Local News

Corn Growers Urge Passing Of Farm Bill

Congressional members are getting ready to head back to their districts for two weeks. National Corn Growers Association Vice President of Public Policy Jon Doggett says NCGA hopes constituents will tell their members of Congress a farm bill needs to get done as soon as possible in 2012.
Doggett says it appears the Senate is on track to move forward quickly with the farm bill.
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Doggett says for that to happen - there’s got to be a commitment from both sides of the aisle in the House.
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Doggett says farmers understand the federal budget crisis, and its impact on the Farm Bill debate.
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Congress will return from its Easter Recess on April 16th.

As More Autism Reported, Doctors Say Check Early

More kids are being diagnosed as autistic - including surge in Hispanic children - according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The agency says about 1 in 88 children has the disorder. The latest numbers are based on 2008 data from 14 states and suggest that autism rates have climbed 23% since 2006. Rates are highest in boys and white children.

But the biggest rate increase was among Hispanics, from 1 in 270 in 2002 to about 1 in 125 in 2008.

Experts, including CDC researchers, think broader screening and better diagnosis have largely contributed to that. But autism's cause remains a mystery, and government researchers are seeking answers.

Lawmakers Want Details On Mistakes Made On Insurance Contracts

Illinois lawmakers wanting to know who was accountable for mistakes made in awarding health insurance contracts, heard Quinn Administration officials pass the buck…or rather 6-point-6-billion bucks…during a meeting March 29 of the Legislative Audit Commission… Ray Watt has more.

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Warmer March Doesn't Necessarily Warmer Summer

March is breaking records because of the warm temperatures, however, rainfall below average. State Climotologist Jim Angel explains this isn't an indicator of a hotter than normal summer, in fact, he says when March was above normal temperature wise, almost all the following summers were pretty average.

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Not Getting Enough Sleep Growing Problem

About 50 million people in the U.S. are affected by chronic sleep problems and which can affect their careers, their safety and their health.

The majority of American adults do not get adequate sleep needed for good health, according to the National Sleep Foundation. Dr. Joseph Henkle, professor of pulmonary medicine at SIU School of Medicine in Springfield, says continually getting less sleep than is needed can cause significant consequences.

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Dr. Henkle says medical problems resulting from chronic sleep loss can include putting individuals at higher risk for high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes and changes in metabolism. Seven to nine hours of sleep per day is recommended for most adults. He explains why people do not get enough sleep.

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Sleep disorders such as insomnia and sleep apnea also can prevent people from getting quality sleep. These conditions are treatable, so if someone in your family has sleep problems, they should see a primary care physician for evaluation and possible treatment. If the problem is severe, they may be referred to a sleep specialist.

Lawmakers Proposed Budget Takes Step Forward

The Illinois House took the next crucial step in passing a new state budget that reduces spending and puts Illinois’ finances on the path to recovery. State Representative Dan Brady today strongly supported passage of the budget which sets a spending figure for the state’s Fiscal Year 2013 budget at $32.9 billion – less than was spent last year, and less than Governor Pat Quinn’s spending proposal.

With the spending number now agreed to, Brady says House Appropriations Committees will begin the process of going through agency and program budgets line by line to cut approximately 5.4%. A special committee is also looking at ways to make $2.7 billion in cuts to the state’s Medicaid program, one of the fastest growing areas of the state budget.

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In addition to setting the FY 13 spending limit, the budget also includes language to begin paying off the state’s backlog of bills ($1.5 billion in Fiscal Year 13) and also to ensure the state makes the full pension payment required by law.

Group Promotes Motorcycle Safety

Motorcyclists across the state are urged to put on their safety gear before hitting the road.  ABATE's Judy Kaenel [[Kay-nell]] says wearing a helmet, gloves, long pants, and a jacket can be a vital source of protection in the event of an accident. 

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Kaenel also recommends riders wear sunglasses to keep bugs from flying in their eyes.  Motorcyclists may also want to brush up on their riding skills before pulling their bikes out.  The state offers training courses for all levels.  More information is available at StartSeeingMotorcyles.org.

Clinton Maroon Defeat Lexington Minutemen At Home

As heard on WHOW, the Clinton Maroons defeated the Lexington Minutemen by a score of 9-4 at Clinton.

Kyle Birj went 4-4 at bat and had 2 RBIs.

Josh Merrick picked up the win on the mound going 6 innings, striking out 13, giving up 4 runs.

The Maroons move to 4-3 for the season.

The next Maroons broadcast will be on WHOW when the Lady Maroons go against Central A&M at 4:30 this coming Wednesday.

Clinton HS Girls Track Team Shatters Records Again!


The Clinton Girls Track Team is only three indoor meets into the 2012 track season, and it’s clear they are going to leave their mark. Head coach, Randy Anderson, says that this is the most depth in one team that Clinton has ever had! This statement is solidified easily by looking at the results from the Clinton Last Chance Meet, held at Illinois Wesleyan University this past Monday . The team would like to thank the many parents and community volunteers who helped make this meet a huge success! Including Clinton principal, Ron Connor, who was given an award from the team for his dedication to IHSA and Clinton sports for the past 18 years. The meet was Clinton’s first time hosting an indoor meet, and 18 teams were invited, including several conference schools and other tough area teams!

There were several highlights to be noted throughout the meet, including sprint relays, distance runs, and throws. One of the most exciting races of the evening was the 4x200m relay. Clinton came into the meet ranked second behind St. Teresa of Decatur, and it was truly an awesome race with much effort from both squads. Coach Anderson says, “It was so fun to watch our girls really dig down deep and win such a close battle like that!”. The Clinton team of Erin West, Ally Lawson, Morgan Witzke, and Becca Anderson, won the event breaking the indoor 4x200m relay record for the third time this season with a time of 1:53.37. Coach Rachel Lyons, anchor leg of the 2003 relay team that had previously held this record says, “It is much more rewarding to coach a team that sets a new record than earning it by running. I am so proud of these girls and their hard work”. Freshman sprinter, Becca Anderson, placed fourth in the 55m dash with another record indoor time of 7.80. Senior Amber Miller put her name in the record books as well this past Monday by breaking the indoor 400m record that had been previously set by high school standout, Betsey England. Miller zoomed past the record time by two seconds finishing with a 1:05.6. Miller came back and led the 4x400m relay team including Shanae Ritter, Witzke, and Anderson, for another record breaking race, placing fifth overall with a time of 4:27.4. Distance and throws coach, Dan Andrews, is also excited about the Maroons’ performance in the longer runs. Notable runs were the 4x800m relay team consisting of Shanae Ritter, Alivia Powers, Raeann Huffman, and Alex Hunt, clocking in at 11:19. Powers came back later in the evening to run a great race in the open 800m, and missed breaking the indoor 800m record by just tenths of a second, clocking in at 2:39.83. Other distance highlights included a well-paced race and twelve second personal best time by Hannah Miles, running a 6:20 1600m. Creating buzz in the shot put was Megan Creager and Alexis Obermeyer, both throwing over 30 feet! The putting Maroons threw 30’9” and 30’5” respectively, and earned them the fifth and sixth places at the meet.

Coach Anderson says, “the most difficult challenge we have as coaches this year is deciding which girl to put in what events; they are all so talented in so many areas!”. Pole vault coach, Ken Lovett, is also excited about the increased interest in pole vaulting. With five vaulters this year, the program continues to grow stronger and more competitive. The Maroons would like to extend an invitation to their upcoming home meet on April 3rd , April 16th, and April 20th; there is now no admittance fee for the home meets, so please, come and support your Lady Maroons Track and Field Team!! You can also follow the Clinton Girls on their website http://www.clintonathletics.com/track/girls-track.htm or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Clinton-Girls-Track-Team/174294042591301

The entire meet results can be found online at http://www.adkinstrak.com/ 


No Change After Sangamon Retab

Sangamon County Clerk Joe Aiello [[ Aye-leo ]] says not much changed after primary votes were retallied this morning.  Aiello says they had a one vote difference in a couple precincts but not enough to change any of the election results.  The retab is a standard procedure required by the State Board of Elections.  Democratic candidate for the 96th District House seat Winston Taylor was on hand to watch the process.  He's down by about 70 votes to Sue Scherer.  Taylor is considering asking for a recount but his campaign manager says they won't make a final decision until after all votes have been certified with the Board of Elections.

New Polling Place Law Passes Senate

Election polling places could soon be required to display all political signage, regardless of whether they believe in a candidates values or not.  State Senator Dale Righter says that's a bad idea which could mean fewer voters and polling sites.

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Righter says the central issue is whether state government has a right to tell private property owners, such as churches, they have to display all political signs.  Supporters of the bill say the measure will have very little impact on voter turnout and the number of polling places.  The bill now heads to the House.

Illinois House OKs Ban On Password Snooping By Bosses

The Illinois House wants to bar employers from asking workers and job applicants for access to social media like Facebook.

The legislation passed 78-30 Thursday and now goes to the Senate.

Some employers, particularly law enforcement, have begun asking for passwords so they can review the online activities of job applicants.

Under the legislation sponsored by Democratic Rep. La Shawn Ford, workers could file lawsuits if pressured to open up private accounts or they're denied a job for refusing. Bosses could still ask for usernames to view public information online, and they can monitor work-owned computers.

Single Vehicle Car Crash Claims Life of Waynesville Man

Authorities have identified the man who was killed Wednesday in a single-car accident near Waynesville.

58-year old Randall Dupin of Waynesville was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash just before 9 a.m. Wednesday four miles west of U.S. 51. Results were not available from an autopsy done Thursday.

Dupin’s son, Michael Dupin, was in the car and survived the crash.

DeWitt Sheriff Jered Shofner indicates a preliminary investigation showed the car veered on and off the road as the driver tried to regain control before striking an embankment and hitting several trees. The reason why he lost control is still under investigation.

DJWH Joins Medical Network

The Dr. John Warner Hospital has joined a network that will allow them access to medical records from any other establishments that are a part of the program.

The city owned hospital is now a part of the Central Illinois Information Exchange. CEO of the Dr. John Warner Hospital Earl Sheehy explains any other establishments on the network can access a patients records from a database. He feels this is going to be a major convenience for patients who have to leave Clinton for some of their medical needs.

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The Dr. John Warner Hospital will be joining the Exchange with lab results and imaging results. According to Sheehy, eventually all your medical records will be shifted to the Exchange.

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The hospital by 2015 is mandated to have 100% of their medical records based electronically or they will be penalized. Sheehy says current progress for that is slow because the cost is very high.

The DJWH is also embarking on a rather expensive endeavor to correct some electrical work mandated by the Department of Health. Tune in to Regional Radio News Monday morning for more on that project.

Martinsville Gears Up For NASCAR Weekend

Martinsville Speedway will host the NASCAR circuit this weekend.  The Sprint Cup Series will run the Goody's Fast Relief 500 on Sunday with qualifying taking place Saturday morning.  Last week, Tony Stewart won his second Cup race of the season with a rain-shortened victory at Fontana.

Bulls Host Pistons

The Bulls host the Pistons at the United Center this evening.  Chicago cruised to a 98-77 win over the Hawks its last time out on Wednesday.  The Bulls have won six of their last eight games.  Tip-off tonight is at 7:00.

Indiana Pacers 93, Washington Wizards 89
Miami Heat 106, Dallas Mavericks 85
Portland Trail Blazers 99, New Orleans Hornets 93
Oklahoma City Thunder 102, Los Angeles Lakers 93

>>Men's Final Four Set For Saturday

Illini Introduce Groce

The University of Illinois introduced John Groce as its new men's basketball coach Thursday.  The 40-year-old leaves Ohio University to replace Bruce Weber, who was fired after a 17-and-15 campaign.  The Illini started the season 15-and-3, but went just 6-and-12 in Big Ten play and lost 12 of their final 14 games.  Groce led the Bobcats to two NCAA Tournament appearnaces in four seasons, including a trip to the Sweet 16 this year.  He was 85-and-56 during his tenure at Ohio U. Groce says joining the Illini is right for he and his family. Groce says he wants to return the program to a national power.

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He acknowledges how vital Chicago will be in recruiting.

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Groce led the Bobcats to two NCAA Tournament appearnaces in four seasons, including a trip to the Sweet 16 this year.  He was 85-and-56 during his tenure at Ohio U.

As John Groce takes over as head basketball coach at Illinois, experts say he will face serious skepticism when he starts trying to recruit players attending Chicago high schools.

Chicago recruiting analyst Joe Henricksen says the city's coaches would rather the Illini have hired someone they knew to replace the fired Bruce Weber.

And former Illini and current ESPN analyst Stephen Bardo says Groce will have to work hard to sell himself in the city, where players with the potential to make it into the NBA are produced every year.

But Henricksen doubts coaches will shut Groce out altogether. Henricksen says the former Ohio University coach will at least have the chance to build relationships in Chicago.

>>Men's Final Four Set For Saturday

(New Orleans, LA)  --  March Madness winds down this weekend with the men's Final Four in New Orleans.  Top-ranked and number-one seed Kentucky takes on rival Louisville in Saturday's first national semifinal, while Kansas clashes with Ohio State in a battle of number-two seeds in the other semi.  The Wildcats and Cardinals are set to tip off at 6:09 p.m. Eastern.  Kentucky beat Louisville 69-62 in Lexington back on December 31st.  The Jayhawks and Buckeyes also meet for the second time this season.  Kansas topped Ohio State 78-67 December 10th in Lawrence.  The Buckeyes played that game without star forward Jared Sullinger.  KU and OSU will tip off at appoximately 8:49 p.m. Eastern.  The winner of Saturday's two games meet in Monday night's national championship game.

Sages Host GCMS

The Monticello Sages are back on the diamond this afternoon as they play host to GCMS. The Sages are coming off a victory over Blue Ridge Tuesday and are 5-2 on the season. You can hear the game live on 95.9 FM WEZC and streamed live online at dewittdailynews.com.

Lady Maroons drop two in Tenessee

In the first of a double-header, the lady Maroons lost to Dearborn Indiana by a final score of 10-2.  Bailey Walker suffered the loss for the Maroons.  Offensively the Maroons were held to only 3 hits.  Haley Tohill, Hana Long and Bailey Walker all had one hit for the Maroons.

In Game two the Lady Maroons fell to Oakland Tenessee 13-5 Haley Ginger suffered the Loss.Offensively The Lady Maroons were led by Morgan hickman who was 2 for 3 with a double.  Emily Kroeger, Haley Toohill, and Maly Hickman all singled for the Maroons.

The Lady Maroons continue play in Tenesee at 1:00 P.M. and 5:00 P.M. on Friday and finish up the trip with three games on Saturday.

US EPA Delays Chemical Waste Dumping Ruling For Clinton Landfill

The US EPA has ruled more evaluation needs to take place determine the safety of PCB disposal at the Clinton Landfill.

The US EPA has completed its initial review of more than 450 public comments on a proposal to dispose of the toxic chemical waste, polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) into the Clinton Landfill. Based on their review, they have decided that further evaluation of the site's hydrogeology will be needed before they can make a final decision on Clinton Landfill's application to dispose of PCBs contaminated material at the site.

In March of last year, the EPA opened a public comment period on the proposal and held a public hearing at Clinton High School in June. More than 200 people showed up to the meeting to have their voices heard. The public comment period was later extended.

Click the link below to get information on the federal review process and the Toxic Substance Control Act.


Local Unemployment Figures

Local unemployment numbers are out from the month of February.

DeWitt County's unemployment rate came in at 9.1%, down just over a half-percent from 9.6 in January.

McLean County had a 7.5% unemployment rate in February, down from 8.2% in January.

Logan County's unemployment rate dropped just slightly, from 9.4% to 9.1% in February.

Macon County's unemployment rate was above the 10% threshold. An 11% February unemployment rate is a drop from 11.6% in January.

Piatt County only saw minimal movement in their unemployment rate, dropping two-tenths of a percent to 9.6% in February.

In Champaign County, unemployment rates dropped to under 9% to 8.4%.

And Sangamon County went from 8.8% in January to 8.4% in February.

The lowest unemployment rate in Illinois was in Brown County, where their rate was 5.2% and the highest was in Montgomery County, at 13.7%.

The biggest drop in unemployment was in Cumberland County, where they went from 12.7% to 11.5%, a drop of 1.2%. And the largest gains in unemployment in Illinois was in Jersey County, where unemployment jumped over a half percent from 11.2% to 11.8%.

Statewide unemployment was an average of 9.4%, a half-percent down from January, and the US unemployment rate was 8.7%, down from 8.8%.

Sages Big Inning Helps Defeat Falcons

As heard on 95.9 WEZC, the Monticello Sages beat the GCMS Falcons with a score of 7-4.  Nik Stokowski picked up the win for the Sages going 5 and 2/3 innings, giving up 4 runs, walking 2, and striking out 11. He hit 1 for 3 with an RBI triple on the night. Scott Huisinga helped out going 2 for 4 with 2 runs and a triple.  David Vanderkloot chipped in for 2 hits, driving in 2 base runners.  Jacob Williams went 1 and 1/3 innings while striking out 2 and picking up a save.  The Sages improve to 6-2 on the year as the GCMS Falcons fall to 3-4 on the year.  The Sages next WEZC broadcast will be on Thursday, April 5th against Leroy at 4:30. 

Prison Program For Mom Proves Successful

The "Moms and Babies" program at the Decatur Correctional Center for Women is helping inmates become better mothers.  Larisa Metzger is one inmate who says she's forever thankful to have been accepted into the program. 

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The program is celebrating its fifth anniversary.  Forty-four mothers and 39 babies have successfully gone through the program, which has an astounding zero percent recidivism rate.  Warden Shelith [[ Sha-leeth ]] Hansbro says that's because they're helping women focus on their inner person so they can be a better woman, mother and employee on the outside.

Former Blagojevich Chief Of Staff Gets Ten Days In Prison

A former chief of staff for Rod Blagojevich is going to prison for just over a week.  Attorney Terry Ekl says John Harris is relieved to just get ten days behind bars.

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Ekl adds Harris was a lot different from his boss, Rod Blagojevich.

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Harris worked with Blagojevich for three years until the ex-Illinois governor was arrested in 2008.  Harris' attorney says he's pleased with the sentence.  Blagojevich is currently serving 14 years behind bars for trying to sell President Obama's former U.S. Senate seat.

Ag Jobs Are Booming

The Ag industry is booming with jobs despite economic troubles in most other areas.  Todd Winters, Dean of the College of Agricultural Sciences at SIU in Carbondale, says they're having trouble filling all of the positions that are available.

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Winters says they're reaching out to students in the urban and suburban areas to fill in the gaps. He says one of their students will be heading to Cuba over the summer to build relationships and prepare the way for trade when the embargo is lifted.

Pork Producers Advocate At Capital

The Illinois Pork Producers Association is one of many Ag advocates that spent the day at the Capitol yesterday.  President Dereke Dunkirk says their main focus is to make sure the Department of Agriculture maintains its services and funding levels despite the state's financial troubles.  He says the Ag industry has remained stable, helping boost revenues with local food sales and international exports.  Dunkirk says they've got their eye on several issues this year.  They're opposing HB 1697, which would ban farmers from docking the tails of cattle.  They're backing HB 5642, which establishes NPDES permit fees for Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations.

Rail Upgrades Planned Between Chicago and St. Louis

Upgrades are planned on the rail line between Chicago and St. Louis for future high-speed Amtrak trains.

The Illinois Department of Transportation and Union Pacific Railroad are making the upgrades. Construction is planned from April 16 to May 25. Improvements will include installing new rail, upgrading bridges, culverts and drainage and installing new signals. Road crossings also will be renovated.

The first phase of work during 2012 will start south of Springfield. It will affect Amtrak trains, many days requiring chartered motor coaches for Amtrak Lincoln Service passengers at St. Louis, Alton and Carlinville. Amtrak Texas Eagle trains will detour between Chicago and St. Louis with alternate transportation in both directions between Joliet and St. Louis.

Higher speed trains are to be previewed in September 2012 from Dwight to Pontiac.

Maroa-Forsyth New Football Surface Nearly Complete

If you've passed by the Maroa-Forsyth schools campus recently, you may notice their football field is under construction and that project is nearing completion.

 width=The district is installing an artificial turf surface to the football field and an all weather track around the outside. Superintendent of Maroa-Forsyth Schools Mike Williams explains that project was expected to be done over the summer, but with the mild winter, they are way ahead of schedule.

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The football field project expects to be complete by the end of this week. Williams says logos are down on the field and the end zone is complete. The football field will also serve as the districts soccer field. The track teams' meets are all away and they are being creative for their practice sites.

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 width=The upgrades being done to the football field are considered phase one of what will be a four phase facility update to the district. Williams says the last thing left on phase one will be to make the high school more energy efficient, which will have to wait for the summer.

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Phase two includes additions to the high. Phase three includes another addition to the grade school. The final phase is a replacement of the 1928 middle school. Williams says phase three is dependent on the classroom growth of that level. He says current projections are estimating they will need to add sections onto current classes.

Clinton Chamber Business Expo Huge Success At New Location

Wednesday afternoon was the annual Clinton Area Chamber of Commerce Business Expo.

 width=The new location was maybe the biggest change to the Expo this year and according to Executive Director of the Chamber, Marian Brisard, the change is a very good thing because it means there are more businesses taking advantage of the opportunity to be seen by the community for the free event. After a few years of the Expo's absence in the community, when it was brought back, it grew to the point they outgrew their old venue, the Clinton Jr. High School.


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DC Sheriff's Dog RiverThe Chamber uses the opportunity to promote their events throughout the year and also their organizations, from the annual Chamber Dinner to the Agribusiness Banquet to their Haunted House. One organization they focused in on this year was their Lincoln Heritage Committee and promoting the history of Abraham Lincoln in DeWitt County.

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Organizers had a difficult time keeping a head count, mostly because of the flow of traffic to the outside exhibits but all indications are the event was a success for both the Chamber and those businesses and organizations on hand. Brisard feels the first time in the High School gym was a success as well.

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One highlight to the Chamber Expo this year was the introduction of the most recent recipient of the DeWitt County Development Council's Revolving Loan Fund. The DCDC introduced Don West of West Innovations in Clinton. West Innovations will be a retailer of home and building products.

Regional Radio News will have more on the introduction of West Innovations in the near future.

Again, all indications are the 2012 Clinton Area Chamber of Commerce Business Expo was a huge success for both organizers and those businesses and non-profit groups on hand.

Images Courtesy of EMC Photography

NFL Notes

>>NFL Adopting Playoff Overtime Rules For Regular Season

(Palm Beach, FL)  --  NFL playoff overtime rules will now be used in the regular season as well.  League owners have voted to adopt the format for regular-season games beginning this season.  Each team will have at least one possession in overtime unless the team that receives the opening kickoff scores a touchdown on its first drive.  The NFL will also now review all turnovers, eliminating the need for challenges on change of possession.  The league already reviews all scoring plays.

>>Bears Ink Thomas

(Lake Forest, IL)  --  The Bears have signed wide receiver Devin Thomas to a one-year deal.  Last  year with the Super Bowl champion Giants, he had three catches for 37 yards, 25 kick returns for 607 yards and five special teams tackles.

Rose-Less Bulls Best Hawks

Luol Deng netted 22 points as the Bulls blasted the Hawks, 98-77.  Carlos Boozer added 20 points and nine rebounds for Chicago, which has won five of its last six games.  Derrick Rose missed his eighth straight game with a groin injury.  The Bulls are 6-and-2 in the stretch without Rose.  Josh Smith had 19 points and seven rebounds for Atlanta, which has dropped two straight on the heels of a four-game winning streak.  Joe Johnson was held to 12 points on 5-of-11 shooting in the loss.

Toronto Raptors 105, Denver Nuggets 96
Detroit Pistons 87, Cleveland Cavaliers 75
Minnesota Timberwolves 88, Charlotte Bobcats 83
New York Knicks 108, Orlando Magic 86
Chicago Bulls 98, Atlanta Hawks 77
New Jersey Nets 100, Indiana Pacers 84
Boston Celtics 94, Utah Jazz 82
San Antonio Spurs 117, Sacramento Kings 112
New Orleans Hornets 102, Golden State Warriors 87
Los Angeles Clippers 103, Phoenix Suns 86

Southern Illinois Hires Coach

Southern Illinois has picked former Missouri State coach Barry Hinson to be the Salukis' new men's basketball coach.

Athletic Director Mario Moccia confirmed the hiring and welcomed Hinson to Southern Illinois in a Twitter posting today. A news conference introducing Hinson as the new coach is scheduled this afternoon in Carbondale.

Terms of Hinson's deal haven't been disclosed.

Hinson was fired by the Bears in 2008 after failing to take that program to the NCAA tournament in nine seasons. During that time, he guided Missouri State to a 169-117 mark.

He's served the past two seasons as director of men's basketball operations at Kansas, which plays Ohio State in a national semifinal Saturday.

Hinson replaces Chris Lowery, who was fired this month after eight seasons with the Salukis.

Illinois Hires Women's Basketball Coach

Illinois has named University of Wisconsin-Green Bay's Matt Bollant as its new women's basketball coach.

Illinois Athletic Director Mike Thomas announced Bollant's hiring Wednesday. Thomas says Bollant has a proven track record and the type of experience that'll help him duplicate that success in Champaign.

Under Bollant this season, Wisconsin-Green Bay finished 31-2 and made it to the second round of the NCAA tournament. The 41-year-old coach was 148-19 in five seasons at Green Bay, and 4 of his teams made the NCAA tournament.

Bollant says he's proud of the success he's had in Green Bay, but he's honored to take the Illinois job.

Bollant replaces Jolette Law, who was fired at the end of the season. Law was 69-93 in five seasons with the Illini.

Reports Indicate Illini Have Hired Ohio's Groce

The Chicago Tribune and CBSSports.com are reporting that Illinois has agreed to a deal with Ohio University's John Groce to replace Bruce Weber as men's basketball coach.

CBSSports.com, citing an unidentified source, reports that Groce is expected to meet with his team in Athens, Ohio, Thursday and will be introduced at a news conference in Champaign later in the week.

The Tribune, also citing an unidentified source, reports that a disagreement on terms of the contract delayed the hiring for a few days.

Groce has been at Ohio since 2008, leading the Bobcats of the Mid-American Conference to the NCAA tournament twice, including a run to the round of 16 this year that ended with an overtime loss to North Carolina.

McDonald's All-American Game Features Nations Top High School Basketball Talent

Shabazz Muhammad scored 21 points, Rasheed Sulaimon added 18 and the West beat the East 106-102 in the McDonald's All-American game on Wednesday night.

Muhammad and the West squad finished a number of breaks with fantastic dunks, and Duke recruit Sulaimon was 4 for 8 from 3-point range.

Muhammad is still weighing his college choices. He is considering Kentucky, Duke, Kansas, UNLV and UCLA.

Alex Poythress, who signed with Kentucky, finished with 19 points for the East.

The East trailed by as many as 24 with 12:03 left, but they mounted an impressive comeback. Amile Jefferson had a dunk to make it 93-88 with 3:42 left, but Sulaimon answered with a 3. Rodney Purvis' 3-point play got the East within four with 1:19 left, but Sulaimon answered with a 3-point play of his own.

DCDC Aids New Business

The DeWitt County Developement Council has announced the second successful recipient of their revolving loan fund.

Don and Karissa West will be opening West Innovations which will be a retailer of home and building products. Don feels the business will provide new products and green products. One of his goals will be to also educate people on the quality of his products versus the "big box stores".

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West attributes a lot of the business getting up and going to the work of the DCDC, and Executive Director Ruth Stauffer, in better preparing them to go into business. He says their business plan was improved in working with the DCDC and obtaining their revolving loan fund.

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West explains he wanted the business to open up a year ago, but he says once they got involved with the DCDC, things began to move forward. Now the challenge he faces is deciding who his manufacturer will be because he wants the best products.

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West is looking to have the storefront opening in May. Their location will be 210 East Main Street in Clinton.

To learn more about the DCDC's Revolving Loan Fund you can contact Ruth Stauffer at 935-0500.

Business Group Warns Against Text Message Scams

The Better Business Bureau is warning consumers around Chicago and northern Illinois to beware of text messages that advertise free gift cards from popular retail stores in exchange for credit card information.

Bureau officials say that the practice of sending a message to steal credit card or identity information via cell phone text messaging is known as "smishing."

The group strongly discourages consumers from submitting any personal information.

Bureau officials say the messages aren't sent by retailers such as Best Buy or Wal-Mart Stores.

The group also warns against messages that direct recipients to call toll-free numbers in order to complete or cancel some financial transaction.

Bureau officials say text messages are not typically blocked and only contain text, making it easier for scammers to make counterfeit messages appear legitimate.

Unpaid Bills Could Cut Into Tax Refunds

Illinoisans who have unpaid traffic tickets or other bills could be in for a surprise when they get their state income tax refunds.

A law that went into effect this year lets the state withhold tax refund money from people who owe cash to the city of Chicago and some other local governments.
Illinois Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka's office already has notified more than 40,000 people that their tax refunds will be smaller or nonexistent because they haven't paid their tickets or water bills.

Aurora, Joliet, Springfield, Collinsville and Lakeland Community College in Mattoon are among the other governments participating in the Local Debt Recovery Program.

Topinka spokesman Brad Hahn says about 750 challenges to the program have already been filed.

Professor Studies Facebook User Trends

Researchers say some Facebook users are simply trying to get attention while others really do interact and exchange positive information.  Western Illinois University Professor Christopher Carpenter calls it "anti-social me-booking" or "pro-social Facebooking"

[audio:rddWIUFB1.mp3] [/audio]

Facebook is commonplace in today's society, but some users take to the social networking site to promote themselves by gathering up lots of friends.

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Carpenter's study is called "Narcissism on Facebook: Self-promotional and Anti-social Behavior."   It's published in the journal Personality and Individual Differences.  His research sample was based on 292 individuals.  Seventy five percent of the respondents were college students.  He says much more research is coming out on "Facebook."  One of his colleagues is looking at the social trauma caused by being de-friended.

Schock Gets Front Row Seat On ACA Debate

The individual mandate portion of the Affordable Care Act is before the U.S Supreme Court and Congressman Aaron Schock was in the courtroom as justices heard oral arguments.  Schock says he doesn't know how the justices will decide but he says the mandate is hurting businesses and job growth.

[audio:rddSchockACA1.mp3] [/audio]

Schock says he's against the mandate and offers a few alternatives to providing healthcare coverage for those who can't afford it.

[audio:rddSchockACA2.mp3] [/audio]

Schock says employers are uncertain about what the costs will be on their own healthcare premiums plus the taxes and penalties that come along with the ACA.  He doubts healthcare through a centralized system will mean better care for individuals.  But, he says the final decision is left up to the Supreme Court justices.  They're expected to rule sometime in July.

Experts Warn Against Planting Early

Temperatures in March broke thousands of records in the Midwest, but farmers and gardeners may still want to be cautious about planting early.

Experts at the Midwestern Regional Climate Center in Champaign say the possibility of a freeze in April remains high. A freeze would put early seedlings and plants at risk.

It's a guessing game trying to predict the date of the last spring freeze. There's still a possibility for a 32-degree freeze to occur, or even a 28-degree "hard" freeze, which could kill plants.

The climate center says more than 5,000 daily high temperature records have been set or tied this month. Some of the records were broken by 15 to 20 degrees. Much of the Midwest is on track to see the warmest March on record.

DeWitt County Jail To Be Home To Cook County Prisoners

The DeWitt County Jail will soon be home to Cook County prisoners.

DeWitt County, along with Piatt and Moultrie Counties have agreed to house prisoners from Cook County. This has been in the works for some time, and a delay in Cook County has kept DeWitt County from housing those prisoners. According to DeWitt County Sheriff, Jered Shofner, the agreement will bring in revenues and allow the Sheriff's office rely less on tax dollars.

[audio:prisonershare1.mp3] [/audio]

Sheriff Shofner teamed up with other Sheriff's around the area with bed space in their jails to bring prisoners from Cook County to the area. Sheriff Shofner notes his department has been seeking ways to increase their revenues recently, and this is one way to do that.

[audio:prisonershare2.mp3] [/audio]

Transportation will be provided by Cook County to get the prisoners to DeWitt County, which will save the Sheriff's Department more money.

DeWitt County's jail will not start housing Cook County prisoners for another few weeks, as Cook County has to have the agreement on file for 20 days before their County Board can approve it.

Martinsville Gears Up For NASCAR Weekend

Martinsville Speedway will host the NASCAR circuit this weekend.  The Sprint Cup Series will run the Goody's Fast Relief 500 on Sunday with qualifying taking place Saturday morning.  Last week, Tony Stewart won his second Cup race of the season with a rain-shortened victory at Fontana.

Magic Johnson's Group Wins Dodgers Auction

The "Wall Street Journal" reports a group led by Magic Johnson has been awarded the right to buy the Los Angeles Dodgers.  The group's winning bid of $2-billion shatters the previous record sales price for a U.S. sports franchise set when Steve Ross purchased the Miami Dolphins for $1.1-billion three years ago.  The report named Johnson's partners in the deal as Peter Guber, Stan Kasten, Bobby Patton and Todd Boehly.  Rams owner Stan Kroenke had been in the running to buy the team.

MLB Suspends Two Minor League Players

Major League Baseball has suspended St. Louis Cardinals minor league catcher Cody Stanley and Minnesota Twins minor league pitcher Aaron Thompson 50 games each.  The suspensions were handed down following violations of the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.  Both suspensions will be effective at the start of the 2012 regular season.

Bulls Visit Hawks

The Bulls are in Atlanta to face the Hawks this evening.  Chicago is looking to bounce back from Monday's 108-91 home loss to the Nuggets.  Derrick Rose will likely miss his eighth straight game with a groin injury.  Tip-off tonight is at 6:30.

Philadelphia 76ers 103, Cleveland Cavaliers 85
Milwaukee Bucks 108, Atlanta Hawks 101
Memphis Grizzlies 93, Minnesota Timberwolves 86
Dallas Mavericks 90, Houston Rockets 81
San Antonio Spurs 107, Phoenix Suns 100
Oklahoma City Thunder 109, Portland Trail Blazers 95
Los Angeles Lakers 104, Golden State Warriors 101

Eastern Starts Spring With New Football Coach

Eastern Illinois will start spring football practices under new head coach Dino Babers on Tuesday.

The university said in a news release the Panthers will have 15 practices between Tuesday and the April 28 spring game. That includes scrimmages on April 14 and 21.

The spring game will be at 6 p.m. at O'Brien Field in Charleston.

Babers was hired in December to replace longtime Panther head coach Bob Spoo, who retired after a 2-9 season. He had been at Eastern since 1987.

The Panthers open the regular season Aug. 30 at home against Southern Illinois.

Illini Focused on Ohio's Groce

Ohio's John Groce still appears to be the choice to take over at Illinois but the school says no deal has been reached.

News reports circulated Tuesday that a press conference was scheduled and Groce all but hired. But university spokesman Kent Brown said nothing had been finalized.

Illinois has been looking for a men's basketball coach since Bruce Weber was fired March 9. Virginia Commonwealth's Shaka Smart and Butler's Brad Stevens deflected interest from Illinois.

Someone familiar with the search said Sunday that Illinois was targeting Groce. Groce was an assistant under Thad Matta at Ohio State. In his time their Groce was instrumental in bringing Greg Oden and Mike Conley Jr. to the program.

The 40-year-old Groce has led Ohio University to two NCAA Tournament appearances in four seasons, including the Sweet 16 this year.  His record is 85-and-56 at Ohio U.

Former Illinois player and ESPN analyst Stephen Bardo said turmoil at the university makes hiring a challenge.

President Michael Hogan resigned under pressure. Two trustees have said they'd like to see a black coach.

Sages Top Blue Ridge

The Monticello Sages traveled to Farmer City and defeated the Blue Ridge Knights 9-1. The Sages were led by the 4 shut out innings thrown by Jacob Williams. Williams struck out twelve. Reese Carter threw two innings of relief and Nick Stokowski threw the seventh inning, striking out the side. Stokowski also had a three hit afternoon for the Sages. Scott Huisinga and Austin Reed contributed a pair of hits each in the win. Reed had a pair of RBIs and Huisinga also drove in a run.

The Sages are now 5-2 on the season and play host to GCMS Friday afternoon at 4:30. You can hear that ball game live (weather permitting) on 95.9 FM WEZC and streamed live online at dewittdailynews.com.

Donnelley's Closing Northern Illinois Plant

A company with ties to Clinton and DeWitt County is reportedly closing a plant in northern Illinois.

RR Donnelley and Son's is reportedly closing it's Mendota, IL plant by May 28th. RR Donnelley has a plant in Clinton and several others around the state and Midwest. Reports indicate several plants have already closed in Wisconsin and Iowa. The Mendota plant employs around 200 people.

RR Donnelly prints specialty newsstand magazines.

Richland Community College Hosting Jobs Fair Thursday

Anyone seeking work has a great opportunity to find some Thursday.

Around 40 companies will be at a Job Fair on the campus of Richland Community College Thursday. Marcus Brown, Dean of Enrollment Services with RCC, explains this is going to be a unique opportunity for anyone seeking employment. Students fresh out of college to someone who has recently lost their job or anyone who has been seeking work for some time is invited to be a part of the Job Fair. Brown says employers at this year's fair are going to be ready to hire, so he recommends potential employees come dressed to interview and have several copies of your resume on hand.

[audio:jobfair1.mp3] [/audio]

When bringing potential businesses to the Jobs Fair, Richland sought out local businesses who would keep the businesses in the area. Brown says they will have employers from all over the district area for Richland. He says while there will be companies from bigger cities, they try to keep their focus local.

[audio:jobfair2.mp3] [/audio]

This won't be the biggest Job Fair Richland has hosted in the past, however, Brown believes the number of businesses at this year's fair could potentially still be a good size fair. Brown adds, despite this year not being as large as previous year's, it is still a good opportunity for anyone seeking work to come out and take a look at what is available.

[audio:jobfair3.mp3] [/audio]

The Job Fair takes place Thursday from noon to 5 pm at the Schilling Center on the campus of Richland Community College. It is a free event, and anyone seeking work is encouraged to dress ready for an interview and to have several copies of your resume with you.

For more information, you can contact Mike Diggs or Bill Jenkins at 217-875-7200.

Illinois House To Convene Investigation Of Rep. Smith

The leader of an Illinois House investigation into alleged misconduct by a lawmaker says she will suggest asking federal prosecutors how much they can reveal about their bribery case against Rep. Derrick Smith.

Democratic Rep. Elaine Nekritz of Northbrook will convene the special investigating committee Tuesday in Springfield.

She wants to know whether U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald's office can provide witnesses or testimony to help the committee determine whether Smith should be disciplined.

A spokesman for Fitzgerald declined comment Monday.

Smith was arrested two weeks ago. Authorities allege the Chicago Democrat accepted a $7,000 bribe in exchange for his endorsement of a state grant request.

Nekritz says if prosecutors can't help the committee will have to determine whether it can recommend discipline against Smith on allegations alone.

Schock Pushed Highway Plan

Congressman Aaron Schock says it's time for Congress to come up with a plan to improve revenues and take care of highways.

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Schock says he and his colleagues must agree on a plan to fill funding gaps to improve roads.

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Schock says Congress hasn't passed a full highway bill since President Obama took office.  They've been passing stop-gap measures instead.  House Republicans want to use motor fuel tax and the sale of offshore leasing rights to enhance the highway trust fund but the Senate put a snag in that plan.  Nonetheless, Schock says something must be done soon because roads and highways across the nation are in pretty bad shape.

Online Illinois Lottery Tickets Net $15-Thousand First Day

Illinois Lottery officials say the first day of online lottery tickets brought in more than $15,000 in sales.

On Sunday Illinois became the first state to offer the games of chance online. The first ticket was bought at 7:03 a.m., just minutes after Mega Millions and Lotto tickets became available online. Within hours, hundreds of people had purchased tickets.

Lottery officials say they believe the pace of sales will be fast until Tuesday evening. That's when the Mega Millions drawing takes place. The estimated jackpot is $356 million.

Those who want to play online have to register and verify their age.

Online sales got a federal OK in December when the Justice Department reversed itself on allowing Internet gambling. Other states are considering similar programs and are closely watching Illinois.

Nominate Your Farm Mom For Farm Mom of the Year

Do you know an amazing farm mom? If so, then be sure to enter her for a chance to win up to 10-thousand dollars.  Jared White has the details...

[audio:31912FarmMomOfYearWRAP.mp3] [/audio]

Positive Feedback Gives Miller Park Zoo Green Light For Master Plan

The Miller Park Zoo in Bloomington recently held a community engagement meeting to find out what the community wanted to see in the future.

Around 75 people turned out from all over the area to give their input into what the zoo has planned in the future. Superintendent of the Miller Park Zoo Jay Tetzloff says they received a lot of good feedback for where the zoo would like to go and was extremely pleased with the number of people that turned up.

[audio:zoomeeting1.mp3] [/audio]

One of the goals for the zoo is to cluster the  animals based on their geographical location and Tetzloff says that was one area the community felt would be a positive. He says one area of need they have had for some time is the need for a concession stand. And the community responded positively to the animals the zoo is targeting to bring in.

[audio:zoomeeting2.mp3] [/audio]

Because the meeting went so well and the community responded so positively to the plans, Tetzloff says the plan does not need major changes to it, so he says the next step will be to fine tune a few areas and start working on getting it finalized.

[audio:zoomeeting3.mp3] [/audio]

Most of those in attendance were from the Bloomington/Normal area, however, according to Tetzloff, people came from LeRoy and Rantoul and as far as Champaign to be a part of it.

Tetzloff's hope for once the master plan has been completed will be for the zoo to be a draw for more than just central Illinois and Bloomington/Normal specifically. He adds the his hope is the attraction the zoo will bring would bring business to the Bloomington/Normal area as well.

Clinton High School and Jr. High Seeking Head Basketball Coach

Clinton High School and Jr. High School are in need of a boys basketball coach.

Last year's coach Karl Parrish, who also serves as the High School's Athletic Director, has stepped down, leaving the position vacant. Superintendent of Clinton Schools Dr. Jeff Holmes explains the district would like to see them fill one of four teaching vacancies with a teacher with coaching experience.

[audio:basketballcoach1.mp3] [/audio]

Dr. Holmes wants a candidate that will work with the Jr. High and even youth leagues in the community to implement their philosophies and then have them ready for their system when they reach the high school Varsity level. He feels Jr. High coaches should be viewed as assistant coaches to the Varsity head coach.

[audio:basketballcoach2.mp3] [/audio]

The Jr. High may be ready to name a coach soon. Dr. Holmes says his Jr. High principles have a candidate they believe is a good teacher and a good coaching candidate. While winning is not the most important factor, Dr. Holmes believes the district is ready for a winning high school basketball program.

[audio:basketballcoach3.mp3] [/audio]

The school district's four teaching positions available are a social studies teacher, a Spanish teacher, an art teacher and an English position. Dr. Holmes says the district is looking at all avenues to select the next head coach of the Clinton Maroons boys basketball team.

Colts Say Luck Not Top Lock For Top Pick; Rams Notes

>>Irsay Says Luck Not Lock For Top Pick

(Palm Beach, FL)  --  Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay is contradicting what many experts have been saying for over a year.  The always outspoken head man in Indianapolis says that Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck is not a sure thing to become the team's top pick at next month's NFL Draft.  Irsay told "USA Today" at the owner's meetings in Florida that the team is weighing its options between Luck and Baylor QB Robert Griffin the Third.  Irsay added that general manager Ryan Grigson and head coach Chuck Pagano had not yet made a decision and indicated that contract negotiations could become a factor.

>>Rams Sign WR Smith, TE Mulligan

(St. Louis, MO)  --  The Rams have signed wide receiver Steve Smith and tight end Matthew Mulligan.  Smith had a franchise record 107 catches and made the Pro Bowl with the Giants in 2009 but has been slowed by knee injuries since.  Mulligan is blocking specialist who played last year with the Jets.

Carpenter Returns To Camp

Cardinals pitcher Chris Carpenter is back in Florida with his teammates.  The former Cy Young winner had been in St. Louis undergoing tests on the nerve irritation that has caused neck and shoulder stiffness.  Carp will work to strengthen his rotator cuff before beginning to throw again.

Nuggets Blow Out Bulls; Pacers Blow Out Heat

>>Nuggets Blow Out Bulls

(Chicago, IL)  --  Ty Lawson led the way with 27 points and nine rebounds as the Nuggets blew out the Bulls, 108-91.  Arron Afflalo added 22 points for Denver, which put the brakes on a two-game skid.  Al Harrington scored 17 points off the bench in the win.  C.J. Watson finished with 17 points and eight assists for Chicago, which had its winning streak stopped at four.  John Lucas also had 17 points in the loss.  Derrick Rose missed his seventh straight game due to a groin injury.

>>Pacers Pummel Heat

(Indianapolis, IN)  --  Danny Granger had 25 points and nine rebounds as the Pacers pounded the Heat, 105-90.  Darren Collison added 20 points for the Pacers, who have won two straight and four-of-five.  Paul George collected 16 points and 10 rebounds in the victory.  Indiana will travel to New Jersey to face the Nets tomorrow night.

Boston Celtics 102, Charlotte Bobcats 95
Detroit Pistons 79, Washington Wizards 77
Orlando Magic 117, Toronto Raptors 101
New York Knicks 89, Milwaukee Bucks 80
Utah Jazz 105, New Jersey Nets 84 
Houston Rockets 113, Sacramento Kings 106 (OT)
Los Angeles Clippers 97, New Orleans Hornets 85

Rantoul Blanks Maroons

The Rantoul Eagles blanked the Clinton Maroons baseball team 4-0 Monday afternoon at Clinton High School. Josh Merrick led the Maroons with a 2 for 3 night, including a double. Colton Reeves went the distance on the hill for Clinton. Reeves gave up seven hits on three walks and three strikeouts, allowing just two earned runs. The Maroons committed three errors.

Terry Deaville for Rantoul threw a complete game shutout giving up five hits while striking out seven.

The Maroons are now an even 3-3 on the the season. Rantoul is 4-0.

Lady Maroons Fall To GCMS

The Clinton Lady Maroons lost to Gibson City on Monday night 9 - 2. Gibson City was led by Pitcher Regan Romcheck who struck out 10 and allowed only 2 hits on the mound and was also 2 for 3 at the plate for the Falcons.  Bailey Walker suffered the loss for the Maroons.  Offensively for the Maroons Haley Ginger was 1 for 3 and Bailey Walker was 1 for 2 with a double.  The Lady Maroons are now 2 and 1 on the season.

The Lady Maroons JV improved to 3 - 0 with a 17 - 0 win.

The Lady Maroons will next be in action in the Lady Warriors Classic in Murphreesboro Tennessee.  The Lady Maroons will play 2 games on Thursday, 2 on Friday and 3 on Saturday before rerturning home.

Piatt County SWCD Brings Back Electronic Recycling

A successful event last year is being brought back to Piatt County.

The Piatt County Soil and Water Conservation District is hosting an electronic recycling event Wednesday from 8 am to 4 pm at their Piatt County Office. Jonathon Manuel, Resource Conservationist at the Piatt County Soil Water Conservation District, explains the trailer takes any items from televisions to window air conditioners to batteries.

[audio:ecycling1.mp3] [/audio]

Last year, the e-cycling program filled two trailers from front to back, top to bottom full of electronic items. Manuel notes this started out as a way to assist Piatt County and farmers in the county who would find items thrown in their ditches or dirt paths in the country. He feels this has significantly reduced the amount of dumped electronics throughout the county roads.

[audio:ecycling2.mp3] [/audio]

With new statewide landfill regulations requiring landfills to deny electronic items to their facilities, electronic recycling programs like the one being sponsored in Piatt County are increasingly important. Manuel hopes the state regulation and increases in electronic recycling programs help the landfills last longer.

[audio:ecycling3.mp3] [/audio]

Again the electronic recycling program is Wednesday and runs from 8 am to 4 pm at hte Monticello USDA Parking Lot on the east side at 1201 A Bear Lane. Another program will take place April 25 same time and location.

The program is free of charge but good will donations will be accepted to help cover the cost of gas for the trailers to Charleston.

Items accepted include: batteries, cameras, televisions, computers, fax machines, power strips and other cables.

Items NOT accepted include: refrigerators, freezers, washers, dryers, dishwashers and hot water heaters.

To learn more or find out if an item is acceptable or not you can contact Jonathon Manuel at 217-762-2146 Ext. 3.

Taylor Wants Recount

An attorney for Democrat Winston Taylor says the race for the 96th District house seat is not over.  Ruth Waller says they have several concerns about how the election was handled and they're requesting the ballots be recounted.  She says people didn't get a chance to vote in the local races because they were only given federal ballots.  Waller also says votes in Christian county were hand counted, which causes concern but officials at the Christian County elections office say none of their ballots were hand counted.  Waller says voters in the 96th need to know that they're voice and their vote counts.  Taylor trailed Michael Madigan backed Sue Scherer by 72 votes at the end of Tuesday night.  One hundred fifty one absentee and provisional votes still needed to be counted.

New U of I Leader Says First Acts To Include Listening

Incoming University of Illinois President Robert Easter expects he'll face the same issues outgoing leader Michael Hogan has dealt with: state finances and streamlining operations on the school's three campuses.

But Easter said Friday that he doesn't know what else he'll be doing beyond a great deal of listening.

Easter will take over as president July 1 when Hogan's resignation takes effect. The longtime university administrator will be paid $450,000 annually and has agreed to do the job for two years.

Hogan said Thursday that he's resigning after tensions with faculty.

Easter said he plans to spend a lot of time talking with faculty on each campus.

The 64-year-old Easter earned his doctorate at Illinois in the early 1970s before taking a faculty position. He's been there ever since.

Gas Prices Impact Summer Travel

Joe Taylor with the Quad Cities Convention and Visitors Bureau says high gas prices will likely keep people from traveling too far this summer.   That means they'll spend more money close to home and Taylor says the Quad Cities is a good place for a quick get-a-way.

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One of the main tourism draws for the Quad Cities is the PGA Tour's John Deere Classic.  That event will be on July 12th through the 15th in Silvis, Illinois.

Some Illinois Farmers Considering Planting Early

Farmers in Illinois are deciding whether to plant their fields weeks ahead of schedule this growing season after an unusually mild winter.

LeRoy family farmer Eric Mennenga hopes to plant this week. Illinois Farm Bureau spokesman John Hawkins says other farmers are planting early too. But he says those farmers are taking a "calculated risk" because there still can be a frost. He says replanting costs would come "right out of farmers' pockets."

Mennenga has a contingency plan. He says his family will plan only a portion of their crops early. Mennenga and his wife have already done tilling work on soybean fields. Mennenga says unusually warm weather over the last week has warmed the soil, making it ideal for planting.

Hogan's Pay To Be $285-thousand on U of I Faculty

Outgoing University of Illinois President Michael Hogan would be paid $285,000 a year when he moves to a faculty position under an agreement expected to be approved by school trustees.

Hogan announced his resignation Thursday amid increasing tensions with faculty over his leadership. Trustees meeting Friday are expected to accept his resignation effective July 1 and approve the pay deal.

Hogan was paid $620,000 a year as president and has more than three years left on his contract. Under the terms of the agreement, he would forego all but $67,500 of the money from that contract.

Hogan will be replaced by longtime university administrator Robert Easter. Trustees signed off on a $450,000-a-year contract for Easter. He has said he'll work for two years.

Cost Of Gasoline Continues To Rise

The pain at the pump is getting more difficult to handle for motorists.  The latest reading shows the price of gasoline across the U.S. has risen eleven-point-49 cents over the past two weeks.  The nationwide Lundberg Survey indicates the national average for a gallon of regular gasoline increased to close to three dollars-93 cents.  Trilby Lundberg says profit margins for refiners and gasoline retailers have increased.  Among the cities included in the survey, the lowest average price was in Tulsa, Oklahoma at three-58 per gallon and the highest average price was in Chicago where drivers were shelling out four-56 per gallon.

Social Security Benefits May Be Taxable

If you receiving Social Security benefits, you could be required to claim those benefits on your federal taxes.

Whether you get taxed on those benefits or not depends on your income level. Jack Meyers, Public Affairs Specialist at the Social Security office in Springfield explains those thresholds are $25-thousand for an individual, or $32-thousand for a married couple who files jointly. Meyers adds those figures are combined incomes for married couples.

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According to Meyers, for someone filing taxes as a single person, to figure out if your benefits will be taxed you will need to take your adjust gross income, non-taxable interest, and half of your Social Security benefits, add those numbers up. If the number is above $25-thousand, your benefits are taxable.

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The formula is the same for a married couple filing jointly, however, if that number is above $32-thousand, they will be taxed.

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Social Security beneficiaries should have received what is called the SSA 1099 forms in January which tells how much you received in Social Security benefits. This form is vital to filling out tax forms, and Meyers notes there are a couple ways to recover the form. You can visit your local Social Security office and they can print one off right there. You can also visit socialsecurity.gov, and request a new form and would receive it within a week.

DCFB Young Leaders Food Drive Results

Food pantries throughout DeWitt County received a big boost this month thanks to the efforts of the DeWitt County Farm Bureau.

The Farm Bureau Young Leaders held their 5th annual "Harvest For All" food drive in mid-March, and the results were record breaking.  John Klemm, President of the DeWitt County Young Leaders, indicates the community contributed over 15-hundred pounds of food that has been distributed to pantries in both Clinton and Farmer City.

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Klemm notes the local pantries are continuing to see an increased need, and hopes the Farm Bureau's efforts can help meet those needs.

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Local FFA members assisted with the food drive again this year.  Klemm thinks their involvement was one reason for this year's record breaking totals.  He says the Young Leaders and FFA chapters prove that the future of agriculture in DeWitt County is bright.

[audio:fbfooddrive3.mp3] [/audio]

The DeWitt County Farm Bureau Young Leaders food drive was hosted at the Save-A-Lot and IGA stores in Clinton, and Niemann's Market in Farmer City.

CCEF Still Taking Brick Engravement Orders; Wall Ready For Construction

It's still not too late for those wanting to have an engraved brick engraved on the Clinton Education Foundation's Recognition Wall at Clinton High School.

Project Coordinator for the Recognition Wall Amy Overton explains the community showed an overwhelming amount of support from the beginning in buying bricks to be engraved and put on the wall. She explains the wall is going to be put up all at once, which will allow them flexibility for anyone interested in having a brick engraved wanting to do so now or later.

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The goal of the funds raised is to help fund items that are not in the regular school budget. Overton says the education foundation provides teachers with grants for materials that will benefit not just one group of kids, but many kids through the classes they teach.

[audio:ccefwall2.mp3] [/audio]

The Clinton Education Foundation provides teachers with grants, students with scholarship opportunities and they help out in the community as well. Overton says the foundation seeks ways to improve the educational experience of the teachers and students.

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The wall will be outside the sports entrance to the high school. Overton feels the wall is going to really enhance the entrance and show the pride the community has for the school. Several thousand visitors make their way through that entrance each year for various events.

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To order bricks for the Recognition Wall has three different sizes of tiles to purchase for the wall. A 3 x 8 tile is $50,  an 8 x 8 is $100, and an 8 x 16 is $200. Graphics can be purchased as well for an additional fee. Overton says so far individual classes have purchased bricks. She says it can honor someone in the military or a student involved in activities from sports to theater but it doesn't have to be a person, it can contain a message or graphic.

To order a brick for the wall or to learn more about the Clinton Educational Foundation, you can visit their website www.clintonedfoundation.org, which is where you can find the order form for a brick. You can also get the form at the Unit Office at the high school.

Woods Wins Palmer Invitational

Tiger Woods won the Arnold Palmer Invitational yesterday.  Woods finished the tournament at 13-under par, five strokes ahead of Graeme [[ Graham ]] McDowell.  This is Tiger's first win since the 2009 BMW Championship and seventh overall at the Palmer Invitational.

Stewart Wins Rain-Shortened Auto Club 400; Castroneves Wins IndyCar Opener

Tony Stewart picked up his second win of the season yesterday during a rain-shortened Auto Club 400.  Stewart passed Kyle Busch on Lap 86 of the scheduled 400-mile race.  He held the lead when the rain arrived on lap 123, forcing the first and only caution.

NASCAR officials stopped the race after 129 laps were completed and called it 30 minutes later.  Busch finished second, followed by Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kevin Harvick, who won this race one year ago, and Carl Edwards.

Helio Castroneves took the checkered flag at the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg yesterday.  Castroneves led a total of 28 laps en route to his 26th career IndyCar win.  Scott Dixon, Ryan Hunter-Reay, James Hinchcliffe and Ryan Briscoe completed the top five.

Cubs Name Dempster Opening Day Starter

Veteran right-hander Ryan Dempster will make his second straight opening day start for the Chicago Cubs, facing the Washington Nationals and Stephen Strasburg at Wrigley Field on April 5.

Dempster, 10-14 with a 4.80 ERA last season in 34 starts, got the nod Friday from manager Dave Sveum over Matt Garza.

In the season opener a year ago, Dempster was the losing pitcher against the Pittsburgh Pirates, giving up six runs and six hits in 6 2-3 innings.

Bears RB Marion Barber Retiring

Chicago Bears running back Marion Barber has told the team's website he plans to retire.

His decision comes one day after Michael Bush signed a 4-year, $14 million contract to be part of a backfield that includes disgruntled Pro Bowl running back Matt Forte.

The 28-year-old Barber spent his first six NFL seasons with the Dallas Cowboys before signing with the Bears in 2011. He was a backup to Forte last season and then saw extensive duty when Forte was injured in early December.

Barber had six touchdowns and 422 yards rushing, but will be remembered for two gaffes in a costly loss at Denver when he ran out of bounds as the Bears were trying to kill the clock, and then fumbled in overtime.

Race For NBA's Top Playoff Seed On; Bulls Notes

The race for the top overall seed in the NBA playoffs is on.

The Oklahoma City Thunder topped the Miami Heat on Sunday, which was the first of two meetings over the next 11 days, it's the opening of what could be a critical stretch to determine who has home-court edge when the NBA finals roll around a few months from now.

The Thunder and Heat are in a virtual tie for second place in the NBA standings, 2½ games behind Chicago. The Bulls visit Oklahoma City next Sunday for the only meeting between those teams this season.

The two East leaders also have two head-to-head games remaining, one in Chicago and one in Miami.

Combined, the three front-runners are 60-10 at home this season.

Phoenix Suns 108, Cleveland Cavaliers 83
Minnesota Timberwolves 117, Denver Nuggets 100
Atlanta Hawks 139, Utah Jazz 133 (4OT)
Boston Celtics 88, Washington Wizards 76
San Antonio Spurs 93, Philadelphia 76ers 76
Oklahoma City Thunder 103, Miami Heat 87
Portland Trail Blazers 90, Golden State Warriors 87
Memphis Grizzlies 102, Los Angeles Lakers 96

>>Bulls Battle Denver

(Chicago, IL)  --  The Chicago Bulls are on the floor tonight in Denver facing the Nuggets.  The Bulls have won four in-a-row, including a 102-101 overtime thriller on Saturday that saw Luol Deng tip in the game-winner as the buzzer sounded.  Chicago is 40-and-10 on the season.

>>Bulls' Noah Apologizes

(Deerfield, IL)  --  Bulls center Joakim Noah has apologized for his actions which led to his ejection in Saturday's 102-101 overtime victory against Toronto.  Noah was hit with a technical foul for displaying his dislike with the official's call for his foul on Andrea Bargnani.  He quickly drew his second technical and ejection for throwing the ball in the direction of the referee.

Final Four Set

The NCAA Tournament's 2012 Final Four in New Orleans knows it's competitors. The Louisville Cardinals advance with a come from behind win over Florida Saturday afternoon. It will be the third time Rick Pitino has taken the Cardinals to the Final Four. Ohio State advances with a win Saturday evening over Syracuse. The tournament's top overall seed, and the only number one seed in the Final Four, the Kentucky Wildcats advanced with a dominant win Sunday over Baylor. It will mark the first time since the tournament committee has dubbed an "overall #1 seed" that Kentucky has made the Final Four as the tournament's top overall seed. And the final ticket to be punched was Kansas, as they advanced with a win over the midwest's top seed North Carolina.

Games will be played Saturday evening around 5:45 with Louisville and Kentucky playing first in New Orleans followed by Kansas and Ohio State. The winners advance to the National Championship game, one week from tonight.

Illini Still Looking At Butler's Stevens

According to the "Chicago Tribune," Illinois is still trying to lure Butler head coach to the basketball program.  Stevens has come out and said there has been no contact between the two sides.  The report goes on to state Illinois is looking at offering a contract in the neighborhood of eight years, $21-million.  The Fighting Illini originally had VCU's head man Shaka Smart on their radar, but he declined to stay in Richmond.

Maroons Sweep Double Header

The Clinton Maroons took both games of their Saturday double-header at Ridgeview. Game one was won by a final of 7-2 with Ridgeview committing seven errors. Anthony Merrick was 3 for 3 and Nate Ennis was 2 for 3 for Clinton. Marshall Sprague went the distance on the mound for the Maroons going 7 innings giving up six hits on four walks and six strikeouts. Sprague is 1-0 on the season.

Game two the Maroons used a three run seventh inning to win 12-11. After giving up 7 runs in the bottom of the 6th, the Maroons rallied and held on for the sweep. Game two, Logan Woolridge was 3 for 4 at the plate Sprague had two hits including a triple and Greg Osgood recorded two hits as well. Josh Merrick picked up the winning in relief going and inning and a third.

The Maroons improve to 3-2 on the season.

DeWitt County Sheriff's Weekend Report

 March 24, 2012


Jail Population: 58

Summons Served: 1

Warrant Arrests: 2


March 25, 2012


Jail Population: 59

Summons Served: 6

Warrant Arrests: 4


March 26, 2012


Jail Population: 58

Summons Served: 1

Warrant Arrests: 1


Investigation into the scene of an accident which occurred at approximately 1:22 p.m. on Thursday, March 22, revealed that a vehicle driven by Lee Ann Boyd, 63, Clinton, was traveling northeast on US Highway 54 approaching Southcreek Rd when it crossed the yellow center line and left the roadway on the northeast corner of Southcreek Rd and US Highway 54. After leaving the roadway the vehicle turned sideways and rolled over, landing on all four wheels facing northwest. The passenger of the vehicle had a small cut to the head and the driver did not sustain any injuries. The vehicle was towed from the scene.


Dusty Hawkins, 23, Heyworth, was issued citations for No Rear Registration Plate Light and Driving Under Influence. Hawkins being unable to post the necessary bond remains lodged in the DeWitt County Jail.


Brooke Golladay, 29, Decatur, was issued a citation for Speeding (72 mph in a 55 mph zone). Golladay was issued a notice to appear and was released.


Jesse Cole, 22, Clinton, was issued citations for Speeding (74 mph in a 55 mph zone) and Operating Uninsured Vehicle. Cole posted his IL Drivers license as bond and was released.


Angela Balice, 19, Chicago, was issued a citation for Speeding (69 mph in a 45 mph zone). Balice posted her IL Drivers license as bond and was released.


Thomas Johnson, 47, Clinton, was issued a citation for Operating Uninsured Vehicle. Johnson posted his IL Drivers license as bond and was released.




HUD Announces Counseling Housing Grants

As part of its continuing effort to help families find decent housing and to prevent future foreclosures, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) this week announced over $500-thousand in housing counseling grants to 23 organizations in Illinois, including several local organizations.  As a result of this funding, Illinois households will have a greater opportunity to find housing or keep their current homes.  In addition to the funding to these state and local agencies, HUD is awarding $29 million to national, regional and multi-state counseling agencies that may also have an impact in Illinois communities.

HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan says this funding is crucial in helping struggling families on a one-to-one basis to manage their money, navigate the homebuying process, and secure their financial futures.

Local agencies receiving funding include Community Investment Corporation of Decatur, Inc., which received a little over $22-thousand. METEC of Peoria received a little over $25-thousand. In Springfield, TSP - Hope, Inc. received over $16-thousand and Springfield Housing Authority received over $190-thousand.

Housing counseling grants will assist families in becoming homeowners, many for the first time, and remaining homeowners after their purchase.  They also provide assistance to renters and the homeless, and offer financial literacy training to individuals and families.

More than $36 million in grant funds will directly support the housing counseling services provided by 27 national and regional organizations, 6 multi-state organizations, 16 State Housing Finance Agencies (SHFAs) and 419 local housing counseling agencies.  In addition, HUD is awarding $2 million to three national organizations to train counselors who will receive the instruction and certification necessary to effectively assist families with their housing needs.

Fraudulent Letters Popping Up Around The Country

USDA officials learned last week fraudulent letters are being sent by FAX to individuals and businesses in at least four states.  The letters purportedly come from a USDA procurement officer and seek personal information.  These letters are false and in no case should a recipient respond with personal and financial information. The fraudulent letters bear USDA’s logo and seal and are signed by an individual identified as “Frank Rutenberg” using a title of “Senior Procurement Officer”. Letters have been received by FAX in Alabama, Nebraska, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, but may have also been sent to other states. Recipients should not respond and should not supply the requested information. USDA is investigating this matter through the Office of the Inspector General. 

Med Students Matched in Resident Programs

Senior medical students graduating from Southern Illinois University School of Medicine have again matched with competitive residency training programs for the next stage of their training.

SIU seniors received the results from the National Resident Matching Program March 16 and learned where they will be doing their residencies, which follows medical school. Dr. Erik Constance, associate dean of student affairs at SIU School of Medicine in Springfield, says sixty-six SIU medical students were matched with residency programs in Illinois, the Midwest and around the country. Constance explains the Match program.

[audio:siumatch1.mp3] [/audio]

Fifty-seven percent of this SIU graduating class of medical students will enter primary care specialty residencies. Primary care specialties include family medicine, internal medicine, pediatrics, and obstetrics and gynecology. Dr. Constance explains where the students will do their residencies.

[audio:siumatch2.mp3] [/audio]

Dr. Constance says Match Day is the culmination of the four years of medical school for the students who will begin their residency training in July after their graduation in May.

Sen. Brady Seeks Government Involvement In Contract Negotiations

It will have to wait for another day.  Reform legislation, sponsored by Senator Bill Brady, to bring sunshine to contract agreements between the Governor and state employee labor unions ran into a partisan roadblock in a Senate Committee Friday. Ray Watt has the story.

[audio:SenBradyonSB377732312.mp3] [/audio]

Local Lawmaker Proposes Form Of ID To Vote

A photo ID is required at the airport to board a plane, to open a bank account or even purchase alcohol but there is no requirement to prove who you are before you vote. Senator Bill Brady is trying to change that. Ray Watt has more...

[audio:SenBradyVoterID32312.mp3] [/audio]

Dead ISU Students ID'd

 The Illinois State University students found dead in their dorm rooms have been identified.  The body of John Stephens was found just after midnight inside Hewett Hall.  Allison Zak's body was discovered about three hours beforehand.  Both were from the Chicago area. It's not known what caused the two to die but their deaths are believed to be unrelated.  Foul play isn't suspected.

DeWitt County Board Approves Morton Buildings For Architectural Drawings For Animal Shelter

The DeWitt County Board has taken a step forward in the process of building a new animal shelter.

Thursday night the Board approved to enter into an agreement with Morton Buildings for $18-thousand for architectural plans, drawings and specifications for a new animal shelter. DeWitt County Board Chair Melonie Tilley says the next step is to work with Morton to put together the final drawings of the buildings for the County.

[audio:shelterupdate1.mp3] [/audio]

Tilley calls this approval a "big step" in finishing the ongoing process. She feels this gets them one step closer to going out for bids and then breaking ground to get the building construction going.

[audio:shelterupdate2.mp3] [/audio]

The total cost of the project will ultimately be around $360-thousand. Tilley realizes there is a lot of concern towards the cost, she says they may go without features to the building to save and then add those features as well. One possible solution to reducing the cost to the County would be grants she has researched.

[audio:shelterupdate3.mp3] [/audio]

Tilley's hope was to have ground broken by late spring. Those plans may be pushed back to early summer, but the overall goal is to have the shelter complete by the end of the year.

Tuberculosis Cases At All Time Low

Illinoisans are fairing well, for the most part, when it comes to tuberculosis.  The number of cases is at an all-time low and Mike Arbsi, with the state's Department of Public Health, says most cases show up in people from other countries.

[audio:rddTB1.mp3] [/audio]

Arbsi says the state has implemented a program that closely monitors people who are infected with the bug.  That's been a factor in reducing the number of cases from 372 in 2010 to 359 last year.

Gas Prices And Elections

Presidential candidates on both sides of the aisle often tout their plans to save you money at the gas pump but according to one political scientist, they may just be trying to appeal to voters.  Western Illinois University Professor Keith Boeckelman says the president has some, but not much, control over gas prices.

[audio:rddBockle1.mp3] [/audio]

Gas prices are usually a big factor during an election year and it usually impacts the sitting president.  But Professor Boeckelman adds it may not be the biggest issue in this election.

[audio:rddBockle2.mp3] [/audio]

The price of gas has spiked over the past month, which seems to be typical during a presidential election year.  Gas prices hit a record high in 2008, soaring above four dollars in some areas of Illinois.  President Obama used the high gas prices to his advantage on the campaign trail, just as GOP presidential candidates are doing now.

Quinn Praises Vote To End Scholarships

Governor Pat Quinn is praising state representatives for voting to end the legislative scholarship program.  It allows lawmakers to give students a tuition waiver each year to attend a state university.  The program has been tainted with allegations of corruption over the years.  Quinn says scholarships paid for by Illinois taxpayers should be awarded only to those with merit and have true financial need.  He's asking the Senate to follow in the House's footsteps but Senate GOP lawmakers fear the proposal may not get called for a vote.

University Of Illinois President Michael Hogan Announces Resignation

University of Illinois President Michael Hogan has resigned.  Hogan announced his resignation today, causing the state House Appropriations Committee to cancel their scheduled meeting .  Board of Trustees Chair Christopher Kennedy says Hogan was an excellent president who helped get several tough initiatives put in place.  Kennedy also says some of what Hogan did wasn't popular but needed to be done.  No reason for Hogan's resignation has been given.  Robert Easter has been named president designate.

DeWitt County Board Addresses Ambulance Issue

The DeWitt County Board has addressed and discussed the ambulance issue.

Before wrapping up their regular monthly meeting Thursday evening, DeWitt County Board Chair Melonie Tilley addressed the Board in the direction they would like to go. No final decisions were made, but she gave them questions to think about.

[audio:ambulanceaddress1.mp3] [/audio]

Tilley called for the Board to act swiftly Thursday night. She stressed because the end of December is the deadline, time is not on their side. Tilley wants a plan developed by June.

[audio:ambulanceaddress2.mp3] [/audio]

The County Board will begin their budgeting process later in the summer and Tilley wants to have a plan in place to have the ambulance levy be a part of the upcoming budget.

[audio:ambulanceaddress3.mp3] [/audio]

Tilley says the County has several options. She will be visiting Logan County to see how their operation works and obtain information about their non-profit service. She also says the County has the option to obtain the Dr. John Warner Hospital's equipment, among several others.

[audio:ambulanceaddress4.mp3] [/audio]

One decision was made Thursday evening. The County Board will be holding a community forum for the public to come and give their opinions on which direction they would like to see the ambulance service go. The time, date and location for that meeting will be announced soon, as it was discussed to hold it in early April.

'Cuse, Cardinals Advance To Elite Eight

Syracuse, Ohio State, Louisville and Florida all advanced to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament Thursday night.  East Region top-seed Syracuse escaped with a 64-63 win over fourth-seeded Wisconsin.  Second-seeded Ohio State crushed sixth-seeded Cincinnati, 81-66.  The Orange and Buckeyes will meet in the East Final.  In the West Region, fourth-seeded Louisville ousted top-seeded Michigan State, 57-44.  The Spartans are the first number-one seed to be knocked out of this year's tournament.  Also in the West, Florida knocked off Marquette, 68-58.  The Cardinals and Gators will meet in the West final.

Four more Sweet 16 games are on the schedule on Friday.  In the Midwest Region, top-seeded North Carolina will clash with 13th-seeded Ohio.  Also in the Midwest, second-seeded Kansas will meet 11th-seeded NC State.  In the South Region, third-seeded Baylor will battle 10th-seeded Xavier.  Top-overall seed Kentucky will also face fourth-seeded Indiana.

Bears Notes

>>Bears Sign RB Michael Bush

(Lake Forest, IL)  --  The Chicago Bears have agreed to a four-year contract with running back Michael Bush.  The 27-year-old spent the last four seasons with Oakland and became the Raiders' feature back last year after Darren McFadden suffered a foot injury.  He set career highs with 977 rushing yards and 418 through the air.  He now joins a Bears' backfield that includes Matt Forte.

>>Bears' Forte Frustrated By Bush Signing

(Undated)  --  Not everyone in the Windy City is thrilled with the addition of running back Michael Bush.  Chicago Bears running back Matt Forte [[ for-TAY ]] voiced his displeasure via his Twitter account saying, "There's only so many times a man that has done everything he's been asked to do can be disrespected!"  "Guess GOOD GUYS do finish last...."  The Bears recently placed the franchise tag on Forte as the two sides work on a long-term deal.

Sprint Cup Series Shifts To Fontana

NASCAR's Sprint Cup Series heads to Fontana for Sunday's Auto Club 400.  Kevin Harvick is set to defend his Auto Club 400 title from a year ago, and one lap is all it took.  There were 18 lead changes among 10 drivers during the 200-lap race.  Kyle Busch dominated, leading five times for 151 laps and Jimmie Johnson led for laps 198 and 199, but it was Harvick who outdueled them both down the stretch to take the checkered flag for his 15th career win.  The pole sitter has never captured this race in the 15-year history.  Auto Club Speedway, formerly California Speedway, has the distinction of laying claim to the world's fastest two-mile oval.

Duke's Collins Interested In Illinois Job

Duke associate head coach Chris Collins says he is interested in becoming Illinois' new head basketball coach.  The 37-year-old Collins has been an assistant at Duke under coach Mike Krzyzewski since 2000 and also played at Duke.  Collins, who is the son of Philadelphia 76ers coach Doug Collins, grew up in the Chicago area and starred at Glenbrook North High School.  On Wednesday, VCU head coach Shaka Smart turned down an offer to replace Bruce Weber as the Illini skipper.  Weber was fired on March 9th.

HS Baseball: Sages Defeat Cerro Gordo


In a game heard on WEZC, the Monticello Sages defeated the Cerro Gordo Broncos with a final score of 6-2. Nick Stokowski, the starting pitcher for the Sages, picked up the win allowing just two hits in 4 innings of work along with seven strikeouts. Stokowski also went 2 for 3 at the plate with a stolen base and an RBI. Also for the Sages Jacob Williams went 3 for 4 with 2 RBIs and Austin Reed went 2 for 4 with 2 runs scored. The Sages improve to 4 and 1 on the year.

The Sages will be live on 95.9 WEZC again on March 30 as they play host to GCMS. First pitch at 4:30 with broadcast beginning at approximately 4pm.


Illinois Runs Out of MAP Grant Cash

The Illinois Student Assistance Commission has some bad news for college students looking for help paying tuition bills.

The agency has run out of cash for the Monetary Award Program, or MAP grants.

Those grants are the primary source of need-based financial aid, and the scholarship money is awarded on a first-come, first-served basis.

This year, Illinois is on track to receive a record number of applications for the program.

And commission spokesman John Samuels says the MAP money was depleted by students who applied by March 13. Samuels says that's the earliest the state has run out of funds for those grants.

More than 140,000 students are expected to get the aid. The grants are worth up to $4,968.

State Representative Retires Unexpectedly

Representative Roger Eddy is leaving the general assembly.  He resigned as of Midnight last night but in his last day as a lawmaker, he voted to end the legislative scholarship program. 

[audio:rddEddySchol1.mp3] [/audio]

Roger admits supporting the program in the past but says because of the state's fiscal problems plus alleged abuses, it's time for the program to end.  Eddy is leaving the legislature after nine years to take a job with the Illinois Association of School Boards.  The Republican Party Chairman in his district will choose someone to fill the rest of Eddy's term, which ends in January 2013.

Gov. Quinn Calls For Smith To Resign

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn has joined fellow Democrat Jesse White in calling for a state lawmaker charged with bribery to step down.

Quinn spokeswoman Brooke Anderson says Rep. Derrick Smith "cannot be an effective representative for his constituents given his circumstances."

But Democratic leaders waited until a day after Smith was safely nominated for the House seat in the Chicago district. Smith won 77% of the vote in Tuesday's primary despite a federal allegation he accepted a $7,000 bribe in exchange for support of a daycare center's state grant application.

Smith worked for Secretary of State Jesse White before White backed his appointment to office last spring to fill a vacancy. White also said Wednesday Smith should resign.

Smith did not return a message left at his office.

New Map Doing What Democrats Intended

Political Scientist Kent Redfield says the new legislative map is doing just what Democrats intended. 

[audio:rddKentMap1.mp3] [/audio]

Redfield says that opens the door for Democrats to pick up a few more seats in both chambers.  He says the maps aren't drawn to maximize competition, instead they're drawn to make districts safe.  In fact, after last night's primary election, more than half of the general assembly can already claim a full victory.  Many are going uncontested in November's general election.

FEMA Denial of Assistance Disappoints Congressional Delegates

Members of Illinois' congressional delegation say they're disappointed the Federal Emergency Management Agency has denied the state's appeal for disaster assistance.

The state applied for the aid after seven people were killed and hundreds of homes were damaged after tornadoes swept through Harrisburg on Feb. 29. FEMA originally denied the state's request but allowed an appeal. Gov. Pat Quinn announced Wednesday that the appeal was denied.

U.S. Sens. Dick Durbin and Mark Kirk and Congressmen John Shimkus and Jerry Costello say the communities in Southern Illinois that were denied funding are eligible for other types of federal disaster assistance.

Durbin says there is "no doubt" the storm victims need disaster aid. Durbin says FEMA's denial "defies logic."

Affected areas include Gallatin, Randolph, Saline, Union and Williamson counties.

Power-Deal Ballot Measure Passes In Most Towns

Measures to allow local governments to negotiate for lower power rates on behalf of their citizens passed in most of the roughly 300 Illinois towns.

Now the Citizens Utility Board expects those cities will move quickly to try to cut cheaper deals that improve on Ameren and Commonwealth Edison rates. By next summer, the utilities are expected to be able to offer cheaper rates of their own as higher-cost contracts expire.

After that, the board says, consumers will see the real test of whether municipal utility aggregation can work for them. The measures passed in Tuesday's primary election.

Champaign voters passed their local measure. City Public Works director Dennis Schmidt says he expects to have bids for the City Council to consider by mid-May.

Rumors Spur Mansfield Voters To Pass Mansfield Referendum

The Blue Ridge bond proposal just barely passed Tuesday night.

The proposal failed in two of the major voting areas in the Blue Ridge district, including DeWitt County, however, Mansfield, located in Piatt County, voted heavily in favor of the proposal. Rumors swirled of basing all the schools in Farmer City, and Superintendent of the Blue Ridge district Susan Wilson feels that drove the Mansfield voters to go out and support their schools.

[audio:mansfieldpassed1.mp3] [/audio]

One other factor that may have pushed the proposal over the top to pass is the recent news of lower bond rates. Wilson notes the bond rates were not dropping by partial percentages but whole percentages, which had huge saving implications for tax payers.

[audio:mansfieldpassed2.mp3] [/audio]

Adding on to the Mansfield Junior High School and bringing down the grade school was a recommendation made to the district around 2005. In preparation to do that, the district began updating the junior high facility, then they last year began making the public aware of their plans for the Jr. High. Wilson explains took what little response they got, which a majority positive, to decide move forward, then a community group passed a petition to put the bond proposal to referendum. But Wilson is thankful the proposal has passed and the district is ready to move forward and hoping to break ground on the project this summer in preparation of having the building next year.

[audio:mansfieldpassed3.mp3] [/audio]

While the Board of Education looked into it, Wilson says making Farmer City the base for all the areas of the school district was never a real option.

The next step for the district will be making final decisions on designs for the building, put the finishing touches for going out bid, and prepare to break ground in June of this year.

Sean Payton, Gregg Williams Suspended for 2012-13 Year; Tebow Traded

>>Rams DC Suspended Indefinitely Over Saints Bounty Program

(St. Louis, MO)  --  The St. Louis Rams will need a new defensive coordinator for the 2012 season.  The NFL has suspended Gregg Williams indefinitely for his role in the New Orleans Saints bounty program, effective immediately.  Commissioiner Roger Goodell will review his status at the end of the 2012 campaign and consider whether to reinstate him and, if so, on what terms.  Williams left the Saints in January to reunite with new Rams and former Tennessee Titans head coach Jeff Fisher.  The NFL determined earlier this month that Williams spearheaded a bounty program over a three-year period with the Saints that financially rewarded defensive players for targeting opposing players.

>>Fisher Won't hire New Defensive Coordinator

(St. Louis, MO)  --  Rams head coach Jeff Fisher won't be hiring a new defensive coordinator after Gregg Williams was suspended by the NFL.  Fisher says the defensive play-calling will be a collective effort among current staff members.  He added the Rams support and respect the NFL's suspension.

>>Saints' Peyton Suspended One Year, Williams Indefinitely

(New Orleans, LA)  --  The NFL is hitting the New Orleans Saints with fines and suspensions for their illegal bounty program.  Saints fan and political pundit James Carville says head coach Sean Payton should have known what was going on. Payton has been suspended for one year without pay and General Manager Mickey Loomis has been given an eight-game ban.

>>Tebow Traded To Jets

(Englewood, CO)  --  Quarterback Tim Tebow has officially been traded to the New York Jets.  The Denver Broncos shipped Tebow and a seventh-round pick to New York in exchange for a fourth and sixth-round pick in this year's draft.  The trade comes a day after free agent quarterback Peyton Manning was introduced as a member of the Broncos.  The trade was held up earlier Wednesday because of a clause in Tebow's contract.  Tebow helped lead the Broncos to an 8-and-8 record, an AFC West title and a playoff win over the Steelers last season.  The trade comes two weeks after the Jets signed fellow signal-caller Mark Sanchez to a three-year extension.

Cardinals Notes

>>Cardinals' Carpenter Likely To Start Season On DL

(Jupiter, FL)  --  The St. Louis Cardinals will likely begin defense of their World Series championship without pitcher Chris Carpenter.  The veteran right-hander is expected to open the season on the disabled list with weakness in his neck and shoulder.  According to MLB.com the veteran right-hander has returned to St. Louis to undergo a new series of tests.  Carpenter experienced renewed discomfort after playing catch on Monday.  The 36-year-old has not pitched in a spring training game this season.

>>Cardinals Name Lohse Opening Day Starter

(Jupiter, FL)  --  With Chris Carpenter ailing, the St. Louis Cardinals have announced that Kyle Lohse [[ Loash ]] will be the team's Opening Day starter.  Lohse will be on the mound Wednesday, April 4th when the Cardinals face the new-look Marlins in their brand new ballpark in Miami.  Carpenter is expected to begin the season on the disabled list.  He's been bothered by weakness in his neck and throwing shoulder.  Adam Wainwright will start the Cards' home opener April 13th against the Cubs.

Sweet 16 Begins Tonight

The NCAA men's basketball tournament resumes tonight with the start of the Sweet 16.  The East and West Region semifinals will be played in Boston and Phoenix, respectively.  In the East, top-seeded Syracuse takes on fourth-seeded Wisconsin, followed by second-seeded Ohio State against sixth-seeded Cincinnati.  In the West, top-seeded Michigan State goes up against fourth-seeded Louisville, and third-seeded Marquette faces seventh-seeded Florida.  The Midwest and South Region semifinals are set for Friday.  In St. Louis, top-seeded North Carolina will play 13th-seeded Ohio and second-seeded Kansas faces 11th-seeded North Carolina State.  In Atlanta, third-seeded Baylor battles 10th-seeded Xavier and top-overall seed Kentucky plays fourth-seeded Indiana.

Bulls Roll Over Raptors

Luol Deng led Chicago with 17 points and 10 rebounds en route to a 94-82 win over the Raptors.  C.J. Watson, who was filling in for an injured Derrick Rose, added 15 points for the Bulls, who have won six of their last seven games.  Rose has missed the team's last five games with a groin injury.  DeMar DeRozan netted a game-high 23 points for Toronto.  James Johnson finished with 16 points for the Raptors, who have dropped three games in-a-row.

Chicago Bulls 94, Toronto Raptors 82
New York Knicks 82, Philadelphia 76ers 79
Orlando Magic 103, Phoenix Suns 93
Atlanta Hawks 103, Cleveland Cavaliers 102 (OT)
Washington Wizards 108, New Jersey Nets 89
Golden State Warriors 101, New Orleans Hornets 92
Oklahoma City Thunder 114, Los Angeles Clippers 91
San Antonio Spurs 116, Minnesota Timberwolves 100
Denver Nuggets 116, Detroit Pistons 115
Los Angeles Lakers 109, Dallas Mavericks 93

Shaka Smart Won't Be Illinois Basketball Coach

Shaka Smart has turned down an offer from the University of Illinois to become its new men's basketball coach.  According to multiple reports, Smart plans on staying at VCU, where he led the Rams into the third round of the NCAA Tournament this past season.  Illinois was hoping Smart would replace Bruce Weber, who was fired soon after the Illini were eliminated from the Big Ten Tournament.

DeWitt County Sheriff's Report for 3-22


March 22, 2012


Jail Population: 60

Summons Served: 5

Warrant Arrests: 0


Mary Bland, 22, Clinton, was issued a citation for Speeding (67 mph in a 55 mph zone). Bland posted her IL Drivers license as bond and was released.





Clinton Educational Foundation Hands Out Annual Teacher Grants

Wednesday afternoon the Clinton Community Educational Foundation handed out twelve grants worth over $9-thousand.

The CCEF made "surprise" visits to all the schools of the district Wednesday to hand out the grants. Evan Severson, Co-Chair of the CCEF explains they want the teachers to get creative with the grants. Severson is happy with the number of grants and the amount of money they were able to put into the schools this year.

[audio:ccefgrants1.mp3] [/audio]

Severson calls the CCEF the Booster Club for education. Grant awards are submitted to the Educational Foundation once a year by district teachers and are capped at $1-thousand.  Teachers are also allowed to partner and jointly request funding and thereby increase requested amounts to cover more expensive needs. He says they ask the teachers to keep the funds in the classroom to enhance the learning experience of the students.

[audio:ccefgrants2.mp3] [/audio]

The CCEF is a supplemental way to provide the school district with things that are not budgeted but would enhance the learning experience of the students. Severson says with budgets getting tighter and tighter, the CCEF provides a nice boost to the school district.

[audio:ccefgrants3.mp3] [/audio]

The Educational Foundation is a relatively new organization, being only approximately six years old.  Foundation funds are made available primarily through the generosity of community members through their donations and fundraisers.

Check out www.dewittdailynews.com Monday for information on an ongoing fundraiser for the Foundation.


High School grant recipients.  Front row: (L to R) are teachers Sue Woolen, Special Education; Nikki McDonald, Psychology and Kay Werts, Physical Education.  Back Row: (L to R) are teachers Raymond Karcher and Brett Creager, both Industrial Arts and Foundation member Evan Severson

Grant award winners for the 2011-2012 school year are:

School/Teacher                                                    Grant Title

Lincoln School

Katie Donaldsen                                              Brain Pop Jr.


Christina Soberalski                                       Listening Center Audio Material


Donna Husted                                      Fieldtrips and Technology: Beyond the Classroom


Washington School

Kerry-Rae Wagner                                            Science, Stories and More


Webster School

5th Grade Teaching Team                                What’s Your Game Plan (Math Games)


Jennifer Immke                                                           Music Resources


Clinton Junior High

Kisha Maurer                                                      i>Clicker to Flicker Learning


Clinton High School

Brett Creager & Raymond Karcher             Developing Skills in Pursuing Future Careers in Wood Working


Kay Werts                                               Objective Data in P.E. – Heart Rate Monitors


Nikki McDonald                                          Psychology – Create a Brain Activity


Nikki McDonald                                           Psychology – Rorshach Inkblot Activity


Sue Woolen                                                     Successful Reading Improvement

Sages Put 2011 Injury Plagued Season Behind; Looking Forward to 2012

The Monticello Sages may have battled more injuries during their 2011 baseball season than most boys sports programs battle in a school year. However, Head Coach Chris Jones is not looking at last year as such a negative. With two freshman in his starting rotation and young players all over the field, he hopes that year of varsity experience pays dividends for this year.

[audio:sagesbaseball1.mp3] [/audio]

This team is headlined by by Division I prospect pitcher Jacob Williams. So far on the season Williams is 0-1. Coach Jones, much like all the other Sages coaches who have coached him, says Williams is the hardest worker on the team and is the team leader.

[audio:sagesbaseball2.mp3] [/audio]

Thus far on the young season the Sages are 2-1 with wins against Arcola and Arthur-Lovington. As you heard Coach Jones mention, they lost to Mahomet-Seymour. Sophomore Nick Stokowski threw a 5-inning no-hitter against Arcola for his first win. Freshman pitcher David Vandekllot and sophomore Colton Watrous combined for 6 innings in the win against Arthur-Lovington.

95.9 FM WEZC begins coverage of weekly broadcasts of Sages baseball Friday afternoon as the Sages host the Broncos of Cerro Gordo. Game time is 4:30. Broadcast time will be approximately 4 pm (weather permitting).

Coach Chris Jones w/ Seth Laurence:

[audio:32112BaseballCoachChrisJones.mp3] [/audio]

Young Maroons Look To Make Some Noise in 2012

Through two games thus far, the Clinton Maroons baseball team has "surprised" Coach John Hickman.

The first two games the young Maroon squad has only committed one error and Coach Hickman says that is something he has seen out of his teams in some time. Coach Hickman says he does not have a deep team this year, so everyone is going to have to step up.

[audio:maroonbaseball1.mp3] [/audio]

It's no secret last year's team was quite talented and a lot of that talent graduated on, however, Coach Hickman says he has not shied away from letting his team know they need to work to overcome that by playing solid defense.

[audio:maroonbaseball2.mp3] [/audio]

Coach Hickman says he has five juniors with a good chunk of experience, including three with varsity experience since their freshman year, so he will rely on his junior class to lead this team.

The Maroons next broadcast will be next Friday as the Maroons host their annual Clinton Round Robin Tournament.


Seth Laurence w/ Maroons Coach John Hickman

[audio:32112BaseballCoachJohnHickman.mp3] [/audio]

Turnout For Primary Ranges From Low to Steady

Turnout in Illinois' primary ranges from low in Democratic areas to steady in Republican strongholds.

In staunchly Democratic Cook County, turnout appears light.

But numbers in heavily Republican DuPage County are better.

A spokesman for DuPage County's election commission, Dan Curry, expects final turnout of between 36 and 40%. He says that would be only a slight drop from 44% in 2008.

In western Illinois, Adams County Clerk Georgia Volm says final turnout should be around 20%, down from nearly 34% four years ago. She says a lack of a meaningful Democratic primary explains the drop.

DuPage County voter Mark Plunkett says he's disturbed by the low turnout elsewhere. He voted for Newt Gingrich Tuesday and says there's too much at stake not to vote.

SIU Considers Tuition Spike

Incoming freshman at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale are slated to pay higher tuition rates next fall.  School officials say they need to boost tuition by four point eight percent next year.  That means new students will pay about 375 dollars more per semester than current freshmen but the rates will be frozen for four years.  Student fees are also expected to go up, including those for campus recreation, maintenance, medical insurance, and intercollegiate athletics.  And if that's not enough, university officials are also looking to increase housing costs next year.  The Edwardsville campus is seeking similar increases.  The Board of Trustees will vote on the proposals at a meeting this Thursday.

No Winner Yet In 13th Congressional Democrat Race

There's still no declared winner in the 13th Congressional Democratic race.  David Gill is holding on to a three-percent lead over Matthew Goetten with 92-percent of the precincts reporting.  If Gill keeps the lead and earns the nomination, he'll square off against Urbana Congressman Tim Johnson in November.

Barickman Beats Cultra With Large Margin

State Representative Jason Barickman is moving to the other side of the capital.  The freshman lawmaker beat out Shane Cultra to claim a seat in the Senate.  Barickman won with 62 percent of the vote and is one of several state reps who looked to make the transition from the House to the Senate.  At least two others didn't share the same fate as Barickman.   Chris Nybo and Randy Ramey both lost their Senate bids.  At this point, Barickman is running uncontested in the General Election.

Kinzinger Defeats Manzullo

Congressman Adam Kinzinger is the Republican nominee for the 16th Illinois Congressional District.  Kinzinger won with more than 43-thousand votes over Don Manzullo.  The two incumbents battled each other over who's more conservative.  Manzullo, a 19-year veteran of the U.S. House, talked about his proven conservative leadership.  Kinzinger took office 14 months ago and branded himself as a fresh conservative voice.  There is no Democratic contender for the 16th Congressional District in the general election.

Rose Wins Senate Seat

Chapin Rose wins the state's 53rd Senate District seat.  He defeated Tom Pliura by 20 percentage points and will move on uncontested in the general election.  Rose says he's relieved the race is over and is looking forward to getting back to work in Springfield.  He says his priorities this year are fixing the state budget and putting people back to work.

Clinton Board of Education Seeking Cooling Solutions For High School Gym

The Clinton Board of Education is considering ways to cool the high school gymnasium.

At their regular monthly meeting last night, the Clinton Board of Education discussed an air conditioning proposal from Ruyle Mechanical or bringing back to life the air handling units that hang from the ceiling. Dr. Jeff Holmes had the Board discuss those two options. He explains Ruyle came back with a bid of $205-thousand to air condition the air.[audio:gymair1.mp3] [/audio]

Board President Buck Carter explains there are three units in the gym, however, only one works. He says Ruyle can also come in and diagnose the problems and give an estimate for what it would cost to fix them. That would cost almost $52-hundred.

[audio:gymair2.mp3] [/audio]

Board member Rod Wertz felt it would be wise to first spend the $52-hundred dollars on diagnosing the problem since one currently works and the gym has been using one for several years.

[audio:gymair3.mp3] [/audio]

The Board decided to go forward with bringing Ruyle in to diagnose the problems with the two air handling units currently not working and to accept an estimate for what it will cost to fix the problems before spending $200-thousand on air conditioning.

Romney Wins With Straight Talk

Mitt Romney picked up the support from a diverse pool of voters in Illinois, including women and younger voters.  State Treasurer and Romney Campaign Chair Dan Rutherford says that's because Romney isn't afraid of straight talk.

[audio:rddRomneyWin1.mp3] [/audio]

Rutherford says that was a great answer because government can no longer afford to provide free stuff.  He says it's time to figure out how to turn the economy around and put people back to work.  Romney won the state's primary with about 47-percent of the vote, with Rick Santorum falling in behind him with 35-percent of the vote.  The win puts Romney in good position to secure the GOP presidential nomination and face President Obama in the General Election.

Hendrick Motorsports Penalties Overturned

Hendrick Motorsports won its final appeal on Tuesday to have hefty penalties assessed by NASCAR to Jimmie Johnson's number-48 team overturned.  National Stock Car Racing Chief Appellate Officer John Middlebrook rescinded the six-race suspension for crew chief Chad Knaus [[ kuh-NOW-ss ]] and car chief Ron Malec.  Middlebrook also removed the loss of 25 points for driver Johnson and car owner Jeff Gordon.  Knaus and Malec will remain on probation until May 9th.  Knaus' $100-thousand fine also remains in place.  The addition of 25 points moves Johnson from 17th to 11th in the standings.  On February 29th, NASCAR handed down penalties to the number-48 team for an unapproved part found on Johnson's Daytona 500 car during the February 17th opening-day inspection at Daytona International Speedway.

NFL Notes

>>Former Rams WR Lloyd Signs With Pats

(Foxboro, MA)  --  The New England Patriots officially signed former Rams wide receiver Brandon Lloyd on Tuesday.  The 30-year-old was acquired by the Rams last year in mid-season from the Denver Broncos.  He had 51 catches for 683 yards and five touchdowns in 11 games with St. Louis.

>>Broncos Introduce Quarterback Peyton Manning

(Denver, CO)  --  Peyton Manning is the newest member of the Denver Broncos.  The four-time MVP quarterback was introduced Tuesday after signing a reported five-year, 96-million-dollar contract.  Manning missed all of the 2011 season recovering from a series of neck surgeries.  He was released earlier this month after 14 years with the Indianapolis Colts.  Manning chose the Broncos on Monday after working out for Denver, San Francisco and Tennessee last week.  The 11-time Pro Bowler had also visited with Arizona and Miami.  Manning started every game in his first 13 years with the Colts, leading them to 11 playoff appearances and the Super Bowl 41 championship.  He has thrown for nearly 55-thousand yards and 399 touchdowns in his career.  Manning turns 36 years old Saturday.

Baseball Notes

>>Holliday Helps Cards Top Astros

(Kissimmee, FL)  --  Matt Holliday's two-run triple highlighted a three-run first inning as the Cardinals beat the Astros 6-1 in Kissimmee.  Starter Kyle Lohse [[ Loash ]] threw five innings of three-hit, one-run ball to get the win.  The Cardinals are back in Jupiter this afternoon to host the New York Mets.

>>Cubs Tie, Lose On Tuesday

(Undated)  --  The Chicago Cubs played a pair of spring training games on Tuesday afternoon.  They lost to the Texas Rangers, 6-2, at HoHoKam Park and played to a 5-5 tie in 10 innings against the Oakland A's at Phoenix Municipal Stadium.  The Northsiders are off today.  They continue Cactus League action tomorrow afternoon against the Rangers at Surprise Stadium.

>>White Sox Continue Cactus League Play

(Peoria, AZ)  --  The Chicago White Sox continue Cactus League play this afternoon against the Seattle Mariners at the Peoria Sports Complex.  The Southsiders were off on Tuesday.  They had a two-game spring winning streak snapped with a 1-0 loss versus Cincinnati on Monday.

>>Cardinals' Berkman Calls Out Selig

(Kissimmee, FL)  --  Cardinals first baseman Lance Berkman is calling out commissioner Bud Selig.  The former Houston star told CBSSports.com that Selig basically extorted new Astros owner Jim Crane into switching leagues starting in 2013 by holding up the sale of the team last year.

>>Cards Trim Roster

(Kissimmee, FL)  --  The Cardinals have trimmed their spring training roster.  They optioned pitchers Chuckie Fick, Sam Freeman and Adam Ottavino to Triple-A Memphis, and re-assigned pitchers Trevor Rosenthal and R.J. Swindle, infielder Ryan Jackson and catcher Steven Hill to minor league camp.

Bulls Wrap Up Road Trip

The Chicago Bulls wrap up a brief two-game road trip this evening with the opener of a home-and-home series against the Toronto Raptors at the Air Canada Centre.  Chicago hosts the Raptors at the United Center on Saturday.  The Bulls have won back-to-back games and five-of-six overall to improve to 38-and-10 on the season.  They are coming off an 85-59 win at Orlando on Monday.

Indiana Pacers 102, Los Angeles Clippers 89
Miami Heat 99, Phoenix Suns 95
New York Knicks 106, Toronto Raptors 87
Houston Rockets 107, Los Angeles Lakers 104
Utah Jazz 97, Oklahoma City Thunder 90
Milwaukee Bucks 116, Portland Trail Blazers 87
Sacramento Kings 119, Memphis Grizzlies 110

DeWitt County Sheriff's Report for 3-21


March 21, 2012


Jail Population: 63

Summons Served: 7

Warrant Arrests: 1


Investigation into the scene of an accident which occurred at approximately 11:47 p.m. on Tuesday, March 20, revealed that a vehicle driven by Jenifer Rebecca Garland, 59, Farmer City, was traveling east on Garden Road and Paul Devine, 54, DeWitt, was backing in, moving west on Garden Road to enter drive way at address on Garden Road. Both of their vehicles collided, causing major damage to Garland’s vehicle. The vehicles were driven from the scene and no injuries were reported.




Oversized Ballots Leads To Delayed Results Tuesday

DeWitt County along with Counties all over the state ran into problems right away during Tuesday's election.

Ballots this year were too big. DeWitt County Clerk Dana Smith explains the paper company made the ballots this year too big causing their machines problems when trying to process the ballots. According to Smith, this was a problem throughout the state.

[audio:ballotproblems1.mp3] [/audio]

So how did the various precincts fit those ballots into the machines? According to Smith they used paper cutters and scissors.

[audio:ballotproblems2.mp3] [/audio]

DeWitt County residents waited until just short of midnight before all the votes were tallied and results were made final, Smith says Texan Township's precinct needed to re-count their ballots because of the problem. With over 40% of voter turn out in DeWitt County, Smith feels the bright Tuesday sun and important issues on this year's ballot were reason for a good turn out.

Smith thanks those who stayed around until late hours of the night to get the job done right and make sure all votes were accounted for.

Clinton School District Celebrates Passing of Referendum

The Clinton School District has a lot to be happy for as they received word late Tuesday their bond proposal referendum overwhelming passed.

Superintendent of the Clinton School District Dr. Jeff Holmes thanks all those who helped make this long awaited plan a reality Tuesday. Dr. Holmes is very appreciative of the work the campaign team did, headed by Renne Cluver, to rally support and inform the voters of the goals of the district.

[audio:drholmesreax1.mp3] [/audio]

This just about caps off what has been a long process which Dr. Holmes says shows the support the community has towards the school district. He explains the community had expressed interest in the very beginning to be a part of the process, and the Board of Education went out of their way to make this a community endeavor and bring the community alongside them in planning for a new building.

[audio:drholmesreax2.mp3]comment here[/audio]

As early as Wednesday morning, Dr. Holmes was on the phone with the lawyer to proceed with paperwork to confirm the purchase of the property on Illini Drive. The district over the next several months will be surveying the land and sending their final designs for the building out to bid. Then the district will begin to prepare to break ground on the site.

[audio:drholmesreax3.mp3]comment here[/audio]

A little over 70% of the 3-thousand plus voters, voted in favor of the bond proposal, which came out to a near 70/30 split.

Dr. Holmes appreciates the support the community showed in not only showing up to vote Tuesday but also thanks those came out throughout the process to give their input at all the meetings.

Bulldogs Defeat Maroons In Tuesday Ball Game

The Clinton Maroons were defeated by the Mahomet-Seymour Bulldogs on Tuesday night with a score of 5-4.  Greg Osgood led the way fof the Maroons 3 out of 3 hits and a fielder's choice. Marshall Sprague earned several hits as well as Nate Ennis who scored a double for the team.

The Bulldogs' leading players were Todd Metzger and Ryan Walters with 3 strike outs and no walks.

The Maroons are now 1-1, while the Bulldogs are 5-1 for the season.

Tune in to WHOW next Friday night at 4:30 pm for the Clinton Round Robin tournament.

Politicians Push For Rep. Who Allegedly Accepted Bribe To Victory

Chicago politicians are urging voters to send Representative Derrick Smith back to Springfield.  A coalition of West Side Democrats rallied yesterday, trying to garner support for the lawmaker who was indicted on charges of bribery last week.  U.S. Congressman Danny Davis led the way, claiming Smith has been charged but not convicted.  Look closely at the situation and you see the game behind the politics.  Democrats likely want Smith to win because he is the favored candidate of Speaker Michael Madigan.  Smith wins, Madigan likely asks him to resign because of the allegations, and then Democrats appoint someone else to the seat.  A win for Smith keeps primary challenger Tom Swiss from heading to Springfield.  Swiss is running as a Democrat but was once the executive director of the Cook County Republican Party.  Davis calls Swiss a quote “Republican in wolf’s clothing.” A Smith win keeps the Democratic Majority in control of who eventually serves the 10th District.

Romney Doesn't Convince Rally Goer

A couple hundred Illinois voters turned up to catch of glimpse of GOP Presidential candidate Mitt Romney in Springfield today.  Jim Rowley [[ like WOW-ley ]] was in the crowd and says he's glad Romney made a stop in the capital city but he's still not convinced he's casting a vote for the GOP frontrunner. 

[audio:rddRowley1.mp3] [/audio]

Rowley says he wants to hear more details on taxation and education policies, plus how the candidates plan to handle war.  He says President Obama is a good man but he's disappointed in the president's performance.  Even still, Rowley says he's not sure if he's voting Democrat or Republican in the 2012 election cycle.

Santorum Favored In Southern Illinois

Rick Santorum is the favored GOP candidate for President in Southern Illinois but his odds of winning the state's primary election are slim.  That's according to John Jackson with the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute.

[audio:rddJacksonGOP1.mp3] [/audio]

Santorum is making his rounds across Central Illinois, trying to convince voters that he's the best man for the job.  Fifty-four delegates are on the line in today's primary election.  Polls are open from 6 a.m until 7 p.m.

Two Found Shot To Death In Pekin Home

Police say two people have been found dead in a one-story, Pekin home, victims of gunshot wounds.

Although Pekin police haven't identified the victims, nor have they given details about the case, they say no suspects are being sought in connection with the deaths.

Public Information Officer Don Jolly says the woman's body was found early Monday in the home's foyer, near the front door. The man's body was found about 10 feet away.

Police were called to the home at about 11:30 a.m. by the woman's parents after they could not contact her.

Jolly says authorities believe it was the man who fired the handgun that was found between his legs. He said both victims were in their 30s, and were the only people living in the home.

Final Look At DeWitt County Offices Candidates

It's finally voting day, here is one final look at this year's DeWitt County Office Candidates.

On the Republican side of the ballot for the DeWitt County Board:

In District A, Sherri Brown(incumbent), Cole Ritter, Dan Ballenger, and Larry Schumm all from Clinton.

In District B, Terry Ferguson of Clinton(incumbent), Ed Young (incumbent), Laura Enger (incumbent), and Mark Gardner of Farmer City.

In District C, Leon Owens (incumbent), David Newberg, and Ron Savage Jr of Clinton and Terry Hoffman of Maroa.

In District D, Jay Wickenhauser (incumbent), Pete Daugherty (incumbent), and Melonie Tillie (incumbent DeWitt County Board Chair) all of Clinton.

For the Circuit Clerk, Lori Berger (incumbent) and Pam Barnes, both of Clinton.

Randy Rice of Clinton is running for Coroner.

And Karle Koritz of Bloomington is running for States Attorney.

On the Democratic side of the ballot:

In District A, incumbent Camille Redman of Wapella is running unopposed.

In District B, incumbent Dana Evans of Farmer City is running unopposed.

In District C, Russell Davenport (incumbent), Scott Nimmo (incumbent) and Michael Bray of Clinton.

In District D, Rita Sue May of Clinton is running unopposed.

New ISU Program Takes 'Car Pooling' To Next Level

Area high school seniors or other prospective students considering Illinois State University could save gas money through a new program the university has implemented.

In February, ISU introduced a ride-sharing program called ZimRide. Julie North, Director of Parking and Transportation at ISU explains ZimRide is the largest ride-sharing program in North America. She says new students to the university will be introduced to it first at  their orientation.

[audio:zimride1.mp3] [/audio]

The program uses a Facebook platform and students or faculty are able to use the program. It is as easy as logging in using the ISU login information and then posting information you want to share about where you are heading, how many passengers you can take, and North says you can even post charges for gas money for a ride. She says it will then match match your ride with people you are seeking to give a ride to.

[audio:zimride2.mp3] [/audio]

Many users or even parents may be worried about how safe a network like this can be. According to North, each user has a profile and can make permanent comments towards individuals who may or may not have been good passengers or transporters. Users can also post things about themselves they like or things they do or do not allow to happen in their vehicle.

[audio:zimride3.mp3] [/audio]

North feels this is a great opportunity for students to save gas money and even network with other students. The program is completely free and again only students or faculty with an ISU login information can use the program.

To learn more you can visit zimride.illinoisstate.edu or search zimride on Facebook. To talk to Julie North for more details you can contact her via email. Her email address is jenorth@ilstu.edu.

Clinton Streets Department Update

The Clinton Streets Department has established their summer maintenance projects.

As a part of the Motor Fuel Tax, the department has targeted the areas of Clinton they would like to see addressed. Commissioner of Streets and Public Improvement, Nan Crang, along with Clinton's Public Works Director Steve Lobb will be working to seal and put some overlay down throughout town.

[audio:streetwork1.mp3] [/audio]

If you made your way near Lincoln School towards the Dr. John Warner Hospital Monday, there was a water main project that had much of the street tore up and blocked off. Commissioner of Public Property John Wise notes that area of their project has been completed and appreciates the patience of motorists making their way through that part of Clinton Monday.

[audio:streetwork2.mp3] [/audio]

Monday's meeting will continue tonight, as it went to recess. And tonight at 6 pm business owners on the Clinton Square will gather to discuss the recent parking concerns on and around the downtown square.

>> Other business from Monday's meeting, the Council approved the sale of the property at 523 East Julia Street.

Peyton Manning Picks Broncos

Peyton Manning is choosing to continue his NFL career in the Mile High City.  The "Denver Post" reports the free-agent quarterback has informed the Denver Broncos they are his choice and he wants to begin exclusive negotiations with the team.  The contract is expected to be in the range of five years for 90-million-dollars.  According to the report, the four-time MVP told the Tennessee Titans on Monday they are no longer in the running.  The San Francisco 49ers were the other team Manning was considering after eliminating Miami and Arizona last week.  The 11-time Pro Bowl selection missed all of the 2011 season following four neck surgeries.  Manning was released by the Indianapolis Colts earlier this month.

Cardinals Notes

>>Cardinals' Schumaker Has Torn Oblique Muscle

(Lake Buena Vista, FL)  --  Cardinals second baseman Skip Schumakerhas a torn right oblique muscle and will likely start the season on the disabled list.  He was injured while batting last Friday and had a Monday MRI exam.  Schumaker missed the NLCS last year with the same injury.

>>La Russa Has Book Deal

(St. Louis, MO)  --  Retired Cardinals manager Tony La Russa has his own book coming out.  "One Last Strike: Fifty Years in Baseball, Ten and a Half Games Back, and One Final Championship Season" is expected to come out this fall.  It will be co-written by Hall of Fame writer Rick Hummel.

Rose-Less Bulls Shut Down Magic

Carlos Boozer led the way with 24 points and 13 rebounds as the Derrick Rose-less Bulls suffocated the Magic, 85-59.  Rose missed his fourth straight game with a groin injury.  John Lucas netted 20 points off the bench for Chicago, which has won two straight and five-of-six.  Dwight Howard finished with 18 points and 12 rebounds for Orlando, which scored only 26 points in the second half.  Orlando has dropped two in-a-row.

Philadelphia 76ers 105, Charlotte Bobcats 80
Boston Celtics 79, Atlanta Hawks 76
Cleveland Cavaliers 105, New Jersey Nets 100
Dallas Mavericks 112, Denver Nuggets 95
Minnesota Timberwolves 97, Golden State Warriors 93

Source: Smart Illini's Top Target

According to ESPNChicago, sources indicate the University of Illinois have targeted current Virginia Commonwealth University Head Coach Shaka Smart as their top candidate to replace Bruce Weber, who was fired earlier this month.

The Rams lost to Indiana on Saturday, ending their season in the third round of the tournament. VCU became just the third No. 11 seed in NCAA tourney history to make it to the Final Four in 2011, proceeded by Smart signing an eight-year extension.

Illinois Athletic Director Mike Thomas and Smart worked together at Akron when Thomas was AD and Smart was an assistant coach.

Thomas said he will be considering a diverse pool of candidates. Should Smart get hired, it would end Illinois' distinction as having never hired a minority head coach in football or men's basketball.

Smart is a Wisconsin native, and his wife Maya is a Northwestern alum.

Stanford Edges ISU

Chasson Randle hit a 3-pointer with just over a minute left in overtime to put Stanford ahead to stay in a 92-88 win over Illinois State on Monday night in the NIT.

Aaron Bright hit six 3-pointers and finished with a career-high 29 points for the Cardinal (23-11), who erased an 11-point deficit to win their fourth in five games.

Nic Moore scored a career high 25 points for the Redbirds (21-14), who played their third consecutive overtime game. Tyler Brown added 23 points. Jackie Carmichael added 21 points.

Randle finished with 19 points and Dwight Powell added a season-high 18 points. Stanford led at halftime, 41-38.

>> Other NIT Scores

4) Middle Tennessee 71, 1) Tennessee 64
6) Minnesota 78, 2) Miami (FL) 60

Clinton Maroons Baseball On WHOW This Afternoon

WHOW begins our weekly broadcasts of Clinton Maroons baseball this afternoon. The Maroons are hosting Mahomet-Seymour today. Game time is 5 pm and broadcast time will be shortly prior to that.

Again, here all the action live on The Big 1520 AM/92.3 FM WHOW and streamed live online at dewittdailynews.com

DeWitt County Sheriff's Report for 3-20

March 20, 2012


Jail Population: 57

Summons Served: 1

Warrant Arrests: 2


Investigation into the scene of an accident which occurred at approximately 11:09 p.m. on Friday, March 16, revealed that a vehicle driven by Jenifer Fanning, 34, Woodstock, and the other vehicle driven by Jamie Bruning, 35, Clinton were traveling westbound on Illinois Route 54 when they both came to a stop at the intersection with Illinois Route 150 in Farmer City. Fanning waited for a semi truck to turn east onto Illinois 54 from Illinois Route 150 before proceeding into the intersection, she began to back up so the semi truck wouldn’t hit her and struck Bruning’s vehicle. The vehicles were driven from the scene and no injuries were reported.




DeWitt County Sheriff's Report for 3-20

March 20, 2012


Jail Population: 57

Summons Served: 1

Warrant Arrests: 2


Investigation into the scene of an accident which occurred at approximately 11:09 p.m. on Friday, March 16, revealed that a vehicle driven by Jenifer Fanning, 34, Woodstock, and the other vehicle driven by Jamie Bruning, 35, Clinton were traveling westbound on Illinois Route 54 when they both came to a stop at the intersection with Illinois Route 150 in Farmer City. Fanning waited for a semi truck to turn east onto Illinois 54 from Illinois Route 150 before proceeding into the intersection, she began to back up so the semi truck wouldn’t hit her and struck Bruning’s vehicle. The vehicles were driven from the scene and no injuries were reported.




Miller Park Zoo Celebrating Birth of Wallaroos

The Miller Park Zoo in Bloomington is celebrating the birth of two young Wallaroo Kangaroos.

 width=The Wallaroo joeys are estimated to be nine months old. According to Jay Tetzloff, Superintendent of the Miller Park Zoo in Bloomington, the zoo is one of seven institutions breeding this species. He says the joeys are out of the pouch nearly as much as they are in it.


[audio:wallaroos1.mp3] [/audio]


Tetzloff explains the Common Wallaroo is very vulnerable at this time, as their are only around 50 in North America. The breeding program the Wallaroos are a part of has been very successful the past few years. Tetzloff feels it is great to have the animals around and it definitely helps draw people to the zoo, however, the bigger goal is to continue to restore the numbers of Wallaroos.


[audio:wallaroos2.mp3] [/audio]


Tetzloff says normally the Wallaroo joeys do not stick their heads out of the pouch until they are nearly five months old, but they have been out and very active this spring.

 width=The Wallaroo is the third largest type of Kangaroo, native to Australia.  The distinctive creatures can be identified in the Wallaby Walkabout exhibit at the Zoo.

Kenney Fire Department Hosts Grain Bin Rescue Training


This past Saturday the Kenney Fire Department was host to special training exercise that brought fire departments from around the area to Kenney.

 width=The Kenney Fire Department was host to a Grain Bin Rescue Training taught by the Illinois Fire Service Institute. Firefighters from Beason, Mt. Zion, Hammond, Dalton City, Waynesvile, Wapella, Farmer City and Maroa trained with a new Grain Bin Extrication Tube. Representative from EMC Insurance in Des Moines, Iowa and Western Grain Marketing were also on hand for the training.

 width=Firefighters received both classroom and hands on training throughout the session. The Extrication Tube will be available to all local Fire and Rescue Departments in the event of an actual emergency. The new Grain Bin Extrication Tube was purchased with donations from local businesses and individuals involved in agriculture.


Those businesses and individuals include: Farmers's Grain Company of Central Illinois, Farm Credit Services, Harbrand Inc., Tate and Lyle Grain, the DeWitt County Farm Bureau, Weldon Fertilizer, Tom Wilson, and LG Seeds.


 width= (Object Inside is Mannequin)



All Referendums Pass; Other Election Results

40.7 % of Dewitt County turned out for the 2012 Primary Elections with several important and contested races represented.

In District A, Sherri Brown(436), the incumbent, along with Larry Schumm (414) and Dan Ballenger (373) moves onto the general election in November for the County Board.

District B saw Mark Gardener (664), Terry Fergueson (524) and Ed Young (523) gain enough support to move onto the general election. Incumbent, Laura Enger(487) was defeated.

Terry Hoffman (526), Ron Savage Jr. (500) and David Newberg (449) earned more votes than incumbent Leon Owen (412) in District C.

District D was uncontested as incumbents Jay Wickenhauser, Pete Daugherty, and Melonie Tillie, all of Clinton, move on to the November elections.

The Circuit Clerk race saw Pam Barnes defeating incumbent Lori Berger by a vote of 2,023 to 1,664.

The Clinton Schools Bond Proposal Referendum passed with 71% (2231) voting in favor to 29% (921) voting no.

The Blue Ridge School referendum issue on building bonds was approved with 51% saying yes with 855 votes. There were 838 "no" votes representing 49%.

The Ambulance Service referendum succeeded with 2,513 in favor and 969 opposed.

Uncontested races on Tuesday included Randy Rice for Clinton Coroner as well as Karle Koritz of Bloomington running as State's Attorney.

The Democratic side of the ballot was uncontested. The races included:

Callille Redman of Wapella for District A, Dana Evans of Farmer City in District B.

Russell Davenport, Michael Bray and Scott Nimmo of Clinton in District C and Rita Sue May of Clinton in District D.

Another race of interest included Tom Pliura conceeding to Chapin Rose in the contest for the 51st Senate District.

Here is the rundown for the Presedential race in Dewitt County as well.

Mitt Romney 1,421  39%
Rick Santorum 1,259  35%
Ron Paul 520  14%
Newt Gingrich 350 10%

Gov Quinn To Promote Illinois In Belgium

Gov. Pat Quinn says he's traveling to Belgium next week as Illinois' "exporter in chief."

The governor will join a Chicago delegation to help kick off "Chicago Week" on Thursday at the NATO headquarters in Brussels. The event is meant to promote the city to ambassadors and others coming here for the NATO summit in May.

Quinn says he'll speak to "a number of businesses" to promote tourism and direct investment in Illinois.

Host committee spokeswoman Jennifer Martinez says World Business Chicago is paying for the trip. She says Thursday's event will include a mini-Taste of Chicago.

The delegation includes Mayor Rahm Emanuel's wife, Amy Rule, Chicago Host Committee Director Lori Healey and Chicago Convention and Visitors Bureau President Don Welsh.

They will leave Wednesday night and return on Friday.

Quinn Appoints New Member To Commerce Commission

Gov. Pat Quinn has announced a new appointment to the Illinois Commerce Commission.

Quinn says Ann McCabe will bring a wide range of experience to the commission.

McCabe owns a consulting firm that analyzes regulations affecting fuels and refineries, and previously served as Midwest regional director for The Climate Registry.

She says she looks forward to helping ensure that Illinois balances the needs and interests of consumers and businesses.

McCabe is not new to government service. She previously served as a budget analyst responsible for the Department of Natural Resources and was an assistant to an ICC commissioner.

The Illinois Commerce Commission is the go-between for consumers and Illinois' utilities.

Congressman Johnson Endorses Congressman Don Manzullo

Congressman Tim Johnson has endorsed fellow Republican Congressman Don Manzullo in his primary bid against a freshman incumbent.

Manzullo faces Congressman Adam Kinzinger, an Air National Guard pilot elected in 2010.

Their primary battle in north-central Illinois is 1 of the most intense in Tuesday's primary election. A new congressional map drawn by Democrats put much of Kinzinger's old district into Manzullo's, forcing an incumbent runoff.

The new 16th District curves through north-central Illinois from the Wisconsin border to the Indiana state line.

In the endorsement, Johnson cites Manzullo's fiscal conservatism and family values.

Johnson is a longtime central Illinois congressman. He faces a primary challenger for the first time in a decade in his expanded district.

Kinzinger has been endorsed by GOP Congressman Aaron Schock.

Illinois Making Strides To End Corruption

Illinois is taking steps to weed out bad apples and get beyond a culture of corruption, says political scientist Kent Redfield.  But he says the state has a long way to go. 

[audio:rddCorruption1.mp3] [/audio]

Redfield says the basic political culture among Illinois politicians tends to be selfish gain instead of looking out for the needs of the public.  He says you'd think politicians would learn from watching others go down.  The state now has two former governors in prison.

April 2013 Trial Date Set In Beason Killings

A judge in central Illinois has set a trial date next year for 1 of the brothers accused of killing five family members in their Beason home.

The Logan County judge has picked April 29, 2013, for the first-degree murder trial of Christopher Harris.

Harris and his brother, Jason Harris, are accused of using a tire iron to kill Ruth and Rick Gee and 3 of the couple's children in 2009. They're also charged with attempted murder for an attack on the Gees' then 3-year-old daughter, who survived.

Prosecutors have said they'll bring Christopher Harris to trial first. His younger brother's trial date hasn't yet been set.

Lincoln City Council Approves Moving Forward With Plans For Old Hospital Site

The city of Lincoln has approved plans for the site of the old Abraham Lincoln Memorial Hospital.

The hospital last year moved from to the west side of Lincoln of Route 66 from their central location several blocks from downtown. The building was torn down and what was left is about three acres of green grass. Lincoln Mayor Keith Snyder says the city has approved plans to turn it into an outdoor health and wellness facility.

[audio:lincolnpark1.mp3] [/audio]

Mayor Snyder explains the outdoor health and wellness park will specifically target anyone that would like to focus on being fit and active. He feels the having this type of park on the former hospital grounds would be very fitting.

[audio:lincolnpark2.mp3]comment here[/audio]

Not only did Lincoln receive the property as a gift from the hospital, but they also received a grant from a local foundation to look into designs for the area to be developed. Mayor Snyder says without the grant, the city may not have had the money to develop the area, and so they are grateful to have the opportunity to make something out of the land.

[audio:lincolnpark3.mp3]comment here[/audio]

Plans for the park includes a fitness loop and a walking path, outdoor fitness equipment for aerobic work, a large mound for kids to climb, and also an area with water fountains for kids to play.

The city has put together a planning committee for the site and will soon put together a funding committee to get the project moving forward. The city was presented with a color drawing of site from an engineering firm earlier this month.

Figuring Your Tax Rate For Ambulance Service

Have you been wondering how the ambulance tax levy will effect your taxes?

The referendum to be voted on tomorrow states the DeWitt County Board can implement a tax levy of up to point-25 percent of the total property value. Sandy Schlosser, DeWitt County's Supervisor for Assessments explains a person with a $100-thousand dollar home's taxes will increase by a little over $80 per year if the full amount is levied. Schlosser explains for anyone who knows their property value, the formula to is quite simple.

[audio:taxrate1.mp3] [/audio]

Schlosser says the formula remains the same for any tax rate.

Should the County Board entertain the idea of a non-for profit ambulance service and then approve the idea, the Board could levy less than the full point-25 percent. It is speculated a levy of half the full amount could fund the ambulance service. Schlosser says if a tax of point-15 percent is levied, a $100-thousand home would only see their taxes increase close to $50 per year.

Clinton FFA Alumni Stepping Up Efforts To Support Ag Education

An organization aimed at supporting agricultural education in the Clinton community is becoming more active, and reaching out to the community for support.

The Clinton FFA Alumni has been supporting Ag education in the Clinton school system for a number of years, however they are stepping up their efforts.  President Greg Anderson indicates the alumni and current FFA members are teaming up for a first of its kind event.  He says they are currently in the midst of their first ever "Clinton FFA Alumni Lawn & Garden Raffle."

[audio:ffaalumni1.mp3] [/audio]

According to Anderson, the proceeds generated by the raffle will be used to further support the Clinton FFA program.  He says it'll be up to the students on where the money is used, but some likely projects would be new technology in the greenhouse or to support the FFA test plot.

[audio:ffaalumni2.mp3] [/audio]

In a time of shrinking school budgets, Anderson says the Clinton FFA Alumni felt it was important to step up their efforts to support local Ag education, and continue to develop Ag industry leaders for the future.

[audio:ffaalumni3.mp3] [/audio]

Tickets for the seven day "Clinton FFA Alumni Lawn & Garden Raffle" are available from Clinton FFA Alumni, current FFA members, and participating businesses.  The prize drawings are set to take place April 8th thru April 14th, and the 10-dollar tickets are available through April 5th.

NCAA Saturday/Sunday Recap

Kansas needed some late magic and NC State pulled off the latest big upset in the NCAA Tournament on Sunday.  Second-seeded Kansas scored the game's final seven points in a 63-60 win over 10th-seeded Purdue in Midwest Region play.  In the same region, Eleventh-seeded NC State nipped third-seeded Georgetown, 66-63.  In other action, Midwest top-seed North Carolina crushed Creighton, 87-73.  It was revealed after the game that UNC star Kendall Marshall fractured his right wrist. 

NCAA Tournament:

(6) Cincinnati Bearcats 62, (3) Florida State Seminoles 56 (at Nashville, TN)

(1) Michigan State Spartans 65, (9) Saint Louis Billikens 61 (at Columbus, OH)
(7) Florida Gators 84, (15) Norfolk State Spartans 50 (at Omaha, NE)

(11) North Carolina State Wolfpack 66, (3) Georgetown Hoyas 63 (at Columbus, OH)
(1) North Carolina Tar Heels 87, (8) Creighton Bluejays 73 (at Greensboro, NC)
(13) Ohio Bobcats 62, (12) South Florida Bulls 56 (at Nashville, TN)
(2) Kansas Jayhawks 63, (10) Purdue Boilermakers 60 (at Omaha, NE)

(10) Xavier Musketeers 70, (15) Lehigh Mountain Hawks 58 (at Greensboro, NC)

NCAA Tournament:

(1) Syracuse Orange 75, (8) Kansas State Wildcats 59 (at Pittsburgh, PA)
(2) Ohio State Buckeyes 73, (7) Gonzaga Bulldogs 66 (at Pittsburgh, PA)
(4) Wisconsin Badgers 60, (5) Vanderbilt Commodores 57 (at Albuquerque, NM)

(3) Marquette Golden Eagles 62, (6) Murray State Racers 53 (at Louisville, KY)
(4) Louisville Cardinals 59, (5) New Mexico Lobos 56 (at Portland, OR)

(4) Indiana Hoosiers 63, (12) VCU Rams 61 (at Portland, OR)
(1) Kentucky Wildcats 87, (8) Iowa State Cyclones 71 (at Louisville, KY)
(3) Baylor Bears 80, (11) Colorado Buffaloes 63 (at Albuquerque, NM)

Peoria, Chicago Simeon Claim State Basketball Titles

>> Peoria Wins Class 3A State Title

Aldonis Foote scored 17 points to lead Peoria to the Class 3A boys basketball state championship over North Chicago, 72-64.

It's the fifth boys basketball state title in school history.

Trey Kellum had 14 and Jerrell White chipped in 13 for Peoria (28-3).

Foote was all over the court early in the game, making steals, blocks, dunks and generally causing havoc for the Warhawks (25-7), who finished fourth in the 2011 state championships. The 6-foot-5 senior scored 7 of the Lions first 11 points.

Kellum added 15 rebounds and White had nine assists.

Aaron Simpson scored 26 to lead North Chicago (25-7). Javairius Amos-Mays added 17 points and eight rebounds, and Kurt Hall chipped in 11 points and eight rebounds as well.

>> Chicago Simeon Wins Record 6th State Title

Jabari Parker scored 15 points, Steve Taylor 12 and Jaleni Neely 10 as Chicago Simeon beat Maywood Proviso East, 50-48, at the IHSA Class 4A boys' basketball state finals on Saturday in Peoria.

The win gives the Wolverines their third straight title and fifth in seven years. It's also their sixth overall, an Illinois state record.

Parker, the nation's No. 1 junior recruit, showcased both his inside and outside games. He hit a 3-pointer and followed up with a monster dunk that sealed the game.

Taylor finished with 15 rebounds to go with his 12 points. Jaylon Tate added eight points for Simeon (33-1).

Sterling Brown, the younger brother of former Michigan State standout Shannon Brown, scored 25 for the Pirates (32-1).

Bears Agree To Terms With Steltz

The Chicago Bears and safety Craig Steltz have agreed to terms on a two-year contract.  The Bears selected Steltz in the fourth round of the 2008 draft and he has spent his whole four-year career with Chicago.  He has appeared in 48 games with seven starts, recording 71 tackles, one sack and one interception.

Bulls Hit The Hardwood

The Chicago Bulls hit the hardwood this evening as they kick off a brief two-game road swing against the Orlando Magic at the Amway Center.  The Bulls have won three of their last four games to improve to 37-and-10 on the season.  They are coming off an 89-80 victory versus Philadelphia on Saturday.  Chicago wraps up the road trip on Wednesday at Toronto.

Keselowski Wins Food City 500

Brad Keselowski claimed his second straight Sprint Cup Series win at Bristol Motor Speedway by taking Sunday's Food City 500.  Keselowski, who won at Bristol last August, grabbed the lead from Matt Kenseth with 111 laps remaining and took the checkered flag by 0.7 seconds.   It was Keselowski's fifth career win in the series.  Michael Waltrip Racing had a huge day at Bristol, with drivers Martin Truex Jr., Clint Bowyer and Brian Vickers finishing third through fifth, respectively.

A seven-car crash occurred early in the race when Regan Smith made contact with Kasey Kahne and spun him around, triggering the pileup.  Carl Edwards and Kyle Busch were among those caught up in the incident.  Jeff Gordon also crashed in the late going when he cut his left-rear tire after making contact with his Hendrick Motorsports teammate Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Lady Maroons Open Softball Season With Win

Clinton Lady Maroons Softball opened the season with a 9 - 1 win over Heyworth on Saturday at Clinton.  Bailey Walker picked up the win striking out 9 and allowing no earned runs.  Offensively the Lady Maroons were led by Emiy Kroeger who was 3 for 4 at the plate with a double. Haley Toohill went 2 for 4 with a double, and Morgan Hickman was also 2 for 3 with 2 doubles, while Hannah Long was 3 for 3 with 3 RBI's.

The Lady Maroons travel to Riverton on Wednesday.

Clinton Police Weekend Report















DeWitt County Sheriff's Weekend Report


March 17, 2012


Jail Population: 62

Summons Served: 3

Warrant Arrests: 1


March 18, 2012


Jail Population: 61

Summons Served: 0

Warrant Arrests: 0


March 19, 2012


Jail Population: 58

Summons Served: 0

Warrant Arrests: 0


Dean Burch, 48, Clinton, was issued citations for Driving Under Influence and Improper Lane Usage. Burch being unable to post the necessary bond remains lodged in the DeWitt County Jail.


Jenifer Fanning, 34, Woodstock, was issued citations for Driving While License Suspended and Improper Backing. Fanning posted the necessary bond and was released.


Joshua Hayes, 26, Bloomington, was issued a citation for Speeding (69 mph in a 55 mph zone). Hayes posted his IL Drivers license as bond and was released.


Sloan Mosley, 23, Decatur, was issued a citation for Speeding (74 mph in a 55 mph zone). Mosley posted her IL Drivers license as bond and was released.


Stephan Jurgens, 21, Batavia, was issued a citation for Operating Uninsured Vehicle. Jurgens posted his IL Drivers license as bond and was released.


Zachary Sims, 23, Clinton, was issued a citation for Operating Uninsured Vehicle. Sims posted his IL Drivers license as bond and was released.


Jennifer Westbrooks, 31, Bloomington, was issued a citation for Speeding (61 mph in a 45 mph zone). Westbrooks posted her IL Drivers license as bond and was released.


Lori Johnson, 45, Farmer City, was issued a citation for Operating Uninsured Vehicle. Johnson was issued a notice to appear and was released.



2012 Primary Holds Biggest Local Implications In Recent Memory

Today's primary election may be one of the bigger primaries in recent memory in DeWitt County. With County Board seats all up for re-election, two school districts with referendum questions and the ambulance referendum, DeWitt County voters certainly have a lot to consider this as they vote.

The biggest and most talked about referendum is the ambulance situation. With the Dr. John Warner Hospital's announcement late last year to cease providing ambulance service at the end of 2012, the decision was made to have the DeWitt County Board propose a tax levy towards an ambulance service. At a County Board meeting in December, DeWitt County Board Chair Melonie Tilley says the question posed to voters will seek a levy not to exceed point-25-percent of a property's Equalized Assessed Valuation, or EAV.

[audio:ambulanceref1.mp3] [/audio]

The Clinton Board of Education in December approved moving forward with a referendum to issue bonds in the amount $16.7 million. Superintendent of Clinton Schools Dr. Jeff Holmes explains the question on the referendum includes not only issuing the bonds, but also bringing down the other elementary buildings, making necessary improvements to the high school facility, and placing money into the school's education fund to make up for lack of funds coming from the state.

[audio:schoolreferendum1.mp3] [/audio]

The Blue Ridge School district has a referendum of their own. They are looking to pass for additions to their Mansfield Jr. High and eliminate the grade school. Superintendent of the Blue Ridge District Susan Wilson explains the Board of Education will be seeking the approval of the voters to approve bonds of up to $6.7 million for the project, which will ultimately cost a little over $8-million.

[audio:blueridgereferendum1.mp3] [/audio]

Polling hours are 6 am to 7 pm and there are 19 locations around the County for voters to go. To find out your polling location you can contact the DeWitt County Clerk's office at 935-7780.

Be sure to tune into 92.3 FM WHOW tonight as we'll bring you results as they come in beginning at 8 pm. Coverage will be streamed live on dewittdailynews.com by clicking on the Clinton Maroons Sports icon.

Decatur First Church of the Nazarene Presents Annual Musical

Over 60 members of the Decatur First Church of the Nazarene, 1177 West Hickory Point Road, are involved in the 4th annual production of the Easter musical "The Passion." 

The musical will be performed at 7pm nightly on March 29th, 30th, April 4th, 5th, and 6th, at the church.  Admission is free, and preferential seating will be given groups of 10 or more by calling the church office at (217) 875-0616.

The musical depicts the last days of Jesus' life on earth, in drama as well as traditional and contemporary music.

Praise and Worship Pastor Cathy Woolaway is in her 4th consecutive year directing the musical.  Senior pastor of the church is Tim Crump.

IL Corn Marketing Act Referendum Voting Locations Announced

University of Illinois Extension offices will serve as poll locations for the March 28 Illinois Corn Marketing Act referendum. the Illinois Department of Agriculture made the announcement Friday.
Illinois producers “actively engaged” in the production and marketing of corn are eligible to cast a ballot in the referendum, which seeks to increase the voluntary corn checkoff rate by ¼ cent per bushel.  Voting will occur during normal business hours.  A complete list of the polling locations is available at:

http://web.extension.illinois.edu/state/.  On the left side of the homepage, then click on
“Find an Office.”

The referendum was scheduled at the request of the Illinois Corn Marketing Board.  It would increase the current 3/8 cent voluntary checkoff rate to 5/8 of a cent per bushel. Corn farmers still would have a right to a full refund.

Eligible voters who reside outside the state or who cannot be physically present at the polls March 28 may cast an absentee ballot.  Absentee ballots must be requested in writing from the Illinois Department of Agriculture and are due no later than Friday, March 23. For the mailing address visit dewittdailynews.com.

Requests should be sent to: 
Director, Illinois Department of Agriculture,  Attn:  Bureau of Marketing and Promotion, State Fairgrounds, P.O. Box 19281, Springfield, IL, 62794-9281.

IDES Update Website to Include More Languages



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New Jobs Legislation to Have Positive Impact on Central IL

State Representative Chapin Rose and Kevin Semlow Government, affairs director for the Illinois Farm Bureau, this week talked about the downstate impact of recent pro-jobs legislation. 

The recently enacted law is designed to boost the Illinois economy and includes several provisions key to downstate job creation.  The new law:

* Extends the Research and development credit – a top priority for downstate’s Caterpillar manufacturing.

*Extends the ethanol and bio-diesel credit a top priority of the Illinois Farm Bureau.

*Doubles the estate tax exemption – the estate tax is “double tax” on those who work hard to save money throughout their lives and prevents them from passing along their hard-earned assets to their children.

*Provides a $100,000 net operating loss deduction to every small business in Illinois. 

*Empowers taxpayers to fight unfair taxation by providing an independent tribunal to resolve disputes.

It is important to note that Caterpillar invests most of its research dollars in Illinois.  Rose says research helps CAT remain competitive in the global marketplace and has a direct correlation to jobs  in Decatur.  

Agriculture is the single largest job’s sector in Illinois Semlow says he appreciates Rose standing up for downstate agriculture and the local jobs that it creates.

MDA Annual Walk in April

On Saturday, Apr. 21st, more than 400 walkers and people using wheelchairs and scooters will participate in the second annual Muscle Walk at the Springfield State Fairgrounds in the Exposition Hall.  The fun event is expected to raise more than $80,000 to help area residents with muscular dystrophy, ALS and related muscle diseases served by the Muscular Dystrophy Association.  

Muscle Walk participants and Muscle Walk teams can register for the event by visiting www.musclewalkmda.org/centralillinoismusclewalk; by contacting the local MDA office at 217-351-1853; or by registering at the event by arriving at least 30-minutes before the Springfield, IL 2012 Muscle Walk gets underway on Saturday, at 10am.  Individuals and teams are encouraged to raise at least $74 in donations, the cost to fund one minute of MDA research seeking treatments and cures for muscle diseases. 

MDA is the nonprofit health agency dedicated to curing muscular dystrophy, ALS and related diseases by funding worldwide research.  The Association also provides comprehensive health care and support services, advocacy, and education. The first nonprofit organization to be awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Medical Association “for significant and lasting contributions to the health and welfare of humanity,” MDA’s programs are funded almost entirely by individual private contributors.

Colorectal Cancer Second Leading Cause of US Cancer Deaths

Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the U.S., but it can be prevented.

About 150,000 people in the U.S. are diagnosed with colorectal cancer each year, and nearly 50,000 will die from it. But it can be prevented through early screening and treatment, says Dr. Russell Yang, professor and chief of gastroenterology at SIU School of Medicine in Springfield.

[audio:siucolon1.mp3] [/audio]

Dr. Yang says screening for colorectal cancer is recommended for an individual to begin at age 50 if there is no family history of the disease. If there is a family history, or if you are African-American, screening should start earlier – at age 40 or 45. He explains some other risk factors for colon cancer.

[audio:siucolon2.mp3]comment here[/audio]

Dr. Yang says some basic steps people can take to decrease their risk of getting colon cancer are to stop smoking and eat a diet that’s low in fat and high in fiber with lots of fruits and vegetables. He also suggests taking a baby aspirin, if your doctor agrees. To schedule a colon cancer screening, individuals should check with their primary care physician.

Foe of Arrested Lawmaker Says Voters 'Fed Up'

The election opponent of an Illinois lawmaker arrested this week on a bribery charge claims voters are "fed up" with corruption and the incident has fueled his campaign.

Tom Swiss is a former Cook County Republican activist running against Rep. Derrick Smith in Tuesday's Democratic primary.

Smith is a Chicago Democrat appointed to the House last spring. Federal prosecutors accuse him of accepting a $7,000 bribe in exchange for endorsing a state grant for a daycare.

Swiss says as voters hear about Smith's arrest they "feel betrayed" and his self-described independent race is gaining steam.

House Speaker Michael Madigan's political committee has provided more than $60,000 to Smith's campaign. Swiss and Republicans say Madigan should demand Smith's resignation but Madigan's spokesman says the matter is "under review."

Blagojevich Ex-Chief Of Staff To Be Sentenced

As Rod Blagojevich begins serving his 14-year prison sentence in Colorado, a 1-time aide will learn his punishment for helping his old boss try to sell President Barack Obama's old Senate seat.

Unlike the ex-governor, former chief of staff John Harris started cooperating with investigators days after both were arrested Dec. 9, 2008. And he eventually pleaded guilty in an agreement with prosecutors.

Harris' cooperation included testifying for 10 days at Blagojevich's trials. That may mean Judge James Zagel shows him more leniency on Friday than he showed Blagojevich.

Prosecutors are expected to recommend a sentence of a few years. Defense attorneys say Harris should get probation.

The former state official launched a new career after his legal troubles, working as an apprentice on high power lines.

Protestors Want Quinn To Reconsider Closure Plan

A few dozen people in Quincy joined thousands across the state in protesting Governor Quinn's plan to close correctional and developmental centers.  John King, with AFSCME Local 1787, says the governor's plan will break up families and force residents out of their homes.  He says he has friends with children living in the Jacksonville Developmental Center and according to King, the children do not want to move.  Quinn wants to transition the JDC's 185 residents into community care.  He says moving them will save about eleven-million dollars a year.  King disagrees with Quinn's plan and wants him to reconsider.  Protestors also swarmed the governor's mansion in Springfield, the James Thompson Center in Chicago, and other locations across the state yesterday.

U of I To Pay For $6-Million In Man's Death

University of Illinois trustees have agreed to pay $6 million to the family of a man who died in 2007 after a robotic surgery at the university's Chicago hospital.

Juan Fernandez of Chicago died in February 2007 of complications following the procedure to remove his spleen performed at the University of Illinois Medical Center. A lawsuit filed by his family claimed hospital staff failed to find and treat an injury that occurred during the surgery in time to save Fernandez.

According to court testimony earlier this year, the surgery was the first the surgeon had performed using the robotic equipment.

Trustees voted Thursday at their regular meeting to approve the settlement.

University Of Illinois Faculty Letter Wants Trustees To Fire Hogan

University of Illinois spokesman Tom Hardy says President Michael Hogan will continue working to repair relations with faculty even after a group of key campus leaders have called for Hogan's removal.

The call came in a letter sent to trustees as they met Thursday in Urbana. Both trustees chairman Christopher Kennedy and Hogan said they haven't seen the letter and declined comment.

In the letter, faculty called Hogan's short time in charge of the university a "failed presidency."

Law professor Michael Moore was among the authors. He says more than 100 faculty members signed the letter.

The letter follows trustees' direction to Hogan last week to fix his relationship with faculty. But faculty members say they're not willing to wait until he does so.

Rural Economy Appears Strong In Midwest States

Higher fuel prices haven't slowed the economy much in rural areas of 10 Midwest and Plains states.

A monthly survey of rural bankers showed no change in March. The overall economic index registered 59.6 again this month, and any score above 50 suggests the economy will grow.

The bankers appear quite optimistic about the next six months because the confidence index rose to 63 in March from February's 60.3.

Creighton University economist Ernie Goss says there is still a fair amount of uncertainty about the economy, so many farmers and businesses are reluctant to expand.

The hiring index rose to 60 in March from February's 53.7, suggesting businesses are hiring.

The survey covers Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming.

Sweeping Drug Arrests In DeWitt, Logan Counties

On  March  15,  2012, police officers from the DeWitt County  Sheriff’s  Office, Clinton Police Department, Illinois State Police Zone 5 Investigations, Task Force 6, Logan County Sheriff’s Office, Lincoln Police   Department,  U.S.  Marshal’s  Service  Office  and  Antigo  Police Department  (Wisconsin)  conducted  a  warrant  sweep.   The purpose of the detail   was   to   arrest   multiple   persons   wanted  on  warrants  for methamphetamine-related charges. 

These charges stem from a four month long investigation  into  methamphetamine  production  in the DeWitt County area conducted  by  Task  Force  6,  DeWitt County Sheriff’s Office, and Clinton Police  Department in cooperation with the DeWitt County State’s Attorney’s Office and the Illinois Department   of Children and Family Services.

A  total  of  8  subjects  were  arrested  pursuant  to the Methamphetamine investigation.   All defendants were transported to their respective County jails   for   processing.    Additional   arrests  are  pending  from  this investigation.

Bryan  A.  Burton,  age  34,  of  Clinton, was arrested on a warrant for Unlawful  Methamphetamine  Conspiracy,  class  X felony.  He is being held on an $80,000 bond.

Susan  L.  Wrobel,  age  48,  of  Clinton, was arrested on a warrant for Unlawful  Procurement  of  Drug  Methamphetamine  Precursors, class X felony  and Unlawful Methamphetamine Conspiracy, class X felony. She is being held on an $80,000 bond.

Kristopher  G.  Coy,  age  26, of Lincoln, was arrested on a warrant for Unlawful  Procurement  of  Drug  Methamphetamine  Precursors, class X felony  and  Unlawful Methamphetamine Conspiracy, class X felony.  He is being held on an $80,000 bond.

Paul  J.  Nixon,  age  37,  of  Clinton,  was  arrested on a warrant for Unlawful  Procurement  of  Drug  Methamphetamine  Precursors, class X felony  and  Unlawful Methamphetamine Conspiracy, class X felony.  He is being held on an $80,000 bond.

Christina  R.  Poole,  age 26, of Lincoln, was arrested on a warrant for Unlawful  Procurement  of  Drug  Methamphetamine  Precursors, class X felony  and Unlawful Methamphetamine Conspiracy, class X felony.  She is being held on an $80,000 bond.

John  R.  Plotke, age 53, of Clinton, was arrested in Antigo, Wisconsin, on  a  warrant  for  Unlawful  Procurement  of  Drug  Methamphetamine Precursors,  class  X felony and Unlawful Methamphetamine Conspiracy, class X felony.  He is being held on an $80,000 bond.

Joshua  M.  Smith,  age  28,  of  Kenney,  was arrested on a warrant for Unlawful Possession of Cannabis, class 4 felony.  He is being held on a $15,000 bond.

Steven  M.  Willis,  age  29,  of  Clinton,  was  arrested  for Unlawful Possession  of  a  Controlled Substance, class 3 felony.  He is being held on a $15,000 bond.

A  class  X  felony  is punishable from 6 years to 30 years in the Illinois Department  of Corrections.  A class 3 felony is punishable to probation up to  4 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections.  A class 4 felony is punishable  from  probation  up  to  3  years in the Illinois Department of Corrections.


Clinton Schools Bond Proposal Campaign Team Ready For Election

The Clinton Schools Bond Proposal Campaign Team has been hard at work the past few months raising awareness for the School's referendum which will be voted on Tuesday.

Head of the campaign team Renne Cluver calls this process stress free. He says the community has been very attentive to what they are doing and he feels a bigger sense of community pride after going through this process.

[audio:clintonreferendum1.mp3] [/audio]

Cluver credits Clinton Schools Superintendent Dr. Jeff Holmes and the work of his Board of Education for their work in carefully planning this and having every aspect figured out. Cluver says there was never a question that was not able to be answered, whether it was him or Dr. Holmes.

[audio:clintonreferendum2.mp3] [/audio]

Cluver hopes everyone in the community will vote on Tuesday. Many times people do not make their way out to vote in the primaries because they will have an opportunity to vote in the general election in November. Cluver says this item is a one time vote and people should get out and cast their ballots.

[audio:clintonreferendum3.mp3] [/audio]

This is an issue close to Cluver because he is a former educator and has seen the benefits a new school can serve to a school district. And with the district not raising taxes to build a new elementary building, Cluver feels it is an easy item to support.

With the push of incorporating technology into curriculum, having a new school building will serve the district well to do that.

Sprint Cup Shifts To Bristol

The Sprint Cup Series shifts to Bristol for Sunday's Food City 500.  Kyle Busch has won five Sprint Cup Series races at Bristol, three in the spring and two in the August night-time event.  He also has four Nationwide and three Camping World Truck Series victories at this track.  One year ago, Busch had to fend off Carl Edwards, the pole sitter, and Jimmie Johnson during the final 30 laps to win his fifth consecutive NASCAR national touring series race at Bristol.

Syracuse Survives, VCU Wins Again In NCAA Tournament

Syracuse survived a major scare and VCU pulled off another upset in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.  The Orange held on for a 72-65 win over UNC-Asheville in the East Region to avoid becoming the first number-one seed in tournament history to lose to a 16 seed.  The 12th-seeded Rams of VCU knocked off fifth-seeded Wichita State, 62-59, in the South Region.  VCU shockingly advanced to the Final Four last year.  Also in the South Region, 11th-seeded Colorado upended sixth-seeded UNLV, 68-64. 

NCAA Tournament:

East Region:
(8) Kansas State Wildcats 70, (9) Southern Miss Golden Eagles 64 (at Pittsburgh, PA)
(4) Wisconsin Badgers 73, (13) Montana Grizzlies 49 (at Albuquerque, NM)
(5) Vanderbilt Commodores 79, (12) Harvard Crimson 70 (at Albuquerque, NM)
(7) Gonzaga Bulldogs 77, (10) West Virginia Mountaineers 54 (at Pittsburgh, PA)
(2) Ohio State Buckeyes 78, (15) Loyola (MD) Greyhounds 59 (at Pittsburgh, PA)

South Region
(1) Kentucky Wildcats 81, (16) Western Kentucky Hilltoppers 66 (at Louisville, KY)
(3) Baylor Bears 68, (14) South Dakota State Jackrabbits 60 (at Albuquerque, NM)
(8) Iowa State Cyclones 77, (9) Connecticut Huskies 64 (at Louisville, KY)
(4) Indiana Hoosiers 79, (13) New Mexico State Aggies 66 (at Portland, OR)

West Region
(6) Murray State Racers vs. (11) Colorado State Rams  (at Louisville, KY)
(4) Louisville Cardinals 69, (13) Davidson Wildcats 62 (at Portland, OR)
(3) Marquette Golden Eagles 88, (14) BYU Cougars 68 (at Louisville, KY)
(5) New Mexico Lobos 75, (12) Long Beach State 49ers 68 (at Portland, OR)

Bulls Continue Homestand

The Chicago Bulls host the Portland Trail Blazers this evening at the United Center.  The Bulls have won three games in-a-row to improve to 36-and-9 on the season.  They are coming off a 106-102 victory versus Miami on Wednesday.  Chicago wraps up a six-game homestand tomorrow against the Philadelphia 76ers.

Washington Wizards 99, New Orleans Hornets 89
Dallas Mavericks 101, Charlotte Bobcats 96
Oklahoma City Thunder 103, Denver Nuggets 90
Utah Jazz 111, Minnesota Timberwolves 105 (OT)
Phoenix Suns 91, Los Angeles Clippers 87

>>Howard Stays In Orlando As Deadline Passes

(Undated)  --  The trade deadline in the NBA has come and gone, and Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard isn't going anywhere.  Howard announced Thursday that he has waived his right to opt out of the final year of his contract and become a free agent this summer.  The Magic previously said they would trade Howard before the deadline if he did not commit to them beyond this season.  Orlando now has more time to build around Howard and work on a long-term contract.

Meanwhile, a there was a three-team trade between the Nuggets, Wizards and Clippers.  Denver got JaVale McGee and Ronny Turiaf from the Wizards, who received Nene from the Nuggets and Brian Cook from Los Angeles.  The Clips acquired Nick Young from Washington.  The Lakers made separate deals with the Cavaliers and Rockets.  Los Angeles dealt veteran guard Derek Fisher to Houston, while also acquiring Ramon Sessions from Cleveland.  The Trail Blazers sent Gerald Wallace to the Nets, and traded center Marcus Camby to the Rockets.  The Blazers also fired head coach Nate McMillan.

Community Continues Outpouring of Support Towards Vandalized Memorial At Weldon Springs

Community leaders, members and business owners continue to come forward to aid in restoring damage done by vandalism to the Veterans Point Memorial at Weldon Springs State Park.

As we reported earlier this week, Angie Stevens, owner of Gooseneck's Grill in Clinton is offering a $100 cash reward to anyone who comes forward with information that leads to an arrest of the person(s) responsible for the damage done to a granite bench at the Weldon Springs Veterans Memorial this past weekend. Now, Angie and her husband Larry Stevens are going to be donating portions of their proceeds Sunday to the Weldon Springs Foundation to repair or replace the bench.

[audio:goosenecksfundraiser1.mp3] [/audio]

Weldon Springs means a lot to the Stevens' because that is where their business began and they had a lot of success out there. Like many throughout DeWitt County, the Veteran's memorial means a lot to them. This is their way of giving back to an area that has a special significance for them.

[audio:goosenecksfundraiser2.mp3] [/audio]

Sunday from 8 am to 8 pm, Gooseneck's Grill in Clinton will take 30% of their proceeds and donate it to the Weldon Springs Foundation to help fix or replace the marble bench that was vandalized this past weekend. Several individual citizens have also stepped up to help out. Anyone wanting to donate money should do so directly to the Weldon Springs Foundation. You can contact Mary Mitchell Stites at 217-855-8563 or mail them to PO BOX 323, Clinton, IL.

The damage was discovered on Saturday afternoon the marble bench at the center of Veterans Point in Weldon Springs state park was broken in several places. The DeWitt County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the incident. Anyone with any information is asked to call the Sheriff’s Office at 217-935-9507 to help narrow the time line.

Those with information on the crime can also call Clinton Crimestoppers at 217-935-3333. You do not have to give your name, and may receive up the $1000 for information leading to the arrest of those responsible.

Farm Bureau Hosting Annual Food Drive Saturday

Area food pantries are really feeling the effects of the struggling economy.

Several food pantries around the area have had to shut down recently due to high demands and a lack of food to provide to those in need. This Saturday, residents have the opportunity to help one local organization gather goods for food pantries around DeWitt County. According to Ken Bjellend, manager at the DeWitt County Farm Bureau, the DeWitt County Farm Bureau's Young Leader's will be out this Saturday at various places collecting food for their "Harvest For All Food Drive".

[audio:fooddrive1.mp3] [/audio]

The program has really grown since it's inception. Bjellend explains the program has grown in the county but also state wide. The donations will benefit the food pantries of DeWitt County Community Action.

[audio:fooddrive2.mp3] [/audio]

FFA members along with DeWitt County Young Leaders members will be at Clinton Save-A-Lot, Clinton IGA and in Farmer City Nieman Market from 10 am to 2 pm Saturday. Cash donations will be accepted as well.

Yellow Dot Program Starting Strong

The state's Yellow Dot Program designed to help save lives is getting off to a great start, says Illinois Department of Transportation Spokesman Josh Kauffman.

[audio:rddYellowDot1.mp3] [/audio]

The program puts valuable information in the hands of first responders on the scene of an accident.  Drivers put a yellow sticker on the lower left side of the back window, which indicates they have medical and other personal information in the glove compartment of their vehicle.  The program launched last November and nearly 30-thousand people have already signed up.  For more information, go to YellowDotIllinois.org.

Quinn: Sad Day For Blagojevich

Governor Quinn says this is a sad day for his predecessor, Rod Blagojevich.  But when Quinn looks at the state of the state now, he says it's in a much better place than it was three years ago. 

[audio:rddQuinnBlago1.mp3] [/audio]

Governor Quinn acknowledges justice was served the day Blagojevich was convicted.

[audio:rddQuinnBlago2.mp3] [/audio]

Quinn says he wishes all the best to Blagojevich, who's heading to federal prison in Colorado today.  Blagojevich has been found guilty of 19 charges of corruption, including lying to the federal government and trying to sell President Obama's former U.S. Senate seat.

GOP Presidential Campaign Moves Into Illinois

Contenders for the Republican presidential nomination have begun rolling into Illinois ahead of next week's primary. And what was once expected to be a primary with no real consequences could matter after all.

Front-runner Mitt Romney's inability to sew up the race the past few weeks has given hope to Rock Santorum. Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul are further behind Romney, but both are also staying in the race.

Gingrich started campaigning in Illinois on Wednesday with stops in Chicago's suburbs. And Paul was planning to appear downstate late Wednesday at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign.

At stake in the March 20 primary are 54 delegates. Another 15 will be chosen later by party leaders.

Gas Prices Impact Food Costs

The price of gas continues to rise and that could force food prices up, meaning more people will likely look to food pantries for their next meal.  Carissa Gomez, with Feeding Illinois, says people shouldn't be ashamed when they have a need. 

[audio:rddFoodUp1.mp3] [/audio]

Gomez adds even people in higher income brackets often have to turn to food pantries.

[audio:rddFoodUp2.mp3] [/audio]

Gomez says the rising cost of gas also puts additional stress on the food banks that supply local pantries.  She says food banks are always looking for food and cash donations.  Gomez says food banks always need more volunteers to help prepare the foods to be shipped into the communities.

Farmers Trying To Grasp Truck Regulations

Kevin Rund, Senior Director of Local Government for Illinois Farm Bureau, says federal trucking rules and regulations can often prove costly for local farmers.

[audio:rddFedTruck1.mp3] [/audio]

Rund says many farmers haven't been subjected to many of the rules and regulations in the past.  He says understanding the rules will take getting some time to get used to.  On a positive note, he says farmers do have a pretty good handle on weight limit restrictions.  That's because he says there haven't been too many dramatic changes to those restrictions. Rund appeared in DeWitt County Wednesday afternoon talking with local farmers about the numerous recent changes to trucking laws in the state.

2012 Farmer Seed Supply May Be Limited

Farmers are gearing up for the spring planting season, but are they going to be planting their top choice of seed this year?  Jared White has more...

[audio:312122012SeedSupplyUpdateWRAP.mp3] [/audio]

Local Representative Fighting For Rural EMS

DeWitt County is not the only area of central Illinois dealing with ambulance service issues.

Fire Protection districts all over the area struggling because of Medicaid reimbursement rates are low and the cost of personnel is high. Representative Chapin Rose believes it stems from the amount of qualifications needed to become an EMT or Paramedic.

[audio:ruralems1.mp3] [/audio]

Rep. Rose and Rep. Bill Mitchell held hearings to help a task force looking to improve the system get feedback from those directly involved. Rose says at one of those hearings the idea came up to hire young adults to drive the ambulances from point A to point B. He feels if some kids are allowed and qualified to drive combines on a farm, then they could be trained and qualified to drive an ambulance.

[audio:ruralems2.mp3] [/audio]

With all the regulations and red tape currently in place, Rose feels central Illinois is on it's way to eliminating rural emergency services. He says if the local fire chief and ambulance service feels they have a qualified young adult to simply drive the vehicle, that would cut costs significantly.

[audio:ruralems3.mp3] [/audio]

Being a former EMT, Rose feels strongly about this issue. He wants to see common sense restored to allow rural, small town communities to have ambulance services, and he feels confident the issue will get resolved.

NFL Notes

>>Rams Officially Ink CB Finnegan

(St. Louis, MO)  --  The St. Louis Rams have officially signed cornerback Cortland Finnegan to a five-year contract.  The  deal is reported to be worth around $50-million, with the majority being paid in the first few years of the pact.  Finnegan will be reunited with head coach Jeff Fisher in St. Louis as the six-year veteran was drafted in the seventh round of the 2006 draft by Tennessee during Fisher's tenure.  Finnegan played in 93 games with the Titans, recording 473 tackles and 14 interceptions.

>>Bears Give TE Davis Two-Year Deal

(Lake Forest, IL)  --  The Chicago Bears have agreed to terms with tight end Kellen Davis on two-year contract.  The 26-year-old Davis caught 18 passes for 206 yards and five touchdowns in 16 games for the Bears last season.  The Michigan State product has hauled in 28 passes for 300 yards and nine touchdowns in 64 career games with Chicago.

>>Bears Release Statement On Marshall Allegations

(Lake Forest, IL)  --  The Chicago Bears say they knew of the allegations against new wide receiver Brandon Marshall before Tuesday's trade.  The team released a statement saying they and the Dolphins were both aware of the incident but decided to move ahead with the trade.  According to the "New York Post," a woman is accusing Marshall of punching her in the face at a Manhattan nightclub over the weekend.  Police are investigating the incident, but Marshall has not been charged.

Rams Brass Talks State Of Team

(St. Louis, MO)  --  The St. Louis Rams have started their rebuilding process.  Head coach Jeff Fisher and general manager Les Snead addressed some of the team's needs and some of the areas in which they have quickly improved during a Wednesday press conference.  Fisher says the addition of cornerback Cortland Finnegan will be greatly felt on and off the field.  The Rams and Finnegan agreed on a five-year contract Tuesday evening.  Fisher also said the team will address its need for a wide receiver either through the draft or free agency.  The Rams recently traded the number-two overall pick in the upcoming draft to the Redskins for Washington's first-round selection this year, next year and in 2014 as well as a second-round selection in this year's draft.

Lions Lock Up "Megatron" With New Eight-Year Deal

(Allen Park, MI)  --  The Detroit Lions have locked up star wide receiver Calvin Johnson with a new eight-year contract.  "Megatron" will reportedly earn $132-million over the next eight seasons, including $60-million guaranteed.  The deal makes him the highest-paid receiver in NFL history, surpassing the eight-year, $120-million contract signed by Arizona Cardinals receiver Larry Fitzgerald last year.  Johnson caught 96 passes for 1,681 yards and 16 touchdowns this past season.  The Georgia Tech product has nearly six-thousand yards receiving and 49 touchdowns in five NFL seasons overall.

Bulls Top Heat Without Rose

John Lucas scored 24 points as the Derrick Rose-less Bulls beat the Heat, 106-102.  Rose missed the game due to a sore groin.  Joakim Noah added 14 points for Chicago, which had lost its last five meetings with Miami dating back to the Eastern Conference finals.  Dwyane Wade had 36 points for Miami, which has lost four in-a-row on the road.  LeBron James dropped in 35 points, while Chris Bosh had 12 points in the loss.  Chicago hosts Portland tomorrow evening and wraps up a six-game homestand on Saturday against the Philadelphia 76ers.

Indiana Pacers 111, Philadelphia 76ers 94
New Jersey Nets 98, Toronto Raptors 84
New York Knicks 121, Portland Trail Blazers 79
LA Lakers 107, New Orleans Hornets 101 (OT)
Houston Rockets 107, Charlotte Bobcats 87
Milwaukee Bucks 115, Cleveland Cavaliers 105
San Antonio Spurs 122, Orlando Magic 111
Detroit Pistons 124, Sacramento Kings 112
Boston Celtics 105, Golden State Warriors 103
LA Clippers 96, Atlanta Hawks 82
Phoenix Suns 120, Utah Jazz 111

ISU Tops Ole Miss In First Round of NIT

Tyler Brown scored 26 points, Nic Moore added 24 and Illinois State put on record-setting shooting display in a 96-93 overtime victory over Mississippi on Wednesday night in the first round of the NIT.

Illinois State (21-13) set a Tad Smith Coliseum record for 3-pointers, making 17 of 23 (73.9%) from beyond the arc.

Brown was 8 of 9 from 3-point range, while Moore made all 6 of his attempts.

LaDarius White scored 25 points and Terrance Henry added 21 for Ole Miss (20-14), which lost in the NIT's first round for the second straight season.

Brown put Illinois State up 61-49 after his seventh 3-pointer with 12:22 remaining in regulation and it looked as if the Redbirds would cruise, but Ole Miss rallied to tie it at 84 and Jarvis Summers just missed a 10-foot jumper at the buzzer to send it to overtime.

NCAA Tournament First Four  (at Dayton, OH)
(16) Vermont Catamounts 71, (16) Lamar Cardinals 59
(12) South Florida Bulls 65, (12) California Golden Bears 54

New Walleye Record Set In Illinois

A Wisconsin man sets a new walleye record in Illinois.  James Zimmerman caught a 15-point-oh-eight pound walleye on the Pecatonica River in Winnebago County.  The fish was measured at 31 and a half inches with a girth of 20 and three-eighths inches.  Zimmerman caught the fish on a one-eighth ounce Northland Fire-Ball jig.  This is the second time the state record has been established this year.  Fifteen-year-old Nick Tassoni, of Rockford, broke a 51-year-old record on January 7th when he caught a 14 pound, 12 ounce walleye on the Pecatonica River.

Warm Temperatures May Be Here To Stay

Boaters are cruising along the river in downtown Chicago. Golfers are smacking balls in Minnesota. And an ice-breaking mission on Maine's Kennebec River was the shortest in recent memory because the Coast Guard found no ice.

With temperatures form the Rocky Mountains to the Atlantic Coast rising well into the 70s, residents accustomed to bundling up in March were shedding puffy coats and getting outdoors.

Forecasters say spring is early and here to stay.

Gino Izzi of the National Weather Service says the weather pattern is a random, normal fluctuation. A jet stream moving north to south on the West Coast is pushing an opposite, seesaw effect in the rest of the nation.

But the warmth is raising some concerns, including a high risk for wildfires in the Dakotas.

Rep. Johnson Endorses Ron Paul

U.S. Rep. Tim Johnson has endorsed fellow Rep. Ron Paul in the presidential race ahead of next week's Illinois primary.

Johnson, in a news release Tuesday, called Paul a friend and "1 of the most principled men I have ever met."

Johnson is hosting Paul at a campaign stop Wednesday night on the University of Illinois campus. A Johnson spokesman said Paul is appearing at Johnson's invitation.

Johnson is an Urbana Republican. He faces Michael Firsching of Moro in the March 20 Illinois primary.

Investigators Warn Of Post Tornado Scams

Investigators with the Better Business Bureau are warning about possible scams in the wake of the tornado in Harrisburg.  Bill Smith says scam artists are likely to use the tragedy as an opportunity to take advantage of people's generosity. 

[audio:rddCharity1.mp3] [/audio]

Smith says no particular threats have been identified but it's a good thing to be suspicious.  He says you should beware of groups using names similar to large, well respected organizations.  Do not give cash, and don't ever give your credit card number to a fundraiser over the phone.  If you pay by check, you should use the full name of the organization and not make the contribution out to the fundraiser.

CJHS Student Overton In All-Star Game

8th grade basketball players from across central Illinois will be gathering later this month for an All-Star game, and Clinton will be represented.

 width=Clinton Junior High 8th grader, Jacob Overton has been tapped as one of 48 area ballers to play in the 6th annual Junior Prospects All Star Game on March 31st.  He says it's a great opportunity to get on the floor with some of the best ball players in the area.

[audio:overtonallstar1.mp3] [/audio]

Richard Phillips, owner of the Decatur-based Junior Prospects, explains the game came about to recognize the effort central Illinois 8th graders put into their basketball programs.

[audio:overtonallstar2.mp3] [/audio]

Phillips says students from schools of all sizes will compete in two All Star games on the night of March 31st at MacArthur High School in Decatur.  He notes that in addition to the games, the students are also set to take part in a series of skills competitions.

[audio:overtonallstar3.mp3] [/audio]

Overton will play for the Class 4A All Stars.  Again the event takes place the evening of March 31st at MacArthur High School in Decatur.

Clinton Civil Leaders Support Clinton School's Bond Proposals

Members of the Clinton City Council are on board for the Clinton Schools Bond proposal that will be on the ballot next week.

Commissioner John Wise is a Clinton Schools employee and he says he can speak first hand to the need the school has for a new building. Wise hopes voters who head to the ballots next Tuesday understand what they are voting for before they vote.

[audio:bondsupport1.mp3] [/audio]

Commissioner Tom Edmunds grandfather is a former Clinton Superintendent and he too is a graduate of the school district. Edmunds feels it is the responsibility of society to provide our current students with adequate facilities just as those who came before us provided us adequate facilities to learn in.

[audio:bondsupport2.mp3] [/audio]

Clinton Mayor Carolyn Peters is a former educator and has been a substitute teacher in those buildings and feels the money would be better off going towards a new building rather than fixing the millions of dollars worth of problems there.

[audio:bondsupport3.mp3] [/audio]

The school has school has 46-cents in bonding capacity that is due in December, and they would like the voters to allow them to use 35-cents for the construction of the elementary, renovation of the high school, and demolitions of the old schools. The other 11-cents would go towards education fund to make up for the state of Illinois' financial woes.

'Cuse Forward Melo Declared Ineligible

You want to adjust your NCAA brackets. Syracuse center Fab Melo will miss the NCAA Tournament because of an eligibility issue.  Melo missed three games earlier this season because of a similar problem, said to be related to academics.  The top-seeded Orange open tournament play tomorrow against UNC-Asheville.

NCAA Tournament First Round  (at Dayton, OH)
(16) Western Kentucky Hilltoppers 59, (16) Mississippi Valley State Delta Devils 58
(14) BYU Cougars 78, (14) Iona Gaels 72

Bulls Notes: Rose Fined, Involved In Car Accident; Exploring Gasol

>>Rose Fined For Criticizing Officiating

(New York, NY)  --  Chicago Bulls guard Derrick Rose has been fined $25-thousand for publicly criticizing NBA officials.  The fine resulted from comments Rose made to the media following the Bulls' 104-99 win over the Knicks on Monday.  Referring to a lack of foul calls, Rose went to the free-throw line just nine times after taking 29 shots.  The reigning league MVP said, "I have to be the only superstar in the league who's going through what I'm going though.  But I can't say too much about it."

>> Rose Involved In Minor Accident

Bulls star Derrick Rose was involved in a minor car accident in Chicago.

Illinois State Police say Rose was headed south on the Kennedy Expressway at Ogden Avenue late Tuesday afternoon when his 2011 Bentley was struck from behind by a 2002 Saturn.
The Bulls say Rose was not injured. Police cited the driver of the Saturn, Charles Tratwein, for failing to reduce speed to avoid a crash.

The accident occurred on the same day Rose was fined $25,000 by the NBA for criticizing the officiating.

>>Bulls Exploring Gasol Possibility

(Chicago, IL)  --  The Chicago Bulls may be turning to Pau Gasol [[ Pow  gah-SAUL ]] for some front-court help.  ESPN.com reports the Bulls are exploring trade options with the Los Angeles Lakers ahead of today's 3 p.m. Eastern deadline.  Chicago has long coveted Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard, but Howard has shown little interest in a trade to the Bulls.  However, the Lakers may not have interest in what Chicago could offer in return for Gasol, which would reportedly start with forward Carlos Boozer.  According to the report, the Bulls may have to involve a third team.

>>Bulls Host Heat

(Chicago, IL)  --  The Chicago Bulls continue a six-game homestand this evening against the Miami Heat at the United Center.  The Bulls have won 10 of their last 11 games to improve to 35-and-9 on the season.  They beat the New York Knicks, 104-99, on Monday.  Chicago hosts Portland on Friday and wraps up the homestay on Saturday against the Philadelphia 76ers.

Indiana Pacers 92, Portland Trail Blazers 75
Orlando Magic 104, Miami Heat 98 (OT)
Toronto Raptors 96, Cleveland Cavaliers 88
Houston Rockets 104, Oklahoma City Thunder 103
Los Angeles Lakers 116, Memphis Grizzlies 111 (2OT)
Dallas Mavericks 107, Washington Wizards 98
Denver Nuggets 118, Atlanta Hawks 117 (OT)
Golden State Warriors 115, Sacramento Kings 89

Bears Busy On Day 1 of NFL Free Agency

>>Bears Acquire WR Marshall From Fins

(Undated)  --  Brandon Marshall will be catching passes in the Windy City this season.  The Chicago Bears have acquired the Pro Bowl wide receiver from the Miami Dolphins.  According to FoxSports.com, the Fins got third round draft picks in 2012 and 2013 in return.  Marshall caught 81 passes for more than 12-hundred yards and six touchdowns last season.  He and current Bears quarterback Jay Cutler were teammates in Denver from 2006 through 2008.  Marshall has more than 62-hundred career receiving yards and 34 touchdowns in six NFL seasons with Denver and Miami.

>>Report: Bears Newly-Acquired WR Marshall In Altercation

(New York, NY)  --  The newest Chicago Bears wide receiver could be in some trouble.  Brandon Marshall, who was traded from the Miami Dolphins to the Windy City yesterday, has been accused of slugging a 24-year-old woman at a New York City nightclub on Sunday.  According to the "New York Post" the 27-year-old Marshall was being thrown out of the club with another unknown athlete when he allegedly hit Christin Myles in the face, causing a black left eye.  Marshall has been involved in other legal incidents in the past including being rushed to the hospital last year after his wife allegedly stabbed him.  He was also involved in a fight on New Year's Eve 2006 in Denver which led to his Broncos teammate Darrent Williams being fatally wounded in a drive-by shooting.

>>Bears Re-Sign CB Jennings

(Lake Forest, IL)  --  The Chicago Bears have agreed to a two-year contract with cornerback Tim Jennings.  The six-year veteran has played two seasons in Chicago, recording 153 tackles, three interceptions and two fumble recoveries.  He had been due to become an unrestricted free agent with the start of the new league year Monday afternoon.  The 28-year-old has 310 tackles, seven interceptions and five forced fumbles in 85 games with the Bears and Colts.  Jennings spent his first four seasons with Indianapolis.

>>Bears Ink QB Campbell

(Lake Forest, IL)  --  The Chicago Bears have signed quarterback Jason Campbell to a one-year contract.  A former first-round draft pick, the 30-year-old Campbell has started 70 of 71 games with the Redskins and Raiders over six seasons.  He is expected to take over backup duties behind Jay Cutler.  Chicago started the 2011 season 7-and-3 before Cutler injured his thumb in a game against San Diego.  Under Caleb Hanie, then number-two on the depth chart, the Bears lost five straight and eventually missed the postseason.  In 71 contests with Washington and Oakland, Campbell has completed 1,296 passes for 14,417 yards and 74 touchdowns while throwing 50 interceptions for an 82.8 passer rating.

Clinton Police Report for 3-14






















DeWitt County Sheriff's Report for 3-14

 March 14, 2012


Jail Population: 58

Summons Served: 1

Warrant Arrests: 1


Gautam Patel, 38, Lincoln, was issued citations for Driving Under Influence, Illegal Transportation Alcohol, Improper Lane Usage, Operating Uninsured Vehicle. Patel being unable to post the necessary bond, remains lodged in the DeWitt County Jail.



Blue Ridge Voters To Decide Fate of Mansfield Facility Proposal

This is the last day for voters and residents in the Blue Ridge district to learn more about the Bond proposal on the ballot for next week.

The Blue Ridge Board of Education for the Blue Ridge School District will be seeking the approval of the voters to approve bonds of up to $6.7 million to be put towards the elimination of the grade school and adding on to the Jr. High School. Susan Wilson, Superintendent of the Blue Ridge School district explains the total cost of the project will be a little more than $8-million after some Health/Life Safety issues are addressed.

[audio:blueridgereferendum1.mp3] [/audio]

According to Wilson, the cost of the Health/Life Safety items do not have to be taken care of prior to the building being built, but she feels taking care of them as a part of the current bond would be better than in another year or two coming back and asking the voters to approve more bonds. The Health/Life Safety items are replacement of the roof, remove the chimney, replace the boiler and hot water system and replace the septic system.

[audio:blueridgereferendum2.mp3] [/audio]

The district has been planning on an interest rate of just over 5-percent. Wilson explains they have recently received word the bond rates have dropped by whole percentage points, which is quite significant. She says this will save tax payers quite a bit of money and will not be as much of a tax increase as they originally were planning on.

[audio:blueridgereferendum3.mp3] [/audio]

Thursday is the final day for voters and residents in the district  to attend an informational meeting and take a tour of the Mansfield facility and get an idea of what the district would like to do. Tours of the building will be held Thursday from 3 until 6 pm and an informational meeting will take place from 5:30 to 7:30 pm.

Quinn To Appeal FEMA Decision

Gov. Pat Quinn says he'll appeal the Federal Emergency Management Agency's denial of assistance to homeowners affected by the southern Illinois tornado.

Quinn issued a statement Monday saying he informed Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano of his decision.

Meanwhile, Sen. Dick Durbin and other lawmakers plan to meet with FEMA Director Craig Fugate on Wednesday to challenge the decision.

Quinn says Illinois is doing everything it can to help communities hit hard by storms on Feb. 29, including the Saline County town of Harrisburg, where seven people died and 98 homes were destroyed by an F4 tornado.

But he says some assistance needed by residents is available only through a federal disaster declaration.

FEMA says there's enough private insurance and other resources for Illinois to recover.

FEMA Denies Harrisburg Disaster Aid

Illinois' senators and Gov. Pat Quinn are denouncing a decision by the Federal Emergency Management Agency to deny disaster aid to southern Illinois counties ravaged by tornadoes.

A powerful Feb. 29 tornado left seven people dead in the southern Illinois community of Harrisburg. Quinn's office had sought a major disaster declaration for the state and assistance for several southern counties. In denying the request, FEMA said the damage was not "beyond the capabilities of the State, affected local governments and voluntary agencies."

Sens. Dick Durbin and Mark Kirk said Sunday they have requested a meeting with FEMA leadership and would seek to overturn the ruling. Quinn's office has 30 days to appeal the decision.

Critics Blast Quinn Closure Plan

Governor Quinn’s plan to close two prisons and six halfway houses is catching heat.  Critics with the John Howard Association say the plan will cut 12-million dollars in funding to drug abuse treatment and job training programs for inmates.  They say the money is vital in preparing the inmates to return to life outside of prison.  Critics say cuts to the program will increase the number of prisoners who become repeat offenders, which would make an already overcrowded system even worse.

Spring Trout Fishing Season Begins April 7th



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[audio:trout2.mp3] [/audio]


Ag Economy Continues To Thrive

The Ag economy is still thriving in Illinois.  Aledo Auctioneer Dale Jones's lot was jam packed at a weekend farm machinery consignment sale.  Jones says several strong sales made the auction a success.

[audio:rddAuction11.mp3] [/audio]

Machinery Pete with "Successful Farming Magazine" says that's the second highest 93-thirty sell he's seen in the 15 years he's been keeping track.  Bidders from six different states were at the auction, plus Jones sold a Bobcat skid-steer loader to an on-line bidder from Pennsylvania.

SWCD Fish Sale Deadline Approaching

The DeWitt County Soil and Water Conservation District's  fish sale deadline is approaching.

The sale ends Friday March 23 at 3 pm but all Carp orders must be in by 3 pm tomorrow, March 14.

Varieties available are grass carp, channel catfish, hybrid sunfish, large mouth bass, bluegill, redear, hybrid redear, black crappie and fathead minnows and all in various sizes.

The fish will be delivered for pick up Friday March 30 at 8 am at the district's office.

If you are interested in ordering any fish stop by the SWCD office in Clinton on Revere Road or call 217-935-6504, extension 3.

Farmer City Prepares BMX Track for 2012

DeWitt County is home to a unique attraction that brings people from all over the country to compete on.

Farmer City is home to one of the only BMX courses in central Illinois and draws people from all over Illinois and even the country for competitions at the site. Larry Wuhling, City Manager for Farmer City says they are host to several regional and even national competitions, which puts them on the national spotlight from time to time.

[audio:bmx1.mp3] [/audio]

Preparations are already underway for the 2012 season. Wuhling says once those are complete, he estimates the end of the month, Farmer City residents may be noticing things picking up in town with all the extra people around for the competitions.

[audio:bmx2.mp3] [/audio]

Those two or three days of events are extremely important not just to Farmer City but also DeWitt County. Wuhling speculates some of the hospitality duties spill over to Clinton for places for those competitors and their crews to stay.

[audio:bmx3.mp3] [/audio]

As a part of the competitions comes advertisements. Wuhling says advertising for their events is already underway and looks forward to the positive economic impact the competitions will have on Farmer City in the spring and summer.

NCAA Tournament Kicks Off With First Four Games

The NCAA Tournament tips off Tuesday night with the "First Four" contests from Dayton, Ohio.  The first matchup features 16-seed's Mississippi Valley State taking on Western Kentucky for the right to play the tournament's top seed Kentucky.  That game tips at 6:40 p.m. Eastern.  Following that game will be between number-14 seed's Brigham Young University and Iona.  On Wednesday night, 16-seed's Vermont and Lamar meet up at 6:40 p.m. for the right to face one-seed North Carolina.  The nightcap on Wednesday will pit California against South Florida.  The winner of that matchup between 12 seeds will face fifth-seeded Temple in the next round.

Saints Bounty Ruling Could Come From NFL This Week

The NFL could make its ruling on the New Orleans Saints' bounty program this week.  NFL.com reports league officials will spend Tuesday and Wednesday discussing appropriate penalties.  Saints owner Tom Benson and head coach Sean Payton met with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and league security officials Monday in New York.  Former Saints and current St. Louis Rams defensive coordinator Gregg Williams admitted to running the improper pay for performance program with the Saints that financially rewarded players for big plays and hits that took out opposing players.  Saints General Manager Mickey Loomis and Payton have both apologized for not putting a stop to the program.

Bears Tender Qualifying Offer To RB Bell

The Chicago Bears have tendered a qualifying offer to restricted free agent running back Kahlil Bell.

The move announced Monday means Chicago can match any offer from another team.

Bell made three starts last season and appeared in 13 games, running for 337 yards on 79 carries. He has 557 yards rushing on 119 attempts in three seasons.

Bulls Run By Knicks

Derrick Rose had 32 points, six rebounds and seven assists to lead the Bulls to a 104-99 win over the Knicks.  Taj Gibson had 15 points and 13 rebounds off the bench for Chicago, which has won two straight and 10-of-11.  Carlos Boozer added 15 points of his own in the victory.  Carmelo Anthony scored 21 points for the Knicks, who were dealt their sixth straight loss.  Amare Stoudemire netted 20 points in defeat.

Milwaukee Bucks 105, New Jersey Nets 99
Chicago Bulls 104, New York Knicks 99
Charlotte Bobcats 73, New Orleans Hornets 71
San Antonio Spurs 112, Washington Wizards 97
Utah Jazz 105, Detroit Pistons 90
Minnesota Timberwolves 127, Phoenix Suns 124
Boston Celtics 94, Los Angeles Clippers 85

DeWitt County Sheriff's Report for 3-13

March 13, 2012


Jail Population: 57

Summons Served: 2

Warrant Arrests: 1


David Walsh, 22, Farmer City, was issued a citation for Speeding (76 mph in a 55 mph zone). Walsh posted his IL Drivers license as bond and was released.



Community Reacts To Vandalism At Weldon Springs

The vandalism that took place over the weekend at the Veterans Memorial at Weldon Springs State parked has sparked the community to prompt anyone with information to come forward.

A couple local businesses are stepping up to provide incentive for anyone with information to come forward and bring those responsible to justice. Headed by the initial reaction of Francis Jackson, owner of Big D Food and Liquor in Clinton, who is offering a $100 reward to those who have information that lead to an arrest. Jackson says the memorial has a special significance to just about everyone in the community.

[audio:citizenrewards2.mp3] [/audio]

Goosenecks Grill owner Angie Stevens followed Jackson's lead also offering a $100 reward. Goosenecks previous location was at Weldon Springs State Park and Stevens says they feel a very special connection there because of that is where it all began for them.

[audio:citizenrewards1.mp3] [/audio]

DeWitt County Sheriff Jered Shofner calls this a crime against the community and it is not surprising to him the way the community is reacting. He feels it is great community members are stepping up and wanting to help out.

[audio:citizenrewards3.mp3] [/audio]

The damage was discovered around 4:30 P.M. on Saturday that a marble bench at the center of Veterans Point in Weldon Springs state park was discovered broken in several places. The DeWitt County Sheriff’s Office has launched a fact based investigation and is seeking information from the public. Anyone who observed this or visited the monument on Saturday is asked to call the Sheriff’s Office at 217-935-9507 to help narrow the time line.

Those with information on the crime can also call Clinton Crimestoppers at 217-935-3333. You do not have to give your name, and may receive up the $1000 for information leading to the arrest of those responsible.

New Upgrades At Illinois Nuclear Plant That Lost Power

Operators at a northern Illinois nuclear plant are replacing electrical insulators similar to ones that failed in January and caused one the reactors to lose power and shut down.

Exelon Nuclear is calling the new work at the Byron Generating Station "a proactive step."

The Jan. 30 outage started when an electrical insulator failed and fell off the metal structure it was attached to at a switchyard. That interrupted power and caused the Unit 2 reactor to automatically shut down as a precaution. Steam was released to cool the reactor, but Illinois emergency officials have said lab tests showed no measureable increase in radiation.

As part of Saturday's work, a turbine generator at the Unit 1 reactor was taken offline. The reactor will remain at reduced power during the upgrades.

Animals Reunited With Loved Ones

Quite a few lost pets in Harrisburg have been reunited with their loved ones after the being separated in the February 29th tornado.  Trisha Stilley, with Stiltmore Kennels in Eldorado, says that's great news but she's expecting a second wave animals to come to her kennel.

[audio:rddLostPets1.mp3] [/audio]

Stilley adds many insurance companies aren't picking up the costs and that could become an issue for pet owners.

[audio:rddLostPets2.mp3] [/audio]

Stilley says at least 25 animals have come through her doors since the storm, but she isn't providing care on her own.  Stilley says she's received a tremendous outpouring of support from across the nation.

Illinois Launches Effort To Save Energy In Buildings

Illinois officials are launching partnerships among contractors and energy companies to help public-sector agencies save money and power in their buildings.

The Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunities' "trade ally" program teams lighting and heating and air conditioning contractors, engineers and architects, and energy service companies and businesses which sell energy-saving devices.

DCEO trains them on available energy-efficiency programs available through "Illinois Energy Now" and they in turn help schools and other government agencies save power and money in operating their office space.

The Chicago and Urbana-Champaign campuses of the University of Illinois also have programs that participate in the effort.

Illinois School Nurse Accused of Taking Kids' Meds

Illinois has suspended the license of a former school nurse charged with taking students' medications and switching them with look-alike pills.

39-year-old Amber Elder's suspension was indefinite and for a minimum of 3 years.

Elder has been a registered nurse since 1996. She had no prior disciplinary record from her work at three schools in the central city of Sullivan.

She faces three felony counts of manufacture and distribution of a look-alike substance and three misdemeanor counts of endangering the life and health of a child. She has pleaded not guilty and is free on bond.

She's accused of taking students' Ritalin and Adderall, stimulants prescribed for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

Parents complained when they noticed tampering with their children's medications.

Free Tax Preparation Available In Decatur

Free tax preparation is available at the Decatur Public Library.  Families that brought in less than 50-thousand dollars last year and individuals who made less than 25-thousand are eligible for the free service.  Electronic tax prep classes are being held on Tuesdays from 5:30pm until 8p.m until March 27th.  And Saturdays from 9:30a.m until 2:30p.m until April 14th.

Logan County Voters To Decide Next Week On Electric Aggregation

Voters in Logan County next week will decide whether to allow the city to go out and buy electricity.

The City of Lincoln and others in Logan County have been investigating into what is called "Electric Aggregation." Lincoln Mayor Keith Snyder if approved by the voters, the city would hire a company to go out and acquire bids from electric companies to provide those in the city with electricity, and those in the city can chose to be or not to be a part of the program.

[audio:electricagrigation1.mp3] [/audio]

The major says advantages to the city of Lincoln would be providing residents with more options for their electric rates. Snyder notes things may shake out so the city has several options on how they want their electricity provided as well to be more environmentally friendly.

[audio:electricagrigation2.mp3] [/audio]

According to Snyder, electric rates are currently low. He says the rates they would receive back hinge on what the electric markets do, which could be the one downside to Lincoln being a part of the program.

[audio:electricagrigation3.mp3] [/audio]

The contract the city could enter into can be a short term contract or a long term contract. Snyder says if the city inters into a shorter contract, their rates most likely would be lower, but the longer their contract is the higher the rates would most likely be.

[audio:electricagrigation4.mp3] [/audio]

Should the referendum pass, the city will enter into an original contract. After the first contract expires they could then go out for bids again through a company to get rates for them, in hopes of finding lower rates. Snyder says this ensures they do not pay more than what their local provider would offer, which for Lincoln and Logan County would be Ameren.

Clinton Business Expo Registration Deadline Today

Time is running out for local businesses to be a part of the Clinton Area Chamber of
Commerce's Business Expo.

The deadline to register for the 2012 Expo is fast approaching and Executive Director at the
Clinton Chamber Marian Brisard says this a good opportunity for businesses to be a part of.
Businesses are encouraged to get their registration in on time to get the full benefits of expo.

[audio:expodeadline1.mp3] [/audio]

The Business Expo provides a great opportunity for both residents and businesses to learn more about each other. Brisard indicates a good opportunity for clubs or organization to improve their membership numbers and it is a great place for you to learn about opportunities within the community.

[audio:expodeadline2.mp3] [/audio]

There will be a few changes to the event this year. First the event will be held at Clinton High School. Brisard notes this is a good opportunity for businesses to have outside exhibits. The event is also going to be earlier in the day.

[audio:expodeadline3.mp3] [/audio]

The registration deadline is by the end of the day today. The cost is $125 for an exhibitor
and $85 for a non-profit display for a non-chamber members. For Chamber members, the cost is $85 for an exhibitor or $60 for non-profit groups. For more information or a registration form you can contact the Clinton Area Chamber of Commerce at 935-3364, or visit clintonilchamber.com.

The event is March 28th from 3-7 pm.

Informational Meeting For Ambulance Service This Week

With the March Primaries a little over a week away, DeWitt County voters have an opportunity this week to attend an informational meeting on one of the key issues on the ballot.

The ambulance referendum still has many questions as we approach the vote. Ambulance Manager at the Dr. John Warner Hospital Terrence Hubbard has been gathering information with Clinton Mayor Carolyn Peters on what would be the best future option for DeWitt County. As a result, a County wide tax levy of point-25 percent has been proposed by the DeWitt County Board and Hubbard has been working to establish preliminary plans should the referendum pass to establish a non-for profit ambulance entity to service DeWitt County.

As a result, Hubbard says he has run into a lot of misconceptions in his time talking to concerned residents about the referendum and post-referendum. The most common misconception is some how the Dr. John Warner Hospital will find themselves back in the ambulance business and Hubbard stresses that is not the case.

[audio:ambulance1.mp3] [/audio]

The DeWitt County Board has not been very vocal about their future plans for the referendum. However, Hubbard says the Board is not completely in the dark. He has been in contact with them receiving feedback. While they have been less than proactive to this point to put information out regarding the issue, Hubbard says they have been interacting with him on his plans and their plans.

[audio:ambulance2.mp3] [/audio]

Should the referendum pass and the DeWitt County Board then approves bringing in a non-for profit group to service DeWitt County with ambulance services, what will it cost exactly to the tax payers? Hubbard explains any service that comes in will still be supported by bills they send out. He says the levy will pay for any other expenses left after those bills. Hubbard estimates the non-profit entity would need around $500-thousand. He says that figure is based on what the hospital's current expenses are to run the ambulance service. He believes he can run the ambulance service for that figure, and possibly maybe more efficiently.

[audio:ambulance3.mp3] [/audio]

Hubbard will be at the Warner Library Wednesday evening beginning at 5:30. He will have information on hand and will be available to answer any questions DeWitt County residents, or even those outside of DeWitt County may have. He says it will be a question & answer type of format and anyone interested is welcome to come and go as they please. Hubbard says they will be there if need be until the close of the Library, which will be 9 pm.

Rams, Redskins Agree To Trade Picks

The St. Louis Rams have agreed to trade the number-two overall pick in this year's NFL draft to the Washington Redskins.  The deal can't become official until Tuesday afternoon when the new league year begins.  Reports surfaced Friday night about the deal and on Saturday the Rams and Redskins confirmed the deal.  The Rams are expected to receive the number-six overall pick this year, a first round pick next year and in 2014, as well as the Redskins second-round selection in this year's draft.  St. Louis will have three of the top 39 picks.

Wainwright Returns From Tommy John

St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Adam Wainwright returned to the mound Friday after missing all of last season following Tommy John surgery.  It was his first start since late September of 2010.  The 30-year-old right-hander threw 30 pitches, including 16 for strikes, in two no-hit innings against the Minnesota Twins.  He's expected to start again Wednesday against Houston.

Bulls Notes

>>Bulls Bully The Jazz

(Chicago, IL)  --  Derrick Rose posted 24 points and 13 assists to lead the Bulls by the Jazz, 111-97.  Kyle Korver notched 26 points, seven rebounds and six assists and Carlos Boozer went for a game-high 27 points and eight rebounds.  Chicago has won nine of its last 10.  Paul Milsap set the tone for the Jazz with 26 points and seven rebounds, while Al Jefferson added 16 points and eight rebounds in a losing effort.  Utah has gone 2-and-2 over its past four outings.

>>Bulls Hit The Hardwood

(Chicago, IL)  --  The Chicago Bulls continue a six-game homestand this evening as they host the New York Knicks at the United Center.  The Bulls have won nine of their last 10 games to improve to 34-and-9 on the season.  They are coming off a 111-97 victory versus Utah on Saturday.

Philadelphia 76ers 106, New York Knicks 94
Los Angeles Lakers 97, Boston Celtics 94
Cleveland Cavaliers 118, Houston Rockets 107
Orlando Magic 107, Indiana Pacers 94
Milwaukee Bucks 105, Toronto Raptors 99
Memphis Grizzlies 94, Denver Nuggets 91
Atlanta Hawks 106, Sacramento Kings 99
Golden State Warriors 97, Los Angeles Clippers 93

>>Report: Bulls Mull Blockbuster For Dwight Howard

(Chicago, IL)  --  The Dwight Howard sweepstakes appear to be heating up with the NBA trade deadline fast approaching.  CBS Sports reports the Chicago Bulls could offer Luol Deng, Carlos Boozer and center Omer Asik for Howard and Hedo Turkoglu.  The Bulls also have a first-rounder from Charlotte they could include in the deal.  Complicating matters is the fact the Bulls were not included on the list of teams Howard told the Magic he'd be willing to sign an extension with.  The trade deadline is Thursday at 3:00 p.m. Eastern.

Bruce Weber To Begin Job Search Soon

Bruce Weber says he's relieved he didn't have to wait that long to find out his fate at Illinois, and that he'll start looking for a new job soon.

The former Fighting Illini coach was in Indianapolis to watch the Big Ten tournament semifinals Saturday and spoke to reporters at halftime of the Michigan State-Wisconsin game. Weber was seated about 10 rows behind the Michigan State bench.

Less than 24 hours earlier, Izzo passionately defended Weber and criticized Illinois officials for firing 1 of his friends.

But Weber says he knew the firing was coming, that he's already taken some phone calls about other jobs and that he would prefer to continue working in the Midwest.

Illinois Misses Out On All Post-Season Action

The same collapse that cost Bruce Weber his job will keep Illinois out of the postseason.

Illinois (17-15, 6-12 Big Ten) was left out of the NIT on Sunday. Athletic Director Mike Thomas said after he fired Weber on Friday that the Illini wouldn't be part of the lower-level College Basketball Invitational or collegeinsider.com tournaments.

Weber was fired after his team collapsed over the season's final six weeks.

Some Illinois players reportedly wanted to skip the NIT even if Illinois had gotten a bid.

The snub completed a collapse in which Illinois sank from a likely NCAA tournament bid in mid-January. But after beating then-No. 5 Ohio State, the Illini lost 12 of 14.

This is the second year in the last five that Illinois has missed the postseason altogether.

ISU Makes NIT; Draws Ole Miss

Illinois State will make its fourth appearance in the National Invitation Tournament in the past five seasons when it takes on Ole Miss Wednesday.

The NIT announced Sunday that Illinois State will play at Ole Miss in the tournament's first round.

The Redbirds (20-13, 9-9 Missouri Valley) lost to No. 19 Creighton in the conference tournament championship after upsetting No. 16 Wichita State in the semifinals.

Illinois State finished in a tie for third behind those two teams, both in the NCAA field, in the Missouri Valley regular season.

Ole Miss (20-13, 8-8) finished in a sixth-place tie in the SEC. The Rebels have won 5 of their last six.

Illinois State and Ole Miss have played three times and the Redbirds have won the last two. The most recent meeting was in 2004.

Boys Basketball State Tournament Notes

>> Normal U-High Falls Just Short In Class 2A State Final

Brandon Book scored 28 points and grabbed 11 rebounds, and Nick Grapperhaus made four free throws to help Breese Central hold off Normal University, 53-47, to win the IHSA Class 2A boys basketball championship.

Book led a second-half charge by the Cougars that saw them erase a 5-point halftime deficit with a 22-9 run throughout the third quarter and into the fourth. Trailing 22-17 at half, Book scored 13 of his team's points in the run, leaving Breese Central up 39-31 midway through the final period.

Austin Rickhoff scored seven points and grabbed nine rebounds, and Grapperhaus finished with seven points and four rebounds for the Cougars (34-1).

Mitch Stycznski scored 10 to lead Normal University (28-5). Kyle Morris chipped in nine points, Nick Schroeder eight and Keita Bates-Diop ended with seven points and nine rebounds.

>> Illini Central Takes 3rd In Class A State Final

Jared Entwhistle scored 15 points and Duncan McClure added 14 as Mason City Illini Central battled back from 12 points down to beat North Shore Country Day, 51-48, in the Class 1A third-place game at the IHSA Boys Basketball State Finals at Carver Arena on Saturday.

Entwhistle, McClure and Jordan Bradshaw (12 points and 10 rebounds) led the Cougars (18-13) in overcoming a 9-point halftime deficit by outrebounding the Raiders (19-6) 22-10 in the second half.

North Shore Country Day's Austin Curren scored 15 points and Riley Hall and Jake Bruce both scored 10 to lead the Raiders in scoring. Both Curren and Hall pulled down nine rebounds for the Raiders.

It's the first boys basketball trophy for the Springfield-area school that began the season 3-10.

DeWitt County Sheriff's Weekend Report

March 10, 2012


Jail Population: 62

Summons Served: 5

Warrant Arrests: 0


March 11, 2012


Jail Population: 61

Summons Served: 2

Warrant Arrests: 0


March 12, 2012


Jail Population: 58

Summons Served: 1

Warrant Arrests: 0


Stephanie Crum, 20, Clinton, was issued a citation for Speeding (74 mph in a 55 mph zone). Crum posted her IL Drivers license as bond and was released.


Julie Fay, 35, Bement, was issued a citation for Operating Uninsured. Fay posted her IL Drivers license and was released.


Hope Castle, 50, Farmer City, was issued a citation for Operating Uninsured Vehilce. Castle posted her IL Drivers license as bond and was released.


Ashley Noble, 25, Farmer City, was issued a citation for Speeding (74 mph in a 55 mph zone). Noble posted her IL Drivers license as bond and was released.


Danny Shoufler, 48, Farmer City, was issued a citation for Operating Uninsured Vehicle. Shoufler posted his IL Drivers license as bond and was released.


Christopher Murphy, 21, Weldon, was issued a citation for Operating Uninsured Vehicle. Murphy posted his IL Drivers license as bond and was released.


Michael Stout, 45, Deland, was issued a citation for Driving While License Suspended. Stout being unable to post the necessary bond, remains lodged in the DeWitt County Jail.





Vandalism To Veterans Memorial At Weldon Springs Being Investigated

The DeWitt County Sheriff's Department is seeking the public's help involving vandalism at Weldon Springs State Park during the weekend.

 width=On Saturday, a marble bench at the center of Veterans Point in Weldon Springs state park was discovered broken in several places. The DeWitt County Sheriff’s Office has launched an investigation and is seeking information from the public. DeWitt County Sheriff Jered Shofner said that Detectives are working to narrow down the timeline when the damage occurred, and identify how it happened.

[audio:memorialvandalism1.mp3] [/audio]

Site Superintendent at Weldon Springs and Clinton Lake Tom Jackson says it appeared someone tried to move the bench about 15 feet and damaged one side. Jackson adds with their budget the way it is, they are not sure if they are going to be able to repair the damage right away.

[audio:memorialvandalism1.mp3] [/audio]

Jackson calls the memorial a focal point now to the park and they receive visitors from all over Illinois to visit the site. He says it is a senseless crime and hopes law enforcement can gather enough information they find out who is responsible for the damage and they will be charged with damage to property.

[audio:memorialvandalism1.mp3] [/audio]

The damage was discovered around 4:30 P.M. on Saturday. Again, anyone who observed this or visited the monument on Saturday is asked to call the Sheriff’s Office at 217-935-9507 to help narrow the time line.

Village Of Wapella Victim of Attempted Financial Theft

The DeWitt County Sheriff's Department recently investigated the attempted theft of $35-thousand dollars from Wapella.

DeWitt County Sheriff Jered Shofner says this is the second case in the past six months. Sheriff Shofner says the thieves were using a check for a tax distribution from the county that was posted on the village website. The funds were reimbursed when the fraud was uncovered.

[audio:sheriffcases1.mp3] [/audio]

The Sheriff's Department has been encouraging local governments to use good judgment with what documents they chose to put online. Sheriff Shofner says while the internet provides great opportunities, this is one of the drawbacks to it. He feels government needs to be open and honest, but there are some things that should be kept from the world wide web.

[audio:sheriffcases2.mp3] [/audio]

Sheriff Shofner says attempts like these are not just being aimed towards government bodies, but also towards individuals. Sheriff Shofner encourages everyone to practice safe habits with whom you share your financial information with and what information you share.

Legislation Allow College Illinois Stakeholders More Transparency

According to State Representative Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs) a recent audit shows that College Illinois!, one of two types of savings plans offered by the state, is $560 million short of its projected obligations to nearly 54,000 current and future students. The program allows parents to lock in today's tuition rates, boosting their ability to pay for college.

Durkin has passed legislation out of the Illinois house that will allow public stakeholders and families who own contracts in the fund to review the investment of the fund’s assets.  HB3923 provides that the provision that authorizes closed meetings to be held to consider the sale or purchase of securities, investments, or investment contracts does not apply to meetings held to consider the investment of assets or income of funds deposited into the Illinois Prepaid Tuition Trust Fund.

[audio:3712DurkinHB3923a.MP3] [/audio]

The Illinois House approved the measure on Wednesday.  It now moves on to the Senate for their consideration.

Preventing Child Poisoning

Each year, more than a million young children in the U.S. swallow or come in contact with a poisonous substance.

Many childhood injuries due to unintentional poisoning can be prevented. A child can be accidently poisoned by a number of common substances found in the home, says Dr. Michelle Miner, assistant professor of pediatrics at SIU School of Medicine in Springfield.

[audio:siupoison1.mp3] [/audio]

Dr. Miner says because of a young child’s smaller size, the amount of substance is more dangerous in their system than it would be for an older child. Also, children under the age of five are more likely to ingest something they shouldn’t because they are always exploring. She suggests safety measures to prevent poisonings.

[audio:siupoison2.mp3] [/audio]

If a child has ingested something that could be poisonous, Dr. Miner suggests calling the national poison prevention hotline at 800-222-1222, which is staffed 24 hours a day. If the child becomes seriously ill, call 911 or take them to the emergency room. For information about poison prevention, go to the national Web site at www.poisonprevention.org.

Legislation Would Prohibit Universities From Hiring With State Funds

Right now in the State of Illinois there is no current law that prohibits hiring search committees from being funded with money derived from state taxes or tuition or fees charged to students.  According to State Representative Chapin Rose, funds used for hiring searches are taken from the Universities operating budgets.

That is why the representative is sponsoring legislation that would prohibit universities from using state funds and tuition towards companies that specialize in recruiting and hiring selections.

[audio:3712RoseHB5914.MP3] [/audio]

According to Rose, the legislation only prohibits universities from using these funds to utilize outside hiring companies and would not affect internal university hiring searches and efforts.

Special Olympics State Basketball Tournament This Weekend

1500 Special Olympics athletes from across the state comprising of 120 teams will put their abilities in basketball to the test this weekend in Bloomington for the 2012 Special Olympics State Basketball Tournament.

Special Olympics is a non-for-profit organization offering year-round training and competitions in 19 sports for more than 21-thousand athletes with intellectual disabilities and 11-thousand athletes aging two to seven years old with or without intellectual disabilities. Their programs enhance physical fitness, motor skills, self-confidence, social skills and they encourage community and family support.

Saturday the main event takes place for all divisions from 8 am to 5 pm at the Horton Fieldhouse on the campus of Illinois State University and the Shirk Center at Illinois Wesleyan University. A skills competition will take place from 9 am to 3:30 pm at both locations and the Opening Ceremonies will take place at 8 pm at Horton Fieldhouse.

Sunday events will be Seniors and Female Divisions play at 8 am at Horton Fieldhouse and the Shirk Center.

The public is invited and welcome to attend the tournaments which are free of charge.

3-9-12 Boys Basketball Scores

3-9-12 Boys Basketball Scores

Carrollton  45, Illini Central 44


University High 55, Rockford Lutheran  52

Peoria 56

Washington 53

Lanphier (Springfield) 88

Central (Champaign) 62

Bobcat Hurt After Being Hit By Car

A bobcat is on the mend after being hit by a car near Belleville in southwestern Illinois.

Mike Neiner says his wife saw the animal injured on a road Wednesday and called him. He says he loaded the unconscious female bobcat into his truck, took her home briefly and called the Treehouse Wildlife Center based in Dow.

Treehouse wildlife technician Pam Lippert retrieved the animal. X-rays later showed the bobcat didn't suffer any broken bones, although the cat probably has a concussion.

Lippert says the possibility of the bobcat being released back into the wild could depend on the extent of its brain damage.

Authorities Capture Three Men Who Escaped Southern Illinois Jail

Authorities in southern Illinois they've captured the three men who escaped from the Bond County Jail.

Bond County Sheriff's Department officials say James Hickman and Joshua Frith were caught in Indiana. The three men bolted Thursday morning from the lockup in Greenville.

Details of that escape haven't been released. The third inmate, BrianWilt, was being held on forgery charges. Frith was being held on drug charges and Hickman on sexual abuse charges.

Illinois State Police and the U.S. Marshals Service are investigating.

HUD Secretary Starts US Tour In Illinois

The head of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is launching a nationwide tour in Illinois to discuss a settlement with the nation's five largest mortgage lenders.

Secretary Shaun Donovan spoke in Chicago on Thursday to promote help available for homeowners.

Illinois will receive about $1 billion of the $25 billion settlement announced last month.

It involves allegations of "robo-signing" of foreclosure documents and other fraudulent practices occurring after the housing bubble burst. Robo-signing means having employees sign papers they hadn't read or using fake signatures to speed foreclosures.

The money will reimburse homeowners and improve standards.

Donovan says Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan was key in getting the settlement.

More than 3,000 homeowners have contacted Madigan inquiring about help.

Illinois May Ban Possession of Shark Fins

Illinois may be hundreds of miles from the nearest ocean, but that doesn't mean state lawmakers aren't concerned about sea life.

The Illinois House voted Thursday to ban the possession of shark fins.

Environmentalists say shark populations are dropping dramatically because of overfishing. Millions of sharks are killed for their fins, which are used to make shark fin soup.

Experts worry some shark species could be headed for extinction.

Bans have already been approved in four states - California, Hawaii, Oregon and Washington.

The Illinois measure sponsored by Democratic Rep. Sara Feigenholtz passed 81-33. It now goes to the Senate.

Stun Gun Proposal Shot Down

Police are using stun guns more frequently to apprehend suspects and Representative Monique Davis says they should be required to document each incident.  But the proposal has stirred controversy in the legislature, getting harsh criticism from downstate Representative David Reis [[Rice]].

[audio:rddReisTase.mp3] [/audio]

Representative Scott Penny says the proposal could force officers to use outdated restraining practices.

[audio:rddPennyTase.mp3] [/audio]

Officers are already required to fill out a report if they use a stun gun.  Davis's proposal would have implemented broader reporting policies, requiring the officer to reveal the race of the suspect and whether he or she was armed.  The information would have been compiled and used to determine if more training is needed on when to use a stun gun.  The measure failed 76-41.

7.3-Million Illinoisans Registered To Vot Before Primary

The Illinois State Board of Elections says there are fewer people registered to vote this year compared with 2010.

The board said Thursday that there are nearly 7.3 million register voters in Illinois for the March 20 primary election. The state's voter registration database shows that's about 318,000 fewer voters than the 7.6 million before the 2010 primary election.

The last time there was a presidential primary in Illinois was 2008. That year there were about 7.3 million registered voters. Turnout was about 41%.

But registration rose by about a half-million voters to nearly 7.8 million before the November 2008 general election, when then-Illinois Sen. Barack Obama was elected president.

Champaign Man Gets 54-Years For Molesting Two Girls

A judge in central Illinois has handed down a 54-year prison sentence for a 44-year-old Champaign man convicted of molesting two girls.

Judge Heidi Ladd sentenced Manuel Martinez for his conviction on charges of predatory criminal sexual assault of a child, criminal sexual assault and aggravated criminal sexual abuse.

Authorities say Martinez was charged after the August 2010 attacks on an 11-year-old and a 13-year-old in the apartment he shared with one girl's mother.

Assistant State's Attorney Adam Dill had sought the maximum 75-year sentence.

Martinez told the judge he's innocent and was wrongly accused.

Faculty React To University of Illinois President Hogan's Plan

Reaction among faculty to President Michael Hogan's plan to repair a rift with them through better communication seemed split among campuses.

At the flagship campus in Urbana-Champaign at least some faculty were skeptical.

Nick Burbules is a member of the faculty Senate and professor of education policy. He says better communication won't fix the deep animosity that now exists. He accuses Hogan of bullying of administrators.

But at the Springfield campus, assistant professor of astronomy and physics John Martin says he doesn't share those concerns.

More than 100 faculty members from the Urbana-Champaign campus recently called for Hogan to step down over ongoing concerns that he doesn't weigh faculty opinions and wants to diminish campus autonomy.

University trustees directed Hogan this week to repair relations with faculty.

Logan County Historic Sites Threatened By Budget Cuts

Governor Quinn is not only cutting school budgets and closing state facilities, they are cutting off funding for historic sites around Illinois.

A 'New York Times' article titled "Deepening Cuts Raise Threat of the Land of Less Lincoln" specifically points out two Logan County historic sites as ares that are being effected by budget woes. Logan County is host to two areas mentioned in a specific article and Geoff Ladd, the Logan County Abraham Lincoln Tourism Bureau Executive Director says the article discusses another cut to the agency that helps keep up historic sites around Illinois.

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The cuts effect the agency that runs the Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield. Ladd feels if it will effect them significantly, it may close most if not all the historic sites around Illinois. And the two in Logan County are Postville Courthouse and Mt. Pulaski Courthouse.

[audio:historycuts2.mp3] [/audio]

While the news is not good from an economic standpoint, Ladd is trying to keep a positive attitude. He says the recognition is great for the sites but he also feels it gives them a chance to prepare for a potential transition where the state cannot run the sites.

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Mt. Pulaski has set up a foundation to address maintenance and keeping bills paid. Ladd says both sites are currently runs primarily on community support, which he feels gives them an early advantage.

Rotary's Annual Alumni Game This Weekend

A Clinton tradition dating back almost twenty years is set to take place this weekend at Clinton Community High School.

The Clinton Rotary Club is hosting the annual "Maroon & Gold Alumni Basketball Game" Saturday night at Clinton High School. The proceeds from all the games have gone to Habitat for Humanity. Terry Ijams with the Clinton Rotary and organizer of the game, praises the work throughout the years Habitat has done, and feels the effort is certainly worth while.

[audio:alumnigame1.mp3] [/audio]

For fans that have come out in the past, they may notice some new faces on the sidelines this year coaching. Ijams says Clinton High School's Class of 76 alum Jann Martin will be coaching one of the women's teams once again. Newcomers to the coaches benches this year will be Sara Davenport, Class of 95, on the women's side. For the men's game, Jared Hooker and Gary Riegel from the Class of 62.

[audio:alumnigame2.mp3] [/audio]

Tip off for the women's game is set for 6:30 Saturday night in the Clinton High School gym, and the men's game should get underway around 7:45. Doors will open around 5:45. Tickets are available at the door, and are five dollars for adults, while children 12 and under are free.  Again, all proceeds from the event are contributed to DeWitt County Habitat For Humanity. 

Sprint Cup Series Shifts To Las Vegas

The Sprint Cup Series shifts to the Las Vegas Motor Speedway for Sunday's Kobalt Tools 400.  Denny Hamlin, who is Kyle  Busch's teammate at Joe Gibbs Racing, won last Sunday's race at Phoenix and moved into the points lead.  Hamlin snapped a 22-race winless streak.  Jimmie Johnson leads all drivers with four victories at Las Vegas.  Johnson won three consecutive races at this track from 2005-07.  His most recent win there came two years ago.

NFL Notes

>>Browns GM Confirms Talks With Rams

(Berea, OH)  --  Browns General Manager Tom Heckert confirms they have talked to the Rams about the number-two pick in next month's NFL Draft.  He told reporters Thursday that he wouldn't classify the talks as serious, but said they will attend Robert Griffin the Third's pro day workout March 21st.

>>Manning Decision Could Come Next Week

(Undated)  --  Peyton Manning's future could be decided by next week.  ESPN cites sources as saying the free-agent quarterback wants to make a decision on where he'll play in 2012 within the next week.  According to the sources, 12 teams reached out to the Manning camp after he was released by the Indianapolis Colts on Wednesday.  The future Hall of Famer reportedly prefers to remain in the AFC, but is open to playing in the NFC.  After missing all of last season following a series of neck surgeries, the Colts cut Manning rather than pony up a 28-million-dollar roster bonus.

Magic Top Bulls

The Orlando Magic went up by 15 after the first quarter and held on for a 99-94 win against the Chicago Bulls.  Dwight Howard posted 29 points, 18 rebounds and three blocks.  Jason Richardson knocked down four three-pointers and totaled 18 points as the Magic bounced back from an embarrassing loss to the Bobcats on Tuesday.  Derrick Rose chipped in 17 points and nine assists, but struggled from the field shooting 6-of-22 in a losing effort.  Carlos Boozer led the Bulls in scoring with 26.  Chicago saw its eight-game win streak snapped.

Phoenix Suns 96, Dallas Mavericks 94

Illini Lose To Iowa In First Round of Big Ten Tournament; Weber Out?

Matt Gatens scored 20 points to help Iowa defeat Illinois 64-61 Thursday in the first round of the Big Ten tournament in what might have been the final game for Illini coach Bruce Weber.

Speculation has been that Weber would be fired after the season. The Illini closed the regular season having lost 8 of 9.

Illinois nearly saved Weber for at least another day - D.J. Richardson missed a 3-pointer in the closing seconds that would have tied the score.

Meyers Leonard had 18 points and six rebounds and D.J. Richardson and James Bertrand added 11 points each for Illinois (17-15). Brandon Paul, Illinois' top scorer, finished with four points on 2 for 11 shooting and committed seven turnovers.

Aaron White had 13 points and nine rebounds for eighth-seeded Iowa (17-15), which has won 4 of its last six and will play No. 1 seed Michigan State on Friday.

NCAA Top-25 Men's Basketball  (ESPN/"USA Today" Rankings)
#2 Syracuse Orange 58, Connecticut Huskies 55
(Big East quarterfinals at New York, NY)

#3 Kansas Jayhawks 83, Texas A&M Aggies 66
(Big 12 quarterfinals at Kansas City, MO)

Louisville Cardinals 84, #9 Marquette Golden Eagles 71
(Big East quarterfinals at New York, NY)

#11 Baylor Bears 82, Kansas State Wildcats 74
(Big 12 Tournament quarterfinals at Kansas City, MO)

Cincinnati Bearcats 72, #14 Georgetown Hoyas 70
(Big East quarterfinals at New York, NY)

#15 Indiana Hoosiers 75, Penn State Nittany Lions 58
(Big Ten Tournament first round  at Indianapolis, IN)

#20 UNLV Rebels 56, Wyoming Cowboys 48
(Mountain West Tournament quarterfinals at Las Vegas, NV)

#21 San Diego State Aztecs 65, Boise State Broncos 62
(Mountain West Tournament quarterfinals at Las Vegas, NV)

#23 Notre Dame Fighting Irish 57, South Florida Bulls 53 (OT)
(Big East quarterfinals at New York, NY)

Sources Indicate Illinois Basketball Coach Bruce Weber Fired

 width=A person familiar with the decision says Illinois basketball coach Bruce Weber has been fired after nine seasons.

The person spoke to The Associated Press on Friday on condition of anonymity because the move hasn't been announced.

The Illini lost in the first round of the Big Ten tournament on Thursday, beaten by Iowa 64-61. It was a disappointing end to a disappointing season that in early January had the Illini in the Top 25 and atop the Big Ten. Illinois lost 12 of their last 14.

Weber had led the Illini to the 2005 NCAA title game, losing to North Carolina. But Illinois has struggled the last three seasons.

Business Expo Registration Deadline Approaching

Time is running out for local businesses to be a part of the Clinton Area Chamber of Commerce's Business Expo.

The deadline to register for the 2012 Expo is fast approaching and Executive Director at the Clinton Chamber Marian Brisard says this a good opportunity for businesses to be a part of. Businesses are encouraged to get their registration in on time to get the full benifits of expo.

[audio:expodeadline1.mp3] [/audio]

The registration deadline is by the end of the day Monday. The cost is $125 for an exhibitor and $85 for a non-profit display for non-chamber members. For Chamber members, the cost is $85 for an exhibitor or $60. For more information or a registration form you can contact the Clinton Area Chamber of Commerce at 935-3364, or visit clintonilchamber.com.

The event is March 28th from 3-7 pm.

Emanuel Talks Bipartisanship During Peoria Visit

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel went to Peoria with a message of bipartisanship but he wasn't talking just about political parties.

Emanuel spoke to about 500 people Wednesday at the Peoria Civic Center, saying Chicago and downstate Illinois need to face the fact they're geographically and economically linked. He says the traditional animosity doesn't work.

Emanuel spoke at the invitation of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. LaHood says he invited Emanuel to speak in LaHood's hometown and noted they became friends while both were in Congress.

Many in the crowd said they came to hear Emanuel out of curiosity.

Banker Lon Lyons says he appreciated the talk of working together. But he says he doesn't see much evidence of that sort of cooperation yet.

Gov. Quinn Asks For Federal Assistance

Gov. Pat Quinn is asking President Obama to declare five southern Illinois counties major disaster areas so that local residents and businesses affected by recent tornadoes can receive federal aid.

Federal assistance is being sought for Gallatin, Randolph, Saline, Union and Williamson counties.

In Saline County, six people killed when a tornado swept through Harrisburg. The National Weather Service has given the tornado an EF4 rating, the second-highest rating given to twisters. The rating is assigned to storms based on damage they cause.

In the request made Wednesday, Quinn said the state needs federal aid to help communities damaged by the Feb. 29 storms can recover.

If the federal government grant's Quinn's request, residents and businesses in the affect counties can apply for grants and low-interest Small Business Administration loans.

Threatening Note Found In Quincy School

A second threatening note is discovered at Quincy Junior High School within less than a week.  A student discovered the note yesterday and turned it in to school officials.  Superintendent Lonny Lemon says the note referenced a specific date when a threat would be carried out at the school.  He believes the newest note is an off-shoot of the first, which was discovered in a bathroom last Thursday.  The school has been on heightened security since the initial incident.  Lemon encourages any students with information to come forward.

Residents Oppose JDC Closure Plan

It's round two for many residents in the fight to keep the Jacksonville Developmental Center open.  More than 500 people convened for a public hearing on the campus of Illinois College last night to discuss the closure.  Cheryl Jansen, with Equip for Equality, says Governor Quinn's plan gives residents more independence.

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Jacksonville Mayor Andy Ezard says he's angry Governor Pat Quinn hasn't contacted the city personally to discuss the JDC closure plans.

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Opponents of the plan say some residents won't survive if they're forced to leave their Jacksonville home.  State Representative Jim Watson agrees, saying many will end up in trouble with the law.

[audio:rddWatson.mp3] [/audio]

JDC families have several options, according to Governor Quinn's administration.  Residents can move into community care, request to be moved into another state facility, or move in with their guardians.  Quinn plans to save the state 11-million dollars a year by closing the facility, which will put about 400 people out of work.

Ameren To Invest $625-Million In Infrastructure

Ameren Illinois plans $625 million in infrastructure improvements.

Ameren Illinois is planning a major upgrade to a training center in Decatur as part of the improvements, which will create more than 450 new jobs statewide.

The spending package will be spread over 10 years.

Ameren Illinois spokesman Leigh Morris says 450 new jobs would be linked to electricity grid upgrades. Those improvements range from installing automated smart electricity meters in homes to upgrading power distribution systems with advanced technology.

Chicago Medicare Fraud Scheme Nets Six Healthcare Providers

Six Chicago-area healthcare providers are under indictment for alleged involvement in a 20-million-dollar Medicare fraud scheme.  Federal prosecutors say two doctors and four nurses used Perpetual Home Health and Legacy Home Healthcare to submit false claims to the government.  The new indictments are connected to last year's arrest of John Gabriel and include his brother, Jassy, Stella Lubaton and Nessli Reyes.  Prosecutors are hoping to get the 20-million dollars back from the Gabriel brothers and Lubaton.

Audit Questions $7-Billion In Insurance Contracts

Officials at an Illinois company that lost a bid for state employees' insurance contracts say they're not surprised by an audit critical of the procurement process.

The state audit was released Wednesday. It finds serious problems with the way Illinois awarded $7 billion in contracts for state workers' health insurance.

A spokeswoman for Urbana-based Health Alliance says many of the auditor's findings were pointed out in the company's original protest of the procurement.

The audit comes as the state is settling a lawsuit by Health Alliance over the contracts.

Health Alliance spokeswoman Jocelyn Browning says the company is focused on submitting a bid in a new request for proposals that's part of the settlement being worked out.

Health Alliance insures about 90,000 state employees and their dependents.

Five At Party Face Alcohol Related Charges After Student Dies

Authorities in northern Illinois say five people are facing alcohol-related charges in connection with an underage drinking party that ended with the death of an Illinois Wesleyan student.

Ogle County Sheriff Michael Harn confirmed Tuesday that 18-year-old Brandon Landau of New York was part of the party in White Pines State Park on Sunday.

Ogle County deputies were called to the area, and investigators learned a fraternity party was taking place at the state park. Five 20-year-olds were charged with illegal consumption of alcohol by a minor.

Authorities say Landau later was found unresponsive with his lower body in a stream and his upper body on a log. The coroner says a preliminary autopsy failed to determine a cause of death.

Middle East Could Be Unexpected Market For Soybeans

When you think of potential markets for U.S. soybeans, the Middle East might not be the first to come to mind.  However, a delegation from the Illinois Soybean Association recently spent time talking trade in Dubai.  Jared White has more...

[audio:3612ISAtoDubaiWRAP.mp3] [/audio]

Clinton School District Updates Strategic Plan

Residents of the Clinton School District may have recently received a strategic plan update in the mail from the district.

The annual strategic plan update this year features continuing to emphasize technology in the school district. Superintendent of Clinton Schools Dr. Jeff Holmes explains there are five main areas of focus for the yearly strategic plan. The five areas are community, facilities, faculty, staff & administration, finance, and student achievement.

[audio:strategicplan1.mp3] [/audio]

The community plays a pivotal role in the development of the strategic plan. Dr. Holmes says they always appreciate the community getting involved and giving their input. He says another big item the community saw a need for was to get the referendum on the March ballot and to get that passed.

[audio:strategicplan2.mp3] [/audio]

Highlights of the plan in other areas include making sure teachers have current tools aside from technology to make them the best educators they can be and making sure all staff is trained properly. Dr. Holmes says financial goals including maintaining the tax rate and using their current funds wisely.

[audio:strategicplan3.mp3] [/audio]

Five years ago the strategic plan included a goal of having a referendum in 2012 to approve a new elementary building. Dr. Holmes points to the realization of that goal as the importance of the strategic plan to the district.

Report: Bears Release Hanie

The Chicago Bears will not be bringing back quarterback Caleb Hanie next season.  Hanie started four games last year after Jay Cutler suffered a fractured thumb.  The Bears lost all four of those games and Hanie threw nine interceptions with just three touchdown passes.  Third-string QB Josh McCown replaced Hanie the last two games and went 1-and-1 as the team's starter.  Hanie is an unrestricted free agent and will be free to sign with any NFL team when free agency begins on March 13th.

Bulls Knock Off The Bucks

Derrick Rose knocked down a 20-footer in the closing seconds to put the Bulls past the Bucks, 106-104.  Rose finished with 30 points and 11 assists as Chicago earned its first eight-game winning streak in almost a year.  Joakim Noah added 20 points and 10 rebounds, while Carlos Boozer scored 15.  Ersan Ilyasova had a game-high 32 points for Milwaukee with 10 rebounds and Drew Gooden scored 27 in a losing effort.

Philadelphia 76ers 103, Boston Celtics 71
Toronto Raptors 116, Houston Rockets 98
Washington Wizards 106, Los Angeles Lakers 101
Utah Jazz 99, Charlotte Bobcats 93
Miami Heat 89, Atlanta Hawks 86
New Jersey Nets 101, Los Angeles Clippers 100
Oklahoma City Thunder 115, Phoenix Suns 104
Minnesota Timberwolves 106, Portland Trail Blazers 94
San Antonio Spurs 118, New York Knicks 105
Cleveland Cavaliers 100, Denver Nuggets 99

Three More Claim NCAA Tournament Berths

Three more schools earned automatic berths to the NCAA Tournament last night.  The top-seeded Long Island Blackbirds knocked off Robert Morris 90-73 to capture the Northeast Conference crown.  LIU fell to North Carolina in the first round of the NCAA Tournament last March.  Second-seeded Lehigh ousted number-one Bucknell 82-77 to secure the Patriot League berth into the field of 68.  Lehigh was in the tournament two years ago and lost to Kansas in the first round.  Top-seeded Montana took down number-two Weber State 85-66 in the championship game of the Big Sky tournament.  The Grizzlies are back in the tourney for the ninth time in program history.

Seven conference tournaments begin today.  The ACC, Big Ten, Big West, Great West, Mountain West, SEC and the WAC open their conference tournament schedules.  The Great West winner does not receive an automatic bid.

MCB Top 25
#14 Georgetown 64, Pittsburgh 52

Balanced Field Readies For Big Ten Tournament

Perhaps the most unpredictable Big Ten tournament ever will begin Thursday at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

Michigan State has earned the top seed as part of a 3-way split for the conference crown. Spartans coach Tom Izzo said the conference is the most balanced it has been in his 27 years in the league. Michigan is the No. 2 seed, while Ohio State is No. 3. Those teams earned byes and will play their first games on Friday.

Play begins Thursday when No. 8 seed Iowa plays No. 9 Illinois. The second game features No. 5 Indiana and No. 12 Penn State. The evening matchups are No. 7 Northwestern against No. 10 Minnesota and No. 6 Purdue vs. No. 11 Nebraska.

The championship game will be played on Sunday.

>>Illini Hit The Hardwood

(Indianapolis, IN)  --  The ninth-seeded Illinois Fighting Illini start Big Ten tournament play this evening at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.  They will take on eighth-seeded Iowa in first round action.  The Illini beat Iowa in the two team's lone meeting this season.  The winner of that game will go up against tourny top-seed Michigan State tomorrow.

DeWitt County Sheriff's Report 3-8

March 8, 2012


Jail Population: 59

Summons Served: 2

Warrant Arrests: 2


Nicholas Lacomba, 27, Clinton, was issued citations for Reckless Driving and Improper Passing On The Shoulder. Lacomba was issued a notice to appear and was released.





Lack of Snow Leaves City With Excess Road Salt

The mild winter weather has benefited the Clinton's Street Department this year.

The City currently has an excess amount of salt supply on hand and is facing a dilemma in preparing for next year's supply. Public Works Director for the City of Clinton Steve Lobb says the department has the opportunity to be locked into a price of $62.63 for a ton of salt, or be put into a bidding process which could see prices vary.

[audio:citysalt1.mp3] [/audio]

Lobb explains the other side of the contract states the City is required to take at least 80% of what they bid. They currently have 150-tons of salt in their storage units now, but the contract does allow them to adjust how much they ask for.

[audio:citysalt2.mp3] [/audio]

Lobb came before the City Council to discuss the direction they wanted to go. The Board unanimously decided to take the locked in price of $62.63 per ton of salt for the upcoming year. Lobb does not foresee the price of salt declining a great deal. He says most likely the City will save money by taking the locked in price.

Quinn: Obama Will Get Another Term

President Obama will serve another four years in office.  At least that's what Illinois Governor Pat Quinn believes.

[audio:rddQuinnElect1.mp3] [/audio]

Quinn says President Obama will go down as one of the nation's greatest presidents.  Not because of anything political, but because he's chosen to, quote, "do what's best for the nation."

Quinn Announces Clean Energy Project

Governor Quinn says it's about time the U.S. establishes energy independence. 

[audio:rddWind2.mp3] [/audio]

Quinn announced a new wind energy project that will put 14-hundred-50 people to work and provide energy to about one and a half million homes across the Midwest.  It's an agreement between Rock Island Clean Line LLC and Flora, Illinois-based Southwire Company that will support wind turbine and transmission manufacturing.  The clean line will start near Sioux City Iowa, run through Cordova, Illinois and on over to Collins Converter in Morris.

Quinn Announces Wind Energy Project

Illinois added more wind turbines than any other state in the nation last year and Governor Quinn says that’s just the beginning.  He announced an agreement between Rock Island Clean Line LLC and Flora, Illinois-based Southwire Company that will support wind turbine and transmission manufacturing. 

[audio:rddWind1.mp3] [/audio]

The project will create 14-hundred-50 construction jobs over a three-year period.  It will also allow seven-billion dollars worth of investments in new wind energy projects to move forward.  Those projects have been stalled due to the lack of transmission.  Nearly one and a half million homes across the Midwest will have greater access to low-cost, clean energy thanks to the Clean Line project.

Normal Bans Some Camping After Occupy Gatherings

Council members voted to outlaw overnight camping in an traffic circle in uptown Normal and in the planned Gateway Plaza.

In November some members of Occupy Blo-No pitched tents in the center of the traffic circle. The protesters didn't say the night, though, at the city's request.

Normal's legal counsel, Stave Mahrt, said the two areas are public spaces where opinions can be expressed and people can gather. But he said neither is designed for overnight stays.

Mahrt said the ordinance is based on restrictions that bar camping in some areas of Washington, D.C.

Farmers Question Mild Winter's Effect On Crop

Agricultural experts in Illinois say they're unsure how this winter's mild weather will affect the planting and growing season.

Insects have been one concern for farmers. University of Illinois professor Mike Gray says many insects that impact crops don't spend winters in the area, so the mild weather wouldn't affect them.

Gray says the mild weather may lead some insects to appear earlier but he says that doesn't mean there will be more insects. He says that's because the number of adult insects last year was "relatively low." Gray is more concerned about spring weather.

The weather has been a bonus for cattle producers. Knox County Cattlemen's Association President Matt Johnson says the weather has let him use less feed and do field work.

Conceal Carry Advances In Committee

Representative Brandon Phelps isn't giving up on the fight to legalize conceal carry in Illinois.  A revised proposal passed in a House committee yesterday.  The new version of the bill allows universities to ban conceal carry on campus.  Phelps believes that will help push the measure through but others aren't as optimistic.  Representative Kelly Burke expressed concerns over potential university liabilities.  She was the only member of the committee who voted no on the proposal.  The measure failed by six votes last year but Phelps says he's confident he has all but one vote needed to pass the bill this time around.

Clinton Man Involved In Clinton Lake Deer Killing Case Receives Sentence

The sentence has been handed down for the Clinton man arrested in 2010 in connection with the killing of eight white tail deer at Clinton Lake.

22-year old Clay Reeves of Clinton has been sentenced to probation for 24 months and 180 days in DeWitt County Jail, which is subject to remission. DeWitt County State's Attorney Dick Koritz says Reeves sentence comes as a part of a plea agreement he made to give full compliance in the case.

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Koritz says he understands the emotional aspect of the case, however, Reeves does not have a prior record. According to Koritz, Class III Felony charges, which are what Reeves faced, are typically moved to misdemeanors for first time offenders. Koritz says he is getting punished a little harder than a usual misdemeanor offender. The sentence was agreed upon by the DNR.

[audio:deerslayersentence3.mp3] [/audio]

In January, Department of Natural Resources Conservation Police Officers arrested 26-year old Chevy Miller of Clinton. Miller faced 7 counts of unlawful taking of deer, hunting without permission, hunting by the aid of lights, hunting by aid of a motor vehicle, hunting at night, and animal harassment by a motor vehicle. Miller still faces a trial for the charges.

Authorities have said in the past more arrests could be forth-coming.

Four More Grab NCAA Tournament Berths

Four more schools earned automatic berths in the NCAA Tournament last night.  Harvard earned the Ivy League bid, the Crimson's first berth into the Big Dance since 1946.  The Detroit Titans secured their first entrance into the field since 1999 with a 70-50 victory over Valparaiso in the Horizon League tournament.  The South Dakota State Jackrabbits locked up their first-ever NCAA tournament bid when they defeated Western Illinois 52-50 in overtime in the championship game of the Summit League tournament.  Seventh-seeded Western Kentucky is dancing again after knocking off fifth-seeded North Texas in the finals of the Sun Belt tournament.  The Hilltoppers will make their 22nd tournament appearance.

Three more teams will earn automatic bids on Wednesday.  The Big Sky championship game pits Weber State against Montana.  Long Island and Robert Morris are battling for the right to represent the Northeast Conference.  Bucknell or Lehigh will join the field of 68 out of the Patriot League.

Rams' Williams Awaits Bounty Punishment

New Rams defensive coordinator Gregg Williams awaits his punishment for running a series of "bounty" programs with other teams.  He met with NFL security officials on Monday.  A suspension is likely, with a ruling from the NFL expected before the March 25th owners meetings.

Bulls In Milwaukee

The Chicago Bulls hit the hardwood this evening as they square off against the Milwaukee Bucks at the Bradley Center.  The Bulls have won seven straight games to improve to 32-and-8 on the season.  They are coming off a 92-72 victory versus Indiana on Monday.  Chicago is back at the United Center tomorrow evening to open up a six-game homestand against the Orlando Magic.

Atlanta Hawks 101, Indiana Pacers 96
Charlotte Bobcats 100, Orlando Magic 84
Boston Celtics 97, Houston Rockets 92 (OT)
Detroit Pistons 88, Los Angeles Lakers 85 (OT)
Miami Heat 108, New Jersey Nets 78
Dallas Mavericks 95, New York Knicks 85

Beckman Says Illini Short on Depth, Consistency

New head coach Tim Beckman is getting ready to start spring football practices at Illinois, and he says his team's shortcomings are depth and consistency.

Beckman noted Tuesday that he has only two running backs to work with in sophomore Donovonn Young and redshirt freshman Josh Ferguson. And Young has been hobbled by an old stress fracture from high school.

At receiver, Beckman says Ryan Langford looks good. But there aren't many players with any kind of track record behind them on the roster.

Beckman says all 3 of his quarterbacks have been strong in winter workouts. Incoming starter Nathan Scheelhaase will take the first snaps, but Beckman says every position is open.

Spring practices start Wednesday evening and run through the April 14 spring game.

DeWitt County Sheriff's Report for 3-2-12


March 2, 2012


Jail Population: 59

Summons Served: 2

Warrant Arrests: 2


Eli Rice, 27, Decatur, was issued a citation for Illegal Transportation Alcohol. Rice was issued a notice to appear and was released.




2012 Maroon Madness Huge Success

The Clinton Athletic Boosters 2nd annual Maroon Madness event last Saturday was a huge success.

According to President of the Athletic Boosters Brian Ennis, early indications are the event exceeded the $15-thousand goal for 2012 and last year's total as well. The money raised from the event go to support the Clinton High School and Jr. High School athletic programs.

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The event included a silent auction full great prizes for those in attendance. Ennis says the Cubs/Cardinals tickets were a big hit again this year. Also in the prices included a signed photo of World Series MVP David Freese and donated vehicles from local dealerships.

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Part of the tickets sales included 10-thousand of the $20-thousand dollars raised were given away. Ennis says they did not want those who won money to give back the money. He says if those who won money chose to give some back to the Boosters at a later date, they certainly would accept it, but the Boosters would not accept money at the event.

The Maroon Madness event is one of the primary fundraisers for the Boosters throughout the year. Ennis says their goal is to raise funds to keep the Jr. High and High School programs from having to raise their own funds.

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Ennis thanks all those who came out to support the event, those in the community and those from the school that came out. He appreciates all the support from those who donated items. He called this year's Maroon Madness their best event yet.

AG Goes After Phone Scammers

If you have a landline in your home, business, or church, you may want to double check your phone bill.  Attorney General Lisa Madigan says scammers are using your phone number as a credit card and you may be paying for things you did not order.

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It's estimated that two billion dollars worth of cram charges are placed on phone bills each year. Cramming charges usually appear in the "Accounts Summary" section of your phone bill and they're typically listed as "miscellaneous charges or credits."  The Illinois Attorney General's office has filed 30 lawsuits against phone crammers since 1996.  Madigan is backing a proposal that will ban all phone billing by a third-party company unless it's for a legitimate service.

Illinois Universities Staff Could Lose Tuition Break

State legislators are thinking of ending a perk allowing children of employees at Illinois universities to attend public colleges for half the usual amount.

Rep. Luis Arroyo is sponsoring the legislation. It passed a House committee last week and will move to the full House. The Chicago Democrat says the state cannot afford to provide the benefit.

The Board of Higher Education says the tuition waivers for employees' children cost a little over $8 million last year and went to more than 2,000 students.

Supporters say the break on tuition is a good way to attract people to sometimes low-paying jobs at public universities.

Cahnman Proposes End To Legislative Pensions

Lawmakers plan to overhaul the state's pension systems this year but one candidate for state representative says they should start by slashing their own benefits.  Ninety-Sixth District candidate Sam Cahnman [[can-man]] says legislators are part time employees receiving full time benefits. 

[audio:rddCahnPension1.mp3] [/audio]

Cahnman wants lawmakers to eliminate their pension benefits altogether but that could prove to be a challenge.  The retirement benefits are guaranteed by the state's Constitution, which would likely have to be changed in order for the measure to take effect for current lawmakers.  That means the idea would have to get past both the general assembly plus voters in an election.  When it comes to his own plans, Cahnman says he will not take a pension if he's elected.

Quinn Promotes Economic Development, Tourism Abroad

Governor Quinn slipped quietly out of the country and is spending the day across the border in Canada.  Canada is Illinois' largest export market.  It received more than 19-billion dollars worth of Illinois exports last year.  Quinn wants to increase those numbers by strengthening relationships with key leaders in Canada.  He opened the Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association trade show plus met with key members of the life sciences and bio-energy communities.  The governor is also making efforts to increase tourism to Illinois.  He promoted the state as a top destination for both business and leisure travel during a luncheon in Toronto.   Quinn is the first Illinois governor to visit Canada in 15 years.

Proposed DNR Budget Cuts 13.5%

The director of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources says his agency faces budget cuts.

DNR Director Marc Miller says Gov. Pat Quinn's proposed budget reduces his agency's spending by 13.5%. Miller says that's in addition to cuts in federal money, which are "sizeable." Miller calls the cuts a "responsible measure."

He says the agency will suspend publication of its "Illinois Outdoors" magazine. It also will cut programs at outdoors shows and fairs and stocking of private ponds. He does say that parks will "absolutely not" be closed.

Miller spoke to media Saturday at the La Salle County Democratic Central Committee annual fundraiser.

DNR Hoping For Trained Group of CPO's By End of Year

Have you ever wondered what it took to become a Conservation Police Officer?

Department of Natural Resources CPO's have to go through incredibly rigorous training. Current DNR Conservation Officer Ray Wichus explains every aspect of the test is a pass/fail and the failure any one of the single tests eliminates the person from consideration to be a CPO.

[audio:cpotraining1.mp3] [/audio]

The physical tests include a swim test, an interview and a doctor's physical. Wichus says the tests eliminate more and more people each test that is given.

[audio:cpotraining2.mp3] [/audio]

The tests all serve a purpose in one way or another. There are a lot of aspects to being a CPO that some people may not realize. Such as working floods and various natural disasters like that. Wichus says if you can pass all the tests, chances are, you would make a good CPO.

[audio:cpotraining3.mp3] [/audio]

DNR Conservation police officers in the Central Illinois region have been working short staffed for quite some time now. Wichus says it will be nice to get some help. New CPO officers are expected by the end of the year. The trainees will have to go through 12 weeks of the Police Training Institute, then 12 more additional weeks of training in the Illinois DNR conservation police academy. Trainees then have 6 months of field training before becoming a CPO. CPO's can enforce any laws your local police officers and county Sheriff's deputies enforce. They also can enforce several federal laws as well. Wichus notes city police and county sheriff's deputies can also enforce DNR Conservation laws.

Downtown Clinton Parking Rules To Be Discussed

Downtown parking rules may be changing again soon.

Doug Graves, owner of Graves Stationers on the downtown square came before the Clinton City Council Monday evening to discuss the parking situation. Graves claims his customers are getting parking violations and in turn it is hurting the business of the downtown merchants.

[audio:parkingcomplaint1.mp3] [/audio]

Graves says the parking issues will eventually force the downtown merchants customers to go elsewhere because they do not want to receive a parking violation. He says they need to be encouraging people to bring their business downtown, not discouraging them.

[audio:parkingcomplaint2.mp3] [/audio]

There are two 15-minute parking spaces the city has in place from when First National Bank had a downtown location and Graves says those spaces are being monitored and suggests maybe eliminating those or extending the time. He feels people that come to the downtown area to do business do a good job of policing themselves.

[audio:parkingcomplaint3.mp3] [/audio]

The City will most likely look into meeting with downtown merchants on adjusting the downtown parking time limits or even potentially removing the 15-minute parking signs.

Rams' Williams Meets With NFL Over Bounty Program

The fate of Rams defensive coordinator Gregg Williams remains uncertain.  He met with NFL security officials Monday after the league determined he ran an improper bounty system the last three years while with the Saints.  There are reports Williams did the same with other teams.

Michigan State's Green Heads All-Big Ten Team

Michigan State's Draymond Green has been chosen as player of the year in the Big Ten. Green averaged 16.2 points and a league-best 10.5 rebounds as the Spartans shared the regular-season title with Michigan and Ohio State.

Michigan State's Tom Izzo was named coach of the year for a third time as the Spartans finished 24-7 and 13-5 in the league after starting the season unranked.

Joining Green on both the coaches and media first team are conference scoring leader John Shurna of Northwestern, Ohio State star Jared Sullinger and Purdue's Robbie Hummel. The coaches selected Wisconsin guard Jordan Taylor to the first team, while the media gave the nod to Tim Frazier of Penn State.

NCAA Top-25 Men's Basketball  (ESPN/"USA Today" Rankings)
#18 Saint Mary's Gaels 78, #25 Gonzaga Bulldogs 74 (OT) (West Coast Conference Tournament Final at Las Vegas, NV)

Illini Play Iowa In Big Ten Tourney

The ninth-seeded Illinois Fighting Illini will square off against eighth-seeded Iowa in first round action of the Big Ten tournament on Thursday at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.  The winner of that game will take on top-seed Michigan State on Friday.  Illinois lost eight of its last nine games to finish the regular season at 17-and-14 overall and 6-and-12 in the Big Ten.  They suffered a 70-56 setback to then-15th-ranked Wisconsin on Sunday.  The Illini beat Iowa in the two team's lone meeting this season.

Bulls Use Big Third Quarter To Blast Pacers

>>Bulls Use Big Third Quarter To Blast Pacers

(Chicago, IL)  --  The Bulls ran their winning streak to seven games with a 92-72 victory over the Pacers.  Luol Deng netted 20 points for Chicago, which outscored Indiana 33-13 in the third quarter.  Derrick Rose had 13 points and nine assists, while Joakim Noah grabbed 17 rebounds in the win.  Paul George poured in 21 points for the Pacers, who had their winning streak stopped at six.  George Hill had 17 points off the bench in the loss.

Golden State Warriors 120, Washington Wizards 100
Utah Jazz 109, Cleveland Cavaliers 100
Orlando Magic 92, Toronto Raptors 88
Oklahoma City Thunder 95, Dallas Mavericks 91
Minnesota Timberwolves 95, Los Angeles Clippers 94
Milwaukee Bucks 97, Philadelphia 76ers 93
Denver Nuggets 119, Sacramento Kings 116 (OT)
Portland Trail Blazers 86, New Orleans Hornets 74

>>Rose Wins Weekly Honor

(New York, NY)  --  Chicago Bulls guard Derrick Rose has been named the Eastern Conference Player of the Week.  Rose averaged 28.8 points, 7.5 assists and 1.75 steals to lead Chicago to a 4-and-0 record for the week.  Rose scored 30-plus points twice, including a 35-point effort to close out the week against Philadelphia.

Clinton Water Rates Going Up

Your water bill may be a little higher in the near future.

Clinton's water rates will be going up in the near future. John Wise, commissioner of public property explains each year his department looks at their rates versus the costs of the department. He says to keep up with the rising costs the department has to providing water to residents, the rates will be going up soon. Residents will be receiving a letter in the mail explaining more.

[audio:waterrates1.mp3] [/audio]

Wise says the cost of all commodities are going up. He adds he has tried to hold off on raising the rates but because again of the rising costs of the equipment they use, they will be implementing an increase.

[audio:waterrates2.mp3] [/audio]

According to Wise, he does as much as he can to keep rates from going up and to keep all residents with water coming to their homes. He says there are going to be changes as well regarding collections. He tries to be as forgiving and understanding with times being as tough as they are but the department will be more strict in their collection methods.

[audio:waterrates2.mp3] [/audio]

Wise calls the increase is a necessary evil.

EIU Raises Tuition

Students starting classes at Eastern Illinois University next school year will pay 3.7% more than those who came to campus this year.

Eastern Illinois trustees on Friday agreed to the increase. It will raise tuition for an in-state student taking a typical full-time class load to $8,370 a year from $8,070.

The university noted in a news release that the increase is the smallest percentage-wise in 11 years. Students who started school this school year are paying 5.9% more than those who started the previous year.

Illinois law guarantees students at public universities will pay the tuition rate they begin school with for four years.

Trustees in January raised the cost of room and board at the school's dorms by 3.25% from $8,138 to $9,174.

Even Before Vote; GOP Faces Bad News

Even before the votes are cast, Republicans know this month's primary election will produce bad news for 4 of their incumbent legislators, thanks to new political districts drawn by Democrats.

Four state Senate races feature GOP lawmakers running against each, meaning each race will see an incumbent forced out.

That's exactly the kind of turmoil that Democrats hoped for when they overhauled political boundaries after the census. It gives Democrats a strong chance of bulking up their legislative majorities despite conditions that normally might help Republicans - such as Democrats passing a major tax increase.

Republican Rep. Chris Nybo calls redistricting "a corrupt process." He's challenging veteran lawmaker Kirk Dillard.

Thirty other incumbents, most of them Republican, face primary challenges but not from fellow lawmakers.

Report Shows DCFS Investigators Caseloads Too High

A new analysis finds caseloads for Illinois Department of Children and Family Services investigators are too high.

The biggest trouble spots are in Cook County, the counties around Chicago and in southern Illinois. The report says its analysis found the department is violating a 1991 federal consent decree that aimed to set monthly limits on new cases for investigators.

Investigators should handle about two dozen cases at a time, but a survey found they often have 40 or more cases.

DCFS spokesman Kendall Marlowe says it would be a mistake to attribute the recent deaths of 2 Chicago-area children to worker caseloads. Marlowe says hiring more investigators would solve the problem if that were the case, "and it won't."

February Tornados Rare

It's rare that tornadoes hit Illinois in February but when they do, they've proven to be very tragic says state climatologist Jim Angel. 

[audio:rddtornadoes.mp3] [/audio]

The twister that ripped through Harrisburg earlier this week had wind speeds up to 170-miles-an-hour.  It was rated as an EF-4, which is the second strongest on the scale.

John Deere Convention Coming Up

John Deere antique tractor enthusiasts are invited to attend the "Gathering of The Green" conference later this month.  Organizer Ken Reese calls it a John Deere "lovefest." 

[audio:rddDeere1.mp3] [/audio]

The "Gathering of the Green" convention is March 14th through the 17th at the River Center in downtown Davenport, Iowa.  More information is available on-line at GatheringOfTheGreen.com.

University of Illinois Trustees Call Unexpected Meeting For Monday

The University of Illinois' board of trustees has unexpectedly called a closed-door meeting Monday to discuss employment and personnel matters.

University spokesman Tom Hardy on Sunday night wouldn't specify what the meeting will cover.

But it comes just more than a week after 130 faculty members called on university President Michael Hogan to resign.

The board decided Sunday to call the meeting, which will be in Chicago.

The faculty members criticized Hogan's management style and ethics after an outside investigation found that his chief of staff, Lisa Troyer, likely wrote anonymous emails intended to encourage faculty to support a Hogan-backed enrollment initiative. She resigned but denied writing the emails.

Trustees Chairman Christopher Kennedy last week said he supports Hogan.

Trustees have a regularly scheduled quarterly meeting on March 15.

Plans MadeTo Build International Port In Pekin

A new international shipping port will find a home in Pekin.

The Heart of Illinois Regional Port District has announced the project, saying construction should start next year and be finished by 2014. When complete the port would transport cargo from central Illinois to the Gulf of Mexico. It will be built on seven acres of land on the Illinois River.

The port district has hired an engineering firm to oversee the permitting process for the project. The estimated cost is $8 million for project construction and design. It will be financed by a combination of public and private funds and revenue bonds.

Man Charged In Beason Killings Gets New Attorneys

One of the brothers accused of killing five members of a central Illinois family is getting new attorneys.

A Logan County judge on Thursday excused the two attorneys who had been representing Christopher Harris.

The judge cited a conflict of interest. 1 of the attorneys has said the conflict was created when Christopher Harris made incriminating statements to another 1 of the lawyer's clients in the Logan County Jail.

The judge has appointed Springfield attorneys Dan Fultz and Peter Naylor to take over Harris' defense.

Christopher Harris and his brother, Jason Harris, have pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder charges in the 2009 beating deaths of Ruth and Rick Gee and 3 of the Gees' children in their home in Beason.

No trial dates have been set.

March Final Month For Medicare Part B Enrollment

March is the final month for seniors to get signed up for Medicare Part B.

The General enrollment period for Medicare Part B runs from January through March. Jack Meyers, Public Affairs Specialist with Social Security explains this enrollment for anyone over 65 that may have deferred Part B coverage. Those who register this year will have coverage beginning July of this year.

[audio:medicareenrollment1.mp3] [/audio]

Medicare Part B covers doctors visits or costs that are not covered by Part A. Meyers says generally Part A is free, but Part B premiums this year are right around $100 this year.

[audio:medicareenrollment2.mp3] [/audio]

Meyers explains not taking advantage of the coverage is quite common. He says many people may defer on the coverage because of they are currently working and have insurance through their employer or a spouse's employer.

[audio:medicareenrollment3.mp3] [/audio]

For more information you can visit the Social Security website at www.socialsecurity.gov or stop in to your local Social Security office. Enrollment can also take place at a Social Security office near you.

Special Support Group For Weight Loss Surgery Forming In Clinton

A special support group is starting up this week in Clinton.

A support group is being formed for individuals who have had the the weight loss surgery bariatric bypass surgery. The group is headed Peggy Selimoski. She explains many doctors who give the surgery require patients to join support groups after the surgery. Selimoski says most support groups are quite a distance away so she is starting one in Clinton.

[audio:supportgroup1.mp3] [/audio]

Selimoski says one of the biggest changes once an individual has had the surgery is to their diet. She says the support group will allow you to exchange ideas on things that work or don't work.

[audio:supportgroup2.mp3] [/audio]

Many groups such as the one Selimoski is heading are sponsored by doctors or hospitals, however, she is leading this group with no sponsorship. Selimoski says some of the things you can experience are tough to go through by yourself, she hopes anyone not a part of a support group or someone looking for a more local support group will come and join her.

[audio:supportgroup3.mp3] [/audio]

The support group Selimoski is leading meets Tuesday's starting tomorrow at the Dr. John Warner Hospital's Rural Health Center from 6:30-8pm.

For more information you can contact Peggy Selimoski at 934-4665.

March Kicks Off Couple Events At Friendship Center

Today kicks off a couple of events at the DeWitt County Friendship Center.

This afternoon kicks off a wellness class for Senior Citizens. The class "Live Well, Be Well" teaches Seniors how to live with chronic illnesses. Executive Director at the DeWitt County Friendship Center Sissy Leggett says the class was developed at Stanford University and is a great class for Seniors to be a part of for tips on how to handle challenges and emotions associated with some of your daily challenges.

[audio:friendshipcenter1.mp3] [/audio]

This evening also kicks off the Friendship Center's 2012 monthly potlucks. Leggett explains each first Monday of the month from March through November the Friendship Center is host to a potluck, and this evening's event also has something special on tap.

[audio:friendshipcenter2.mp3] [/audio]

To reserve a spot for the "Live Well, Be Well" class or for more information on these events and the many others at the DeWitt County Friendship Center, you can contact them at 935-9411.

McIlroy Holds Off Tiger To Win Honda Classic

Rory McIlroy [[ mac-ILL-roy ]] has won the Honda Classic to become the number-one ranked player in the world.  After rounds of 66, 67 and 66, the former U.S. Open winner from Northern Ireland shot a one-under 69 on Sunday to hold off Tiger Woods by two strokes at 12-under-par.  The 22-year-old McIlroy had the chance to lock up the number-one spot at the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship in Marana, Arizona last weekend but finished second to Hunter Mahan [[ may-HAN ]].

Woods shot his lowest round in two-and-a-half years and his best closing round in PGA Tour history with an eight-under 62.  Woods started Sunday's play nine strokes back of McIlroy and closed the tournament on 18 with his second eagle of the round to sit in a tie for second place with Tom Gillis at minus-10.  Lee Westwood carded a minus-seven on Sunday to sit alone in fourth at eight-under-par.  Charl Schwartzel and Justin Rose rounded out the top-five at minus-seven.

Hamlin Races To Win In Desert

Denny Hamlin took the checkered flag in Sunday's Subway Fresh Fit 500 at Phoenix International Raceway.  It's Hamlin's first victory at PIR and the first under new crew chief Darian Grubb, who led Tony Stewart to the Sprint Cup Championship last season.  Stewart lost a lap after running out of fuel and never recovered, finishing 22nd.  Kevin Harvick ran out of fuel a lap shy of the finish line and finished second while Greg Biffle took third for the second straight week.  Jimmie Johnson followed a disaster-filled run at Daytona last week with a fourth-place finish and Brad Keselowski followed him in fifth.

Williams Apologizes For Saints' Bounty Program

Rams defensive coordinator Gregg Williams is apologizing for his part in an improper "pay for performance" program he was a part of when with the New Orleans Saints.  The NFL announced Friday that a three-year investigation determined Williams organized a "bounty" system that financially rewarded Saints defenders for taking out opposing players.  The payments are a violation of NFL policy.  In his apology, Williams called it a terrible mistake and said they knew it was wrong while they were doing it.  Williams left the Saints in January to become the new defensive coordinator of the St. Louis Rams.  He's likely to face disciplinary action from the NFL.

Bears Franchise Forte

The Chicago Bears have placed the franchise tag on running back Matt Forte [[ for-TAY ]].  The one-year tender offer for Forte is expected to pay him $7.7-million for the 2012 season.  The Bears have until July 15th to work on a long-term deal for Forte, and at that point he'd be playing under the franchise tag for the remainder of the season.  The 26-year-old Forte rushed 203 times for 997 yards and three touchdowns in 12 games and was selected to his first Pro Bowl last season.  He also caught 52 passes for 490 yards and a score.  Forte missed the final four games due to a right knee injury.

Bulls Slip Past Sixers

Derrick Rose led the way with 35 points and eight assists as the Bulls slipped past the 76ers, 96-91.  Joakim Noah collected 11 points and 18 rebounds for Chicago, which has won six straight to move to 31-and-8.  Carlos Boozer chipped in with 13 points and seven boards in the victory.  Thaddeus Young scored 17 off the bench to pace the Sixers, who have dropped seven-of-nine.  Jrue Holiday netted 16 points, while Elton Brand had 14 points and 13 rebounds in the loss.  The Bulls are right back on the court this evening as they return to the United Center to host the Indiana Pacers.

Boston Celtics 115, New York Knicks 111 (OT)
Los Angeles Lakers 93, Miami Heat 83
Toronto Raptors 83, Golden State Warriors 75
New Jersey Nets 104, Charlotte Bobcats 101
Chicago Bulls 96, Philadelphia 76ers 91
Los Angeles Clippers 105, Houston Rockets 103 (OT)
Phoenix Suns 96, Sacramento Kings 88
Denver Nuggets 99, San Antonio Spurs 94

Illini Drop Regular Season Finale; ISU Falls in OVC Tourney Championship, Ends Incredible Run

>> Illini Drop Regular Season Finale

Senior Jordan Taylor scored 16 points in his final home game, helping No. 14 Wisconsin beat Illinois 70-56 on Sunday in both teams' regular season finale.

Josh Gasser added 16 points and eight rebounds for the Badgers (23-8, 12-6), who have won three straight going into this week's Big Ten tournament. The Badgers honored Taylor and fellow senior Rob Wilson in their final Kohl Center appearances.

Brandon Paul had 22 points for Illinois (17-14, 6-12). The loss continued what has been a miserable collapse in the second half of the Big Ten season for the Illini, and coach Bruce Weber's future at the school remains in doubt.

Illinois had only three assists, a season-low.

It was the 265th victory at Wisconsin for Badgers coach Bo Ryan, tying Harold "Bud" Foster for most wins in the program's history.

>> ISU Falls In OT In Incredible MVC Tourney Run

It was fitting that when it came down to the final snip of the nets, Antoine Young got the honor.

The lone senior starter for No. 25 Creighton stepped up when it counted, scoring 8 of his 14 points in overtime as the Bluejays survived Illinois State's bid for a second straight upset with an 83-79 victory in the Missouri Valley Conference tournament final on Sunday.

Grant Gibbs added a career-high 20 points for Creighton, the No. 2 seed, which won the conference tournament for the seventh time in 14 seasons and earned its first NCAA bid since 2007.

The Bluejays were 3-0 against fourth-seeded Illinois State (20-13), which knocked off 15th-ranked and top-seeded Wichita State by a point in the semifinals, the first two by nine and 28 points.

Freshman Nic Moore had 20 points for Illinois State, seven in overtime. He drove the length of the court for a layup with 6.5 seconds to go in regulation that forced overtime. Young tried to duplicate that feat on the other end but missed with 2 seconds left and Gregory Echenique missed a tip-in at the buzzer.

Jackie Carmichael added 17 points and nine rebounds for Illinois State, which hasn't made the NCAA tournament since 1998. Tyler Brown had 16 points and John Ekey added 13.

The Valley expects to get two NCAA bids, ending a 4-year slump in which the conference got one bid each time, with regular season champion Wichita State among the top teams in the nation in the RPI. Illinois State likely will settle for an NIT bid.

NCAA Top-25 Men's Basketball  (ESPN/"USA Today" Rankings)
#1 Kentucky Wildcats 74, #13 Florida Gators 59
#11 Ohio State Buckeyes 72, #5 Michigan State Spartans 70
#16 Michigan Wolverines 71, Penn State Nittany Lions 65
#20 Indiana Hoosiers 85, Purdue Boilermakers 74
#22 Florida State Seminoles 80, Clemson Tigers 72

DeWitt County Sheriff's Weekend Report


March 3, 2012


Jail Population: 59

Summons Served: 5

Warrant Arrests: 0


March 4, 2012


Jail Population: 60

Summons Served: 0

Warrant Arrests: 0


March 5, 2012


Jail Population: 60

Summons Served: 0

Warrant Arrests: 0


Christina Elizondo, 29, Minier, was issued a citation for Improper Lane Usage-One-Way Street. Elizondo posted her IL Drivers license as bond and was released.


Max Harmon, 48, Lexington, was issued a citation for Speeding (73 mph in a 45 mph zone). Harmon was issued a notice to appear and was released.


Tayler Beck, 18, Clinton, was issued a citation for Speeding (71 mph in a 55 mph zone). Beck posted his IL Drivers license as bond and was released.


Joan Rhoades, 52, Kenney, was issued a citation for Operating Uninsured Vehicle. Rhoades posted her IL Drivers license as bond and was released.


Kaitlyn Harrison, 23, Libertyville, was issued a citation for Speeding (71 mph in a 55 mph zone). Harrison posted her IL Drivers license as bond and was released.




Clinton Police Department Weekend Report












Warrensburg-Latham Schools In Middle of Facility Update

The Warrensburg-Latham School district is in the midst of a two-part facility update.

The district has phase on completed and phase two is underway. According to Kristen Kendrick, Superintendent of Warrensburg-Latham schools, the first phase included updates classroom additions, renovations to athletic facilities and the addition of a combination of an auditorium and cafeteria to the high school and a new middle school cafeteria. Kendrick notes the building updates finished a little over a year ago, and the outdoor athletic facilities were worked on during the summer.

[audio:warrensburgupdates1.mp3] [/audio]

Phase two is going to add extra classrooms to the high school, and extra office space and library space. Being new to the Warrensburg-Latham district, Kendrick feels the renovations will be appealing for families looking for a school district with nice facilities. She adds the district is preparing their facilities for the future technology as well.

[audio:warrensburgupdates2.mp3] [/audio]

The renovations connect all the building; elementary school, middle school and high school; all into one big facility. Kendrick feels making it one campus has several benefits for both students and faculty, but also parents of the district as well.

[audio:warrensburgupdates3.mp3] [/audio]

The funding comes courtesy of a referendum that passed a few years ago for around $12-million. The school district also received a grant from the state for a Capital Development Grant for almost $10-million. The grant was for the lone purpose to update the school's facilities, and spending a portion of the districts money to help in the updates.

Black Americans At Highest Risk Among Ethnic Groups for Health Problems

Black Americans have more health care problems with disease than do other ethnic groups. Their challenges include both the prevalence of certain medical conditions as well as difficulties with diagnosis and treatment.

A number of diseases affect black Americans more than the rest of the population. Diseases such as obesity, hypertension, coronary vascular disease, diabetes and some forms of cancer are more prevalent, says Dr. Wesley Robinson-McNeese, associate professor of internal medicine at SIU School of Medicine in Springfield. He explains how one cancer is more severe in African-Americans.

[audio:siublack1.mp3] [/audio]

Dr. McNeese says most cancers in African-Americans are generally discovered at more advanced stages. In addition, he explains health disparities -- how blacks are often uninsured or underinsured and face other difficulties in getting health care.

[audio:siublack2.mp3] [/audio]

Dr. McNeese encourages black Americans to be more proactive in their health care. He says they should educate themselves about their health care needs, seek out a personal physician and take advantage of the various health screenings offered in their communities.

Monsanto Hosting Corn on Corn Meeting

Before farmers hit the field this Spring, take the opportunity to look back at 2011.

In response to the questions and frustrations of many corn growers, Monsanto would like to discuss what happened with corn on corn.  They will explain how the stress interactions negatively impacted many acres of corn on corn across central Illinois in 2011 at a meeting Monday in Decatur.  With collective thinking, research, and experience of many agronomists both industry and university - they hope to help you better understand what happened.  As time allows, they will also try to cover topics of interest such as high yield soybean management, prescription farming techniques, and any other issues on your mind.

Meeting takes place 9 am with a continental breakfast to be served at 8:45 at the Hickory Point Banquet Facility at the Hickory Point Golf Course. RSVP's can be made by calling Jeff Brown at 217-519-2392 or jeff.m.brown@monsanto.com.

Gun Bill Approved By House Committee

Legislation pushed by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel that would implement a statewide handgun registry was approved by a House committee on Wednesday and will soon be considered by the full House.

The bill was approved by the House Executive Committee by a party-line vote of 7-4, with all Democratic committee members supporting it. The cost would be $20, down from the originally proposed amount of $65.  Illinois gun owners must obtain Firearm Owner’s Identification Cards, but are not required to report the number and types of weapons they own. Under the bill, gun owners would have to report the handguns they own, where they were bought and other information.

Opponents of the measure say it’s just a way to annoy and tax law-abiding citizens around the state because of one city’s crime problems. 

State Representative Bill Mitchell calls it an outrage.

[audio:3112MitchellHandgunbill.MP3] [/audio]

Legislation Could Give Senate Role in Approving State Contracts

New legislation would give the Illinois Senate a role in approving contracts with the state’s public employee unions under the governor, much like the Senate’s constitutional role in confirming gubernatorial appointees. Ray Watt has more...

[audio:SenBradyonGovernorUnioncontracts3112.mp3] [/audio]

Census Year for USDA's Ag Statistic Service

The Census of Agriculture is conducted every five years - which means this year USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service will mail out forms to all farms in the U.S. to collect crop production and livestock data for 2012. Audra Hubble is with NASS and says the information collected is confidential…tape
[audio:agcensus1.mp3] [/audio]
Hubble says the form takes less time for smaller operations than larger operations to fill out - but it typically doesn’t take longer than 30 minutes. NASS tries to get as many responses as possible - but Hubble says phone or field follow-ups may occur to achieve an 80-percent participation rate. Hubble says it’s better to fill out the form sooner than later - since NASS likes to have all data by the end of March.

Boy Basketball Regional/Sectional Scores

Here are some of the various High School Regional/Sectional Scores from Friday March 2, 2012




Illini Central 55, Midland 29


Fisher 42, Arthur 31



University High 71, Pleasant Plains 54


Teutopolis 67, Robinson 59



Decatur MacArthur 45, Lincoln 35



EIU Vandalism Costs Over $360-Thousand

New documents show vandalism to chemistry labs at Eastern Illinois University cost more than $367,000.

The university Board of Trustees agenda documents detail the costs. The board is to consider the issue at its meeting on Friday. The price tag includes replacing high-performance equipment that was damaged, but doesn't cover cleanup and other costs.

The vandalism to the chemistry labs and classrooms happened during Thanksgiving break. It also damaged faculty research projects. At the time university officials said the vandalism was a shock and that some faculty members would have to start their research from scratch.

EIU President: We Can Handle Pension Obligation

Eastern Illinois University President William Perry is confident the school can handle making additional pension costs for employees.  The comment comes in response to Governor Quinn's suggestion that universities pick up the pension obligations to help relieve the state's pension troubles.  Perry says it would cost the university about 20-million dollars so he'd want some guarantee that lawmakers would at least keep EIU's budget level.  He suggests the universities assume responsibility over a five year period as opposed to a sudden shift which forces them to assume full responsibility all at once.

Shelter Takes Donations For Displaced Animals

The Animal Protective League of Springfield is taking donations to help pet owners impacted by yesterdays deadly tornado in Southern Illinois.  Jerry Powers, with the APL, says so far Springfield residents have stepped up big.

[audio:rddPetDonate1.mp3] [/audio]

Powers says this is the least they could do, considering the they received lots of help when Springfield was hit by a tornado in 2006.  The donations can be dropped off at the shelter today and tomorrow between 8:30am and 5:30pm.  The shelter is located at 1001 Taintor Road, just north of the state fairgrounds.

Illinois Ranks High For Facility Expansion

Illinois often makes the list of "worsts" in surveys conducted nationally but "Site Selection" magazine is actually giving the state high marks for new and expanded corporate facilities.  The state is coming in at number seven, up one spot from last year's ranking.  More than 200 corporate facilities came to Illinois or expanded last year.  Governor Quinn is pleased with the news, saying he's committed to making Illinois more attractive for businesses.  He says he has an aggressive long term strategy for bringing quality jobs to Illinois.  He intends to increase innovation, exports, and foreign investment this year.

House Projects Lower Revenue Than COGFA

Democrats in the House expect the state will bring in about 33-point seven billion dollars this year.  That's about 200-million dollars shy of what the Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability anticipates.  Representative John Bradley says the situation is very similar to last year when the legislature passed a budget with numbers lower than COGFA estimates.  He says he'd rather err on the side of caution than project more than they actually have.  When it comes to paying down the six billion dollar backlog of bills, Bradley says he'd support a plan to take money off the top.  He understands that will put more pressure on pensions, Medicaid, and general operations but he says paying down the bills is a high priority.

U of I Project To Produce Oils From Crops

First scientists turned corn into ethanol. Now they think sugarcane and sorghum might be a future source of diesel and jet fuel.

Researchers at the University of Illinois will lead a study aimed at boosting the natural oil-producing capabilities of sugarcane and sorghum.

U of I Professor Stephen Long will lead the initiative that will include researchers from the University of Florida, the University of Nebraska and the Brookhaven National Laboratory.

Long says sugarcane and sorghum spend much of their energy making sugars. But scientists hope they can engineer plants that make oils instead.

The natural plant oils then could be converted into diesel and jet fuel through a chemical process.

Long says sugarcane and sorghum could produce more than 10 times more oil per acre than canola and soybeans.

Local Teachers Group Raising Money For Scholarship

You have a couple opportunities to enjoy a great meal and help out a local organization at the same time.

The ladies of Alpha Delta Kappa(ADK), a local teachers sorority, are hosting a fish fry fundraiser tonight and next Friday. The teachers of ADK are very involved in the community. Member of the sorority, Sue Stith explains their biggest involvement may be an annual college scholarship, but they help out in several other areas of the community as well.

[audio:adkfishfry1.mp3] [/audio]

The fish fries are this Friday and next Friday. Stith explains the teachers of the sorority will be on hand to serve those who come out. The ADK will use the money they raise to fund their annual Teachers Scholarship.

[audio:adkfishfry2.mp3] [/audio]

Again the dates for the Alpha Delta Kappa's fish fries are this Friday, March 2 and Friday March 9 from 5-7 pm at the St. John's Parrish Hall.

Spring Training Games Kick Off This Weekend

>>Spring Training Games Begin

(Undated)  --  The sounds of spring training baseball will be heard this weekend throughout Florida and Arizona.  The Cardinals, however, don't begin Grapefruit League play until Monday against the Marlins in Florida.  The Cubs kick off Cactus League play Sunday against Oakland in Mesa, Arizona.

>>Cubs Start Spring Schedule

(Mesa, AZ)  --  The Chicago Cubs kick off their Cactus League schedule this weekend.  The Northsiders host the Oakland A's on Sunday at HoHoKam Park in Mesa.  It will mark the club's first game under new manager Dale Sveum [[ SWAYM ]], new president of baseball operations Theo Epstein [[ ep-STEEN ]] and new general manager Jed Hoyer.  Meanwhile, the White Sox open up their spring training slate on Monday against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Camelback Ranch in Glendale, Arizona.

Bulls Continue Road Trip

The Chicago Bulls continue a three-game road swing this evening against the Cleveland Cavaliers at The Q.  The Bulls have won four games in-a-row to improve to 29-and-8 on the season.  They beat San Antonio, 96-89, on Wednesday evening.  Chicago wraps up the road trip on Sunday at Philadelphia.

Oklahoma City Thunder 105, Orlando Magic 102
Phoenix Suns 104, Minnesota Timberwolves 95
Los Angeles Clippers 108, Sacramento Kings 100
Miami Heat 107, Portland Trail Blazers 93

Bradley Knocked Out of First Day Of MVC Tournament

Rayvonte Rice scored 18 points and Ben Simons had 16 as Drake defeated Bradley 65-49 Thursday night in the opening round of the Missouri Valley Conference tournament.

The seventh-seeded Bulldogs (17-14) advance to the quarterfinals on Friday when they'll face No. 2 seed Creighton.

Drake finished in a five-way tie for third place at 9-9 in the Missouri Valley - its second-highest finish in 26 years - but tiebreakers dropped the Bulldogs to the No. 7 seed.

Walt Lemon scored 16 points and Dyricus Simms-Edwards had 14 for 10th-seeded Bradley (7-25), which shot 34% from the field and hit just 4 of 20 3-point attempts.

Drake, which beat Bradley for the third time this season, dominated inside with a 40-22 advantage on points in the paint.

Indiana State walked away a 66-51 winner over Southern Illinois.

Top-seeded Wichita State plays number-eight Indiana State today, while number-seven Drake meets second-seeded Creighton tonight.  Also today, Northern Iowa faces Illinois State and Evansville battles Missouri State.

Illini Fall To Michigan

Tim Hardaway Jr. had 25 points and 11 rebounds to help keep No. 13 Michigan in the Big Ten title race with a 72-61 win over Illinois on Thursday night.

Trey Burke added 21 points for Michigan (22-8, 12-5), which led throughout.

Illinois (17-13, 6-11) closed to within 40-39 with just over 15 minutes left. But the Illini missed three chances to tie the game or take a lead.

The Wolverines stretched the lead to 53-44 with 7:49 to play and Illinois was never close again. Michigan can claim a share of the conference title with a win Sunday over Penn State and an Ohio State win over Michigan State.

Meyers Leonard led Illinois with 18 points and nine rebounds. Illinois' Brandon Paul added 15 points.

NCAA Top-25 Men's Basketball
#1 Kentucky Wildcats 79, Georgia Bulldogs 49
#22 Florida State Seminoles 63, Virginia Cavaliers 60

Rep. Mitchell Introduces Small Business Tax Breaks Legislation

Illinois State Representative Bill Mitchell paid a visit to Clinton's Save-A-Lot Friday afternoon to promote a piece of small business legislation.

 width=Rep. Mitchell would like to reduce hte income tax rate that individuals, trusts and estates pay from 5% to 3%. Mitchell says large business that are a part of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) get tax breaks because they threaten to leave the state, but grocery stores like Save-A-Lot cannot pack up and leave.

[audio:mitchelllegislation1.mp3] [/audio]

Mitchell says this is piece of legislation is an incentive to businesses currently in a "battle". Mitchell believes the small businesses economic health is dwindling.

[audio:mitchelllegislation2.mp3] [/audio]

Mitchell did not shy away from discussing the recent unemployment numbers for Illinois. He points to the Governor's office being pleased with the decrease, but Mitcell says the Illinois unemployment rate is over a full percentage point above the national average.

[audio:mitchelllegislation3.mp3] [/audio]

Mitchell said the State of Illinois doesn’t pay enough attention to the people who are creating jobs in our communities and it is very frustrating. He adds every politician talks about jobs, jobs, jobs and that is why he is challenging the Democrat Majority in the Illinois House to bring his legislation to the floor for a vote. 

Clinton BOE Prepares For Post-Referendum Renovations

The Clinton School district has begun their preparations for renovations to the high school in preparation of the March 20 bond referendum passing.

Superintendent of Clinton Schools Dr. Jeff Holmes explains preparations needed to be made now to allow for enough time to complete the projects they would like to have done this summer. He stresses work will not begin until they have received the final results of the March 20 referendum.

[audio:renovationplans1.mp3] [/audio]

The plans the school district are readying for are renovations of the restrooms in their commons area, also renovating the main entrance there. Dr. Holmes says they are looking at major changes to the auditorium and the school's band room.

[audio:renovationplans2.mp3] [/audio]

There are also plans to renovate the high school cafeteria. However, because of supplies needed to do that there was not enough time to begin preparing for that. According to Dr. Holmes, the decision has been made to wait on that project for another year.

[audio:renovationplans3.mp3] [/audio]

Dr. Holmes stresses no work will begin until they have received the final results of the March 20th referendum. All of these projects are a part of the bond proposal to build a new elementary building.

This summer the high school roof will be replaced over gym and auditorium and some other small areas as well.

MJ Selling Illinois Mansion For $29-Million

Michael Jordan is selling his nine-bedroom mansion near Chicago for $29-million.  The 56-thousand-square-foot estate in Highland Park, Illinois features 15 bathrooms, five fireplaces and a separate indoor basketball complex.  According to the realtor handling the transaction, the property includes a three-bedroom guest house, a tennis court and three climate controlled multi-car garages.  Jordan built the estate in the early 1990s and renovated the property in 2009.  No reason is being given for the sale.

Cards Agree To Terms With Freese

The St. Louis Cardinals agreed to terms with World Series MVP David Freese and 23 other players on one-year contracts for the 2012 season on Wednesday.  Freese hit .297 with 10 homers and 55 runs batted in 97 regular-season games last season.  He had a monster postseason, hitting .397 with five home runs and 21 RBI in 18 contests.  Other notable players who agreed to terms on 2012 contracts were Mitchell Boggs, Adron Chambers, Allen Craig, Daniel Descalso, Tyler Greene, Jon Jay, Lance Lynn, Adam Ottavino, Marc Rzepczynski [[ ZEP-chen-SKEE ]], and Fernando Salas.

Illini Hit The Hardwood

The Illinois Fighting Illini host 16th-ranked Michigan tonight at Assembly Hall in Champaign.  The Illini snapped a six-game slide with a 65-54 victory versus Iowa on Sunday to improve to 6-and-10 in the Big Ten.  They are 17-and-12 overall.  Illinois lost to Michigan earlier this season in Ann Arbor.

NCAA Top-25 Men's Basketball
#6 North Carolina Tar Heels 88, Maryland Terrapins 64
Cincinnati Bearcats 72, #7 Marquette Golden Eagles 61
#8 Missouri Tigers 78, Iowa State Cyclones 72
#11 Ohio State Buckeyes 75, Northwestern Wildcats 73
Colorado State Rams 66, #17 UNLV Rebels 59
South Florida Bulls 58, #18 Louisville Cardinals 51
#23 San Diego State Aztecs 66, Boise State Broncos 53
#25 Temple Owls 90, Massachusetts Minutemen 88 (OT)

Bulls Belt Spurs

Chicago used a fourth-quarter surge to run by San Antonio, 96-89.  Derrick Rose led the Bulls with 29 points, while Joakim Noah scrapped for 10 points and 13 rebounds.  Chicago's fourth win in-a-row was just the second home loss of the season for San Antonio.  Tim Duncan posted 18 points and 10 rebounds, while Gary Neal came off the bench to score 21.  The Spurs have dropped two-of-three.

Oklahoma City Thunder 92, Philadelphia 76ers 88
Orlando Magic 102, Washington Wizards 95
New York Knicks 120, Cleveland Cavaliers 103
Golden State Warriors 85, Atlanta Hawks 82
Boston Celtics 102, Milwaukee Bucks 96
Detroit Pistons 109, Charlotte Bobcats 94
Memphis Grizzlies 96, Dallas Mavericks 85
Toronto Raptors 95, New Orleans Hornets 84
Utah Jazz 104, Houston Rockets 83
Denver Nuggets 104, Portland Trail Blazers 95
Los Angeles Lakers 104, Minnesota Timberwolves 85

Boys Basketball Regoinals/Sectionals Scores

Boys Basketball Regionals/Sectionals continued last night, here are some area scores:

Class A Sectionals:

At Colfax (Ridgeview)

Colfax (Ridgeview)  34
Varna (Midland)  38

Class 2A Sectionals:

At Petersburg (PORTA)

Quincy (Notre Dame)  48 
Normal (University)   58

At Princeton
Peoria  Christian   56
Monmouth.-Roseville) 68

At St. Joseph (S.J.-Ogden)

Robinson    57 
St. Joseph-Ogden   32

Class 3A Regionals

At Decatur (MacArthur)

Decatur (MacArthur)  58 
Decatur (Eisenhower)  41

At Dunlap

Peoria    72
Galesburg    54

Peoria (Richwoods)   51
Peoria (Notre Dame)  50

At Rantoul

Champaign Central  63
Mahomet-Seymour   45

At Springfield (H.S.)

Springfield (Southeast)   57
Springfield (Sacred Heart-Griffin)  43

Clinton Fire Fighters Respond To Brush Fire Wednesday

Clinton Fire Fighters responded to a small brush fire on East Washington Road Wednesday afternoon about 3 miles East of Clinton. At about 5:15 fighters responded to brush in a timber area that had caught fire. Clinton Fire Chief Shawn Milton says it took fire fighters about 30 minutes to put out. A tanker, fire truck, and squad car were on scene, and according to Chief Milton they had all the equipment because of the windy conditions.

Maroa-Forsyth's Williams Frustrated With Lack of Budget Details

One local superintendent is frustrated with the lack of details Governor Quinn conveyed about school budgets for the upcoming year.

Superintendent of Maroa-Forsyth Schools Mike Williams understand cuts must be made because of tight budgets in Springfield. He feels the governor should make cuts and stick to what they already have on the table rather than create new programs with having programs they currently can't pay up to.

[audio:williamsfrustration1.mp3] [/audio]

Williams estimates the state still owes the Maroa-Forsyth district around $200-thousand. He explains there is a certain amount of money the state is required to pay per student, and when they come forward with only 90-95% of that amount, it puts a heavy burden on schools financially to stick to their budgets.

[audio:williamsfrustration2.mp3] [/audio]

A lot of uncertainty remains when it pertains to transportation funding. Large cuts were made last year to transportation and while no announcement or budget proposal has been made yet, Williams says the correlation to the amount of funds received and changes to their requirements of transportation are still the same, leaving Maroa-Forsyth schools with uncovered expenses.

[audio:williamsfrustration3.mp3] [/audio]

Lawmakers have considered ideas of moving transportation funding into the general state aid fund or having districts raise their property taxes. Williams is not in favor of the idea of raising taxes, he says that would most likely not go over well with tax payers.

He says for now he says the Maroa-Forsyth district is working the best they can with what little they have and what little they know.

Lawmakers Want To Stop Bullying

Lawmakers are working to improve school anti-bullying procedures across the state.  A bill will require schools to provide support for the victim and the bully, which is why it gets a stamp of approval from Illinois Human Rights Commission Chairman Marty Castro. 

[audio:rddNoBully1.mp3] [/audio]

This will require schools to update their current anti-bullying policies plus, it will establish a model for schools in the state to follow.


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