Local News

DeWitt County Board Chair Anticipates Another Emotional Process Towards Wind Farm Decision

Last week, Tradewind Energy submitted a second application for their Alta Farms II wind farm in northwest DeWitt County.

 

Friday Morning on the WHOW Morning Show, DeWitt County Board Chair David Newberg weighed in on the re-submission and indicates the application hasn't been accepted yet as Regional Radio News reported Friday, because of incompletions recognized by Zoning Administrator Angie Sarver.

 

 

Chairman Newberg anticipates another emotional process that will result in a special County Board meeting. While he doesn't have a timeline of when the Board may take up a vote on the proposal, he indicates they are seeking out a new venue for the vote to take place because of likely conflicts with the school district.

 

 

Last week, Tradewind officials indicated to Regional Radio News, they were hopeful the Board would take the issue up shortly after the holiday season. 

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Weekly Weather Summary

It will a pleasant and cool weekend. With the Farm Progress Show coming up next week, Kevin Grady with the State Climatologist office tells us what we can expect...

 

 

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State Fair Attendance Up

PRELIMINARY NUMBERS SHOW ATTENDANCE AT THIS YEAR’S ILLINOIS STATE FAIR WAS UP BY 37 PERCENT.

 

CLOSE TO 509 THOUSAND PEOPLE VISITED THE FAIR LAST WEEK…UP FROM ABOUT 371 THOUSAND IN 2018. STATE FAIR SPOKESPERSON KRISTA LISSER ATTRIBUTES THE INCREASE TO SEVERAL FACTORS.

 

LISSER SAYS LOWERING THE COST OF ADMISSION DURING THE WEEK TO JUST FIVE DOLLARS ALSO REALLY HELPED, AS WELL AS A SOLID GRANDSTAND LINEUP THAT BROUGHT IN RECORD TICKET SALES AND REVENUE.

 

 

LAST YEAR…FAIR ATTENDANCE WAS A LITTLE UNDER 370 THOUSAND.

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Celebrities Planning to Attend Farm Progress Show

State and Federal officials to NASCAR racers will be on hand throughout the three days of the Farm Progress Show next week.

 

National Events Manager for Farm Progress Matt Jungmann (young-man) indicates Secretary Sonny Perdue will be among the visitors next week, along with Governor Pritzker and a couple of NASCAR drivers.

 

 

The Farm Progress Show runs Tuesday through Thursday, August 27-29. 

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DeWitt County Farm Bureau Hires New Manager

The DeWitt County Farm Bureau has announced the hiring of their new manager. 

 

Allison Reinecke will start as the organization’s new manager, effective Sept. 1.

 

Reinecke is a Wisconsin native, graduating from the University of Wisconsin-Platteville with a bachelor’s degree in agricultural business. Reinecke joined Illinois Farm Bureau’s County Manager Trainee Program in May where she trained with county Farm Bureau managers across Illinois.

 

Reinecke was previously employed as a Dairy Intern at ST Genetics, Agronomy Intern at Biddick, Inc., and Business Intern at Zimmerman Cheese, Inc.

 

In a statement Friday, Reinecke said, quote- “I am honored to be joining DeWitt County Farm Bureau (DCFB) as Manager. My passion for agriculture brought me to Illinois, and I am excited to be able to serve DCFB members and advocate for local agriculture. I look forward to being a part of DeWitt County Farm Bureau’s continued success.”

 

Manager Janell Baum-Thomas will be taking a new position at Baum Chevrolet Buick next month. 

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Warner Hospital, YMCA Partnering For Diabetes Prevention Program

Warner Hospital and Health Service and the Clinton YMCA are partnering together for a diabetes prevention course.

 

The class kicks off next Tuesday, August 27. CEO of Warner Hospital and Health Services, Paul Skowron indicates this expands on the many things the two Clinton entities are doing together.

 

 

The classes are from 10 am to 11 am at the Clinton YMCA. It is free to attend. you can get more information by calling 217-937-5275 or email events@warnerhospital.org. 

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Jewelweed, Winged Jewels Event Next Weekend at Weldon Springs State Park

Each late-August and early-September, ruby-throated hummingbirds gather in the marsh at Weldon Springs State Park to feast on the nectar of spotted jewelweed flowers before their annual migration southward.

 

Get a close-up look at this tiny winged jewel and the fascinating wildflower that helps fuel its high-energy existence on Sunday, September 1 from noon to 4 PM at the marsh, below Chautauqua Picnic Area.  Participants should feel free to come and go anytime throughout the afternoon.

 

For additional information, please contact the park office at 217-935-2644.

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DeWitt County Zoning Administrator Finds Issue With Recent Tradewind Application

Last week, Tradewind Energy submitted a second application for their Alta Farms II Wind Project and at the Thursday night DeWitt County Board meeting, the Board was informed there are some issues with the application.

 

Terry Ferguson chairs the Land Use Committee and indicates Zoning Administrator Angie Sarver has found a couple of incompletions in the latest application, among them are signatures regarding the leases of the land. This was brought up at the when the full board voted down the original application earlier this year. 

 

 

According to Ferguson, there are also issues surrounding the site plans of some of the turbines, which could conflict with County ordinances. 

 

 

With legal marijuana on the horizon in Illinois, Ferguson also indicates the Land Use committee is researching ordinances regarding not only sales of pot in the County, but the tax for it as well. He notes that have to be completed by January 1. 

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Teacher Minimum Salary Now Law

GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER IS SIGNING A LAW THAT RAISES THE MINIMUM SALARY FOR TEACHERS TO 40 THOUSAND DOLLARS.

 

THE PREVIOUS MINIMUM SALARY OF NINE TO 11 THOUSAND DOLLARS WAS SET DECADES AGO AND DISCOURAGES COLLEGE STUDENTS FROM ENTERING THE PROFESSION SAYS GOVERNOR PRITZKER.

 

 

REPRESENTATIVE KATIE STUART OF EDWARDSVILLE SAYS THIS WILL HELP CONVINCE MORE PEOPLE TO ENTER THE PROFESSION AND EASE THE TEACHER SHORTAGE.

 

 

THIS NEW LAW PHASES IN THE INCREASE OVER FOUR YEARS…STARTING AT 32 THOUSAND IN THE 2020-2021 SCHOOL YEAR.

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Propane Supply at Comfortable Number Approaching Grain Drying Season

What does the propane supply look like heading into the grain drying season? That was a topic of conversation among farmers at the Illinois State Fair last week.

 

 

Dan Paneer is GROWMARK’s manager of propane operations.

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Rock Springs Nature Center Expanding Pond Thanks to Grant

Rock Springs Nature Center is taking on a couple of larger projects this summer thanks to some grants that came through.

 

Richie Wolf says the Clean Energy Foundation is funding repairs on three bridges along their bike path. He says that will leave portions of the path closed this fall.

 

 

The Department of Natural Resources is funding an expansion of their pond. Wolf says this will improve access with a couple of paths and a canoe and kayak launch site. He says that the project should be underway soon.

 

 

The grant funding was made available thanks to the State of Illinois opening those opportunities with the new budget. Both sites are very popular among their guests and Wolf says while the projects will be an inconvenience, he views them as improving the park experience. 

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Summer Concert Series Wraps Up This Weekend

It is going to be a beautiful weekend for the final summer concert on the square in Clinton.

 

Everett and Hannah Ellis will be performing on the square and City Administrator Tim Followell says there's no reason not to come out this Saturday.

 

 

The City was unable to secure an act for their first summer concert but the Forsyth Harley Davidson dealership held a concert earlier in the summer and there was another good crowd on hand for Snappers annual concert as well. 

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Look Out for Firearm Deer Permits to Go On Sale

The firearm deer permit application lotteries have all passed but if you missed the third and final cycle, there's still a chance you can purchase them in October.

 

Department of Natural Resources Conservation Police Sergeant John Williamson says the number of permits available varies by county, something that is different from a lot of other states.

 

 

Resident and non-resident archery deer permits are now available. Williamson explains the designations are because of how popular deer hunting is in Illinois.

 

 

The Illinois archery deer season runs October 1 through January 19 into next year. 

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Secretary of State Reminding Motorists to Be Careful in School Zones

SECRETARY OF STATE JESSE WHITE IS REMINDING DRIVERS TO BE CAREFUL AS CHILDREN HEAD BACK TO SCHOOL. 

 

DURING THE LAST SCHOOL YEAR…17 KIDS NATIONWIDE WERE KILLED BY MOTORISTS WHO FAILED TO STOP FOR A SCHOOL BUS. SECRETARY WHITE SAYS THE BEST THING YOU CAN DO IS BE AWARE OF YOUR SURROUNDINGS.

 

 

HE ALSO RECOMMENDS TALKING WITH YOUR KIDS ABOUT PAYING ATTENTION WHEN WALKING TO SCHOOL AND GETTING ON AND OFF THE BUS.

 

 

SECRETARY WHITE SAYS HIS OFFICE’S “TOBY TIRE” PROGRAM TEACHES KIDS ABOUT STAYING SAFE WHEN GETTING ON AND OFF THE BUS.

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Illinois Now Second State to Enact Immigrant Tenant Protection

GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER IS SIGNING A NEW LAW TO BETTER PROTECT IMMIGRANT TENANTS. 

 

THE LAW AIMS TO MAKE SURE IMMIGRANTS ARE SAFE FROM HARASSMENT BY THEIR LANDLORDS SAYS GOVERNOR PRITZKER.

 

 

LANDLORDS ALSO CANNOT THREATEN TO DISCLOSE A TENANT’S IMMIGRATION STATUS. VIOLATORS MAY FACE CIVIL PENALTIES. IT WAS SPONSORED BY SENATOR CRISTINA CASTRO OF ELGIN.

 

 

ILLINOIS IS THE SECOND STATE IN THE COUNTRY TO PASS SUCH A LAW.

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Governor Pritzker Signs Three Criminal Justice Reform Bills

THREE NEW CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM LAWS ARE NOW ON THE BOOKS. 

 

TWO OF THE BILLS SIGNED BY GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER AIM TO ENGAGE MORE PEOPLE IN ELECTIONS. INMATES AWAITING TRIAL WILL BE GIVEN A CHANCE TO REGISTER TO VOTE AND THEN CAST A BALLOT…AND THOSE ABOUT TO GET OUT OF PRISON WILL LEARN MORE ABOUT THE VOTING PROCESS.

 

 

THE THIRD NEW LAW CREATES INCENTIVES FOR INMATES SERVING LONG SENTENCES SET BEFORE 1998 TO EARN GOOD TIME CREDIT BY TAKING COLLEGE AND LIFE SKILLS COURSES .

 

 

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Davis, LaHood Adress Trade, Infrastructure

Illinois Congressmen Darin LaHood and Rodney Davis made a stop in Bloomington Tuesday to discuss trade and infrastructure with local community members.

 

LaHood says passing the U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade agreement is essential for Illinois. He says about 40 percent of the products grown, produced, or manufactured in the state are sent to Mexico and Canada.

 

 

Meanwhile, both LaHood and Davis agreed more needs to be done at the federal level to address infrastructure. Davis says many lawmakers want to increase the gas tax, but he believes other sources of revenue should be addressed.

 

 

The Central Illinois lawmakers also addressed recreational marijuana and raising the minimum wage.

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Back to School Backpack Precautions

Healthcare professionals are warning about the dangers of weighted-down backpacks. Children should never carry more than 10% of their body weight in a backpack. Too much weight can lead create abnormal stress on the body, and result in chronic problems down the road.

 

Even if the weight is right, wearing the backpack incorrectly can be just as damaging. OSF HealthCare Physical Therapist Kelly Bogowith says backpacks should be worn with both straps on the shoulders, and the bottom of the backpack should land on the low back. If your child backpack is hitting his or her buttocks, it is too low and the straps need to be adjusted.

 

 

Parents should be choosy when choosing a backpack for their kids. Backpacks should have two wide, adjustable padded shoulder straps. This help distribute the weight in the backpack and keep them from digging into the shoulders. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that every year more than 14,000 children are treated for backpack-related injuries.

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Farm Progress Show Media Day Recap

The Super Bowl of agriculture is less than a week away in Decatur, Illinois and Wednesday media members got a preview of everything to come in this show that will draw people from all over the country and world.

 

National Events Manager for Farm Progress Matt Jungmann calls this the year of the tractor. He says there are a lot of new things coming that will get people excited.

 

 

Jungmann recommends downloading the 2019 version of the Farm Progress Show app. He says it will have an updated map along with a schedule of events. Plus, if weather pops up and the show site gets shut down, the app will keep you updated.

 

 

There has been a change if you are coming into the show. Highway 48 now connects to Brush College Road at a different location so Jungmann recommends just getting near Decatur and following the signs and traffic. 

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New Ordinance Will Fine Clinton Youth for Vaping at School

It is now a fineable offense for Clinton students who are caught vaping at school.

 

The epidemic has led to several area schools addressing this by attaching a fine to students caught vaping at school and Clinton schools are going to be the latest to take this kind of action. Wednesday morning on the WHOW Morning Show, Superintendent Curt Nettles told Regional Radio News vaping has exploded among the teen population.

 

 

The Clinton City Council has taken up the issue and plans to pass an ordinance in September to make a city offense. Clinton Police Chief Ben Lowers explained Monday night this adds a layer of enforcement to the penalties at the district level.

 

 

Vaping can be in the form of nicotine going into a teen's body but also there are CBD oils they can get access. The Chief says vaping materials are the latest trend in harmful substances teens can consume.

 

 

Nettles says his staff and administration will strictly enforce this new ordinance and for athletes, the consequences could also impact them.

 

 

Teens have been hospitalized in various parts of the country from vaping. Illinois health officials have started to raise awareness surrounding this growing challenge among teens, as Illinois has seen some of its own teens hospitalized. 

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Clinton Board of Education Puts Fiscal Year 20 Budget on File

The Clinton Board of Education put their Fiscal Year '20 budget on file Tuesday night at their regular monthly meeting.

 

Superintendent Curt Nettles laid out a few of the specific details of the upcoming budget, pointing out they are still gathering information on the employee health benefits. Nettles indicates adding money as it is needed will save the district money.

 

 

According to Nettles, all their funds are healthy with good balances. He explains their education fund shows a deficit because of the low tax in the district, which compares very favorably to other areas.

 

 

Additionally, Nettles notes the budget is projected to finish in the black by roughly $300,000 and points out they think it could end up better than that. 

 

For the latest budget, Nettles mentioned the district received almost all their fourth-quarter payments and the state is now only $6,600 behind. 

 

Tuesday night at the Board of Education meeting, Stephen Oswald and John Heinlen were sworn in as new board members to replace the late Ron Conner and Cole Ritter, who resigned his post recently. 

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Ag Meteorologist Talks September Frost Chances

What are the chances for a frost during September in Illinois? 

 

 

That assessment from DTN chief agriculture meteorologist Bryce Anderson. 

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Community Action Focused on Walking With Their Customers

While yearly strategic planning may seem like a lot from the outside, the leaders of a local non-profit credit the practice to being the best they can be.

 

Community Action takes part in yearly strategic planning and Director of Agency Development, Breann Titus says it is an intense process but it is necessary to evaluate the agency from almost top to bottom. She feels it brings different perspectives together to better each area of the agency.

 

 

Coming out of strategic planning earlier this summer, Titus says they are working on coaching their customers, rather than telling them what to do. Sometimes it is very basic functions, but they want to be there to help the low-income population make progress. 

 

 

Titus explains they are hoping to develop better relationships with their customers. She calls it being a cheerleader for them.

 

 

Titus says there is not a lot different from their planning last year. She indicates though, this year they are trying to streamline some of their processes as an agency. She calls it an addition to some of their changes in years past. 

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Clinton Readies for Business Boot Camp Program

Starting in early September, DeWitt County entrepreneurs will have the chance to learn the ins-and-outs of what it takes to manage a successful business.

 

The business boot camp program is a crash course in running a successful business and Clinton City Administrator, Tim Followell told Regional Radio News Tuesday morning on the WHOW morning show this is a program focused on helping out the small business community.

 

 

The program is modeled after a program in Monticello and their Director of Community Development, Callie McFarland told Regional Radio News also on the WHOW Morning Show, it not only established new businesses in their downtown and elsewhere in the community, but it also brought new energy to their existing businesses.

 

 

The program in Clinton will operate a lot like Monticello's. At the end of the five-week course, potential business owners can apply for up to a $5,000 grant to go towards their startup. Followell explains the business awarded this grant will be asked to set up shop in the downtown area.

 

 

The program is all-encompassing for DeWitt County. While Followell says the grant opportunity is aimed to be for a downtown Clinton business, he wants anyone in DeWitt County thinking about starting their own business to be a part of this opportunity. 

 

 

You can get more information on the Clinton program by searching "Clinton Bootcamp" on Facebook and there you will find the application for the program, which is free for anyone in DeWitt County. Clinton city officials are targeting around September 5 for the first session to start. 

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Clinton to Adjust Brush Pickup Ordinance

City officials are stressing, changes coming to the brush pickup program are not going to be an end to the program.

 

Monday night at the Clinton City Council meeting, the Council put on file proposed changes to the program and Commissioner of Public Improvements, Ken Buchanan, stresses these are changes to make the program more efficient.

 

 

Come the thick of winter, the brush pickup program will be suspended as city crews are dedicating much of their time to tree removal.

 

 

Buchanan points out, during the leaf cleanup season, leaves will not be required to be bagged up, however, again asks those be at the edge of the road, not in the road itself. That season kicks off October 1. 

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