Local News

Clinton Police Chief Talks Harvest Safety

The harvest season is in full swing and local authorities are reminding the public of the safety basics this time of year.

 

Clinton Police Chief Ben Lowers says the most important thing to remember this time of the year is slow down and be mindful of the heavy machinery you encounter.

 

 

Eliminating distraction is one of the more paramount things drivers should do at all times. Chief Lowers says the dawn and dusk times of day are when you are likely to come across these implements on the road.

 

 

The Chief also encourages parents to talk to new drivers about driving near farm implements. He believes it is a new experience driving during the harvest season. 

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October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and a local domestic violence advocate says this is a complicated topic.

 

Jennifer Tolladay with DeWitt County DOVE says domestic violence is not always apparent to the victims. She says things can start as innocent little things and then snowball over time into full-blown abuse of both a physical and often, emotional nature. 

 

 

Victims of domestic violence in rural areas often face a tough path to escaping a situation than those in urban areas. According to Tolladay, in rural areas, domestic violence shelters are not as prevalent and transportation and safety are often harder to come by.

 

 

Victims of domestic violence are far more likely to find themselves depressed or contemplating suicide and Tolladay points out the domestic violence national hotline receives around 20,000 calls. She also points out, domestic violence towards men is not that uncommon.

 

 

Tolladay says for victims of domestic violence if they suspect their situation is one of domestic violence, they are likely a victim of an abuser. She says abusers have a sense of entitlement and want control over another person. 

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Route 66 Miles of Possibility Conference Later this Week in Normal

Those affiliated with Route 66 are looking forward to the Route 66 Miles of Possibility Conference later this week in Normal.

 

Geoff Ladd with the Route 66 Scenic Byway Association is looking forward to the conference. He says if you are looking to connect the Route 66 product to your group, this is the place to be.

 

 

According to Ladd, the conference features a couple of keynote speakers that should bring great information. He's excited because the conference floats around the area but this year, they are holding it in Normal.

 

 

Ladd says the conference always brings something new to the table to learn about with Route 66. He is looking forward to a panel of speakers with a wealth of knowledge on Route 66.

 

 

Ladd invites the public to the presentation of Candacy Taylor. The presentation will be held at ISU Alumni Center, located at 1101 North Main Street in Normal on Friday from 7 pm to 9 pm.

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Open Enrollment For Medicare Part D Opens Tuesday

One of the most important times of the year is here for those on Medicare.

 

Medicare Part D open enrollment opens Tuesday (today) and will go through December 7. Diane Cusey with Community Care Systems at the DeWitt County Friendship Center, says there are some new, exciting opportunities this year.

 

 

Open enrollment allows seniors to enroll, adjust and find the best plans for their prescription drugs. Cusey says it is very important for all seniors to check in with Cusey and update their plans. She indicates there are lots of opportunities for saving money.

 

 

Cusey says once open enrollment opens, she will be very busy meeting with people and making trips around DeWitt County. She says her schedule is already filling up with appointments. 

 

 

With the new tech-pieces of open enrollment this year, Cusey indicates she can get seniors set up with the app or on the website. 

 

To get a hold of Cusey, you can contact her at the DeWitt County Friendship Center at 217-935-4560. 

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Local Women's Group Collecting Coats for DeWitt County DOVE

Beta Sigma Phi of Clinton is kicking off their annual coat drive this week to benefit DeWitt County DOVE.

 

Donna Hall with the women's group explains this is a project they have done for over 20 years and are asking the community to donate gently used coats and other winter items like hats and gloves to go toward DeWitt County DOVE.

 

 

Hall says once the drive ends, October 27, they will wash them and turn everything over to DOVE and they will distribute those to the community. Last year, the group collected about 150 coats in total to give back to the community.

 

 

Drop off locations include the Clinton IGA, Clinton Save A Lot, Clinton YMCA, Warner Library, Lane Christian Church, Clinton Elementary School, and Lincoln and Douglas Schools. 

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Now Is Great Time To Plant Spring Bulbs

A HORTICULTURE EXPERT AT THE UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS EXTENSION SAYS NOW IS THE PERFECT TIME TO PLANT SPRING BULBS. 

 

THE EXTENSION’S KELLY ALSUP SAYS WHILE MOST BULBS THRIVE IN THE SUN…SOME, LIKE GRAPE HYACINTH AND CROCUS ALSO DO WELL IN THE SHADE. SHE SAYS YOU SHOULDN’T PLANT IN SOIL THAT IS TOO WET OR HAS POOR DRAINAGE AND RECOMMENDS GETTING A TOOL TO MAKE THE JOB A LITTLE EASIER.

 

 

SHE SAYS MOST BULBS ARE PRETTY EASY TO GROW.

 

 

BULBS ARE USUALLY PLANTED TWO TO THREE TIMES AS DEEP AS THE BULB IS TALL, BUT RESEARCH OUT OF CORNELL UNIVERSITY FOUND THAT TULIPS PLANTED JUST TWO TO FOUR INCHES DEEP PRODUCED MORE FLOWERS.

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Duckworth Supports Work of House on Impeachment

She’s not directly included in the Impeachment process but US Senator Tammy Duckworth says that she supports the work of the House. The Democrat feels that the investigation absolutely needs to move forward.

 

 

Duckworth says that transparency in the process is a major issue and she says if the Trump administration has nothing to hide then they should show everyone all the evidence they have.

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Governor Pushes Through Legislation Lowering Costs of Insulin

GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER IS URGING LAWMAKERS TO PASS A BILL THAT WILL LOWER THE COST OF INSULIN IN ILLINOIS.

 

SUPPORTERS SAYS SOME PEOPLE WITH DIABETES ARE HAVING TO FORGO THEIR MEDICATION BECAUSE INSULIN HAS BECOME SO EXPENSIVE. GOVERNOR PRITZKER SAYS THIS PROPOSAL WOULD LIMIT THE PRICE TO ONE HUNDRED DOLLARS IN OUT-OF-POCKET COSTS FOR A ONE MONTH SUPPLY.

 

 

GOVERNOR PRITZKER SAYS IT’S NEEDED BECAUSE INSULIN PRICES HAVE SOARED OVER THE LAST DECADE.

 

 

MORE THAN ONE MILLION ADULTS HAVE DIABETES IN ILLINOIS.

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DNR Fall Color Report

FALL COLORS ARE STARTING TO SHOW IN ILLINOIS. 

 

THE LATEST FALL COLOR REPORT FROM THE STATE DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES SHOWS SOME PRETTY SCENERY DEVELOPING IN NORTHERN ILLINOIS. PEAK COLORS ARE EXPECTED IN A WEEK OR TWO SAYS SPOKESPERSON RACHEL TORBERT.

 

 

TORBERT SAYS LEAVES HAVEN’T TURNED MUCH AT STARVED ROCK STATE PARK, AND AREAS OF SOUTHERN ILLINOIS ARE JUST BEGINNING TO SHOW FALL COLORS. COLOR CHANGES HAVE INCREASED RECENTLY DUE TO DROUGHT IN WAYNE COUNTY AND THE COOLER NIGHTS SHOULD IMPROVE COLORS STATEWIDE OVER THE NEXT WEEK.

 

 

TORBERT SAYS IN THE MCHENRY COUNTY AREA, MAPLE AND SUMAC TREES ARE REALLY STARTING TO TURN. 

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Downstate Police, Fire Pensions Could be Missing Out on Millions

A pension taskforce says that Illinois downstate police and fire pensions are leaving millions of dollars of lost returns on the table and the 649 individual funds should be consolidated into just two. Democrat Governor JB Pritzker announced the task forces’ findings today and says now is the time to stop small funds from losing even more money.

 

 

The task force pegs the lost returns at a million dollars a day. And says if the funds were brought together they could generate a billion to two billion in new gains over the next five years.

Any move to consolidate the funds needs to be approved by lawmakers.

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Department of Labor Urging Farm Safety During Hectic Harvest Time

THE ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF LABOR IS URGING FARMERS TO MAKE SAFETY A TOP PRIORITY DURING THE HECTIC HARVEST SEASON.

 

FROM HUGE MACHINERY TO LONG HOURS AND STRESS…FARMING POSES A NUMBER OF SAFETY CHALLENGES. THAT INCLUDES TRACTOR ROLLOVERS SAYS DEPARTMENT OF LABOR SPOKESPERSON MIKE MATULIS.

 

VISIBILITY IS ALSO IMPORTANT, AND FARM VEHICLES SHOULD BE EQUIPPED WITH TWO WHITE LAMPS ON THE FRONT AND TWO RED LAMPS ON THE BACK AS WELL AS A FLASHING AMBER LAMP. MOTORISTS ARE URGED TO BE PATIENT AND SLOW DOWN WHEN THEY ENCOUNTER FARMERS DRIVING ON THE ROAD.

 

 

FARMERS ARE ALSO URGED TO TAKE CARE OF THEMSELVES AS THEY WORK LONG HOURS. THAT INCLUDES TAKING BREAKS, EATING GOOD MEALS AND STAYING HYDRATED.

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Weekly Weather Summary

It was a wet start to the weekend and now things have really cooled off. State Climatologist Trent Ford tells us what to expect in the week ahead...

 

 

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DeWitt County Friendship Center Hosting Flu Shot Clinic Monday

Seniors are invited to the DeWitt County Friendship Center Monday for a free flu shot clinic.

 

Walgreens' pharmacists will be at the Friendship Center from 10 am to noon getting seniors their recommended shots. Executive Director of the DeWitt County Friendship Center, Paula Jiles says it is that time when seniors need to get in and she hopes as many as possible will get their shots.

 

 

Seniors are one of the most susceptible groups of people vulnerable to the devastation the flu can cause. Jiles says that is why they must get their flu shots now.

 

 

The free flu shot clinic is from 10 am to noon Monday. You can contact the DeWitt County Friendship Center for information on this event and anything else going on by calling 217-935-9411. 

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Entries Being Sought for 2019 Farmer City Christmas Parade

Organizers of the 2019 Farmer City Christmas Parade are seeking entries for the event on Sunday, November 24. 

 

The Farmer City Chamber of Commerce hosts the annual parade and has designated the theme as "TV Holiday Classics on Parade". The Chamber touts the fact the parade is one of the largest in central Illinois and are hoping bands, groups, businesses, and shrines will enter for this year.

 

To get registered, contact Chad Will by phone at 309-386-2791 or send a completed entry form to 101 Comet Lane in Heyworth.

 

The parade kicks off the Saturday before Thanksgiving at 2 pm from the Farmer City Fairgrounds.

 

Get more information by contacting Wills or visit the Farmer City Christmas Parade Facebook page. 

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Haunted House Opening Weekend

It's opening weekend for the Clinton Haunted House.

 

Chamber Executive Director Marian Brisard says the Terror on Washington Haunted House is the biggest fundraiser of the year for them. She indicates without it, they would struggle to do all the things they do for the community.

 

 

The Terror on Washington Street Haunted House can only take on a certain amount of visitors per tour inside, so while guests wait, Brisard says they are introducing a couple of new attractions this year, including a virtual reality haunted house tour.

 

 

What a lot of guests should find exciting this year is the introduction of Frankie's Escape Room. Brisard indicates this is the old visitors center on the west side of town that has been repurposed this year.

 

 

The Terror on Washington Street Haunted House takes roughly 30 to 40 volunteers per night to make the operation a success. Brisard indicates without volunteers from various groups around the area, they couldn't make it happen. 

 

 

The Haunted House opens and will operate every Friday and Saturday, including the first weekend of November and special hours on Halloween night. Get more information about all the happenings at clintonhauntedhouse.com. 

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October is Cyber Security Month

THIS IS CYBER SECURITY MONTH IN ILLINOIS AND THE EXPERTS SAY KEEPING YOUR INFORMATION SAFE STARTS WITH A SOLID PASSWORD. 

 

YOUR PASSWORD SHOULD BE HARD TO CRACK…BUT DOESN’T HAVE TO BE OVERLY COMPLICATED SAYS STATE CHIEF INFORMATION SECURITY OFFICER ADAM FORD. HE RECOMMENDS A PHRASE LIKE “I LIKE PIZZA,” THEN ADDING A SYMBOL AND A NUMBER. FORD SAYS YOU ALSO SHOULDN’T USE THE SAME PASSWORD FOR EVERYTHING.

 

 

FORD SAYS YOU SHOULD USE THE STRONGEST PASSWORDS FOR YOUR MOST VITAL ACCOUNTS.

 

 

FORD SAYS YOUR PASSWORD SHOULDN’T BE SO COMPLICATED THAT YOU NEED TO WRITE IT DOWN. HE SUGGESTS USING A SHORT SENTENCE, SUCH AS “I LIKE PIZZA” AND ADD A NUMBER AND SYMBOL.

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The Vault Getting More Student Turnout Than Anticipated

So much of the development of The Vault in Clinton has blown away founder Michelle Witzke and the response and turnout by the youth in Clinton is the latest surprise to her.

 

From the financial backing to the support of the community in the renovation of their downtown facility, Witzke at nearly every turn has expressed her gratitude for the outpouring of support for her dream of giving youth a safe place to be. Witzke says as The Vault becomes what she dreamed it would be, the turnout by students in Clinton has been very strong.

 

 

According to Witzke, as they bring students in, they are trying to throw tidbits of information at them they can carry with them when they are not at The Vault. She says they try to do short informational presentations before an event and she feels it has been well received.

 

 

Witzke says they have seen a record turnout among their junior high school students. She feels the activities and programs they offer are resonating with them and intriguing them to a degree they want to know what is going on. 

 

Get more information about The Vault by finding them on Facebook or visit thevaultclinton.org. 

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Exelon Postpones Community Open House

You likely received an invitation to an open house to the Clinton Exelon Nuclear Power Station later this month, if so, the company announced yesterday they are having to postpone the event.

 

The open house, scheduled for October 22nd, will be re-scheduled at a later date. 

 

Exelon's Clinton Power Station provides over 700 local jobs and an economic impact of some 700-million dollars, thanks to your continued support.

 

That's why they look forward to re-scheduling this fall's annual Community Open House.

 

Again, Exelon's Clinton Power Station has announced that the Community Open House scheduled for October 22nd has been postponed.  The event will be rescheduled at a later date.

 

Organizers thank the community for their understanding of the re-scheduling of this annual event.

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Run For Life Promoting Teen Suicide Awareness, November Event at Apple n' Pork Festival

Run For Life is a teen-suicide awareness group that is locally working to promote awareness around the issues.

 

2018 was a tough year for the Clinton community and Michael Moore, who is known for his work with ServPro of Clinton, helped found the group. He explains he used input from various community leaders, including Clinton Police Chief Ben Lowers to try to address areas of need.

 

 

Run for Life will be the focal event at Weldon Springs State Park on the morning of November 2. According to Moore, they'll have custom shirts being made along with food vendors and the night before they'll have a pre-race party at The Abigail.

 

 

The Chevy Spark that is being given away was donated by Baum Chevy Buick and Moore thanks them for their support. He says they were one of the first to step up and support their cause. 

Get more information by stopping by one of their meetings on the fourth Wednesday of each month at the Warner Library. You can also contact Moore at 217-800-1546. 

 

For race information, check out active.com and search for 'Run for Life'. 

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Piatt County Mental Health Center Addressing Teen Mental Health in Schools

Alarming statistics among Piatt County youth has prompted a collaboration of area organizations to tackle the issues of mental health among teens. 

 

Tony Kirkman at the Piatt County Mental Health Center says alarming returns on the Illinois Youth Survey prompted him and the Mental Health Center to try to address mental health among teens in the area. He explains they found an alarming number of students had thoughts of hurting themselves or even suicidal thoughts.

 

 

According to Kirkman, the collaboration focuses on working together to tackle mental health. They are since worked with three schools in Piatt County to place a therapist in the schools once a week.

 

 

Kirkman thanks the Superintendents and school boards for their willingness to work with them. He points out, their therapists have engaged with around 24 kids in the various buildings.

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In Light of Democratic Senator's Investigation, Republican Lawmaker Calling For Redo of Capitol Bill

A Republican lawmaker is calling for the state’s capitol bill to be scrapped. 

 

Allen Skillicorn says the $45 billion capitol bill won’t give tax payers any assurances that billions in new tax money will be spent responsibly. Skillicorn says no meaningful reforms came with tax increases and now the Democratic Chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee is under investigation by the FBI and IRS.

 

 

Senator Martin Sandoval has yet to be charged with a crime. And a number of lawmakers including the Governor have asked for him to step down or be removed from the Chairmanship.

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Illinois Lawmaker Introducing CBD Bill

There are currently no regulations in the state of Illinois for products containing or claiming to contain CBD. State Representative Bob Morgan is set to introduce a bill to change that.

 

 

Representative Morgan says the Federal government and the FDA have dropped the ball and the bill he hopes to pass this fall session will provide safety regulations on CBD products in Illinois.

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Duckworth Worried About US Leaving Kurdish Troops in Syria

US Senator Tammy Duckworth is worried about the President’s decision to pull US troops away from the Syrian and Turkish border. 

 

The move by Donald Trump leaves a Kurdish force to now engage in battle with Turkey and still try to defend dentition camps filled with ISIS fighters. Before the decision was made to remove them, US troops were working with the Kurds to keep peace in the region.

 

 

Duckworth says on this issue she agrees with Republican Senator Lindsey Graham that the President has made a serious mistake.

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Progress Made Between Blue Ridge Federation, School Board

After the latest meeting between the Blue Ridge Federation and the Blue Ridge Board of Education, both sides say progress was made, however, no deal has been reached as of yet.

 

The negotiations are an ongoing process to reach a new collective bargaining agreement between the teachers union and the district, negotiations that go back to February.

 

Agreements were reached on student evaluation surveys and board paid retirement. 

 

President of the Blue Ridge Federation, Don Anton says quote - "but we are still far apart on the issues of salary and health insurance."

 

The union made two moves on salary.  The Board moved once but did not respond to the Union’s latest proposal. 

 

The union’s initial movement was from a one year contract with a 4.25% increase to a three-year deal with raises of 4% the first two years and 4.25% the last year.  The Board countered with raises of 2.5% the first year and 2.25% in the last two years.

 

The union returned with a counter-proposal of a three year deal with raises of 3.9% the first year, 3.95% the second year, and 4.15% in the final year.

 

“We were hoping to keep discussions moving tonight,” said Anton.   “We were making headway, and then the Board decided to end the session.”

 

The Union represents 110 members, including drivers, cooks, custodians, secretaries, nurses, library clerks, and teachers.  They plan to file a ten-day intent to strike notice tomorrow and will strike on October 28th if an agreement isn’t reached.

 

Superintendent of Blue Ridge Schools, Susan Wilson, in a release says quote - "The Board remains committed to negotiating a fair contract with the Union that hears their concerns and those of the community, while also weighing the financial well-being of the district for years to come."

 

The two sides will meet again on October 21. 

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DeWitt County DOVE Hosting Annual Candlelight Ceremony

DeWitt County DOVE is holding its annual candlelight ceremony tonight at the Lutheran Church in Clinton.

 

Jennifer Tolladay with DOVE says the ceremony is very brief and recognizes those who have survived domestic abuse situations. She adds they think of those that are still in the midst of their battles. 

 

 

The ceremony is open to anyone in the community to attend. Tolladay says they get both victims of domestic violence but also people in the community that are supporters of their cause.

 

 

The DOVE candlelight ceremony is tonight at 7 pm at Christ Lutheran Church in at 701  South Mulberry Street. 

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