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Top 10 Stories from 2021: 6-10

As is customary at Regional Radio News, we'll spend the next few days looking back at the year that was in 2021 for local news. We'll count down the top 10 stories of the year and today look at stories 10 down to 6 and then tomorrow countdown the top stores from 5 to 1.


No. 10


>>Pontiac Man Killed in Crash on 51 North of Clinton


An 87-year old Pontiac man is dead after a fatal crash on US Highway 51 north of Clinton Wednesday afternoon.


Illinois State Police indicate just after noon on Wednesday, 88-year old Vernon Garmon of Pontiac disregarded a stop sign at Business 51 and US 51 North when his Chevy Malibu was struck by a semi driven by 36-year old Shane Elder of Olney who was northbound on US 51, killing the passenger of the Chevy Malibu, identified as Robert Adcock of Pontiac, formerly of Clinton. 


Adcock succumbed to the injuries sustained in the crash and was pronounced dead while Garmon was transported to an area hospital with injuries.


Elder was transported to an area hospital with minor injuries. 


Garmon was issued a citation for disobeying a stop sign. 


The Clinton Fire Department and Wapella Fire Department were on scene for extrication. 


No. 9


>>Community Shows Up to School Board Meeting to Oppose Mask Mandate


Roughly 60-to-70-some residents and students of the Clinton School District showed up to Clinton High School [in late Augsut] to oppose the mask mandate in place and receive answers to questions. 


Superintendent Curt Nettles prior to the public interaction period of the meeting offered an update on the situation and the repercussions the district could face if they decide to oppose the Governor's orders.



Brian Miller offered a passionate opposition to the mask mandate pointing to his young son in the district that battled acne last year because of the mandate and questioned, where does this end?



As the meeting progressed, the Board allowed community members to ask questions and offer suggestions. Among the questions was for Nettles to be specific about the ramifications of defying the Governor's mandate and Nettles offered a very real scenario.



One resident in attendance asked what happens if students attend day one of school without masks.



For parents wanting to do something to make a difference and initiate change, Nettles is calling for individuals to send their requests and pleas to lawmakers, the State Board of Education, the State Superintendent, and Governor in both Chicago and Springfield. 


Board member Sondra Baker offered an inspired endorsement of Nettles and him being in the corner of the portion of the community that opposes this mandate and wants local control back.



Nettles told Regional Radio News he is very appreciative of the passionate yet respectful dialogue of the meeting Tuesday.


Nettles has remained on the fighting trail for the community as he's met in-person this fall with the State Superintendent of Schools and held a Zoom call with the State Department of Public Health Director earlier this month. 


No. 8


>>Over 62,000 Attend Day 1 of Apple n' Pork Festival


The 53rd edition of the Apple n' Pork Festival saw an enormous day one crowd.


Authorities report 62,960 people attended the Apple n' Pork Festival Saturday. With cloudless skies and temperatures in the 70s all day, the weather was nothing short of ideal, and Director of the CH Moore Homestead Joey Woolridge says there's plenty to bring people to Clinton.



Several vendors either sold out of their food on Saturday or were questioning how much food should they plan for later in the day. 


The Apple n' Pork Festival was ultimately a record-setting event as it returned in 2021 from its 2020 COVID cancellation.


No. 7


>>Apple n' Pork Festival to Return in 2021


The Apple n' Pork Festival will be back in 2021.


In March, Director of the DeWitt County Homestead and Museum, Joey Long told Regional Radio News the Board decided to bring back the annual festival in September. It was canceled in 2020 due to the COVID pandemic.



Long reminds that the Homestead does not receive federal or state funding, so fundraising is of the utmost importance in maintaining the home and keeping the property thriving. She points out while not having last year certainly hurt, they are focused on moving forward.


The Festival was on September 25-26 and was ultimately a record-setter for attendance. 


No. 6


>>Clinton Board of Education Approves Mask-Optional Policy for 2021-22 School Year


As school districts wait for more clarity on policies for COVID going into the 2021-22 school year, Clinton Schools passed a mask-optional policy Tuesday night at a special meeting of the Board of Education.


Those in attendance that chose to address the Board spoke in overwhelming support of a mask-optional policy. Superintendent Curt Nettles recommended to the Board of Education they approve a mask-optional policy for all students and teachers. He emphasizes this is only the foundation of the back-to-school policy but believes it is a starting point and will ease the concerns of many.



Board President Dan Matthews pointed to the flip-flop of policies in other parts of the country and committed to have as normal of a school year as possible. 



The Board unanimously approved the back-to-school plan with a mask-optional provision. At the adjournment of the meeting, perhaps the biggest crowd to a School Board meeting in over a decade offered the board a round of applause. 


The policy set in place by the Board would be a short-lived policy as Governor JB Pritzker came over the top of Illinois schools dictating they be masked for the school year. To date, the policy remains. 



Stay tuned to Regional Radio News tomorrow as we countdown the year's top stories from five to one. 

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