Local News

Hiccup Postpones Clinton City Council Vote on Annual Levy, To Be Taken Up in in Two Weeks

A hiccup in the filing of this year's annual City of Clinton levy is pushing the vote to the second December meeting of the Clinton City Council.


City Treasurer Clint Lichtenwalter says not to worry, for many years he has filed the levy early for instances such as these. He points out the annual levy is looking very strong once again.



Lichtenwalter reminds the levy supports funds in the City budget across the spectrum and also points out they have seen improvements in a number of funds since he came on staff.



Lictenwalter reminds the City of Clinton's levy is a small portion of the overall levy with the bigger levies coming from Clinton Schools and DeWitt County but there are other levies as well. 

CEO Students Hoping Community Members Participate in Christmas Lights Display Competition

If you decorate your house for Christmas and are in the footprint of the Central Illinois CEO Program, perhaps you should consider putting your decorated home up against others in the community.


The Central Illinois CEO students are putting together a Christmas decorating competition this December and are inviting decorators from across their communities of Warrensburg, Latham, Maroa, Forsyth, Farmer City, and Clinton to submit their homes.



That's Conley Schick and Karla Ramirez from Clinton High School and they indicate once all the photos are submitted, they will put those up online to be voted on by the various communities. There will also be information for those who want to go out into their communities and check out the displays in person.



The CEO program has also opened a 'swag store' with lots of merchandise. You can learn more about the 'swag store' and the Christmas decorating contest by going to centralillinoisceo.com and also find the groups on Facebook and Instagram.

Miller Park Zoo's Wild Lights Final Weekend

It's the last opportunity this Friday and Saturday to be a part of the annual 'Wild Lights' event at the Miller Park Zoo in Bloomington.


Executive Director Jay Pratte indicates 'Wild Lights' was one of the first events he was able to coordinate as the Director and really likes the atmosphere of the event.



'Wild Lights' offers several activities for kids and is decorated for the season.



While some of the collection will be put up because of the winter time, Pratte says the evening time is a great atmosphere to be in the zoo as it is something different.



Tickets are available at millerparkzoo.org or find ticket information on Facebook. Pratte notes you can walk up the nights of the event and purchase tickets then. 

Illinois Farm Bureau Delegate Action on Private Property Rights

The Illinois Farm Bureau delegate body takes up the issue of property rights at this year’s Annual Meeting. The subject matter involved both CO2 pipelines and wind and solar.



Kevin Semlow serves as Illinois Farm Bureau Executive Director of Governmental Affairs and Commodities.

DCDC Planning Record Grant Funds for 2024

The DeWitt County Development Council is planning for a record-setting figure for next year's grant funding for local businesses.


Executive Director Curt Homann indicates the 2024 calendar year of grant funding will see several cycles and indicates the DeWitt County Board, City of Clinton and City of Farmer City are contributing to the effort for next year.



In addition to funding coming from the three local entities, Homann believes they all have an interest in investing in a thriving small business community and are appreciative that they do.



Homann directs those interested in this next round of grant funding to keep an eye on the DCDC Facebook page. He hopes to get those details out very shortly. 

Heritage Behavioral Health Open House on Thursday

A local nonprofit is hosting an open house this week to showcase recent renovations.


Heritage Behavioral Health in Clinton celebrated a ribbon cutting in June when they purchased the former Richland building on Sunset Court. Cory Baxter, Director of DeWitt County Clinical Services, notes they have been busy since then with renovating their new space.



As of last Friday, Heritage is now solely based out of their Sunrise Court building in Clinton and is no longer using the Clinton Plaza location. Heritage CEO Mary Garrison indicates they are hosting an open house on Thursday, December 7 to showcase the renovations they have made.



Baxter reports they have four counselors and a crisis interventionist on site as well as several support staff members. Once a week Heritage has nurses and an advanced practice provider come to Clinton.



The open house is Thursday, December 7, from 4 pm to 7 pm at 140 Sunrise Court.

Christmas Walk in Downtown Decatur Tonight

It's one of the most popular Christmas events in Macon County and it's tonight in downtown Decatur.


The annual Decatur Christmas Walk takes place tonight and Decatur Area Arts Council Executive Director Jerry Johnson on the WHOW Morning Show Tuesday told Regional Radio it is a very popular event that closes off several streets for food trucks and local restaurants and businesses have special deals for the night.



While you're downtown, check out the creative handiwork of area businesses, individuals, and groups that took this year's Christmas Card Lane through the Decatur Area Arts Council.



Additionally, Johnson reminds of the holiday gift shop that continues until Dec. 23 in the Anne Lloyd Gallery at the Decatur Area Arts Council building in downtown Decatur.



Johnson encourages those wanting to learn more about these happenings and many more this holiday season to visit decaturarts.org or find them on Facebook and Instagram. 

Sen. Durbin Wants Bi-Partisan Solution for Immigration System

US Senator Dick Durbin is again urging lawmakers to address the nation's failing immigration system.


Durbin says the number of refugees coming to the borders of the US is record breaking. The state’s senior senator says it’s time for bipartisan support to rework the nation’s immigration laws, courts and process. Durbin figures if something was done, parts of the economy might benefit.



Durbin is decrying Republican efforts to tie fixing problems at the southern border to more military aid to be sent to Ukraine and Israel.

DeWitt County Board Approves Annual Budget; Uncertainty Around No Cash Bail Should Be Helped By Wind Farm Dollars

The DeWitt County Board has approved its Fiscal Year 24 budget.


DeWitt County Administrator Dee Dee Rentmeister on the WHOW Morning Show Monday told Regional Radio the budget looks great again this year even though there were some new wrinkles to the annual budget like no cash bail and added revenue thanks to the wind farm.



According to Rentmeister, the no cash bail was supposed to go into effect last year but it was held up because it was challenged in the court system. By the time it was upheld and then implemented this fall, the budget process was all but wrapped up.



The wind farm dollars are going to benefit the County. Rentmeister points out that will allow them to keep the levy steady which is already one of the lower levies in the area.



Rentmeister points out, a lot of people have the perception that budgeting dollars are flexible but most of the time, they are, in fact not that flexible. The wind farm dollars will have some flexibility attached to them but there are areas of the budget that need to be funded and funded at certain levels.



The COVID dollars that have been debated over the last few years have allowed the County to take care of things like building improvements and law enforcement investments as well as upgrades to the 9-1-1 at the County Building. 


Rentmeister continues to praise County leadership for conservative budgeting that allows the County to keep its levy low and provide vital services for its people. 

DeWitt County Development Council Awards Annual REV Grants in Conjunction with First National Bank in Clinton

The annual REV grants through First National Bank in Clinton that are administered by the DeWitt County Development Council were awarded last month.


On the WHOW Morning Show Monday, Executive Director Curt Homann told Regional Radio there were four recipients of those grants this year and he feels it is always exciting to hear the ideas of local business owners and be able to help them realize goals to make their business better.



Homann highlights the four winners, three of which have shops on the square in Clinton.



As the REV grant process has now wrapped up for the DCDC for 2023, they turn their attention to 2024 where Homann says they are planning to award nearly $50,000 in grants. We'll have more on that with Homann later this week on Regional Radio. 

Laurie Heuermann Named as New Friendship Center Director

Yesterday on Regional Radio, we heard from Paula Jiles as she reflected on her career and her upcoming retirement.


Laurie Heuermann (Higherman) is the new Executive Director of the DeWitt County Friendship Center. Heuermann says she has been a Clinton resident for 30 years and is probably best known for her banking career in Clinton. Most recently she worked at the DMV.



Heuermann indicates she is most looking forward to continuing the trips the Friendship Center is known for. The Friendship Center will be having a week trip to Mackinac Island next October.



Heuermann invites the public to stop by the Friendship Center this week to wish Paula well in her retirement and to stop by in the coming weeks to introduce themselves to her.

Illinois Farm Bureau Elects New President

The Illinois Farm Bureau elected a new President on Monday at its annual meeting.


Brian Duncan has served the past six years as IFB Vice President and he says he’s ready to serve every member of the organization.



Duncan will now serve a two-year term. Evan Hultine of Bureau County was elected as Vice President.


Duncan fills the seat left open after Rich Guebert, served the maximum of 10 consecutive years.

Illinois Farm Bureau Meeting Discussion Meet

The Illinois Farm Bureau Annual Meeting in Chicago includes a discussion meet. More from RFD Radio’s Jim Taylor.



The meeting wraps up today in Chicago. 

Congressman LaHood Would Like Border Security Funding Included in Aid Package for Middle East

Republicans, like Illinois Congressman Darin LaHood, want to include border security in an aid package designed for the Middle East.


But, with a Democratic-controlled Senate and a Republican-controlled House, that could be difficult. For the Dunlap Republican, he's taking a 'wait and see' approach to a new aid package.



Cities like Chicago are scrambling to find housing for hundreds of asylum-seekers.


Governor Pritzker and Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson have set aside 1-hundred 50 million dollars for migrants.

DeWitt County Sheriff's Office Purchasing Drones

At the last DeWitt County Board Meeting, the DeWitt County Sheriff's Office was approved to purchase two drones.


Sheriff Mike Walker indicates recently his department as well as the Fire Department has had to receive assistance from other agencies to use a drone. He explains having their drone they could have deployed it earlier in the case or used it more often.



After researching drones, the Sheriff was advised to follow suit with what other agencies have done with purchasing two drones of different sizes. The drones are equipped with heat imaging and GPS technology, with the purchase totaling around $16,000.



The Sheriff's Department will train a couple of deputies to be drone pilots. In addition to being used by the Sheriff's Department, Sheriff Walker says the drones we be available for use by other local first responders. He notes there are a variety of ways the drones can be deployed to serve the community and solve cases faster.



Sheriff Walker anticipates having the drones by the end of January and will begin training pilots once they are received.

DeWitt County Friendship Center Director Looks Back on Career

After Friday, the DeWitt County Friendship Center will have a new executive director.


Paul Jiles has been the executive director for six years and will serve her final day in that role on Friday. She looks back on all the additions and renovations that they have accomplished during her tenure. Over six years the Friendship Center fundraised over $200,000.



Jiles says a highlight of her career was the numerous trips she arranged and went on. She notes many people who did not come to the center daily wanted to go on the trips. 



Jiles remembers when her car was totaled and she was able to fundraise and get a new parking lot for the friendship center within six weeks. She notes it gave her a sense of perspective about how much the center needed a new parking lot.



Jiles will miss the many seniors she has met and the working relationships with her coworkers.



Tune in to Regional Radio tomorrow as we introduce Laurie Heuermann (Higherman) as the new DeWitt County Friendship Center Executive Director.

Illinois Farm Bureau Annual Meeting Underway in Chicago

The Illinois Farm Bureau Annual Meeting includes recognition of Ag in the Classroom volunteers across the state. More from RFD Radio’s Jim Taylor in Chicago.



Collegiate Farm Bureaus have a presence at the Illinois Farm Bureau annual meeting in Chicago. 



The annual meeting wraps up on Wednesday. 

Debate over Districting Scheduling for High School Football Continues

District scheduling for high school football is up for vote by IHSA member schools over the next couple of weeks.


Last week, the IHSA announced its Legislative Commission moved to advance 14 by-law proposals to a vote by the membership, one of them is a proposal that would establish district scheduling in football. Friday Night Drive’s Steve Soucie (sue-see) has been closely following the issue.



The voting period for the proposal runs through the Dec. 18.

Gov. Pritzker Continues to Highlight 'Rebuild Illinois' Program

The state continues to celebrate the improvement to highways, bridges, overpasses and more.


A 20 mile project on Interstate 57 was completed last week from south of Chicago all the way to the 294. And in the Quad Cities, the bridge deck of Interstate 280 has been completely replaced. Governor JB Pritzker says the Rebuild Illinois program continues to make things better across the state.



The state says through four years of Rebuild Illinois more than 5,300 miles of roads have been improved.

Retirement is a Unique SItuation for Farmers

Retirement planning is a unique experience for farmers. Jared Nelson is an insurance agent and financial advisor with Rural Mutual Insurance. He says that farmers have several things to consider depending on what they want to do with the farm and themselves when they retire. Nelson says farmers are in a unique situation compared to most people...



It's also going to be a big change in mindset when farmers retire...



The amount farmers will need to retire depends upon their individual situations...


That's financial advisor Jared Nelson in Wisconsin.

Final Weekend on Illinois Firearm Deer Hunting Season

The last weekend of shotgun deer season is underway in Illinois. As hunters go back out for perhaps their last weekend in the woods, Mike Wafer with the Department of Natural Resources says it's a good time to remember that most people aren't hunters but the public's support and understanding of why people hunt is needed.


When heading home at the end of a hopefully successful day of hunting-- keep that in mid.



Shotgun deer hunting resumed on Thursday and will end on Sunday.

Pork Power Program Donating 50,000 Pounds of Pork This Year

Food banks across the state are receiving donations of ground pork this fall. They are part of the Pork Power donation program - supported by the Illinois Pork Producers, Illinois Corn Marketing Board, Illinois Soybeans Association, and the Illinois Meat Processors.


Chad Leman, President of the Pork Producers says they will donate 50,000 pounds this year.



The Pork Power Program makes ground pork donations to regional food banks that distribute the pork to local food banks and pantries.

Illinois Farm Bureau Prepares for Annual Meeting

The Illinois Farm Bureau is gathering for its annual meeting this weekend and early next week in Chicago.


President of the IFB Rich Guebert says there will be lots of talk about how the organization will continue to serve members moving forward



A new farm bureau president and vice president will be elected during this year's meeting.

Register now for 2024 IDNR Central Illinois Youth Goose Hunt

Youth between the ages of 10 and 17 who would like to participate in the annual Central Illinois Youth Goose Hunt sponsored by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources can register now for the event, which is scheduled for Jan. 15, 2024.


Registration closes Dec. 31. To participate, youth hunters must go online to register and follow the instructions.


The hunt will be hosted at private waterfowl hunting clubs near Canton in Fulton County, and hunters selected to participate will be pre-assigned to hunting locations.


A lottery drawing involving all youth hunters who register will be conducted, and those selected will be notified by email. First-time applicants will be given priority over previous participants.


The hunt is open to youth ages 10 to 17 at the time of the event. All applicants must possess a valid Illinois hunting or sportsman's license, have a Harvest Information Program (HIP) registration number, and have a 20 gauge or larger shotgun. Youth hunt participants must be accompanied by a parent or guardian who must possess a valid firearm owner's identification (FOID) card.


Questions about registration and the hunt itself can be directed to 217-785-8060.

GFAI Talking Labor Challenges

A tight labor market continues to be an issue for grain handling facilities. Jeff Adkisson is with the Grain and Feed Association of Illinois.




Adkisson says the issue will likely be a key talking point during the association's 131st annual convention in February.


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