Local News

DeWitt County Health Department Partnering With National Guard for Vaccine Clinic Sunday, Monday

Local health officials announced Thursday they are working closely with the IL National Guard to bring special COVID-19 vaccination clinics to DeWitt County.

 

Executive Director of the DeWitt/Piatt Bi-County Health Department Dave Remmert indicates DeWitt County was selected by the state for these special clinics because the percentage of the population vaccinated against COVID-19 is below state averages, but especially amongst those age 65 and older population.

 

 

According to Remmert, vaccine demand locally is beginning to wane in recent weeks. He hopes after these clinics are concluded, the percentage of residents, especially DeWitt County residents, will increase.

 

 

It was roughly six weeks ago Remmert was very concerned over a shortage of vaccines in DeWitt County. He explains the last several weeks have allowed them to get those doses replenished.

 

 

This weekend's vaccination clinics are Sunday from 9 am to 2 pm at Blue Ridge High School in Farmer City then Monday from 9 am to 2 pm at First Christian Church in Clinton. Remmert emphasizes registration is required for these clinics and you can get registered by visiting dewittpiatthealth.com or you can call 217-935-3427 EXT 2112 for phone assistance. 

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Clinton Chamber Adjusts Price on Meat Raffle

To get more participation, the Clinton Chamber of Commerce is reducing the price of its meat raffle tickets.

 

A first-time fundraiser last year was a big hit, but the COVID pandemic has slowed this year's fundraiser's participation. Executive Director of the Chamber Marian Brisard indicates to that end, they are reducing the price on tickets from $20 to $10.

 

 

Brisard hopes the ticket price drop will allow for more people to participate.

 

 

The Chamber is hosting two golf outings this year. One in the early summer and the other in the fall. The drawing for the meat raffle takes place in the fall. 

 

To get meat raffle tickets, you can contact any Chamber member or visit the Chamber on the downtown Clinton Square or call 217-935-3364. 

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Friday Record Day for Vaccinations, Governor Still Concerned About Cases

NEW DAILY COVID-19 CASES ROSE ABOVE FOUR THOUSAND FRIDAY FOR THE FIRST TIME SINCE THE END OF JANUARY. 

 

FOUR THOUSAND FOUR NEW AND PROBABLE CASES OF INFECTION ARE BEING REPORTED ALONG WITH 21 ADDITIONAL DEATHS. THE NUMBER OF COVID PATIENTS IN THE HOSPITAL IS ALSO INCREASING, WITH ABOUT 18-HUNDRED CURRENTLY ADMITTED. THE GOOD NEWS IS THAT IT WAS ANOTHER RECORD DAY FOR VACCINATIONS, WITH MORE THAN 164 THOUSAND GIVEN THURSDAY SAYS GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER.

 

 

GOVERNOR PRITZKER SAYS THEY NEED TO GET AS MANY PEOPLE VACCINATED AGAINST THE VIRUS AS POSSIBLE.

 

 

THE GOVERNOR SAYS THOSE THAT ARE ENDING UP IN THE HOSPITAL TYPICALLY HAVEN'T BEEN VACCINATED. YOU CAN FIND A VACCINATION SITE NEAR YOU ONLINE AT: CORONAVIRUS DOT ILLINOIS DOT GOV.

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House Lawmakers Hear About Reopening Hospitality Industry

HOUSE LAWMAKERS ARE HEARING FROM THE TOURISM AND HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY ABOUT WHAT'S NEEDED TO BEGIN THE RECOVERY PROCESS. 

 

DURING A COMMITTEE MEETING, MEMBERS OF HOTEL, RESTAURANT AND CONVENTION GROUPS STRESSED THAT THEY CAN'T SURVIVE ANOTHER SUMMER UNDER LOW CAPACITY LIMITS. AND, WHILE THEY APPRECIATE THE NEED TO MOVE AHEAD BASED ON COVID NUMBERS, NAVY PIER C-E-O MARILYN GARDNER SAID THEY NEED MORE NOTICE.

 

 

MIKE JACOBSON WITH THE ILLINOIS HOTEL AND LODGING ASSOCIATION TESTIFIED BEFORE A HOUSE COMMITTEE THAT HE DOESN'T EXPECT THE HOTEL INDUSTRY TO RECOVER FROM THE PANDEMIC UNTIL 2024 AT THE EARLIEST. HE SAYS THEY NEED FINANCIAL SUPPORT TO GET BACK UP AND RUNNING AND SUGGESTS SOME OF THE FEDERAL MONEY ILLINOIS IS RECEIVING GO TO HOTELS.

 

 

HOTEL INDUSTRY REPRESENTATIVES EXPRESSED FRUSTRATION THAT THEIR STAFF, INCLUDING HOUSEKEEPERS, WERE NOT INCLUDED IN THE INITIAL PRIORITY GROUPS ELIGIBLE FOR THE VACCINE. OTHERS SAID THERE NEEDS TO BE A COORDINATED EFFORT TO PROMOTE WHAT'S OPEN IN ILLINOIS SO TRAVELERS AND EVENT ORGANIZERS AREN'T HAVING TO TRY AND FIGURE THAT OUT.

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House committee discusses revolving door prohibition

ILLINOIS HOUSE MEMBERS ARE DISCUSSING ETHICS REFORMS, INCLUDING A REVOLVING DOOR PROHIBITION FOR LEGISLATORS. 

 

THE CHANGE WOULD PREVENT LAWMAKERS LEAVING OFFICE FROM IMMEDIATELY GOING TO WORK AS A LOBBYIST. SOME HAVE SUGGESTED A SIX MONTH BAN, BUT REFORM FOR ILLINOIS EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR ALISA KAPLAN SAYS TWO YEARS WOULD BE BETTER.

 

 

THE BAN WOULD PREVENT LAWMAKERS FROM TAKING A JOB AS A LOBBYIST RIGHT AFTER THEY LEAVE OFFICE. THE GOAL IS TO REDUCE PROBLEMS LIKE THE DEALS MADE IN THE COM-ED BRIBERY SCANDAL. BUT SOME LEGISLATORS DISAGREE, SAYING THEY SHOULD BE ABLE TO WORK ON ISSUES THEY ARE PASSIONATE ABOUT AFTER THEY ARE DONE SERVING THE PUBLIC. REPRESENTATIVE KATIE STUART OF EDWARDSVILLE:

 

 

SEVERAL PROPOSALS ARE PENDING, LIMITING WORK AS A LOBBYIST FOR ANYWHERE FROM SIX MONTHS TO TWO YEARS AFTER LEAVING THE ILLINOIS GENERAL ASSEMBLY.

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April is Youth Preparedness Month

THE ILLINOIS EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY IS ENCOURAGING FAMILIES TO INCLUDE THEIR KIDS IN ANY DISASTER PLANNING.

 

EMERGENCY PLANS SHOULD KEEP IN MIND THE UNIQUE NEED TO CHILDREN. I-EMA SPOKESPERSON REBECCA CLARK SAYS GETTING THEM INVOLVED IN BUILDING AN EMERGENCY KIT, PLANNING AN ESCAPE ROUTE AND PRACTICING FIRE DRILLS CAN HELP MAKE KIDS FEEL SAFER.

 

 

SHE SAYS THERE ARE RESOURCES FOR FAMILIES.

 

 

CLARK SAYS THERE ARE A NUMBER OF ONLINE RESOURCES THAT MAKE DISASTER PREPAREDNESS FUN FOR KIDS INCLUDING THE NATIONAL FIRE PROTECTION ASSOCIATION AND FEDERAL EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY'S WEBSITES.

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Weekly Weather Summary

It was a warm, dry start to the week, but things cooled off as rain rolled through the State of Illinois. State Climatologist Trent Ford tells us about the weekend and the week ahead...

 

 

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Warner Library Preparing for Summer Reading Club

Leadership at Clinton's Warner Library is preparing for the summer reading club.

 

First-year children's librarian Cory Campbell tells Regional Radio News details are slim right now but says they do know the start date. Tuesday, June 1 kicks off the 2021 summer reading club. 

 

 

For many years, the recently retired Paula Lopatic ran a program that was highly acclaimed by youth and families in Clinton but Campbell says instead of trying to replicate what Lopatic did, he is respectfully going to try to put his twist on the program.

 

 

Campbell hopes to have more details to share in May as the program usually kicks off shortly after the conclusion of the school year. 

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Bement Schools Leader Weighs In On Student Assessment Decision

A Piatt County school district is going to be administering yearly assessments this spring but its school leader has a lot of questions about doing these yearly exams in light of the COVID pandemic's impacts on the last year of education.

 

Bement Schools superintendent Dr. Shiela Greenwood indicates the State of Illinois has given school leaders the choice of administering the yearly tests in the spring or fall and calls it controversial whether to do assessments or not.

 

 

For Bement schools, Dr. Greenwood indicates they felt it was best for them to do the assessments in May and begin to work on analyzing the data they get back. She believes it will help them get needed data for moving forward for their kids.

 

 

While getting the data back and analyzing it will be important, especially during this year's assessments, Dr. Greenwood indicates there is a long-standing frustration in the education industry of the wait time for getting those results back. She believes the data is going to be crucial this year to know where students are at as it relates to all the lost classroom time.

 

 

The State of Illinois has eliminated a few high school assessments and Dr. Greenwood believes comparing districts in the next year will be very difficult because everyone will be doing things differently. She hopes it will simply be used as a new baseline coming out of the COVID pandemic. 

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University of Illinois Extension Expert Discusses Mushroom Season

A University of Illinois Extension expert always loves to preview the mushroom hunting season. It’s a great tradition in the spring says forestry specialist Chris Evans.

 

 

Morel mushrooms are the most popular in the spring, but Evans says there are quite a number of other edible mushrooms that can be found growing in Illinois, including pheasant backs, oysters, chicken-of-the woods, chanterelles, lion’s mane, black trumpets, and hen-of-the-woods.

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Public Health Officials Watching COVID Variants

THE STATE'S TOP PUBLIC HEALTH DOCTOR SAYS THEY ARE KEEPING A WATCHFUL EYE ON THE COVID VARIANTS CIRCULATING IN ILLINOIS AND ACROSS THE COUNTRY. 

 

704 CASES OF VARIANTS HAVE BEEN CONFIRMED IN ILLINOIS SO FAR...THE VAST MAJORITY ARE THE B-ONE-ONE-SEVEN STRAIN, FIRST SEEN IN THE U-K. THIS ISN'T UNUSUAL SAYS STATE PUBLIC HEALTH DIRECTOR DOCTOR NGOZI (en-gahzi) EZIKE (eh-zee-kay).

 

 

IT'S NOT UNUSUAL FOR VIRUSES TO MUTATE SEVERAL TIMES SAYS DOCTOR  EZIKE (eh-zee-kay).

 

 

EZIKE SAYS EXPERTS WILL CONTINUALY BE STUDYING THE PROPERTIES OF ANY NEW VARIANTS TO DETERMINE IF THEY ARE MORE CONTAGIOUS AND COVERED BY THE VACCINE.

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Mid-Term Congressional Candidates Announcing in Illinois

Candidates starting to line up for the 2022 election cycle. Western Illinois Congresswoman Cheri Bustos already has a challenger. Republican Charlie Helmick has announced his candidacy. He says he's a big believer in protecting the 1st and 2nd amendments.

 

 

Helmick served in the military and also as a police officer and for Homeland Security. He is currently in the insurance business.

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Everyone 16-Older Eligible for COVID Vaccine Monday

EVERYONE IN ILLINOIS 16 AND OLDER WILL BE ELIGIBLE FOR THE COVID-19 VACCINE BEGINNING MONDAY. 

 

MORE THAN 80 COUNTIES HAVE ALREADY EXPANDED ELIGIBILITY AND THERE ARE MORE THAN ONE THOUSAND VACCINATION SITES ACROSS THE STATE NOW SAYS GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER.

 

 

THERE ARE NOW MORE THAN A THOUSAND VACCINATION LOCATIONS, INCLUDING 20 MASS VACCINATION SITES RUN BY THE ILLINOIS NATIONAL GUARD. STILL, GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER URGES PATIENCE.

 

 

MORE THAN 700 CASES OF COVID VARIANTS HAVE BEEN CONFIRMED SO FAR IN ILLINOIS.

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DeWitt County Friendship Executive Director Planning Busy April

A DeWitt County non-profit aimed at serving seniors is planning for a busy April, including the return of weekly support groups and services many local seniors rely on.

 

As discussion circulates regarding proof of vaccination for admission to events or to be a part of certain aspects of society, Executive Director of the DeWitt County Friendship Center Paula Jiles is letting local seniors make their own choices when attending their trips or coming into the center.

 

 

Jiles is excited because April marks the return of all its support groups at the Friendship Center. She notes these have waited on for a long time for seniors, including their monthly hearing aid checks, which she points out many seniors have let their hearing aids go unchecked for the last year. 

 

 

Community Care Systems Advocate Diane Cusey is also seeing seniors again for both walk-in and by appointment. She indicates they are asking for seniors to wear masks for their visits but is glad to starting seeing her seniors again.

 

Get more information about all things DeWitt County Friendship Center by following them on Facebook or calling 217-935-9411.

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DNR Deputy Director Discusses Land Management Information

The Department of Natural Resources is touting its new program, CICADA - not the invasive bug whose shell is left behind on trees and other hard surfaces, but a program aimed a better land and wildlife management.

 

DNR Deputy Director Rachel Torbert on the WHOW Morning Show Wednesday told Regional Radio News this is an online resource that aims to engage the public and private sectors in habitat protection, restoration, and biodiversity conservation through voluntary actions.

 

 

According to Torbert, the information in the guide is very in-depth and covers everything from short, fun-to-read introductions and “how-to” conservation to habitat management guidance documents, as well as more in-depth, technical documents. 

 

 

Users also will be linked to assistance programs for landowners, conservation tax-deductible donation opportunities through the Illinois Conservation Foundation, and much more. Torbert points out, the CICADA website also features a project showcase page where habitat-friendly projects can be submitted by the public for consideration and viewed by website visitors to provide inspiration and share ideas. Information also is provided on how to certify habitat projects with various organizations. 

 

 

IDNR partnered with The National Great Rivers Research and Education Center, a division of Lewis and Clark Community College, and 2WAV software developers for the project. Funding was provided through the Illinois Wildlife Preservation Fund dedicated to preserving, protecting, perpetuating, and enhancing non-game wildlife in the state.    

 

Visit cicada-idnr.org for more information. 

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Congressman Rodney Davis Encouraging Illinoisians to Get Vaccinated

"Get out and get that vaccine" is the message from an Illinois Congressman.

 

Congressman Rodney Davis has been touring vaccination sites in the district to increase interest in receiving the COVID vaccine. The Taylorville Republican notes if enough of the at-risk population is inoculated, then policymakers cannot continue to shut down the economy.

 

 

Congressman Davis says the fact that the vaccine is opening up to everyone 16 and older in Illinois demonstrates that the supply is meeting the demand. He expects the supply to continue to increase and will meet President Biden's goal of having the vaccine available to every American by May 1.

 

 

Congressman Davis notes there are still a lot of misconceptions about the vaccine and it is largely political. He says all of this undermines the hard work scientists and companies have contributed to ending the pandemic.

 

 

The Congressman indicated he and members of his family are vaccinated. He encourages everyone to make an appointment by contacting your local health department or by visiting a state-run site.

 

 

Davis contends any of the three vaccines are safe and effective.

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Downstate Lawmaker Calls on State Legislature To Step Up

A downstate lawmaker wants the state legislature to step up and resume duties as a co-equal branch of Government. State Senator Win Stoller says legislative leaders during the COVID-19 pandemic have ceded power to the Governor for too long...

 

 

Stoller wants to see an end to the Governor's continual disaster declarations and a specific timetable for re-opening the state economy.

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Gov. Pritzker Cautions Against Wednesday COVID Numbers

Daily COVID case counts are starting to meet levels not seen since late winter.

 

The state reported 3790 cases on Wednesday, the highest daily total since January 29th. With the increase in case counts the state isn’t near the “Bridge” phase of reopening. Governor JB Pritzker says he remains hopeful of getting more of the economy open – but for now that’s not happening.

 

 

One Bridge phase metric has been met with 73% of all residents over 65 with at least one vaccine shot. State-wide 41% of everyone 16 and over has a vaccine shot.

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Illinois Department of Labor Urging Drivers Be Careful During Busy Spring Planting Season

THE ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF LABOR IS URGING DRIVERS TO BE CAREFUL DURING THE BUSY SPRING PLANTING SEASON. 

 

THE BEST THING YOU CAN DO IS SLOW DOWN AND HAVE PATIENCE AS LARGE FARM EQUIMENT MOVES IN AND OUT OF FIELDS AND DOWN THE ROAD SAYS THE DEPARTMENT'S HAP HILEMAN. HE NOTES THAT MANY ACCIDENTS OCCUR WHEN A DRIVER TRIES TO PASS A BIG PIECE OF EQUIPMENT, NOT REALIZING THE FARMER IS MAKING A LEFT HAND TURN.

 

 

HILEMAN STRESSES THAT FARMERS ALSO NEED TO DO THEIR PART, BY MAKING SURE THEIR EQUIPMENT IS AS SAFE AS POSSIBLE.

 

 

DRIVERS SHOULD ALSO REMEMBER THAT FARMERS HAVE LIMITIED VISIBILITY IN THE REAR. THOSE DRIVING FARM EQUIPMENT NEED TO DO THEIR PART AS WELL, HAVING "SLOW MOVING VEHICLE" SIGNAGE POSTED AND THE CORRECT LIGHTS.

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Three Illinois Eagles Die in Recent Weeks Due to Lead Poisoning

In just 4 weeks, three eagles in an area of Illinois have died from lead poisoning. 

 

It happened in Henry County and because of that Tamara Yarger with the charity Hog Capital Wildlife Rescue and Rehab says legislation may be necessary to outlaw lead bullets used by hunters. The lead from bullets can be ingested by the eagles when they feed on left behind carcasses or field dress...

 

 

Hog Capital Wildlife Rescue and Rehab is currently raising funds to get more medicine that can treat bald eagles for lead poisoning.

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Vice President Harris Discusses Infrastructure During Chicago Visit

Vice President Kamala Harris was in Chicago this week to tout vaccines and infrastructure.

 

Standing near the shores of Lake Michigan and speaking to a hall of union laborers Harris says major investments surrounding water need to be made to not only repair existing facilities but also leapfrog the capacities of other nations.

 

 

The Great Lakes hold 90% of North Americans surface water.

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Warrensburg-Latham Schools Return to Five Days A Week Learning

As COVID mitigations lessen, a Macon County school district recently returned to class five days a week.

 

Warrensburg-Latham students returned to classes five days a week last month and Superintendent Cheryl Warner points out it was an opportunity for their remote learners to return to the in-person setting, bringing their percentage of in-person learners to roughly 90-percent.

 

 

As students return from the in-person setting, Warner indicates they are noticing trends in line with many other districts: some students are doing just fine, however, there are a good number of students struggling.

 

 

Warrensburg-Latham has a pilot program that has been introduced to help with credit recovery but Warner indicates there are other options they are considering. The district is considering summer school options to catch its students up.

 

 

For the younger students, the district has been proactive in keeping tabs on where those youngsters are. Warner explains they are establishing the most important priorities for students and their readiness for the next grade. She believes it will be impossible to meet all the standards set by the State of Illinois.

 

 

Looking ahead to next year, Warner says they are looking at an intervention program for young high school students with the assumption of a normal school day and a normal amount of classroom time again. 

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Weekly Crop Report

IT'S THE FIRST WEEKLY CROP REPORT OF THE SEASON. 

 

THERE WERE LESS THAN FOUR DAYS SUITABLE FOR FIELDWORK THIS PAST WEEK, BUT FARMERS GOT A FEW THINGS DONE SAYS CROP STATISTICIAN MARK SCHLEUSENER.

 

 

ILLINOIS FARMERS WERE ABLE TO TILL, SPREAD DRY FERTILIZER AND APPLY ANHYDROUS AMMONIA THIS PAST WEEK SAYS CROP STATISTICIAN MARK SCHLEUSENER. LOOKING AT WINTER WHEAT…

 

 

PASTURE CONDITIONS ARE RATED AS 58 PERCENT IN GOOD TO EXCELLENT CONDITION. AVERAGE STATEWIDE TOPSOIL MOISTURE CAME IN AT ONE PERCENT VERY SHORT, 16 PERCENT SHORT, 70 PERCENT ADEQUATE AND 30 PERCENT SURPLUS.

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Sen. Duckworth Hosts Vice President Harris in Chicago

The Vice President was in Chicago Tuesday where Kamala Harris visited a vaccination site. US Senator Tammy Duckworth says she was glad to see so many people of color at the event highlighting the need to get more vaccine acceptance in the minority community.

 

 

Harris also spent time in Chicago talking about the President's infrastructure plan and its impact on the city and the state of Illinois.

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Governor's Office hopeful the state can move to Phase 5 by the beginning of the summer

GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER'S OFFICE SAYS THEY ARE HOPEFUL ILLINOIS CAN MOVE TO PHASE FIVE BY THE BEGINNING OF THE SUMMER. 

 

DESPITE THE RECENT RISE IN CASES, THE GOVERNOR'S CHIEF OF STAFF ANN CAPRARA SAYS THERE MAY BE SOME GOOD NEWS IN THE NEXT FEW MONTHS.

 

 

CAPRARA SAYS WHILE SHE'S MORE OPTIMISTIC THAN SHE'S BEEN DURING THE WHOLE PANDEMIC, THERE ARE STILL CONCERNS.

 

 

STILL, CAPRARA SAYS THEY ARE HOPING FOR GOOD NEWS IN THE COMING MONTHS AS VACCINATION EFFORTS INCREASE. ABOUT 40 PERCENT OF THE STATE'S POPULATION HAS CURRENTLY GOTTEN AT LEAST ONE DOSE OF THE SHOT.

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