Local News

Clinton To Look Different This Weekend as Apple n' Pork Festival Falls to COVID

Normally this week, the City of Clinton would be buzzing in preparation for tens-of-thousands of visitors for its annual Apple n' Pork Festival.

 

Thanks to COVID, nearly the entirety of the festivities are being canceled but that isn't slowing down a few groups who are forging ahead with plans to try to make something of this pandemic centered year. The CH Moore Homestead and DeWitt County Museum Board have decided to return to its roots. Director Joey Long says they are going to simply offer their ham n' beans and smoked ham sandwiches.

 

 

To make things safe for their volunteers and the public, the food will be served in a drive-thru fashion. Long explains they are still finalizing how they will arrange for traffic flow but those wishing to purchase meals will pull up, pay for their food, and have it delivered. 

 

 

The ham n' beans and ham sandwiches are a staple of the festival. Long points out they will be serving from 3 pm to 7 pm, or until they sell out. They will be preparing around 450 servings of food, and ham n' beans will be served by the quart. 

 

 

According to Long, follow the Apple n' Pork Festival Facebook page for details on the way they will directing traffic. Also, follow the Facebook page for updates on all things Apple n' Pork Festival. 

 

Also, this Saturday tune in to The Big 1520 AM/92.3 FM/106.5 FM and 95.9 FM WEZC, along with all Regional Radio News' online platforms including the WHOW mobile app and Amazon Alexa, for virtual coverage of the Apple n' Pork Festival. 

 

You'll hear from over a dozen groups who are annually at the Homestead grounds and set up in the community and benefit greatly from the tens-of-thousands of visitors that make tracks to Clinton for the annual festival. Groups include the Boy Scouts, the Clinton YMCA, the Clinton Am-Vets, and the Clinton Athletic Boosters among many more. 

 

Coverage Saturday begins at 10 am and will go until 6 pm.

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Clinton Legion Stepping Up To Aid Groups Seeking to Still Host Alternate Apple n' Pork Events

As the City of Clinton embarks what will be an unusually quiet last full week of September with the annual Apple n' Pork Festival canceled, a local veterans group is stepping up to give back to a community that has been very supportive of them.

 

Tom Reddington and his fellow veterans at the American Legion are allowing several community groups to use their expansive kitchen to prepare food for what will ultimately be a less-than-normal Apple n' Pork weekend in Clinton. He says it is their way of giving back to a very generous community that has supported them.

 

 

For Reddington and his fellow veterans, in a time when the community is in need, it makes them feel like they are still serving.

 

 

Among groups hosting fundraising efforts this week are the Clinton Rotary Club's Friday night pulled pork dinner, the Clinton Kiwanis Club's Saturday cookout at IGA, and the DeWitt County Museum's ham n' beans and smoked ham sandwiches sales on Saturday evening. 

 

Get a full list of weekend alternate Apple n' Pork Festival events in Clinton by visiting dewittdailynews.com and clicking on the Apple n' Pork icon at the top of the home page. 

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Clinton Water Department to Get Upgraded Automated System for Treatment Plant

To save the City of Clinton money, the water department will be upgrading the surveillance of the automated water treatment plant equipment.

 

Monday night at the Clinton City Council meeting, Commissioner John Wise says problems with the current equipment is costing the city overtime to bring workers in on weekends. He says the new system is going to be a cost-savings measure.

 

 

According to Wise, an Indiana company will install it and will only charge the City for services when they have to travel to work on it. The council approved the purchase of the new system through Donohue & Associates, INC. for no more than $10,000.

 

The City also approved an ordinance for the local Cure program, part of the CARES act which gives the city access to those funds released in the spring. 

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Bement Schools Offering Community Free Meals

A southern Piatt County community school district is offering its community free meals, regardless of their affiliation with the school system.

 

Bement Schools filed a waiver to feed every child in their school district regardless if they attend a school or not. Superintendent Dr. Shiela Greenwood explains families need to register the week before the meals being distributed and stresses these are free meals in a district with 50-percent of students on free or reduced lunches.

 

 

The meals are prepackaged healthy and nutritious meals. Dr. Greenwood indicates parents can pick up meals on Mondays and need to get registered for meals the week before pickups. 

 

 

Call the school district at 217-678-4200 and choose extension 1 for high school students or 2 for middle school or younger students. 

 

Pickups are Monday afternoons from 2:15 pm to 3 pm by the high school cafeteria with five meals for breakfast and lunches. 

 

Dr. Greenwood indicates there are no eligibility guidelines and students do not have to attend Bement schools to take advantage of the program 

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Weekly Crop Report

IT WAS A DRY WEEK FOR ILLINOIS CROPS.

 

THERE WAS NO MEASURABLE RAINFALL THIS PAST WEEK...DROPPING AVERAGE STATEWIDE TOPSOIL MOISTURE TO NINE PERCENT VERY SHORT, 27 PERCENT SHORT 61 PERCENT ADEQUATE AND THREE PERCENT SURPLUS. CROP STATISTICIAN MARK SCHLEUSENER PROVIDES AN UPDATE ON THE SOYBEAN CROP.

 

 

73 PERCENT OF CORN WERE RATED IN GOOD TO EXCELLENT CONDITION, RELATIVELY UNCHANGED FROM THE PREVIOUS WEEK. 53 PERCENT OF CORN IS MATURE AND FOUR PERCENT HAS BEEN HARVESTED.

 

 

AVERAGE STATEWIDE TOPSOIL MOISTURE DECLINED TO NINE PERCENT VERY SHORT, 27 PERCENT SHORT, 61 PERCENT ADEQUATE AND THREE PERCENT SURPLUS.

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This is Farm Safety Week

This is National Farm Safety and Health Week. A number of businesses and organizations are helping spread the message including GROWMARK, where Kevin Frye is safety manager.

 

 

This year’s theme is “Every Farmer Counts”.

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Gov. Pritzker Announces $156-Million Grants for Childcare Providers

GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER IS ANNOUNCING 156 MILLION DOLLARS IN CHILD CARE GRANTS WITH MORE TO COME. 

 

THE BUSINESS INTERRUPTION GRANTS ARE GOING TO NEARLY 47-HUNDRED DAYCARE CENTERS AND HOMES ACROSS THE STATE. THE GOVERNOR SAYS IT'S IMPORTANT TO MAKE SURE PROVIDERS KEEP OPERATING...SO MOMS AND DADS CAN KEEP GOING TO WORK.

 

 

THEY ARE PART OF CONTINUED SUPPORT FROM THE STATE AND FEDERAL GOVERNMENT, AND VITAL TO HELPING PARENTS GO TO WORK AND BRING HOME A PAYCHECK SAYS THE GOVERNOR.

 

 

AN ADDITIONAL 114 MILLION IN GRANTS FOR CHILD CARE PROVIDERS WILL BE AVAILABLE IN COMING WEEKS. VISIT IL GATEWAYS DOT COM FOR MORE INFORMATION.

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Clintonia Eagle Theater Closes Due to COVID

An employee at Clinton's Clintonia Eagle Theater has tested positive for COVID, imposing a shutdown of the movie theater at Kelly Court.

 

In a message posted to social media Monday, the theater is in contact with the health department about protocols to take. No indication was made about how long they would remain closed but extra disinfectant measures would be taken before reopening. 

 

The announcement noted all staff was being quarantined out of an abundance of caution. 

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DeWitt/Piatt Bi-County Health Department Asking Residents to Avoid Large Gatherings

Last week DeWitt County was named to the Illinois Department of Public Health's warning list for COVID due to a recent spike in cases.

 

The DeWitt/Piatt Bi-County Health Department attributes the spike in cases to Labor Day gatherings. Executive Director Dave Remmert says while it sounds alarming the County made the warning list, residents are doing a good job protecting vulnerable populations from this disease as hospitalizations and fatalities are very minimal in the two-county area.

 

 

Remmert is encouraged Piatt County saw a similar spike and avoided the IDPH warning and now they are seeing case numbers stabilize again. Last week on Regional Radio News, he discussed the ebb-and-flow nature to the virus and maintains that stance despite the recent spike in cases.

 

 

Labor Day gatherings being the most likely source of the spread of this virus locally prompted Remmert to implore the public to avoid large gatherings, especially large gatherings indoors. 

 

 

Making the warning list alarmed many in the community and Remmert says that is a good thing. He hopes making the warning list will prompt action like more mask-wearing, increased awareness around social distancing, and people avoiding large gatherings.

 

 

As contact tracing efforts increase for the local agency, Remmert indicates they were able to hire three additional staff for those efforts. 

 

Last week, testing for DeWitt County dropped from 308 to 214 helping contribute to the spike in positivity rate. 

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Illinois Rail Safety Week Begins Today

Built on the booming railroad industry, Rail Safety Week means a lot to a Clinton native and now high-ranking law enforcement official. 

 

The Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police is sponsoring Rail Safety Week from September 21-27 and Clinton Police Chief Ben Lowers notes Illinois Rail Safety Week is intended to increase awareness of railroad safety as it pertains to the general public.

 

 

The railroad system has had its impacts Clinton residents as some families have deep ties to the rail system many generations ago, and while the Chief cannot recall any major accidents, they do receive minor calls about individuals disregarding railroad crossing signs.

 

 

Chief Lowers reminds the public that railroad tracks are, contrary to popular belief, private property. Walking or biking along railroad tracks is illegal and unsafe.

 

 

The ties to the rail system in Illinois don't end in Clinotn - the City of Chicago has one of the country's biggest rail hubs. Chief Lowers encourages the public to view rail safety education material on the Operation Lifesaver website at www.oli.org.

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Weekly Weather Summary

Things were a little cooler this weekend. State Climatologist Trent Ford Discusses what is ahead as we hit the backstretch of September

 

 

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Heyworth Schools Leader Says A Lot is Unknown As District Prepares Budget

It's budget time for Illinois schools and a McLean County school district leader says a lot is uncertain this year as so much hangs in the balance with Governor JB Pritzker's graduated income tax proposal.

 

According to Superintendent of Heyworth Schools, Dr. Lisa Taylor, the graduated income tax proposal has strings attached and among those is school funding. Shes says overall, expenditures are flat but revenues are giving her some anxiety this year.

 

 

Dr. Taylor is frustrated by the situation that holds school funding over the heads of taxpayers. She explains in Heyworth, they already were planning to make cuts, and to not know exactly what funding will be coming their way is making the matter worse.

 

 

Evidenced-based funding was a proposal lawmakers began using just a few years ago but Dr. Taylor indicates this year that the funding model to be greatly altered, especially for her district. She indicates the evidence-based funding model, however, continues to neglect categorical payments.

 

 

Dr. Taylor says it feels as though the Governor is keeping schools and its funding hostage to get his tax reforms passed, which she calls unfair to the kids of Illinois. 

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Soybean Markets Rally

A nice rally in the soybean market last week, but not near the push in corn futures. AgriVisor’s Karl Setser says there are different dynamics in play for both commodities.

 

 

November bean futures were up 15 cents Friday and 47-and-a-half cents for the week. December corn was up three-and-a-quarter cents Friday and 10-cents for the week.

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Exploring Solar Farm Impacts on Farmland

Researchers hope to learn some of the economic, legal and community aspects and impacts of leasing solar panels and infrastructure on farmland. Rod Bain has more...

 

 

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Sen. Rose Not a Fan of Positivity Rate Metric

Yesterday, DeWitt County made the Illinois Department of Public Health's Warning List for COVID thanks to an increased positive rate.

 

Tests locally went from 308 down to 244, helping contribute to the increased positivity rate. State Senator Chapin Rose earlier in the week, unaware of the fact DeWitt County was going to show up on this week's warning list, indicated his displeasure with the positivity rate metric.

 

 

Sen. Rose believes the metrics that should be emphasized are hospitalizations and protecting vulnerable populations. Local health officials have been echoing this message for many months during the pandemic.

 

 

Sen. Rose is critical of the Governor's shift in focus in recent weeks as efforts have increased to bring back fall sports in light of many other states reversing earlier decisions. He believes we have passed giving hospitals and healthcare providers the capacity to deal with COVID and now we are focused on protecting people from themselves, something he calls an overreach. 

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Rep. Bost Supports EPA Renewable Energy Standards Announcement

The EPA this week made the decision to deny “gap year” petitions for small refinery exemptions and uphold the intent of the Renewable Fuel Standard.

 

In July, Southern Illinois Congressman Mike Bost joined his House Biofuels Caucus colleagues in sending a letter to President Trump urging the rejection of 54 “gap year” petitions for SREs.

 

 

This decision will ensure that 15 billion gallons of conventional biofuels are blended into the nation’s fuel supply.

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Second Round of CFAP Announced

A second round of the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program will begin Monday with sign-up for eligible producers. Rod Bain has the details...

 

 

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DeWitt County Makes IDPH COVID Warning List

As we head to the weekend, DeWitt County has made the Illinois Department of Public Health's warning list.

 

DeWitt/Piatt Bi-County Health Department Executive Director Dave Remmert indicates the positivity rate in DeWitt County spiked this week. He indicates the case counts locally have been gradually climbing this week.

 

 

While many point to a party at a local bar over the weekend as a probable cause of the spike in cases, Remmert indicates his staff is finding it is more likely Labor Day gatherings were the sources for transmission of COVID.

 

 

Remmert is imploring the public to avoid large gatherings, especially large indoor gatherings. He is encouraged Piatt County saw a similar spike and avoided the IDPH warning and now they are seeing case numbers stabilize again.

 

We'll have more on this story Monday on Regional Radio News. 

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DeWitt County Clerk Discusses Recent Letter from Secretary of State

Voters this week who have not applied for a mail-in ballot received from the Secretary of State's office notice there is still time to get one and a DeWitt County official indicates that set off a firestorm of worried residents.

 

DeWitt County Clerk Dana Smith tells Regional Radio News they have been inundated with phone calls from residents who are confused and wondering if this notice means precincts will be closing. Smith says this is not the case that in-person voting is still scheduled in DeWitt County.

 

 

According to Smith, early voting beings next week and is not the same as voting by mail. Smith explains early voting is done in-person and you submit your ballot like you do when you vote at a precinct.

 

 

Smith stresses locally all polling places are opening and will be for election day.

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DeLand-Weldon Schools Put Fiscal Year 2021 Budget on File

Things are looking very good at DeLand-Weldon for their annual budget.

 

Superintendent Amanda Geary says most of their fund balances are very healthy and last month put the budget on file. She explains with no major projects on the horizon, their fund balances are very healthy at this time.

 

 

According to Geary, they take a very conservative approach to budgeting and it has resulted in the district being on pace to finish in the black this year.

 

 

As the district projects to be in the black, Geary says they could use some small improvements in their buildings but she would also like to see some of their excess revenues end up in their reserves.

 

 

Geary points out, DeLand-Weldon Schools do not rely on the State of Illinois for much of their revenues. She estimates they receive about 60-percent of their annual budget comes from local revenues while 30-percent comes from the State and the other ten from federal contributions. 

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Illinois Corn Growers Talk Harvest Safety

The Illinois Corn Growers Association is reminding people about farm safety as corn harvesting begins across the state.

 

Rodney Weinzierl (WINE-zearl) is the executive director at the Illinois Corn Growers Association.

 

 

In the weekly crop report, USDA Crop Statistician Mark Schleusner says 37 percent of corn is mature and two percent has been harvested. 72 percent of the crop rated in good to excellent condition.

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IDPH Discusses Suicide Prevention Month

SEPTEMBER IS SUICIDE PREVENTION AWARENESS MONTH AND THE ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH SAYS THIS IS ESPECIALLY IMPORTANT DURING THE PANDEMIC. 

 

MORE THAN ONE THOUSAND PEOPLE IN ILLINOIS TAKE THEIR OWN LIVES EACH YEAR AND SUICIDE IS THE THIRD LEADING CAUSE OF DEATH FOR AGES 15 TO 34. STATE PUBLIC HEALTH DIRECTOR DOCTOR NGOZI (en-gahzi) EZIKE (eh-zee-kay) SAYS WHILE THERE ARE NO STATISTICS ABOUT SUICIDE RATES RELATED TO COVID-19, IT IS A CONCERN.

 

 

WHILE THERE AREN’T STATISTICS YET REGARDING COVID-19 RELATED SUICIDES, MANY OF THE ISSUES PEOPLE ARE FACING NOW SUCH AS JOB LOSS, FINANCIAL PROBLEMS AND SOCIAL ISOLATION ARE RISK FACTORS.

 

 

IF YOU OR SOMEONE YOU KNOW IS FEELING HOPELESS AND HAVING SUICIDAL THOUGHTS, EZIKE ENCOURAGES YOU TO CALL THE NATIONAL SUICIDE PREVENTION LIFELINE AT: 1-800-273-TALK.

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DCFS Reminds Mandated Reporters to Be On Lookout for Abuse, Neglect

THE ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF CHILDREN AND FAMILY SERVICES IS REMINDING MANDATED REPORTERS THAT IT'S ESPECIALLY IMPORTANT RIGHT NOW TO WATCH KIDS FOR SIGNS OF ABUSE AND NEGLECT.

 

AS SOME ACTIVITIES AND FACILITIES HAVE OPENED BACK UP...D-C-F-S ACTING DIRECTOR MARC SMITH SAYS THOSE REQUIRED BY LAW TO REPORT SIGNS OF ABUSE LIKE TEACHERS, DAYCARE PROVIDERS AND DOCTORS SHOULD KEEP AN EXTRA CLOSE EYE ON CHILDREN.

 

 

SMITH SAYS EVERYONE SHOULD PAY CLOSE ATTENTION.

 

 

D-C-F-S HAS A NEW ONLINE REPORTING FORM ON ITS WEBPAGE OR YOU CAN CALL THE STATE'S HOTLINE AT: 1-800-25-ABUSE. SMITH URGES ANYONE WHO SEES SOMETHING, TO SAY SOMETHING.

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Sen. Rose Sounds Off on Governor's Sports Decisions

A state lawmaker is sounding off on Governor JB Pritzker's handling of the high school sports situation.

 

On the WHOW Morning Show Thursday, State Sen. Chapin Rose told Regional Radio News Governor Pritzker not allowing high school sports to be played is the latest example of him moving the goalposts and now shifting to a focus of protecting people from themselves.

 

 

According to the Senator, we are moving past providing nursing homes and assisted living facilities with the capacity to deal with COVID and we are starting to cause real harm to people.

 

 

Gov. Pritzker says he is listening to scientists and watching the science of the situation but Sen. Rose contends the science shows outdoor transmission is almost non-existent. He calls the Governor "a record player".

 

 

Sen. Rose believes parents and kids need to be able to decide for themselves if they want to play and not have the government intervening for them. 

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Friends of Warner Library Offering 'Grab Bag' Book Sale

Last week, the Friends of the Warner Library kicked off a book sale campaign to help supplement losses from annual fundraisers that were lost this year.

 

Samantha Rusk is the Business Manager at Warner Library in Clinton and indicates the Friends of the Warner Library are offering a 'Grab Bag' book sale to help supplement the losses from their spring and fall book sales this year due to the COVID pandemic. 

 

 

According to Rusk, the Friends of the Library raise money to help support the many things the library does during the year. She explains much of the costs for the summer reading club comes from the Friends of the Library.

 

 

Bags of books are $1 and can be purchased during regular business hours. Rusk notes they have a wide variety of book and plenty to sell. Stop by the library at 310 North Quincy Street or visit vwarner.org and find the library on Facebook for more information. 

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