Local News

Neighborhood Care Center Sign Up Location for 'Dolly Parton's Imagination Library'

Last week, the United Way of Decatur and Mid-Illinois announced it would be expanding the program 'Dolly Parton's Imagination Library' into DeWitt County.

 

Tuesday morning on the WHOW Morning Show, Executive Director of the Neighborhood Care Center in Clinton, Cody Monkman told Regional Radio they are now a signup location for this program that is absolutely free to any child in DeWitt County ages zero to five years old.

 

 

According to Monkman, literacy can be a great skill for self-empowerment and he believes it will be a very worthwhile program in the community.

 

 

Get more information about registering for the 'Dolly Parton Imagination Library' by calling the Neighborhood Care Center at 21-935-6844. 

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Mahomet-Seymour School Board to Be Presented With Facilities Future Plan

For the better part of 2021, residents of Mahomet-Seymour were surveyed and pursued for opinions on the future of the school district's facilities.

 

The district faces a growing population which is leading to a growing student body and creating spacing issues in almost every building. Superintendent Dr. Lindsey Hall indicates all that interaction has resulted in a plan ready to present for the Board of Education next month that will, if approved, then go to taxpayers in June.

 

 

While final figures on the cost of the project are not in yet, Dr. Hall anticipates estimates coming in at around $100-million with all the renovating that will need to be done in addition to the new projected middle school building.

 

 

If the school board approves the plan in February, Dr. Hall says the next step will be to educate the community on the proposal so they know exactly what they will be voting on in June.

 

 

Dr. Hall says as they look to expand on space in the district's other buildings, there will also be a focus to make sure those improvements bring the space to a 21st century-friendly learning environment. 

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Enrolling in Medicare Before Retirement

If you are 65 and want to keep working, you can still receive Medicare coverage.

 

Jack Myers with Social Security indicates as the age to receive full Social Security benefits continues to rise, more and more people are opting to take Medicare before retiring.

 

 

Myers says naturally people have a lot of questions about how to sign up for Medicare. If you are already receiving Social Security before age 65, you will automatically be enrolled in Parts A and B. If not Myers details how to apply...

 

 

The initial enrollment period for Medicare starts three months before you turn 65 and extends until three months after. If you don't enroll during that time you can still enroll during the general enrollment period.

 

 

Myers reminds that retiree or COBRA coverage does not qualify an individual for a special enrollment period.

 

To learn more about Medicare visit www.ssa.gov/benefits/medicare.

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Monday Two-Year Anniversary of First COVID Case in Illinois

MONDAY MARKED THE TWO YEAR ANNIVERSARY OF THE FIRST CASE OF COVID-19 REPORTED IN ILLINOIS. 

 

THAT INITIAL CASE IN JANUARY OF 2020 WAS A CHICAGO WOMAN WHO HAD RETURNED FROM A TRIP TO WUHAN, CHINA. SINCE THEN MORE THAN TWO-POINT-EIGHT MILLION PEOPLE HAVE TESTED POSITIVE FOR THE VIRUS AND OVER 30-THOUSAND HAVE DIED. CASES AND HOSPITLIZATIONS REACHED RECORD LEVELS THIS MONTH, ALTHOUGH THE SURGE SEEMS TO HAVE PEAKED. DURING LAST WEEK'S COVID-19 BRIEFING, GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER REMINDED HOW SERIOUS THE PANDEMIC REMAINS.

 

 

THE GOVERNOR SAYS THOSE THAT ARE MOST SICK CONTINUE TO BE THE UNVACCINATED. AT MOST RECENT COUNT, OVER 52-HUNDRED PATIENTS WERE IN THE HOSPITAL WITH COVID-19.

 

 

SINCE THE PANDEMIC BEGAN, MORE THAN TWO-POINT-EIGHT MILLION ILLINOISANS HAVE TESTED POSITIVE FOR COVID-19 AND OVER 30-THOUSAND HAVE DIED.

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Heating Equipment, Carbon Monoxide Safety is Key to Keeping Warm This Winter

AS YOU'RE TRYING TO STAY WARM THIS WINTER, THE ILLINOIS STATE FIRE MARSHAL'S OFFICE HAS A FEW SAFETY TIPS TO KEEP IN MIND. 

 

THERE ARE PLENTY OF HAZARDS WHEN IT COMES TO HEATING YOUR HOME SO IT'S IMPORTANT TO STAY ON TOP OF THINGS LIKE HAVING YOUR FURNACE SERVICED REGULARLY SAYS FIRE MARSHAL SPOKESPERSON J-C FULTZ.

 

 

ANOTHER CONCERN IS CARBON MONOXIDE POISONING, SO FULTZ SAYS YOU SHOULD INSTALL AND CHECK C-O DETECTORS REGULARLY. ILLINOIS FIRE DEPARTMENTS RESPONDED TO NEARLY 11-THOUSAND CARBON MONOXIDE LEAKS IN 2020.

 

 

OTHER WINTER HEATING REMINDERS INCLUDE HAVING YOUR FURNACE SERVICED AND CHIMNEY CLEANED REGULARLY. FULTZ SAYS SPACE HEATERS SHOULD BE PLUGGED DIRECTLY INTO AN OUTLET, NOT AN EXTENSION CORD, AND BE KEPT AWAY FROM ANYTHING THAT CAN CATCH ON FIRE LIKE CURTAINS, FURNITURE AND BEDDING. SPACE HEATERS SHOULD HAVE AN AUTOMATIC SHUT OFF FEATURE IN CASE THEY TIP OVER.

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Congressman Davis Addresses Supply Chain Issues

Supply chain issues are affecting businesses large and small, from big corporations to small-town businesses in Arcola, Illinois, as Congressman Rodney Davis details...

 

 

Congressman Davis has sponsored House Resolution 6152 intended to direct the Department of Commerce to conduct a study of what products are not being made in America and how Congress can incentivize American businesses to make those products.

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Cerro Gordo Celebrating Successful Boy's Basketball Season; Sheriff's Office Working to Provide Continued Law Enforcement Presence in Community

Cerro Gordo-Bement was the highlight of Monday's annual Hometown Tour Spotlight on the WHOW Morning Show. Joining the program was Cerro Gordo athletic director and boy's basketball coach Brandon Willard. Willard says his team is having a tremendous season.

 

 

Sheriff Mark Vogelzang took over the retired Dave Hunt in July of 2021 and joined the program. A veteran of law enforcement but new to the Piatt County force, Sheriff Vogelzang says its been a good transition and is looking forward to extending a contract for law enforcement in the community of Cerro Gordo.

 

 

The WHOW Hometown Tour Spotlight stops in Piatt County again on Wednesday when we visit Monticello. 

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DeWitt County Board Chair Reacts to Thursday Night Discussion Surrounding Wind Farm Sound Study

Last Thursday night, the DeWitt County Board approved a sound study agreement with Tech Environmental, INC. for the Alta Farms II wind project in northwest DeWitt County. 

 

Board Chair Terry Ferguson on the WHOW Morning Show Friday told Regional Radio News this is the next step in the process of the wind farms construction. He explains they need to provide the County with a sound study for all four seasons.

 

 

Thursday night, the Board was questioned why there wasn't a sound study done before the wind farm was put up. Ferguson explains their mitigations if the sound study turns up any issues for property owners near the turbines.

 

 

According to Ferguson, Tech Environmental will select six sites to study and indicates the wintertime is when the noise is most audible because of the often frozen ground and crops being out of the ground. 

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Clinton Chief of Police Says Department Rebounding Well from Staffing Challenges of 2021

2021 was a tough year for the Clinton Police Department because of several veteran officers moving on from the force.

 

Clinton Police Chief Ben Lowers feels fortunate they have been able to fill those spots quickly in the last few months. He points out many departments are not having the kind of luck they are.

 

 

With new officers now on the force, the Chief explains they've had to do some reshuffling. Det. Todd Ummel retired early last year his spot has been filled and other officers have moved around to new roles.

 

 

The Chief indicates a young officer almost has his pick of where he wants to go due to all the vacancies across the country. 

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Rare Babe Ruth Collectible Found in Illinois

An incredibly rare Babe Ruth collectible has been found in Illinois. A 1927 banner for the Babe Ruth movie "Babe Comes Home" was discovered in Henry County home under renovation. The banner hung in front of the Peerless Theater in Kewanee in 1927 before going home with the Manager of the theater where it was placed in a closet and untouched for more than 90 years. Rich Mueller is the editor of SportsCollectorsDaily.com and says there really is nothing like this banner in the collectible world...

 

 

The family who found the banner are choosing not to be identified at this time. The 10 foot yellow banner is set to be auctioned by MemoryLaneInc.com beginning February 5th with bidding closing on February 19th. The rarity of the banner and its superb condition indicate that the bidding could be incredibly high. The auction will open with a price of $25,000.

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Gov. Pritzker Celebrates Opening of Regional Logistics Center in Southeastern Illinois

GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER IS CELEBRATING A NEW REGIONAL LOGISTICS CENTER THAT WILL PROVIDE MORE ACCESS TO REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH CARE IN SOUTHEASTERN ILLINOIS. 

 

THE CENTER, IN FAIRVIEW HEIGHTS, IS A JOINT EFFORT BETWEEN PLANNED PARENTHOOD OF SAINT LOUIS AND THE GRANITE-CITY BASED HOPE CLINIC. THE GOAL IS TO COORDINATE CARE FOR THOSE NEEDING SERVICES, INCLUDING ABORTIONS, TO IN-STATE AND OUT-OF-STATE WOMEN SAYS GOVERNOR PRITZKER.

 

 

THE CENTER WILL USE PRIVATE FUNDS TO HELP PAY TRAVEL, CHILDCARE AND OTHER COSTS FOR WOMEN TRAVELING FROM OTHER STATES TO ILLINOIS.

 

 

THERE IS NO INCOME OR DISTANCE REQUIREMENT TO ACCESS THESE SERVICES.

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Firefighter Cancer Awareness Month

ILLINOIS FIREFIGHTERS ARE BEING URGED TO SCHEDULED REGULAR PHYSICALS AND CANCER SCREENINGS.

 

THIS IS FIREFIGHTER CANCER AWARENESS MONTH AND ILLINOIS FIRE MARSHAL SPOKESPERSON J-C FULTZ SAYS IT'S SO IMPORTANT FOR THOSE IN THE PROFESSION TO REALLY TAKE CARE OF THEMSELVES.

 

 

FULTZ SAYS FIREFIGHTERS ARE AT A HIGHER RISK FOR CANCER BECAUSE THEY ARE EXPOSED TO SO MANY CARCINOGENS.

 

UNFORTUNATELY, IT'S A RISK THAT COMES WITH THE JOB.

 

 

FULTZ SAYS ANOTHER VITAL COMPONENT IS A PROPER DECONTAMINATION PROCESS AFTER A FIRE, WHICH CAN GREATLY REDUCED THE TRANSMISSION OF CARCINOGENS.

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New Report Highlights Law Helping Service Members Expedite Professional Licensure

A NEW REPORT IS HIGHLIGHTING THE SUCCESS OF A RECENT LAW THAT HELPS SERVICE MEMBERS OBTAIN THEIR STATE PROFESSIONAL LICENSE MORE QUICKLY. 

 

THE LAW EXPEDITES THE PROCESS OF GETTING LICENSED IN ILLINOIS FOR OCCUPATIONS LIKE PHYSICIAN, NURSE, UNARMED SECURITY GUARD AND COSMETOLOGIST. THIS IS SO IMPORTANT FOR ACTIVE DUTY MEMBERS AND THEIR SPOUSES SAYS STATE DEPARTMENT OF FINANCIAL AND PROFESSIONAL REGULATION SECRETARY MARIO TRETO.

 

 

TRETO SAYS THE REPORT FOUND THAT THOSE TAKING ADVANTAGE OF THE PROGRAM WORK IN A VARIETY OF FIELDS.

 

 

THE DEPARTMENT HELPED 862 SERVICE MEMBERS AND THEIR SPOUSES THROUGH THE LICENSURE PROCESS LAST YEAR, TRIPLING THE AMOUNT THAT TOOK ADVANTAGE OF THE INITIATIVE DURING THE FIRST YEAR IN 2020.

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New Legislation Aims to Help Illinois Smartphone App Companies

NEW LEGISLATION AIMS TO HELP SMARTPHONE APP COMPANIES BASED IN ILLINOIS. 

 

CURRENTLY, YOU CAN'T PURCHASE AN APP ON YOUR PHONE UNLESS YOU GO THROUGH GOOGLE OR APPLE, WHICH TAKES AS MUCH AS 30 PERCENT OF THE DEVELOPERS PROFITS. THIS NEW BILL, CALLED THE FREEDOM TO DIRECTLY SUBSCRIBE ACT, CUTS OUT THE MIDDLEMAN SAYS SENATOR ROBERT PETERS OF CHICAGO.

 

 

THE FREEDOM TO DIRECTLY SUBSCRIBE ACT ELIMINATES THE MIDDLEMAN OF GOOGLE OR APPLE THAT USERS HAVE TO GO THROUGH TO PURCHASE AN APP, ENDING THE CURRENT PRACTICE SAYS SENATOR SARA FEIGENHOLTZ OF CHICAGO.

 

 

SUPPORTERS SAY THIS WOULD HELP MORE THAN CREATORS OF GAMES AND OTHER APPS. FOR EXAMPLE, IT WILL SAVE NEWSPAPER COMPANIES MONEY BY LETTING THEM DIRECTLY SIGN UP DIGITAL SUBSCRIBERS.

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Second Round of 'Back to Business' Grants for Small Businesses Announced

GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER IS ANNOUNCING A NEW ROUND OF BACK TO BUSINESS GRANTS FOR SMALL BUSINESSES IN ILLINOIS.

 

THE LATEST ROUND IS MORE THAN 111 MILLION DOLLARS SAYS THE GOVERNOR, FUNDING OVER 29-HUNDRED GRANTS TO BUSINESSES STILL RECOVERING FROM THE PANDEMIC.

 

 

THE MONEY IS MEANT TO HELP WITH THINGS LIKE HIRING STAFF AND MAINTAINING COVID-19 PROTOCOLS SAYS STATE DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE AND ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY ACTING DIRECTOR SYLVIA GARCIA.

 

 

THE DEADLINE TO APPLY FOR BACK TO BUSINESS GRANTS HAS PASSED BUT GRANTS WILL CONTINUE TO GO OUT TO PREVIOUS APPLICANTS UNTIL FUNDS ARE EXHAUSTED.

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Illinois GOP Wants Repeal of Criminal Justice Reforms

House Republicans want a repeal of recent criminal justice reforms. They remain opposed to changes to cash bail requirements for some offenses, limiting arrests for some crimes and other modifications. Rep. Ryan Spain says they want an entire repeal of the Safe-T act.

 

 

GOP members say Illinois residents are less safe now because of the reforms made last year.

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New State Fair Manager on Job

The Illinois State Fair has a new manager. Rebecca Clark took over the position earlier this month.

 

 

This is Clark’s second stint with the Illinois Department of Agriculture. She also previously worked as a public information officer for the Illinois Emergency Management Agency.

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Weekly Weather Summary

Varied temperatures highlight this past week and a seasonable weekend with some snow is possible in Illinois. State Climatologist tells us about the week ahead....

 

 

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Recruiting Time for Sangamon Valley CEO Program

It's recruiting time for a central Illinois high school entrepreneurship program.

 

Lisa Shepard is the Facilitator of the Sangamon Valley CEO program that invites students from Monticello, Bement, DeLand-Weldon, Argenta-Oreana, and Cerro Gordo to learn the ins and outs of owning and operating a business. 

 

 

Shepard has four students in this year's class with three being from Monticello and one from Argenta-Oreana. She says while they like to have a more diverse representation of students, COVID hurt their recruiting efforts last year but they have recently been able to get back into the other schools and promote the program among juniors in its blueprint.

 

 

On the WHOW Morning Show Thursday, Shepard encouraged anyone with a slight interest in the program to apply and at least learn more about the program. She believes it is a great program even if your student may not have the inspiration to be a future business owner.

 

 

Visit sangamonvalleyceo.com for the application for the upcoming school year and to learn more about the program. 

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Taylorville High School Staffer Arrested on Meth Charges

An employee of Taylorville High School has been arrested for bringing and using methamphetamine at school. 

 

38-year-old Adam Cherry of Rosamond was arrested following a traffic stop where he was arrested for possession of methamphetamine and possession of drug paraphernalia before he entered the school. 

 

The investigation started two weeks ago after the Taylorville Police Department received information that a current employee was bringing meth into the High School and using while on duty. TPD along with K9 conducted a traffic stop and Cherry admitted that he used it during work hours inside the school.

 

Taylorville School District Superintendent Dr. Chris Dougherty was notified and Cherry was immediately placed on administrative leave with pay. 

 

The district issued a statement by Dr. Dougherty that they are still working with the local authorities on the investigation of Cherry, who is a night custodian and has been with the district since August 2019.  Dr. Dougherty indicated when Cherry showed up for his shift Wednesday night, he was apprehended by police and taken into custody.

 

Dr. Dougherty said, quote - “We do not condone bad behavior anywhere in our schools and removed him immediately from our campus. We are following protocol set forth by district policy which leads to termination.”

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Tax Filing Season Begins Jan. 24

TAX FILING SEASON BEGINS NEXT WEEK. 

 

IT'S THAT TIME OF YEAR AGAIN SAYS ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE SPOKESPERSON MAURA KOWNACKI.

 

 

IT'S EASY TO FILE YOUR ILLINOIS RETURN ONLINE SAYS KOWNACKI.

 

 

IF TAXPAYERS FILE AN ERROR-FREE RETURN AND CHOOSE DIRECT DEPOSIT, THEY SHOULD RECEIVE THEIR REFUND IN ABOUT FOUR WEEKS. INCOME TAX RETURNS ARE DUE BY MONDAY, APRIL 18TH. VISIT TAX DOT ILLINOIS DOT GOV FOR MORE INFORMATION.

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Illinois Corn Growers Association Touts Lock, Dam Funding

Significant funding on the way for Lock and Dam 25 on the Mississippi River, just north of St. Louis. React from Jim Tarman from the Illinois Corn Growers Association.

 

 

Tarman has served the Illinois Corn Growers Association since 1994.

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Federal Funding on Way to Improve Locks, Dams Along Mississippi, Illinois Rivers

Hundreds of millions of dollars are coming to improve locks and dams along the Mississippi and Illinois Rivers. The funding is part of the recently passed infrastructure bill from Biden Administration.

 

$732 million will be directed to Lock and Dam 25, north of St. Louis and millions more to locks on the Illinois river. Western Illinois Congresswoman Cheri Bustos says the improvements are a long time coming for infrastructure that was built when Franklin Roosevelt was president.

 

 

Lock and Dam 25 will be expanded to allow for the passage of 1200 foot barge tows.

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Central Illinois Regional Airport Deputy Director Says 5G Technology Not Impacting Smaller Airports

The aviation industry is warning against the rollout of 5G band networks across the country, but one airport in central Illinois says the rollouts are not affecting their airport.

 

Many large airports have warned against the technology next to runways that could interfere with crucial safety equipment essential to pilots in take-off and landing in inclement weather. At Central Illinois Regional Airport, Deputy Director Fran Strebing (STREE-bing) said the new technology is not affecting smaller airports like CIRA but is impacting large airports like O'Hare International Airport in Chicago.

 

 

Earlier this week, major cellphone carriers AT&T and Verizon announced they would pause the rollout of the 5G technology near airports.

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Battlecross Crusaders Activity Picking Up in 2022

Battlecross Crusaders launched in 2021 and the DeWitt County-based non-profit is getting its support of local veterans going already and things start for them on Saturday.

 

Jeff Morlock says on Saturday, they will be out supporting a local World War II veteran who recently passed away. He is encouraging the local veterans and the community to join them in Clinton.

 

 

Early next month, Morlock says they are going to be doing a special celebration for the 100th birthday of a Bloomington World War II veteran. Morlock indicates they got connected with Roy Roberts through the Library of Congress testimonial project through the Warner Library. 

 

 

Battlecross Crusaders were recently gifted some electronics that they found homes for with local families in need. Morlock says there were some leftover items they also donated to The Vault for their use.

 

 

Get more information about these upcoming events and keep up with the latest with Battlecross Crusaders by finding them on Facebook. 

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