HARVEST SEASON. 

 

THE THEME THIS WEEK IS “SHIFT FARM SAFETY INTO HIGH GEAR,” RECOGNIZING THE PERILS FARMERS FACE WORKING WITH HUGE MACHINERY AND THE NEED FOR DRIVERS TO GIVE THEM PLENTY OF ROOM SAYS STATE AG SPOKESPERSON KRISTA LISSER.

 

 

WHETHER IT BE WORKING WITH LARGE MACHINERY, DODGING CARS, OR THE LONG HOURS …FARMING REMAINS ONE OF THE MOST DANGEROUS PROFESSIONS SAYS LISSER.

 

 

THE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE WILL BE HIGHLIGHTING DIFFERENT SAFETY CONCERNS ON SOCIAL MEDIA THIS WEEK…INCLUDING YOUTH IN THE FIELDS AND MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES DURING A STRESSFUL PLANTING SEASON.

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Rock Springs Nature Center Beginning Restoration Projects

The Rock Springs Nature Center in Decatur has a couple of projects that their guests likely have noticed and those are continuing to plug along.

 

Richie Wolf with the Rock Springs Nature Center says their two cat-tail ponds are under construction and are empty. The renovation is made possible thanks to a grant from the Department of Natural Resources.

 

 

The ponds will become one big pond and Wolf explains they are adding pathways for canoe and kayak launches.

 

 

Wolf indicates their bike trail is getting improvements at a couple of points. They will be shutting things down to renovate the bridges along the trail.

 

 

The volunteer and bus parking lot have been re-paved. Wolf says it comes just in time for school field trips this fall.

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Blue Ridge Teacher Federation Approves Strike Exploratory Committee

Blue Ridge teachers could go on strike if a deal isn't reached with the Blue Ridge Board of Education and the first step towards that was taken Sunday evening.

 

The Blue Ridge Federation received what they call overwhelming approval for a strike exploratory committee. According to a release from the Federation, they were surprised and disappointed with the Board’s latest proposal. 

 

Quote - "According to the union, the Board still seems unwilling to take steps to address the issues that will help stop the revolving door for staff at Blue Ridge. Another session is scheduled later this month."

 

Blue Ridge Superintendent Susan Wilson released a statement Monday, quote - "We have received word the Blue Ridge Federation met Sunday night and voted to form a Strike Exploratory Committee. The Blue Ridge Board of Education respects and values the work of our employees. We remain committed and hopeful that we will come to an agreement that is fair to our employees and maintains the financial health of the school district. "

 

Federation President Don Anton said in a release Sunday, quote - "This committee will help us plan for how to best execute a strike and support members for whom a strike would cause a financial burden.”

 

The Federation says it has had one mediation session with the Board.

 

The two sides will meet again on September 24. 

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DeWitt County Clerk, Sheriff Discuss Property Fraud Alert System

Property owners can sometimes be at risk to fraud and DeWitt County officials are promoting an extra layer of protection from becoming victims to leans against the property you did not authorize.

 

DeWitt County Clerk Dana Smith Monday Morning on the WHOW Morning Show promoted their Property Fraud Alert program. She explains there is a kiosk in her office at the County Courthouse where residents can sign up to be notified any time there is a lean against your property.

 

 

According to Smith, a lot of times a lean may come against an individuals name or property by someone they know, and sometimes it can be a case of that person not realizing what they are authorizing their family or friends to do.

 

 

Sheriff Mike Walker calls this system an extra layer of protection because if you do not know something has been filed against your name, it can make things very difficult down the road.

 

 

Seniors can be especially vulnerable to these types of issues because according to the Sheriff, they still operate under the assumption they can trust someone who tells them they will do something.

 

 

The kiosk to get registered is in the County Clerk's Office at the DeWitt County Courthouse, located at 201 West Washington Street in Clinton. You can also visit www.propertyfraudalert.com or call 800-728-3858. 

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Clinton High School Wall of Honor Nominations Being Accepted

Clinton High School officials are asking the community to submit nominations for this year's Wall of Honor inductees.

 

Principal Jerry Wayne explains those nominations are being accepted now and notes if you have nominated someone in the last five years, they are still being considered but you can update their information if you feel it is necessary.

 

 

A few years ago, the committee shifted their focus from strictly sports standouts making the Wall of Honor to anyone that accomplished significant things in their lives. Wayne says it has been a well-received change.

 

 

According to Wayne, a committee makes the final decisions on the Wall of Honor inductees. Wayne explains it is a mix of representatives from the school and the community.

 

 

If you have someone you'd like to nominate, you can find the form online or contact the high school office to get one. Those are due to the school by October 11. 

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TS Institute Offering Budget Boot Camp This Week

If you want to get a handle on your finances, a local non-profit is offering a one-night crash course on getting started.

 

Connie Unruh is the Financial Literacy Coordinator for the TS Institute and she indicates their Wednesday evening event will help you get yourself started in setting a budget and better managing your money.

 

 

Unruh calls the boot camp a starting point for people, teaching about tracking spending and understanding where their money ends up each month. With a lot of good electronic resources available, Unruh says the tried and true method of writing things down is the best way to do it.

 

 

For those that come out, Unruh hopes to find out what they are interested in learning about. She says while a lot of people are at various points in their financial journeys, some topics will appeal to a lot of people.

 

 

The budget boot camp program is Wednesday night from 6 pm to 7:30 pm at the Warner Wellness Center at 418 West South Street. It is free and Unruh says anyone who comes out will get a budget booklet they will be able to use to get themselves started. 

 

You can get more information by contacting Unruh at connie.unruh@firstnbtc.com or you can call 217-935-7464. 

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Social Security Continues To Receive Scam Reports

Scam calls are as prevalent as ever with the creativity behind these calls at an all-time high.

 

Social Security continues to warn against these calls reminding the public about some basic things to keep in mind. Jack Myers explains the public is receiving threatening phone calls and the phone numbers are matching Social Security numbers.

 

 

Myers points out Social Security is not going to threaten anyone. Additionally, new trends are showing gift cards are being asked for and once money on those cards is spent, it is gone.

 

 

The best advice for anyone who receives calls matching these types of trends is to just hang up. Myers says if you want to report these calls, visit the Office of the Inspector General at www.oig.ssa.gov/report or you can call 800-269-0271. 

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Sextortion Email Scam

The Better Business Bureau is warning you of a new scam going around. These scammers are sending out emails claiming that they have evidence of you looking up pornographic sites, and threaten to share them with family, friends, and co-workers. They try to use these emails as blackmail and scare individuals into giving them money.

 

It’s called sextortion. Better Business Bureau spokesman Don O’Brien tells The Big Z these scammers want to be paid in bitcoin, virtual currency, or gift cards, all of which are hard to trace.

 

 

Red flags to be aware of in these emails are if the scammer doesn’t provide any details on the supposed site, can’t support their threat with evidence, and if they ask for urgent ransom. 


O’Brien says the best thing you can do is to ignore any of these emails and never send them any money. For more information on this scam or for more tips on how to protect yourself you can visit bbb.org.

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Pritzker Talks ISU Enrollment

Governor JB Pritzker says he’s thrilled about enrollment numbers at Illinois State University. The school welcomed its largest freshman class in 33 years.

 

Pritzker says education is a big focus for the state.

 

 

The governor says the capital bill that was signed into law over the summer invests into schools around the state, specifically 143-million dollars into ISU.

 

 

While numbers are solid at ISU, many other schools around the state have reported declining enrollment.

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Fall Hazardous Waste Collection Sites Announced in Illinois

The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency is announcing its fall schedule for collecting household hazardous waste .

 

Residents may take leftover household products containing potentially dangerous chemicals to sites in DuPage, Peoria, Adams, Champaign and Madison counties during October.

 

Waste will be collected in Bensenville on Oct. 5, Peoria and Quincy on Oct. 12, and on Oct. 26, in Champaign and Edwardsville. Those participating in Champaign must register with Champaign or Urbana officials.

 

Year-round drop-off is available in Naperville, Rockford, Chicago and in Lake County.

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Water of US Repeal Finalized

Final repeal of the 2015 Waters of the U.S. rule was announced Thursday, and what comes next is a revised definition. Rod Bain has more...

 

 

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Pritzker wants to address vaping in Illinois

Vaping recently has been linked to severe respiratory illnesses all over the country and here in Illinois. It’s something Governor JB Pritzker wants to address.

 

Pritzker says it's a huge issue, especially after Illinois officials reported in August a person died from vaping. The governor says he's gathered together health experts from around the state.

 

 

Pritzker says he's seen firsthand the effect vaping has on kids.

 

 

The Trump administration Wednesday announced it plans to ban flavored e-cigarettes.

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Weekly Weather Summary

Much of the state this past week saw higher than normal temperatures and heat indexes. That trend will continue throughout this weekend and into next week. State Climatologist Trent Ford has the latest...

 

 

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Monticello High School Industrial Tech Program Receives $50,000 in Donated Tools

A Piatt County school district's building trades program received a surprise donation in tens-of-thousands of dollars in value from a power tools supplier.

 

Ryan Woodham's young industrial tech program at Monticello High School needed a facelift in a makeshift space within the high school so he reached out to CPO Milwaukee to ask for a banner to hang to make their space look better. Instead, the company sent him almost $50,000 worth of new tools.

 

 

Woodham says they received everything from hacksaws, impact drivers and wrenches to lights with a stand, which is everything they could have hoped for.

 

 

Woodham says this donation will allow him to now focus on purchasing materials for their program and not having to worry about making sure their kids have the tools they need.

 

 

Woodham put up a post on Facebook and he says it was shared 30,000 times and he's gotten correspondence from people all over the country. He is very grateful to Milwaukee Tools for their donation and the impact it will have on their program. 

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Decatur Area Arts Council Pushing Community Grants

If you are a group that focuses on arts of any kind, a Macon County entity is encouraging you to check out their grant opportunities.

 

Jerry Johnson is the Executive Director of the Decatur Area Arts Council and indicates they offer grants to groups across the greater Decatur area, including Clinton and parts of DeWitt County.

 

 

Check out decaturarts.org for more information or call the Arts Council at 217-423-3189. 

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Secretary of State Announces Driver Records Now Available Online

ILLINOIS MOTORISTS CAN NOW GET THEIR DRIVING RECORDS ONLINE. 

 

INSTEAD OF HAVING TO GO TO A LOCAL DRIVER’S SERVICES FACILITY…YOU CAN QUICKLY DOWNLOAD A COPY OF YOUR DRIVING RECORD VIA SECRETARY OF STATE JESSE WHITE’S WEBSITE. SPOKESPERSON HENRY HAUPT SAYS PEOPLE NEED THE RECORD FOR A VARIETY OF REASONS.

 

 

MORE THAN 18 THOUSAND DRIVING RECORDS ARE PURCHASED EACH MONTH AT SECRETARY OF STATE DRIVER’S SERVICES FACILITIES. YOU CAN NOW DO THAT ELECTRONICALLY SAYS JESSE WHITE SPOKESPERSON HENRY HAUPT. HE SAYS OFTEN TIMES PEOPLE NEED THE RECORD FOR INSURANCE PURPOSES OR FOR A NEW EMPLOYER.

 

 

THE PUBLIC CAN QUICKLY DOWNLOAD THEIR RECORD FROM: CYBER DRIVE ILLINOIS DOT COM. THERE IS A 12 DOLLAR FEE PLUS A ONE DOLLAR CREDIT CARD PROCESSING CHARGE.

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New Lottery Ticket Targets Homeless Prevention Programs

THE ILLINOIS LOTTERY IS LAUNCHING A NEW INSTANT TICKET TO BENEFIT HOMELESS PREVENTION PROGRAMS.

 

THE GAME IS CALLED “EASY AS 1-2-3,” WITH ALL PROFITS GOING TOWARDS FIGHTING HOMELESSNESS SAYS LOTTERY SPOKESPERSON JASON SCHAUMBURG.

 

 

EASY AS 1-2-3 COSTS JUST TWO DOLLARS TO PLAY AND HAS A TOP PRIZE OF 20 THOUSAND DOLLARS.

 

 

EASY AS 1-2-3 IS JUST ONE OF SEVERAL SPECIALTY TICKETS OFFERED BY THE LOTTERY WHERE ALL PROFITS GO TOWARDS CERTAIN CAUSES.

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Attendance at DuQuoin State Fair Up

ATTENDANCE WAS UP AT THIS YEAR’S DUQUOIN STATE FAIR. 

 

THE NUMBER OF PEOPLE VISITING THE FAIR IN SOUTHERN ILLINOIS INCREASED BY 23 PERCENT SAYS SPOKESPERSON KRISTA LISSER.

 

 

GRANDSTAND TICKET SALES WERE UP BY 26 PERCENT AND REVENUE ROSE BY 37 PERCENT. LISSER SAYS A SOLID GRANDSTAND LINEUP AND FREE ADMISSION TO THE FAIR HELPED BOOST NUMBERS.

 

 

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DeWitt County Soil and Water Conservation Fish Sale

The DeWitt County Soil and Water Conservation District are hosting a spring fish sale.

 

Available varieties are grass carp, channel catfish, hybrid sunfish, largemouth bass, bluegill, standard redear, black crappie, and fathead minnows all at various sizes.

 

Grass carp need to be ordered by Friday, September 20 and the other varieties need to be ordered by Friday, September 27 at 3 pm.

 

The fish will be available for pick up at the district office on Thursday, October 10 at 1 pm.

 

To place a fish order contact the SWCD by visiting them on Facebook @dewittcountsoilandwater, stop by the office at 5920 Revere Road, or call 217-935-2181 ex.3.

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