Local News

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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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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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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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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Weekly Crop Report

THE CONDITION OF ILLINOIS CORN AND SOYBEANS IMPROVED A LITTLE AS WE HEAR IN THE WEEKLY CROP REPORT.

 

89 PERCENT OF SOYBEAN ACRES ARE BLOOMING SAYS STATE CROP STATISTICIAN MARK SCHLEUSENER.

 

 

THE CONDITION OF THE CORN CROP ROSE SLIGHTLY TO 42 PERCENT IN GOOD TO EXCELLENT CONDITION… WITH 12 PERCENT IN THE DENT STAGE. 

 

 

THE THIRD CUTTING OF ALFALFA HAY IS NOW 57 COMPLETE. 

 

AVERAGE STATEWIDE TOPSOIL MOISTURE CAME IN AT 11 PERCENT VERY SHORT, 40 PERCENT SHORT, 47 PERCENT ADEQUATE AND TWO PERCENT SURPLUS.

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Trying to Help the Unbanked

With one in five in Illinois banking in a “non traditional” way the state wants to make it easier for them to bank in a more traditional manner. 

 

State leaders say they are the first in the nation to sign legislation to expand access to credible banking services with “Illinois Bank On”. Comptroller Susana Mendoza says the new program will be a little like a better business bureau for unbanked customers. 

 

 

For an example the unbanked cash checks at convenience stores, and use payday loan operations. According to statistics shared by the Governor’s office, a full time worker who doesn’t use a traditional bank faces $40,000 in lifetime fees. To find a safe bank there will be a list of credible banks on the Comptrollers website.

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State Conservationist Talks 2019

The State Conservationist is ready to move on from 2019. Ivan Dozier says it’s been a challenging year for farmers on may fronts.

 

 

Dozier has served as State Conservationist since 2012. 

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Rural Ag Program Awarded $5,000 in National Contest

An Illinois woman’s photo was a second-place finisher in a national contest and because of that, a rural school district’s ag department will be getting some new educational materials.

 

The Power to Do More contest, sponsored by Corteva ("Core-TEE-vuh") Agriscience, invited people to submit unique photos and stories showing the power of farming and the growing of stronger communities for a chance of a $10,000 grand prize. 

 

Marsha Strum of Dehinda submitted a photo of the community coming together to help raise a piece of playground equipment designed to look like a barn in the small rural town of Williamsfield.

 

Strum’s daughter, Joanie Stiers, says that the photo was a perfect fit for the contest.

 

 

Stiers is the director of the Williamsfield FFA Alumni and Friends, who benefits from the second-place prize of $5,000. She said the nonprofit will put that prize into the school district for new tools and equipment for the soon-to-be-finished renovations for the ag department.

 

Stiers called it "heartwarming" how the little town of less than 600 could place so high on the national competition.

 

 

Besides the $20,000 being awarded to the top three vote-getters, Corteva is awarding $7,000 to the other finalists and the nonprofit organizations they're associated with.

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Pritzker Proud of State Fair

Governor JB Pritzker says he’s proud of the recently wrapped up Illinois State Fair and the work that went in to putting it on. The first term Democrat notes that he heard all week how much fun people were having.

 

 

The fair is finalizing attendance numbers but did report record ticket sales for the grandstand and gross revenue from the musical acts. 

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Pritzker Weighs in on Images From Sandoval Fundraiser

An Illinois State Senator is apologizing for images coming out of his political fundraiser. 

 

Martin Sandoval says that pictures at his fundraising golf outing of a person pointing what looks like a fake gun at a fake Donald Trump are “unacceptable” and he does not condone violence against the President. Democrat Governor JB Pritzker says civility is needed in politics. 

 

 

The Illinois Republican Party Chairman Tim Schneider wants Sandoval to fire the person in the photo if they are a campaign staffer or volunteer. 

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Governor Supports Planned Parenthood's Decision Turn Down Federal Money

GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER IS SUPPORTING PLANNED PARENTHOOD’S DECISION TO FORGO FEDERAL FUNDING OVER A NEW ABORTION GAG RULE. 

 

THE RULE PREVENTS CLINICS ACCEPTING TITLE 10 FAMILY PLANNING FUNDS FROM TALKING TO PATIENTS ABOUT WHERE THEY CAN GET AN ABORTION. PLANNED PARENTHOOD OFFICIALS SAY THIS IS AN ATTACK ON REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH CARE…AND GOVERNOR PRITZKER AGREES.

 

 

GOVERNOR PRITZKER STANDS WITH PLANNED PARENTHOOD.

 

 

PRITZKER SAYS THE STATE WILL ALSO ESCHEW TITLE 10 FUNDS AND WORK TO MAKE SURE WOMEN KNOW ALL THEIR REPRODUCTIVE OPTIONS.

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Blue Ridge Schools 'Ask a Board Member' Program Kicks Off Tonight

This school year at Blue Ridge school events, community members will have the opportunity to connect with Blue Ridge school board members.

 

Starting tonight (Monday) and again Tuesday night during the first days of school, the community can meet with Board members. Susan Wilson, Blue Ridge superintendent, indicates the idea came from their annual Blue Ridge Connects. The board will have two board members available to ask questions or give comments to the board in an informal way.

 

 

Wilson says this will offer community members a better way to discuss policy issues rather than turning to social media. 

 

 

Other dates in the coming weeks will be Friday at the Fall preview and then again September 19 at the Schneider School open house. There will be designated tables at these events labeled "Ask a Board Member". 

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Camp Osage Wraps Up, YMCA Staff Looks Ahead to Y-Zone

The 2019 edition of Camp Osage wrapped up last Friday and now Clinton YMCA staff will turn their attention to Y-Zone with a new school year kicking off this week.

 

Camp Director David Torbert told Regional Radio News Monday he felt camp this summer was a big success. The Y offered more programs thanks to various partnerships with DeWitt County groups.

 

 

Executive Director of the Y, Rennie Cluver says today's youth is much more diverse in their interests and he credits Torbert's ability to switch up the offerings for their youth this summer and try to find something to fit as many kids as they could.

 

 

With Camp Osage now behind Y leadership, they look ahead to Y-Zone. Y-Zone is a before and after school program, youth can participate in. Cluver says it gives kindergarten through fifth graders a safe place to go.

 

 

For information on Y-Zone, Cluver encourages a visit to their facility at 417 South Alexander Street, or call them at 217-935-8307 and ask for Courtney Williamson. You can also visit clintoncommymca.org. 

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Apple n' Pork Pigs on Parade Available for Pick Up This Week

If you're interested in dressing up a pig for the Apple n' Pork's popular Parade of Pigs, those are going to be available starting Tuesday of this week.

 

Director of the DeWitt County Museum, Joey Woolridge says they give a piece of plywood in the shape of a pig and ask individuals, groups or businesses to dress theirs up for a competition during the Apple n' Pork Festival.

 

 

The pigs can be claimed up until the 25th but Woolridge says they go fast and are likely to be gone after only a few days.

 

 

The Apple n' Pork Festival comes up September 28-29 this year. 

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Monticello City Council Updates Estimates for Recreation Facilities Development

A Piatt County community updated the estimates for plans for an undeveloped area city leaders plan to turn into recreation facilities.

 

Monticello is in great need for more recreation facilities and last week, city leadership updated the cost estimates for such development. Callie McFarland is the Director of Community Development in Monticello and explains it has been about a decade since the city received bids for the project they have planned on the community's west side.

 

 

There are about 30 acres the city purchased that has long been planned to boost the community's recreation facilities. McFarland explains they currently share facilities with the school district, but that is not nearly enough for the demand they have for, primarily, youth sports.

 

 

McFarland notes the dream is for baseball, softball, soccer and football fields along with a playground and walking trail as well.

 

 

McFarland, who is also very active with the business community, notes she has heard positive feedback from the community's businesses because they feel this would bring more people to the community, in turn, that would bring more people to their businesses. 

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Mahomet-Seymour Schools Still Needing Special Ed Teachers

With the start of school upon us, many districts in Illinois will welcome students back to their buildings without teachers to lead certain subject areas.

 

Superintendent of Mahomet-Seymour Schools, Lindsey Hall explains they are currently seeking a couple of special education teachers. She says it is a struggle to find even a good number of candidates to fill these positions.

 

 

Hall believes the teaching profession is losing the interest of young people because of the ideas teachers are no longer respected. Hall feels teachers is one of the most honorable professions in the world.

 

 

Once you get a degree, teachers have to go through a lot of hoops to get a job in Illinois. Hall says the process is very expensive and cumbersome in Illinois.

 

 

Hall points out the teacher retirement system is not appealing at all. She says it is set up so people would have to work until they are 67 and feels that is a lot to ask. 

 

 

Mahomet-Seymour indicates because of enrollment growth, earlier this month they added a kindergarten and first-grade teacher. 

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