Local News

Organizers Planning to Honor Local Veteran

Local Veteran James Dolly passed away on Thursday, January 14 and his funeral is at 2:30 pm on Tuesday in Clinton.

 

Jeff Morlock earlier this month announced an effort to honor local veterans during their funeral precessions. The plans for Mr. Dolly's procession is changing as the burial is in Kenney.

 

The Funeral route will be from Calvert Funeral homes South entrance, turning right, or west, on Jefferson, to Grant, turning left, or south, on Grant to the hospital, turning right, or west, at the hospital, and proceeding to Kenney to Pleasant Valley Cemetery at E 350 North Road. 

 

Morlock is encouraging anyone able, to attend anywhere along the route with flags around 3 pm.

 

Clinton Fire Departments' ladder truck with the US flag will be tentatively at the Clinton High School west entrance, or in that general vicinity. Additionally, veterans who wish to attend will meet at the entrance to the Pleasant Valley Cemetery at 3:15 PM.

 

Morlock thanks the Kenney Fire Department, who has been very involved in every DeWitt County Veterans Honor Flight return escort, and many other events supporting our local veterans.

 

Morlock hopes the community joins them to show support for Mr. Dolly and his family.

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DeWitt County Law Enforcement Officials React to Recent Overhaul of Criminal Justice System

Local law enforcement officials are weighing in on the passage of a 700-plus page bill that overhauls law enforcement and the criminal justice system in Illinois.

 

The bill was introduced in the waning hours of the final day of the 101st General Assembly in Springfield and passed just a few hours later. DeWitt County Sheriff Mike Walker says the one victory for law enforcement was the preservation of qualified immunity.

 

 

On the WHOW Morning Show, Monday, Sheriff Walker and Clinton Police Chief Ben Lowers believe the bill is a further example of the disconnect between the realities of law enforcement and the reactions from the media and social media.

 

 

The two veterans of law enforcement say the fact the bill was introduced hours before the legislative cycle was to end and then passed not long after that is a red flag. Additionally, Sheriff Walker says no one in law enforcement in Illinois had a seat at the table in formulating the policies in the bill.

 

 

According to Chief Lowers, the biggest loser in this bill is the victims of crimes in the community. He says it will be a regularity that a perpetrator will be back on the street before the paperwork on their crime has been filed.

 

 

The Sheriff emphasizes his office will continue to do what is within its power to help the community. While disappointed in the bill, it goes into effect in July and he says the sky is not falling. 

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IFB President Ready for New Year

The president of the Illinois Farm Bureau says there are several key areas the organization is looking at in 2021.

 

 

That is IFB President Rich Guebert.

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Clinton Y Director Hoping to Further Resources for Community's Healthy, Wellness in '21

Overall good health and wellness is the goal for the Clinton YMCA's Executive Director in 2021.

 

Rennie Cluver leads the Clinton non-profit and believes they have almost everything someone could need that is looking to exercise and be healthy. From their well-equipped wellness center, fitness classes for those of all ages and fitness levels to their gym and swimming - Cluver says they have the resources for the community. 

 

 

The Y has recently introduced a nutrition program and Cluver says it is his goal to eventually bring on a personal trainer to work with their members on a plan specific to an individual member and their goals.

 

 

Cluver indicates there are all sorts of strategies that are effective when working out. He explains if you find it difficult to stick with one routine, that isn't necessarily a bad thing but whatever your routine is, he recommends sticking with it for at least two to three weeks, if not longer, to notice the results you want.

 

 

'Y Survivor', a workout program based on working out a certain number of hours each week and gradually increasing over the course several weeks into the spring, has seen a record number of participants this year. This development excites Cluver as they are seeing members that had fallen off returning and an emphasis on health and wellness in the community. 

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Gov. Pritzker Says Phase 5 Not Coming Any Time Soon

The Illinois Department of Public Health moved a number of regions into less restrictive tiers of mitigations on Monday. 

 

Two regions, three and five, are now back to Phase Four, meaning restaurants and bars are open, some youth sports can play games and gyms are operating again. But a full move into Phase Five means widespread distribution of a vaccine or a readily available treatment for COVID-19. Governor JB Pritzker says the state isn’t moving to Phase Five anytime soon.

 

 

On average 22,000 people a day in Illinois are getting vaccinated and the state says there are 3.2 million people in the current Phase 1b of the vaccination rollout. As of Monday, the state reports that just under a half a million people have been vaccinated.

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Congresswoman Bustos Reacts to National Guard Troops Being Sent to US, Illinois Capitols

Western Illinois Congresswoman Cheri Bustos joined MSNBC Live on Sunday ahead of this week’s Biden-Harris Inauguration. She was asked about Illinois National Guard units being deployed to the Illinois State Capitol and U.S. Capitol this week.

 

 

Inauguration Day is Wednesday.

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Central Illinois CEO Program Application Deadline for 2021 Approaching

Juniors in the districts of Clinton, Blue Ridge, Warrensburg-Latham, and Maroa-Forsyth who would like to learn more about the world of business have a limited amount of time to consider joining a program that would do just that.

 

The Central Illinois CEO program introduces area high school students to the basics of business and also provides hands-on experience. Emma Culbertson is a student from Clinton High School in the program now and she says the deadline to apply for the program is February 1 but there's also an opportunity for juniors interested to be a part of the class for a day.

 

 

COVID has created a very different environment for the class this year. While juniors next year may not have the challenges of the class this year, Culbertson says it's still a great course to take and you'll learn a lot.

 

 

Emma Cook from Warrensburg-Latham High School says the site visits and projects the class takes on are one of the best parts of the class, from her perspective.

 

 

Culbertson encourages any juniors interested in joining the CEO program or getting information about 'take a junior to class day' to reach out to someone in the program in their school or visit centralillinoisceo.com.

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City of Lincoln Encouraging Health Department to Work with Small Businesses on Reopening Plan

The City of Lincoln is encouraging its Health Department to work with small businesses in Lincoln on a plan to reopen.

 

Mayor Tracy Welch on the WHOW Morning Show Friday told Regional Radio News their businesses are on the brink of closure and they need to do something to help them. For most business owners, their business is their livelihood.

 

 

Governor Pritzker announced lessened mitigations for parts of Illinois last Friday. According to the Mayor, while that is great, he is not sure how that will impact dining for restaurants.

 

 

Many leaders in other communities would be hesitant to put together such a plan due to repercussions from Springfield but Mayor Welch says it is starting to get to a point where even the City cannot survive having these businesses not operating.

 

 

According to the Mayor, their previous experience with COVID restrictions in Lincoln did not work and so they are encouraging the Health Department to work with each individual business and develop a plan that works for each one.

 

 

A couple of measures the City of Lincoln is developing is using a portion of their CURES money from the spring stimulus bill to put back into their businesses through grants. Additionally, this week the City Council will consider reducing liquor license fees to help small businesses in Lincoln. 

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Monticello Superintendent: The Realist In Me Says We'll Only Play Spring Sports

The fight for high school sports in Illinois continues and many are hoping for movement in the next few weeks. 

 

Monticello Schools Superintendent Dr. Vic Zimmerman hopes the vaccine begins to expand the possibilities for student-athletes in Illinois but questions whether it will. It is his prediction we'll likely only get those spring sports in this year.

 

 

How much would the vaccine availability and inoculation of Illinoisans impact the prospects of sports this year? Dr. Zimmerman doubts it would have that much impact because it won't be available to everyone by the time decisions on sports or even seasons kick-off.

 

 

Many administrators, coaches, parents, and players believe the State of Illinois missed its opportunity to get sports in the fall played as COVID data at the time was very favorable. Dr. Zimmerman indicates while hindsight is always 20/20, even at the time people were still fighting for the games to be played.

 

 

The expectation is next week, the IHSA will call a special meeting to decide on the fate of many sports in Illinois. The proverbial can has been kicked to the end of the line for sports in Illinois and now decisions have to be made. 

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Quiet Weather to Last To End of Month

While portions of the Midwest were hit with some blizzard type conditions late last week, Freese-Notis meteorologist Dan Hicks expects a relatively quiet weather pattern to continue in Illinois through the end of this month.

 

 

The National Weather Service issued blizzard warnings last Friday for parts of western Iowa, northwestern Missouri, eastern Nebraska, southwestern Minnesota and eastern South Dakota.

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Local Coronavirus Update

The DeWitt/Piatt Bi-County Health Department reported over 30 new coronavirus cases on Thursday.

 

DeWitt County reported 15 new cases in Clinton, 2 in Farmer City, and one each in Kenney and Wapella. 

 

Piatt County reported 10 new cases in Monticello and 3 in Cerro Gordo.

 

With these additional cases, DeWitt County has had a total of 1165 cases; Piatt County has had a total of 1215 cases.  

 

DeWitt/Piatt Bi-County Health Department Director David Remmert indicated in a release, "We are receiving numerous calls and emails regarding vaccinations.  We will continue to alert the public as additional priorities are announced but it is expected that we will be able to move into 1B priority groups within 2 weeks.  The 1B priority group includes those aged 65 or older and 'Essential Workforce'. Only these groups are eligible for receiving vaccination at this time. We will be utilizing local media, our Facebook page, and our website to announce a SignUpGenius page you can go to in order to schedule your appointment for these community clinics.  At that time, we will also announce a secondary phone number for those without internet access to call for an appointment."

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Clinton Monical's Supporting The Vault on Monday Nights

If you eat Monical's Pizza in Clinton Monday nights, you'll also be supporting a Clinton non-profit.

 

The Vault and Monical's have teamed up on Monday nights where Monical's is donating half of their Monday night profits to support the youth center on the Clinton Square. Executive Director Tammy Wilson says it is an incredible blessing to have their support.

 

 

The Vault has kicked off their annual 'High Five' fundraising campaign. According to Wilson, the campaign seeks community members to come alongside them in support of their mission to serve the community's youth.

 

 

Learn more about The Vault by visiting thevaultclinton.org.

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Illinois Corn Growers Association on Final Yield Report

The USDA released its final yield report this week and the executive director of the Illinois Corn Growers Association took a look at the numbers.

 

Rodney Weinzierl says the report showed two things…

 

 

According to the USDA, production was 2.13 billion bushels, up fifteen percent from 2019, making Illinois second to Iowa.

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Weekly Weather Summary

A light snow ushered in the weekend in parts of central Illinois. State Climatologist Trent Ford tells us what's ahead this weekend and this coming week.

 

 

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Senate Votes to Let Election Authorities Make Voting Drop Boxes Permanent

BALLOT DROP OFF BOXES MAY BECOME A PERMANENT FIXTURE IN ILLINOIS. 

 

THE ILLINOIS SENATE APPROVED A BILL TUESDAY NIGHT THAT LETS LOCAL ELECTION AUTHORITIES CONTINUE TO USE THE VOTER DROP OFF BOXES THAT WORKED SO WELL IN NOVEMBER SAYS SENATOR JULIE MORRISON OF LAKE FOREST.

 

 

SENATOR DALE RIGHTER OF MATTOON EXPRESSED CONCERNS ABOUT ELECTION SECURITY AND MAKING SURE NO ONE CASTS A BALLOT AFTER THE POLLS CLOSE.

 

 

THE MEASURE ALSO ALLOWS LOCAL ELECTIONS OFFICIALS TO OFFER CURBSIDE VOTING AND REQUIRES THEM TO ACCEPT MAIL-IN BALLOTS EVEN IF THEY DON’T HAVE ENOUGH POSTAGE. IT NOW GOES TO THE HOUSE.

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State Police Monitoring Possible Events at Capitol This Weekend

THE STATE POLICE IS TRACKING POSSIBLE EVENTS AT THE ILLINOIS CAPITOL THIS WEEKEND.

 

THE F-B-I HAS ISSUED WARNINGS ABOUT POTENTIAL ARMED PROTESTS AT ALL 50 OF THE NATION’S CAPITOLS. GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER SAYS HE CAN’T DISCUSS THE SPECIFICS OF SECURITY PRECAUTIONS BEING TAKEN, BUT THAT THE I-S-P IS WELL AWARE OF THE SITUATION.

 

 

THE STATE POLICE SAY THEY WILL WORK WITH LOCAL LAW ENFORCEMENT AND HAVE ALL AVAILABLE RESOURCES AT THEIR DISPOSAL. THE F-B-I SAYS PROTESTS MAY BE HELD IN THE DAYS LEADING UP TO THE INAUGURATION OF PRESIDENT ELECT JOE BIDEN.

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Congressman Kinzinger Says His Vote to Impeach Trump Will Cost Him

Illinois Republican Congressman Adam Kinzinger says his vote to impeach Pres. Trump isn’t about positioning himself for his own political future. He's sure that when Democrats redraw the Congressional districts before the next election, they won't be thinking about being nice to a Republican who went against Trump. He says it will cost him the support of other Republicans who are loyal to Trump. He says some of his friends stopped associating with him over his criticism of Trump, and some people he’s related to want to disown him.

 

 

Kinzinger says his decision on impeachment came down to asking: if impeachment isn’t warranted when the executive branch foments an attack on the legislative branch, when is it? House Republicans who voted to impeach numbered just ten on Wednesday.

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Southern Illinois Senator Critical of New Speaker

Terri Bryant was sworn into her new office as the State Senator for the 58th District of Illinois on Wednesday. Near the same time, a new Speaker of the House was being elected to replace Michael Madigan.

 

On the eve of Chris Welch’s election to Illinois House speaker, media reports highlighted allegations against Welch made by women. Senator Bryant says she hopes Welch will be a more bipartisan ally during his time in that seat like he was when the two worked together on a higher education committee. However, Bryant had some strong words against the newly elected speaker.

 

 

State Rep. Madigan, had his office as speaker rocked with allegations of mistreatment of women both at the statehouse and within his political operations during the peak of the #MeToo movement. Madigan had maintained despite the repeated reports of improper behavior in his office, he never fostered a culture of harassment.

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Clinton Fashion Store Owner Relocates

A Clinton business owner has relocated and a ribbon-cutting ceremony was held Friday morning to celebrate the new location.

 

Grace Rodriguez owns Grace La Boutique and recently relocated to 213 East Main Street, just a few storefronts from her location she opened last year. She says her business started online and she has since opened a brick and mortar location offering fashions you won't find in the typical department stores for women of all sizes. 

 

 

Visit gracelaboutique2021.square.site or you can find 'Grace La Boutique' on Facebook. You can also call 217-871-5578. The store offers curbside pick up and delivery. 

 

The store is open Monday through Saturday from 10 am to 5:30 pm and Sundays from 1 pm to 5 pm. 

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DeWitt County Sheriff Pens Letter to Community Regarding Lameduck Legislative Measures

In light of the expansive law enforcement and criminal justice reform bill passed in Springfield this week, a local law enforcement official is reaching out to the community regarding this action described as an increase in the financial burden of the local taxpayer.

 

DeWitt County Sheriff Mike Walker in his letter assures citizens they will continue to provide the quality and professional service they have always strived to provide.

 

The bill was modified at the last minute, going from a 600-some page document to over 750 pages, and was voted on just hours later. Additionally, law enforcement had no input on the proposal, despite efforts from the Illinois Sheriff's Association and other law enforcement groups working with the Attorney General in a good faith effort to reform law enforcement in Illinois.

 

Sheriff Walker says sponsors of the bill were unable to answer questions regarding discrepancies and contradictions 

 

It is the Sheriff's opinion, as well as the opinion of many law enforcement officials’ across the state that this bill will make communities less safe and the unfunded mandates that are included in this legislation will also increase the financial burden of our local taxpayers. 

 

The Sheriff's message can be read here in its entirety.

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'Central Illinois Outdoors' To Debut This Week

'Central Illinois Outdoors with Jared White' debuts this weekend.

 

If you enjoy the great outdoors in the form of hunting, fishing, or just simply hiking through a nice nature preserve, this show is for you. White plans to talk to hunters, fisherman, guides, DNR officials, and much, much more.

 

 

The program will reach all over Illinois. If you can't catch the show live, you catch the show in podcast form on centralillinoisoutdoors.com. White has been excited about this show since it was just at the beginning of the planning stages. 

 

 

Again, catch the show on Sunday mornings at 8 am on WHOW and its many online platforms, on WTIM and its online platforms on Saturdays at 10 am, and The Winner 96.5 FM and thewinner965.com on Sundays at 8 am. 

 

More about the show is available at centralillinoisoutdoors.com. 

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IDPH Now Posting COVID Vaccine Data to Agency Website

THE ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH IS NOW REPORTING THE LATEST COVID-19 VACCINE INFORMATION ON THE AGENCY’S WEBSITE. 

 

RECENT VACCINE DATA IS POSTED ON THE DPH DOT ILLINOIS DOT GOV WEBPAGE, SHOWING HOW MANY DOSES ILLINOIS HAS RECEIVED AND HOW MANY HAVE BEEN ADMINISTERED. IT’S A GOOD RESOURCE SAYS GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER.

 

 

GOVERNOR PRITZKER SAYS YOU CAN SEE HOW MANY DOSES ILLINOIS HAS RECEIVED AND HOW MANY HAVE BEEN ADMINISTERED, ALTHOUGH THERE WILL BE A LITTLE LAG TIME WHEN IT COMES TO REPORTING WHEN A SHOT WAS GIVEN.

 

 

TO DATE…NEARLY 354 THOUSAND DOSES HAVE BEEN ADMINISTERED IN ILLINOIS, WITH ABOUT 24 THO

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Illinois Soybean Summit to Meet Next Month

Last year's Illinois Soybean Summit was held in-person, but that won't be the case this year.

 

Doug Schroeder, chairman of the Illinois Soybean Association, says while this year’s summit will be held virtually, it will still feature soybean experts and the latest in soybean agronomy.

 

 

Registration is online at ilsoyadvisor.com.

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Illinois Sheriff's Association Blasts Police Reform Bill

A controversial criminal justice reform bill has passed both chambers of the Illinois legislature. House Bill 3653, formerly the over 600 page House Bill 163, was delivered to lawmakers around 3am Wednesday and comprised of over 764 pages. 

 

The new bill, among many things, would eliminate cash bail, require body cameras for all departments, reforms qualified immunity for law enforcement officers, and changes police misconduct record keeping. Many law enforcement groups and Republican leaders have voiced strong opposition to the bill. 

 

Jefferson County Sheriff Jeff Bullard is also a member of the Illinois Sheriff’s Association Legislative Committee. He says there was a coalition comprised of police management groups and police union groups who had been working in good faith with the Attorney General on a bipartisan bill that would make great strides to modernize law enforcement before this new bill was brought on and eventually passed.

 

 

The bill passed 32-23 in the Senate and 60-50 in the House just before 5am and now heads to Governor J.B. Pritzker’s desk for approval.

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Economic Equity Package Heads to Governor

A PACKAGE OF BILLS DESIGNED TO REDUCE ECONOMIC DISPARITIES IN MINORITY COMMUNITIES IS HEADED TO THE GOVERNOR'S DESK. 

 

THE MEASURES CAP THE INTEREST RATE FOR PAYDAY AND CAR TITLE LOANS AT 36 PERCENT, AND REQUIRE MORE DIVERSITY IN AWARDING STATE CONTRACTS. EMPLOYERS WON'T BE ABLE TO TURN SOMEONE DOWN FOR A JOB OR A PROMOTION SOLEY BASED ON THEIR CRIMINAL RECORD SAYS REPRESENTATIVE SONYA HARPER OF CHICAGO.

 

 

HARPER SAYS THAT'S ESPECIALLY TRUE FOR MINORITIES. 

 

 

OTHER COMPONETS ADDRESS THE WAGE GAP FOR BLACK WOMEN AND HOUSING FOR THOSE WITH A CRIMINAL RECORD.

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