Local News

CH Moore Homestead Director Excited for Return of Apple n' Pork Festival

The Apple n' Pork Festival returns to its full capacity next Saturday and Sunday, September 25-26.

 

On the WHOW Morning Show Friday, Director Joey Woolridge told Regional Radio News this will be the 53rd edition of the festival and she is very excited to be back and have everyone out 

 

 

The Apple n' Pork Festival is next Saturday and Sunday. We'll hear more from Woolridge next week on the festival and all the happenings as Clinton's largest yearly event return in 2021.

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Sen. Rose Blasts Attorney General for Task Force on Retail Theft

Hysterical at some level is how a central Illinois Republican describes the Illinois Attorney General's task force to combat retail theft.

 

State Sen. Chapin Rose on the WHOW Morning Show Thursday blasted the former Democratic lawmaker for his interest in the problem of retail theft because Kwame Raoul spent most of his time as a lawmaker "dismantling" criminal justice in Illinois.

 

 

In his district, the Mahomet Republican says most of the gun crimes are people that are out on bond for other felonies. He says that is the first thing that needs to end in Illinois. He points out though, the community needs to take ownership in any sort of turnaround. 

 

 

Sen. Rose anticipates having pro-police anti-crime bills ready to introduce next week. He says police should be trained to execute their power responsibly to protect our communities.

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Illinois Wesleyan Touting Diversity of Freshman Class

Fall enrollment numbers are out, and Illinois Wesleyan University's incoming class includes the most diverse class in school history. The incoming class includes 163 students, who identify as students of color, equally about 34% of the entire class. According to Greg Harris, Dean of Admissions for IWU, the incoming class comprises 15 countries and 25 different states.

 

 

IWU's fall enrollment was up to 1,653 from 1,636 in 2020.

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Lincoln Desk Restored

A trove of artifacts are newly on display at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum and Library in Springfield.

 

Lincolns’ Life in Letters… The most impressive artifact is the desk that the then president-elect wrote his inaugural address from. A comprehensive restoration and preservation of the desk were undertaken to return it to its historical shape. ALPLM Director Christina Shutt says the desk, with its humble beginnings is a symbol of unity for anyone who sees it.

 

 

Another portion of the exhibit is letters written by not only Lincoln but also his wife Mary and his son Willie. The oldest piece is perhaps the “sum book” that Lincoln kept as a boy to teach himself mathematics. It even includes his first known signature.

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Clinton Schools Superintendent Continuing to Fight For Local Control

Around 80-some superintendents have penned what is to date perhaps the most scathing rebuke of Governor JB Pritzker's mandates on Illinois schools and insistence on restoring local control to Illinois school boards.

 

Clinton Schools Superintendent Curt Nettles is among the dozens of Illinois school leaders who have signed the op-ed, circulating in publications around the state. The op-ed at one point reads, quote "Gov. Pritzker himself once subscribed to that view. As recently as July, he stated that “families should be involved in making decisions for their own families. And, school districts and school boards will make decisions for the schools within their districts.”

 

Evidently, the Governor and ISBE really don’t believe this.

 

Meanwhile, those of us who took the governor at his word are now dismissed and derided as an extreme minority, the enemies of science and compassion."

 

Nettles says the letter reads like someone sat down and spelled out their feelings and hits on things that have needed to be said. 

 

 

Nettles points out Clinton is funded by roughly 80-percent local dollars and the state and federal government supplements the remaining 20-percent but their locally elected school board only makes about 20-percent of their decisions. He condemned the Governor for not having a pulse for the entire state.

 

 

As far as ongoing efforts to restore local control for Illinois schools to make their own decisions regarding COVID mitigations, Nettles continues to be in front of decision-makers calling it the most effective method of making concerns heard.

 

 

Another criticism of Nettles and others is the fact mandates are handed with zero guidance. He is calling on mandates to at least be thought out and offer a plan.

 

 

Nettles is growing tired of trying to balance the COVID mandates and manage the school district separate from COVID. He says many of his colleagues feel the same way, in fact, many have expressed frustration to Regional Radio they are more COVID managers than school district leaders.

 

You can read the op-ed signed by several local district leaders today at dewittdailynews.com and find the 'Letters' tab. 

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The Vault Seeing Record Attendance of Students

The Vault youth center in Clinton is seeing a record number of kids coming in this year for programming.

 

On the WHOW Morning Show Wednesday, Executive Director Tammy Wilson told Regional Radio they are getting around 200 students out per week. Last year they averaged around 150 teens per week.

 

 

Wilson believes the word about the good things happening at The Vault is getting around the community and parents and kids are realizing it's a place where everyone of any socioeconomic background is welcome.

 

 

Wilson says getting kids registered for The Vault is easy, it's free and she says there are some things the kids need to keep in mind.

 

 

Wilson points to many positive things happening at The Vault like their comfort dog, Daisy, and recently started grief support groups.

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Central Illinois to Remain Warm

Warm weather should last through the end of the month and into October.

 

That's according to Ed Shimon at the National Weather Service in Lincoln. On the WHOW Morning Show Wednesday, he told Regional Radio News a brief cool down Wednesday will be followed by warm and humid conditions heading into the weekend.

 

 

Ahead through the rest of September and into October, Shimon says things will stay warm and in fact, ground temperatures are going to remain warm which should help transition to the harvest season.

 

 

According to Shimon, the three-month outlooks are predicting warmer than average temperatures and October is looking at equal chances of average rainfall.

 

 

Like last year, we could start to see what a typical winter looks like later than normal but Shimon says the La Nina weather pattern developing is going to make things wet. 

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Private Property Rights Getting Attention Following Energy Bill Passage

There’s some concern about private property rights in Illinois following recent passage of an energy bill in the Illinois State Senate. Kevin Semlow is director of state legislation for Illinois Farm Bureau. He says there are a couple of factors in play.

 

 

The bill allows Invenergy, a private company, to use eminent domain authority in nine central Illinois counties to build the Grain Belt Express direct current transmission line that runs from Kansas to Indiana.

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Gov. Pritzker Signs Energy Legislation

Pen to paper today for the Governor on energy legislation, the bill approved by the House and Senate was signed by JB Pritzker.

 

The sweeping work by lawmakers sets possible closure dates for two municipal coal power plants, props up nuclear energy in northern Illinois and pours millions into backing renewable energy projects and supports the purchase of electric cars.

 

 

The legislation garnered both Democrat and Republican votes while passing the House and Senate.

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Illinois Harvest Permit Available Beginning This Month

Trucks will be moving corn and soybeans from fields as fall harvest rolls along. And the Illinois Farm Bureau has a few reminders about the Illinois Harvest Permit.

 

 

IFB’s assistant director of transportation Rodney Knittel says the harvest permit is available starting in September.

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Gov. Pritzker Reinforces Masking Importance

GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER SAYS IT’S IMPORTANT THAT EVERYONE CONTINUE TO MASK UP. 

 

WHILE SOME COVID NUMBERS MAY BE HOLDING FAIRLY STEADY, THEY AREN’T GOING DOWN. WITH THAT IN MIND, THE GOVERNOR ON TUESDAY CHASTISED LOCAL OFFICIALS WHO AREN’T SUPPORTING THE STATE’S INDOOR MASK MANDATE.

 

 

BASED ON THE NUMBERS GOVERNOR PRITZKER WAS ASKED ON TUESDAY ABOUT LIFTING THE MASK MANDATE.

 

 

AS FOR THE LATEST DAILY TOTALS, THERE ARE OVER FOUR THOUSAND NEW CASES AND 44 ADDITIONAL DEATHS. MORE THAN 22-HUNDRED COVID PATIENTS ARE IN THE HOSPITAL. ONE REGION OF THE STATE IN SOUTHERN ILLINOIS CURRENTLY HAS LITTLE TO NO I-C-U BEDS AVAILABLE AND A FEW OTHER AREAS ARE DOWN TO 20 TO 30 BEDS.

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First Electric Vehicle Rolls Off Production Line in Normal

After months of production delays, the first full-battery electric R1T truck from Rivian Automotive is now on Illinois roadways.

 

Rivian founder and CEP RJ Scaringe (LIKE SYRINGE) posted a variety of photos on social media on Tuesday, showing blue R1T trucks rolling off the assembly lines in the Twin-Cities. Scaringe spoke to the workforce at the plant on Tuesday.

 

 

The California-based company has dumped over $1 billion into their manufacturing plant in Normal, which will also produce thousands of delivery vans for Amazon. Rivian, who has raised around $8 billion since the start of 2019, has the backings from major companies such as Ford and Amazon. According to a plant spokesperson, the workforce is expected to increase to around 4-thousand employees sometime next year.

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Details Released of Wednesday Morning Chase in DeWitt County

An arrest has been made in a chase Wednesday morning that ended south of Maroa in Macon County and forced a brief soft-lockdown of Clinton Schools.

 

Clinton Police Chief Ben Lowers told reporters late Wednesday his department was responding to a report of a domestic violence incident at a motel in the 1100 block of Highway 54 in Clinton. Chief Lowers indicates authorities were able to make contact with the male suspect who had fled with a child and was armed and wanted. 

 

 

Illinois State Police deployed spike strips to stop the vehicle that had fled south on US Highway 51. From there the vehicle came to a stop south of School Road in Macon County. The Chief indicates authorities were able to take into custody the child and apprehended the suspect.

 

 

Authorities are not releasing the identity of the suspect at this time. The Chief says the suspect's vehicle had multiple weapons and body armor. Authorities are speculating the reason for the suspect to leave the scene and was wanted out of LaSalle County. 

 

Clinton Police were assisted were the Illinois State Police, the DeWitt County Sheriff's Department, and the Maroa Police Department. The situation remains under investigation. 

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Vehicle Chase Locks Down Clinton's Schools Briefly Wednesday Morning

A vehicle chase that resulted in a vehicle being stopped south of Maroa Wednesday resulted in a brief soft lockdown of Clinton Schools.

 

The district reported the lockdown, which was issued around 11:15 am, lasted about 15 minutes.

 

Authorities have a vehicle stopped south of Maroa as of the noon hour. 

 

Negotiators were en route as of the time of this story. 

 

This story will be updated as details are made available. 

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Community Action Discusses Worker Shortage, Impacts of COVID Unemployment Benefits Expiring

Earlier this week, we heard from Alison Rumler-Gomez, the Executive Director of Community Action, on last week's vaccine mandates that she predicts will result in a worker shortage.

 

While it's only been a week, she is surprised there has not been an increased interest in people getting back to work, especially as it relates to job openings within her agency now that the COVID unemployment benefits have expired. She points to the challenges they are having with staffing ahead of the expiration of those COVID unemployment benefits.

 

 

According to Rumler-Gomez, they have many clients that are getting back to work that will be making less in the workforce than they were on unemployments. She says that is going to be quite the adjustment for some.

 

 

Rumler-Gomez does not anticipate a huge increase in the need for their services as people get back to work. She says employers are so desperate for workers and their clients understand that.

 

 

The time of the expiration of the COVID unemployment benefits and the vaccine mandate were also not coincidental for Rumler-Gomez. She called the time very interesting.

 

 

If you're an individual needing to get back into the workforce and could benefit from Community Action programming, you can visit capcil.info for information on all its programs. 

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City of Monticello Approves Master Plans for Burke Park

The City of Monticello this week approved plans to improve Robert C. Burke Memorial Park.

 

The Park is in the area where the Monticello pool is but Callie McFarland, Director of Community Development for the City of Monticello told Regional Radio News on the WHOW Morning Show Tuesday, once the pool was completed, they did not move forward with improving the remainder of the park.

 

 

According to McFarland, the Council's plans will erect a statue with an education component to tell the story of Burke's bravery. She believes it will be a much-needed improvement to that portion of the community.

 

 

McFarland anticipates the City taking on as much of the work on the park as possible. She indicates the plan will put together a schedule of phases of work on the park.

 

 

Several significant military locations around the country are named after Burke because of courage. Burke Park is among a trio of recreation areas in Monticello the city is focused on at this time and McFarland believes it is important to always be evaluating recreation as it is an important component in a community's health. 

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University of Illinois Extension Programming Focusing In On Rural, Farming Mental Health

The University of Illinois Extension promoting mental health first aid in farming and rural communities. Most people know what to do when someone severely cuts a finger, but responding to mental health first aid is a different story says extension specialist Josie Rudolphi.

 

 

The extension is offering first aid mental health training this fall. You can find out more at go.illinois.edu/FallMentalHealth2021.

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State Climatologist Gives Illinois Drought Update

Drought conditions persist in parts of Illinois. The northeast area of the state, specifically Boone, Lake & McHenry counties continues to be under the gun says state climatologist Trent Ford.

 

 

Ford says the state will not be receiving any remnants from Tropical Storm Nicholas.

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Governor Addresses Mask-Resistant Communities

Not every community has strong support for the state-wide mask mandate recently reissued by Governor JB Pritzker.

 

In local areas where mayors or others have been resistant to following the mandate, Pritzker says if you are not seeing enforcement of public health protections then remember that the next time you vote.

 

 

Illinois is still averaging about 3700 new cases a day over the past week.

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Congresswoman Underwood Reacts to Texas Abortion Law

Federal lawmakers in Illinois are sounding the alarm about the recent anti-abortion law in Texas. Democratic Congresswoman Lauren Underwood says a federal law, the woman’s health protection act is needed to protect abortion rights across the county. Underwood says Illinois is now and will always be a place where a woman’s right to choose will be protected.

 

 

House Democrats say they will be voting on the act this month in Washington DC.

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Clinton May Be Getting New O'Reilly Auto Parts Store

 

Regional Radio News has learned that Clinton may be getting a new O'Reilly Auto Parts store.

After the project being on and off for several years, O'Reilly has filed a preliminary site plan with the City of Clinton.  The City's Planning Commission will consider the plan tonight for site approval.

The proposed store will be on West Van Buren, across from the new Scooter's Coffee and yet-to-open Clinton Family Restaurant.

Once it's approved, we're told they'll be finalizing their structural building design and bring that to the Clinton Planning Commission for final approval, with a permit possibly being issued next month.

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Rep. Caulkins Discusses Illinois Democrats' Energy Legislation, What it Means for Clinton

Last week, Illinois Democrats were finally able to pass energy legislation striving for zero-carbon in Illinois. 

 

A central Illinois lawmaker weighed in on the legislation Monday and discussed what it means for Clinton and the Exelon Nuclear Power Plant. On the WHOW Morning Show Monday, State Representative Dan Caulkins called an energy policy that is not sustainable. He says there is a difference of opinion on how much of an impact it will have on people.

 

 

The Decatur Republican believes this bill will be a good thing for the Clinton Power Station when the current 10-year deal expires in another four or five years. 

 

 

The Illinois Farm Bureau was opposed to the measure. 

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DNR Conservation Police Captain Calls Summer on Clinton Lake Really Good

A central Illinois Conservation Police official is calling the summer on Clinton Lake a good one.

 

Despite a fatality early in the year on the lake, DNR Conservation Police Captain John Williamson says it was a good year. He says sometimes unfortunate incidents like what happened early in the summer can be a bad omen but things settled down and they had a good year.

 

 

According to Capt. Williamson, safety vests continue to be a chronic issue on Clinton Lake. He emphasizes this is simply about everyone's safety.

 

 

Now that the thick of the boating season is behind officials at Clinton Lake, Capt. Williamson says now is the time to get out and fish. Catfish are very good right now.

 

 

After the lake was forced to be closed for a short period earlier this summer during some serious downpours, Capt. Williamson says despite the dry trend of the last month, the water levels have not dropped significantly, an indication of just how much water we got in central Illinois.

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Atlanta Illinois Tourism Pleased With First Year of Route 66 State Fair Exhibit

A central Illinois Tourism official is excited about the first year of a special Route 66 exhibit at the Illinois State Fair.

 

The State Fair wrapped up in late August and Atlanta, Illinois Tourism Bureau Director Whitney Ortiz on the WHOW Morning Show Monday told Regional Radio News they were able to raise a lot of awareness about Route 66 and the hidden gems along the road, like Atlanta.

 

 

Gate 2 is where the Route 66 exhibit is housed and Ortiz is excited to hear in a few years, there is going to be a miniature walk of Route 66 from Chicago to St. Louis that is going to highlight the communities and Atlanta and its Paul Bunyan hot dog statue will be a part of that.

 

 

Ortiz was encouraged at the conversations she was able to have in Springfield as well promote some of the unique things that make Atlanta, Illinois special.

 

 

Ortiz believes Atlanta offers a great experience on the Route 66 corridor as it is not too big and everything can be enjoyed in a half-day or less. Find Atlanta, Illinois on Facebook or visit atlantaillinois.org. 

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Weekly Crop Report

CORN HARVESTING IS JUST BEGINNING IN ILLINOIS AS WE HEAR IN THE WEEKLY CROP REPORT. 

 

STATISTICIAN MARK SCHLEUSENER LOOKS AT SOYBEANS:

 

 

ONE PERCENT OF CORN ACRES HAVE NOW BEEN HARVESTED, AND 51 PERCENT OF THE CROP IS MATURE.

 

 

BELOW NORMAL RAINFALL MEANT AVERAGE STATEWIDE TOPSOIL MOISTURE DROPPED TO 10 PERCENT VERY SHORT, 23 PERCENT SHORT, 65 PERCENT ADEQUATE AND TWO PERCENT SURPLUS.

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