Local News

Gas Pumps Showing State-Mandated Gas Tax Suspension Notice; Gas Station Owners Have a Message of Their Own

 

Gas pumps across Illinois were mandated to have the top sign above, telling drivers that the General Assembly and the Governor suspended the inflation adjustment to the motor fuel tax thru December 31st.

 

Gas station and c-store owners weren't happy about the mandated move.  They filed suit against the state but apparently lost, as the sign was found posted on gas pumps Friday.

 

But, the bottom sign expressed the owners' dismay in having to post the state-mandated sign, in essence saying it was a political stunt by the Democrats since the suspension ends December 31st.

DeWitt County Board Gets Update on Wind Farm

Last Thursday night, the DeWitt County Board received an update on the wind farm project which is beginning to wrap up before going live this fall.

 

Terry Fountain with Cummins Engineering, the firm selected by the County oversees the project, provided the Board with an update on how things are going. Restoration of the roads is underway.

 

 

As the project wraps up, Enel will begin the restoration process of drainage ditches impacted by its work as well as restoring culverts. Fountain points out there is a lot of coordination between Cummins, Enel, and the County Engineer.

 

 

There is still work to be done as it relates to drainage districts. Fountain explains there could be tiles that need to be replaced.

 

 

Fountain indicates there are issues currently for Enel with the sub-station and connecting to the grid. He indicates that the Cummins Engineer purview but Enel is working with the electric company to correct that. 

 

He anticipates the farm going live in the fall. 

Finally Weekend For Prairie Flyers Exhibit at DeWitt County Museum

This is the final weekend for the exhibit 'Prairie Flyers: A Century of Aviation in DeWitt County' at the DeWitt County Museum.

 

Director of the Museum Joey Long indicates they have seen a great turnout for this exhibit so far this year. She says people are coming from all over the state and midwest to check it out.

 

 

According to Woolridge, they are finding people are learning about the exhibit in all sorts of ways. From the promotion through its radio spots on Regional Radio to learning about the exhibit through printed materials, people are even just simply seeing the signs off the highway and are stopping in.

 

 

Woolridge points out, this time of the year they are not encountering as many group tours but she anticipates that to change when they open the quilt show later this month. 

 

You can learn more about the Prairie Flyers: A Century of Aviation in DeWitt County by finding its Facebook page. The exhibit's final day is Sunday. 

Busy 4th of July in Piatt County

It's going to be a busy weekend in Piatt County for the 4th of July holiday.

 

Monticello Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Shelly Crawford-Stock indicates things get going tonight with some music and food at Allerton Park. It's the 'Red, White, and Blues' event, or catch the Bement Country Opry. 

 

 

Crawford-Stock reminds that Sunday is Monticello Freedom Fest. It's the annual 4th of July fireworks display with games and vendors and food as well as a shuttle service from the high school to Lodge Park.

 

 

On Monday, Bement will have its fireworks display. 

 

Crawford-Stock notes there are still a few tickets available for the 4th of July fireworks-watching event with the Monticello Railway Museum. 

 

Learn about all the happenings in Monticello and Piatt County by visiting makeitmonticello.org or finding the Facebook page of the same name. 

University of Illinois Extension Conducting Farm Stress Study

The U-of-I extension is in the second year of a five-year Farm Stress Study. They are looking for participants, specifically, youth and adolescents say extension specialist Josie Rudolphi….

 

 

Again, the website is go.illinois.edu/farmfamily2022.

Illinois Suspends Grocery Tax Starting Today

The sales tax on groceries in Illinois will be suspended for a year starting Friday, under the state budget approved in April.

 

The state’s tax relief program will also postpone a gas tax increase until January, and cut school supply taxes from 6.25% to 1.25% from Aug. 5 to 14.

 

The measures are part of a $1.8 billion state tax-break deal signed by Pritzker in April. GOP leaders derided the measures as a campaign tool for Pritzker and other Democrats in an election year.

 

The plan also provides automatic $50 income tax rebates for individuals who made less than $200,000 in 2021, $100 for couples filing jointly who made less than $400,000, and $100 per dependent claimed in 2021, up to three.

 

Additionally, the Illinois state earned income credit will increase from 18% to 20% of the federal credit, and eligible homeowners will receive property tax rebates equal to their 2021 property tax credit, up to $300.

 

Illinois’ 1% sales tax on groceries will be suspended through June 30, 2023, which will net $400 million in consumer savings, the governor’s release said.

 

The state is one of just 13 in the nation that charges a sales tax for groceries.

 

Lawmakers across the country are enacting tax relief measures like the ones in Illinois, in part in response to inflation, according to Tax Foundation senior policy analyst Katherine Loughead.

 

The temporary elimination of the grocery tax represents “just a small amount of relief because there’s only a 1% levy on groceries as it is,” she said. “It will go back into effect July 1 of 2023.”

 

Illinois charged about 55 cents more per gallon for gas than the national average for Thursday, according to the American Automobile Association.

 

The state’s $0.39 gas tax rate was scheduled to increase on July 1, but now will not go into effect until 2023.

IDOT Promoting Online Resources

Looking for the latest information on a highway project or travel conditions around the state, there are a couple of resources to bookmark.

 

 

Paul Wappel is the public information officer for the Illinois Department of Transportation.

Warner Hospital Ready to Move Forward with Emergency Department Project

Warner Hospital in Clinton has for a few years now been looking forward to a makeover of its emergency department.

 

On the WHOW Morning Show Wednesday, Paul Skowron told Regional Radio they recently wrapped up the pharmacy relocation project and are ready to move on to the emergency department renovation.

 

 

According to Skowron, the hospital's emergency department is one of the smallest in the state and he calls it uncomfortable to see it when it is busy. He explains they are looking to utilize space left behind from their move to the offices near KFC in Clinton.

 

 

The hospital is beginning to plan for the entrance they are planning to add to the specialty clinic portion of the facility. He notes they are beginning to think about zoning things they need to take care of for properties they've acquired that they plan to turn into a parking lot. 

Clinton Police Chief Discusses Fireworks as Fourth of July Weekend Approaches

The Fourth of July weekend is one of the loudest weekends as folks break out the consumer-grade pyrotechnics. 

 

Clinton Police Chief Ben Lowers is reminding fireworks are illegal in Illinois and only novelty items are legal.

 

 

The Chief admits on the Fourth of July, his department tends to be a little more lenient on the use of those items in the city limits but he says that has its limitations. He asks residents to be respectful of neighbors leading up to the Fourth of July, reminding it is a $100 fine for any violations. 

DNR: So Far So Good on Clinton Lake This Summer

It's been a pretty good summer on Clinton Lake.

 

Knocking on the wood of the WHOW studios, Captain John Williamson on the WHOW Morning Show told Regional Radio they have been pleased with the summer on the lake. He says the campground at Weldon Springs is always busy. 

 

 

According to Capt. Williamson, thefts on the lake are seeing a slight increase. He explains it isn't a big issue but they have seen thefts of items left in boats. He says there are some transient visitors to the lake. 

 

 

Many may not realize Clinton Lake Beach does not allow alcohol possession. Capt. Williamson says this is something they are dealing with this summer more than in years past.

 

 

Capt. Williamson anticipates another busy weekend for the Fourth of July. He says overall, those coming out to the lake have been very good about safety, sobriety and following parking rules and hopes to see it continue. 

Some Rain Chances for Early July

Some much-needed rain fell on parts of Illinois last weekend and there could be some good chances in early June.

 

 

That’s Illinois State Climatologist Trent Ford. He spoke with the RFD Radio Network this week.

New Crime Gun Tracing Portal for Law Enforcement Announced

ATTORNEY GENERAL KWAME RAOUL IS ANNOUNCING A NEW TOOL TO HELP POLICE INVESTIGATE GUN CRIMES IN ILLINOIS.

 

THE ONLINE PLATFORM IS CALLED “CRIME GUN CONNECT,” PROVIDING LAW ENFORCEMENT ACCESS TO THOUSANDS OF CRIME GUN TRACE RECORDS DATING BACK TO 2009 SAYS ATTORNEY GENERAL RAOUL.

 

 

PREVIOUSLY THAT INFORMATION WAS IN PAPER FORM, MAKING IT HARD FOR VARIOUS DEPARTMENTS TO COMPARE NOTES AND LINK CRIMES SAYS RAOUL.

 

 

RAOUL SAYS THE PLATFORM ALSO FEATURES SOPHISTICATED MAPPING TECHNOLOGY TO IDENTITY GUN TRAFFICKING TRENDS AND LIKELY OFFENDERS.

Illinois Department of Transportation Fourth of July Traffic Enforcement

YOU CAN EXPECT TO SEE MORE LAW ENFORCEMENT OUT ON THE ROADS THIS HOLIDAY WEEKEND. 

 

STATE POLICE TROOPERS AND MORE THAN 200 LOCAL DEPARTMENTS ARE BOOSTING EFFORTS TO CATCH DRUNK DRIVERS AND OTHER OFFENDERS SAYS ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION SPOKESPERSON PAUL WAPPEL.

 

 

LAST YEAR IN ILLINOIS, 22 PEOPLE DIED ON ILLINOIS ROADS OVER THE 4TH OF JULY HOLIDAY. THAT’S THE HIGHEST TOTAL IN THE LAST FIVE YEARS.

Governor Signs CROWN Act

GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER IS SIGNING A NEW LAW TO ADDRESS HAIR DISCRIMINATION IN THE WORKPLACE.

 

THE “CROWN ACT” ENSURES EMPLOYERS CAN’T DISCRIMINATE AGAINST EMPLOYEES WHO WEAR THEIR HAIR NATURALLY OR IN ETHNIC STYLES. IT WAS SPONSORED IN THE HOUSE BY PEORIA REPRESENTATIVE JEHAN GORDON-BOOTH.

 

 

STUDIES HAVE SHOWN THAT BLACK WOMEN ARE 80 PERCENT MORE LIKELY THAN THEIR COUNTERPARTS TO CONFORM THEIR HAIRSTYLES TO MEET EXPECTATIONS AT WORK. 

 

 

THE LAW TAKES EFFECT IN JANUARY. A SIMILAR MEASURE WAS SIGNED LAST YEAR THAT BANNED SCHOOLS FROM DISCRIMINATING AGAINST ETHNIC HAIRSTYLES.

Clinton Schools Superintendent Offers Update on District's ISBE Lawsuit

In the thick of COVID this past school year, Clinton Schools joined a small, less-publicized lawsuit against the Illinois State Board of Education alleging they wrongly threatened to take away recognition status of schools if they did not follow the mandates from Gov. JB Pritzker.

 

That lawsuit recently received a ruling from the judge in the case. On the WHOW Morning Show Tuesday, Clinton Schools Superintendent Curt Nettles told Regional Radio the ruling was it is a moot lawsuit because there is no standing executive order but the judge noted ISBE overstepped its authority.

 

 

According to Nettles, it was not a summary judgment but he felt it was enough to reference in the event more mandates are handed out in the future.

 

 

Nettles feels the previous school year was almost two years in one separated by masking requirements and the mask mandate being lifted.

 

He says they took advantage of the ability to relax COVID restrictions as much as they could when given the opportunity. 

University of Illinois Extension Nutrition Educator Discusses Food Preservation During Inflation, Energy Issues

It's going to be a tough summer for a lot of people as gas prices and food prices reach all-time highs in addition to predicted energy supply challenges.

 

A University of Illinois Extension Nutrition Educator is hoping some tips she has can be of help to those that anticipate a struggle. If we end up with power outages this summer, Caitlin Mellendorf says food preservation is going to be something we'll want to make sure we keep top of mind.

 

 

An increasingly popular food preservation practice is dehydration and Mellendorf says this can be a great option this summer. She explains there are several foods that can be dehydrated and thus do not have to be refrigerated.

 

 

As things heat up this summer, Mellendorf says we are going to want to use the food in our refrigerators first because that will go bad first. She says a strange but effective suggestion is to reheat food on the grill if you can.

 

 

In the event you have to turn to foods from the freezer, Mellendorf says to make sure those foods get completely cooked. She indicates there is growing evidence undercooked food, even vegetables, can cause sickness. 

Extension Educator Discusses Butterfly Gardens

Flower gardens are a popular hobby during the warmer months in Illinois, and pollinators play a key role in allowing them to flourish.

 

But how to get pollinators like butterflies into your gardens? Horticulture Educator with the University of Illinois Extension Office Brittany Haag (Hay-gue) has a surprising solution: milkweed.

 

 

She goes on to say there are other types of milkweed that caterpillars and butterflies really like and can be found at any local garden shop.

State Fire Marshal Promotes Fireworks Safety

THE ILLINOIS STATE FIRE MARSHAL’S OFFICE IS URGING THE PUBLIC TO LEAVE FIREWORKS TO THE PROFESSIONALS.

 

FIREWORKS AND EVEN NOVELTY ITEMS LIKE SPARKLERS CAN BE DANGEROUS, CAUSING FIRES OR A TRIP TO THE E-R SAYS FIRE MARSHAL SPOKESPERSON J-C FULTZ. LAST SUMMER IN ILLINOIS, 202 PEOPLE WERE INJURED BY FIREWORKS AND ONE PERSON DIED.

 

 

FULTZ REMINDS THAT SPARKLERS BURN AT TEMPERATURES OF MORE THAN 12-HUNDRED DEGREES, WHICH IS HOT ENOUGH TO MELT MANY METALS. JUST ONE TOUCH TO THE SKIN MAY CAUSE PERMANENT DAMAGE OR SCARRING.

 

 

LAST SUMMER, MORE THAN 200 INJURIES CAUSED BY FIREWORKS AND ONE DEATH WERE REPORTED IN ILLINOIS. FULTZ SAYS MORE LIKELY OCCURRED BUT WENT UNREPORTED.

Gov. Pritzker to Face Sen. Bailey in Governor's Race

The Illinois gubernatorial race is set. Incumbent J.B. Pritzker will meet Republican challenger Darren Bailey in the fall. 

 

The Illinois Farm Bureau questioned the candidates on several ag related issues leading up to Tuesday night’s primary. Among the questions—"Over the years it appears that private property rights have become less important in the public policy debate, what are your ideas to balance private property rights with projects perceived to be for the public good?”

 

 

The general election is Nov. 8.

Incumbent Congressman Rodney Davis Defeated in Republican Primary

Incumbent 13th District Congressman Rodney Davis of Taylorville conceded his primary race late Tuesday night, after challenger Mary Miller of Oakland beat Davis in the new 15th District by a margin of 57 to 43 percent.

Davis issued a statement just before 10 o’clock Tuesday night, saying that he congratulated Congresswoman Miller and President Trump on their victory after a hard-fought campaign, and he wished Miller the best in representing the new 15th District.

Davis went on to say he has been honored to serve the 13th District since 2013, and will now focus on campaigning to help Republicans across Illinois get elected.  

He added that he hopes that if the Republicans re-take the U-S House, that they, quoting Davis, “work to end dysfunction and deliver results for the American people.”

Local Primary Election Results

Only a few contested races highlighted local elections in DeWitt County.

 

In the primary election for the Republican ticket in County Board District C, incumbent Megan Myers, Tom Farris, and Kristina Deerwester edged Steve Oswald.

 

In District D, incumbents Dan Matthews, Brian Riddle, and Melonie Tilley were unchallenged. 

 

In District A, incumbents Buck Carter and Jamie Prestegaard along with Joe White were unchallenged.

 

In District B, Terry Ferguson was the lone incumbent to be unchallenged. John Werts and Patrick Ryan joined Ferguson to advance to the general election in November. 

 

There was one other contested race for DeWitt County Treasurer. Sara Jade Russell defeated Codilee Snow. The race was to replace retiring Treasurer Gloria Wills.

 

Uncontested races in DeWitt County included Sheriff Mike Walker seeking re-election and Kari Harris for DeWitt County Clerk replacing retiring Clerk Dana Smith.

 

Results are unofficial but election night turnout is roughly 25 percent. 

It's Primary Election Day in Illinois; Several Local Races on Ballot

Today is Primary Election Day across Illinois.  Besides statewide races for several offices including Governor, State Senate and State Representative races, several counties in the Regional Radio listening area have some contested races on both the Republican and Democratic ballots.

In DeWitt County, Sara Jade Russell and Codilee Snow are competing for the Republican nomination for DeWitt County Treasurer.

And, in DeWitt County Board District C, 4 Republican candidates are running for 3 slots on the November ballot:  Thomas Ferris, Kristina Deerwester, Megan Myers, and Steve Oswald.

Polls close at 7 tonight.  Hear your vote count in our reports tonight on Regional Radio, and follow your county's races with the links we'll provide on dewittdailynews-dot-com.

DeWitt County Board Debates How to Pay for Flooring Improvements in DeWitt County Jail

Lengthy discussion last Thursday night at the DeWitt County Board meeting over spending of ARPA (American Rescue Plan Act) funds started when DeWitt County Sheriff Mike Walker requested a fix for the floor in the jail. 

 

Last week on Regional Radio News, this story was introduced just briefly and the conversation on how to pay for the nearly $100,000 expense. Dan Matthews, who temporarily led the property committee meeting, indicates they did not make a determination on how to pay for the flooring because there was no direction for ARPA money.

 

 

Sheriff Walker informed the Board the floor is original to the building and maintenance stopped waxing it and just cleaned it and now it is starting to become a safety hazard with the impacts of the change in care.

 

 

Roughly $300,000 sits in a fund called power plant escrow. Buck Carter wondered why that money has been untouched for several years to which Newberg offered an explanation on how it got there and why it is being left there.

 

 

Carter suggested taking funds from the general fund and then reimbursing the money with the escrow account funds. County Administrator DeeDee Rentmeister wasn't sure how that could be done but pointed out it was going to be her suggestion they re-allocate the funds to the general fund for the next budget cycle.

 

 

DeWitt County Board Chair Terry Ferguson brought up the prospect of using ARPA funds for the project or using the deprecation fund.

 

 

The conversation quickly transitioned to calls for plans for ARPA money. Aaron Kammeyer says there are a lot of different opinions on the use of the money but called for a plan to be put together for it.

 

 

Melonie Tilley suggested the ARPA funds pay for the project.

 

 

Sheriff Walker had his request approved to be funded through ARPA money. 

Weekly Crop Report

THERE'S BEEN A BIG JUMP IN WINTER WHEAT HARVESTING. 

 

FARMERS USED THE MORE THAN SIX DAYS SUITABLE FOR FIELDWORK TO HARVEST WINTER WHEAT. CROP STATISTICIAN STEVE PARN LOOKS AT SOYBEANS.

 

 

WINTER WHEAT WENT FROM 18 PERCENT THE PREVIOUS WEEK TO 66 PERCENT NOW. THAT COMPARES TO THE AVERAGE OF ABOUT 57 PERCENT HARVESTED BY THIS TIME.

 

 

THE CONDITION OF THE ILLINOIS CORN CROP DROPPED SLIGHTLY TO 70 PERCENT IN GOOD TO EXCELLENT CONDITION. THE FIRST CUTTING OF ALFALFA IS NEARLY COMPLETE AND AVERAGE STATEWIDE TOPSOIL MOISTURE CAME IN AT NINE PERCENT VERY SHORT, 22 PERCENT SHORT, 68 PERCENT ADEQUATE AND ONE PERCENT SURPLUS.

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