Local News

Clinton Maroons Overthrow Shelbyville Rams 62-61

The Clinton Maroons Defeated the Shelbyville Rams by a score of 62-61 on Saturday night. The Maroons were led by Jr. Jacob Overton with 21 points. Jr. Tanner White aslo chipped in with 15 points, and Sr. Bowe Carter had 12 points. 

Shelbyville was led by Sr. Tyler Hendryx with 19 points and Sr. Devin Peterson added 18 points, making Shelbvilles stats 10/9. 

 With the win the Maroons Improve to 8/13. Tune in Tuesday, February 10th as the Maroons take on Warrensburg-Lathem. You can hear the game live on The big 1520 AM/ 92.3 FM and online at DewittDailynews.com

Rose On Legalizing Fireworks: Get Out Of My Way

Before a bill to legalize fireworks has even been introduced, a group of medical and firefighting professionals have fired a shot of opposition.

An Illinois State Senator says that people are already crossing the state line to get fireworks for private displays and he wants to keep that revenue in the Land of Lincoln.

Current state law only allows for non explosive fireworks to be bought and sold within state lines. Violating the law could produce Class A misdemeanor charges.

Unemployment Decreases Towards the End of 2014

Unemployment figures decreased throughout many local counties in December as local unemployment figures were released Thursday afternoon.

DeWitt County saw unemployment go down from 6.0% in November to 5.8 in December

Piatt County also decreased slightly, going from 5.5% to 5.3%.

Macon County's unemployment decreased going from 7.9% in November to 7.5% in December.

Logan County saw unemployment go from 6.3% to 6.1%.

Unemployment in McLean County shrank in December, going from 5.6% to 5.3%.

In Champaign County, employment also decreased,down to 5.5%.

Unemployment in Sangamon County went down at 5.6%.

The highest unemployment rate was at 9% in Stark County.

Brown County once again had the state's lowest unemployment rate at 2.7%.

The state's unemployment dropped, going from 6.0% to 5.7% in December. The national unemployment rate sits at 5.4%.

Fire Safety Advocates Say They are Concerned About a Push to Legalize Consumer Fireworks



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One Case of the Measles Confirmed in Illinois



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UPDATED: Winter Storm Warning ContinuesThru Sunday Night


The National Weather Service in Lincoln has continued their Winter Storm Warning and Winter Weather Advisory for all of Central Illinois thru 9 o'clock tonight.

The Weather Service says the Winter Storm Warning for 4 to 6 inches then blowing snow late this afternoon into tonight, continues until 9 o'clock tonight north of a line from Quincy to Lincoln to Danville.

South of that line, 2 to 4 inches are expected, also with blowing snow late this afternoon into tonight.

Travel will be difficult in many areas today and tonight. Motorists are urged to use caution when traveling today.

Stay tuned to Regional Radio and check our on-line daily newspaper for the latest weather, cancellations and road conditions.

Over 90 Attend Clinton Chamber Annual Banquet Saturday Night


Over 90 people attended Saturday night's annual banquet of the Clinton Area Chamber of Commerce. This year, the event was held at the Clinton Country Club.


Incoming Chamber president Ryan Utterback said the biggest achievement of the year for the organization, was the re-opening of its biggest fund-raiser, Terror on Washington Street, after a new sprinkler system was installed this summer.

[audio:UtterbackaudioJan3115.mp3]comment here[/audio]

Outgoing directors were then recognized. Those leaving the Clinton Chamber board include Amanda Ferguson from The Loft, Vicki Morrow from the State Bank of Lincoln, and Randal J. Miller from WHOW/WEZC and dewittdailynews-dot-com.

Incoming directors introduced at Saturday night's Clinton Chamber banquet include Allison Shuppura from Richland Community College's Clinton Education Center, Stephanie Torbert from DeWitt Savings Bank, and Janell Baum-Thomas from Baum Chevrolet-Buick.


The 2015 Clinton Chamber student board members, who were also in attendance Saturday night, include from the left:  Junior Alek McMath, junior Macy Dillow, and sophomore Madison Bruss.


19 different auction items provided by local Clinton businesses were then auctioned off, first by Randal J. Miller from WHOW/WEZC radio until auctioneer Lance Schmid arrived. Proceeds from auction items benefit the Chamber's operations.

Following dinner, The Murder Mystery Company of Bloomington-Normal presented a dinner theater presentation called “Murder at the Masquerade” which included participation by those in attendance to answer the question “who done it.”

The annual dinner committee consisted of Chamber executive director Marian Brisard, Chamber admin assistant Gabe Goldsmith, and Carolyn Jameson from Clinton IGA.

National Weather Service Issues Winter Storm Watch for the Weekend


The National Weather Service in Lincoln has issued a Winter Storm Watch for the Regional Radio listening area, for Saturday night into Sunday.

The Weather Service says that while precipitation on Saturday afternoon will mainly be rain, it will switch over to snow across central and southeast Illinois during the evening, and continue in many areas overnight into Sunday.

Accumulations totals of 6 to 9 inches will be possible, with the higher totals north of I-74.

Gusty north to northwest winds of up to 35 mph Sunday afternoon and evening could cause some blowing and drifting of the snow.

Stay tuned to Regional Radio for updates on this developing storm.

Children's Advocacy Center Readying For Biggest Night of the Year

 width=A local organization aimed at helping abused children is gearing up for their biggest night of the year.

February 21 the Children's Advocacy Center's Blue Kids Benefit will take place in uptown Normal and Executive Director, Judy Brucker indicates it is their premier event for the year. She explains the Uptown Normal Marriott fills up with guests that support their efforts and features silent and live auctions and a dinner.

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For the Children's Advocacy Center, the Blue Kids Benefit helps them close the gap between funds they receive in grants, federal and state dollars and donation. Brucker indicates the funds raised in years past has allowed to make needed upgrades to equipment at all their locations and increase programming.

[audio:13015bluebenefit2.mp3] [/audio]

The support of the community is what makes the event succesful for the Children's Advocacy Center and Brucker feels they are fortunate to have support from all of their service areas. She explains as a part of the event, local residents are encouraged to be 'table hosts', and this year DeWitt County will be well represented at the event.

[audio:13015bluebenefit3.mp3] [/audio]

The event is February 21 with doors opening at 5 pm.

Auction items includes a trip to Ireland, Trip to Africa (no airfares included, but full lodging for a week), hot air balloon ride, handmade cradle, glamping experience (glamourous camping), wine dinner for six at Baxter's American Grille, personal visit to your children by Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus, ISU Tailgate party.

Tickets are $65 per person and benefits the Children's Advocacy Centers. For further details about reservations, contact Brucker at the Children's Advocacy Center by callign 309-888-5656.

The Marriott has reserved a block of rooms at their hotel for the event at a special rate. As a part of the $129 rate, they will donate back $10 for each room booked for that evening.

DJWH Exploring Management Firms

 width=The Dr. John Warner Hospital in Clinton continues their search for management of the city-owned hospital.

According to interim-CEO Rex McKinney, the hospital has narrowed down their search to a couple firms and he calls the Board's search "dilligent" with no imminent decision near.

[audio:13015hospitalmanag1.mp3] [/audio]

McKinney says having a management firm operate the hospital can be of great advantage for them. He explains management firms have a great deal of resources to keep up on the latest in regulations and technololgy and even access to additional programming.

[audio:13015hospitalmanag2.mp3] [/audio]

McKinney stresses the Board has no decisions made and continues to evaluate all their options. He notes they plan to keep the community informed as the evaluation process plays out.

Baseball Notes

>>Former Mets GM Joins MLBPA

Former New York Mets general manager Omar Minaya is joining the Major League Baseball Players Association staff as a senior advisor to executive director Tony Clark.

Minaya spent the past three years with the San Diego Padres as a senior vice president of baseball operations.

 width=The 56-year-old Minaya will focus on the areas of domestic game development and international affairs and play.

Minaya became baseball's first Hispanic general manager when the Montreal Expos hired him in 2002. From 2005-10, he was the Mets' GM.

>>Werth To Serve Five Days In Jail

(Fairfax, VA) -- Washington Nationals outfielder Jayson Werth will serve a five-day jail sentence. Werth has pleaded guilty to reckless driving after Fairfax County Police say they clocked him doing at least 105 miles-per-hour in a 55 mile-per-hour zone last summer. He had been sentenced to ten days in jail last month, but appealed the case and decided to enter a guilty plea. Werth was driving his Porsche on the Capital Beltway at the time of the incident.

Palmer Leads Phoenix Open

 width=Ryan Palmer is alone atop the leaderboard at the Waste Management Phoenix Open as play was suspended due to darkness. Palmer fired a seven-under 64 in Thursday's opening round. Tiger Woods posted a plus-two 73 in the first round of his first official event since last year's PGA Championship. Keegan Bradley and Bubba Watson share second place at six-under. Three-time winner Phil Mickelson carded a minus-two and is in a large group tied for 29th. Nine players were still on the course when play was called. They will complete their first rounds on Friday at 10:00 a.m. Eastern, with the second round starting as scheduled at 9:30 a.m.

Super Bowl, NFL Notes

>>Seahawks Square Off With Patriots Sunday In Super Bowl 49

(Glendale, AZ) -- Super Bowl 49 is just days away. The defending champion Seattle Seahawks play the New England Patriots Sunday at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona. The Seahawks are seeking their second straight Lombardi Trophy after beating the Denver Broncos 43-8 in last year's championship game at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey. It's the third Super Bowl appearance overall for Seattle, which lost 21-10 to the Pittsburgh Steelers in February 2006 in Detroit. Led by quarterback Russell Wilson, running back Marshawn Lynch and a vaunted defense known as the "Legion of Boom," the Seahawks are trying to become the first repeat champion since the Patriots won back-to-back Super Bowls in February of 2004 and 2005.  width=New England is in the big game for a record-tying eighth time and the sixth time under head coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady. The Patriots are 3-and-4 in the Super Bowl all-time, including 3-and-2 in the Belichick-Brady era. If Brady and the Patriots win on Sunday, he would tie the 49ers' Joe Montana and Steelers' Terry Bradshaw for the most Super Bowl victories by a quarterback with four.

>>Goodell To Give Annual Pre-Super Bowl Address Today

(Phoenix, AZ) -- NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell will give his annual pre-Super Bowl state of the league address today at 1 p.m. Eastern. He's expected to comment on "Deflate-gate" for the first time and the investigation into the under-iNFLated footballs used by the Patriots in the AFC championship against the Colts. The Patriots won the game 45-7 to advance to Super Bowl 49. Goodell is also likely to be asked about the uncooperative press conferences this week by Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch, and whether he'll be fined for wearing his "Beast Mode" brand hat without league approval. Other topics are expected to include officiating, potential rule changes, the London Series, and possible relocation of the St. Louis Rams or Oakland Raiders to Los Angeles.

>>Seahawks' Sherman Has Baby Plan In Place

(Phoenix, AZ) -- Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman is getting ready to be a new dad, but he's hoping to win another Super Bowl first. His girlfriend is expected to give birth to the couple's first child next week. Sherman says she is with him in Arizona and will give birth at a Phoenix hospital if she goes into labor before the big game. Asked if he would miss the game for the birth of his son, Sherman said he's confident it won't come to that but he'll cross that bridge if he gets to it. The Seahawks play the Patriots in Super Bowl 49 Sunday night in Glendale, Arizona.

>>Lynch's Beast Mode Gear A Hot Seller

(Scottsdale, AZ) -- Whatever Marshawn Lynch might be fined, he'll likely more than make up for sales of his "Beast Mode" clothing line. The Seattle Seahawks running back is selling hats, shirts and other items at the Beast Mode Pop Up Shop inside a juice store in Scottsdale, Arizona. Much of the gear with the multicolored "BM" logo has been selling out. Lynch has worn the hat three straight days at Super Bowl media appearances this week and even mentioned his online website. Already fined multiple times for not talking to reporters, he could now be fined for wearing and promoting a non-league-approved brand.

 width=>>Testimony Expected To Begin In Hernandez Trial

(Boston, MA) -- The trial for former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez is underway, with opening statements wrapping up Thursday. Prosecutor Patrick Blomberg brought forth DNA evidence, saying a joint and shell casing place the former NFL star at the murder scene. Hernandez's defense team took a different approach, calling prosecutors "sloppy and unprofessional." His team went on to say that DNA evidence does not prove that Hernandez killed, conspired to kill or wanted to kill the victim, Odin Lloyd. Under Massachusetts law, prosecutors do not have to prove Hernandez committed the murder, but they must prove that he "knowingly participated" and did so "with intent required to commit the crime."

>>NFL Data: Concussion Rate On Decline

(Phoenix, AZ) -- The number of concussions in the NFL is on the decline. The league has released data showing 111 reported concussions during the 2014 regular season. That's a 25-percent decrease from the 148 concussions in 2013 and a 36-percent decline from the year before when there were 173. League officials attribute the decrease to greater awareness of potential symptoms and rule changes focused on preventing hits to the neck and head.

>>NY Giants WR Sets "One Handed Catch Record"

New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. has set a world record for one-handed catches in a minute.

Beckham caught 33 10-yard passes from New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees on ESPN's "NFL Live" Thursday.

Guinness World Records had set the benchmark in the newly established category at 10 catches, spokeswoman Jamie Panas Antoniou said.

Beckham had a star-making rookie season in which the electric receiver built a reputation for making spectacular catches, including an acrobatic one-handed grab during a Nov. 23 game against the Dallas Cowboys that some have called the best in league history.

The first-round draft pick had 91 receptions for 1,305 yards and 12 touchdowns in 12 games, earning a trip to the Pro Bowl.

Hendrick's Names Replacement For Gordon

Hendrick Motorsports revealed on Thursday that Chase Elliott will take over driving duties of the No. 24 Chevrolet full- time in the Sprint Cup Series, starting with the 2016 season. 

 width=Last week, Jeff Gordon announced that 2015 will be his last season competing for a championship in NASCAR's premier series. Gordon, a four-time series champion, has driven the No. 24 car for team owner Rick Hendrick since November 1992.

Elliott is the son of Bill Elliott, who is scheduled to be inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame on Friday. The 19-year-old Elliott won the championship in the Xfinity Series (formerly known as the Nationwide Series) last year, doing so in his rookie season as
driver of the No. 9 Chevrolet for JR Motorsports. He became the youngest driver ever to win a title in one of NASCAR's three national touring series.

Hendrick announced the news of Elliott driving the No. 24 next year during the team's season kickoff employee event on Thursday morning.

Illinois Hosts Penn State Saturday; NCAA Basketball Notes

 width=>>Illinois Hosts Penn State Tomorrow

(Champaign, IL) -- Illinois and Penn State meet tomorrow at the State Farm Center. Tip-off is at noon. The Fighting Illini are coming off a 79-71 loss at Minnesota last Saturday. Illinois is 13-and-8 overall and 3-and-5 in the Big Ten. The Nittany Lions come in at 14-and-7 and 2-and-6.

>>UCLA Upsets Utah

Norman Powell scored 23 points to help UCLA remain unbeaten at home in Pac-12 play and knock off No. 11 Utah, 69-59.

The Bruins lost three players to the first round of the NBA draft in 2014 and haven't been able to replace the productivity that Kyle Anderson, Jordan Adams and Zach LaVine provided. They are in the midst of one of the worst seasons in recent memory, though
Thursday's upset over Utah was certainly a step in the right direction.

Bryce Alford had 14 points and seven assists and Isaac Hamilton scored 11 for UCLA, which exacted revenge from an embarrassing 71-39 loss to Utah on Jan. 4. Alford went scoreless on 0-for-10 shooting in that game.

UCLA (12-9, 4-4 Pac-12) snapped its two-game losing skid.

Delon Wright and Brandon Taylor gave 15 and 14 points, respectively, for the Utes (16-4, 6-2), who may have lost more than a game. Freshman center Jakob Poeltl, one of the best young 7-footers in college basketball, left the game with an apparent foot injury.

 width=>>Ohio State Crushes No. 13 Maryland

Ohio State continues to pile up wins at home.

Thad Matta's Buckeyes and star freshman D'Angelo Russell beat another ranked opponent at Value City Arena.

Russell had 18 points, 14 rebounds and six assists as Ohio State easily knocked off No. 16 Maryland 80-56 on Thursday night for its 103rd win at home since 2009.

That's the most in the country by a healthy margin over national powerhouses Kentucky and Syracuse.

Russell continued to impress, making half of his 12 shots and four 3-pointers on the heels of being named Big Ten Player of the Week after scoring 55 points in wins over Northwestern and nationally-ranked Indiana.

Marc Loving led the Buckeyes (17-5, 6-3) with 19 points, making all five of his 3s, and Jae'Sean Tate scored 16.

Dez Wells scored 12 points to lead Maryland (18-4, 6-3) and Jake Layman had 10.

NCAA Top-25 Men's Basketball ("USA Today" Rankings)
#1 Kentucky Wildcats 69 Missouri Tigers 53
#3 Gonzaga Bulldogs 64 Portland Pilots 46

>>Duke Dismisses Sulaimon

(Durham, NC) -- Junior guard Rasheed Sulaimon is no longer a member of the Duke men's basketball team. Head coach Mike Krzyzewski said that Sulaimon has consistently not lived up to program standards. Sulaimon started 50 games in his first two seasons, and played in all 20 games so far this year. He was coming off the bench this season after the additions of freshmen Tyus Jones and Justise Winslow. Duke will visit second-ranked Virginia on Saturday.

Blues Win; Blackhawks Back Tonight

 width=>>Blues Edge Preds In Shootout

(St. Louis, MO) -- Kevin Shattenkirk potted the winning goal in the shootout as the Blues slipped past the Predators 5-4 at Scottrade Center. T.J. Oshie and Steve Ott scored just 26 seconds apart during a four-goal second period for the Blues, who have won three in-a-row and eight of their last nine overall. Jaden Schwartz and Ryan Reaves also lit the lamp and Brian Elliott made 33 saves in the victory. Mike Fisher had two goals and an assist, while Filip Forsberg and James Neal also tallied for Nashville, which has dropped three of four. Carter Hutton stopped 31 shots, but allowed two goals on four shootout attempts for the loss.

>>Canadiens Blank Rangers

(New York, NY) -- Max Pacioretty's [[ PATCH-or-ETT-ee ]] goal with just over four minutes left in the third period lifted the Canadiens to a 1-0 win over the Rangers at Madison Square Garden. Pacioretty's 22nd tally of the year was assisted by Dale Weise [[ weece ]] and Alexei Emelin. Carey Price stopped all 24 shots he faced. Montreal has won four straight. New York was 0-for-2 on the power play. Henrik Lundqvist allowed the only goal on 26 shots. The Blueshirts have lost two in-a-row.

Philadelphia Flyers 5, Winnipeg Jets 2
Boston Bruins 5, New York Islanders 2
Arizona Coyotes 3, Toronto Maple Leafs 1
Dallas Stars 6, Ottawa Senators 3
Tampa Bay Lightning 5, Detroit Red Wings 1
Florida Panthers 3, Columbus Blue Jackets 2
Minnesota Wild 1, Calgary Flames 0
Edmonton Oilers 3, Buffalo Sabres 2
San Jose Sharks 6, Anaheim Ducks 3

 width=>>Blackhawks Resume Trek Tonight In Anaheim

(Anaheim, CA) -- The Blackhawks resume their seven-game trek tonight in Anaheim against the Ducks. Chicago has split the first two games on the trip following a 4-3 loss in Los Angeles on Wednesday. The 'Hawks sit at 30-16-and-2 on the season. The Ducks are 32-11-and-6 after last night's 6-3 loss at San Jose.

Lakers Clip Bulls In Double-OT

 width=>>Lakers Edge Bulls In Double-OT

(Los Angeles, CA) -- Jordan Hill racked up 26 points and 12 rebounds as the Lakers edged the Bulls 123-118 in double-overtime at STAPLES Center. Wayne Ellington added 23 points for the Lakers, who put an end to their nine-game losing streak. Jordan Clarkson chipped in with 18 points and Carlos Boozer had 16 points and eight boards off the bench in the victory. All-Star Jimmy Butler dropped in a game-high 35 points for Chicago, which has lost two of three. Fellow All-Star and former Laker Pau Gasol posted 20 points, 10 boards, six assists and four blocks in his return to LA. Gasol spent the previous six-plus seasons with the Lakers.

Milwaukee Bucks 115, Orlando Magic 100
Indiana Pacers 103, New York Knicks 82
Memphis Grizzlies 99, Denver Nuggets 69

>>NBA All-Star Reserves Announced

(Undated) -- The NBA is announcing the reserves for the 2015 All-Star Game. The Eastern Conference features three Hawks with guard Jeff Teague, forward Paul Millsap and center Al Horford all earning the honor. They will be joined by Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving, Bulls guard Jimmy Butler, Heat big man Chris Bosh and Heat guard Dwyane Wade. A replacement will be needed for the injured Wade and it's expected to be either Bucks guard Brandon Knight or Hawks forward Kyle Korver. The Western Conference is headlined by Thunder teammates Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. Also playing for the West will be Warriors guard Klay Thompson, Clippers guard Chris Paul, Trail Blazers forward LaMarcus Aldridge and Spurs big man Tim Duncan. The West still needs a replacement for Kobe Bryant, who was voted in by the fans. The 2015 All-Star Game is Sunday, February 15th at Madison Square Garden.

Bradley Basketball Player Arrested For Misdemeaneor Charges

 width=Bradley University basketball player Warren Jones has been arrested at a Peoria strip club on misdemeanor charges of obstruction of identification and criminal trespass.

Reports indicate the 20-year-old Jones was arrested at an adult establishment in Peoria called Big Al's early Thursday and booked into the Peoria County Jail. The jail reports that he was released a few hours later after posting $160. Fellow team member Ka'Darryl Bell was issued a citation.

In a statement, team head coach Geno Ford called the students' actions "unacceptable." He said the school will follow disciplinary procedures but did not elaborate.

Jones is the team's leading scorer, averaging 13.9 points a game.

CUSD 15 Hosting Welcome Session For Incoming Superintendent

This Saturday, the community can come out for a few hours and get introduced to the man that will replace the leader of the Clinton Schools.

Dr. Jeff Holmes announced his retirement last year, and after a long search, the Board of Education has announced the hiring of Curt Nettles. Dr. Holmes says Nettles in an up-and-coming Superintendent who will be in Clinton Saturday afternoon for a meet and greet with the community.

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The gathering is this Saturday from 1 pm to 3 pm in the Clinton Jr. High School Library.

Local Officials Gear Up For Expected Snow

While it won't be Nor'easter, central Illinois is bracing for the most significant snowfall of the season this weekend.

An expected 5 to 8 inches could fall in parts of the area between Saturday night and Sunday. As residents brace for the coming weather, local authorities are encouraging you take some basic safety measures. Clinton Police Chief Ben Lowers says there's some things you'll want in your car in the event you get caught in the expected depths of snow.

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Getting to and from necessary destinations, such as work or appointments, becomes a top priority for anyone during snow events and curiosity about road conditions peaks. According to Chief Lowers, during these events your contact should not be the dispatch center for DeWitt County. He says there are other sources available to keep you up to date on the latest road conditions.

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Being Super Bowl weekend, the Chief recognizes traffic will likely increase as you gather for various parties and get-togethers, he says if the snow does come as it is being projected to take your time getting to your location. He advises slowing down and giving plenty of distance between you and the vehicle in front of you and to begin your stops earlier than you might normally.

Governor Explains Right To Work Zones

Governor Bruce Rauner is talking about themes familiar to the primary campaign.

He talked of so called right to work zones in Illinois during a stop at Decatur's Richland Community College. He says giving local cities and municipalities the right to choose whether they force their employees to unionize is a good place to start.

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Rauner believes taking a workers right to join a union, or not, out of the state’s control could mean thousands of new jobs in Illinois.

With talk of "right to work zones", Rauner says it shows he is not advocating that Illinois become a right to work state. He says communities, especially those suffering from high unemployment, could put in right to work zones, or what he calls employee empowerment zones. Rauner says neighbors like Indiana, and Michigan, as well as Tennessee, and Texas are taking jobs from Illinois because they don't have forced unionization.

Expanded Education Center At RCC Open

 width=Richland Community College invested in the education of children recently and pleased to announce the opening of their expanded facility.

The RCC Children's Education Center recently remodeled their facilities in order to serve greater numbers children throughout the day. Kim Brummet with the Education Center, says exciting features of the new facility includes new gym equipment which provides students with esthetics activities during the day.

[audio:12215edcenter1.mp3] [/audio]

The Center is dedicated to providing children ages 2-5 with the necessary skills to succeed during their school years. According to Brummet, they provide their students with the opportunity to earn classroom teaching experience in order to prepare them for careers in teaching.

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The expansion has allowed them to increase their enrollment into their programs. Brummet believes the space is user friendly and gives kids the opportunities to explore while learning.

[audio:12215edcenter3.mp3] [/audio]

The newly expanded center opened in October, but January marked its first full semester of operation.

There is a great deal of enrollment flexibility for parents and it is not necessary for your to be a student at Richland to enroll your kids into the program.

For more information on the facility or enrollment, you can visit the Center's page at www.richland.edu or call 217-875-7211 ext. 319.

Clinton Police Chief Says Social Media Has Been Huge

 width=Reflecting on his first year as the lead of the Clinton Police Department, Chief Ben Lowers believes it was a good first year.

The first year Police Chief says while there was a lot of crime they did deal with, he felt as though they dealt with it effectively and were pleased many of their cases were able to make it to the court system. Chief Lowers points to social media as one of the effective crime fighting tools they were able to tap into in his first year.

[audio:12915socialcrime1.mp3] [/audio]

The Police Department Facebook page was a huge hit and it was no more evident than last summer when the department introduced a program to promote children wearing bike helmets and a post officially went viral.

[audio:12915socialcrime2.mp3] [/audio]

According to Chief Lowers, the Facebook page goes beyond promoting what is going on within the department. He explains it has become a great tip-line to the public. Users can submit information privately and the Chief feels that has been a great utility to them receiving information in return from the public.

[audio:12915socialcrime3.mp3] [/audio]

Other successes the Chief points to from his first year were the promotion of a few officers and hirings thanks to his promotion leaving positions vacant.

He notes they have also been able to begin revamping their fleet of vehicles with the recent purchase a few new department cars.

He also feels the rejuvenated coordination between the Clinton PD, the Sheriff's office and CrimeStoppers has paid dividends through things like "The Crime of the Week" spots heard throughout the day on WHOW/WEZC/dewittdailynews.com.

Stewart Buys Sprint-Car Series

 width=309 height=163 />NASCAR driver Tony Stewart is going to be the new owner of the All Star Circuit of Champions sprint-car series.  Stewart has agreed to purchase the sprint-car series from Guy Webb.  The series has a 50-race schedule this year.  Stewart said he doesn't plan on racing any sprint cars anytime soon.  Stewart was behind the wheel of a sprint-car in a 2014 accident that killed driver Kevin Ward Jr. </p>						</div>

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Rams, NFL Notes

 width=>>CVC: "Will Take Spectacular Effort To Keep Rams"

(St. Louis, MO) -- The Convention and Visitors Commission says it will take a "spectacular effort" to keep the Rams in St. Louis. Chairman Andrew Leonard made the comment at Wednesday's meeting, saying there is no question in his mind that the Rams would rather be in Los Angeles.

>>Rams' Long Defends Patriots Over "Deflategate"

(Undated) -- Rams defensive end Chris Long is defending the Patriots over the whole "Deflategate" scandal. In an essay for The Player's Tribune, Long scolds the NFL for its handling of the incident. He also goes on to slam the media, specifically ESPN, for sensationalizing its impact for ratings.

>>Rinse, Repeat For Lynch With Super Bowl Reporters

(Phoenix, AZ) -- It's rinse, repeat for Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch when dealing with reporters at the Super Bowl. For the second straight day, Lynch gave a simple short answer to each question during Wednesday's media availability. Lynch has a well-documented aversion to speaking to reporters. At Super Bowl Media Day on Tuesday, the star running back simply replied, "I'm only here so I don't get fined" to roughly 30 questions. Lynch has been fined several times in the past for not making himself available to reporters, which is required by the NFL. Also for the second straight day, Lynch wore his personal "Beast Mode" logo hat. That could lead to a fine as well as the NFL does not allow players to promote or wear brands that aren't approved and might coNFLict with official sponsors.

>>Marshawn Lynch Answers Questions In Skittles Promo

(Undated) -- Marshawn Lynch is finally opening up. In a new Skittles promo, Seattle's usually press-shy running back steps up to the mic to answer a few questions from his favorite candy makers. Lynch also revealed that he prefers to watch cat videos over dog videos, and that he doesn't wish the football field was twice as long just so he can get a 200-yard rushing touchdown. He says he's just fine with 100. Lynch made headlines on Super Bowl media day in Phoenix, Arizona this week when he answered every reporter's question with the line, "I'm just here so I don't get fined." He and his Seattle Seahawks teammates are set to take on the New England Patriots in Super Bowl 49 this Sunday.

>>Patriots, Seahawks Continue Super Bowl Prep

(Phoenix, AZ) -- The Seattle Seahawks and New England Patriots continue to prepare for Super Bowl 49. Both teams practiced Wednesday as they get set to meet for the Lombardi Trophy this Sunday at University of Phoenix Stadium. The Seahawks are the defending champions after beating the Denver Broncos 43-8 in last year's outdoor, cold weather game in New Jersey. Seattle head coach Pete Carroll says Wednesday's practice is where the routine starts to feel familiar again. Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is dealing with a bit of a cold, but says he expects to be fine come game-time on Sunday. This will be the sixth Super Bowl appearance for Brady, who is 3-and-2 in the big game. The Seahawks are trying to become the first team to repeat since the Pats did it ten years ago.

>>NBC Sells Out Super Bowl Ad Space

(Undated) -- NBC is declaring ad space for this year's Super Bowl officially sold out. And at a record four-and-a-half-million-dollars per 30-second spot, the network is pulling in some big bucks this year. NBC executives say they're particularly pleased with ad sales in the digital platform sharing in a Wednesday conference call that they've tripled revenue in the platform from NBC's prior Super Bowl in 2012. The network says this Sunday's Super Bowl will see about 15 new advertisers, noting strong buys from malt beverage companies, insurance, soft drinks, fast food chains and gaming and apps this year. On the flip side of the coin, NBC says ad buys for car companies, wireless and other technology companies were slightly underwhelming.

Sox Bring Back Beckham, Designate Viciedo

 width=The Chicago White Sox are bringing back infielder Gordon Beckham.  The two sides have agreed to a one-year, two-million-dollar contract.  The 28-year-old was traded by the White Sox to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim on August 21st last season.  Beckham hit a combined .226 with 27 doubles, nine homers and 44 RBI in 127 games.  He is a career .245 hitter with 63 homers in six big league seasons.  To make room on the roster, the White Sox have designated outfielder Dayan Viciedo [[ vee-see-AYE-doh ]] for assignment.  He hit .231 with 21 home runs and 58 RBI in 145 games last season. 

>>Freese, Angels Avoid Arbitration

The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and infielder David Freese avoided arbitration, agreeing to terms on a one-year contract Wednesday.

No financial terms were provided by the team, but multiple sources indicate that $6.425 million was the agreed-upon figure.

Freese batted .260 and posted 10 home runs, 25 doubles and 55 RBI over 134 games with the Halos last season.

A World Series winner with the Cardinals in 2011, the 31-year-old right-handed hitter and Texas native is a lifetime .280 hitter who has collected 54 homers, 106 doubles and drove in 292 runs over 600 games in six MLB seasons.

>>Braves Ink Cuban OF To Four Year Deal

The Atlanta Braves have agreed to terms with Cuban free-agent outfielder Dian Toscano on a four-year major league contract with a club option for 2019.

The deal was formally confirmed by Major League Baseball on Wednesday and financial terms were not announced.

Toscano hit .356 with a .440 on-base percentage and a .452 slugging percentage during the 2012-13 season for Villa Clara in Cuba's Serie Nacional, considered the premier league in Cuba.

To make room for Toscano on the 40-man roster, the Braves designated outfielder Jose Constanza for assignment. Constanza received just four at-bats with Atlanta in 2014.

Kings Come Back To Beat 'Hawks; Blues Back Tonight

 width=>>Kings Clip Blackhawks

(Los Angeles, CA) -- Jake Muzzin scored the go-ahead goal with 3:37 left in regulation as the Kings clipped the Blackhawks 4-3 at STAPLES Center. Tyler Toffoli tallied the tying score with 6:11 left in the third period. Jeff Carter scored the other two goals and added an assist for the Kings, who snapped a four-game skid. Jonathan Quick made 26 saves in the victory. Patrick Kane, Patrick Sharp and Andrew Shaw lit the lamp for Chicago, which had won its previous two. Corey Crawford allowed four goals on 27 shots in defeat.

New Jersey Devils 2, Toronto Maple Leafs 1 (SO)
Washington Capitals 4, Pittsburgh Penguins 0

 width=>>Blues Host Predators Tonight

(St. Louis, MO) -- The Blues finally return from the All-Star break tonight when they welcome Nashville to Scottrade Center. St. Louis won its last two games before the break and seven of its previous eight overall. With 62 points, the Blues are five behind the Predators for first place in the Central Division.

Bulls Notes

>>Bulls Continue Road Trip Tonight In LA

(Los Angeles, CA) -- The Bulls continue their six-game road trip tonight in Los Angeles against the Lakers. Chicago opened the trek with a 113-111 overtime win over the Warriors on Tuesday in Oakland. The Bulls are now 30-and-17 on the season. The Lakers, who are without Kobe Bryant for the rest of the season, have lost nine straight to dip to 12-and-34.

 width=>>Bulls' Mirotic Named To Rising Stars Challenge

(New York, NY) -- The NBA Rising Stars Challenge rosters are out. In a new format, 20 players will take part in the game as members of either the U.S. Team or World Team. Chicago's Nikola Mirotic will compete on the World squad. The game will be played at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn on February 13th, two days before the All-Star Game.

>>Knicks Sink Thunder

(New York, NY) -- Carmelo Anthony put up 31 points and 10 rebounds leading the Knicks to a 100-92 win against the Thunder at Madison Square Garden. Langston Galloway continued his strong play tallying 18 with four assists and four rebounds, while Lance Thomas came off the bench to score 17 versus his former team. New York has won four of five. Oklahoma City was without Kevin Durant, who missed his second straight game with a toe injury. Russell Westbrook tried to pick up the Thunder, going off for 40 points on 30 shots. Serge Ibaka added 10 and 10 rebounds for OKC, which has lost three of four.

Philadelphia 76ers 89, Detroit Pistons 69
Cleveland Cavaliers 99, Portland Trail Blazers 94
Toronto Raptors 119, Sacramento Kings 102
Minnesota Timberwolves 110, Boston Celtics 98
Houston Rockets 99, Dallas Mavericks 94
Denver Nuggets 93, New Orleans Pelicans 85
Atlanta Hawks 113, Brooklyn Nets 102
San Antonio Spurs 95, Charlotte Hornets 86
Los Angeles Clippers 94, Utah Jazz 89
Phoenix Suns 106, Washington Wizards 98

ISU Wins, Bradley Loses

>>Illinois State Tops Missouri State

DeVaughn Akoon-Purcell scored 20 points, hauled in a career-high 12 rebounds and led Illinois State to a 67-57 win over Missouri State on Wednesday night.

 width=Daishon Knight contributed 14 points and Reggie Lynch added 12 for Illinois State (13-8, 5-4 Missouri Valley), which shot 44 percent from the floor on 55 attempts and controlled the boards 36-26. Akoon-Purcell sank all eight of his shots from the free throw line and his 20 points tied a career best.

Leading by three at the break, Illinois State opened the second with a 9-2 run capped by Knight's 3-pointer to make it 37-27 with 17:40 to play and held on the rest of the way. Buckets from Missouri State's Chris Kendrix twice cut the gap to seven in the final 2:22.

Camyn Boone led Missouri State (8-13, 2-7) with 13 points and Christian Kirk added 10 as the Bears lost their seventh straight.

 width=>>Drake Tops Bradley

Reed Timmer and Gary Ricks Jr. each scored 15 points to help Drake roll to a 69-57 victory over Bradley on Wednesday night.

Timmer was 6 of 10 from the floor and Ricks made 5 of 12 shots, including 4 of 9 from long range. Jacob Enevold Jensen chipped in 14 points and Karl Madison dished out five assists for Drake (5-16, 2-7 Missouri Valley), which shot 55.6 percent from the field.

The Bulldogs had a 41-31 halftime lead and stretched it to 54-39 on Ricks' 3-pointer with 14:09 remaining. Auston Barnes hit a 3 to pull Bradley within 58-51 with 7:37 left, but the Braves did not get closer.

Warren Jones had 18 points, and Josh Cunningham scored 16 points and grabbed a career-high 15 rebounds to lead Bradley (7-15, 2-7), which outrebounded Drake 35-23.

 width=>>Career Night For VanVleet Lifts Wichita State

Fred VanVleet scored a career-high 27 points to lead No. 12 Wichita State to a 58-47 win over Loyola on Wednesday night.

Ron Baker added 16 points as the Shockers (19-2, 9-0 Missouri Valley) shot just 41 percent from the floor and 43 percent from the free throw line. VanVleet and Baker were a combined 16 of 28 from the floor. The rest of the team was 6 of 26.

Devon Turk scored nine points for Loyola (13-8, 3-6), which was held to its lowest scoring output of the season.

Wichita State's shooting struggles started right away. The Shockers had 17 shots in the game's first eight minutes but made just four of them, including a VanVleet 3-pointer for a 10-6 lead.

With Wichita State unable to convert shots, the Ramblers stayed close. Jeff White's baseline drive and layup gave Loyola a 16-15 lead with 6:03 remaining in the half.

>>Purdue Blasts #21 Indiana

(West Lafayette, IN) -- Rapheal Davis dropped in 19 points as Purdue blasted 21st-ranked Indiana 83-67 in West Lafayette. A.J. Hammons and Bryson Scott scored 11 points apiece for the Boilermakers, who moved to 13-and-8 on the season and 5-and-3 in Big Ten play. Yogi Ferrell netted a game-high 21 points for the Hoosiers, who slipped to 15-and-6 and 5-and-3. James Blackmon Jr. added 13 points in defeat.

 width=>>#8 Notre Dame Upsets #4 Duke

(South Bend, IN) -- Jerian Grant racked up 23 points, 12 assists and six rebounds to lead eighth-ranked Notre Dame to a 77-73 upset win over fourth-ranked Duke in South Bend. Pat Connaughton chipped in with 13 points and 12 boards for the Fighting Irish, who have won five in-a-row to improve to 20-and-2 on the season and 8-and-1 in the ACC. Zach Auguste added 14 points and six boards in the victory. Jahill Okafor recorded 22 points and 17 rebounds to pace the Blue Devils, who slipped to 17-and-3 and 4-and-3. Quinn Cook had 15 points and Tyus Jones scored 14 in defeat.

NCAA Top-25 Men's Basketball ("USA Today" Rankings)
#6 Arizona Wildcats 90, Oregon Ducks 56
#9 Louisville Cardinals 81, Boston College Eagles 72
#11 Kansas Jayhawks 64, TCU Horned Frogs 61
#18 Northern Iowa Panthers 59, Southern Illinois Salukis 52
Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets 70, #23 Miami Hurricanes 50

Anaysts Say Rauner Will Face Staunch Resistance

Analysts agree, Governor Bruce Rauner will be fighting an uphill battle when it comes to a recent proposal to bring about Employee Empowerment Zones. Illinois News Network has more:

[audio:RTW3.mp3] [/audio]

Rauner said over the weekend that he plans on sitting down with some of the state’s union leaders in the near future.

Governor Rauner Proposes Employee Empowerment Zones

Right to work, prevailing wages and other union issues were a major focus of Illinois’ Governor Tuesday.

During a presentation in front of Decatur’s Richland Community College, Governor Bruce Rauner provided more details about his upcoming State of the State speech.

[audio:RTW2.mp3] [/audio]

Rauner gives his State of the State and Budget addresses next month.

Illinois State Student Hit By Vehicle Dies

Illinois State University and the McLean County coroner say an ISU student has died after being struck by a hit-and-run driver.

Coroner Kathleen Davis said 20-year-old Benjamin Allison of Crystal Lake died Tuesday at a hospital in Bloomington. Davis said an autopsy will be conducted.

Officials say Allison was walking through an intersection in Normal on Saturday when he was struck by a vehicle. He was found lying in the intersection. ISU is in Normal, just north of Bloomington.

Police say another ISU student is in custody in the case.

ISU President Larry Dietz said Allison was a communications major and worked at the ISU radio station, WZND.

Decision By Congress Will Effect Social Security

Recent decisions made by Washington could affect Social Security payments according to a local organization.

Social Security funds go towards various groups of people. A shortfall in disability Social Security has been predicted for 2016, and money can be redirected within the social security umbrella when a shortage is predicted. According to Lynn Scoville, Executive Director of the DeWitt County Human Resource Center, only eighty percent of funds have been projected to be distributed to recipients.

[audio:12315sscongress1.mp3] [/audio]

Congress recently decided not to allow reallocation of Social Security funds. Because of that, it will have a greater impact on disability recipients as opposed to retirement recipients. Scovill points out disability beneficiaries receive their funds for a reason and need the support that money provide.

[audio:12315sscongress2.mp3] [/audio]

The rule for fund allocating will remain in effect until a new Congress is seated in 2016.

Dwight Company Purchasing Heath's John Deere in Monticello

AHW LLC announced earlier this week an agreement to purchase Heath’s, Inc. John Deere in Monticello this coming February.

The details for the purchase are currently being finalized.

In a news release, Chad Braden, Chief Operating Officer for AHW LLC says farmer’s
and ag professionals will have more resources, more technology and more access to
parts inventory than ever before.

He feels they can serve the Monticello market in bigger and better ways.

Over the past two years, AHW has become one of the strongest and best-resourced
John Deere implement dealers in the Midwest. The company will now have a total of
thirteen locations serving Illinois and Indiana.

AHW says Heath’s customers "really won’t see anything different in the
Monticello store except for the new AHW sign."

Officials with AHW declined comment when reached Tuesday.

College Sports News

>>Xavier Dumps Georgetown

(Washington, DC) -- Xavier picked up an important Big East victory by going on the road and dumping number-22 Georgetown, 66-53, at the Verizon Center. Myles Davis led the way, posting 19 points and five assists for the Musketeers, who improved to 14-and-7 overall and 5-and-4 in conference. D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera tallied 13 points on 14 shots in the defeat. The Hoyas fell to 14-and-6 and 6-and-3.

>>Oklahoma State Upsets Baylor

Phil Forte scored 16 points and Oklahoma State upended 20th-ranked Baylor, 64-53, on Tuesday night.

Le'Bryan Nash had 13 points, Tavarius Shine netted 11 points on 3-of-3 shooting from 3-point range and Anthony Hickey dished out a career-high 10 assists in the win.

 width=The Cowboys (14-6, 4-4 Big 12) have won seven straight conference home games dating back to last season.

Lester Medford led the Bears (15-5, 3-4) with 13 points and Rico Gathers chipped in 11 points and 11 rebounds.

NCAA Top-25 Men's Basketball ("USA Today" Rankings)
#15 VCU Rams 72, George Washington Colonials 48
#17 West Virginia Mountaineers 65, Kansas State Wildcats 59

>>Vanderbilt Players Found Guilty Of Rape

(Nashville, TN) -- Two Vanderbilt football players are waiting sentencing after a jury found both guilty of rape. A Nashville jury found Cory Batey and Brandon Vandenburg guilty of all charges in a June 2013 campus rape. Two other defendants are still awaiting their trials. Sentencing is scheduled for March.

Red Sox, Rangers Swap Young Pitchers

 width=The Boston Red Sox acquired pitcher Robbie Ross Jr. from the Texas Rangers in exchange for right-hander Anthony Ranaudo on Tuesday.

Ross, 25, posted a 3-6 record and a 6.20 earned run average over 27 appearances (four starts) last season.

Over three seasons with the Rangers, Ross owns a 13-8 record with a 3.98 ERA and 156 strikeouts in 150 games.

Ranaudo, 25, made his major league debut with the Red Sox last season and went 4-3 with a 4.81 ERA over seven starts.

The right-hander spent most of last season with Triple-A Pawtucket, where he compiled a 14-4 record with a 2.61 ERA and 11 strikeouts. He was named the International League's most valuable player after leading the league in wins, ERA and opponent batting average (.223).

Blackhawks Return To Action Tonight

 width=>>Blackhawks Back In Action Tonight

(Chicago, IL) -- The Blackhawks will be back from the All-Star break to face the Kings tonight. The contest is the opener of a six-game road trip for Chicago, which will also visit Anaheim, San Jose, Minnesota, Winnipeg and St. Louis on the trek. The puck drops at 9:30.

>>Isles Cruise Past Rangers

(Uniondale, NY) -- Jaroslav Halak denied 40 of the 41 shots he faced to lead the Islanders to a 4-1 win over the Rangers at Nassau Coliseum. Mikhail Grabovski, Matt Martin, Ryan Strome and John Taveras had the goals for the Isles, who have won all three meetings with the rival Rangers this season. Carl Hagelin scored with 8.1 seconds left to end the shutout for the Blueshirts, who have been outscored 13-4 by the Isles this year. Henrik Lundqvist allowed all four goals on 38 shots in the setback.

Philadelphia Flyers 4, Arizona Coyotes 3 (SO)
Pittsburgh Penguins 5, Winnipeg Jets 3
Columbus Blue Jackets 4, Washington Capitals 3
Carolina Hurricanes 4, Tampa Bay Lightning 2
Montreal Canadiens 3, Dallas Stars 2
Detroit Red Wings 5, Florida Panthers 4
Nashville Predators 4, Colorado Avalanche 3 (OT)
Calgary Flames 4, Buffalo Sabres 1
Minnesota Wild 2, Edmonton Oilers 1
Anaheim Ducks 4, Vancouver Canucks 0

 width=>>Brodeur To Announce Retirement Tomorrow

(St. Louis, MO) -- Blues goalie Martin Brodeur [[ mar-TAN bro-DURE ]] is calling it a career. The 42-year-old will formally retire tomorrow, but stay on with the team in a management role. The longtime Devils star signed with the Blues last month before taking a leave of absence to decide his future.

Rams, Bears, Packers Notes

 width=>>No "Chud" For Rams, Hackett To Interview Again

(St. Louis, MO) -- The Rams are scratching another offensive coordinator candidate off their list. Former Browns head coach Rob Chudzinski was considered a top choice, but will remain with the Colts after being promoted to associate head coach. Nathaniel Hackett will interview for the second time today.

 width=>>Bears Make Flurry Of Moves

(Lake Forest, IL) -- The Bears made a flurry of moves yesterday. The team signed wide receiver John Chiles to a reserve/future contract, named Clint Hurtt outside linebackers coach, and announced that offensive quality control coaches Brendan Nugent and Carson Walch will not return for next season.

 width=>>McCarthy's End Of Season Press Conference Set For Today

(Green Bay, WI) -- Packers head coach Mike McCarthy will hold his season-ending press conference today at Lambeau Field. The original press conference was postponed following the sudden death of McCarthy's brother Joe last week.

>>Rob Gronkowski Reads A Line From "A Gronking To Remember"

(Phoenix, AZ) -- New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski was a good sport on Super Bowl Media Day Tuesday, reading a line from the recently-surfaced erotic novel a fan wrote about him. Gronkowski told a reporter that he had heard of the novel, "A Gronking To Remember," adding that friends have been sending him excerpts from the book in recent weeks. Written by Lacey Noonan, the novel surfaced on Amazon earlier this month. "Gronk" chuckled through the line he read at Media Day in the Super Bowl's host city of Phoenix, Arizona, calling the book "pretty outrageous."

>>Marshawn Lynch Interview Antics Continue At Media Days

Marshawn Lynch became the star of Tuesday's Super Bowl XLIX Media Day by saying barely anything at all.

The notoriously interview-averse Seattle Seahawks running back did speak for nearly five minutes during his mandated press conference, but offered the same simple response to 29 questions he was asked.

"I'm just here so I won't get fined," Lynch repeatedly stated to a large assemblage of reporters.

Lynch did say something different at the end of his brief and awkward interaction. Four minutes and 51 seconds into the conference, the five-time Pro Bowl back picked up his phone and shouted "Time!" before proceeding to walk away from the podium.

ESPN had reported that Lynch would have been subjected to a $500,000 fine from the NFL had he not attended Tuesday's Media Day. The league previously fined him $100,000 back in November for repeated violations of its media policy, which included a refusal to speak with reporters following the Seahawks' loss at Kansas City in Week 11.

Lynch did take part in Media Day prior to last year's Super Bowl, also drawing considerable attention for some unusual antics.

He sat at his podium for several minutes before apparently vanishing, only to be seen moments later standing nearby wearing a hooded jacket and large black sunglasses.

Lynch later granted an interview to Hall of Fame cornerback and current NFL Network analyst Deion Sanders, in which he replied to a complement Sanders gave him on his appearance with an expletive.

The eight-year veteran also is required to partake in media sessions that will be held at the Seahawks' team hotel on Wednesday and Thursday.

>>Most Miserable NFL Fanbase

(Undated) -- The Motor City is still stewing over their controversial dismissal in the playoffs, turning the Detroit Lions' fanbase into the most miserable in the NFL. The Scripps National Desk has released a new survey that illustrates which NFL franchises have the most miserable fans dating back to the 60s. Detroit fans, who haven't seen a playoff victory since 1991, topped the list. The Buffalo Bills came in second, followed by the Cleveland Browns, Atlanta Falcons and the Chicago Bears. The Scripps NFL misery index looked at seven categories that relate to the performance of a city's NFL franchise or its quality of life.

Factors included the unemployment rate for the franchise's metropolitan area, the city's average temperature in January, number of Super Bowl titles and appearances along with postseason success. Scripps says the Dallas Cowboys, who were also eliminated from the playoffs on a controversial call, have the least amount of misery among their fanbase.

>>NFL To Air Anti-Domestic Violence PSA During Super Bowl

(Undated) -- The NFL is turning its attention to domestic violence in a chilling new Public Service Announcement that will air during Sunday's Super Bowl. The spot is said to be based on an actual 911 phone call in which a woman pretends to order a pizza to let the dispatcher know that she is in a dangerous situation in her home. Images show a home in disarray with dishes piled up in a sink, a crack in the wall, presumably from a punch, and a framed picture of a woman next to a trash can. The PSA ends with the message: "When it's hard to talk, it's up to us to listen." It's the latest in the NFL's "No More" campaign, which aims to help the efforts to end domestic violence and sexual assault. Unveiled online in its 60-second format Tuesday, "The Hollywood Reporter" says the PSA will air as a 30-second spot during the first quarter of the Super Bowl on Sunday.

Bulls Top Warriors on Road

 width=Klay Thompson missed a runner as time expired in overtime and the Warriors took their second loss of the season at ORACLE Arena, 113-111, to the Bulls. Derrick Rose put Chicago ahead on a pull-up jumper with seven seconds left. Rose finished with 30 points on 33 shots and 11 turnovers to only one assist. Joakim Noah and Pau Gasol each put up 18 points as the Bulls won for the third time in four tries. The Warriors missed all 13 three-pointers they attempted after halftime. Thompson tallied 30 points with 10 rebounds, and is averaging 37.7 points over his last three games. Steph Curry added 21 points and nine assists, while David Lee posted for 24 points, nine boards and six helpers off the bench. The Warriors are 21-and-2 at home.

Toronto Raptors 104, Indiana Pacers 91
Cleveland Cavaliers 103, Detroit Pistons 95
Milwaukee Bucks 109, Miami Heat 102
Memphis Grizzlies 109, Dallas Mavericks 90
Washington Wizards 98, Los Angeles Lakers 92

Illinois Sets Date for Spring Football Game

 width=Illinois will play its annual spring football game on April 18, a Saturday night.

The team said in a news release Tuesday that admission to the annual Orange and Blue game will be free. The game will also be broadcast live at 5 p.m. on the Big Ten Network.

The Illini will open spring practices on March 14. The team will conduct practices away from campus on April 3 at Homewood-Flossmoor High School in Flossmoor and April 10 at Sacred Heart-Griffin High School in Springfield.

Illinois is coming off a 6-7 season that finished with a loss to Louisiana Tech in the Heart of Dallas Bowl.

Sages Upset #4 Warrensburg-Latham

Monticello held the fourth ranked team in the state to 40% shooting and under 20% beyond the arc, Zach Fisher logged his second double-double of the season and the Sages pulled off an improbably 54-50 upset of Warrensburg-Latham Cardinals in Monticelo Tuesday night.

 width=Fisher had 14 points and ten rebounds and Noah Freemon added 10 points as the Sages used a balance offensive attack to pull out the win.

Warrensburg-Latham forced 16 turnovers and had four players score in double-figures but could not overcome a poor shooting and were completely dominated on the glass (36-24) en route to their first loss of the season.

Austin Hardin came off the bench to lead the Cardinals with 12 points. Austic Tucker, Garrett Shea, and Tyler Bond each added 10 points but only two other players recorded buckets.

The Sages improve to 13-3 on the season, while Warrensburg-Latham falls to 17-1.

Monticello gets back into Okaw Action Friday night when they head to St. Thomas More.

The Cardinals take on Central A&M Saturday afternoon in Central Illinois Conference tournament action.

In other area games last night...

Charleston 40
Sullivan 49

Clinton 55
Tolono Unity 71

Decatur St. Teresa 62
Maroa-Forsyth 39

Lawmakers React to Rauner's Proposal of Employee Empowerment

The reaction is pouring in from both sides of the debate about right to work after Governor Bruce Rauner dropped what some are calling a rhetorical bomb on employee unions in Illinois.

During a presentation in Decatur Rauner proposed what he called Employee Empowerment Zones. The idea would essentially create areas where regulations about mandating union membership for some employees would be lifted, though the specifics are lacking. Illinois News Network has more:

[audio:RTW4.mp3] [/audio]

Rauner’s announcement of the so-called right to work zones was the first mention of the issue he’s made as Governor. The governor also addressed the cost of employee health care premiums. Rauner is scheduled to delve more into these and other issues during his State of the State address February 4th and his Budget address a few weeks thereafter.

Lincoln Engaging Community As Part of Strategic Planning

 width=One local community has a simple request for it's citizens: Tell them what you think.

The City of Lincoln is seeking the opinions of it's citizens as they begin work on their strategic planning for their various departments. According to Lincoln Mayor Keith Snyder, a five-minute survey is available for the public to provide feedback on the services the city provides.

[audio:12715lincolnsurvey1.mp3] [/audio]

For Mayor Snyder, the strategic planning process is about being proactive recognizing things that could become a potential problem in the future and producing a plan to deal with it before it becomes a problem.

[audio:12715lincolnsurvey2.mp3] [/audio]

Gaining community input as the first part of this process is of utmost importance. According to Mayor Snyder, the commnity is a product of it's residents and citizens. He feels the community gives the City Council direction with what they think the most urgent need is.

[audio:12715lincolnsurvey3.mp3] [/audio]

The Mayor hopes by the time the survey wraps up early next week, around 500 surveys will have been completed.

To complete the survey, visit lincolnil.org. Surveys can also be picked up at City Hall during regular business hours. 

Rachel Anderson-Lyons Inducted Into CHS Wall of Honor

 width=Friday night, Clinton High School inducted an alumni into their Wall of Honor.

Rachel Anderson Lyons was the lone inductee in 2015, and was recognized Friday night between JV and varsity basketball action. While honored, she hopes the recognition is because of more than just her athletic accolades.

[audio:12715lyonsinduct1.mp3] [/audio]

Anderson-Lyons was a star track athlete, and says all her relay accomplishments were her fondest. As a track star in both high school and college, Lyons attended Illinois Wesleyan University where her senior year, her four-by-four relay team experienced the ultimate success.

[audio:12715lyonsinduct2.mp3] [/audio]

Finding success in athletics wasn't Anderson-Lyons first priority in high school. She explains doing the same as young athletes seek out college opportunities is very important. She calls going to a Division-III school instead of a Division-I school was the best decision she made.

[audio:12715lyonsinduct3.mp3] [/audio]

 width=At Clinton High School, Anderson-Lyons was a member of the National Honors Society, graduating in 2004. She graduated from IWU Cum Laude with a degree in Business Administration. She then went on to graduate from Midwestern University with a Doctorate of Pharmacy and is a Clinical Pharmacist at Advocate BroMenn Regional Medical Center.

College Basketball Notes

 width=Georges Niang scored 19 points and No. 15 Iowa State held off a furious rally from 19th- ranked Texas for an 89-86 victory in a Big 12 battle.

Bryce Dejean-Jones scored 18 points while Jameel McKay gave 14 off the bench for the Cyclones (15-4, 5-2 Big 12), who were coming off a loss to Texas Tech on Saturday.

Javan Felix had 20 points and eight assists, while Jonathan Holmes added 17 points and 10 rebounds for the Longhorns (14-6, 3-4), who have lost their past two games. Isaiah Taylor finished with 17 points with eight assists.

NCAA Top-25 Men's Basketball
#15 North Carolina Tar Heels 93, Syracuse Orange 83

Reds Ink Mesoraco To Four-Year Contract

 width=The Cincinnati Reds are locking up catcher Devin Mesoraco to a long-term deal.  The two sides have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a four-year contract worth a reported 28-million-dollars.  The 26-year-old was a first-time All-Star last season, batting .273 with 25 home runs and 80 RBI in just 114 games.  Mesoraco was selected with the 15th overall pick in the 2007 draft.  He's a career .245 hitter with 41 home runs in parts of four seasons with Cincinnati.

Rams To Year-To-Year At EJD; NFL Notes

 width=The Rams have informed the St. Louis Convention and Visitors Commission that they will go year-to-year on their Edward Jones Dome lease. The move could pave the way for an eventual return to LA, where owner Stan Kroenke [[ KRONK-ee ]] has land for a potential new stadium.

>>Patriots' Kraft Talks "Deflategate"

(Phoenix, AZ) -- New England Patriots chairman and CEO Robert Kraft is speaking out about "Deflategate." Kraft says he believes they have not broken any rules. Kraft is confident the NFL's investigation will show the truth and the he expects an apology from the league if they are found not guilty of tampering with the footballs during the AFC Championship Game. The Pats have been under fire since it was revealed nearly all of their game balls were underiNFLated during their win over the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC title game. While the NFL is investigating, there still has been no explanation for the underiNFLation.

>>Raiders Re-Sign Woodson For 2015

(Alameda, CA) -- Safety Charles Woodson is returning for an 18th NFL season. The Raiders have re-signed the 38-year-old former Heisman Trophy winner for 2015. Woodson was set to become a free agent in March after re-signing with Oakland last year on a one-year deal. He recorded a career-high 113 tackles in 16 games, along with one sack, four interceptions and eight passes defensed. It was his second year back with the Raiders after seven seasons in Green Bay. Woodson was originally drafted by Oakland with the fourth-overall pick in 1998. He has 60 career interceptions and 20 sacks in 17 seasons.

Blues, Blackhawks Off Until Late This Week

 width=>>Blues Host Predators Thursday

(St. Louis, MO) -- The NHL All-Star break is over, but the Blues still have a few more days before their next game. They return to the rink Thursday night at home against Nashville. The Blues have won seven of their last eight games and have 62 points, three behind the Predators atop the Central Division.

>>Blackhawks Back In Action Friday

(Chicago, IL) -- The Blackhawks will return from the All-Star break and clash with the Kings on Friday. The affair is the opener of a six-game road trip for Chicago, which entered the break three points out of first place in the Central Division.

>>NHL Hands Out Weekly Honors

Columbus Blue Jackets forwardRyan Johansen, Ottawa Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson and Minnesota Wild forward Zach Parise were named the NHL's players of the week on Monday.

Johansen was selected as the First Star after being named -- by a fan vote on Twitter -- the MVP of the 2015 NHL All-Star Game in his home city. He had two goals and two assists for Team Foligno in a 17-12 loss to Team Toews.

Karlsson picked up the Second Star after scoring three goals in two games prior to the league's All-Star break.

Parise also scored three goals to garner the Third Star.

Bulls At Golden State Tonight; NBA Notes

 width=The Bulls begin a six-game road trip against the Warriors tonight. Chicago is coming off Sunday's 96-84 loss to the Heat. The Bulls have dropped three-of-five to enter the trek 29-and-17 on the season. Tip-off tonight is at 9:30.

>>Report: Three-Point Contestants For NBA All-Star Weekend Set

(Undated) -- It will be a star-studded crew participating in the NBA's three-point shooting contest. Yahoo Sports reports the event will be headlined by Warriors guards Steph Curry and Klay Thompson. Hawks forward Kyle Korver, Blazers guard Wesley Matthews and Clippers guard J.J. Redick will also be joining them. There are six contestants for the event taking place on February 14th during the NBA's All-Star Saturday Night at the Barclays Center.

>>Lakers' Bryant To Have Rotator Cuff Surgery Wednesday

(El Segundo, CA) -- Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant will have surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff in his right shoulder. A timetable for his return won't be determined until after the procedure on Wednesday morning. Bryant was hurt in last Wednesday's loss to the New Orleans Pelicans. This could be the third consecutive year Bryant undergoes season-ending surgery. He tore an Achilles tendon in April 2013 and broke a bone in his knee last season. The 36-year-old Bryant is averaging 22.3 points, 5.7 rebounds and 5.6 assists in 35 games this season, his 19th in the league.

Brooklyn Nets, Portland Trail Blazers (PPD)
New York Knicks, Sacramento Kings (PPD)
New Orleans Pelicans 99, Philadelphia 76ers 74
Oklahoma City Thunder 92, Minnesota Timberwolves 84
Memphis Grizzlies 103, Orlando Magic 94
Boston Celtics 99, Utah Jazz 90
Los Angeles Clippers 102, Denver Nuggets 98

Lady Maroons In Action at CIC Tourney

 width=After a Saturday victory over Decatur St. Teresa 45-23, the Clinton Lady Maroons basketball team will continue their pursuit for the first ever Central Illinois Conference title as they take on Central A&M.

A&M beat Warrensburg-Latham 50-20 Saturday and is the top overall seed. The Lady Maroons are the fourth seed.

Action tonight gets underway at 6 pm at Warrensburg-Latham High School. Hear it live on 92.3 FM WHOW and online at dewittdailynews.com.

Boys CIC action tonight includes:

Charleston @ Sullivan
Clinton @ Tolono Unity
Decatur St. Teresa @ Maroa-Forsyth
Tuscola @ Watseka
Warrensburg-Latham @ Monticello

Baum Chevy Buick Quick Lube Getting Renovated

 width=After better than ten years in business, Baum Chevrolet Buick in Clinton is renovating their Quick Lube Center.

Owner Scott Baum indicates the Quick Lube has been a very successful service since it's inception in 2003 and because of that, it is in need of some renovations. He explains they are transforming the floor into a concrete floor to better accomadate the traffic they get.

[audio:12815lubework1.mp3] [/audio]

There are two service areas in the quick lube center, and according to Baum, it will take about a month for renovation to each side. He says while that takes place though, the customer service side of things should not take a hit, in fact, Baum believes it has improved thanks to additional staff they have brought on for the duration of the work.

[audio:12815lubework2.mp3] [/audio]

K&K Construction out of Clinton is doing the work at the Quick Lube. The work's completion is estimated towards the end of February.

Baum explains once the work at the Quick Lube has concluded, they plan to keep the relocation of their other services in tact.

Lady Maroons Unable to Break Lady Raiders Undefeated Streak in CIC Tournament

As heard on 92.3 FM WHOW and streamed live on dewittdailynews.com, the Clinton Lady Maroons were  width=defeated by the Central A&M Lady Raiders 45-35 Tuesday night at the CIC Tournament in Warrensburg-Latham.

For the Lady Maroons (10-12), Jessica Scott lead the game with 14 points, with Haley Ginger right behind with 13 points.

For the Lady Raiders (23-0), Ryan Dooley lead her team with 13 points, with Kaley Hennings helping with 12 points.

Tune into 92.3 FM WHOW and stream live on dewittdailynews.com next Thursday as the Lady Maroons will play host to Sullivan. Approximate start time is 7:30 pm.

Executive Mansion Repair Bill Still Being Tallied

 width=Governor Bruce Rauner hasn't been one to coat the state's issues with sugar. The same applies to the status of the ailing Executive Mansion.

Rauner spoke outside of the Downtown landmark over the weekend. Rauner says determining what needs to be fixed is a work in progress.

[audio:Raunmansion1.mp3] [/audio]

Rauner says the Executive Mansion offers a lot more than a nice play for the Governor's family to sleep.

[audio:Raunmansion2.mp3] [/audio]

With the elevator out of order, Rauner's 15-year-old dog pumpkin won't be able to sleep next to the Governor and wife Diana because arthritic knees won't let her get up the stairs.

County Board to Approve Animal Shelter Architect Tuesday

 width=DeWitt County will move closer to having a new animal shelter tomorrow night.

The DeWitt County Board will begin the process of transforming the former Black's Heating and Cooling building tomorrow night when a special meeting will be held to vote to hire an architect to do design work at the vacant property. According to Board Chair David Newberg, this is the first step in getting the ball rolling on the project.

[audio:12615specmeet1.mp3] [/audio]

Because the structure is already built, Newberg says the process of transforming it to a multi-use building will be different. He explains because the building will be multi-use, they are going to work to set it up to be what they want.

[audio:12615specmeet2.mp3] [/audio]

With nearly five-thousand square feet at the new facility, Newberg doubts it is all likely to be devoted to the animal shelter, but notes all options are on the table as a possibility. The new animal shelter will be a significant upgrade in both space and quality from it's current location.

[audio:12615specmeet3.mp3] [/audio]

The Board would have taken a vote on the architect hire last Thursday, however, the item was left off the agenda, therefore, the Board could not take a vote. An agenda has been released for the special 6 pm meeting tomorrow night.

Clinton Police Chief Reflects On First Year

 width=After completed his first year at the helm of the Police Department, Clinton Police Chief Ben Lowers recently reflected on what the first year was like.

Among the goals for Chief Lowers when he took over was to make the department more proactive. He feels that has helped reduce crime and has given the department a more visible presence in the community.

[audio:12615lowersyear1.mp3] [/audio]

According to Chief Lowers, there was quite a learning curve for him early on. He credits former Chief Mike Reidy and the staff within the city as helping him along in the first year.

[audio:12615lowersyear2.mp3] [/audio]

There's been a lot to the position the Chief says he didn't realize he had to do. He explains the amount of time spent outside the office was surprising to him to the extent he's felt as though he needs to be in the office more.

[audio:12615lowersyear3.mp3] [/audio]

Chief Lowers misses being out and being interactive with the public. He also misses the feeling that he's helping people by being out and active.

We'll have more in the coming days on Chief Lowers' thoughts on his first year as the Chief of Police in Clinton. Keep it tuned to Regional Radio News and check in at dewittdailynews.com more this week.

Haas Emerges From Pack To Win Humana Challenge

 width=Bill Haas made a couple big birdies and saved some huge pars down the stretch on Sunday to shoot a final-round 67 and win the Humana Challenge by one shot over five others.

Haas finished the week at 22-under-par 266 to win for the sixth time on the PGA Tour. This is Haas' second victory at this event, which he also won back in 2010.

Second-round leader and highest ranked player in the field Matt Kuchar finished with a 5-under 67 and he ended tied for second along with Charley Hoffman (64), Brendan Steele (64), Sung Joon Park (65) and Steve Wheatcroft (67) at 21-under 267.

Rookie Justin Thomas, who shared the third-round lead with Haas, Erik Compton and first-round leader Michael Putnam, finished with a 3-under 69 and tied for seventh with Webb Simpson (64) and Boo Weekley (65) at minus-20.

Toews Beats Foligno, 17-12, In Record-Setting ASG

 width=John Tavares recorded four goals and Jakub Voracek followed with three scores and three assists, as Team Toews walked away with a 17-12 decision over Team Foligno in
the 2015 All-Star Game from Nationwide Arena, the highest-scoring mid-season event in league history.

Toews and Patrice Bergeron each ended up with a goal and four helpers, with Filip Forsberg, Rick Nash and Tyler Seguin adding two strikes apiece. Corey Crawford -- the last of three goaltenders to give up four goals, stopped 14- of-18 shots in the third period to earn the win.

Ryan Johansen from Team Foligno picked up the MVP award, pacing his side with two goals and as many assists. Patrick Kane and Steven Stamkos added two goals and one assist apiece, while Claude Giroux totaled three points on a tally and two helpers.

Marc-Andre Fleury took the loss, charged with seven goals on 16 shots in the second period.

NFL Pro Bowl Recap; Super Bowl Notes

 width=>>Team Irvin Edges Team Carter For Pro Bowl Win

(Glendale, AZ) -- Matt Ryan hooked up with Jimmy Graham late in the fourth quarter to give Team Irvin the lead and eventual 32-28 win over Team Carter at the 2015 Pro Bowl from University of Phoenix Stadium. Ryan finished with 104 yards passing and two scores. Lions quarterback and Pro Bowl offensive MVP Matthew Stafford threw for 316 yards with two touchdowns and a pick. Emmanuel Sanders caught two scores and Graham also hauled in two touchdowns. Drew Brees and Andrew Luck each threw two touchdowns for Team Carter. Greg Olsen hauled in two scores in the loss, while Jordy Nelson and T.Y. Hilton added TDs. Pro Bowl defensive MVP J.J. Watt recorded an interception and three pass deflections in the defeat.

>>Seahawks' Sherman Doesn't Expect Pats To Be Punished

(Glendale, AZ) -- Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman doesn't expect the New England Patriots to be punished for the "Deflategate" controversy. When asked in Arizona on Sunday if he thought the Pats would be penalized for underinflated footballs, Sherman said "probably not...not as long as Robert Kraft and Roger Goodell are taking pictures at their respective homes." Sherman was referring to the Patriots' owner and nfl commissioner, and described their relationship as a "conflict of interest".

The Pats have been under fire since it was revealed nearly all of their game balls were underinflated during last week's AFC Championship Game win over the Indianapolis Colts. While the nfl is investigating, there still has been no explanation for the underinflation.

>>Report: Browns' Gordon Fails Another Drug Test

(Undated) -- Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon has reportedly failed another drug test. According to ESPN, Gordon is facing a year suspension for the latest failed test. "Pro Football Talk" reports Gordon tested positive for alcohol. The 23-year-old Gordon is no stranger to suspensions. Gordon was banned for the first 10 games of last season for violating the league's substance-abuse policy. He was also suspended for Cleveland's season finale for violating team rules. Gordon was also suspended for the first two games of the 2013 season.

Excitement Surrounding 2015 White Sox

>>Returning White Sox Excited About Offseason Moves

When the Chicago White Sox started making moves over the winter, Adam Eaton says he ramped up his training even more.

Chicago's productive offseason was a big hit with the center fielder and the rest of the returning players after the White Sox finished fourth in the AL Central a year ago.

General manager Rick Hahn bolstered the bullpen by signing left-hander Zach Duke and closer David Robertson. He also strengthened the rotation by trading for Jeff Samardzija, and added a couple more bats for the lineup by signing Adam LaRoche and Melky Cabrera.

 width=With the White Sox - new and old - gathering this weekend in Chicago for the team's annual fan convention, Eaton says he is excited about the upcoming season and the team has what it needs to compete for a championship.

>>Hahn Senses Optimism Out of White Sox

Whether he's out on the town or simply checking messages, general manager Rick Hahn can sense the excitement and optimism surrounding the Chicago White Sox.

He joked that the "voice mails in the middle of the night have changed in tenor." For that, he says "thank you."

The vibe when Hahn and manager Robin Ventura took the stage Saturday during the team's fan convention was decidedly upbeat thanks to a series of moves that left many believing this team can win the AL Central.

Chicago added some left-handed pop by signing Adam LaRoche and bolstered its rotation by trading for right-hander Jeff Samardzija with one year left on his contract.

The White Sox also signed closer David Robertson and outfielder Melky Cabrera along with reliever Zach Duke.

>>Sox Bring On Vince Coleman As Base-Running Instructor

The Chicago White Sox have hired six-time National League steals champion Vince Coleman as a baserunning instructor.

General manager Rick Hahn announced the hiring Saturday at the team's annual fan convention.

Coleman, the last player with 100 steals in a season when he finished with 109 in 1987, will work with major leaguers and minor leaguers throughout the season. The White Sox hope he can help Adam Eaton and others.

Eaton hit .300 and had a .362 on-base percentage last season - his first with Chicago. But he struggled on steals, getting thrown out on nine of 24 attempts.

Heat Drop Bulls; Pacers Rally Past Orlando

 width=>>Bulls Fall To Heat In Chicago

(Chicago, IL) -- Hassan Whiteside logged a triple-double with 14 points, 13 rebounds and 12 blocks as the Heat beat the Bulls 96-84 in Chicago. Dwyane Wade led all scorers with 26 points in Miami's second straight win. Chris Bosh added 20 points and seven rebounds in the victory. Derrick Rose netted 19 points to pace the Bulls, who had won their previous two. Aaron Brooks scored 17 points off the bench in the loss.

 width=>>Pacers Rally To Beat Magic

(Orlando, FL) -- The Indiana Pacers' losing streak is over after a 106-99 victory versus Orlando at the Amway Center. David West scored 20 points to lead the Pacers. Indiana had previously lost seven straight games. The Magic led by seven points entering the fourth quarter, but reserve forward Damjan Rudez scored 16 of his career-high 18 in the final 12 minutes. Nikola Vucevic led Orlando with 27 points and seven rebounds. The Magic have dropped 10 of their past 12 games.

Cleveland Cavaliers 108, Oklahoma City Thunder 98
New Orleans Pelicans 109, Dallas Mavericks 106
Los Angeles Clippers 120, Phoenix Suns 100
Atlanta Hawks 112, Minnesota Timberwolves 100
Toronto Raptors 114, Detroit Pistons 110
San Antonio Spurs 101, Milwaukee Bucks 95
Golden State Warriors 114, Boston Celtics 111
Washington Wizards 117, Denver Nuggets 115 (OT)
Houston Rockets 99, Los Angeles Lakers 87

Welseyan Drops Road Game To Elmhurst

 width=Illinois Wesleyan's five-game winning streak was snapped in a 76-73 loss at No. 22-ranked Elmhurst on Saturday.

The Bluejays had a 31-30 lead at halftime of the contest that had 10 lead changes and seven ties. IWU's last lead in the game was at 36-33 with 18:57 to play in the game after a 3-pointer by senior Dylan Overstreet.

Senior Jordan Nelson led the way for Wesleyan with 17 points.

Overstreet stuffed the stat sheet with 14 points, eight assists and five boards. Sophomore Alex Bausch added 11 points and seven rebounds.

Kyle Wuest led Elmhurst with 18 points and 10 rebounds. Will Nixon chipped in with 12 points as four players scored in double-figures. Bryant Ackerman added 11 points and Erick Crittenden chipped in 10 points.

The Titans are now 13-5 overall and Elmhurst is 15-3 overall with both teams owning 5-2 records midway through the CCIW campaign. The Titans host Wheaton at 7 p.m. on Wednesday.

Minnesota Gets By Illinois Saturday

 width=Andre Hollins helped Minnesota pull away with 17 of his 28 points in the second half, fueling a 79-71 victory Saturday over Illinois.

Hollins finished 10 for 15 from the field, including 5 for 7 from 3-point range, and had five assists for the Golden Gophers (13-8, 2-6 Big Ten). Carlos Morris had 13 of his 16 points in the first half, Mo Walker chipped in 12 points and 13 rebounds and Nate Mason added 10 points and six assists.

Hollins has 80 points in his last three games, an average of 26.7 points per contest.

Malcolm Hill and Kendrick Nunn each scored 18 points for the depleted Fighting Illini (13-8, 3-5), who played their third game in the last seven days. Jaylon Tate added 11 points and nine assists, but the Illini ran out of steam down the stretch with a rotation that's only seven deep right now.

NCAA Top-25 Men's Basketball ("USA Today" Rankings)
#2 Virginia Cavaliers 50, Virginia Tech Hokies 47
#4 Villanova Wildcats 71, Creighton Bluejays 50
#6 Duke Blue Devils 77, St. John's Red Storm 68
#8 Maryland Terrapins 68, Northwestern Wildcats 67
#9 Notre Dame Fighting Irish 81, North Carolina State Wolfpack 78 (OT)
#10 Louisville Cardinals 80, Pittsburgh Panthers 68
#11 Utah Utes 77, Washington Huskies 56
#13 Wichita State Shockers host Drake Bulldogs
Ohio State Buckeyes 82, #23 Indiana Hoosiers 70
Butler Bulldogs 77, #24 Seton Hall Pirates 57

>>Krzyzewski Gets 1,000th Career Win

(New York, NY) -- Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski [[ shuh-SHEFF-skee ]] earned his 1,000th career win on Sunday. The sixth-ranked Blue Devils rallied from a 10-point deficit in the second half for a 77-68 victory over St. John's at Madison Square Garden. Duke closed out the game on a 26-7 run. The 67-year-old Krzyzewski is the first men's head coach in Division One history to reach 1,000 career wins. The Hall of Famer holds a career record of 1,000-and 308.

Bradley Holds Off Missouri State

 width=Warren Jones scored 16 points, including a late 3-pointer, and Bradley withstood a second-half rally by Missouri State for a 61-59 win on Saturday night.

A pair of free throws by Austin Ruder pulled Missouri State (8-12, 2-6 Missouri Valley), which lost its sixth-consecutive game, within one with 1:56 to play.

Tramique Sutherland found Jones for a 3-pointer 25 seconds later to make it 60-56.

Missouri State's Chris Kendrix and Bradley's Josh Cunningham each made 1 of 2 free throws and the Braves led by four with 15 seconds remaining.

Ruder's jumper cut it 61-59 just six seconds later but missed a jumper to tie it with three seconds left and a potential winning 3 as time expired.

Bradley (7-14, 2-6), which shot 55 percent from the field and made 5 of 10 3-pointers in the first half, made just two field goals in the final 11 minutes.

Ruder led Missouri State with 15 points.

No. 20 Northern Iowa Escapes ISU On Last Second Three

 width=Nate Buss hit a 3-pointer from the corner with 5 seconds left and No. 20 Northern Iowa edged Illinois State 54-53 on Sunday.

Northern Illinois (18-2, 8-1 Missouri Valley) overcame a 12-point deficit in the final 11 minutes. Seth Tuttle scored 21 for the Panthers and Jeremy Morgan made three steals and blocked a shot down the stretch.

Daishon Knight drove the lane at the end for Illinois State (12-8, 4-4), but his short shot hit the bottom of the rim as the horn sounded. Knight fell to the floor after the miss.

Lang Calls for Extension of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program

Nearly half of a four year pilot program for medical cannabis is about spent and the chief supporter in the house says there needs to be an extension. Illinois News Network has more:


The law went into effect early last year with patients applying for permits to use the drug. More than three-hundred investors from in and out of state paid five-million dollars in non refundable fees but licenses have not been issued. The program is set to expire at the first of the year, 2018.

McCann Files New Legislation Seeking to Restart Bobcat Season

State Sen. Sam McCann has filed new legislation to create a bobcat hunting season in Illinois, after McCann says former Governor Pat Quinn backed out of a pledge to sign the original legislation and vetoed it during his last days in office. Currently, Illinois is one of only eight states with no bobcat hunting season. The bobcat species was declared "threatened" back in the 1970's and bobcat hunting was stopped In 1972 because of their dwindling population. Now, Illinois Natural Resources officials say the state’s bobcat population is growing 4-9% per year. The proposed bobcat season would run between Nov. 1 and Feb. 15. The bill also sets a limit of one bobcat per permit.

Farm Bill Webinars Set For Next Week Through ICGA

The Illinois Corn Growers Association is hosting a telephone town hall call and a series of three webinars the last week of January to assist Illinois corn farmers in the process of signing up for the new farm bill.

The meetings are scheduled for Wednesday, January 28 at 11am. and 7pm. Then again Thursday, January 29 at 7 am.

Each webinar will cover the decisions to keep or update yields, retain or reallocate base acres, and choose a program to receive commodity program payments.

Commodity program choices are Agricultural Risk Coverage at the county level (ARC-CO), Price Loss Coverage (PLC), and ARC at the individual farm level (ARC-IC)..

Interested farmers and landowners should go to www.ilcorn.org/farmbill2014 for details.

Advanced registration is required for the webinar of choice. Those attending the webinar will view the presentation on their computer and dial in with a telephone to hear the presenters.

Monticello Drops Meridian

 width=Noah Freemon went off for 26 points and Monticello beat Meridian 58-47 Saturday night in non-conference game action.
Despite three starters scoring in double figures, 16 turnovers led to 18 Sages points.
Judah Renfro registered a double-double with 12 and 11 rebounds. Dalton Collins led the Hawks with 13 points. Quan Bradford has 11 points and nine rebounds. 
Zach Fisher had 16 points for the Sages as the only other player in double figures.
Monticello picked up their fifth straight victory and move to 12-3 overall. 
Meridian falls to 13-7.
The Sages will host Warrensburg-Latham Tuesday night. 

GOP Reps Pushing To Combine Offices

Some House Republicans are teeing up a constitutional amendment to combine the Comptroller and Treasurers offices.

The amendment would combine the two offices into the office of Comptroller of the Treasury. Co-sponsor, Republican State Rep. Rich Brauer of Petersburg says the checks and balances concerns that have been a stumbling block to a merger can easily be addressed.

[audio:Brauer1.mp3] [/audio]

Brauer says there are a number of reasons to combine the two offices, including the desires of the late Judy Baar Topinka, who served in both offices...

[audio:Brauer2.mp3] [/audio]

The proposed amendment has the support of current Comptroller Leslie Munger, Treasurer Michael Frerichs and Governor Rauner. The bill has been referred to the Rules Committee of the Illinois House, where it awaits approval and passage to the Illinois House.

Reason Internet Voting Not Gaining Traction

A bill that could start the conversation about Internet voting could find some trouble getting traction because people aren’t yet comfortable with sensitive information being sent around online.

That’s according to a citizen election watchdog. Representative Lou Lang filed legislation last week that would create the Internet Voting Act. He says there’s been an effort for several years to start up the conversation, but there hasn’t been much interests. Illinois News Network has some reaction...

[audio:INTERNETVOTING.mp3] [/audio]

Lang’s legislation was filed last week.

CHS To Induct Latest Wall of Honor Recipient

 width=Friday night will be a special night for a graduate of Clinton High School.

Each year in towards the end of the high school basketball season, Clinton High School honors an individual or individuals who have gone on to do great things in their respective communities. According to Principal Jerry Wayne, Friday night between the JV and Varsity boys basketball games, Rachel Anderson-Lyons will be inducted into Clinton High School's Wall of Honor.

[audio:12115andersonwallofhonor1.mp3] [/audio]

The Wall of Honor is primarily for graduates of Clinton High School. Wayne explains it highlights the accomplishments for them beyond athletics. Wayne explains they want to fearure recipients who have excelled to benefit their communities through their service or work.

[audio:12115andersonwallofhonor2.mp3] [/audio]

The Maroons will take on Tuscola Friday night at 7:30 pm and the ceremony is scheduled for halftime between the JV and varsity games.

Keep it to Regional Radio News and dewittdailynews.com for full coverage from the event Friday night.

County Board Approves Measures For Marina

 width=The DeWitt County Board faces an uphill battle in 2015 as it relates to the Clinton Lake Marina, and Thursday night they took major steps forward.

By the end of the calendar year, the Board must make the Clinton Lake Marina ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliant. According to Marina Committee Chair, Dan Ballenger, there are a couple areas of the marina that require immediate attention.

[audio:12315marinawork1.mp3] [/audio]

The previous board had laid the groundwork for renovations at the Marina restrooms. Thursday night, the Board approved the completion of that work through the original architect, Edwards Architects. Board Administrative Assistant DeeDee Rentmeister explains the work wasn't done originally because the bids came in too high.

[audio:12315marinawork2.mp3] [/audio]

The Board also approved a quote through Bodine Electric to replace five pedestals at just over $10-thousand. Dock six was the point of focus for this particular work, however, several board members questioned where previous pedestals had been installed at the Marina, and Rentmeister and Ballenger note it was Dock four that received work previously.

[audio:12315marinawork3.mp3] [/audio]

The Board also approved a dock salvage contract with a group from Farmer City. Ballenger explains quotes they had received in prior attempts were upwards of $25-thousand, however, the local group has agreed to do the work for approximately $10-thousand.

[audio:12315marinawork4.mp3] [/audio]

The contract calls for insurance liability, a contact for the Board as a reference point, and for the Board to keep possession of electrical equipment recovered as a part of the work.

Other parts from the dock will be made available to the public.

In other business from the Thursday Board meeting:

>>A special use permit was given to WC Media for a billboard on the south side of Wapella. We'll have more on that next week on Regional Radio News.

Putnam Takes Early Lead At Humana Challenge

 width=Michael Putnam used a big back nine to surge up the leaderboard and shoot a 9-under 63 in Thursday's first round, giving him a 1-shot lead at the Humana Challenge.

Over the first three rounds, players will alternate between playing the Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus Private Courses at PGA West along with La Quinta Country Club. Sunday's final round will be contested on the Palmer Course.

Francesco Molinari, the only non-American in the top 10, finished with an 8- under 64 and he is tied for second with Blake Adams, Mark Wilson, John Peterson and Scott Pinckney. Molinari and Adams played on the Palmer Course, Wilson and Peterson were on the Nicklaus Course and Pinckney played at La Quinta.

Defending champion Patrick Reed (La Quinta) fired a 7-under 65 and he is tied for seventh with Matt Kuchar (La Quinta), Jason Kokrak (Nicklaus) and Steve Wheatcroft (Palmer).

Playing in his first event since withdrawing from last season's BMW Championship, 42-time PGA Tour winner Phil Mickelson carded a 1-under 71 and he is tied for 89th.

Illinois At Minnesota Saturday

 width=>>Illinois At Minnesota Tomorrow

(Minneapolis, MN) -- Illinois has a Big Ten road date with Minnesota tomorrow at 1:15 p.m. The Illini picked off Purdue 66-57 on Wednesday. Illinois has traded wins and losses in its last six games to sit at 13-and-7 overall and 3-and-4 in the conference. The Golden Gophers are 12-and-8 and 1-and-6.

>>Arizona Drops Stanford On Road

Stanley Johnson had 19 points, Brandon Ashley scored 17 and No. 7 Arizona pulled away in the second half for an 89-82 win over Stanford on Thursday night.

Gabe York added 13 points and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson had 12 for the Wildcats (17-2, 5-1 Pac-12), who have won three in a row to share first place in the conference with No. 12 Utah.

Arizona was coming off a 69-51 win over Utah on Saturday.

Chasson Randle scored 26 points to lead Stanford (13-5, 4-2), which had a three-game winning streak snapped. Anthony Brown added 18 points and nine rebounds and Stefan Nastic scored 10 in the loss.

 width=>>Hoosiers Blast Terrapins

(Bloomington, IN) -- Indiana drained 68-percent of its three-pointers to cruise past Maryland 89-70 in Big-10 action from Assembly Hall. Yogi Ferrell led the way with 24 points including seven-of-eight from long range with James Blackmon Jr. adding 22 in the win. Troy Williams went for 16 points and seven boards as the Hoosiers improved to 5-and-1 in conference play. Jake Layman led the Terps with 13 points while Jared Nickens chipped in 12. Melo Trimble added 10 points for Maryland, which suffers its second conference loss at 5-and-2.

NCAA Top-25 Men's Basketball ("USA Today" Rankings)
#2 Virginia Cavaliers 57, Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets 28
#3 Gonzaga Bulldogs 68, Saint Mary's Gaels 47
#9 Notre Dame Fighting Irish 85, Virginia Tech Hokies 60
DePaul Blue Demons 64, #24 Seton Hall Pirates 60

>>Georgia Extends Mark Richt

(Athens, GA) -- The University of Georgia is locking up head football coach Mark Richt with a two-year contract extension. The additional years will keep Richt in the fold through the 2019 season. He will also receive a raise from 3.2-million to four-million-dollars per season. Richt is 136-and-48 with a pair of SEC championships in 14 seasons at UGA. The Dawgs defeated Louisville in the Belk Bowl this season to finish 2014 with a 10-and-3 record.

Brewers Looking To Trade For Phillies Papelbon

 width=The Milwaukee Brewers may be upgrading their closer.  Yahoo Sports is reporting that Milwaukee is in serious discussion with the Philadelphia Phillies to acquire closer Jonathan Papelbon.  Papelbon is set to make 13-million-dollars this season with a 13-million-dollar option for 2016 that is based on his performance.  The 34-year-old righty has a no-trade clause which includes 17 teams but it is unknown if Milwaukee is on the list.  Papelbon finished 52 games last season and racked up 39 saves with a 2.04 earned run average, his best ERA since the 2009 season with Boston.

NFL Notes

>>Belichick Denies Any Knowledge Of How Deflated Footballs

(Foxborough, MA) -- New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick says he's "shocked" about "Deflategate." Belichick said at a Thursday press conference that he has never talked to a player or any staff member about football air pressure during his entire career and that they are cooperating with the NFL's investigation. According to ESPN, 11 of New England's 12 allotted game balls were under-iNFLated by two pounds during last Sunday's AFC Championship Game against the Indianapolis Colts. The Patriots beat the Colts 45-7 to advance to Super Bowl 49 against the Seattle Seahawks.

 width=>>Brady Denines Knowledge of "Deflategate"

Tom Brady spoke of his involvement regarding the deflated footballs used during the AFC Championship Game on Thursday.

And like his head coach, Brady pled ignorance.

"I didn't alter the balls in any way," said Brady, who did not have a prepared statement and instead took questions from the media on the issue. "I've always played within the rules and I would never break the rules."

Brady explained his routine with team equipment managers and said nothing was any different from their normal preparation.

"I have no knowledge of any wrong doing. ... I don't know what happened," said Brady, who will play in his record sixth Super Bowl on Feb. 1. "I don't like that this has taken away from what we've achieved as a team."

The Patriots advanced to Super Bowl XLIX by rolling to a 45-7 win over the Colts last Sunday, a rain-soaked affair the saw Colts quarterback Andrew Luck complete just 36 percent of his passes.

Brady, meanwhile, connected on 66 percent of his attempts and was picked off once, an interception by D'Qwell Jackson in the second quarter that commenced what has been since been deemed "Deflate-Gate."

>>NFL London Games To Start Early Stateside In 2015

Each of the three NFL games to be played in London next season will have morning start times in the United States.

The New York Jets and Miami Dolphins will play on Oct. 4 at Wembley Stadium, then the league will play consecutive weeks in London for the first time when Buffalo and Jacksonville meet on Oct. 25 and Detroit takes on Kansas City on Nov. 1.

All three start times will be 9:30 a.m. ET in the United States.

Since the London series began in 2007, most of the start times were 1 p.m. ET in the U.S., although the Lions and Falcons played at 9:30 a.m. ET in one of this past season's three games.

Jeff Gordon To Run One Final Season

Jeff Gordon isn't retiring from racing after the 2015 season, but the 43-year-old driver is making this his last year competing for a championship in the Sprint Cup Series.

Gordon, a four-time champion in NASCAR's premier series, announced to his Hendrick Motorsports team and then revealed on Twitter on Thursday that this will be his final year competing for a title. He has driven the No. 24 Chevrolet for team owner Rick Hendrick in the series since November 1992.

 width=His Cup championships occurred in 1995, '97, '98 and 2001.

Since his Cup debut in the '92 season-ending race at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Gordon has made 761 consecutive and career starts. His 92 career victories places him third on the series' all-time race winners list, behind only Richard Petty (200) and David Pearson

Gordon had one of his best seasons since his most recent championship in '01. He won four races, including the Brickyard 400, and had a series-high 23 top-10 finishes. Gordon came up one point short of advancing into the final four for the Nov. 16
championship race at Homestead-Miami Speedway. He finished sixth in the point standings.

HMS said in a news release that it will announce plans for its 2016 team alignment at a later date. Jimmie Johnson, the six-time Sprint Cup champion, Dale Earnhardt Jr., NASCAR's most-popular driver, and Kasey Kahne also drive for the organization.

Toews Captain For NHL All-Star Fantasy Draft Tonight

 width=The NHL All-Star Fantasy Draft takes place tonight. Team captains Nike Foligno [[ foh-LEE-noh ]] of the Blue Jackets and Jonathan Toews [[ Taves ]] of the Blackhawks will pick players from the All-Star roster regardless of conference to compete in Sunday's 60th NHL All-Star Game at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio. The league adopted the fantasy draft format during the 2010-11 season after previous years in which players from the Eastern Conference played against those from the Western Conference. Columbus was originally scheduled to host the All-Star Game in January 2013, but the game was postponed that year due to the NHL lockout and there was no game last year due to the Winter Olympics in Russia.

Saturday will see the All-Star Skills Competition, which includes the fastest skater, breakaway challenge, accuracy shooting, skills challenge relay, hardest shot and a shootout. Competing players will also represent Team Foligno and Team Toews during the Skills Competition.

Bulls Blast Spurs; Gasol Tabbed Starter For East All-Star Team

 width=Derrick Rose dropped in 22 points and Pau Gasol posted 12 points and 17 rebounds as the Bulls blasted the Spurs 104-81 at the United Center. Jimmy Butler scored 17 points while Taj Gibson added 15 to go with nine boards for the Bulls, who won for just the third time in nine games. Aaron Brooks chipped in with 15 points off the bench in the victory. Kawhi Leonard netted 16 points to pace San Antonio, which had won its previous four. Tim Duncan was held to just six points on 2-of-7 shooting in defeat. The Spurs shot just 37-percent as a team.

Utah Jazz 101, Milwaukee Bucks 99
Boston Celtics 90, Portland Trail Blazers 89
Los Angeles Clippers 123, Brooklyn Nets 84

>>NBA All-Star Starters Announced

(Undated) -- The starters for the 2015 NBA All-Star Game are out. They final tally of the fan voting was released on a special edition of NBA Tip-Off on TNT. Warriors guard Steph Curry was the leading vote-getter and headlines the Western Conference team. Curry will be joined by Clippers forward Blake Griffin, Grizzlies center Marc Gasol, Pelicans forward Anthony Davis and Lakers guard Kobe Bryant. Bryant's status for the contest is currently unknown with Los Angeles announcing he suffered a torn rotator cuff on Thursday. Cavaliers forward LeBron James compiled the second-most fan votes. James leads an Eastern Conference squad featuring Wizards guard John Wall, Raptors guard Kyle Lowry, Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony and Bulls center Pau Gasol. The 64th edition of the All-Star Game will be played at Madison Square Garden on February 15th.

ISU Adds Mid-Year Transfers

 width=The Illinois State football team faces the dilemma of replacing 20 seniors and 11 starters for the 2015 season, but that task became less dauntin Thursday when Redbird football head coach Brock Spack announced the addition of four mid-year transfers from Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) programs.

Stephen Amoako (DB, Oregon), James Henry (OL, Toledo), David Kenney (DL, Indiana) and Reggie Spearman (LB, Iowa) are the newest additions to the ISU football roster and each will be immediately eligible to play for the Redbirds next season. Each has enrolled in classes and will take the field with their new teammates when spring practices commence in March.

Information Courtesy of goredbirds.com.

Farm Bill Webinars Set For Next Week Through ICGA

The Illinois Corn Growers Association is hosting a telephone town hall call and a series of three webinars the last week of January to assist Illinois corn farmers in the process of signing up for the new farm bill.

The meetings are scheduled for Wednesday, January 28 at 11am. and 7pm. Then again Thursday, January 29 at 7 am.

Each webinar will cover the decisions to keep or update yields, retain or reallocate base acres, and choose a program to receive commodity program payments.

Commodity program choices are Agricultural Risk Coverage at the county level (ARC-CO), Price Loss Coverage (PLC), and ARC at the individual farm level (ARC-IC)..

Interested farmers and landowners should go to www.ilcorn.org/farmbill2014 for details.

Advanced registration is required for the webinar of choice. Those attending the webinar will view the presentation on their computer and dial in with a telephone to hear the presenters.

Maroons Defend at Home Against Warriors in Conference Action

As heard on 92.3 FM WHOW and streamed live on dewittdailynews.com, the Clinton Maroons defeated the  width=Tuscola Warriors Friday night 65-63.

For the Maroons (7-12), Jacob Overton lead the team with 23 points, with Bowe Carter following with 19 points. Tanner White also helped the team with 11 points.

For the Warriors (8-8), Nick Bates lead the game with 30 points. Next best was Zac Bates, with 13 points.

Stay tuned to dewittdailynews.com to see when the next Clinton Maroons game will be as the broadcast will be determined by the Maroons game played Saturday in the CIC Tournament.

Monticello Tops Maroa-Forsyth

 width=Three Monticello starters scored in double figures, dominated the boards and the Sages topped Maroa - Forsyth 62-47 Friday night in Monticello. 
Zach Fisher once again led the Sages with 24 points, seven boards and four assists. 
Clay Becker added 12 points and seven boards. Noah Freemon had 11 points and five rebounds. Daniel Caldwell had eight points and five rebounds and the Sages outrebounded the Trojans 34-21.
The Trojans were led by Brody Adreon with 17 points. Blake Bryan added 13 points. 
The Trojans drop to 3-14 and are 0-3 in the new Okaw Valley Conference.
The Sages won their fourth straight and are 11-3 overall and move to 3-0 in the Okaw.
Monticello is back in action tomorrow night hosting Macon-Meridian. 

Report Calls For More Taxes, Lawmakers Think DIfferently

A new study ringing the alarm about the state’s finances says the income tax hike should be reinstated, but a lawmakers says not so fast--there needs to be significant cuts before new revenue is on the table.

Illinois News Network has the story:

[audio:IGPASANDACK.mp3] [/audio]

Governor Bruce Rauner is expected to address the budget next month.

Cost of Government, 'Sins of the Past' Have Led To $9-Billion Deficit

It’s not the cost of roads or state parks that have Illinois lawmakers looking at a $9 billion deficit this year.

Laurence Msall, head of the government watchdog group the Civic Federation, says since the 1990’s Illinois didn’t pay the true costs of government. Now the bills for pensions and employee health care have come due. And Illinois cannot afford them.

[audio:Msall1.MP3] [/audio]

Msall says Illinois is not going to find a quick or easy fix to plugging the now $9 billion budget deficit facing lawmakers.

[audio:Msall2.MP3] [/audio]

A new report from the University of Illinois’ Institute for Government and Public Affairs says Illinois’ deficit, thanks to pension costs, is $9 billion this year. That’s twice what lawmakers were expecting.

Mild Weather Should Continue

After a colder than normal start to the new year, the temperatures have turned milder since the past weekend and Eric Schmidt of Newton, Il based
EJS weather says the mild trend will likely continue into early February.

[audio:Eric.mp3] [/audio]

Eric Schmidt of EJS weather.

Mayor Commends Emergency Responders For Jan. 9 Fire

Monday night, the hot topic was the January 9 fire on Clinton's east side and the cooperation between several agencies in the community.

For Clinton Mayor Carolyn Peters, it was great to see all the various organizations and entities working together. The Mayor stepped up during the course of the afternoon and opened up the Clinton City Council's chambers for the victims.

[audio:12215mayorfire1.mp3] [/audio]

For the Mayor, she says it was one of her first experience seeing the Red Cross in action. She feels it was interesting to see how they operate and the way they were able to assist the victims.

[audio:12215mayorfire2.mp3] [/audio]

Also among the challenges facing first responders was keeping the firefighters warm. The Mayor applauds the efforts of EMA officials who were able to coordinate opening up the DeWitt County EMS building for firefighters to find warmth and food on a day where wind chills were well below zero.

Mid-Year Budget Looks Good For Clinton Schools

As administrators of the Clinton School District review the mid-year budget, things are not looking as bad as they could be.

This time of year, administrators sit back and take a look at their budgets and try to figure out where they stand and according to Dr. Jeff Holmes, Superintendent of Clinton Schools, right now the revenues they rely on are all coming in a timely manner, except for the mandated categoricals from the State of Illinois.

[audio:12215clintmidbudg1.mp3] [/audio]

The district is supposed to receive over one million dollars from the state in transportation funds, however, Dr. Holmes explains, this year, they are on pace to receive a new low of around 30% of those funds.

[audio:12215clintmidbudg2.mp3] [/audio]

All is not all doom and gloom for the district. Dr. Holmes points out while the state continues to cut their general budget payments, those are coming in on time and in the amount they have been told to expect.

[audio:12215clintmidbudg3.mp3] [/audio]

Dr. Holmes says there are a lot of mandates put on school districts that don't make sense and create a large burden for them to try to fund, and most of those funds come from their local dollars. He hopes a recent reform effort, Vision 20/20 will help address some of those things and reduce the burden the state has put schools in recent years.

Clinton Power Station Goes Offline For Planned Maintenance

 width=Operators removed Clinton Power Station from service at approximately 5:30 pm Wednesday evening after discovering elevated water levels in the containment sump, which could be indicative of a small pipe or valve leak inside the containment building.

While the unit is offline, other maintenance activities will be performed.

The plant produces 1,078 megawatts at full power, enough electricity to power about one million typical homes.

Brian Vickers Expected To Return To NASCAR Circuit

 width=Sprint Cup Series driver Brian Vickers has been medically cleared to return to racing full-time in early March, three months after he underwent open heart surgery.

Vickers, who drives the No. 55 Toyota for Michael Waltrip Racing in NASCAR's top series, is scheduled to make his season debut in the March 8 race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. MWR revealed on Wednesday that team co-owner Michael Waltrip will drive Vickers' car in the Feb. 22 season-opening Daytona 500. The team will name a substitute driver for the March 1 event at Atlanta Motor Speedway at a later date.

In December, doctors discovered that Vickers' body was rejecting a patch that was surgically placed over a hole in his heart in 2010. Earlier that year, he was diagnosed and treated for blood clots in his left leg and both lungs. Vickers also missed part of the 2013
racing season after he was placed on blood-thinning medication to treat a blood clot in his right calf.

Vickers won the championship in NASCAR's second-tier series (now known as the Xfinity Series) in 2003. He is a three-time race winner in Sprint Cup as well, with his most recent victory in that series occurring in July 2013 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

Brian Vickers Expected To Return To NASCAR Circuit

 width=Sprint Cup Series driver Brian Vickers has been medically cleared to return to racing full-time in early March, three months after he underwent open heart surgery.

Vickers, who drives the No. 55 Toyota for Michael Waltrip Racing in NASCAR's top series, is scheduled to make his season debut in the March 8 race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. MWR revealed on Wednesday that team co-owner Michael Waltrip will drive Vickers' car in the Feb. 22 season-opening Daytona 500. The team will name a substitute driver for the March 1 event at Atlanta Motor Speedway at a later date.

In December, doctors discovered that Vickers' body was rejecting a patch that was surgically placed over a hole in his heart in 2010. Earlier that year, he was diagnosed and treated for blood clots in his left leg and both lungs. Vickers also missed part of the 2013
racing season after he was placed on blood-thinning medication to treat a blood clot in his right calf.

Vickers won the championship in NASCAR's second-tier series (now known as the Xfinity Series) in 2003. He is a three-time race winner in Sprint Cup as well, with his most recent victory in that series occurring in July 2013 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

PGA Tour Notes

 width=>>Golfer Dustin Johnson Denies Cocaine Problem

(Undated) -- Golfer Dustin Johnson is denying he has a cocaine problem. In an interview with SI.com, Johnson says he did not go into rehab last summer, but instead took a leave of absence from the PGA Tour to consult with experts, including a life coach, about how to handle his life internally and the pressures that go with that.

>>Brutally Injured Golfer Withdraws From Weekend PGA Event

Days after being beaten and robbed, Robert Allenby announced on Tuesday that he has withdrawn from this week's Humana Challenge.

Allenby said in a statement released by the PGA Tour, "On the advice of my personal doctor, I have decided to withdraw from this week's Humana Challenge. This will enable me to ensure I am fully recovered prior to rejoining the PGA Tour. I anticipate a full recovery and look forward to returning in the near future."

Allenby was beaten and robbed after being kidnapped from a wine bar on Friday night. After he was helped back to his hotel, Allenby contacted police and received medical treatment.

On Sunday, Allenby was interviewed by Golf Channel and he had stitches in his forehead and his left eye was swollen shut. Police continue their investigation.

Allenby, a four-time PGA Tour winner, missed the cut at the Sony Open in Hawaii last Friday after shooting consecutive 1-over 71s.

The Australian was replaced in the Humana field by Whee Kim.

Brewers Ink D-Train To Minor League Deal

 width=The Milwaukee Brewers are taking a flyer on 2003 National League Rookie of the Year Dontrelle Willis.  The Brew Crew has signed the 33-year-old left-hander to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training.  Willis last pitched in the majors in 2011 with the Cincinnati Reds, going 1-and-6 with a 5.00 ERA in 13 starts.  The two-time All-Star is 72-and-69 with a 4.17 ERA in parts of nine seasons with the Florida Marlins, Detroit Tigers, Arizona Diamondbacks and Reds.  He finished second in the 2005 National League Cy Young voting with the Marlins after leading the league with 22 wins.

U.S. Soccer's Solo Suspended

 width=U.S. Soccer is suspending women's national team star Hope Solo for 30 days after reports that she failed to cooperate with police during a traffic stop in Los Angeles earlier this week. The goalkeeper will miss overseas matches in February against France and England. Solo was in the car when her husband, former NFL tight end Jerramy Stevens, was arrested for suspicion of driving under the influence. The 33-year-old Solo will be eligible to return pending a review and approval from U.S. Soccer.

Solo was also arrested last June in Kirkland, Washington and charged with two counts of fourth-degree domestic violence assault. She was accused of attacking her sister and nephew, who was 17-years-old at the time. Those charges were dismissed earlier this month.

Bulls Host Spurs, Third Most Valuable NBA Franchise


>>Bulls Host Spurs Tonight

(Chicago, IL) -- The Bulls are back in action tonight facing the San Antonio Spurs at the United Center. Chicago has lost two in-a-row and six of its last eight overall following Monday's 108-94 setback at Cleveland. The Bulls are 27-and-16 on the season. The Spurs have won four in-a-row and also sit at 27-and-16.

>>Forbes: Bulls NBA's Third-Most Valuable Franchise

(Undated) -- The Bulls are the NBA's third-most valuable franchise. That's according to Forbes, which values the Bulls at two-billion-dollars. The Lakers took over the top spot from the Knicks at 2.6-billion. The average value is up 72-percent from a year ago and there are now 11 NBA franchises that Forbes has valued at more than one-billion-dollars.

>>Hawks Pound Pacers For 14th Straight Win

(Atlanta, GA) -- Jeff Teague tallied 17 points and 11 assists as the Hawks pounded the Pacers 110-91 at Philips Arena. DeMarre Carroll also scored 17 points as the Hawks tied the franchise record with their 14th straight win. Al Horford had 14 points, seven boards and five assists in the victory. C.J. Miles netted 18 points off the bench to pace Indiana, which has dropped six in-a-row. C.J. Watson scored 13 points and Rodney Stuckey added 12 in defeat.

New York Knicks 98, Philadelphia 76ers 91
Cleveland Cavaliers 106, Utah Jazz 92
Charlotte Hornets 78, Miami Heat 76
Detroit Pistons 128, Orlando Magic 118
Dallas Mavericks 98, Minnesota Timberwolves 75
New Orleans Pelicans 96, Los Angeles Lakers 80
Oklahoma City Thunder 105, Washington Wizards 103 (OT)
Memphis Grizzlies 92, Toronto Raptors 86
Phoenix Suns 118, Portland Trail Blazers 113
Brooklyn Nets 103, Sacramento Kings 100
Golden State Warriors 126, Houston Rockets 113

Blackhawks Edge Penguins In Shootout

 width=Corey Crawford turned away two shots in the shootout against the Penguins to give the Blackhawks a 3-2 win at the CONSOL Energy Center. David Rundblad [[ ROON-blad ]] lit the lamp in the first period followed by a Marian Hossa's [[ HOE-suh ]] power play goal in the second. Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane scored in the shootout, while Crawford finished with 33 saves as Chicago won its second straight game. Zach Sill and Steve Downie scored in the loss. Marc-Andre Fleury made 24 saves for Pittsburgh, which dropped its fourth straight.

Ottawa Senators 4, Toronto Maple Leafs 3
Winnipeg Jets 4, Columbus Blue Jackets 0
Colorado Avalanche 3, Boston Bruins 2 (SO)
Anaheim Ducks 6, Calgary Flames 3
San Jose Sharks 4, Los Angeles Kings 2

Bears Name Offensive Coordinator; Bears, Rams, Packers Get Pro Bowl Assignments

 width=>>Bears Name Gase OC

(Lake Forest, IL) -- Adam Gase is joining John Fox in Chicago. The Bears have named Gase their new offensive coordinator. Gase spent the last four seasons under Fox in Denver, serving as OC for the last two. The 36-year-old was a candidate for the Broncos head coaching job after they parted ways with Fox, however, Denver hired former Houston Texans head coach Gary Kubiak. Gase also interviewed for the Bears head coaching position before Fox was hired last week. The Bears also named Ed Donatell defensive backs coach.

>>Colts' Luck Goes First In Pro Bowl Draft

(Glendale, AZ) -- The 2015 NFL Pro Bowl Draft is in the books. Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck was the first overall pick by Team Chris Carter. Luck joins a team captained by Texans star defensive end J.J. Watt and Steelers wideout Antonio Brown, who were both helping Carter fill out his roster. The opposition will be coached by Cowboys legend Michael Irvin, who used his first pick to take Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo. Romo joins teammate DeMarco Murray and Browns cornerback Joe Haden, who helped Irvin select their squad. Team Irvin will feature wide receivers Odell Beckham Jr., Golden Tate, Emmanuel Sanders and Randall Cobb. Team Carer will have wide outs Antonio Brown, Jordy Nelson, T.Y. Hilton and A.J. Green. The Pro Bowl is Sunday at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, home of Super Bowl 49.

>>Bears' Long, Bennett To Face Each Other In Pro Bowl

(Glendale, AZ) -- Bears guard Kyle Long and tight end Martellus Bennett will be on opposite teams in Sunday's Pro Bowl. Long was selected by Team Michael Irvin, while Bennett was picked by Team Chris Carter. The 2015 Pro Bowl is set for Sunday at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, home of Super Bowl 49.

>>Rams' Quinn, Donald Get Pro Bowl Team Assignments

(Phoenix, AZ) -- The Pro Bowl teams are set. Alumni captains Cris Carter and Michael Irvin helped choose sides last night. Rams defensive end Robert Quinn and defensive lineman Aaron Donald are both on Team Irvin. The Pro Bowl is this Sunday in Glendale, Arizona.

 width=>>Four Packers Selected To Team Carter, Two To Team Irvin In Pro Bowl 

(Glendale, AZ)  --  Four Packers will play for Team Chris Carter in Sunday's Pro Bowl, while Clay Matthews and Randall Cobb will play for Team Michael Irvin.  Jordy Nelson, John Kuhn, Josh Sitton and Sam Shields were all picked by Team Carter during last night's Pro Bowl Draft.  The 2015 Pro Bowl is set for Sunday at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, home of Super Bowl 49. 

 width=>>Rams' Offensive Coordinator Search Continues

(St. Louis, MO) -- The Rams' search for a new offensive coordinator continues. The team was denied permission earlier this week to speak to Colts special assistant Rob Chudzinski and Packers quarterbacks coach Alex Van Pelt.

Despite Slow Start, Illinois Overcomes Purdue

 width=Illinois survived a cold start and got double-figure scoring from four players Wednesday to hold off Purdue, 66-57.

The Illini survived a late Purdue charge but a Nnanna Egwu dunk with 18 seconds left put the Illini up 64-57.

Malcolm Hill led Illinois (13-7, 3-4 Big Ten) with 18 points. Leron Black had 15, Kendrick Nunn 14 and Egwu 11.

The Illini shot just 28.6 percent in the first half but somehow went to the locker room with a 32-30 lead.

Illinois also relied on efficient free throw shooting while keeping the Boilermakers away from the line. Illinois was 21 of 24 while Purdue was just 4 of 9.

Jon Octeus and Raphael Davis led the Boilermakers (11-8, 3-3) with 14 points each.

Purdue played most of the game without leading scorer Kendall Stephens who left with an unspecified injury.

 width=>>Wichita State Drops Indiana State

Ron Baker, Fred VanVleet and Tekele Cotton each scored 15 points and No. 14 Wichita State pulled away in the second half for a 76-53 win over Missouri State in a Missouri Valley Conference game.

Darius Carter added 14 points for the Shockers (17-2, 7-0 MVC), who remained unbeaten since losing to George Washington in their last non-conference game on Christmas.

Dorrian Williams and Chris Kendrix had 10 points apiece to lead the Bears (8-11, 2-5), who have dropped five in a row.

Wichita State returned to the site of one of its narrowest wins last season, a 72-69 victory over the Bears in overtime on Jan. 11 that kept the Shockers unbeaten on the way to the first 35-0 start by a team in NCAA history.

The Shockers ultimately came up a win short of the Sweet 16 after losing to Kentucky in the NCAA Tournament.

They are 7-0 in conference play for the second season in a row and fourth time in team history. Each of the previous three runs ended in conference titles.

NCAA Top-25 Men's Basketball ("USA Today" Rankings)
#11 Utah Utes 86, Washington State Cougars 64
#15 North Carolina Tar Heels 87, Wake Forest Demon Deacons 71
#19 Northern Iowa Panthers 66, Indiana State Sycamores 60
#21 Baylor Bears 81, Huston-Tillotson Rams 61

ISU Gives Football Coach Extension

 width=Illinois State football head coach Brock Spack has built a consistent, winning program in his six seasons at ISU and has committed to continuing that success.

Illinois State Director of Athletics Larry Lyons announced a contract extension Wednesday that will keep Spack at the helm of the program through at least the 2021 season.

Spack's salary will increase to $300,000, beginning with the 2015 season.

Lyons says Spack is a great fit for the program, campus our community. He calls him "a gifted football coach."

Spack has compiled a 46-26 (.693) record in six seasons at Illinois State and has led the Redbirds to winning campaigns in five of those six years.

He was named the 2014 Missouri Valley Football Conference Coach of the Year and is a two-time Eddie Robinson Award Finalist.

Spack has guided the Redbirds to a pair of playoff appearances in the last three seasons and led ISU to its first-ever appearance in the FCS Championship game in 2014-15.

Illinois Wesleyan Upsets Top-Ranked Augustana

 width=The Illinois Wesleyan men's basketball team took possession of first place in the College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin following an 89-84 upset win over No. 1 Augustana at the Carver Center on Wednesday.

Ill. Wesleyan relied on senior Pat Sodemann early, scoring 12 of the Titans first 23 points. After trailing for the first six minutes of the game, IWU would go on a 22-6 run in a span of 4:44 to take a 32-20 lead with 9:07 left in the first half thanks in part to a five-of-five start from beyond the arc. Augustana would close the gap to three late in the first half before IWU would take a 48-42 lead into the locker room at halftime.

The Vikings would keep the pressure on the Titans in the second half, keeping the game within three points before taking their first lead of the second half with 9:20 left in the game at 64-63. Both teams traded buckets for the next few minutes before the Titans took a nine point lead with 3:22 left in the game on a Dylan Overstreet old fashioned three-point play. Wesleyan would hit free throws down the stretch to hand the Vikings their first home loss of the season.

Augustana held a slight 30-28 advantage on the glass and held a 13-1 points off turnovers advantage. The Titans scored 27 bench points, including 16 from junior Mike Marietti who went a perfect six-of-six from the field.

IWU benefited from 25 made free throws on 32 attempts while the Vikings 17-26 from the charity stripe.

The Titans are 13-4 overall and 5-1 in the College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin and move into a first place tie with the Vikings, who slip to 15-2 and 5-1 in the CCIW. With the completion of tonight's game, IWU holds the tiebreaker over Augustana for first place in the conference having won the head to head matchup.

Jessica Scott's 1000th Point as a Lady Maroon Helped Defeat the Cardinals

As heard on 92.3 FM WHOW and streamed live on dewittdailynews.com, the Clinton Lady Maroons defeated 

 width=the Warrensburg-Latham Lady Cardinals Thursday night 64-38.

For the Lady Maroons (9-11), Megan Tool and Jessica Scott shared 16 points with Haley Ginger following with 15 points. Peyton Bieber also helped the team, scoring 9 points. For Jessica Scott, with the 16 points she scored tonight, she reached a milestone, scoring her 1000th point as a Lady Maroon.

For the Lady Cardinals (3-14), Rachel Hoppe, Carlee Peters, and Peyton Wooten each had 6 points.

Tune into 92.3 FM WHOW and stream live on dewittdailynews.com Febuary 5th as the Lady Maroons will play host to Sullivan. Approximate start time is 7:30 pm.

Durbin Returns From Cuba And Addresses Senate

U.S. Senator Dick Durbin has returned to the U.S. after joining the first Congressional delegation to visit Cuba since the United States changed its diplomatic status concerning the island nation.

Negotiations with the Cuban government on improving relations will begin tomorrow. Durbin says the Cuban people have taken notice. He says reformers and activists are hopeful life can improve in Cuba after the recent thaw in relations.

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Durbin believes there's a good precedent for this kind of debate.

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Durbin calls the trip very productive. He believes reestablishing travel and trade relations will help farmers, small businesses and working families.

County Fairs Impact Study In

County fairs are big business in Illinois--so says the results of a County Fair Economic Impact Study. The numbers are in says University of Illinois grad student Alex Norr. He helped lead the study last summer.....

[audio:FAIRS.MP3]comment here[/audio]

The results were released last weekend at the annual meeting of the Illinois Association of Agricultural Fairs. Norr says the $170-million impact represents a tremendous return on investment for the state, which allocated $5.1 for county fairs in 2014.

Taking On Responsibility Important For Young Adults

This week, you've heard about New Year's Resolutions geared toward younger kids, and today we will focus on good habits for your teenagers to form in 2015.

Unlike school-age kids, teenagers should focus on their social responsibilities such as community service and helping others. According to Dr. Tricia Scerba, a Pediatrician with Dr. John Warner Hospital, service to others can be relatable to driving and even dating etiquette.

[audio:121152015teens1.mp3] [/audio]

The teenage years can be a very stressful time for young people due to peer pressure involving drugs and alcohol. Dr. Scerba says it is ok for you as the parent, to encourage them to get their feelings out in a responsible way.

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One of the major outliers for all age groups involves the importance of communication. Dr. Scerba stresses for parents to talk often with your kids and know what's going on in their lives.

Local Groups Commended For Teamwork During Recent Apartment Fire

A fire from January 9 on Clinton's east side was the subject of most of the discussion for Monday night's Clinton City Council meeting.

Efforts by many resulted in no injuries and the swift action to tend to the needs of the victims. According to Leslie Cyrulik of the American Red Cross Chapter in DeWitt County, emergency personnel were very gracious to open up several places for the victims in the apartment fire to find shelter.

[audio:12115firecoop1.mp3] [/audio]

Bob Reed, Disaster Action Team (DAT) Captain for the Red Cross Chapter in DeWitt County, is appreciative and proud of the efforts of everyone involved. Several emergency responding agencies were involved and Reed calls it the biggest local effort he's been a part.

[audio:12115firecoop2.mp3] [/audio]

The bone chilling temperatures combined with high winds on that Friday were cause of some extremely dangerous conditions for those on scene, and Teresa Barnett, Emergency Management Agency Director for DeWitt County, explains there was a lot of behind the scenes work that went into the event that the public may not have noticed.

[audio:12115firecoop3.mp3] [/audio]

Reed encouraged the City Council as they investigate a new fire station, to perhaps consider incorporating a portion of the facility as a shelter location for events such as the apartment fire from earlier this month. He feels it isn't a matter of if something like that happens again, but it is a matter of when.

Harbaugh Hires Son To Michigan Coaching Staff

 width=Jim Harbaugh's son is joining his father's coaching staff at the University of Michigan.  Jay Harbaugh will serve as the Wolverines' tight ends and assistant special teams coordinator.  The 25-year-old has worked the past three seasons for his uncle, Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh.  He served as an offensive quality control person this past season.  Jay becomes the second son to join his father's coaching staff in the Big Ten.  Brian Ferentz, the son of Iowa's Kirk Ferentz, has been working for the Hawkeyes since 2012.  Jim Harbaugh was hired to coach his alma mater after mutually parting ways with the San Francisco 49ers after four seasons. 

Astros Ink Rasmus To One-Year Deal

Free-agent outfielder Colby Rasmus is headed to Houston.  The Astros have agreed to a one-year contract with the 28-year-old, worth a reported eight-million-dollars.  Rasmus hit just .225 with Toronto last season, but belted 18 home runs in just 104 games.  He's expected to take over in center field after Dexter Fowler was traded to the Cubs on Monday.  Rasmus is a career .246 hitter with 116 home runs in six seasons with the Blue Jays and Cardinals. 

Bears Tab Defensive Coordinator; Rodgers Replaced For Pro Bowl

 width=>>49ers' Fangio To Become Bears Defensive Coordinator

(Lake Forest, IL) -- It appears new Chicago Bears head coach John Fox has found his defensive coordinator. CBSSports.com reports San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator Vic Fangio has agreed to take the same role in the Windy City. The 56-year-old has run the 49ers' defense the last four seasons, ranking in the top-five in total defense each year. Fangio has most recently run a 3-4 defense, but Fox said on Monday that he hasn't yet decided if the Bears will use a 3-4 or 4-3 defense. Fox was formally introduced as head coach on Monday, replacing the fired Marc Trestman.

>>Ravens Name Trestman OC

(Owings Mills, MD) -- Marc Trestman is the new offensive coordinator of the Ravens. The former Bears head coach replaces Gary Kubiak [[ KOO-bee-ack ]], who left after one season to become head coach of the Broncos. The 59-year-old was fired as head coach by Chicago after a 5-and-11 season, the Bears' worst record in 10 years.

>>Report: Patriots Deflated Football For AFC Title Game

(Undated) -- ESPN reports nearly all of the New England Patriots' footballs for last Sunday's AFC Championship Game were under-inflated. According to the network, 11 of New England's 12 allotted game balls were under-inflated by two pounds of air. Game balls are required to be inflated between 12-and-a-half and 13-and-a-half pounds per square inch, and most also weigh between 14 and 15 ounces. It's unclear what punishment could be handed to the Pats, who pounded the Colts 45-7 on Sunday to advance to Super Bowl 49.

>>NFL Pro Bowl Fantasy Draft Tonight

(Glendale, AZ) -- The NFL will hold its Pro Bowl Fantasy Draft tonight. It will air on NFL Network beginning at 8 p.m. Eastern. Hall of Fame wide receivers Cris Carter and Michael Irvin will serve as alumni captains that help select teams regardless of conference affiliation. Irvin won a coin toss on Tuesday and elected to take the player-captain combination of Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray and Browns cornerback Joe Haden for Team Irvin. Team Carter gets the player-captain combination of Texans defensive end J.J. Watt and Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown. Carter will instead get the first pick in the draft itself. This is just the second season of the unconferenced format. Before that, the Pro Bowl had pitted the NFC against the AFC since 1971. The 2015 Pro Bowl will be played this Sunday at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.

>>Smaller Goal Posts, Longer Extra Points For Pro Bowl

(Phoenix, AZ) -- The NFL will narrow the goal posts for Sunday's Pro Bowl in Arizona. Executive vice president of football operations Troy Vincent said at Tuesday's Pro Bowl press conference in Phoenix that the goal posts will be reduced from 18.6-feet apart to 14-feet apart. Extra point tries will also be pushed back to the 15-yard line as they were for the first two preseason games of 2014. Vincent says the moves will allow the league to examine just how skilled the kicker position has become. Nearly 84-percent of field goal attempts this season were made, while the extra-point conversion rate was more than 99-percent.

 width=>>Dalton Replacing Rodgers In Pro Bowl

(Glendale, AZ) -- Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers is withdrawing from this weekend's Pro Bowl due to an injury. The calf injury that has bothered Rodgers the past couple weeks is likely the ailment that is keeping him out of the year end All-Star Game. Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton will replace Rodgers. Dalton threw for nearly 34-hundred yards with 19 touchdowns and 17 interceptions while leading the Bengals to an AFC Wild Card playoff berth.

Rose Criticizes Team

 width=Chicago Bulls point guard Derrick Rose is voicing frustration over his team's current struggles. After losing 108-94 at Cleveland on Monday, an emotional Rose told ESPN they need to get on the same page and won't be successful until they do so. The former league MVP pleaded for a better effort, communication, and said it feels like the team is "not even competing." Chicago has only won twice in its last eight games. The Bulls are fourth in the Eastern Conference at 27-and-16. They canceled Tuesday's practice. Chicago hosts the defending NBA champion Spurs on Thursday.

Oklahoma City Thunder 94, Miami Heat 86
San Antonio Spurs 109, Denver Nuggets 98

Blackhawks Pound Coyotes

 width=Andrew Shaw broke out of a scoring slump with two goals, and the Chicago Blackhawks beat the struggling Arizona Coyotes 6-1 on Tuesday night.

Patrick Kane had a goal and two assists, and rookie Teuvo Teravainen had a goal and an assist as the Blackhawks got back on track after dropping two in a row and three of four. Kane's goal in the second was No. 200 for his career, and Teravainen had his first multipoint game in the NHL.

Chicago goalie Antti Raanta made 35 saves while improving to 7-0 at home this season. Raanta started in place of Corey Crawford, who likely will get the nod in Pittsburgh on Wednesday night.

Arizona lost its sixth consecutive game, extending its season-worst streak. Lucas Lessio scored his first career goal in the second, and Mike Smith finished with 45 stops.

New York Rangers 3, Ottawa Senators 2 (OT)
Edmonton Oilers 5, Washington Capitals 4 (SO)
Philadelphia Flyers 3, Pittsburgh Penguins 2 (OT)
Montreal Canadiens 2, Nashville Predators 1 (OT)
Detroit Red Wings 5, Minnesota Wild 4 (SO)
Tampa Bay Lightning 4, Vancouver Canucks 1
Boston Bruins 3, Dallas Stars 1

Illinois State Drops Drake In MVC Tilt; Illini Host Purdue

 width=Daishon Knight scored 20 points, his third straight game of 20 or more, and Reggie Lynch added 13 with nine rebounds as Illinois State defeated Drake 64-56 on Tuesday night.

The Redbirds (12-7, 4-3 Missouri Valley Conference) battled through a tight first half to lead 29-27 at the break - grabbing the lead for good on a Bobby Hunter 3-pointer with 2:31 left in the half. Knight added a three-point play 48 seconds before the half.

Drake's Gary Ricks Jr. and C.J. Rivers hit 3-pointers to cut the gap to 36-35 early in the second half, but Illinois State never trailed after halftime and soon had the lead up to seven points.

Rivers and Ricks scored 10 points each to lead Drake (4-15, 1-6).

Lynch blocked three shots to tie Illinois State's sophomore blocks record with 48, matching Joe Galvin's 1977-78 mark. Hunter and Tony Wills scored eight each.

 width=>>Wisconsin Commits Single Turnover In Route of Iowa

Sam Dekker had 17 points, Nigel Hayes scored 16 and No. 6 Wisconsin was crisp in an 82-50 win over No. 25 Iowa on Tuesday.

Frank Kaminsky and Bronson Koenig added 13 points each for the Badgers (17-2, 5-1 Big Ten) and Kaminsky pulled down a game-high 11 rebounds.

Wisconsin picked up its eighth consecutive Big Ten home win and tied No. 13 Maryland for first place in the conference.

The Badgers committed just one turnover.

Jarrod Uthoff scored 12 points to lead the Hawkeyes (13-6, 4-2), who scored just 17 points in the first half and had a two-game winning streak snapped.

Wisconsin is 10-1 in its last 11 games overall, the only loss coming Jan. 11 at Rutgers when it played without Kaminsky because of a concussion and finished the game without point guard Traevon Jackson, who suffered a fractured foot in the second half.

NCAA Top-25 Men's Basketball ("USA Today" Rankings)
#1 Kentucky Wildcats 65, Vanderbilt Commodores 57
#12 Iowa State Cyclones 77, Kansas State Wildcats 71
Davidson Wildcats 77, #22 Dayton Flyers 60

 width=>>Illinois Hosts Purdue Tonight

(Champaign, IL) -- Illinois welcomes Purdue to the State Farm Center tonight. The Fighting Illini lost to Indiana on Sunday and have alternated wins and losses in their last five games. Illinois is 12-and-7 overall and 2-and-4 in the Big Ten. The Boilermakers are 11-and-7 and 3-and-2.

ISU Slugger Named Preseason All-American

 width=Illinois State redshirt junior infielder/catcher Paul DeJong has been named a 2015 Louisville Slugger Preseason All-American, the organization announced Friday. DeJong was a third-team selection.

DeJong, a native of Antioch, Illinois, led the Redbirds with a .349 batting average and a .596 slugging percentage in 2014. He appeared in 54 games (all starts) and posted team-high totals of nine home runs, 21 doubles, 48 RBIs and 44 runs.

The infielder/catcher ranked third in the Missouri Valley Conference in batting average and slugging percentage. DeJong ranked fourth among MVC players in on-base percentage (.430). He led the league in doubles, while ranking second in hits (76) and total bases (130).

The Illinois State baseball team open the 2015 season on Feb. 13 at Arkansas State. The Redbirds will also play non-conference series at Southeast Missouri State and 2014 College World Series champion Vanderbilt, before playing eight games over 10 days in Florida in March. The Redbirds will host their home opener on March 18 against Illinois-Chicago.

Illinois State finished the 2014 season with a 33-22 and advanced to the MVC Tournament's title game.

Standing Room Only at WHOW Farm Bill Meeting


It was standing room only as nearly 80 people converged in the meeting room at the Richland Community College Clinton Education Center Wednesday night, to hear information that will help farmers decide one of many options being given them in the new Farm Bill.

WHOW THE BIG 1520 AM and 92-point-3 FM hosted what it called a "WHOW Farm Bill" meeting sponsored by Peterson Insurance.


Pictured above:  U of I professor Gary Schnitkey

Todd Gleason from the University of Illinois, who is heard on WHOW weekdays at 2:06 on the Closing Market Report and Saturday mornings at 8:30 on Commodity Week, was the emcee, and introduced Gary Schnitkey, an expert on the recently-passed Farm Bill, also from the U-of-I, who did a number of power point presentations showing how decisions farmers made today, will affect their farms for the next 5 years.


Eric Alberter (al-ber-ter) of the DeWitt County Farm Service Agency, closed the evening with remarks, encouraging farmers to get to his office as soon as possible to avoid delays in filing their decisions. The deadline to file is February 27th.

WHOW thanks all the farmers and agri-business people that attended Wednesday night's Farm Bill meeting. Segments of the meeting will be heard in upcoming Morning and Noon Farm Shows, and the complete hour-and-a-half session will be posted on our farm web portal, illinoisfarmradio-dot-com.

WHOW Hosting Farm Bill Meeting Wednesday

 width=The Big 1520 AM/92.3 FM WHOW is hosting a Farm Bill informational meeting Wednesday night sponsored by Peterson Insurance.

Richland Community College's Clinton Education Center will be the site for this event and according to Jay Peterson, owner of Peterson Insurance, it would be beneficial for farmers to come out and get valuable information on the upcoming farm bill.

[audio:12115farmbillmeet1.mp3] [/audio]

As he makes his way across the area interacting with farmers, Peterson says a lot of his clients and others have a lot of questions about the upcoming farm bill. He feels farmers should attend several of these types of meetings, and encourages farmers to come out Wednesday for this one.

[audio:12115farmbillmeet2.mp3] [/audio]

 width=Todd Gleason, host of the Closing Market Report heard weekdays on WHOW, will emcee. Guest speaker is Gary Schnitkey of the University of Illinois, an expert on the new Farm Bill, who will present remarks and answer farmers' questions.

The Wednesday gathering gets underway at 6:30 at Richland Community College's Clinton Education Center. The meeting is free and open to the public.

For further details, contact Jared White at WHOW by calling 217-935-9590.

Rauner Uses More Executive Orders

Another day – another executive order from new Governor Bruce Rauner.

The Governor is asking state agencies and contractors to report the number of minorities and veterans in training and apprentice programs. The order Rauner says is a step to solve the “way too high” unemployment rate for minorities and veterans.

The new order applies to labor groups, contractors and sub contractors that work with the state. He wants the data back in 30 days.

Parents Encouraged To Stress Safety Among Young School Age Kids

Yesterday we heard some New Year's resolution suggestions for preschoolers. Today we will focus on a local pediatricians' recommendations for school age kids.

Children ranging from ages 5-12 are encouraged to jumpstart a healthy lifestyle that will carry them through life. According to Dr. Tricia Scerba, Pediatrician with Doctor John Warner Hospital, drinking water and milk in the place of soft drinks and sugary beverages is important for growing children.

[audio:12015schoolage1.mp3] [/audio]

Vehicle safety can be a tricky area as children begin to get older and bigger. For many school age kids may think they are ready to use adult seat belts before they should, so Scerba encourages parents to keep their kids in booster seats until they are big enough to ride without them.

[audio:12015schoolage2.mp3] [/audio]

Most school age kids like to explore and have a very trusting nature, but Scerba asks parents to set ground rules for online usage from an early age. Communication is the key for parents who monitor their child's internet exploration.

[audio:12015schoolage3.mp3] [/audio]

It's very important for kids to feel safe coming to adults for help. She notes authority figures should encourage children to come to them if they are being bullied or are uncomfortable with any situation they may be in.

Stay tuned to Regional Radio News for more of Dr. Scerba's resolutions geared toward teens.

DeWitt County HRC On Front Lines of Helping Recent Fire Victims

A couple tragic events in recent weeks have left several families and individuals reeling for necessary, every day items. In the wake of those events, one local organization has stepped up to help fill those needs.

A couple fires in DeWitt County haved affected several members of the community and the DeWitt County Human Resource Center is stepping up to help those affected by the unexpected events. Executive Director Lynn Scoville explains the Center has been available to provide the victims with necessary items they need.

[audio:12015hrcfire1.mp3] [/audio]

HRC has assisted the families with temporary housing and Scoville stresses they hope to help to pick up where the American Red Cross leaves off. Along with housing, HRC is also stepping up to provide medications and other daily items for the victims.

[audio:12015hrcfire2.mp3] [/audio]

Scoville encourages anyone wishing to make a donation to the fire victims to contact the HRC at 217-935-9496. Anyone wishing to donate food can also contact local food pantries.

Jimmy Walker Jumps Up In Latest PGA World Rankings

 width=Jimmy Walker ran away with his fourth career PGA Tour victory at the Sony Open in Hawaii Sunday, a win that has vaulted him up to No. 13 in the world rankings.

Walker, whose 9-shot victory was the largest in Sony Open history by two shots, jumped four spots from No. 17 to No. 13 this week.

Rory McIlroy remained the No. 1 player in the world for another week and he was followed by Henrik Stenson, Adam Scott and Bubba Watson at Nos. 2-4 again.

Justin Rose and Sergio Garcia traded spots, with Rose up one to No. 5 and Garcia falling one to No. 6. Jim Furyk, Jason Day, Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler remained the same and they are Nos. 7-10.

Matt Kuchar stayed put at No. 11, as did Martin Kaymer at No. 12 after he lost a 10-stroke lead at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship on Sunday. With Walker up four spots, Billy Horschel and Patrick Reed both fell one, putting them at Nos. 14 and 15,

Phil Mickelson remained at 16, Victor Dubuisson jumped two to 17, Hideki Matsuyama fell three to 18, Graeme McDowell dropped one to 19 and Zach Johnson stayed at 20 for another week.

Georgetown Upsets Villanova, Coach K Approaching 1000 Wins

>>Georgetown Blows Out Villanova

(Washington, DC) -- D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera and Isaac Copeland scored 17 points apiece as Georgetown blew out fourth-ranked Villanova 78-58 in Washington, DC. The Hoyas took control of the game with a 17-0 run in the first half. Jabril Trawick chipped in with 10 points as Georgetown moved to 5-and-2 in Big East play and 13-and-5. Ryan Arcidiacono netted 16 points for the Wildcats, who fell to 4-and-2 in the Big East and 17-and-2 overall.

 width=>>Duke Dismantles Pitt To Give Krzyzewski 999th Career Win

(Durham, NC) -- Mike Krzyzewski [[ shuh-SHEFF-ski ]] is on the brink of history following Duke's 79-65 win over Pitt. Krzyzewski now has 999 career victories as a head coach. The Hall of Famer will attempt to become the first coach in Division One history to reach 1,000 career wins when sixth-ranked Duke squares off with St. John's at Madison Square Garden on Sunday.

NCAA Top-25 Men's Basketball ("USA Today" Rankings)
#14 Kansas Jayhawks 85, #20 Oklahoma Sooners 78
#18 Texas Longhorns 66, TCU Horned Frogs 48

>>North Carolina Hires Chizik As Defensive Coordinator

(Chapel Hill, NC) -- Former BCS national championship head coach Gene Chizik [[ CHIZZ-ick ]] is heading to the University of North Carolina as a defensive coordinator. He served as the Auburn Tigers head coach from 2009 to 2012, but was fired after a 3-and-9 season. He was the Texas Longhorns' defensive coordinator during their 2005 national title season, and at Auburn in 2004 when the Tigers went unbeaten. The Tar Heels finished 117th in total defense this past season. UNC allowed 40 or more points six times, and 50 or more points three times, ending the year 6-and-7 with a loss to Rutgers in the Quick Lane Bowl.

Wacha Says Shoulder Feels Good; Brewers Deal Ace

 width=>>Wacha Says Shoulder Feeling Good

(St. Louis, MO) -- Cardinals pitcher Michael Wacha [[ WAH-kah ]] says his right shoulder is feeling good and he expects to be ready to go come spring training next month. Wacha made his comments at the Cardinals' Winter Warm-Up over the weekend. He was limited to 19 starts last season.

>>Brewers Move Ace Gallardo To Rangers

The Texas Rangers acquired starting pitcher Yovani Gallardo from the Milwaukee Brewers Monday in exchange for three players.

The Brewers landed reliever Corey Knebel, infielder Luis Sardinas and minor league pitcher Marcos Diplan in the deal.

Gallardo, 28, finished with an 8-11 record with a 3.51 ERA in 192 1/3 innings over 32 starts last season. He has pitched at least 180 innings in each of the last six seasons.

The right-hander is slated to make $13 million in the final year of his contract. Milwaukee helped Texas in the trade by retaining $4 million of the salary.

In eight seasons with the Brewers, Gallardo has compiled an 89-64 record with a 3.69 ERA and 1,226 strikeouts in 214 games (211 starts).

Knebel, who pitched just eight games for Detroit last season, went 5-1 with a 2.18 ERA and three saves in 34 appearances split between Double-A Erie, Triple-A Round Rock and Triple-A Toledo.

Sardinas hit .261 with eight RBI in 43 games last season for the Rangers, while Diplan made 13 starts in the Dominican Summer League.

Blues Win; Blackhawks Forward Suspended

 width=>>Blues Top Avs

(St. Louis, MO) -- Jaden Schwartz netted his 16th goal of the year as the Blues took down the Avalanche 3-1 at the Scottrade Center. T.J. Oshie [[ OH-shee ]] and Carl Gunnarsson both added a goal, and Brian Elliot tallied 18 saves in the victory. St. Louis has won seven of its last eight. Semyon Varlamov allowed all three goals on 30 shots as Colorado lost for the fourth time in five games. Matt Duchene [[ doo-SHANE ]] scored the lone goal in the setback.

New York Islanders 7, Philadelphia Flyers 4
Carolina Hurricanes 4, Toronto Maple Leafs 1
Vancouver Canucks 2, Florida Panthers 1
Columbus Blue Jackets 3, Minnesota Wild 1
New Jersey Devils 5, San Jose Sharks 2

 width=>>Blackhawks Host Coyotes

(Chicago, IL) -- The Blackhawks battle the Coyotes at the United Center tonight. Chicago is coming off Sunday's 6-3 home loss to the Stars. The 'Hawks have dropped two straight and three-of-four overall. The puck drops at 7:30.

>>Blackhawks Carcillo Suspended Six Games

The NHL has suspended Chicago Blackhawks forward Daniel Carcillo for six games for cross checking Winnipeg Jets forward Mathieu Perreault.

The punishment stems from a hit during Friday's loss to the Jets when he cross checked Perreault across the back in the closing seconds of the second period..

Carcillo sat out Sunday's game while awaiting a hearing and will miss five more.

Carcillo loses $40,243.92 in salary.

>>NHL Names Players of the Week

Winnipeg Jets defenseman Dustin Byfuglien, Detroit Red Wings forward Tomas Tatar and New York Islanders right wing Kyle Okposo were named the NHL's players of the week on Monday.

Byfuglien was selected as the First Star. He led all defensemen with three goals and added three assists, helping the Jets to wins in all four of their games last week.

Tatar picked up the Second Star after sharing the league lead with five goals and seven points last week. He scored in four straight games, leading Detroit to wins in each contest.

Okposo also scored five goals last week to garner the Third Star. Four of those goals came Friday in a 6-3 win over Pittsburgh.

Local Football Notes

>>Fox Looking Forward To Challenges of Bears

John Fox wasn't backing down from the challenge he faces as the Chicago Bears' new coach.

Fox says he's "looking forward" to tackling the job and help spark a franchise coming off a disappointing season.

The Bears went 5-11, missed the playoffs for the seventh time in eight years and fired general manager Phil Emery and coach Marc Trestman. They hired Ryan Pace as GM and then turned to Fox last week, just days after he coached the Denver Broncos in the playoffs, to replace Trestman.

 width=On Monday, the Bears introduced their new coach.

Fox did not provide any answers about the futures of quarterback Jay Cutler or receiver Brandon Marshall. He is more focused on filling out his staff.

>>Bears Hire Special Teams Coordinator

The Chicago Bears have hired Jeff Rodgers as special teams coordinator.

Rodgers spent the past four years in the same role with the Denver Broncos under coach John Fox , the Bears' new coach, and spent two seasons on Fox's staff in Carolina.

The Broncos ranked 10th in the NFL in gross punting average and 11th in net punting average under Rodgers. Kicker Matt Prater made the Pro Bowl after setting franchise records for field goal percentage (96.2) and points scored (150) during the 2013 season. He also set an NFL record that year with a 64-yard field goal.

This season, Connor Barth's field goal percentage (93.8) was second-highest in franchise history.

Rodgers was Carolina's special teams assistant in 2009 and coordinator in 2010.

The Bears announced the hiring Monday.

>>Bears TE Bennett Added To Pro Bowl

Chicago Bears tight end Martellus Bennett and Cleveland Browns safety Donte Whitner have been selected for the Pro Bowl.

They replace New England's Rob Gronkowski and Seattle's Earl Thomas, with the Patriots and Seahawks headed to the Super Bowl.

Bennett's selection is the first for him and the first by a Bears tight end since Hall of Famer Mike Ditka earned one for the 1965 season. He led NFL tight ends with a club-record 90 receptions and was third at the position with 916 yards receiving.

Whitner, headed to his third straight Pro Bowl, had 106 tackles in his first season with the Browns. A Cleveland native, he signed with them after spending his first eight seasons with Buffalo and San Francisco.

The Pro Bowl is Sunday in Glendale, Arizona.

 width=>>Pair of Packers Picked For Pro Bowl

Green Bay Packers wide receiver Randall Cobb and cornerback Sam Shields were named to their first Pro Bowl on Monday.

The NFL announced that Cobb will replace Dallas wide receiver Dez Bryant and Shields will take the place of New England corner Darrelle Revis, who will play in the Super Bowl.

The Packers fell to Seattle in overtime Sunday in the NFC Championship Game after the Seahawks mounted a comeback in the final minutes of regulation.

The Pro Bowl will be held Sunday at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona, a week before the Super Bowl takes place in the same stadium.

 width=>>Rams Looking To Interview Van Pelt, Chudzinski For OC

(St. Louis, MO) -- With the Packers and Colts out of the playoffs, the Rams may be looking to lure away one of their coaches. They have asked permission to speak to Packers quarterbacks coach Alex Van Pelt and Colts special assistant Rob Chudzinski about their vacant offensive coordinator job.

Cubs Acquire Fowler From Astros

 width=Outfielder Dexter Fowler has been traded from the Houston Astros to the Chicago Cubs for infielder Luis Valbuena and right-hander Dan Straily.

Fowler, 28, hit .276 with eight homers and 35 RBIs last year in his only season with the Astros, who acquired him from Colorado for outfielder Brandon Barnes and right-hander Jordan Lyles. Fowler, who has a .271 career average, asked last week for $10.8 million in arbitration and was offered $8.5 million. He is eligible for free agency after the season.

The 29-year-old Valbuena played third base primarily last year but also saw time at second. He hit .249 with 33 doubles, 16 homers and 51 RBIs. Valbuena agreed Friday to a $4.2 million, one-year contract and can become a free agent after the 2016 World Series.

Straily, 26, was 1-3 with a 6.75 ERA last season in eight starts and six relief appearances for Oakland and the Cubs, who acquired him as part of the trade that sent Jeff Samardzija to the Athletics. He was 10-8 for the A's in 2013.

Cavs Drop Bulls

 width=LeBron James scored 26 points and J.R. Smith added 20 as the Cleveland Cavaliers entered a favorable portion of their schedule with a 108-94 win over the Chicago Bulls on Monday night.

Back home after winning two games in Los Angeles to salvage a trip out West, the Cavs had little trouble with the Central Division-leading Bulls. Cleveland opened a 25-point lead in the third quarter and handed Chicago its fourth loss in five games.

Smith made six 3-pointers, Kyrie Irving scored 18 with 12 assists and Kevin Love added 16 points and 12 rebounds for the Cavs, who have won three straight to temporarily quiet talk that they're underachieving and first-year coach David Blatt is in trouble. Cleveland can improve its record with three more home games this week and nine of its next 12 in Quicken Loans Arena.

Washington Wizards 111, Philadelphia 76ers 76
Charlotte Hornets 105, Minnesota Timberwolves 80
Atlanta Hawks 93, Detroit Pistons 82
Los Angeles Clippers 102, Boston Celtics 93
Golden State Warriors 122, Denver Nuggets 79
Dallas Mavericks 103, Memphis Grizzlies 95
Houston Rockets 110, Indiana Pacers 98
New York Knicks 99, New Orleans Pelicans 92
Toronto Raptors 92, Milwaukee Bucks 89
Phoenix Suns 115, Los Angeles Lakers 100
Portland Trail Blazers 98, Sacramento Kings 94

Clinton Police Report for 1-20






Tax Increase Talks To Kick Back Up

Could there be an effort to increase taxes to fill the state’s budget deficit?

The short answer is yes, but it’s unclear what form the tax will take. One state senator says there may not be any other option to fix the problem in the short term other than a combination of cuts, business reforms and raising taxes. Illinois News Network has more:

[audio:SYVERSON.mp3] [/audio]

Earlier this week House Speaker Mike Madigan said the upcoming budget is expected to have a deficit of over five-and-a-half billion dollars.

Senate Leader Vows To Work With New Governor

It’s another term as President of the State Senate for John Cullerton.

During inauguration Wednesday, Cullerton addressed some bipartisan accomplishments, including the impeachment of Rod Blagojevich (blah-GOY'-ah-vich), marriage equality, infrastructure funding, workers’ compensation reform, and Medicaid reform, among others. Illinois News Network has more:

[audio:CULLERTON.mp3] [/audio]

Members of the 99th General Assembly were sworn in Wednesday in Springfield.

Senate Minority Leader Says Illinois Must Change Laughing Stock Status

It’s not just Illinoisans who are critical of their government, observers from around the country and around the world use Illinois as the butt of jokes and that needs to change. That’s according to State Senator Christine Radogno. During Wednesday’s inauguration of lawmakers in Springfield Radogno was selected the minority leader. Illinois News Network has more:

[audio:RADOGNO2.mp3] [/audio]

For twelve years Illinois was under one party rule, but that ended with Republican Governor Rauner’s election. The state’s poor finances are expected to take center stage for the new Governor and the General Assembly in the coming months.

Barickman Says There Are Different Ways To Address Budget

There are other options beyond just cuts and tax increases for Illinois to right its sinking financial ship.

Governor Bruce Rauner is expected to lay out significant budget details in the near future with both his State of the State and budget addresses, but some lawmakers say they already have some ideas on where sacrifices can be made. State Senator Andy Manar says Rauner’s call to hold the line on discretionary spending is a good start. Representative Scott Drury says reforming the prisons and how the state deals with mental illness can save the state money. State Senator Sam McCann says there needs to be significant reforms for Medicaid. But one lawmaker says more cuts aren’t and taxes the only options. Illinois News Network has more:

[audio:BARICKMAN.mp3] [/audio]

During their inauguration, House Speaker Mike Madigan said Illinois is facing an estimated budget shortfall over the next few years of over ten-billion dollars.

Education Group Warns of School Budget Cuts

Schools across the state will likely never see the $1 billion dollar cut Voices for Illinois Children are warning about.

But the group’s Emily Miller says the numbers don’t lie, and Illinois is broke.

[audio:MILLER1.MP3] [/audio]

Miller says SB16 is not the fix Illinois schools need.

[audio:MILLER2.MP3] [/audio]

Miller says the rollback of the 2011 income tax hike will short the state about $2 billion.

Illinois schools are already being shortchanged, they receive about 89-cents on the dollar of the promised $6,119 in state aid.

Some schools fear that could drop to 85-cents in the next state budget.

State Senator: It's Time To Get To Work

Despite not having an opponent in last November's election in Illinois, a local Senator still had to take the oath of office with his peers in Springfield.

Once the swearing in was over, State Senator Chapin Rose called the tenor of the week very positive but says "it's a new day".

[audio:11915roseoath1.mp3] [/audio]

With the swearing in of the 99th General Assembly last Wednesday, Sen. Rose says now it is time to get to work and feels the new Governor has set the tone just a single day into his term.

[audio:11915roseoath2.mp3] [/audio]

Sen. Rose represents Dewitt, Piatt, Moultrie, Douglas, and Shelby Counties and parts of McLean, Champaign, Vermilion, Edgar and Macon Counties.

Lincoln College's Lincoln Heritage Museum To Mark 150th Anniversary of Lincoln's Death

2015 will prove to be an eventful year for a local museum due to an important anniversary.

The Lincoln Heritage Museum on the campus of Lincoln College, will be commemorating the 150th anniversary of the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln this year. Museum Director Ron Keller explains exhibits from a Springfield group will make their way to Lincoln before the commemoration.

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The Museum is also creating their own exhibit. Keller explains Lincoln's death weighed heavily on the United State's of America at that time and was perhaps one of the greatest tragedies in American history to that point.

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The new exhibit opens this week and will continue through the rest of the year with more events to follow.

The Lincoln Heritage Museum is located on the campus of Lincoln College. For more information on exhibits and events you can go to www.lincolnheritagemuseum.org or find them on Facebook.

Local Pediatrician Promoting Healthy Kids For 2015

You may have set many New Year's Resolutions for yourself or you and your spouse, but what about your kids? A local pediatrician is encouraging parents to help your children to make their own special resolutions for this year.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recently published a list of age appropriate New Year's resolutions for various age groups and Dr. Tricia Scerba, Pediatrician at the Doctor John Warner Hospital, says kids ages 2-4 should be able to comprehend what a resolution is. She hopes you will encourage them to keep healthy habits such as hand washing or brushing their teeth.

[audio:11915kidsnewyear1.mp3] [/audio]

Kids can learn valuable lessons in communication even at a young age. Dr. Scerba notes your preschool age kids have the ability to grasp being kind to others and recognizing those in need.

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According to Dr. Scerba, talking with your kids at an early age can help to create healthy habits that will last a lifetime.

Interested in what else Dr. Scerba has to say? Stay tuned to Regional Radio News and check in with dewittdailynews.com for more resolutions geared toward your children.

Jimmy Walker Wins Sony Open

 width=Jimmy Walker fired a final-round, 7-under 63 on Sunday and he ran away with a 9-shot win and successfully defended his title at the Sony Open in Hawaii.

Walker shot four straight rounds in the 60s to finish the week at 23-under-par 257, which was nine shots better than runner-up Scott Piercy. The win is Walker's fourth on the PGA Tour and his first since winning the AT&T National Pro-Am last season. Walker defeated Chris Kirk by one stroke at this event last year.

Piercy carded his second consecutive 66 to finish in sole possession of second place at 14-under 266 at Waialae Country Club. Harris English and Gary Woodland both shot 3-under 67s, while Matt Kuchar fired a 1-over 71 and the trio finished tied for third at
13-under 267.

Rory Sabbatini (63), Jerry Kelly (66), Brian Davis (67), Zac Blair (67), Max Homa (69), Shawn Stefani (68) and Justin Thomas (70) all ended tied for sixth at 12-under.

Cards, Cubs, Baseball Notes

 width=>>Cards To Honor Taveras

(Undated) -- The Cardinals will honor Oscar Taveras this season. The team will wear an "OT" patch in 2015. Taveras was a rising star that died in the offseason at the age of 22. He was involved in a car crash in his native Dominican Republic.

>>Cubs Rizzo: "We Will Win The NL Central"

(Chicago, IL) -- Chicago Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo says the team will win the National League Central Division this season. Rizzo made the proclamation Thursday during a stop at an elementary school as part of the Cubs Caravan. Rizzo said it's going to happen this year, we're going to win the NL Central, you guys can quote me on that. 


The Cubs went 73-and-89 last season, but have brought in new manager Joe Madden and also signed top free-agent pitcher Jon Lester this offseason. The Cubs last made the playoffs in 2008 and haven't won a World Series since 1908.

>>Wrigley Bleachers Closed Until May

(Chicago, IL) -- The famed bleachers at Wrigley Field won't be open until May 11th at the earliest. The bleachers are being reconstructed as part of a 375-million-dollar renovation of the iconic home of the Cubs.

>>Nationals Ink Scherzer To Seven-Year Deal

(Washington, DC) -- The Washington Nationals will potentially have one of the best rotations in MLB this upcoming season. Multiple news outlets are reporting the Nationals have agreed to seven-year contract with right-hander Max Scherzer [[ SHER-zer ]]. Terms of the deal have yet to be released but it is expected to be worth over 180-million-dollars. Scherzer has logged a 3.52 ERA along with over a thousand strike outs and an 82-and-35 record in his last five seasons with the Detroit Tigers. With their current roster in tact, the Nationals will sport a starting rotation consisting of Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg, Jordan Zimmermann, Gio Gonzalez and Doug Fister this year. There are rumors they could look into dealing Zimmermann or Strasburg.

>>Orioles Avoid Arbitration With Four

(Baltimore, MD) -- The Baltimore Orioles are avoiding arbitration with four key members of their roster. The team has agreed to one-year deals with catcher Matt Wieters [[ WEE-ters ]], slugger Chris Davis, right-handed starter Chris Tillman and lefty reliever Brian Matusz [[ MATT-iss ]]. Wieters hit .308 with five home runs in 26 games before missing the rest of last season following Tommy John surgery. Davis slugged 26 homers, but hit just .196 before being suspended the final 17 games of the season for violating baseball's drug policy. Tillman went 13-and-6 with a 3.34 ERA, while Matusz was 2-and-3 with a 3.48 ERA out of the pen.

>>Giants, Aoki Agree To One-Year Deal

(San Francisco, CA) -- The San Francisco Giants are adding outfield depth. The "San Francisco Chronicle" reports the team has agreed to a one-year contract with Nori Aoki [[ ah-OH-kee ]]. The 33-year-old hit .285 with a home run and 17 stolen bases during his lone season with Kansas City in 2014. Aoki and the Royals fell to the Giants in seven games in last year's World Series.

>>Pirates Finalize Four-Year Deal With Kang

(Scottsdale, AZ) -- A deal between the Pittsburgh Pirates and South Korean infielder Jung Ho Kang is complete. The two sides have finalized a four-year contract with a club option for the 2019 season. The deal was agreed to in principle last week and is worth a reported 16-million-dollars. The Pirates also paid five-million-dollars to Nexen Heroes for the rights to negotiate with Kang. He set career highs by hitting .356 with 40 home runs and 117 RBI in 117 games last season.

Bulls Battle Cavs

 width=The Bulls are in Cleveland to battle LeBron James and the Cavaliers tonight. Chicago is coming off Saturday's 107-99 home loss to the Hawks. The Bulls have dropped three of their last four to enter tonight's tilt 27-and-15. Tip-off is at 6:30.

New Orleans Pelicans 95, Toronto Raptors 93
Oklahoma City Thunder 127, Orlando Magic 99
San Antonio Spurs 89, Utah Jazz 69

Stars Double Up Blackhawks; Blues Back In Action Tonight


>>Stars Double Up Blackhawks

(Chicago, IL) -- Cody Eakin lit the lamp twice as the Stars doubled up the Blackhawks 6-3 in Chicago. Tyler Seguin, Vernon Fiddler, Erik Cole and Shawn Horcoff all scored for Dallas, which has won two straight and three-of-four. Jamie Benn logged three assists and Kari Lehtonen made 38 saves in the win. Brandon Saad scored twice and Patrick Kane added a goal for Chicago, which came up short for the third time in four games. Corey Crawford allowed five goals on 33 shots in the setback.

New York Rangers 5, Pittsburgh Penguins 2
Winnipeg Jets 4, Arizona Coyotes 3 (SO)
Detroit Red Wings 6, Buffalo Sabres 4

 width=>>Blues Host Avalanche

(St. Louis, MO) -- The Blues welcome the Avalanche to town tonight. St. Louis is 28-13-and-4 after defeating Toronto 3-0 on Saturday. The Avs are 19-17-and-10. The puck drops at the Scottrade Center at 7 p.m. on NBC Sports Network.

Seahawks Stun Packers, Pats Crush Colts; Bears Notes

 width=>>Seahawks Stun Packers In OT To Advance To Super Bowl 49

(Seattle, WA) -- Russell Wilson's 35-yard touchdown pass to Jermaine Kearse just over three minutes into overtime gave the Seahawks a wild 28-22 win over the Packers in the NFC Championship Game in Seattle. The touchdown capped an incredible rally for the Seahawks, who took advantage of a misplayed onside kick late in the fourth en route to advancing to Super Bowl 49. The Seahawks trailed 16-0 at halftime and were down by 12 in the fourth quarter before taking their first lead with 1:25 left in regulation. Green Bay's Mason Crosby then forced OT with a 48-yard field goal with 14 seconds to go.

Wilson threw for 209 yards, the score and four interceptions for Seattle, which will face the Patriots in Glendale, Arizona on February 1st. Marshawn Lynch rumbled for 157 yards and a touchdown in the win. Aaron Rodgers passed for 178 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions for Green Bay, which gave up two touchdowns less than a minute apart late in the fourth. Crosby kicked five field goals, including two chip shots following Seattle defensive stands in the first quarter.

 width=>>Patriots Stomp Colts In AFC Championship Game

(Foxboro, MA) -- The New England Patriots are headed to their eighth Super Bowl. New England dominated the Indianapolis Colts, 45-7, Sunday evening at Gillette Stadium. The Pats will take on the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl 49, February 1st at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona. Tom Brady led the way, throwing for 226 yards, three touchdowns and an interception. On the receiving end of the Brady TD tosses were Rob Gronkowski, James Develin and offensive tackle Nate Solder. LeGarrette Blount gashed the Colts' run defense, much like he did in the 2013 AFC Divisional matchup, to the tune of 148 yards and three scores.

It wasn't a pretty day for Indianapolis quarterback Andrew Luck, who completed only 12-of-33 passes for 126 yards, no touchdowns and two picks. The Colts only gained 209 total yards as an offense. Their loan score was a one-yard run from Zurlon Tipton that pulled the Colts within seven in the second quarter. Indy was outscored 28-to-0 in the second half.

 width=>>Bears Name Player Personnel Director

The Chicago Bears have hired Josh Lucas as director of player personnel.

Lucas spent 10 seasons in the New Orleans Saints personnel department working with new Bears general manager Ryan Pace. He spent the past eight as a scout for them.

He joins a team that finished 5-11 and fired coach Marc Trestman. John Fox was hired as coach on Friday after splitting with the Denver Broncos.

Lucas also worked for the Jacksonville Jaguars from 2002-04 and graduated Cum Laude from Harvard University, where he played safety from 1997-98.

The Bears announced the move on Sunday.

>>Report: League Looking Into Patriots Deflating Footballs

(Foxboro, MA) -- It looks like another controversy will engulf the New England Patriots. Bob Kravitz, from wthr.com in Indianapolis, is reporting "the NFL is investigating the possibility the Patriots deflated footballs Sunday night." In another tweet, Kravitz stated "I'm told at one point the officials took a ball out of play and weighed it." If the accusation turns out to be true, New England will potentially lose draft picks. The Patriots torched the Colts, 45-7, to advance to face the Seahawks in Super Bowl 49.

>>Seahawks Sherman And Thomas Suffered Injuries

(Seattle, WA) -- The Seahawks Legion of Boom got a little bit banged up. Cornerback Richard Sherman suffered an elbow injury and safety Earl Thomas injured his shoulder in Seattle's NFC Championship Game win over the Packers on Sunday. Both players will have MRIs on Monday. After the game they both said they would play in Super Bowl 49, February 1st, against the Patriots in Glendale, Arizona.

ISU Beats Bradley (From Saturday), Illinois Crumbles Late

 width=>>Illinois State Tops Bradley

Daishon Knight scored 20 points - including five 3-pointers - and three others joined in double-figure scoring as Illinois State defeated Bradley 82-72 on Saturday.

Bobby Hunter added 14 points and five assists for the he Redbirds (11-7, 3-3 Missouri Valley) and Tony Willis and Paris Lee added 12 points each.

Illinois State shot 51 percent from the field (26-51) and drained 13 3-pointers. The Redbirds scored 17 of 23 at the foul line to Bradley's 10 of 16.

Bradley (6-13, 1-5) also shot well from the field (25 of 50), making a season-best 12 of 27 from 3-point range and placing four shooters in double figures. Warren Jones led with 19 points with five 3-pointers, freshman Josh Cunningham added a career-best 17, and Tramique Sutherland and Auston Barnes added 12 each.

The Redbirds jumped out 8-2 and led 46-31 at the break, cruising through the second half.

 width=>>Indiana Comes Back To Top Illinois

Troy Williams and James Blackmon Jr. both tallied 21 points as the Indiana Hoosiers grabbed the 80-74 win over the Illinois Fighting Illini in a Big Ten Conference battle at State Farm Center.

Blackmon Jr. knocked down four of his six shots from 3-point range and Williams not only cleared a team-best nine rebounds, he also converted several key free throws down the stretch in order for the Hoosiers (14-4, 4-1 Big Ten) to extend their win streak to three in a row.

Also scoring in double figures for the visitors was Nick Zeisloft with 10 points off the bench. Kevin Ferrell shot only 1-of-9 from the floor and finished with seven points, but he also accounted for nine assists, against just a single turnover.

Illinois (12-7, 2-4), which has dropped two of the last three contests, was paced by Kendrick Nunn with a game-high 24 points on 6-of-10 shooting beyond the arc. Ahmad Starks contributed 19 points and six assists in a reserve role, hitting 5-of-8 on the perimeter, while Malcolm Hill tacked on 12 points and three steals.

NCAA Top-25 Men's Basketball ("USA Today" Rankings)
#16 North Carolina Tar Heels 68, Virginia Tech Hokies 53
#22 Northern Iowa Panthers 60, Missouri State Bears 46

>>Michigan's LeVert Done For Season

(Ann Arbor, MI) -- Michigan's season took a turn for the worse on Sunday. The Wolverines will be without junior Caris LeVert for the rest of the season after he injured his left foot in a win Saturday at home against Northwestern. He will have surgery this week, on the same foot he had surgery on in May. LeVert is Michigan's leader in points, rebounds, assists, steals and blocks per game. The Wolverines play Rutgers on Tuesday. They're 11-and-7 overall and 4-and-2 in the Big Ten.

CHS Hosting FAFSA Informational Meeting Thursday

This Thursday night, senior students and their parents are encouraged to come out for an informational session on financial aid for college.

College tuition has been on the rise for many years, and affording to post-high school education is a challenge for many. One way to help afford college is through filing for FAFSA, a government financial aid source. According to Clinton High School Principal Jerry Wayne, Thursday night, parents and students can learn more about what FAFSA is all about.

[audio:12015fafsanight1.mp3] [/audio]

Guidance counselors and other people familiar with FAFSA forms will be on hand. According to Wayne, parents may want to bring along tax forms and other documents to receive first hand assistance with the process.

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Applying for FAFSA comes along with many common wrong perceptions and questions, and according to Wayne, the meeting is a great opportunity to get some of those questions answered.

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Thursday night, things open up at 6 pm and will go until 8 pm in the high school library.

Cubs: New Wrigley Field Bleachers Won't be Ready for Opener

The Chicago Cubs say new Wrigley Field bleachers won't be ready for the April 5 season opener.

The left- and right-field bleachers are being replaced as part of a five-year overhaul of the ballpark that turned 100 last season.

President of Business Operations Crane Kenney said Saturday that the left-field bleachers won't be ready until early May, and the right-field ones in late May.

About 1,000 season-ticket holders can choose to get a full refund for games before May 11, a credit or relocate to the grandstand.

The team also said the left-field videoboard should be ready by April 5, but the smaller one in right will be operational in May.

Meanwhile, chairman Tom Ricketts confirmed the Cubs bought several neighboring buildings and plan to run them as rooftop businesses.

Caterpillar Plant Closing in Franklin; 150 to Lose Jobs

A factory that makes seals for heavy equipment in Franklin is closing by the end of next year, leaving 150 people without jobs.

Franklin Mayor Bob Scott told media outlets the town learned about the closing of the Caterpillar plant Thursday.

The mayor says about everyone in the town of 4,000 in far western North Carolina knows someone who works there.

Caterpillar is also closing a foundry in Toccoa, Georgia, with 125 workers. The work will be consolidated to the company's Mapleton, Illinois, foundry.

Caterpillar will try to help workers find jobs at other factories and will pay severance packages.

The Caterpillar plant in Franklin opened in the early 1990s.

Franklin is in Macon County, which had an unemployment rate of 5.2 percent in November, same as the state's rate.

ISU Solar Car Races on in Abu Dhabi Contest

A team of solar-car builders from Illinois State University had a tough day at an international race. But the team gets to race on.

Team President Sarah Noll tells The Pantagraph in Bloomington (http://bit.ly/1DLpaI1 ) that the Abu Dhabi Solar Challenge allowed the 11-member group to continue racing even after its car failed to finish Thursday's run.

Noll said the problem was a loose connection between the solar array and the batteries. The fix wasn't difficult, but took enough time that the car didn't run the minimum number of laps.

Up next is a three-day race on city streets and desert roads.

Noll is one of the drivers. She said it was a thrill to drive a car the group built.

Rep. Brady: Upcoming Session To Require Concessions

Before family and friends, State Representative Dan Brady (R-Bloomington) today took the oath of office to represent the 105th House district in the new 99th General Assembly.

Representative Brady, who is beginning his 8th term representing local communities in the Illinois House, says this year truly has the feel of a “new beginning”. He adds the upcoming session is going to require concessions from everyone on both sides of the aisle.

[audio:011415BradyExpectations.MP3] [/audio]

House members were sworn in Wednesday at Sangamon Auditorium at the University of Illinois at Springfield. The new 99th General Assembly will serve until January 2017.

Maroons Overthrow Raiders in Conference Action


Last night, the Clinton Maroons defeated the Central A&M Raiders in a Central Illinois Conference Game 73-59.

For the Maroons (6-11) (1-1 CIC), Peyton McCubbin and Jacob Overton lead the team, both with 19 points. Gunnar Klitizing helped the team as well with his 11 points in the game.

For the Raiders (7-10) (0-2 CIC), Kohlby Ohl lead his team with 12 points, follwed by Jordan Miller with 11. Trenton Chepan also helped his team by scoring 10 points.

Tune into 92.3 FM WHOW and stream live on dewittdailynews.com on Friday 23rd as the Clinton Maroons will host the Tuscola Warriors. Start time will be approximately 7:30 pm.

Timely Updates Made to Online Farm Bill Toolbox

As the Farm Bill decision deadline looms large, farmers and landowners are encouraged to check out recent updates to the online Farm Bill Toolbox that may help their decision making go more smoothly.

University of Illinois clinical assistant professor of law and policy Jonathan Coppess says after listening to a lot of people who have used the website, they decided to make some changes that will help users through the decision-making process

The site has been redesigned so that it is easier to navigate; a resource tool bar has been added in the program decision steps; lists have been created of farmdoc Daily articles that are relevant to each decision step; and there is a new section with answers to frequently asked questions.The website can be found by typing “Farm Bill Toolbox” into any search engine or by visiting http://farmbilltoolbox.farmdoc.illinois.edu/.

The site includes dates and online registration for 14 free seminars that will be held across Illinois over the next few weeks and an archive of the webinars we offered this past fall. Coppess says they’ll also be hosting another webinar series that will cover each of the decisions, updated analysis on the programs, and expected payments. Information about how people can attend those webinars will be added to the site.”

Those producers with further questions pertaining to the new farm bill programs are encouraged to attend a special Farm Bill meeting sponsored by Peterson Insurance at the Richland Community College Clinton Education Center, on Wednesday, January 21st at 6:30pm.

Governor Rauner Requires Political Hires in State Government be Posted Online



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Illinois Once Again Top Soybean-Producing State

Illinois has claimed the title of top soybean-producing state for the second year in a row, according to USDA estimates.

The Jan. 12 USDA Crop Production Report estimates Illinois farmers raised 547.7 million bushels of soybeans in 2014 on 9.8 million harvested acres with an average yield of 56 bushels per acre. Iowa ranked second in terms of total production with 505.7 million bushels raised on 9.8 million acres and an average yield of 51.5 bushels per acre. In 2013, Illinois produced 474 million bushels.

Bill Raben, Soybean Farmer from Ridgway, Ill and ISA chairman says that while good weather played major role in the good palnting year, management practices also played a part.

The Illinois Soybean Association (ISA) represents more than 45,000 soybean farmers in Illinois through the state soybean checkoff and membership efforts. The checkoff funds market development, soybean production and profitability research, promotion, issues management and analysis, communications and education. Membership and advocacy efforts support Illinois soybean farmer interests in local areas, Springfield and Washington, D.C. ISA programs are designed to ensure Illinois soy is the highest quality and the most dependable, sustainable and competitive in the global marketplace. For more information, visit the website www.ilsoy.org.

Rep. Brown Says Rauner Leading a New Generation

As a new General Assembly was sworn in earlier this week, a local lawmaker could not help but express his optimism and excitement.

State Representative Adam Brown was sworn into office on behalf of the 102nd District on Wednesday, declaring an eagerness to truly bring reform to the state’s budget and spending policies alongside Governor Bruce Rauner.

[audio:BrownExpectations.MP3] [/audio]

Like many of his colleagues, Rep. Brown has identified the challenge of the state's budget as a top priority.

[audio:BrownLeadership.MP3] [/audio]

He hopes to continue his advocacy for the district’s vital educational and agricultural communities.

Bliefnick Pleased With Time As State Fair Manager

State Fair Manager Amy Bliefnick's ten year run at the helm of the August icon is ending after she received word that she was being let go by Governor Bruce Rauner's transition team.

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Bliefnick is proud of the role of veterans at the fair as well as the expanded emphasis on the final Sunday evening of the fair. When it comes to what she'll miss the most, it isn't a ferris wheel, a building, an event or even the butter cow.

[audio:Amy2.mp3] [/audio]

Du Quoin State Fair manager Shannon Woodworth also was fired earlier this week.In his case, he was let go before his first anniversary as manager.

Survey Shows Economy Remains Weak In Rural Parts of 10 States

A monthly survey of bankers suggests the economy will remain weak in rural parts of 10 Midwestern and Western states because of low grain and oil prices.

The region's overall economic index improved slightly to 50.9 in January from December's neutral score of 50. The index ranges from 0 to 100. Any score above 50 suggests growth while a score below 50 suggests decline.

Creighton University economist Ernie Goss says growth is being restrained in rural areas because of low corn and fuel prices. But bankers say ethanol plants haven't slowed production much.

Despite the concerns, rural businesses have adding some jobs. The January hiring index was 52.8, down from December's 55.2.

Bankers from Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming were surveyed.

Local Lawmaker Thinking Positive

 width=Despite having no challenger in last November's election, Illinois lawmakers still had to take the oath of office as a new General Assembly was sworn in earlier this week.

Before family and friends, on local lawmaker says despite the many challenges, the day was meant to be a happy day as State Representative Bill Mitchell today took the oath of office to represent the 101st House district in the new 99th General Assembly.

[audio:MitchellExpectations1.MP3] [/audio]

The budget along with economic development are topics and issues at the top of the list for Rep. Mitchell.

Cut 2: mitchellexpectations2 :12 CUE: i wonna do

All 118 house members were sworn in at noon Wednesday at Sangamon Auditorium at the University of Illinois at Springfield. The new 99th General Assembly will serve until January 2017.

USDA Introduces New Public, Private Program


 width=The USDA this week announced it's newest conservation program, the Regional Conservation Partnership Program, and three Illinois projects have been targeted to be a part of the first round of the public-private partnership based program. Jared White has more...

[audio:11515RCPPWrap.mp3] [/audio]


Former Clinton Elementary Buildings Demolition In Full Swing


The former Webster and Washington Elementary buildings in the Clinton School district are planned to be completely demolished and cleaned up by early summer.

With Webster School down, and Washington School being cleared for demolition, Superintendent Dr. Jeff Holmes says things are moving right along and the end of the month is not an unrealistic time frame to see both no longer standing.

[audio:11615schooldemo1.mp3] [/audio]

According to Dr. Holmes, once the process is finished, the properties will be turned to green space. That will be the final step for the contractors, whom, he explains are hired through the late spring months.

[audio:11615schooldemo2.mp3] [/audio]

The district has allowed the public, who wants to, access to bricks from the building as mementos of the site. According to Dr. Holmes there is a pile of bricks available at the recently demolished Webster School and there will be some available once Washington is brought down.

[audio:11615schooldemo3.mp3] [/audio]

 width=Dr. Holmes estimates having all the debris from the sites removed by the second week of March.

He says a decision on the future of the properties has not been made, but once everything is finished, he anticipates the Board of Education sitting down to consider a decision.

College Notes

 width=>>Man Chooses Jail Over Snitching On LSU Player

(Baton Rouge, LA) -- A Baton Rouge man is being booked on charges of theft after refusing to reveal the identity of the LSU player who gave him game-used memorabilia to sell. The "Advocate" reports shoe store employee Fletcher Sanders is the seller of a pair of cleats and gloves worn in the Tigers' upset win over Ole Miss this fall. Sanders told police that he sold the gear for an LSU football player, but would not divulge the player's identity. He was booked into East Baton Rouge Parish Prison on counts of principal to theft and illegal possession of stolen items. This is not the first eBay listing for Sanders. His seller history shows nearly three-thousand-dollars worth of game-worn LSU gear.

>>EX-Penn State President To Face Trial On Sandusky Charges

(Harrisburg, PA) -- The former president of Penn State University and two other officials will go to trial on criminal charges related to the Jerry Sandusky sexual abuse scandal. The university's ex-President Gordon Spanier is accused of hampering the investigation into the assistant football coach's sexual molestation of boys. A Pennsylvania judge ruled that former Athletic Director Tim Curley and the school's ex-vice-President Gary Schultz will also face trial for failing to report suspected abuse by Sandusky to authorities. Sandusky was convicted in 2012 of molesting ten boys, some on the Penn State campus.

Bulls In Boston

 width=>>Bulls Battle Boston

(Boston, MA) -- The Bulls are on the floor tonight taking on the Celtics in Boston. Chicago comes in at 26-and-14 after a loss to Washington on Wednesday. Boston is 13-and-24 following a loss to Atlanta on Wednesday.

>>Bucks Send Knicks To Franchise-Worst 16th Straight Loss

(London, England) -- O.J. Mayo led the Bucks with 22 points off the bench as Milwaukee sent the Knicks to their franchise-worst 16th straight loss with a 95-79 victory at O2 Arena in London. Brandon Knight added 20 points, six assists and six steals for the Bucks, who are 3-and-0 against the Knicks this season. Carmelo Anthony poured in 25 points in his return after missing six games with a knee injury. Travis Wear added 13 points off the bench and Jose Calderon chipped in with 11 for New York, which is an NBA-worst 5-and-36.

Houston Rockets 112, Oklahoma City Thunder 101
Cleveland Cavaliers 109, Los Angeles Lakers 102

>>Clippers Acquire Rivers In Three-Team Deal With Celtics, Suns

(Los Angeles, CA) -- Guard Austin Rivers is joining his father, Doc, with the Los Angeles Clippers. The Clippers have acquired Rivers in a three-team trade that sends forward Reggie Bullock from LA to Phoenix. The Suns will ship big man Shavlik Randolph to Boston along with Clippers swingman Chris Douglas-Roberts. Rivers will become the first son to play for his father. Coby Karl was a member of the Nuggets under his father George, but never saw the court in 2010. Los Angeles will also waive veteran guard Jordan Farmar to create room on the roster.

>>Report: Nets Looking To Move Lopez

(Undated) -- The Nets efforts to shake up the roster are continuing. Multiple outlets report Brooklyn is in three-way deal with the Thunder and Hornets that would see center Brook Lopez go to Oklahoma City. If the trade goes through it would become a homecoming for Charlotte guard Lance Stephenson as he would be shipped to the Nets. Stephenson played high school ball at Lincoln High School in Brooklyn. The Nets would also get Kendrick Perkins from the Thunder, while Jarrett Jack would head from New York City to Charlotte. The Hornets would also receive Jeremy Lamb and Grant Jerrett from OKC.

Red Wings Down Blues; Blackhawks Host Jets

 width=>>Red Wings Top Blues In OT

(St. Louis, MO) -- Pavel Datsyuk [[ PAV-el DAT-zook ]] scored with 2.2-seconds left in overtime to lift the Red Wings to a 3-2 win over the Blues in St. Louis. Joakim Andersson and Tomas Tatar scored a minute apart late in the second period for Detroit, which has won four of five. Petr Mrazek stopped 25 shots for the win. David Backes [[ BACK-es ]] and Alexander Steen scored in the third for St. Louis, which had won five straight. Brian Elliott made 21 saves in defeat.

Boston Bruins 3, New York Rangers 0
Minnesota Wild 7, Buffalo Sabres 0
Vancouver Canucks 4, Philadelphia Flyers 0
Ottawa Senators 4, Montreal Canadiens 1
Tampa Bay Lightning 3, Edmonton Oilers 2
Colorado Avalanche 4, Florida Panthers 2
Winnipeg Jets 2, Dallas Stars 1
Calgary Flames 4, Arizona Coyotes 1
San Jose Sharks 3, Toronto Maple Leafs 1

 width=>>Blackhawks Take On Jets

(Chicago, IL) -- The Blackhawks are on home-ice tonight to play the Jets. Chicago is 28-13-and-2 following Sunday's win over the Wild. Winnipeg defeated Dallas 2-1 last night to get to 23-14-and-8.

Sox To Retire Konerko's In May; Baseball Notes

 width=The White Sox will retire the No. 14 uniform of retired captain Paul Konerko.

Chicago said Thursday it will honor the six-time All-Star before a May 23 game against Minnesota.

Konerko will be the 11th player whose number is retired by the White Sox. That includes Jackie Robinson, whose No. 42 was retired for all of Major League Baseball in 1997.

Konerko spent 16 seasons with the White Sox and hit a grand slam in Game 2 of the 2005 World Series as Chicago swept Houston for its first title since 1917. He is the franchise leader in total bases (4,010), is second in home runs (432) behind Hall of Famer Frank Thomas and third in hits (2,292).

>>White Sox Avoid Arbitration With Three

(Chicago, IL) -- The White Sox have avoided arbitration with three players. Pitchers Javy Guerra, Nate Jones and Hector Noesi all agreed to one-year contracts. Guerra will make nearly 940-thousand-dollars while Jones will bring in 660-thousand. Noesi will make 1.95-million-dollars.

 width=>>Cardinals Lock Up Lynn With Three-Year Contract

(St. Louis, MO) -- The St. Louis Cardinals are avoiding arbitration with pitcher Lance Lynn by agreeing to a three-year contract. CBSSports.com reports the deal is worth 22-million-dollars. It will cover the rest of Jones' arbitration-eligible years. Lynn is 49-and-28 with a 3.46 ERA since making his big league debut in 2011. The 27-year-old was taken by the Cardinals with the 39th overall pick in the 2008 draft. He went 15-and-10 with a 2.74 ERA in 33 starts last season.

>>Loe, Joyce Suspended 50 Games For Drug Violation

(New York, NY) -- Major League Baseball is suspending pitcher Kameron Loe and outfielder Terrell Joyce 50 games each. The penalties come after a second positive test for a drug of abuse. Loe last pitched in the majors in 2013, splitting time between the Mariners, Cubs and Braves. The 33-year-old pitched at the Triple-A level last year for three different teams. The 22-year-old Joyce played 53 games last season with Tri-City of the New York-Penn League, an affiliate of the Houston Astros. Both suspensions will begin as soon as either player signs with another major league team.

>>San Diego Awarded 2016 All-Star Game

(San Diego, CA) -- Major League Baseball's All-Star Game is coming to San Diego. The Padres have been awarded the 2016 All-Star Game, which will take place at Petco Park. MLB officials say the game will likely bring about 80-million-dollars in economic impact to San Diego. The Padres last hosted baseball's Midsummer Classic in 1992 at Jack Murphy Stadium, which the American League won 13-6. It will be San Diego's third All-Star Game overall.

>>Baseball To Implement Pitch-Clock In Minors

(Undated) -- Major League Baseball may not be ready for a pitch-clock, but it's making its way to the minors. Fox Sports reports pitch-clocks will be implemented this season at the Double-A and Triple-A levels. The MLB "Pace of Game" committee explored ways to speed up games after the league set a record in 2014 with a game-time average of three hours and eight minutes. The average is up 30 minutes since 1984. The pitch-clock was used during the Arizona Fall League, and pitchers had 20 seconds to come set on the rubber. Exceeding the pitch-clock would result in a ball added to a batter's count.

>>Rangers Agree To Terms With Feliz

(Arlington, TX) -- The Texas Rangers have agreed to terms with pitcher Neftali Feliz on a one-year contract worth 4.125-million-dollars, avoiding arbitration. Feliz went 2-and-1 with 13 saves and a 1.99 ERA in 30 games last season after coming back from Tommy John surgery. He pitched in only 14 games combined over the previous two years.

Packer, Colts Look To Punch Tickets To Super Bowl

 width=>>Packers Square Off With Seahawks In NFC Title Tilt

(Seattle, WA) -- The Green Bay Packers head to the Emerald City to go up against the Seattle Seahawks in the NFC Championship Game Sunday at CenturyLink Field. It's a rematch of the season opener back in September in which the Seahawks began defense of their Super Bowl championship with a 36-16 victory. Marshawn Lynch ran for 110 yards and two scores in that game. Green Bay got by Dallas 26-21 in the Division Round last weekend to advance with the help of an overturned call on an apparent Dez Bryant catch near the end zone. Seattle handled Carolina 31-17 behind three touchdown passes from Russell Wilson. The Packers and Seahawks both went 12-and-4 during the regular season to win the NFC North and West, respectively, and earn a first-round bye.

 width=>>Colts Play Pats In AFC Championship Game

(Foxboro, MA) -- The Indianapolis Colts head to Foxboro to face the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship Game Sunday at Gillette Stadium. It's a rematch of last year's Divisional Round game in New England. The Pats won that game 43-22 with LeGarrette Blount [[ Blunt ]] rushing for four touchdowns and the defense picking off Colts quarterback Andrew Luck four times. New England also won 42-20 at Indianapolis in Week 11 of this season. The Pats have won five consecutive meetings against the Colts and are 16-and-4 at home all-time in the playoffs, including 13-and-3 under head coach Bill Belichick. New England rallied past Baltimore 35-31 last weekend to advance, while Indianapolis upset Denver 24-13 after beating Cincinnati in the Wild Card round the week before.

>>Cardinals' Arians, Bowles Win PFWA Awards

(Undated) -- The Arizona Cardinals' coaching staff is hauling in some awards for their 2014 season. The Pro Football Writers of America have named Bruce Arians the Coach of the Year and recently-departed defensive coordinator Todd Bowles the Assistant Coach of the Year. The two helped Arizona get off to a 9-and-1 start before injuries to two quarterbacks led to the Cardinals settling for a Wild Card playoff berth with an 11-and-5 record. Arians is 21-and-11 in two seasons as the Cardinals' head coach. Bowles ran the defense for Arians the last two seasons, but was just named the new head coach of the New York Jets.

>>Callahan To Join Redskins Staff

(Ashburn, VA) -- Bill Callahan is making his way from the Dallas Cowboys' coaching staff to the rival Washington Redskins'. ESPN reports Callahan has agreed to a three-year deal to join Jay Gruden's staff. Callahan is expected to work with the offense in some capacity, but his title is not yet known. Sean McVay is the Redskins offensive coordinator, which is the role Callahan held in Dallas. Callahan worked with Jay Gruden's brother, Jon, with the Oakland Raiders from 1998 to 2001, and then replaced Gruden as head coach in 2002.

>>Spagnuolo Returns As Giants Defensive Coordinator

(East Rutherford, NJ) -- Steve Spagnuolo [[ SPAG-no-loh ]] is going back to the New York Giants as defensive coordinator. The 55-year-old returns to the team he helped win Super Bowl 42 over the undefeated New England Patriots. He replaces Perry Fewell, who was fired after five seasons when the Giants finished 29th in total defense in 2014. Spagnuolo returns after unsuccessful stints as head coach of the St. Louis Rams and defensive coordinator of the New Orleans Saints. He has spent the past two years as a defensive assistant with the Baltimore Ravens.

>>Ryan Names Thurman Defensive Coordinator

(Orchard Park, NY) -- New Buffalo Bills head coach Rex Ryan is wasting no time in filling out his coaching staff. After taking over the reins on Monday, Ryan has hired close friend Dennis Thurman as defensive coordinator, along with seven more coaches who come to the Bills from the New York Jets' staff. Thurman served in the same role under Ryan with the Jets the last two seasons after four years as defensive backs coach.

>>Cardale Jones To Return To Ohio State

(Columbus, OH) -- Despite an amazing three-game starting run to a national championship, quarterback Cardale Jones is returning to Ohio State next season. Jones made his decision public Thursday afternoon.

Speculation grew that Jones would leave school and enter the NFL Draft after he tweeted earlier in the day that he was ready to announce a "life-changing decision." Jones says he's simply not ready for the NFL after just three collegiate starts. He added that he wants to graduate and be done with school before trying to play pro ball.

Jones came out of nowhere to lead the Buckeyes to the first-ever College Football Playoff National Championship after J.T. Barrett broke his ankle in the regular-season finale against Michigan. Jones took over under center and led OSU to wins over Wisconsin, Alabama and Oregon en route to a national championship. Barrett began the season as the starter after previous starter Braxton Miller was lost to a shoulder injury before the season even began.

Illinois Hosts Indiana Sunday

 width=>>Illinois Hosts Indiana

(Champaign, IL) -- The Fighting Illini are home on Sunday to play the Hoosiers at the State Farm Center. Illinois is 12-and-6 and 2-and-3 in the Big Ten after defeating Northwestern on Wednesday. Indiana comes in at 13-and-4 and 3-and-1 in the conference after a win over Penn State on Tuesday.

>>Kaminsky Returns To Lineup As Wisconsin Tops Nebraska

Frank Kaminsky returned to the lineup from a concussion and helped No. 7 Wisconsin shake off Sunday's loss to Rutgers with a 70-55 win over the Nebraska Cornhuskers.

Kaminsky led the Badgers (16-2, 4-1 Big Ten) with 22 points and moved over 1,000 career points in the process.

Wisconsin got 13 points and seven rebounds from Nigel Hayes, and Sam Dekker and Bronson Koenig each chipped in 11. Koenig was in the starting lineup after Traevon Jackson broke his foot in Sunday's setback.

Nebraska (10-7, 2-3) was led by Terran Petteway with 27 points but only seven came in the second half. Shavon Shields, averaging 17.1 points per game, only added eight.

NCAA Top-25 Men's Basketball ("USA Today" Rankings)
#3 Gonzaga Bulldogs 78, Pepperdine Waves 76
#8 Utah Utes 76, Arizona State Sun Devils 59
#9 Arizona Wildcats 68 Colorado Buffaloes 54

Fire Thursday Night Engulfs Clinton Home

Just before 8 pm Thursday night, Clinton Fire crews were dispatched to a home at 209 West South Street in Clinton.

Upon arrival, crews found a fire fully involved in the back of the home. The home was vacant however, it was under renovation on the inside from an owner who had just purchased it.

No injuries were reported.

Two Clinton Fire trucks were on scene and mutual aid was called in from Kenny, Maroa, and Wapella.

According to fire fighters, it was an older home, and the fire likely started from the bottom floors then spread up the walls to the upper two levels, and fully engulfed the attic.

Crews were on scene for approximately three and a half hours.

No injuries were reported.

Rauner Goes To Work On Ethics

Governor Bruce Rauner isn't taking time to celebrate his arrival in the executive branch. On his first full day in office, he tackled ethics and he didn't have good news for state workers thinking about a different career path.

[audio:Raunerethics2.mp3] [/audio]

Rauner says he wants to restore trust in Illinois.

[audio:Raunerethics1.mp3] [/audio]

Rauner's executive order also requires all new employment contracts to be approved by the state budget office.

University of Illinois Expected To Approve Tuition Freeze

University of Illinois trustees are expected to freeze in-state tuition rates at the school's three campuses.

Trustees meet in Chicago on Thursday and will to vote on a plan announced last week to freeze tuition for the coming school year at current rates.

President Robert Easter said last week the university wants to make affordability a top priority.

The plan would freeze tuition at $12,036 a year in Urbana-Champaign, $10,584 at the Chicago campus and $9,405 in Springfield. State law guarantees first-year students at public universities their tuition won't increase for four years.

Tuition would increase by 2 percent for non-Illinois residents.

Tuition at universities across the country has increased sharply in recent years.

Trustees are also expected to approve Timothy L. Killeen's hiring as the next university president.

4-H Camp Registration Underway, Changes Introduced

 width=Registration for 4H Camp has begun and a couple changes have occurred for the process.

DeWitt County 4H participant have usually attended camp during a specific week in the summer. This year, the kids are able to attend camp any of the available weeks. Sherry Fulton, with the University of Illinois Extension, explains 4H members can sign up through February 28th. After that, anyone is able to register to attend camp.

[audio:115154Hcamp1.mp3] [/audio]

Registration is done on a first come first serve basis. Fulton encourages 4H members to register as soon as possible. She adds the summer event is one of their most popular yearly activities.

[audio:115154Hcamp2.mp3] [/audio]

Each week of camp runs for four nights according to Fulton. Kids will be able to participate in various recreational and artistic activities while interacting with many of their peers.

For more information, you can contact the Extension Office at 935-5764.

Chamber Gearing Up For Annual Dinner

The Clinton Chamber of Commerce is readying for their Annual Dinner in 2015.

The dinner is the first big event of the year for the Clinton group and Executive Director Marian Brisard explains this year's event will include the auction that is always a part of the event, but it will not play the major role it usually does.

[audio:11515chamberdinner1.mp3] [/audio]

With the abbreviated auction in 2015, Brisard indicates the chamber is introducing something new to this year's event. According to Brisard, a national group is going to be performing a murder, mystery for this year's dinner.

[audio:11515chamberdinner2.mp3] [/audio]

Last year's Chamber DinnerTickets for the annual Chamber dinner are on sale now. The event is January 31 with a social hour starting at 5 with the Chamber's annual meeting to follow.

Tickets can be purchased at the Clinton Chamber of Commerce by stopping in to their downtown office, or by calling 217-935-3364. Tickets are $35 for chamber members and $60 couple. Table of 8 is $240.

Non-chamber members are $45 and $80 for a couple.

Baseball Notes

 width=>>Cubs Pull Trade With Mariners

(Undated) -- The Cubs and Mariners have pulled a trade. Chicago sent lefty Mike Kickham to the M's for minor league pitcher Lars Huijer. Kickham was claimed off waivers from San Francisco after the Giants signed Jake Peavy. Huijer spent last season at two levels of Single-A.

>>Sox Sign Anderson

(Undated) -- The White Sox are bringing back former first-round pick Brian Anderson on a minor league deal. He was selected 15th overall in 2003 by the Sox but never lived up to expectations. He hit .227 with 22 home runs and 80 RBI in five seasons with Chicago and Boston.

 width=>>Cardinals' Jay Cleared For Baseball Activity

(St. Louis, MO) -- Cardinals center fielder Jon Jay is being cleared to resume baseball activity after having his surgically-repaired wrist examined this week. He had a damaged ligament repaired back in October. Jay says he'll begin swinging soon and expects to be ready in time for spring training.

>>Yankees Agree To One-Year Deal With Nova

(Bronx, NY) -- The New York Yankees are avoiding arbitration by agreeing to a one-year, 3.3-million-dollar contract with pitcher Ivan Nova. The 28-year-old right-hander went 2-and-2 with an 8.27 ERA in four starts last year before season-ending Tommy John surgery. Nova was 37-and-18 in three years before that.

>>Report: Astros Acquire Gattis From Braves

(Houston, TX) -- The Houston Astros are adding a power bat to their lineup. ESPN reports the Astros have acquired catcher Evan Gattis from the Atlanta Braves for three minor-league prospects. The 28-year-old slugger hit .263 with 22 home runs and 52 RBI's last season. Gattis, who has also played first base and left field, has 43 home runs in two seasons. Atlanta receives right-handed pitchers Mike Foltynewicz and Andrew Thurman and third baseman Rio Ruiz in return.

>>A's Acquire Nats Reliever

The Oakland Athletics on Wednesday acquired right-handed reliever Tyler Clippard from the Washington Nationals in exchange for recently obtained infielder Yunel Escobar.

Clippard, 29, spent the past seven seasons with the Nationals, compiling a 34-24 record with 34 saves and a 2.68 ERA in 414 games. The two-time All-Star was 7-4 with a 2.18 in 75 appearances last year.

The A's had acquired Escobar from Tampa Bay on Saturday in a trade that also landed them Ben Zobrist.

Escobar, 32, batted .258 with seven home runs and 39 RBI in 137 games for the Rays last season. He has hit .276 with 69 homers and 393 RBI in 1,074 career games for Atlanta, Toronto and Tampa Bay.

Blues Host Detroit Tonight; Hockey Notes

 width=>>Blues Host Red Wings Tonight

(St. Louis, MO) -- The Blues welcome the Red Wings to Scottrade Center tonight. It's the fourth of a seven-game homestand for St. Louis, which doubled up Edmonton 4-2 on Tuesday for its fifth straight win. Detroit beat Buffalo 3-1 on Tuesday and has won three-of-four and six of its last nine games.

>>Blues' Brodeur Takes Leave Of Absence

(St. Louis, MO) -- Blues backup goalie Martin Brodeur [[ bro-DURE ]] is taking a one-week leave of absence. The 42-year-old signed a one-year deal in early December. Brodeur has played in seven games for St. Louis, but hasn't even suited up the last five. His future will be determined upon his return.

 width=>>Toews Named ASG Captain

(New York, NY) -- Blackhawks forward Jonathan Toews [[ Tayvz ]] will serve as one of the captains for this year's All-Star Game. Nick Foligno of the Blue Jackets will be the other in his hometown of Columbus. Chicago's Patrick Kane will be an assistant captain for Foligno, while Anaheim's Ryan Getzlaf and Rick Nash of the Rangers will be assistants for Toews. The fantasy draft is next Friday while the All-Star Game is two days later on January 25th.

Montreal Canadiens 3, Columbus Blue Jackets 2
Washington Capitals 1, Philadelphia Flyers 0
Anaheim Ducks 4, Toronto Maple Leafs 0
New Jersey Devils 5, Los Angeles Kings 3

Wizards Down Bulls

 width=>>Wizards Clip Bulls

(Chicago, IL) -- For the second time in six days the Wizards sunk the Bulls,105-99, this time at the United Center. Washington beat Chicago by six on January 9th at home. Paul Pierce led the way with 22 points and six rebounds. John Wall added 21 points and nine assists as the Wizards won for the fourth time in five games. Derrick Rose exploded for 32 points and found the touch from behind the arc, knocking down six of nine threes. Joakim Noah only played 13 minutes after suffering a right ankle injury. Jimmy Butler scored 13 points, but shot 3-of-10 from the field. The Bulls have lost four of five.

Orlando Magic 120, Houston Rockets 113
San Antonio Spurs 98, Charlotte Hornets 93
Toronto Raptors 100, Philadelphia 76ers 84
New Orleans Pelicans 105, Detroit Pistons 94
Memphis Grizzlies 103, Brooklyn Nets 92
Atlanta Hawks 105, Boston Celtics 91
Denver Nuggets 114, Dallas Mavericks 107
Los Angeles Clippers 100, Portland Trail Blazers 94
Golden State Warriors 104, Miami Heat 89

Rodgers Named MVP; Bears Interview John Fox

>>Pro Football Writers Select Rodgers MVP

Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers was selected as the 2014 NFL Most Valuable Player, chosen in voting conducted by the Professional Football Writers of America (PFWA).

 width=The PFWA also announced that Dallas Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray was selected as the 2014 Offensive Player of the Year, and Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt was named the 2014 Defensive Player of the Year.

Rodgers, 10-year veteran who led a prolific Packers offense with 38 touchdown passes and 4,381 passing yards, is the 40th MVP honored by the PFWA. This the second MVP award for Rodgers, who also was selected in 2011.

Rodgers started all 16 games in 2014 and completed 65.6 percent of his passes for 4,381 yards, 38 touchdowns and a 112.2 passer rating with a career-low five interceptions as the Packers went 12-4 in the regular season.

 width=>>Bears Interview Fox

(Lake Forest, IL) -- The Bears are still looking to replace Marc Trestman. Reports say former Broncos head coach John Fox met with the Bears on Wednesday to discuss their open position. Fox and Denver split ways after the team lost to the Colts in the Divisional Round.

>>49ers Promoting Jim Tomsula To Head Coach

(Santa Clara, CA) -- The San Francisco 49ers are promoting from within for the franchise's next head coach. The Niners have agreed to terms with defensive line coach Jim Tomsula [[ tom-SOO-luh ]] to replace the departed Jim Harbaugh. Tomsula will be formally introduced as the 19th head coach in team history on Thursday. The 46-year-old has been head coach for San Francisco before, serving as interim coach in the final game of the 2010 season after Mike Singletary was fired. Tomsula has been defensive line coach for the 49ers since 2007.

>>Jets Hire Todd Bowles As Head Coach

(Florham Park, NJ) -- Arizona Cardinals defensive coordinator Todd Bowles is the new head coach of the New York Jets. Bowles takes over for Rex Ryan to become the franchise's 18th head coach. The 51-year-old had been with Arizona the past two seasons, and in 2013 had one of the top rushing defenses in the league. Bowles takes over a Jets squad that finished 4-and-12, but had a top-five defense against the run. The former NFL safety returns to the Jets, where he previously coached in 2000. Bowles was born and raised in Elizabeth, New Jersey. He replaces Rex Ryan, who is now the head coach of the Buffalo Bills.

>>Colts' McNary Charged With Rape

(Indianapolis, IN) -- Indianapolis Colts linebacker Josh McNary is being charged with rape. The "Indianapolis Star" reports McNary is facing one count of rape, one count of criminal confinement and one count of battery. The incident in question allegedly happened in downtown Indianapolis on December 1st. The U.S. Military Academy product recorded 28 total tackles and a half-sack, but primarily played on special teams in 15 games this season for the Colts. According to a league source, the team was unaware of the investigation and is seeking additional information. The Colts play the Patriots in the AFC title game on Sunday.

>>Seahawks' Quinn Favorite For Falcons Head Coaching Job

(Flowery Branch, GA) -- The Atlanta Falcons apparently have their eye on Seattle Seahawks defensive coordinator Dan Quinn. ESPN's Adam Schefter reports Quinn is the favorite to become the next head coach of the Falcons, who fired Mike Smith after a seven-year run. With the Seahawks still in the playoffs, Quinn has been unable to meet with teams for another round of interviews. He previously interviewed for the Jets' job, but that went to Arizona Cardinals defensive coordinator Todd Bowles. The Falcons are also talking to Detroit Lions defensive coordinator Teryl Austin, but Quinn is considered the leading contender.

>>Report: Redskins To Hire Joe Barry As New DC

(Ashburn, VA) -- The Redskins are making moves to hire a new defensive coordinator. NFL Network is reporting Washington plans to hire Joe Barry to fill the position. Barry has been the San Diego Chargers linebackers coach since 2011, and before that served as defensive coordinator for Detroit. The Redskins have been looking for a new defensive coach since mutually parting ways with Jim Haslett two weeks ago.

>>Raiders Name Del Rio Head Coach

Jack Del Rio is an NFL head coach again.

According to multiple reports, Del Rio has reached an agreement with the Oakland Raiders, meaning the 51-year-old will move from one of the NFL's best teams over the past three seasons to one of its worst.

NFL.com reported that Del Rio will receive a four-year contract. He will become the Raiders' seventh full-time head coach since 2004.

Del Rio joins the Raiders after two seasons as defensive coordinator for AFC West rival Denver. The Broncos had the NFL's third-ranked defense during the regular season, a jump of 11 places from Del Rio's first year at the helm.

He was head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars from 2003 until he was fired in 2011 near the end of his ninth season. The Jaguars were 68-71 under Del Rio, making the playoffs twice.

He takes over on a full-time basis for Dennis Allen, who was fired by Oakland in September after the Raiders lost their first four games. Allen was 8-28 in two-plus season at the helm.

Former Miami Dolphins head coach Tony Sparano served as interim coach for the Raiders after Allen's firing, leading them to a 3-9 mark the rest of the way.

>>Oregon QB Mariota to Enter NFL Draft

As expected, Oregon junior quarterback Marcus Mariota, winner of the Heisman Trophy for the 2014 season, is entering the 2015 NFL draft.

Mariota announced his decision in a release Wednesday.

Mariota's decision to go pro comes two days after the Ducks' 42-20 loss to Ohio State in the national title game.

A three-year starter, Mariota led Oregon to a 36-5 record, and set an NCAA record by passing for a touchdown in all 41 career starts. He became the first player in Pac-12 history to account for 5,000 yards of total offense in a single season, reaching 5,224 on Monday in the title game, and he became the first player in FBS history to finish a season with a plus-50 ratio of touchdowns (58) to turnovers (seven).

It's possible that Mariota could go to Tampa Bay as the first overall pick in the draft.

Nunn Leads Illinois; ISU, Southern Fall; IWU Crushes Millikin

 width=>>Nunn Leads Illini Past Northwestern

Kendrick Nunn had a career-high 25 points, including four straight free throws in the final 7.5 seconds, and Illinois held off Northwestern for a 72-67 victory on Wednesday night.

Aaron Cosby added a season-high 19 points for the Illini (12-6, 2-3 Big Ten), which had lost three of four. Malcolm Hill and reserve Ahmad Starks finished with 10 points apiece.

Northwestern (10-7, 1-3) shot 46 percent, compared to 42 percent for Illinois, and also enjoyed a 35-30 rebounding advantage. But the Wildcats still dropped their third consecutive game.

Bryant McIntosh had 16 points for Northwestern, and Alex Olah finished with 14 points and 12 rebounds.

Nunn had a hand in two of the game's flashiest plays on consecutive Illinois possessions in the second half. The Chicago native fed Nnanna Egwu for a big dunk, and then showed off his athleticism when he slammed home an alley-oop from Jaylon Tate for a 43-35 lead with 16:58 remaining.

 width=>>Indiana State Comes Back To Beat Illinois State in OT

Tre' Bennett sank a layup in the final seconds of overtime to give Indiana State a 71-70 victory over Illinois State on Wednesday night.

Bennett's game-winning shot came with three seconds to play in overtime after Illinois State had taken a 70-69 lead on a Daishon Knight jumper with 21 seconds remaining. Bennett finished with 12 points for the Sycamores (9-8, 5-0, Missouri Valley Conference).

The Sycamores took advantage of Illinois State turnovers in the second period to open a 44-39 lead midway, then stretched it to 51-41 on a Brenton Scott 3-pointer with 8:23 to play. The Redbirds (10-7, 2-3) came back to take a 56-52 lead on an 8-1 run with 4:15 left. Later, the Sycamores tied it 62-62 on a pair of free throws by Khristian Smith in the final seconds of regulation, sending the game into overtime.

Knight scored 21 points for the Redbirds.

 width=>>Illinois Wesleyan Crushes Millikin

Illinois Wesleyan shot 61 percent from the field and made 10 3-pointers in the first half en route to a 93-60 win over Millikin at the Shirk Center on Wednesday, Jan. 14.

Senior Jordan Nelson had seven 3-pointers and finished with a career best 28 points.

Junior TJ Griffin was the only Millikin player in double figures scoring 21 points.

The Titans improved to 11-4 overall and 3-1 in the College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin. Millikin fell to 6-9 overall and 1-3 in the CCIW.

Millikin will travel to Carthage College Saturday at 7 p.m.

IWU stays at the Shirk Center to host North Park Saturday at 7 p.m.

>>Wichita State Clips Southern Illinois

 width=Darius Carter scored a career-high 25 points on 11-of-15 shooting, leading No. 13 Wichita State past Southern Illinois 67-55 on Wednesday night.

Ron Baker had 11 points and Tekele Cotton added 10 as the Shockers (15-2, 5-0 Missouri Valley) won their 23rd straight conference game.

Deion Lavender scored 15 points, Bola Olaniyan had 12 and Anthony Beane 10 as Southern Illinois (7-11, 0-5) lost its seventh straight.

NCAA Top-25 Men's Basketball ("USA Today" Rankings)
#5 Villanova Wildcats 88, Xavier Musketeers 75
#11 Maryland Terrapins 73, Rutgers Scarlet Knights 65
#12 Notre Dame Fighting Irish 62, Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets 59
#23 Baylor Bears 74, #13 Iowa State Cyclones 73
#16 North Carolina Tar Heels 81, North Carolina State Wolfpack 79

Lady Maroons Fall To the Lady Warriors

As heard on 92.3 FM WHOW and streamed live on dewittdailynews.com, the Clinton Lady Maroons lost to the Tuscola Lady Warriors Thursday night 61-54.

For the Lady Maroons (8-11), Haley Ginger lead the team with 16 points, with Peyton Bieber following behind with 14 points. Jessica Scott and Megan Tool also helped the team adding 12 and 10 points.

For the Lady Warriors (13-4), Madeline Meinhold lead the game with 19 points. Emma Henderson was right behind on the team with 15 points. Halley McCroy and Anna Kauffman also helped the team with 13 and 10 points.

Tune into WHOW and stream live on dewittdailynews.com next Thursday at 7:30 pm as the Clinton Lady Marrons travel to Warrensburg-Latham to take on the Lady Cardinals.

GOP Chair Says 2016 Campaign Underway

The party's over.

That's the word from Illinois GOP Chairman Tim Schneider. While excitements remains over the Governor's office returning to Republican control, Schneider says it's time to work at expanding the party's base.

[audio:2016now.mp3] [/audio]

Schneider thinks inroads were made in November with Governor Bruce Rauner's success in dominating the independent vote.

Rep. Lashes Out At Quinn

The chief sponsor of the state's medical marijuana law is fighting to save the legislation that was passed by former Governor Quinn but never acted on before he left office.
Representative Lou Lang says Quinn has put the program on thin ice.

[audio:Langonpot.mp3] [/audio]

Lang, a Skokie Democrat, plans to meet with Rauner in the hope that the new Governor will get the stalled program off the ground. Rauner's office will only say the law is under review.

Vision 20/20 Endorsed By Warresnburg-Latham School Leader

School leaders across the state are excited about the prospects of change thanks to an initiative taken on by their peers.

Vision 20/20 outlines reforms to education put together by school leaders within the school systems. According to Dr. Kristen Kendrick-Weikle, Vision 20/20 is giving the school leaders on the front lines a voice in the policies that are made that effect them.

[audio:11415wl20201.mp3] [/audio]

There are four "pillars" that make up Vision 20/20 and for Dr. Kendrick-Weikle, she feels the financing of schools is at the top of her list. She explains the financial focus seeks only to make the best use of the money going to schools, and does not endorse one plan over another.

[audio:11415wl20202.mp3] [/audio]

Dr. Kendrick-Weikle is excited for her and her peers to have a louder voice among Illinois lawmakers. She feels the public education system can and should be successful, and Vision 20/20 can help bring public education to a better place.

[audio:11415wl20203.mp3] [/audio]

Dr. Kendrick-Weikle says cooperation with lawmakers is going to be crucial, but also, understanding and cooperation from the public will be even bigger. She hopes to be able to send the same message to lawmakers about what things need to be done in education as informing the public about Vision 20/20 takes place.

PGA World Rankings Shuffles

 width=Patrick Reed defeated Jimmy Walker in a playoff on Monday at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions to win for the fourth time on the PGA Tour, and with the
victory Reed moved up to a career- best 14th in this week's world rankings.

Reed, who was previously No. 23 in the world, vaulted nine spots to No. 14 following the playoff win in Hawaii.

The top 13 players in the world all remained the same, with Rory McIlroy staying put at No. 1. Henrik Stenson, Adam Scott, Bubba Watson, Sergio Garcia, Justin Rose, Jim Furyk, Jason Day, Jordan Spieth, Rickie Fowler, Matt Kuchar, Martin Kaymer and Billy Horschel are Nos. 2-13 for another week.

Following Reed at 14, Hideki Matsuyama jumped a spot to No. 15, while Phil Mickelson fell a pair to No. 16. With his runner-up finish, Walker improved four spots to No. 17.

Graeme McDowell fell three to 18, Victor Dubuisson dropped a pair to 19 and Zach Johnson rounded out the top 20, falling from 19 to 20.

CFB National Championship Draws 18.5 Overnight Rating

 width=The inaugural College Football Playoff National Championship is celebrating winning ratings from viewers.  ESPN's telecast of Ohio State's 42-20 win over Oregon at AT&T Stadium delivered an 18.5 overnight rating.  That marks a 21-percent increase over the 2014 BCS National Championship between Florida State and Auburn, which drew a 15.3 rating last year. 

Baseball Notes

>>Dodgers, Ellis Agree To One-Year Deal

(Los Angeles, CA) -- The Los Angeles Dodgers are avoiding arbitration with catcher A.J. Ellis. CBS Sports reports the two sides have agreed to a one-year, 4.25-million-dollar contract. The 33-year-old Ellis has hit .242 with 28 home runs in seven seasons with the Dodgers.

 width=>>Yankees Acquire Chris Martin From Rockies

(Bronx, NY) -- The New York Yankees have acquired pitcher Chris Martin from the Colorado Rockies for cash considerations. The 28-year-old made his major league debut last season and went 0-and-0 with a 6.89 ERA in 15 and two thirds innings spanning 16 appearances. Martin struck out 14 and walked only four. He has a 3.25 ERA with 230 strikeouts in 249 minor league innings. To make room, the Yankees designated pitcher Gonzalez German for assignment.

>>Royals Extend Ned Yost

(Kansas City, MO) -- The Kansas City Royals are rewarding manager Ned Yost with a contract extension. The 60-year-old skipper is now under contract through the 2016 season. Yost guided the Royals to the franchise's first postseason appearance and World Series berth since 1985 last season. He is 373-and-402 since taking over the managerial duties for KC in 2010. Yost finished third in American League Manager of the Year voting last season.

>>D'backs Sign Cuban Right-Hander

(Phoenix, AZ) -- The Arizona Diamondbacks are adding their second free agent from Cuba this offseason. "Baseball America" reports right-hander Yoan Lopez has agreed to a contract worth 8.25-million-dollars. The 21-year-old features a low-90s fastball and registered a 3.12 ERA in seven starts during his last season in Cuba. He is expected to start 2015 in Single-A. The signing puts the D'backs well beyond their allotted international signing pool space for the 2014-15 signing period. They will not be able to sign anyone for more than 300-thousand-dollars for the next two signing periods. The Snakes inked Cuba slugger Yasmany Tomas to a six-year, 68.5-million-dollar contract in November.

Bulls Host Wizards

 width=>>Bulls Host Wizards

(Chicago, IL) -- The Bulls welcome the Wizards to the United Center this evening. Chicago suffered a 121-114 loss to the Magic its last time out on Monday. The Bulls also fell to the Wizards in Washington last Friday, 102-86. Tonight's game is at 7:00.

>>Timberwolves Top Pacers To End 15-Game Skid

(Indianapolis, IN) -- The Timberwolves put an end to their 15-game losing streak with a 110-101 win over the Pacers in Indiana. Mo Williams poured in a career-high 52 points for Minnesota, which won for the first time since December 10th. The Wolves also earned their first road victory since November 28th. C.J. Miles dropped in 22 points for the Pacers, who have lost two straight and three-of-four. C.J. Watson ended with 17 points in defeat.

Atlanta Hawks 105, Philadelphia 76ers 87
Washington Wizards 101, San Antonio Spurs 93
Phoenix Suns 107, Cleveland Cavaliers 100
Golden State Warriors 116, Utah Jazz 105
Dallas Mavericks 108, Sacramento Kings 104 (OT)
Miami Heat 78, Los Angeles Lakers 75

>>Nuggets Deal Robinson To Celtics For Nelson

(Denver, CO) -- The Denver Nuggets and Boston Celtics are swapping veteran point guards. Yahoo! Sports reports the Nuggets are dealing Nate Robinson to the Celtics in exchange for Jameer Nelson. The 30-year-old Robinson is averaging close to six points per contest in 33 games this season. He returns to Boston, where he played parts of two seasons in 2010 and 2011. Nelson was acquired by the Celtics from Dallas last month. He's averaging close to seven points and four-and-a-half assists per game this season.

Blues Beat Oilers

 width=>>Blues Double Up Oilers

(St. Louis, MO) -- David Backes [[ BACK-es ]] and Vladimir Tarasenko [[ tare-uh-SANK-oh ]] tallied a goal and an assist each as the Blues doubled up the Oilers 4-2 at Scottrade Center. Jaden Schwartz and Alexander Steen also scored for the Blues, who have won five in-a-row. Jake Allen had to make just 13 saves for the victory. Benoit Pouliot [[ BEN-wah POO-lee-ott ]] scored twice in the third period for Edmonton, which has dropped three of four. Ben Scrivens stopped 25 shots in the setback.

>>Islanders Cool Off Rangers

(New York, NY) -- Jaroslav Halak denied all 27 shots he faced and the Islanders scored three times in the second period to sink the Rangers, 3-0, at Madison Square Garden. Anders Lee, Nikolay Kulemin and Frans Nielsen had the goals for the Islanders, who have won both meetings with their bitter rival this season. Henrik Lundqvist allowed all three goals on 32 shots before being lifted for Cam Talbot, who made 12 saves the rest of the way. The Rangers lost for only the second time in their last 15 games.

Boston Bruins 4, Tampa Bay Lightning 3
Detroit Red Wings 3, Buffalo Sabres 1
Pittsburgh Penguins 7, Minnesota Wild 2
Carolina Hurricanes 3, Colorado Avalanche 2 (SO)
Nashville Predators 5, Vancouver Canucks 1
Winnipeg Jets 8, Florida Panthers 2
Dallas Stars 5, Ottawa Senators 4
San Jose Sharks 3, Arizona Coyotes 2

Bears Interview Head Coaches; Rams Rookies Recognized

>>Bears Interview Marrone, Austin

 width=Former Buffalo Bills coach Doug Marrone interviewed for the Chicago Bears' job as did Detroit Lions defensive coordinator Teryl Austin.

The team confirmed the interviews Tuesday.

Marrone exercised an opt-out clause in his contract two weeks ago after leading Buffalo to its best finish in a decade, leaving some players stunned and unhappy with him. The Bills went 9-7 for their first winning season since 2004 but extended the NFL's longest active postseason drought to 15 seasons.

They went 15-17 in two seasons under Marrone.

A former NFL offensive lineman, Marrone was the Saints' offensive coordinator from 2006-08 and worked with new Bears general manager Ryan Pace.

>>Bowles Tabbed As Jets Head Coach

(Undated) -- The New York Jets are the latest team to fill their head coaching vacancy. According to ESPN, Arizona Cardinals defensive coordinator Todd Bowles will be the new coach of the Jets. The team has reportedly given Bowles a four-year deal shortly after also hiring new general manager Mike Maccagnan. Bowles takes over for Rex Ryan, who was fired by the team shortly after the regular season ended. The 51-year-old has been with Arizona the past two seasons, and in 2013 had one of the top rushing defenses in the league. Bowles will take over a Jets squad that finished 4-and-12, but had a top-five defense against the run.

>>Schwartz Out As Bills' Defensive Coordinator

(Orchard Park, NY) -- Jim Schwartz is out after just one season as defensive coordinator of the Buffalo Bills. New head coach Rex Ryan says Schwartz did a great job, but they have released him to give him the chance to pursue other opportunities. Ryan will bring in his own coordinator after replacing head coach Doug Marrone, who opted out of his contract after the season. Schwartz took over the defense after Mike Pettine [[ PET-in ]] left to become the head coach of the Cleveland Browns. Prior to the 2014 season, Schwartz spent five years as the head coach of the Detroit Lions.

>>Steelers Name Keith Butler Defensive Coordinator

(Pittsburgh, PA) -- The Pittsburgh Steelers are promoting linebackers coach Keith Butler to defensive coordinator. Butler takes the place of Dick LeBeau, who resigned last week after 16 seasons in the Steelers' organization. The 58-year-old coached the linebackers for 12 years under LeBeau, and helped the team to two Super Bowls wins. He has also coached for the Cleveland Browns, the University of Memphis, and served as defensive coordinator at Arkansas State.

>>Cowboys Working To Extend Garrett

Jason Garrett is close to a new five-year contract agreement to remain the Dallas Cowboys' head coach, according to multiple media reports.

Garrett led the Cowboys to the playoffs this season for the first time since 2009. The Cowboys captured the NFC East title with a 12-4 record and then beat the Detroit Lions in the wild-card round before losing to the Green Bay Packers in the divisional round

The 48-year-old Garrett became the Cowboys' interim head coach in the middle of the 2010 season, replacing Wade Phillips, who was fired following the team's 1-7 start.

Dallas finished the season 5-3 under Garrett, earning him the job on a full- time basis.

The Cowboys went 8-8 in each of the next three seasons, losing Week 17 games to division opponents to miss the playoffs each time.

 width=>>Rams' Donald, Gaines, Mason Honored By Pro Football Writers

(New York, NY) -- Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald is the NFL's Defensive Rookie of the Year. He was selected by the Pro Football Writers of America after leading all NFL rookies with nine sacks. Rams cornerback E.J. Gaines and running back Tre Mason were also named to the all-rookie team.

Northern Iowa Tops Bradley; Illinois At Northwestern Tonight

 width=>>Northern Iowa Downs Bradley

Seth Tuttle scored 15 points and sank four late free throws to help No. 23 Northern Iowa beat Bradley 63-52 in a Missouri Valley Conference game on Tuesday.

The Panthers (15-2, 4-1) dominated the Braves both offensively and defensively early, leading 29-9 at one point late in the first half. Natt Buss and Paul Jesperson chipped in 11 and 9 points respectively for Northern Iowa.

Auston Barnes led Bradley (6-12, 1-4) with 14 points. Warren Jones added 10, while Josh Cunningham grabbed a game-high 11 rebounds.

Northern Iowa's ninth-ranked defense made its presence felt in the opening minute, forcing a turnover and a quick two points off Bradley's first possession of the game. The Panthers led 35-18 at the half.

 width=>>Illinois At Northwestern Tomorrow

(Evanston, IL) -- Illinois has a road date with Northwestern tonight at 8 p.m. The Fighting Illini are coming off a 53-43 loss at Nebraska on Sunday. Illinois is 11-and-6 overall and 0-and-3 in Big Ten play. The Wildcats have lost two straight to Wisconsin and Michigan State to fall to 10-and-6 and 1-and-2.

>>Miami Upsets Duke At Cameron Indoor Stadium

When Duke heads to Louisville for Saturday's marquee matchup with Louisville, it'll do so having dropped back-to-back ACC games for the first time in six years.

Manu Lecomte scored 18 of his 23 points in the second half, leading a torrid shooting display from Miami-Florida after the break that propelled the Hurricanes to a stunning 90-74 upset of the fourth-ranked Blue Devils.

Miami (12-4, 2-1 ACC) halted the nation's longest home win streak in emphatic fashion, putting up 56 second-half points on an 18-of-27 effort from the field that included six makes in nine attempts from 3-point range.

Quinn Cook did finish with 18 points in the loss, with Jahlil Okafor compiling 15 with 15 rebounds for the Blue Devils and Amile Jefferson posting 14 points and 12 boards.

NCAA Top-25 Men's Basketball ("USA Today" Rankings)
#1 Kentucky Wildcats 86, Missouri Tigers 37
#2 Virginia Cavaliers 65, Clemson Tigers 42
#7 Louisville Cardinals 78, Virginia Tech 63
#10 Kansas Jayhawks 67, #24 Oklahoma State Cowboys 57
#15 West Virginia Mountaineers 86, #16 Oklahoma Sooners 65
#17 VCU Rams 65, Rhode Island Rams 60
Tennessee Volunteers 74, #19 Arkansas Razorbacks 69
Butler Bulldogs 79, #21 Seton Hall Pirates 75 (OT)
#25 Ohio State Buckeyes 71, Michigan Wolverines 52

Monday's Scoreboard

NCAA Football (College Football Playoff Rankings)
#4 Ohio State Buckeyes 42, #2 Oregon Ducks 20
(National Championship Game at Arlington, TX)

Detroit Pistons 114, Toronto Raptors 111
Houston Rockets 113, Brooklyn Nets 99
Boston Celtics 108, New Orleans Pelicans 100
Orlando Magic 121, Chicago Bulls 114

Philadelphia Flyers 7, Tampa Bay Lightning 3
Washington Capitals 2, Colorado Avalanche 1
Los Angeles Kings 2, Toronto Maple Leafs 0

NCAA Top-25 Men's Basketball ("USA Today" Rankings)
No Games Scheduled

Blackhawks Off Until Friday

The Blackhawks will be back in action on Friday when they host the Jets at the United Center.  Chicago skated to a 4-1 win over the Wild its last time out on Sunday.  The 'Hawks enter the week with 58 points on the season. 

Magic shoot 59 percent in 121-114 victory over Bulls

Nikola Vucevic had 33 points and 11 rebounds, and the Orlando Magic shot 59 percent from the field in a 121-114 victory over the Chicago Bulls on Monday night.

Victor Oladipo also scored 33 points in Orlando's first win in Chicago since an 83-82 victory on Dec. 16, 2013. The Magic had lost three in a row and 12 of 15 against the Bulls since the start of the 2010-11 season.

Vucevic was 16 for 24 from the field in his NBA-best 23rd double-double of the season. The terrific performance for the 7-foot center included a drive and left-handed dunk over forward Pau Gasol late in third period.

Gasol paced Chicago with 28 points and 14 rebounds, and Derrick Rose had 18 points and seven assists.

Report: Bears To Interview Austin

ESPN reports the Bears will interview Lions defensive coordinator Teryl Austin for their head coaching position.  The 49-year-old Austin has also previously coached with the Seahawks, Cardinals and Ravens, but has never been a head coach. 

Report: Bears To Interview Fox

 It didn't take John Fox long to start getting looks for other head coaching opportunities.  ESPN reported Fox will interview with the Bears regarding their head coach vacancy in the near future.  He is not a lock to get the job.  The Broncos and Fox parted ways after four seasons on Monday, with Denver releasing him from his contract. 

White Sox agree to 1-year deal with OF Viciedo

The White Sox have agreed to a $4.4 million, one-year contract with outfielder Dayan Viciedo, avoiding arbitration.

Viciedo hit .231 with 21 homers and 56 RBIs in 145 games last year. The 25-year-old Viciedo is a .254 career hitter with 66 homers and 211 RBIs in five seasons, all with the White Sox.

The team announced the contract on Monday. It has five remaining arbitration-eligible players: catcher Tyler Flowers and right-handers Javy Guerra, Nate Jones, Hector Noesi and Jeff Samardzija.

Illinois At Northwestern Tomorrow

 Illinois is on the road again tomorrow night at Northwestern.  The Fighting Illini lost 53-43 at Nebraska on Sunday.  That was their third loss in four Big Ten games this season.  Illinois is 11-and-6 overall.  The Wildcats have lost two straight to Wisconsin and Michigan State to fall to 10-and-6. 

Free Lincoln Museum Admission on King Day for Volunteers

Community groups working toward improved Illinois neighborhoods will have free admission to the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum on Martin Luther King Day.

The civil rights leader's birthday is celebrated Jan. 19 as a national holiday. King once said that "greatness is determined by service."

Community organizations may bring groups to the museum at no charge that day. The usual admission price is $12 for adults and $6 for children.

Groups must have 15 or more people and have one chaperone for each 10 children.

The library and museum will also give discounts to those who buy gloves for the homeless. Through the end of January, the gift shop is selling gloves for $2.99 that will be donated to Springfield's homeless.

Toby Keith Plays As Rauner and Wife Dance

New Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner and his wife, Diana, have danced to a song performed by country artist Toby Keith at their inaugural celebration.

The governor and first lady chose Keith's "You Shouldn't Kiss me Like This" as they were introduced to a roaring crowd at a Springfield convention center Monday night.

Rauner eschewed a traditional inaugural ball for more casual festivities. Both he and the first lady wore jeans. Attendees ate barbecue and ice cream and could drink beer and cocktails for $125 a ticket.

Keith was preceded by blues artist Buddy Guy and a band of Illinois lawmakers called the Boat Drink Caucus.

Rauner's swearing-in took place at the same facility earlier in the day.

He is Illinois' first Republican governor in more than a decade.

Edgar Says Rauner Off to a Good Start

The swearing in of the first Republican Governor in twelve years is exciting for a former Republican Governor. Illinois News Network has more:

[audio:EDGARREACT.mp3] [/audio]

Rauner, along with other constitutional officers, was sworn in Monday in Springfield.

Busy Final Half Day in Office for Quinn

With yesterday's changing of the guard in the Governor's office, one thing was missing, the outgoing Governor. Pat Quinn was a no show for the inauguration ceremony at the Prairie Capital Convention Center. Quinn focused his energies on his final hours in office, signing multiple bills, granting clemencies, landing spots for political allies in state government. Quinn seemed to have the campaign in mind when he issued an executive order demanding governors make their tax returns available for public inspection each spring. Bruce Rauner had rejected demands to release his complete income tax returns. While Quinn was unable to push through a higher minimum wage, he did issue an executive order requiring state vendors and subcontractors pay a minimum wage of $10 an hour. Quinn tackled more clemency requests, granting 43 and rejecting 119. He also signed a bill regulating the new ride sharing companies like Uber and Lyft that have operated in Chicago and recently arrived in Springfield. Quinn named former Governor Jim Thompson, and the wives of House Speaker Michael Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton to serve on the state's bicentennial commission. Outgoing State Board of Education Chairman Gery Chico and longtime Illinois Education Association Chief Cinda Klickna have also been named to that commission.

2015 Holds Plenty of Unknowns In Clinton

2015 could be another interesting year in Clinton. Another election looms this spring, economic development remains a point of emphasis and likely financial challenges await the City of Clinton in 2015.

Yesterday we outlined what Clinton Mayor Carolyn Peters saw as successes in 2014, but she says 2015 will hold it's separate share of challenges. She points to economic development as priority number one in the community.

[audio:113152015challenge1.mp3] [/audio]

While economic development is a major focal point for the Mayor and her staff, she recognizes Clinton is a bedroom community, but she feels having a solid business foundation is good for the tax base.

[audio:113152015challenge2.mp3] [/audio]

Financially, the Mayor says there is not extra and the city is "keeping up". She feels there are plenty of challenges as it relates to the city's infrastructure. Mayor Peters explains roads, dilapidated buildings and empty lots are just some of the areas she sees as challenges facing the city financially.

[audio:113152015challenge3.mp3] [/audio]

According to the Mayor, it could cost upwards of $10-thousand to bring down a building, and then resell the lot is only around $3-thousand, putting the city in a hole with that process alone. Because of the cost, she explains it limits how many properties they can take on in a year.

Friday Fire Destroys Clinton Apartment Complex

A Friday afternoon fire on Clinton's east side destroyed part of an apartment complex.

At approximately 3 pm Friday afternoon, the Clinton Fire Department responded to an apartment complex on Clinton's east side near Route 54. Upon arrival, Fire Chief Shawn Milton indicates the apartment was completely engulfed in flames.

[audio:11415fridayfire1.mp3] [/audio]

Friday was bitter cold and was very windy in the afternoon. Chief Milton explains that made fighting the fire that much more difficult.

[audio:11415fridayfire2.mp3] [/audio]

While the entire complex was not effected, the Chief explains there was a two story portion of the building that was. Chief Milton notes the second story collapsed and it is unlikely it can be restored in it's current state.

Cut 3: fridayfire3 :49 CUE: itself

Crews were on scene around 10:30 Friday night. Chief Milton explains on top of leaving at 10:30, they had to return to the firehouse and do a lot of maintenance because of the weather conditions.

Chief Milton continues to encourage residents to keep their smoke alarms up to date with good batteries and to be cautious with space heaters during the winter months.

Head On Collision Monday Halts Traffic In DeWitt County

Non-life threatening injuries were all that was reported as part of a head on collision on Route 10 in Clinton Monday night.

At approximately 5 pm, a Chevy Silverado driven by 33-year old Jeremy D. Duffer collided head on with a Mitsibishi Lancer driven by Robert. L Butler III. According to the DeWitt County Sheriff's Deparment, Duffer was westbound on Route 10, a quarter mile from the Logan/DeWitt County line, when he lost control of his Silverado, over corrected, and ended up in the westbound lane, colliding with Butler.

Both drivers and a passenger in Butler's vehicle were transported by EMS for non-life threatening injuries.

Traffic was slowed and redirected for nearly an hour while the scene was cleaned up.

Duffer was issued a citation for driving too fast for conditions.

Maroons Lose To Sages in A Nail Biter

 width=As heard on 92.3 FM WHOW and streamed on dewittdailynews.com, the Monticello Sages defeated the Clinton Maroons in a close Tuesday night game 64-59.

For the Maroons (5-11), Tanner White lead the team with 20 points, followed by Bowe Carter with 13 points. Reggie Senters and Peyton McCubbin each had 8 points a piece.

For the Sages (9-3), Zac Fisher lead the game with 25 points. Isiah Florey also aided the team with 10 points.

Tune into WHOW and stream on dewittdailynews.com next Friday as the Maroons will take on Tuscola at around 7:30 pm.

Governor Bruce Rauner Says He's Ready to Work for the People of Illinois







Panelists Say More Money Isn't Cure for DCFS

It’s not about a lack of money, it’s about a lack of concern.

That’s the message from a panel to lawmakers about the reports of abuse at facilities contracted through the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services.

[audio:INNRFD010715DCFS21m16s.mp3] [/audio]

Other panelists say it’s not just residential care, there are also problems of consistent oversight by investigative agencies within DCFS. Among the many recommendation experts and advocates suggested is for the agency to work at reducing the number of times a child in state custody is transferred from one facility to another. Agency Director Bobbie Gregg will step down with the transition to the new Rauner administration later this month.

DCFS Director Steps Away, Makes Lawmakers Aware of Problems

In the wake of reports concerning neglect and abuse with facilities contracted through the Department of Children and Family Services, the director of the state agency is on her way out.

Bobbie Gregg told a panel of lawmakers Wednesday she is stepping down after January 19th. Illinois News Network has more:

[audio:INNRFD010715DCFS11m.mp3] [/audio]

The hearing on abuses included recommendations from advocacy groups and even former wards of the state. Some of those suggestions are to having a lockbox for wards to provide tips and reports about their care inside residential facilities that only DCFS officials can access. Rethinking therapy options and include more children in panel discussions were also provided as recommendations.

Quinn Vetoes Bobcat Hunting

Gov. Pat Quinn isn't going away quietly.

He will not be on hand for today's inauguration ceremony for the man who defeated him in November because he says he'll be walking unti his term is officialy over. Over the weekend, he vetoed a bill that would have cleared the way for bobcat hunting in Illinois for the first time in more than four decades.

He maintains bobcats are "a valuable part of Illinois' ecosystem and continue to need protection."

Rauner Makes Appointments

Incoming Governor Bruce Rauner has been releasing some key appointment selections since Friday.

Another expected on Monday is the selection of former Illinois Farm Bureau President Phillip Nelson as Director of Agriculture. Nelson, from LaSalle county is an active farmer fitting in with Rauners statements that he would seek out an active farmer to fill the post.

Sen. Durbin Weighs In On Rauner Challenges

Senator Dick Durbin knows Governor Elect Bruce Rauner will have his hands full as a political rookie trying to "Shake up Springfield" as he pledged in his campaign commercials. Durbin says Rauner will face some heavy financial questions.

[audio:Durbinfinance1.mp3] [/audio]

While Rauner has talked about running government like a business in various ways, Durbin says that's not always realistic.

[audio:Durbingovtasbusiness.mp3] [/audio]

Durbin will take in some early Inaugural events this weekend but he'll be forced to leave early because he's the top democrat in the US Senate for the time being as Senator Harry Reid recovers from an accident that occurred when he was working out.

Rauner To Take Oath Today for Governor

Bruce Rauner will take the oath of office as governor Monday during a ceremony that begins at 11 a.m.

Rauner will be the first Republican governor in a dozen years and the state's 42nd.

The new governor's swearing in will be followed by those of Republican Lt. Gov. Evelyn Sanguinetti (san-gwin-NET'-tee), Democratic Attorney General Lisa Madigan and Secretary of State Jesse White, appointed Republican Comptroller Leslie Munger and Michael Frerichs (FRAYR'-ikz), the Democratic treasurer.

The event will feature a moment of silence for Judy Baar Topinka, who was elected to a second term as comptroller but died suddenly in December.

Rauner will have an Old State Capitol open house and the night will be capped by a concert by country star Toby Keith.

Local Lawmaker Looks Forward to New Illinois Administration

 width=Governor Elect Bruce Rauner will be sworn in today, and one local lawmaker is outlining the challenges the soon-to-be governor faces.

According to Sen. Chapin Rose, Illinois has been on a "12 year spending binge" and the short term outlook is not going to be good, but he feels it will pay off in the long term.

[audio:11215rosechallenge1.mp3] [/audio]

The budget is going to be challenge number one for the Rauner administration and Sen. Rose says while it is in bad shape, it is not irreversible.

[audio:11215rosechallenge2.mp3] [/audio]

Rauner is a very succesful venture capitalist and Sen. Rose says his entrepreneurial spirit is something that stands out to him. He feels Illinois is well suited for expansion in business opportunities.

[audio:11215rosechallenge3.mp3] [/audio]

Sen. Rose says the wild card of Rauner's tenure will be, can he work with Speaker Mike Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton. He is encouraged by the early framework Rauner is putting in place in his early efforts to work with the two.

2014 Positive Year for Clinton

 width=As the book has closed on 2014, the leader of the City of Clinton is looking back fondly.

Completed projects and new endeavors highlight the 2014 calendar year for Clinton Mayor Carolyn Peters. She explains the completion of the square renovations was perhaps the highlight to the year for her, as Mayor.

[audio:11215clinton141.mp3] [/audio]

The expansion of Kleemann Road on the west side of US Highway 51 was recently completed, and the Mayor feels, while it took a while, that should provide the community with more opportunities for expansion.

[audio:11215clinton142.mp3] [/audio]

In 2014, Monicals and Jimmy John's opened new locations in Clinton, the Mayor feels their presence in the Douglas addition has been very positive along with the new Richland Community College Education Center.

She also points to starting plans for a new fire station and a multi-purpose pathway as other highlights from 2014.

She feels economic development will continue to be a challenge going forward, but like economic development leaders, she is optimistic 2015 will be a positive year for the business community.

Oregon, Ohio State Meet For National Title

 width=>>Oregon, Ohio State Square Off In National Championship Game

(Arlington, TX) -- The first College Football Playoff national champion will be crowned tonight as second-ranked Oregon plays number-four Ohio State at AT&T Stadium. The Ducks advanced to the title game by blowing out third-ranked Florida State 59-20 in the Rose Bowl in one of two national semifinals. The Buckeyes stunned top-ranked Alabama 42-35 in the Sugar Bowl to win the other semifinal. Oregon is seeking its first national championship in football, while Ohio State is after its eighth national title and first since 2002.

Led by Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Marcus Mariota [[ mare-ee-OH-tuh ]], the Ducks are 13-and-1 on the season with their only loss coming against Arizona in early October. The Buckeyes are also 13-and-1 despite losing starting quarterback Braxton Miller to a shoulder injury before the season and backup QB J.T. Barrett to a broken ankle in the regular-season finale against Michigan. OSU hasn't missed a beat with third-stringer Cardale Jones, blasting Wisconsin 59-0 in the Big Ten Championship Game before upsetting the top-ranked Crimson Tide in the Sugar Bowl.

 width=>>Ducks' Carrington Suspended For Championship Game

(Dallas, TX) -- Oregon wide receiver Darren Carrington has reportedly been suspended for Monday's national championship game against Ohio State. According to multiple reports, Carrington failed an NCAA administered drug test. The redshirt freshman did not make the trip to Texas after testing positive for marijuana. Carrington had seven catches for 165 yards and two touchdowns in Oregon's 59-20 win over Florida State.

>>Governors Make Bets On College Title Game

(Columbus, OH) -- The governors of Ohio and Oregon have a tasty bet on the winner of next week's College Football Playoff championship game. If Ohio State wins, Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber will send his state's best beer, cheese and hazelnuts to Ohio Governor John Kasich. If the Buckeyes lose, Kasich will ship Columbus-brewed beer, lasagna from a favorite restaurant and chocolate Buckeyes. Ohio State meets Oregon in the title game Monday night.

 width=>>Crimson Tide Trio Turning Pro

(Tuscaloosa, AL) -- A trio of Alabama Crimson Tide football players are going pro. Head coach Nick Saban [[ SAY-bin ]] says wide receiver and Heisman Trophy finalist Amari Cooper, running back T.J. Yeldon and defensive back Landon Collins are all declaring for the NFL Draft. Cooper won the Biletnikoff Award as the nation's top wide receiver, finishing with 124 catches for 1,727 yards and 16 touchdowns. Yeldon was the Tide's second-leading rusher this season with 979 yards and 11 touchdowns. Collins tied for the team lead with three interceptions. Alabama went 12-and-2, losing to Ohio State in the national semifinals.

>>QB Hill To Transfer From Texas A&M

(Undated) -- Quarterback Kenny Hill will leave Texas A&M. ESPN reports Hill asked for a release from the school and is expected to transfer with TCU being the most likely landing spot. Hill began the year as the starter, taking over for Johnny Manziel. He was off to a hot start with 11 touchdowns in his first three games, but he eventually was suspended two games after freshman Kyle Allen took over. Hill ended with over 26-hundred yards, 23 TDs and eight interceptions.

Bulls Host Magic

 width=The Bulls host the Magic at the United Center tonight. Chicago put the brakes on a two-game skid with a 95-87 win over the Bucks on Saturday. The Bulls also upped their record to 26-and-12 with the win. Tip-off is at 7:00.

Atlanta Hawks 120, Washington Wizards 89
Miami Heat 104, Los Angeles Clippers 90
Memphis Grizzlies 122, Phoenix Suns 110 (2OT)
Sacramento Kings 103, Cleveland Cavaliers 84
Portland Trail Blazers 106, Los Angeles Lakers 94

 width=>>Jackson Takes Blame For Knicks Troubles

(New York, NY) -- It hasn't gone as expected for Knicks president Phil Jackson in his first year in charge of the basketball operations department. New York is a league-worst 5-and-35 with a team Jackson thought would compete for a playoff spot. The "Zen Master" said the struggles of the team are on him when he met with the media on Saturday. Jackson recently traded wings Iman Shumpert and J.R. Smith to continue to flesh out the rebuilding process. They didn't get anything in return besides a 2019 second-round pick. New York has lost a franchise-record 15 straight games. The Knicks face the Bucks in London on Thursday.

Blackhawks Blast Wild

 width=Marian Hossa, Bryan Bickell and Brad Richards all had a goal and an assist as the Blackhawks blasted the Wild 4-1 at the United Center. Johnny Oduya also lit the lamp while Jonathan Toews tallied two assists for the 'Hawks, who have alternated wins and losses over their last seven games. Corey Crawford kicked aside 36 shots in the victory. Matt Cooke scored the lone goal late in the third period for Minnesota, which suffered its fifth straight loss. Niklas Backstrom allowed all four goals on 35 shots in defeat.

Florida Panthers 4, Edmonton Oilers 2
Anaheim Ducks 5, Winnipeg Jets 4 (SO)

Packers Advance Despite Controversy; Bears Now Focus on Coach Vacancy

 width=>>Packers Edge Cowboys To Reach NFC Title Game

(Green Bay, WI) -- Aaron Rodgers threw for 316 yards and three touchdowns as the Packers edged the Cowboys 26-21 in an NFC Divisional Round showdown in Green Bay. The Packers held on after an apparent Dez Bryant catch at the one-yard line was challenged and overturned. Davante Adams had seven catches for 117 yards and a score for Green Bay, which will travel to Seattle for the NFC Championship Game next Sunday. Eddie Lacy rumbled for 101 yards in the win. Tony Romo as 15-of-19 for 191 yards and two scores for Dallas. DeMarco Murray rushed for 123 yards and a touchdown in the loss.

 width=>>Colts Best Broncos In Denver

(Denver, CO) -- The Colts kept Peyton Manning in check and punched their ticket to the AFC Championship Game with a 24-13 win over the Broncos in Denver. Andrew Luck threw for 265 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions for the Colts, who will face the Patriots for the right to go to the Super Bowl next Sunday. Indianapolis held the Broncos to just 289 yards of total offense as well as only three points in the second half. Manning was 26-of-46 for 211 yards and a touchdown for Denver. C.J. Anderson rushed for 91 yards in the loss.

>>Cowboys Involved In Second Controversial Play

(Green Bay, WI) -- The Dallas Cowboys are involved in their second controversial call in as many weeks. During Sunday's NFC Divisional Round affair with the Packers, Tony Romo and Dez Bryant connected on a 31-yard pass on fourth down that was initially ruled a catch inside the one-yard line of Green Bay with about five minutes left in the game. The Packers challenged the play and it was overturned by video replay after it was ruled Bryant didn't have complete possession before the ball touched the ground. Green Bay went on to win 26-21 to advance to the NFC title game. A week prior against the Detroit Lions, the Cowboys were the beneficiaries of a no-call on an apparent pass interference penalty that helped them advance to play this week.

New England Patriots 35, Baltimore Ravens 31
Seattle Seahawks 31, Carolina Panthers 17

>>Bills To Hire Rex Ryan

(Undated) -- The Buffalo Bills are reportedly set to name their next head coach. NFL Media reports ex-New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan will accept the job. The report also says he will bring Dennis Thurman along as the defensive coordinator while San Francisco 49ers offensive coordinator Greg Roman could fill the same spot in Buffalo. The Bills are looking to replace Doug Marrone, who opted out of his contract after the regular season. Ryan had been with the Jets since 2009.

>>Report: Jets Zero In On Quinn

(Undated) -- ESPN reports the Jets are zeroed in on Seahawks defensive coordinator Dan Quinn for their vacant head coaching position. The network reports the Jets were prepared to travel to Seattle had the 'Hawks lost Saturday night. The Jets can't offer Quinn the job as long as the Seahawks are still in the playoffs. Seattle plays the Packers at home in the NFC Championship Game on Sunday. Meanwhile, New York is reportedly set to hire Mike Maccagnan as their general manager. Maccagnan was the director of college scouting for the Texans.

>>Peyton Noncommittal About Future

(Denver, CO) -- Peyton Manning was noncommittal about his future following Sunday's loss to the Colts in the divisional round. When asked after the game, Manning declined to say whether he will return for another season in the NFL.

{DENManning11zb_1} Q...not say that 000:07

He had a second straight tremendous season with Denver, throwing for 4,727 yards with 39 touchdowns and only 15 interceptions, but showed signs of struggles down the stretch. In the final four regular season games, Manning threw for less than 300 yards in three of the four games with three TDs to six picks. Manning, who will turn 39 in March, is signed through the 2016 season.

>>Bears GM: Hiring Coach Top Priority

New Chicago Bears general manager Ryan Pace says he's focused on hiring a coach and will wait before making decisions about anyone on the roster, specifically quarterback Jay Cutler.

Pace, who at 37 is currently the league's youngest GM, faces a big task as he tries to rebuild a team with one playoff appearance in the past eight years. The Bears were a disappointing 5-11 and fired general manager Phil Emery and coach Marc Trestman.

Pace spent the past 14 years working for the New Orleans Saints. In Chicago, he says he will have final say on the 53-man roster, but he will report directly to team president Ted Phillips.

The most immediate task is finding a coach.

Illinois State Tops Missouri State; Illinois Falls At Nebraska

>>Nebraska Wins Ugly Game With Illinois

 width=Terran Petteway scored 18 points and Nebraska built an 11-point lead midway through the second half and held off Illinois 53-43 on Sunday night.

Nebraska (10-6, 2-2 Big Ten) made four of four free throws in the final two minutes to seal the win. The Huskers shot and made just one free throw in the first 38 minutes of the game.

Illinois (11-6, 1-3) cut the Nebraska lead to six late in the game but struggled to hit shots. The Fightin' Illini made just 15 of 55 and didn't have a basket after the 3:14 mark until Aaron Cosby's short jumper with :14 left.

Nebraska took the first double-digit lead of the game on Petteway's 3-pointer with 16:48 left that put the Huskers up 34-24 with 16:48 remaining. But Illinois' Kendrick Nunn countered with a 3 on the Ilini's next possession.

 width=>>Illinois State Tops Missouri State

Bobby Hunter hit 7 of 8 shots, including three 3-pointers, to score 17 points off the bench and lead Illinois State to a 69-55 win over Missouri State on Sunday.

Hunter had 12 points and MiKyle McIntosh had all 11 of his points as the Redbirds (10-6, 2-2 Missouri Valley) raced to a 49-27 lead at the half.

The Bears (8-8, 2-2) never got closer than 14 in the second half. Tyler McCullough was the leading scorer with 12 points and Marcus Marshall added 11.

With Hunter going 3 of 4 behind the arc, Illinois State was 9 of 15 but the Redbirds were only 11 of 35 from inside the line. Missouri State made just 1 of 13 treys and shot 36 percent for the game. The Bears were also outrebounded 39-29.

>>Rutgers Upests Wisconsin

Myles Mack had 21 points, Kadeem Jack scored 20 and Rutgers shocked No. 4 Wisconsin 67-62 on Sunday.

It was the first win over a top-five team in Rutgers history.

The Scarlet Knights (10-7, 2-2 Big Ten) outscored the short-handed Badgers (15-2, 3-1) by a 44-27 margin in the second half for the program's first win over a ranked team in more than two years.

Wisconsin played without leading scorer Frank Kaminsky because of a concussion and finished the game without point guard Traevon Jackson, who appeared to suffer an injury when he landed on Mack's foot while trying to block a 3-point shot in the second half.

In their absence, Nigel Hayes and Sam Dekker scored 15 points each to lead the Badgers and Bronson Keonig had 12.

>>North Carolina State Upsets Duke

PNC Arena hasn't been kind to Duke since 2010.

The Blue Devils were 1-3 in their past four games at North Carolina State's home court entering Sunday's ACC clash, including two losses to the Wolfpack and an untimely defeat in the second round of the 2014 NCAA Tournament against Mercer.

Trevor Lacey scored 21 points and NC State upset No. 2 Duke 87-75, continuing its streak of strong play at home against the Blue Devils.

Ralston Turner added 16 points on nine shots and BeeJay Anya gave 14 with four blocks off the bench for the Wolfpack (12-5, 3-1 ACC), who picked up a crucial win in their most grueling stretch of the season. They either play on the road or against a ranked team, or both, for six straight games.

>>Oregon State Upsets Arizona

Langston Morris-Walker drove in for a layup with 26 seconds remaining to lift Oregon State to a 58-56 upset win over No. 7 Arizona on Sunday night.

The Wildcats looked to force overtime, but T.J. McConnell missed a runner.

Morris-Walker finished with 12 points and eight rebounds for the Beavers (11-4, 2-1 Pac-12), who posted their first win over a top-10 team since beating these same Wildcats -- then ranked third -- in overtime on March 2, 2000.

Gary Payton II scored 10 points with nine rebounds, helping Oregon State end a seven-game slide to Arizona and improve to 10-0 at home this season.

Rondae Hollis-Jefferson had 14 points and McConnell added 13 with six assists for Arizona (14-2, 2-1), which was held to 37.8 percent shooting.

NCAA Top-25 Men's Basketball ("USA Today" Rankings)
#15 Wichita State Shockers 67, Loyola (IL) Ramblers 53

NCAA Top-25 Men's Basketball ("USA Today" Rankings)
#1 Kentucky Wildcats 70, Texas A&M Aggies 64 (2OT)
#3 Virginia Cavaliers 62, #12 Notre Dame Fighting Irish 56
#17 North Carolina Tar Heels 72, #5 Louisville Cardinals 71
#7 Gonzaga Bulldogs 79, Santa Clara Broncos 57
#8 Villanova Wildcats 81, DePaul Blue Demons 64
#9 Maryland Terrapins 69, Purdue Boilermakers 60
Oklahoma State Cowboys 69, #10 Texas Longhorns 58
#13 Kansas Jayhawks 86, Texas Tech Red Raiders 54
#16 Iowa State Cyclones 74, #14 West Virginia Mountaineers 72
Kansas State Wildcats 66, #18 Oklahoma Sooners 63 (OT)
#19 Seton Hall Pirates 68, Creighton Bluejays 67
Indiana Hoosiers 69, #20 Ohio State Buckeyes 66
#21 VCU Rams 89, Saint Joseph's Hawks 74
#22 Baylor Bears 66, TCU Horned Frogs 59 (OT)
#23 Northern Iowa Panthers 64, Drake Bulldogs 40
#25 Arkansas Razorbacks 82, Vanderbilt Commodores 70

Tri-Valley Blasts Clinton

Following a disappointing Friday game versus Shelbyville, the Clinton Maroons came out Saturday and were blasted by Tri-Valley, 81-52.

 width=The Vikings exploded for 51 first half points and four guys scored in double-figures. Will Dolk led the way for Tri-Valley with 18 points. Austin Spencer added 16 and Brett Schenkel and Derek Wegman chipped in with 12 apiece.

Peyton McCubbin led Clinton with 17 points, the only Maroon in double-figures for the afternoon.

Clinton drops to 5-10 while Tri-Valley improves to 11-5.

The Maroons will host Monticelo tomorrow night at 7:30. You can hear the action live on 92.3 FM WHOW and online at dewittdailynews.com.

>>Nebraska Wins Ugly Game With Illinois

Terran Petteway scored 18 points and Nebraska built an 11-point lead midway through the second half and held off Illinois 53-43 on Sunday night.

Nebraska (10-6, 2-2 Big Ten) made four of four free throws in the final two minutes to seal the win. The Huskers shot and made just one free throw in the first 38 minutes of the game.

Illinois (11-6, 1-3) cut the Nebraska lead to six late in the game but struggled to hit shots. The Fightin' Illini made just 15 of 55 and didn't have a basket after the 3:14 mark until Aaron Cosby's short jumper with :14 left.

Nebraska took the first double-digit lead of the game on Petteway's 3-pointer with 16:48 left that put the Huskers up 34-24 with 16:48 remaining. But Illinois' Kendrick Nunn countered with a 3 on the Ilini's next possession.

Clinton Police Weekend Report






DeWitt County Sheriff's Report For Jan. 5-11

January 5, 2015 – January 11, 2015

Average Daily Jail Population: 48
Summons Served: 30
Warrant Arrests: 3

Jason Plummer, 37, Bloomington was arrested and charged with Domestic Battery/ Physical Contact. Plummer posted the necessary bond and was released.

Bruce Thompson, 52, Windsor was arrested on a DeWitt County Warrant charging him with DUI/ Failure to Appear. Thompson posted the necessary bond and was released.

Matthew Beadles, 39, Clinton was arrested on a DeWitt County Warrant charging him with Violate Order of Protection. Beadles posted the necessary bond and was released.

Curtis Ghent, 19, Farmer City was arrested on a DeWitt County Warrant charging him with Failure to Appear. Ghent posted the necessary bond and was released.

Jessica Klitzing, 39, Heyworth was issued a Citation for Failure Reduce Speed/ Accident. Klitzing was issued a promise to comply and was released.

Jesse Kosack, 32, Clinton was arrested and charged with Domestic Battery. Kosack posted the necessary bond and was released.

Michael Berry, 45, Deland was arrested and charged with Driving Under Influence Alcohol. Berry posted the necessary bond and was released.






Illinois Lottery Saw Bump in Sales in 2014



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Illinois Families Urged To Check Homes for Radon



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North Dakota State Tops Illinois State In Thriller for FCS Championship


Make that four straight in Texas for North Dakota State.

Quarterback Carson Wentz ran 5 yards for the winning touchdown about a minute after Tre Roberson's 58-yard run put Illinois State ahead, and the Bison became the first team to win four straight FCS championships with a thrilling 29-27 victory Saturday.

North Dakota State (15-1) lost a nine-point lead in the fourth quarter, but answered quickly after falling behind. RJ Urzendowski had catches of 32 and 33 yards to get the Bison in scoring range, and Wentz broke a tackle around the 5 and eased into the end zone for the lead with 37 seconds left.

Roberson threw three touchdown passes, but also an interception to Esley Thorton in the final seconds trying to get the Redbirds (13-2) in field goal range.

UPDATED: Winter Weather Advisory Continues Until 9am Monday


The National Weather Service in Lincoln has continued its Winter Weather Advisory until 9 o'clock Monday morning.

A wintry mix of precipitation will continue into tonight across central IL while light rain in southeast IL this afternoon and early evening changes to light freezing rain and sleet later this evening and overnight.

Northern areas will see mostly light snow where 1 to 2 inches may accumulate with locally 2 to 3 inches north of Peoria. A mix of sleet and freezing rain is expected from along I-72 thru the I-70 corridor.

The more significant accumulation of ice will be from Charleston/Mattoon southeast toward I-70 where one to two tenths of ice may accumulate by dawn Monday. All the precipitation will push out of our area by late Monday morning.

Stay tuned to this Regional Radio station, and watch for further information on our on-line newspaper, for further updates.

Peoria Intersection To Be Named For Wayne McClain

An intersection near the Peoria high school where Wayne McClain won three Illinois state basketball championships will be named in honor of the former Fighting Illini assistant coach.

According to reports, the intersection of Lincoln and Griswold streets, in front of Manual Academy, on Jan. 15 will be named Honorable Coach Wayne McClain.

McClain, who suffered from lung cancer, died in October at age 59.

McClain was an assistant coach at Illinois from 2002 through 2012. He made his reputation as a coach at Manual High School, where he won state titles there in his first three seasons in the mid-1990s.

McClain returned to Champaign-Urbana to become head coach at Champaign Center in the spring of 2013 after one season on Bruce Weber's staff at Kansas State.

Farm Credit Announces Scholarships Availability

Nearly $50,000 of agriculture scholarships and rural community improvement grants will be awarded to central and southern Illinois youth later this spring.

The Farm Credit Illinois agricultural lending cooperative announced plans to present twenty-two $1,500 scholarships to college-bound high school seniors who are pursuing an agriculture-related curriculum and award as many as sixty $250 grants to 4H clubs and FFA chapters to implement an improvement project within their local community.
Scholarship selections are based on a combination of academic achievement, participation and leadership in school and community organizations, and the applicant’s commitment to an agricultural career. To be eligible, scholarship applicants must be high school seniors who plan to enroll in a college or university during the fall 2015 semester with the pursuit of an agriculture-related academic major and career. Applicants must reside in – or their family must farm in – one of the sixty southern counties in Illinois served by Farm Credit Illinois.

Online applications for the scholarships and grants are available at www.farmcreditIL.com. The deadline for both applications is February 27, 2015.

Piatt County 4-H, Allerton Public Library To Host Youth Book Club

Piatt County kids interested in reading and discussing literature are encouraged to be a part of a new program through the University of Illinois Extension Office and Allerton Public Library.

Starting February 5, fourth and fifth grade students are invited to Washington Elementary School in Monticello for weekly book discussion groups on Thursday afternoons from 3:15 to 4:30 pm.

Youth will read the same books and discuss them on a weekly basis thanks to the Allerton Public Libary.

Registration is required for the book club, and the deadline is January 29.

To register or for more information, visit web.extension.illinois.edu/dmp/ orcall the University of Illinois Extension office in Piatt County at 217-762-2191 and ask to speak with Susan Houska.

All reading materials will be provided.

Rauner Gearing Up For Swearing In Party

It's probably not music to the ears of formal wear businesses in Springfield and across Illinois, but Governor Elect Bruce Rauner is forsaking the Inaugural Ball Monday night, opting instead for a party and concert at Springfield's Prairie Capital Convention Center.

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The event will also feature Chicago blues legend Buddy Guy. Tickets are $125 and are still available at www.Illinoisinauguration.com The all inclusive ticket gets you into the concerts and party and comes with food and drink.

County Fair Impact Study To Arrive Soon

It sure isn't county fair weather in Illinois right now, but county fairs will draw much attention next week in Springfield.

Mercer County Fair Board President Roger Grundstrom anxiously awaiting the results of an economic impact study of county fairs. Mercer County was one of 15-county fairs statewide participating in the study last summer.

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The results of the study will be released January 17th and 18th during the annual convention of Illinois county fair officials.

Special Election Debate Gets Heated

The debate on the special election for Illinois Comptroller is heating up in the Illinois House.

The discussion has broken down on party lines and has pit Democrats vs. Republicans in plenty of heated discourse. Representative Dwight Kay a Republican from the 112th District, says that the emergency or need for an election has been fabricated by the party losing the Governor’s office.

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Kay continues by taking a stab at the process and the rancor behind the move for a special election.

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ISU AD: National Championship Run Creating Buzz Around Community

This Saturday, the Illinois State Redbirds football team will play for their first ever national title in football.

It is the first appearance in the title game for ISU and Athletic Director Larry Lyons says the matchup has a lot of interesting aspects. He explains their opponent, North Dakota State, was the only Missouri Valley Conference team they didn't face this year, yet, ended up splitting the conference title.

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 width=The road to the final was the toughest of any potential road as ISU faced two road games from one side of the country to the other. Lyons says it has been to see everything play out the way it has.

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North Dakota State is going for their fourth straight national championship, but Lyons feels they are going to give the Bison a good one in Texas this weekend. He compliments the NDSU program for what they have done, and feels both teams are very similar in the way play.

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For the Redbirds, the key to their team is first year, transfer quarterback Trey Roberson. Lyons says Roberson has come in and been dynamic, and is complimented well by junior runningback Marshaun Coprich, who had a record setting season for the ISU.

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Game time Saturday from Frisco, TX is at noon central time and the game can be seen on ESPN 2. Lyons says the community of Bloomington/Normal has embraced the run by the Redbirds, and watch parties will be going on all over the community.

Sears Seeking Local Business Leader For Potential Store

A national retailer and local economic development leaders are teaming up to find interested entrepreneurs to bring a national product to Clinton.

Sears and the DeWitt County Development Council (DCDC) are seeking potential business leaders who would be interested in operating a Sears store locally. Mark Killough with the DCDC explains the retailer has targeted Clinton as a market they would like to tap into.

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Killough feels this could be a big development for the community. He explains this is something the community is in need of with recent stores like Sears having closed their doors. With a place like Sears locally, residents wouldn't have to leave town for appliances and other needs.

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 width=Representatives from Sears will be in Clinton later this month to assist the DCDC in finding an owner for the store. Killough notes Sears has not targeted a location for the storefront, but they will work with them and the entrepreneur to find a practical and price-friendly location.

To learn about the opportunity to own and operate a Sears Hometown Store within an existing independent retail location, please contact Region Development Manager, Mike Jones at 205-432-8959 or via email at mike.m.jones71@shos.com .

NBA Notes

 width=>>Blazers Torch Heat

(Portland, OR) -- LaMarcus Aldridge racked up 24 points and 12 rebounds as the Trail Blazers torched the Heat 99-83 at the Moda Center. Wesley Matthews dropped in 18 points and Damian Lillard scored 16 for the Blazers, who have won six of their last seven. Chris Kaman chipped in with 10 points and nine boards in the victory. Dwyane Wade posted 23 points and seven boards to pace Miami, which has lost five of six. Chris Bosh added 18 points, five boards and five assists in the setback.

Charlotte Hornets 103, Toronto Raptors 95
Houston Rockets 120, New York Knicks 96

>>Nets' Williams Out Indefinitely With Rib Injury

(Brooklyn, NY) -- Brooklyn Nets guard Deron [[ Darren ]] Williams is out indefinitely after suffering a rib injury. He had an MRI exam Thursday and was diagnosed with a fracture of the cartilage portion of the left 12th rib. Williams will be re-examined in a week. He's played in 32 games this season, including 25 starts. Williams is averaging 13.9 points, 6.3 assists and three rebounds per game.

Sox, Cubs Notes

 width=>>Sox Announce Deal With Bonifacio

(Chicago, IL) -- The White Sox have officially announced a one-year contract with utilityman Emilio Bonifacio. The deal is worth three-million-dollars with a one-million-dollar buyout and a four-million-dollar option for 2016. He hit .259 with three homers, 24 RBI and 26 steals in 110 games with the Braves and Cubs last season.

>>Cubs Sell Spring Stadium Naming Rights

(Undated) -- The Cubs have sold the naming rights to their spring training ballpark in Mesa, Arizona. They will be playing at Sloan Park after the Sloan Valve Company purchased the rights. This will be the second season at the new facility.

Blues, Blackhawks Win

 width=>>Blues Top Sharks

(St. Louis, MO) -- David Backes [[ back-es ]], Jori Lehtera [[ leh-TARE-uh ]], T.J. Oshie, Paul Stastny [[ STAZ-nee ]] and Alexander Steen all recorded a goal and an assist as the Blues blew out the Sharks 7-2 from St. Louis. Patrik Berglund and Jay Bouwmeester [[ BOE-mee-stir ]] also scored for St. Louis, which has won three straight. Jaden Schwartz had three assists for the Blues while Brian Elliott made 24 saves. Logan Couture and Melker Karlsson scored for San Jose, which had won two straight. Antti Niemi [[ AHN-tee nee-EM-ee ]] allowed five goals while Alex Stalock gave up two in the loss.


>>Blackhawks Beat Wild In Minnesota

(St. Paul, MN) -- Bryan Bickell scored twice including an empty-netter in the final minute as the Blackhawks beat the Wild 4-2 at Xcel Energy Center. Patrick Kane and Patrick Sharp both scored in the first period for Chicago, which has won four of six. Corey Crawford made 42 saves in the victory. Jason Zucker and Jason Pominville lit the lamp for the Wild, who have lost three in-a-row. Niklas Backstrom allowed three goals on 19 shots in defeat.

Boston Bruins 3, New Jersey Devils 0
Philadelphia Flyers 3, Washington Capitals 2 (OT)
Carolina Hurricanes 5, Buffalo Sabres 2
Nashville Predators 3, Dallas Stars 2 (OT)
Colorado Avalanche 5, Ottawa Senators 2
Arizona Coyotes 4, Winnipeg Jets 1
Florida Panthers 3, Vancouver Canucks 1
New York Rangers 4, Los Angeles Kings 3

Illinois At Nebraska Saturday

 width=>>Illinois At Nebraska

(Lincoln, NE) -- The Fighting Illini are on the road Sunday facing Nebraska. Illinois is 11-and-5 and 1-and-2 in the Big Ten after an upset win over Maryland on Wednesday. The Cornhuskers dropped Rutgers last night to get to 9-and-6.

>>Arizona Blasts Oregon

T.J. McConnell came out uncharacteristically aggressive and it paid off, as the redshirt
senior scored 21 points to lead No. 7 Arizona in a 80-62 win over Oregon.

McConnell, who transferred from Duquesne after two seasons with the Dukes, had never scored more than 19 points in an Arizona uniform.

 width=All five starters reached double figures for the Wildcats (14-1, Pac-12), who snapped Oregon's six-game win streak with a result that was never really in doubt.

Stanley Johnson had 14 points and seven rebounds, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson gave 13 with nine boards and Kaleb Tarczewski posted his first double-double of the season after totaling 11 points and 10 rebounds.

Joseph Young scored 12 points on 4-of-15 shooting to lead Oregon (11-4, 1-1).

NCAA Top-25 Men's Basketball ("USA Today" Rankings)
#7 Gonzaga Bulldogs 88, San Francisco Dons 57

Packers Host Cowboys In Divisional Round; Bears Hire GM; NFL Notes

>>Bears Hire GM

The Chicago Bears have hired New Orleans Saints executive Ryan Pace as general manager to replace the fired Phil Emery, hoping he can rejuvenate a franchise that has missed the playoffs for the seventh time in eight years.

The announcement on Thursday comes on the heels of a miserable, 5-11 season. The Bears quickly fell out of contention in the NFC North, costing Emery and coach Marc Trestman their jobs.

 width=Pace spent 14 seasons with the Saints and helped build a Super Bowl champion. He was New Orleans' director of player personnel the past two years, helping manage their pro and college scouting operations. He also served as the team's director of pro scouting from 2007 to 2012.

>>Bears Continue HC Search

The Chicago Bears interviewed Arizona Cardinals defensive coordinator Todd Bowles for their coaching job after hiring New Orleans Saints executive Ryan Pace as their general manager.

The team says Pace, who replaced the fired Phil Emery, was in on Thursday's interview. Chicago is looking for a coach after letting Marc Trestman go following a 5-11 season.

Pace participated in the interview with Bowles, who has led the Cardinals' defense the past two seasons after serving as Philadelphia's defensive coordinator in 2012. The 51-year-old former NFL safety is also in the running for the New York Jets, Atlanta and San Francisco jobs.

Chicago also interviewed Seattle defensive coordinator Dan Quinn and Denver offensive coordinator Adam Gase for the coaching job.

 width=>>Cowboys Put Road Record Up Against Packers' Home Record

(Green Bay, WI) -- The Dallas Cowboys take their perfect road record to Green Bay on Sunday to go up against the Packers in a NFC Divisional Playoff game at Lambeau Field. Dallas rallied from a 20-7 deficit to beat Detroit 24-20 in the Wild Card round last weekend. That game came with some controversy as a key pass interference penalty against the Cowboys in the fourth quarter was overturned, helping Dallas rally to victory. The Cowboys won the NFC East this season with a 12-and-4 record, including 8-and-0 on the road. Conversely, the Packers are a perfect 8-and-0 at home this season. Green Bay also went 12-and-4 during the regular season, winning the NFC North and earning a first-round bye. The Packers beat the Cowboys 37-36 at Dallas in Week 15 of last season.

>>Rodgers Takes Majority Of Snaps In Practice

(Green Bay, WI) -- Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers took most of the snaps in practice on Thursday as he prepares for Sunday's playoff game against Dallas. He has been battling a strained left calf that he suffered in Week 16 against Tampa Bay and reinjured the following week against Detroit. ESPN reports Rodgers also has a slight tear in his calf muscle. He is expected to start when the Packers host the Cowboys in the NFC Divisional playoffs.

 width=>>Colts Battle Broncos In Denver

(Denver, CO) -- The Indianapolis Colts head to the Mile High City to battle the Denver Broncos Sunday in an AFC Divisional Playoff game. The AFC South champion Colts went 11-and-5 during the regular season and advanced out of the Wild Card round with a 26-10 home win over the Bengals last weekend. The AFC West champion Broncos had a first-round bye after going 12-and-4 during the regular season. This game features a matchup of former longtime Colts quarterback Peyton Manning against Andrew Luck, who Indianapolis drafted with the first-overall pick in 2012 to become Manning's successor. The Broncos beat the Colts 31-24 in Denver to open the season back in September. Manning threw three TD's in that game as Denver built a 24-0 lead in the first half and held on from there.

>>Ravens Play Patriots In Foxboro

(Foxboro, MA) -- The Baltimore Ravens head to Foxboro on Saturday to face the New England Patriots in an AFC Divisional Playoff game at Gillette Stadium. The Ravens roughed up the Steelers 30-17 last weekend in Pittsburgh in the Wild Card round to advance. Baltimore earned the sixth seed in the AFC by winning three of its final four games of the regular season to finish 10-and-6. The Patriots had a first-round bye after capturing their sixth straight AFC East title at 12-and-4. New England also earned home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs by virtue of a Week Nine win over Denver, which also went 12-and-4. The Patriots pounded the Ravens 41-7 in Baltimore in their last meeting in Week 16 of last season. New England is 7-and-1 at home this season.

>>Panthers Play Super Bowl Champion Seahawks In Seattle

(Seattle, WA) -- The surging Carolina Panthers will try to knock off the defending Super Bowl champion Seahawks in a NFC Divisional Playoff game Saturday in Seattle. The Panthers are looking to keep their late season magic going. Carolina won its final four games of the regular season, capturing the NFC South title with a Week 17 win at Atlanta. The Panthers then held the Cardinals to just 78 total yards in a 27-16 win in last weekend's Wild Card round. After a 3-and-3 start, the Seahawks won nine of their last 10 games to claim the NFC West crown at 12-and-4. Seattle also earned home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs by virtue of a head-to-head win over Green Bay in the season opener. The Seahawks beat the Panthers 13-9 at Carolina back in Week Eight.

>>Pro Football Hall Of Fame Finalists Announced

(Undated) -- The 15 Modern-Era finalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame have been announced. Linebacker Junior Seau, offensive lineman Orlando Pace and quarterback Kurt Warner are first-year nominees. There are the 15 Modern-Era finalists as well as the two contributor finalists and the one senior finalist up for the honor of enshrinement. The announcement will be made in Arizona on January 31st. Terrell Davis, Jimmy Johnson, Bill Polian, Mick Tingelhoff and Ron Wolf are finalists for the first time. Kicker Morten Andersen, running back Jerome Bettis, receivers Marvin Harrison and Tim Brown, coaches Don Coryell and Tony Dungy, linebackers Kevin Greene and Charles Haley, offensive lineman Will Shields and safety John Lynch are also finalists.

>>Investigation: NFL Did Not See Rice Video Before It Went Public

(New York, NY) -- An independent investigation is supporting the NFL's claim that the league did not see the Ray Rice in-elevator video before it went public. Former FBI Director Robert Mueller [[ Muller ]] released results of a four-month investigation into the NFL's handling of the February domestic violence case involving the former Baltimore Ravens running back. No evidence was found that anyone at the NFL had or saw the video of Rice knocking out his now wife with a punch to the face at an Atlantic City casino before it was released by TMZ in September. There was also no evidence that a woman at the NFL confirmed receipt of the video in a voicemail on April 9th. The report did determine that, even without the video, there was substantial information indicating the need for a more thorough investigation by the NFL.

The report went on to acknowledge the league's recent changes to its Personal Conduct Policy and offered more recommendations for improvement, including more training, creating a specialized investigative team for domestic violence and sexual abuse and policies requiring more information sharing between the league and NFL teams during investigations.

Illinois Fires Pair of Assistant Football Coaches

 width=Illinois has fired special teams coach Tim Salem and defensive line coach Greg Colby.

Coach Tim Beckman said Thursday that both are "very good coaches" but changes needed to be made for the team to improve.

Special teams was a particular problem for the Illini (6-7, 3-6 Big Ten). While Illini punter Justin Duvernois was the Big Ten's second-best punter, kickers David Reisner and Taylor Zalewski both struggled. Between them they were 9-17 on field goals and missed four extra points.

Salem joined the staff in 2012 as running backs coach. Colby worked two seasons at Illinois. The team's defense was one of the conference's worst both seasons.

Beckman says he will hire replacements as soon as possible.

Illinois State Meets North Dakota State Saturday For FCS National Title

 width=They answered question after question from the media on Thursday, calm as can be even as they moved onto a stage that's bigger than the nation's best FCS conference.

It didn't figure to be any other way, however, because Illinois State quarterback Tre Roberson and running back Marshaun Coprich have provided all the right answers this season while leading the Redbirds into Saturday's NCAA Division I Football Championship Game.

"It feels like we've been here before," Roberson said

The reality is Illinois State will be appearing in the FCS title game for the first time, while its opponent, North Dakota State, is seeking a fourth straight national title, which would be a first in the FCS and has been accomplished only once in NCAA history, ironically by a school from Illinois, Augustana College from 1983-86.

 width=But the Redbirds feel they're ready to move out of North Dakota State's long shadow. The two teams tied for the Missouri Valley Football Conference title after not playing each other in the regular season.

Illinois State (13-1) has much more than a puncher's chance against the NDSU dynasty. In fact, its offense features a sensational 1-2 knockout punch. Whether Roberson or Coprich is 1 and the other is 2 seemingly changes from week to week, and they feed off each other in winning fashion.

Now Illinois State, which has good size at wide receiver and even more size on the offensive line with four starters over 300 pounds, will try to take down the best defense in the FCS for four years running. No doubt the Redbirds will turn to their 1-2 punch for the right answers against North Dakota State.

"If you want to be the champ, you've got to beat the champ," Roberson said.

Maroons Fall to the Rams

As heard on 92.3 FM WHOW and streamed live on dewittdailynews.com, the Clinton Maroons were defeated by the Shelbyville Rams Friday night 66-50.

For the Maroons (5-9), Jacob Overton lead the team with 20 points. Reggie Senters and Tanner White followed behind with 7 and 8 points.

For the Rams (9-6), Tristen Wade and Brett Peifer lead the team with 13 and 11 points. Devin Peterson and Tice Robinson follwed behind them, both sharing 8 points a piece.

Tune into WHOW Tuesday at 7:30 pm as the Maroons will take on the Monticello Sages.

Monticello Storms Back To Down Rantoul

 width=The Monticello Sages overcame a nine-point second half deficit to down Rantoul on the road in the Okaw Valley Conference opener for both squads.

Zach Fisher poured in a game high 28 points as only five players scored for the Sages. Fisher also grabbed five boards and drained six of eight threes as Monticello shot over 50% for the second straight game.

Noah Freemon added 12 points, four boards and four assists. Ryne Bundy added 10 points and five boards off the bench for Monticello.

The Sages improve to 8-3, and win their first Okaw Valley Conference game in the new look Okaw.

Rantoul drops to 4-12 and 0-1 in their inaugural year in the Okaw.

After shooting 60% from the floor in the first half, the Eagles shot just 35% in the second half.

CJ Bunner led the way for Rantoul with 17 points. Kevin Williams and Marellian Gibson added 12 apiece.

Barickman on Budget

lllinois’ to-be governor could find most of his success at the state capitol outside of the legislative chambers.

Republican state Senator Jason Barickman says governor-elect Bruce Rauner has had success managing private businesses. Barickman expects the same Rauner as governor.

[audio:Barickman1.mp3] [/audio]

Barickman says governor-elect Bruce Rauner could manage state government, and find millions of dollars in savings.

[audio:Barickman2.mp3] [/audio]

Barickman says Rauner would be the first governor since Jim Edgar to take an active role in managing the bureaucracy of state government.
Rauner takes the oath of office next Monday.

Quinn Strived to High Ideals While In Office

Echoing words spoken about his father, Governor Pat Quinn addressed to the Chicago Civic Club for the final time while in office.

Gov. Quinn has used his previous time in front of the civic club to talk about prospective legislation or the outlook for his year as Governor. On Tuesday, Quinn looked back on serving as Governor. Quinn, emotional at times, told the audience that he always remembered the words of his father’s naval commander and tried to live to those ideals while working as Governor.

[audio:QUINNCIVICCLUB.mp3] [/audio]

Quinn still has business left as Governor. He has called a special session of the legislature for Thursday where he wants lawmakers to address the need for a special election to fill the vacancy left by the death of Comptroller Judy Barr Topinka.

Blue Ridge Schools Leader Endorses Vision 20/20

Illinois educators are letting their voices be heard in regards to state-wide education.

Vision 20/20 is a new initiative dedicated to the betterment of education in Illinois. The plan has been developed by local school officials including superintendents and principals and Susan Wilson, Superintendent of Blue Ridge Schools, explains Vision 20/20 sets solid groundwork for the future of schools in Illinois.

[audio:171520201.mp3] [/audio]

Vision 20/20 addresses important issues including school funding and regulations. Wilson notes school funding is desperately needed in Illinois and the program provides common sense ideas to confront the issue.

[audio:171520202.mp3] [/audio]

Illinois lawmakers and educators are already engaging in talks regarding the initiative and Wilson stresses it will be parents and educators that will make the difference though.

Cut 3: 20203 :49 CUE: cannot support

The goals of Vision 20/20 are to be fully implemented by the year 2020 and Wilson notes it also stresses full accountability between all arenas of education.

She is looking forward to the changes it could possibly bring.

DJWH Focus of City Council Discussion

Monday night's Clinton City Council meeting was limited in the amount of city business to be conducted, but an embattled entity was the center of brief discussion.

Regular reports are provided from the Council's Commissioners at each meeting, but one commissioner took the time to recognize the efforts of the Dr. John Warner Hospital staff for treatment he received during the Christmas holiday. Commissioner Tom Edmunds spoke of some problems with his foot and complimented the city owned hospital on the care he received on Christmas Day and the days following.

[audio:1815hospitaltalk1.mp3] [/audio]

This month the DJWH Board is going to be reviewing Request for Proposals (RFPs) for management firms to take over operations of the hospital. It is Edmunds suggestion the Board investigate into working Hospital Sisters Health Systems, part of a network of area hospitals. Edmunds explains they were very effective in helping the city-owned hospital nearly two decades ago.

[audio:1815hospitaltalk2.mp3] [/audio]

But Clinton Mayor Carolyn Peters points out their assistance was only for a year, and had they kept working with the hospital for longer, they would have had to start paying them for their work. She feels adding potentially, another name to the Dr. John Warner Hospital could limit the clientele.

[audio:1815hospitaltalk3.mp3] [/audio]

The Mayor continues to support the work being done by the hospital Board. She adds while things have been a struggle at times with the hospital, it could not continue it's path and be viable for many years.

Waste Management Open Says No Woods Commitment

 width=Officials with the Waste Management Phoenix Open in Scottsdale, Arizona say golf star Tiger Woods has not committed to play in this month's tournament.  Golf.com cited two anonymous sources as saying Woods could make his season debut at the annual event.  The report said the 14-time major champion has reserved lodging and a courtesy car.  Tournament Media Relations director Rob Myers says, despite the report, Woods has not committed to play.  Tiger is coming off an injury-plagued 2014 campaign.  He hasn't played in Scottsdale since 2001.  This year's tournament begins January 29th. 

Blackhawks, Blues Back To Action Tonight

 width=>>Blackhawks Battle Wild

(St. Paul, MN) -- The Blackhawks battle the Wild in St. Paul tonight. The puck drops from the Xcel Energy Center at 7 p.m. Chicago comes in at 26-12-and-2 while the Wild are 18-15-and-5.

>>Blues Host Sharks Tonight

(St. Louis, MO) -- The Blues are back on Scottrade ice tonight to open a seven-game homestand against the Sharks. St. Louis split four games on its just completed road trip, including a 7-2 win at San Jose on Saturday. The Blues followed that with a 6-0 win over the Coyotes Tuesday in Arizona.

>>Rangers Drop Ducks

(Anaheim, CA) -- Rick Nash scored his 25th goal of the year to help give the Rangers a 4-1 victory over the Ducks at the Honda Center. Derick Brassard and Mat Zuccarello [[ zoo-cuh-RELL-oh ]] each found the back of the net as New York won for the 11th time in 12 games. Henrik Lundqvist tallied 24 saves in the victory. Francois Beauchemin scored the lone goal on a power play for Anaheim, which had won four of six coming in. Ilya Bryzgalov allowed all four goals on 29 shots in the loss.

Washington Capitals 6, Toronto Maple Leafs 2
Boston Bruins 3, Pittsburgh Penguins 2 (OT)
Detroit Red Wings 3, Calgary Flames 2

Bears Continue GM Search; CB Arrested on DUI

>>Bears Continue GM Interviews

The Chicago Bears interviewed Kansas City Chiefs director of player personnel Chris Ballard and New Orleans Saints director of player personnel Ryan Pace for their general manager job.

The team says the interviews occurred on Wednesday.

 width=The Bears fired general manager Phil Emery and coach Marc Trestman after going 5-11 and missing the playoffs for the seventh time in eight years.

Ballard spent 12 years in Chicago before joining the Chiefs in 2013. Pace has been with the Saints since 2001 and just completed his second season as their director of player personnel.

>>Bears CB Arrested For DUI

Suburban Atlanta police say Chicago Bears cornerback Tim Jennings has been arrested on charges including DUI, reckless driving and speeding.

Gwinnett County Police Cpl. Jake Smith said in a statement that 31-year-old Timothy Deshawn Jennings was driving a 2015 Mercedes at 99 mph in a 65-mph zone on I-85 before noon Wednesday. Smith says the officer conducting the stop smelled alcohol.

County records show that Jennings was booked into the county jail Wednesday afternoon and was being held on $2,711 bond. It was not immediately known if he had a lawyer.

Jennings, of Orangeburg, South Carolina, has been in the NFL since 2006 and played for the Indianapolis Colts between 2006 and 2009.

A Bears spokesman said the team is aware of Jennings' arrest and gathering additional information.

 width=>>Georgia Names Rams' Schottenheimer OC

(Athens, GA) -- Brian Schottenheimer is the new offensive coordinator at the University of Georgia. He replaces Mike Bobo, who left last month to become the head coach at Colorado State. Schottenheimer spent the last three seasons as defensive coordinator of the St. Louis Rams. He previously held the same position with the New York Jets from 2006 to 2011. Schottenheimer is the son of former longtime NFL head coach Marty Schottenheimer.

>>Giants' Beckham Jr. To Replace "Megatron" In Pro Bowl

(East Rutherford, NJ) -- New York Giants rookie wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. is headed to the Pro Bowl. He has been named an injury replacement for Detroit Lions wideout Calvin Johnson. Beckham Jr. had 91 receptions for 1,305 yards and 12 touchdowns for the Giants this season. He was drafted with the 12th overall out of LSU last May. "Megatron" had 71 catches for 1,077 yards and eight scores for Detroit this season. He missed three games and was limited in two others due to an ankle injury. This year's Pro Bowl is set for Sunday, January 25th in Glendale, Arizona.

>>Winston Confirms He's Entering NFL

(Tallahassee, FL) -- Florida State quarterback Jameis [[ JAME-iss ]] Winston is going pro. The 2013 Heisman Trophy winner has released a statement saying, after consulting with family and friends, he is declaring for the 2015 NFL Draft. Winston initially hadn't planned to announce his decision until after Monday's College Football Playoff National Championship Game, but his father told ESPN that Winston intended to go pro. Winston was 26-and-1 as a starter at Florida State, with his only loss coming to Oregon at the Rose Bowl in last week's national semifinals. He led the Seminoles to the BCS National Championship in 2013.

>>Saints To Keep DC Ryan

(New Orleans, LA) -- The New Orleans Saints will not be making a change at defensive coordinator. The "Times-Picayune" reports Rob Ryan will return in that role next season despite the team ranking second-to-last in yards allowed. His status was uncertain after head coach Sean Payton vowed to make significant changes following a 7-and-9 season. The 52-year-old has been the Saints' DC since 2013. Ryan previously held that role for the Raiders, Browns, and Cowboys.

>>49ers' Kaepernick To Work With Kurt Warner

(Sacramento, CA) -- San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick [[ CAP-er-nick ]] is seeking help from a two-time NFL MVP. The "Sacramento Bee" reports Kaepernick will be tutored by and train with Kurt Warner starting next week in Phoenix, Arizona. Quarterbacks coach Dennis Gile will also be on hand, with the two helping him with drills, film work and mental aspects of the game. Kaepernick set a career-high this past season by throwing for nearly 34-hundred yards, but saw his total QB-rating drop from 68.6 in 2013 to 55.9 in 2014. The 49ers went 8-and-8 after three straight trips to the NFC Championship Game.

Jazz Route Bulls

 width=>>Jazz Rout Bulls

(Chicago, IL) -- Derrick Favors led a balanced attack with 20 points and 11 rebounds as the Jazz picked up a 97-77 win over the Bulls at the United Center. Gordon Hayward chipped in 18 points and Rudy Gobert recorded 11 points and 14 boards. Trey Burke added 17 points as Utah won for the fifth time in its last eight. Jimmy Butler paced Chicago with 16 points and 11 rebounds while Derrick Rose scored just seven points on 3-of-15 shooting in the loss. Taj Gibson tallied 15 points off the bench for the Bulls, who saw their three-game winning streak come to an end.

Houston Rockets 105, Cleveland Cavaliers 93
Milwaukee Bucks 97, Philadelphia 76ers 77
Washington Wizards 101, New York Knicks 91
Charlotte Hornets 98, New Orleans Pelicans 94
Boston Celtics 89, Brooklyn Nets 81
Atlanta Hawks 96, Memphis Grizzlies 86
Detroit Pistons 108, Dallas Mavericks 95
Denver Nuggets 93, Orlando Magic 90
Phoenix Suns 113, Minnesota Timberwolves 111
Sacramento Kings 104, Oklahoma City Thunder 83
Golden State Warriors 117, Indiana Pacers 102
Los Angeles Clippers 114, Los Angeles Lakers 89

Illinois, Illinois State Win; Bradley Routed By Wichita State

 width=>>Hill Leads Illinois In Upset of Maryland

Illinois wondered who would score with Rayvonte Rice injured, and Malcolm Hill provided the answer Wednesday with a career-high 28 points in a 64-57 upset over No. 11 Maryland.

Hill turned it on in the second half with 18 points. The sophomore's hot hand fueled a 20-3 run that the Illini (11-5, 1-2) used to take over the game.

Rice is Illinois' leading scorer and rebounder but will be out up to six weeks after breaking his left hand this week in practice. His loss left Illinois looking at possibility of a 0-3 conference start with its next two games on the road.

Hill added seven rebounds. Nnanna Egwu led Illinois with nine.

Melo Trimble led the cold-shooting Terrapins (14-2, 2-1 Big Ten) with 17 points. Maryland shot just 36.5 percent from the field.

 width=>>Illinois State Routes Drake

Daishon Knight scored 15 points, MiKyle McIntosh had 10 with nine rebounds and Illinois State rolled past Drake for an 81-45 victory on Wednesday night.

Paris Lee chipped in 12 points and Tony Wills had 10 with six assists for the Redbirds (9-6, 1-2 Missouri Valley), who shot 56.6 percent from the field and had a 38-21 rebounding advantage. Justin McCloud hit three of Illinois State's nine 3-pointers.

Drake (3-12, 0-3) was held to 14-of-44 shooting (31.8 percent), gave up 21 points off turnovers and another 12 on second-chance opportunities. Chris Caird was the lone scorer in double figures for the Bulldogs with 15 points and Trevor Berkeley had nine.

Illinois State pulled away with a 32-8 run sparked by a pair of 3-pointers from both McCloud and Lee for a 36-16 lead in the first half. The Redbirds coasted in the second half, leading by as much as 44.

 width=>>Wichita State Routes Bradley

Darius Carter scored a game-high 19 points and No. 15 Wichita State beat Bradley 63-43 on Wednesday night.

The Shockers defeated the Braves after trailing at halftime for just the second time this season.

Wichita State (13-2, 3-0 Missouri Valley Conference) has won 25 consecutive games at home and 21 in a row in the MVC. The Shockers also have won 10 in a row against Bradley, including the past six at home.

Ron Baker scored 12 and Shaquille Morris added 10 points Wichita State.

Ka'Darryl Bell led the Braves (6-10, 1-2) with 11 points. Tramique Sutherland and Auston Barnes each added 10.

NCAA Top-25 Men's Basketball ("USA Today" Rankings)
#2 Duke Blue Devils 73, Wake Forest Demon Deacons 65
#3 Virginia Cavaliers 61, North Carolina State Wolfpack 51
#4 Wisconsin Badgers 62, Purdue Boilermakers 55
#5 Louisville Cardinals 58, Clemson Tigers 52
#11 Utah Utes 74, Colorado Buffaloes 49
#13 Kansas Jayhawks 56, #22 Baylor Bears 55
Xavier Musketeers 58, #19 Seton Hall Pirates 58
#21 VCU Rams 71, Davidson Wildcats 65
#23 Northern Iowa Panthers 55, Southern Illinois Salukis 39

Peterson Insurance Sponsoring WHOW Farm Bill Meeting January 21

 width=Peterson Insurance Agency in Clinton is sponsoring a WHOW Farm Bill meeting at the Richland Community College Clinton Education Center, on Wednesday, January 21st at 6:30pm.

WHOW local farm broadcaster Jared White will introduce Todd Gleason, host of the Closing Market Report heard weekdays on WHOW, who will emcee. Guest speaker is Gary Schnitkey of the University of Illinois, an expert on the new Farm Bill, who will present remarks and answer farmers' questions. The event is free and open to the public.

Decisions farmers make on implementing the new Farm Bill on their farm, will affect their operation for the next 4 years, which is why Peterson Insurance is sponsoring this special WHOW Farm Bill meeting.

The meeting is part of WHOW's continued commitment to its agriculture listeners thru-out Central Illinois.

2015 Shaping Up To Be Exciting For Lincoln

 width=The City of Lincoln is looking ahead to the developments of 2015.

Among the changes the city is looking at, Lincoln's Street Department will soon move to a new location as their current building was constructed above an old coal mine many years ago, so according Mayor Keith Snyder, the ground below the Street Department is contaminated due to years of being used for converting coal oil. He explains they are seeking to provide funds to move and clean up the existing grounds.

[audio:16152015mayor1.mp3] [/audio]

The Lincoln Fire Department is in for a big year in 2015. Mayor Snyder explains an architect is going to assess the space of the current department because the building has age limitations which is leading to the need for expansion and updates.

[audio:16152015mayor2.mp3] [/audio]

The City of Lincoln is also looking forward to the expansion of their local movie theater which should occur on 2015 also.

Officers Reflect On Time in NYC

 width=Tens of thousands of officers from across the country attended the funerals of the two slain police officers in New York City and the Clinton Police Department was represented.

Monday night at the Clinton City Council meeting, Officer Jason Yost and Sgt. Jerry Causer reflected on their time spent in New York City for the funerals of Officer Rafael Ramos and Officer Wenjian Liu. Officer Yost says there are many things about the funeral and procession that he'll always remember.

[audio:1715officersreflect1.mp3] [/audio]

Sgt. Causer attended both the funeral for Officer Ramos and the visitation for Officer Liu, and was impacted by the story of a NYC officer who was supposed to take the overtime shift for Officer Liu but came down sick.

[audio:1715officersreflect2.mp3] [/audio]

 width=The family and collegues of Officer Liu were exceptionally grateful for the outpouring of support from all the officers in attendance. Sgt. Causer felt as though the family of Officer Liu was very touched by how many people were in attendance of his visitation.

Cut 3: officersreflect3 :58 CUE: in a heartbeat

Chief Ben Lowers indicates a precinct in New York City contacted him via their Facebook page to show their appreciation and Officer Yost says on he had a NYC official ask him to snap a picture of his badge so they could keep track of where officers came from the past few weeks.

In the 70s, there were a couple officers killed in New York City in circumstances similar to what happened last month, and Officer Yost explains a city school was named after one of the officers killed. Officer Ramos began his law enforcement career in that school that was named after the slain police officer from the 70s.

2015 Hall of Fame Class Announced

>>Johnson, Martinez, Smoltz, Biggio Elected To Baseball Hall

(New York, NY) -- Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez, John Smoltz and Craig Biggio [[ BEE-jee-oh ]] are the newest members of the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Those four make up the 2015 class elected to Cooperstown, with Johnson, Martinez and Smoltz getting in on the first ballot. It's the first time four players have been elected in the same year since 1955. Johnson received 97.3-percent of the vote from the Baseball Writers' Association, Martinez got 91.1-percent, Smoltz 82.9-percent and Biggio 82.7-percent. Players need at least 75-percent of the vote for election. This year's class will be inducted on July 26th.

 width=Johnson was a five-time Cy Young Award winner who won 303 games over 22 seasons and ranks second on the all-time strikeout list behind only Nolan Ryan. Martinez was a three-time Cy Young winner with 219 career victories over 18 seasons. His .687 career winning percentage is the sixth-best in major league history. Smoltz won 213 games while also recording 154 saves in 21 seasons, all but one with the Atlanta Braves. Biggio got in on his third try after falling just two votes shy of election last year. He was a seven-time All-Star with 3,060 career hits in 20 seasons, all with the Houston Astros.

>>Former Cards McGwire, Smith, Walker Denied Hall Entry Again

(New York, NY) -- Former Cardinals Mark McGwire, Lee Smith and Larry Walker are still on the outside of the Hall of Fame looking in. All three again fell well short of the 75-percent of the vote needed for election. McGwire got just 10-percent, with Walker getting 11.8-percent and Smith 30.2-percent.

>>Tigers Ink Gorzelanny To One-Year Deal

(Detroit, MI) -- The Detroit Tigers are adding another arm to their roster. They have signed 32-year-old left-hander Tom Gorzelanny to a one-year contract. Gorzelanny spent the last two seasons with Milwaukee, but was limited to just 21 innings out of the bullpen last year. He has a career mark of 47-and-51 with a 4.27 ERA in parts of 10 seasons with the Pirates, Cubs, Nationals and Brewers. Gorzelanny is expected to fill the role of departed reliever Phil Coke.

Bears Interviewing GM Candidates

 width=>>Bears Interview Two GM Candidates

The Chicago Bears have interviewed Tennessee Titans vice president of player personnel Lake Dawson and Houston Texans director of pro personnel Brian Gaine for their general manager job.

The team says the interviews happened on Tuesday.

The Bears fired general manager Phil Emery and coach Marc Trestman after going 5-11 and missing the playoffs for the seventh time in eight years.

The Bears have interviewed Seattle Seahawks defensive coordinator Dan Quinn and Denver Broncos offensive coordinator Adam Gase for their coaching job.

>>Tannenbaum To Become Dolphins Executive

(Davie, FL) -- Mike Tannenbaum is set to become the new executive vice president of football operations for the Miami Dolphins. The move takes effect starting February 1st. Tannenbaum had been working as a consultant for the Fins since August as well as a coaching agent. NFL Network reports he will stay on his agent role while client and current Seattle Seahawks defensive coordinator Dan Quinn interviews for head coaching opportunities. Tannenbaum had spent 16 years with the New York Jets, including seven as a general manager. The Dolphins finished third in the AFC East this season at 8-and-8.

>>Oklahoma's Dorial Green-Beckham Headed To Draft

(Norman, OK) -- Without having played a down for Oklahoma, wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham's time for the Sooners is coming to an end. Head coach Bob Stoops says the embattled wideout is headed to the NFL Draft. Green-Beckham was dismissed from Missouri last April following a drug-related incident, which involved an 18-year-old woman being pushed down several stairs. He then transferred to the University of Oklahoma and had to sit out the 2014 season due to transfer restrictions. In two college seasons, he caught 87 passes for nearly 13-hundred yards and 17 touchdowns in 25 games for the Tigers.

>>Peterson Court Date Set For February 6th

(Minneapolis, MN) -- The NFL Players Association's lawsuit against the league on behalf of suspended Vikings running back Adrian Peterson is set to begin February 6th. Pro Football Talk reports Peterson and the NFLPA are hoping for a resolution by the time the new league year begins in March. The former NFL MVP is not up for reinstatement until April 15th. Last month, an appeals officer upheld NFL commissioner Roger Goodell's decision to ban Peterson for the remainder of the 2014 season. The suspension came after the running back pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor reckless assault charge for injuring his four-year-old son in May. Being reinstated earlier would help the Vikings trade or release Peterson, so he can potentially find a new team in 2015.

>>LAPD In Custody Of O.J. Simpson's 1968 Heisman Trophy

(Los Angeles, CA) -- LAPD officials say they have O.J. Simpson's 1968 Heisman Trophy in their hands. The trophy is USC's copy of the statue and was on display in the athletic department when it was stolen more than 20 years ago, the same year Simpson was arrested for murder. Detectives had gone to court seeking a search warrant for phone records including tracking information, for an unnamed person who they say recently called USC saying he bought the trophy from a friend and wanted to authenticate it.

Simpson sold his own Heisman Trophy for over 250-thousand dollars to help pay the 33-million dollar civil judgment against him for the murders of ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman.

Bulls Battle Jazz

 width=The Bulls battle the Jazz at the United Center tonight. Chicago ran its winning streak to three with a 114-105 victory over the Rockets on Monday. The Bulls also improved to 25-and-10 with the win. Tip-off is at 7:00.

Phoenix Suns 102, Milwaukee Bucks 96
Detroit Pistons 105, San Antonio Spurs 104

Blues Blast Coyotes; Blackhawks Blanked Despite 54 Shots on Goal

 width=>>Blues Blast Coyotes

(Glendale, AZ) -- David Backes scored four goals to lead the Blues to a 6-0 rout of the Coyotes at Gila River Arena. Brian Elliott made 23 saves for his second shutout of the season and 27th of his career. Paul Stastny [[ STAZ-nee ]] added a goal and an assist, while Jaden Schwartz also lit the lamp for St. Louis, which has won two in-a-row . T.J. Oshie posted three helpers in the victory. Mike Smith surrendered all six goals on 39 shots for the 'Yotes, who have lost two-of-three since a three-game winning streak.

>>Avs Goalie Stops 54 Shots in Shutout

Nathan MacKinnon scored and set up a goal by Maxime Talbot in the opening 1:17, Semyon Varlamov finished with 54 saves for his third shutout of the season and the Colorado Avalanche beat the Chicago Blackhawks 2-0 on Tuesday night.

Colorado was outshot by 30 but held on for its third win in four games behind Varlamov's 16th career shutout. The Avalanche improved to 7-3-2 in their last 12.

 width=Corey Crawford finished with 22 saves for the Blackhawks, who had a season high in shots and dominated the pace as the game progressed. However, Chicago was blanked for the third time this season.

New Jersey Devils 4, Buffalo Sabres 1
Philadelphia Flyers 2, Ottawa Senators 1 (SO)
Tampa Bay Lightning 4, Montreal Canadiens 2
Nashville Predators 3, Carolina Hurricanes 2
San Jose Sharks 4, Minnesota Wild 3 (OT)
Columbus Blue Jackets 4, Dallas Stars 2
St. Louis Blues 6, Arizona Coyotes 0
Detroit Red Wings 4, Edmonton Oilers 2
Vancouver Canucks 3, New York Islanders 2

Illini's Rice Out Indefinitely, Illini Host Maryland

>>Illini's Rice Out Indefinitely

Illinois coach John Groce says guard Rayvonte Rice is out indefinitely after fracturing his left hand in practice.

The 6-foot-4 senior suffered the injury during practice Monday.

If surgery is necessary, Rice could be sidelined for as long as six weeks, or until about Feb. 17. That period includes 11 games, including Wednesday's Big Ten home opener against No. 11 Maryland.

 width=Rice leads the Illini in scoring (17.2 points per game) and rebounding (6.9). He had 20 points of 7-of-8 shooting in Saturday's 77-61 loss at Ohio State.

Illinois (10-5) is off to an 0-2 start in conference play. Rice suffered a groin injury early in the Big Ten season last year.

>>Illinois Hosts #9 Maryland Tonight

(Champaign, IL) -- Illinois welcomes ninth-ranked Maryland to the State Farm Center tonight. The Fighting Illini are sill looking to break into the Big Ten win column, having lost to Michigan and Ohio State thus far. Illinois is 10-and-5 overall. The Terrapins are 14-and-1, having won seven in-a-row.

>>Villanova Blasts St. John's With Big Second Half

Darrun Hilliard scored 21 points and No. 8 Villanova downed No. 24 St. John's, 90-72, at a lively Madison Square Garden on Tuesday night.

The Big East Top-25 clash had a March feel with fans of both schools providing plenty of energy in the back-and-forth battle.

The Wildcats (14-1, 2-1 Big East) silenced the Red Storm supporters down the stretch, however, and recovered nicely from their first loss of the season.

D'Angelo Harrison led St. John's (11-4, 0-3) with 25 points, while Phil Greene IV netted 14 in the club's third straight loss.

NCAA Top-25 Men's Basketball ("USA Today" Rankings)
#1 Kentucky Wildcats 89, Ole Miss Rebels 86 (OT)
#16 Iowa State Cyclones 63, Oklahoma State Cowboys 61
#20 Ohio State Buckeyes 74, Minnesota Golden Gophers 72 (OT)
#25 Arkansas Razorbacks 79, Georgia Bulldogs 75

Rauner Weighs In On Comptroller Situation

Governor-elect Bruce Rauner has made his pick to succeed Judy Baar Topinka as Comptroller. Lincolnshire based executive Leslie Munger, a narrow loser in a state legislative race last November, has been tabbed to succeed the late Judy Baar Topinka. Rauner thinks her lack of political experience is the strength of her resume...

[audio:Raunercomp1.mp3] [/audio]

Rauner says there's proof she's not overly concerned about job security.

[audio:Raunercomp2.mp3] [/audio]

Governor Quinn's Budget Director Jerry Stermer is serving as Comptroller until Munger is sworn in Monday.

Treasurer Elect Frerichs Joins Chorus Wanting To Eliminate Comptroller

A memo from incoming state treasurer Mike Frerichs says he hopes to eliminate the comptroller's office in 2016. That doesn't fit the gameplane of Governor Elect Bruce Rauner, who wants Leslie Munger to serve four years.

Meanwhile House Speaker Mike Madigan has spoken out against past attempts to consolidate the Treasurer and Comptroller's offices.

Illinois Wine Trade Group Has New Director

A trade group meant to educate consumers about Illinois grapes and wine varieties has a new chief.

Reports indicate Jennifer Montgomery has been named the first full-time executive director of the 22-year-old Illinois Grape Growers and Vintners Association.

The Virginia native had held the same job at the Nebraska Winery and Grape Growers Association. Before that, she spent a decade as director of grassroots and political affairs at the Washington-based trade group WineAmerica.

The Illinois association says that as of 2012, 105 wineries statewide had sales of $39 million from more than 650,000 gallons of production. At that time, the association says the state's wine industry had contributed $692 million to the Illinois economy in terms of wages, tourism spending and taxes.

Rodney Davis Talks GOP Priorities

 width=Congressman Rodney Davis says jobs are high on the GOP agenda as the new Congress prepares to meet for its first session next week.

[audio:RodneyGOP11.mp3] [/audio]

Davis says with Republicans controlling both chambers of Congress, the economy will be the first order of business.

[audio:RodneyGOP21.mp3] [/audio]

Davis says the new Congress is willing to work with the White House.

[audio:RodneyGOP31.mp3] [/audio]

The Illinois Republican delivered his party's weekly address Saturday. Davis vowed to focus on legislation to create jobs and help small businesses grow. That includes a bill Davis sponsored that would offer incentives to businesses that hire veterans. The 114th Congress will gavel in on Tuesday. New members of the House and Senate will be sworn-in and the House is expected to re-elect Ohio Republican John Boehner [[ BAY-nur ]] as Speaker.

Rauner Selects Comptroller

Governor-elect Bruce Rauner has made his pick to succeed Judy Baar Topinka as Comptroller. He will appoint Leslie Geissler Munger of Lincolnshire to fill the vacancy that will develop January 12th when Quinn Administration Budget Director Jerry Stermer will see his short tenure as Comptroller come to a close. Like Rauner, Munger strongly favors “Judy’s Amendment,” which would merge the Comptroller’s and Treasurer’s offices. Munger says she isn't interested in a political career, only doing what is best for the state. 

University of Illinois Board Hopes To Lock In Tuition For Freshman

The University of Illinois Board of Trustees is considering a plan to prevent a bigger tuition bill for incoming freshmen from within the state.

The proposal that will be reviewed January 15th would keep tuition for incoming freshmen at the current rate. Out of state tuition would go up by two percent.

U of I officials hope the proposal can help middle class students who make too much money to qualify for financial aid, but make too little to pay for tuition on their own.

Tuition Holding Steady at University of Illinois

Tuition will hold the line at the state’s largest University.

The U of I says that incoming freshman will see no increase in tuition. The proposal will go before the school’s Board of Trustees for a final vote. T

he cost for year’s schooling is $12,036 a year in Urbana-Champaign, $10,584 in Chicago and $9,405 in Springfield.

Out of state students could see tuition rise by 2 percent.

High Profile Bloomington Trial Underway

Jury selection has started in the trial of a central Illinois man accused in the 2013 beating death of his girlfriend's toddler son.

The trial started Monday in Bloomington for 25-year-old Nicholas Compton of Colfax. He is charged with murder and other counts in the death of 3-year-old Robert Cramer in March 2013 in Normal. He has pleaded not guilty.

Compton's girlfriend, Danielle Fischer, also is charged in the case. She has pleaded not guilty and is next due in court Jan. 29.

Compton is accused of hitting the boy in the abdomen, causing tissue damage that led to a fatal seizure.

Compton has insisted the child was injured accidentally.

Local Man Recognized For Notifying Elderly Couple of House Fire

 width=Thanks to the efforts of a local citizen in late November, an elderly couple may have been spared from a house fire that could have been much worse than it was.

Picture right: Houston (left) shakes hands with Officer Yost

Monday night in a special presentation at the Clinton City Council meeting, Clinton Police Chief Ben Lowers recognized the efforts of Robert Houston. The Chief explains Houston noticed smoke coming from the couple's residence in the early morning hours Nov. 22, and persistently tried to get them notified of what was going on and get them to safety.

[audio:1615houstonheroics1.mp3] [/audio]

 width=The couple who is elderly, could not be at Monday night's presentation, but Chief Lowers passed along their appreciation of the efforts of Houston.

Because of Houston's efforts, the couple was spared from what could have been a major tragedy.

Picture Left: Chief Lowers (Center) discusses Houston's actions from Nov. 22

Notre Dame Edges UNC; Oklahoma Routes Texas

 width=>>Notre Dame Edges North Carolina

The top shooting team in the country missed eight shots in a row.

The ninth one fell, giving No. 13 Notre Dame its biggest win of the season.

Zach Auguste's bucket with 1:07 remaining lifted the Fighting Irish to a 71-70 win over No. 18 North Carolina on Monday, the program's first victory over the Tar Heels in almost 23 years.

Auguste led Notre Dame (15-1, 3-0 ACC) with 18 points, Pat Connaughton scored 16 and Demetrius Jackson had 15, including 12 in the first half when the Irish led by as many as 10.

Jerian Grant had eight points and eight assists for the Irish before fouling out late in the game.

Meeks and J.P. Tokoto scored 12 points each for the Tar Heels (11-4, 1-1), who trailed by as much as 11 in the second half.

>>#10 Texas Routed By #18 Oklahoma

(Austin, TX) -- Javan Felix was the only player in double figures with 13 points as 10th-ranked Texas lost 70-49 to 18th-ranked Oklahoma in Austin. Isaiah Taylor tallied nine points on 4-of-13 shooting for the Longhorns, who fell to 12-and-3 on the year and 1-and-1 in Big 12 play. UT travels to Oklahoma State on Saturday.

NCAA Top-25 Men's Basketball ("USA Today" Rankings)
#15 West Virginia Mountaineers 78, Texas Tech Red Raiders 67

>>Kentucky Remains Number-One In Coaches' Poll

(Undated) -- Kentucky is again on top of the latest "USA Today" Coaches' Poll. The 13-and-0 Wildcats received 31 of 32 first-place votes to beat out the 13-and-0 Duke Blue Devils, who are ranked second and got the other first-place vote. Virginia is third, followed by Wisconsin and Louisville. Arizona, Gonzaga, Villanova, Maryland and Texas round out the top-10. Washington, Colorado State and San Diego State all fell out of the rankings this week.

Sox Sign Bonifacio; Hall of Fame Inductees Announced Today

 width=>>White Sox Sign Emilio Bonifacio

(Chicago, IL) -- Utilityman Emilio Bonifacio [[ bone-ih-FAH-see-oh ]] is heading back to the city of Chicago. FOX Sports reports the White Sox and Bonifacio have agreed to a one-year, four-million-dollar contract, with a club option for the 2016 season. The 29-year-old hit .259 with three homers and 26 stolen bases in 110 games between the Cubs and Atlanta Braves last season.

>>Report: Shields Has 110-Million-Dollar Offer

(Undated) -- Free-agent pitcher James Shields apparently has a lucrative contract offer on the table, we just don't know from which team. FOX Sports reports an unnamed club has offered the 33-year-old right-hander a five-year, 110-million-dollar deal. According to the report, some league executives say that kind of contract would leave a lot of teams out of the running. Shields has thrown eight consecutive seasons of at least 200 innings. He went 14-and-8 with a 3.21 ERA last year with Kansas City, helping the Royals reach the World Series. Shields received a qualifying offer from KC in November, so the Royals would receive draft pick compensation from any team that signs him.

>>"Big Unit," Pedro Headline 2015 Hall Of Fame Eligibles

(Cooperstown, NY) -- The 2015 Class for the National Baseball Hall of Fame will be revealed today. Among the new players eligible this year are pitchers Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez and John Smoltz, along with outfielder Gary Sheffield and shortstop Nomar Garciaparra. Johnson was a five-time Cy Young winner who won 303 games over 22 seasons. Martinez won 219 games over 18 years, but his .687 winning-percentage is the sixth best in major league history. Smoltz had 213 wins and 154 saves in 21 seasons. Sheffield was a nine-time All-Star who hit .292 with 509 home runs in 22 seasons. Garciaparra was a six-time All-Star who hit .313 for his career and was the 1997 American League Rookie of the Year. Craig Biggio [[ BEE-jee -oh ]] is the top returning player on the ballot. The Houston Astros infielder/outfielder just missed the cut the last two years. Those with enough votes this time will be inducted into Cooperstown on July 26th.

Washington LB, Michigan State CB Declare for NFL Draft

>>Washington Linebacker Thompson Heading To NFL

(Seattle, WA) -- Washington Huskies two-way star Shaq Thompson is heading to the next level. Thompson will forgo his senior season at Washington and declare for the NFL Draft. He won the 2014 Paul Hornung Award for starring on both sides of the ball. Thompson scored four defensive touchdowns and rushed for 100 yards in both of his starts at running back.

 width=>>Michigan State CB Declaring For NFL Draft

Michigan State's Trae Waynes has declared for the 2015 NFL Draft.

The All-American cornerback registered three interceptions, eight pass break- ups and 46 tackles during his junior season.

Coach Mark Dantonio called Waynes a lock-down corner and an excellent press corner, who's often been isolated against our opponent's top wide receivers.

Waynes is considered a potential first-round pick.

Los Angeles, Missouri Battling Over NFL's Rams

 width=A battle is now seemingly underway for the St. Louis Rams. Rams owner Stan Kroenke [[ KRON-key ]] has announced he's partnered with a development group to build an 80-thousand seat stadium in Inglewood, California, just outside Los Angeles. That's led to new rumors that Kroenke will end his lease in St. Louis and move the Rams back to Los Angeles sooner rather than later. Missouri Governor Jay Nixon has appointed two business leaders that are set to unveil a proposal for a new stadium for the Rams in St. Louis. Nixon says he'll go to great lengths to keep the team in Missouri.

The Rams are said to be unhappy with their current lease at the Edward Jones Dome and can choose later this month to convert their lease to year-to-year. Talks between Kroenke and Missouri leaders over a new stadium have fallen apart in the past. For Los Angeles, the developer AEG continues to try and find a NFL team that could move to the City of Angels and play in a stadium AEG is proposing to build downtown. The Oakland Raiders and San Diego Chargers are said to also be unhappy with their stadium leases and are eyeing a possible move to L.A. in the not-too-distant future.

Blues, Blackhawks Back In Action Today

 width=>>Blues At Coyotes Tonight

(Glendale, AZ) -- The Blues wrap up their four-game road trip tonight against the Coyotes in Arizona. St. Louis blasted San Jose 7-2 on Saturday after opening the swing with a 4-3 loss at Anaheim on Friday. The Blues had lost six-of-seven before beating the Sharks. Arizona has won four of its last five.

>>Blackhawks Host Avs

(Chicago, IL) -- The Blackhawks welcome the Avalanche to the United Center tonight. Chicago is coming off Sunday's 5-4 overtime win over the Stars. The 'Hawks have won three of their last four overall. The puck drops at 7:30.


>>Blues' Oshie Named NHL's First Star

(New York, NY) -- Blues forward T.J. Oshie is the NHL's top player for last week. Oshie had a NHL-best five goals and tied for the league lead with seven points in four games to earn the First Star. Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin and Canadiens goalie Carey Price were the second and third stars, respectively.

San Jose Sharks 3, Winnipeg Jets 2

Bulls Run Past Rockets

 width=Pau Gasol poured in 27 points and pulled down 14 rebounds as the Bulls ran past the Rockets, 114-105, in Chicago. Jimmy Butler added 22 points for the Bulls, who outscored the Rockets 31-16 in the fourth quarter to earn their third straight win. Derrick Rose had 19 points and nine assists in the win. Josh Smith finished with 21 points for Houston, which has dropped two-of-three. James Harden scored 20 while Dwight Howard had 12 points and 14 boards in the loss.

Philadelphia 76ers 95, Cleveland Cavaliers 92
Dallas Mavericks 96, Brooklyn Nets 88 (OT)
Charlotte Hornets 104, Boston Celtics 95
Denver Nuggets 110, Minnesota Timberwolves 101
Memphis Grizzlies 105, New York Knicks 83
Washington Wizards 92, New Orleans Pelicans 85

>>Cavs, Thunder, Knicks Make Three-Way Deal

(Undated) -- The Cavaliers are adding depth at the wing and shaking up the roster. Cleveland added Iman Shumpert and J.R. Smith from the Knicks in a three-team trade Monday night. The Cavs send Dion Waiters to the Thunder, while New York gets Alex Kirk and Lou Amundson from Cleveland, along with Lance Thomas from Oklahoma City. The Knicks are expected to waive Kirk and Amundson, but the status of Lance Thomas is currently unknown. Cleveland also gets a protected first-round pick from OKC.

DeWitt County Sheriff's Holiday Report

December 29, 2014 – January 4, 2015

Average Daily Jail Population: 44
Summons Served: 4
Warrant Arrests: 2

Kenneth Delaney, 23, Lincoln was issued a Citation for Speeding 75 MPH in a 55 MPH Zone. Delaney was issued a promise to comply and was released.

Sandra Kellerstrass, 59, Morton was issued a Citation for Failure to Reduce Speed/ Accident. Kellerstrass was issued a promise to comply and was released.

Jeremy Frank, 30, Clinton was arrested on a DeWitt County Warrant charging him with Failure to Appear. Frank posted the necessary bond and was release.

Josh Dubson, 31, Bloomington was arrested on a DeWitt County Warrant charging him with Criminal Damage Property <$300. Dubson posted the necessary bond and was released.

Ronald Pollett, 61, Lincoln was issued a Citation for Speeding 70 MPH in a 50 MPH Zone. Pollett was issued a promise to comply and was released.

Amanda Headrick, 28, Normal was issued a Citation for Speeding 79 MPH in a 55 MPH Zone. Headrick was issued a promise to comply and was released.

Daryl Starkey, 37, Normal was issued a Citation for Speeding 76 MPH in a 55 MPH Zone. Starkey was issued a promise to comply and was released.







Weather Service Issues Wind Chill Warning, Advisory thru Thursday


The National Weather Service has issued wind chill advisories and warnings across Central Illinois from now thru Thursday.

The wind chill warning is for counties along and north of Interstate 72 thru noon on Thursday. The wind chill advisory is for counties between Interstate 72 and Interstate 70 thru noon Thursday.

Bitter cold temperatures and extreme wind chills will occur tonight through Thursday as an intense Arctic high pressure area moves into the plains. Temperatures tonight will drop to below zero over most of the area.

However, northwest winds will become gusty as the high pressure area moves into the plains. This will create wind chills of -15 to -30 across central and southeast Illinois for late tonight into tomorrow morning.

The Weather Service says temperatures will be even colder tomorrow night, with some areas reaching to 10 to 15 below zero. The high pressure will be closer as well, which will bring lighter winds. However, wind chills will still be in the -15 to -30 range across the area through Thursday morning.

Agency Directors Stepping Down

Agency Directors at the state are most likely on the way out with the new Rauner Administration – and one isn’t waiting to move on.

Julie Hamos, Director of the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services says she will step down on January 9th.

Hamos started in 2010 and oversaw budget cuts to Medicaid and what she called “limited resources and bureaucratic hurdles”.

She was a former state lawmaker and oversaw $18 billion in Medicaid spending.

Ebola Top Search In Illinois in 2014

So what were Illinoisans up to when they "Googled it"? The search engine reveals in its list of rising search topics, that there was a big surge in Illinois users looking for details on the Ebola virus.

That spike came despite the face that no one in the state was ever diagnosed with the disease.

The World Cup was the second-most googled term in Illinois.

Apple's iPhone six came in at number three.

2014 Positive Year for Lincoln

 width=As the City of Lincoln looks toward the new year, it's Mayor looks back on the accomplishments of 2014.

The past year has seen several changes to city government including new three new aldermen joining the Lincoln City Council. Mayor Keith Snyder appointed the new council members due to three resignations by former aldermen with other commitments. He says he enjoys working with committed citizens working for the betterment of the community.

[audio:123014lincoln20141.mp3] [/audio]

Lincoln has also seen major improvements in economic development in 2014. Mayor Snyder explains the city engaged a firm to help attract new businesses to the community. The group called "Retail Strategies" helps to provide data and relationships to area wishing to upgrade their business communities.

[audio:123014lincoln20142.mp3] [/audio]

 width=2014 also saw a new merger between three local organizations develop in Lincoln. Main Street Lincoln, the Lincoln Logan County Chamber of Commerce and Logan County Tourism Bureau has become the Logan County Alliance. Snyder notes this merge will create a greater synergy between all three groups and allow for better communication.

[audio:123014lincoln20143.mp3] [/audio]

Snyder mentions the new Board for the Logan County Alliance has formed and will officially kick-off in January.

Economic Development Leaders Taking Interest In New DeWitt County Board

Economic Development leaders of DeWitt County are taking an interest in the new County Board, and more specifically, the committee system.

The County Board was reorganized with a new Board Chair appointed earlier this month and as a part of the reorganiztion, the former committee structure that was done away with, has been restored. Ruth Stauffer is the Executive Director of the DeWitt County Development Council. She plans to be in attendance of the all of the Committee meetings now for a variety of reasons.

[audio:123014ecenomicmeets1.mp3] [/audio]

The financial picture of the County is currently not looking very positive and Stauffer hopes the County Board will realize part of economic recovery is building a business base. She is optimistic the new Board will support economic development.

[audio:123014ecenomicmeets2.mp3] [/audio]

Not only is the poor financial standing of the county making things difficult for recruiting businesses, but the poor standing of the state is as well. However, Stauffer remains optimistic the right people are now in place to turn things around.

[audio:123014ecenomicmeets3.mp3] [/audio]

Stauffer continues to stress economic development is not something where you'll see results overnight. She feels they are in store for a very prosperous 2015 and hopes to see the fruits of their labor begin to show up for the community to see.

Blue Ridge BOE Seeking To Update Strategic Plan

As we enter 2015, the Blue Ridge Board of Education is going to invest time into update the district's strategic plan.

According to Superintendent Susan Wilson, it was last looked at about 18 months ago and the BOE recently decided they needed to go back and take a look at where that stands. She explains they plan to re-engage the public later this year.

[audio:1515blueridgeplans1.mp3] [/audio]

As a part of the strategic plan, two primary focal points have been curriculum and technology. The math curriculum has been revamped and Wilson continues to be excited about how that is going. This year, she says this year's focus is English Language Arts.

[audio:1515blueridgeplans2.mp3] [/audio]

Wilson notes, the Board in December went item by item on the current plan and found they have either completed their goals or they are well on their way to completion, thus the need to look at updating it once again.

Local EMA Director Says Brace For Extreme Cold

 width=Following a Tuesday snow, temperatures in central Illinois are expected to be bitter cold.

DeWitt County Emergency Management Agency Director, Teresa Barnett says after the Tuesday snow, temperatures are going to be dangerously cold, as wind chills will be consistently around zero, and below.

[audio:1515albertacold1.mp3] [/audio]

Kids return to school Tuesday and Barnett advises parents bundle their kids up to keep them warm, whether they are walking to school or taking the bus.

[audio:1515albertacold2.mp3] [/audio]

Residents are likely to be back to work this week, and Barnett encourages preparing your vehicle with items such as water, small snacks, blankets and items that can be used as traction such as kittie litter or sand. She also notes getting your vehicle checked out to make sure it is in good condition is a good idea.

[audio:1515albertacold3.mp3] [/audio]

During an extended cold-spell, like what we are expecting, Barnett indicates the power going is a definite possibility. She says if power should go out, they will activate their warming centers across the County.

[audio:1515albertacold4.mp3] [/audio]

Barnett encourages residents to sign up for the CodeRed alert system. She explains it will notify residents of power outages and where warming centers are in the event they are needed. She adds those come through phone calls, text messages or even emailing them.

To sign up for the CodeRed system, visit the County's website, www.dewittcountyill.com or visit the City of Clinton's website, clintonillinois.com.

Illinois Extends Marijuana Experiment to Children

A new law expanding the Illinois medical marijuana program to children is opening a market for an unproven strain of cannabis called Charlotte's Web and a dark green, weed-fragrant oil made from it.

Some parents of children with epilepsy say the oil eases their children's seizures. The marijuana strain is cultivated by a Colorado company to be heavy in a compound called CBD and low in THC, the psychoactive ingredient that makes people high.

Charlotte's Web hasn't been tested in clinical trials for effectiveness or safety, but it will be legal in Illinois under a law that took effect Thursday.

For now, mainstream medicine regards Charlotte's Web as a folk remedy deserving of caution, and it's unclear whether Illinois doctors will sign off on their young patients using it.

Sangamon County Sees Slight Increase in Homicides

Sangamon County has seen a slight increase in homicides in 2014.

Reports say seven homicides were investigated in the past year, compared to five in 2013. Police made arrests in five of the 2014 homicide cases.

Chief Deputy Joe Roesch of the Sangamon County Sheriff's Office says investigators spent weeks working on the first homicide. Three people were eventually arrested and charged with first-degree murder in the Jan. 31 shooting death of 24-year-old Justin Sharp.

Springfield police also arrested three people in connection with a March shooting death and two people in connection with a May stabbing death.

Roesch says the relatively low number of local homicides makes it difficult to determine any trends.

Fourteen homicides were investigated in 2012.

Urbana Father Charged With Providing Guns to Son

An Illinois father has been charged with delivering a gun to his son and contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

The rural Urbana man was arraigned Tuesday after guns intended for hunting were found in his teenage son's pickup truck at St. Joseph-Ogden High School earlier this month. State's Attorney Julia Rietz says the 16-year-old has been charged in juvenile court with possession of a firearm without a valid firearm owner's identification card.

Rietz tells reporters that school officials received an anonymous tip from a concerned parent who claimed the teen was bragging about having a gun in his car.

Rietz says an assault rifle, two shotguns and seven boxes of ammunition were found in the unlocked truck.

A message seeking comment was left Wednesday afternoon with the attorney representing the father.

Lincoln Funeral Train Car Project Nears Completion

An Elgin conductor is on track to reproduce the train that carried the body of President Abraham Lincoln to his Springfield funeral.

The reproduction of the Lincoln Funeral Train Car is being built from scratch in Dave Kloke's workshop to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the assassination and funeral proceedings. Supporters of the project plan to begin recreating the two-week train trip from Washington, D.C. to the capital of Illinois in about four months.

The Historic Railroad Equipment Association, a nonprofit set up to finance the project, is currently trying to secure permits and work with the National Park Service to display the train near Union Station or the Washington Mall.

The group will transport the train on a truck along the original funeral train route.

The train is set to appear in Springfield on May 2.

Lincoln Home to Be Draped For Funeral Recreation

The National Park Service plans to drape Abraham Lincoln's home in black mourning bunting the way it was 150 years ago during the 16th president's funeral

Reports say the Lincoln Home Historic Site has other events planned for the weekend of May 1-3, when his funeral will be recreated in his hometown.

Dale Phillips is site superintendent. He says the Lincoln home's door and windows will be draped as it was immediately after Lincoln was gunned down April 15, 1865.

The decoration became more elaborate between his death and his May 4 funeral. But Phillips says adding the same greenery and other items could damage the home.

Hours at the home will be extended May 1 and 2.

'LincolnSelfie' Contest Promotes Abe's, Museum's Birthdays

What if the Great Emancipator had taken a selfie?

The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum wants people to take a stab at answering that question with a "LincolnSelfie Contest."

Each contestant should shoot a photo of him- or herself in one or more of the following ways: dressed as the 16th president or with an impersonator; at a Lincoln site or museum; or holding a Lincoln statue, doll, photo or artwork.

Previous selfies are OK but digital manipulation is prohibited.

Judges will choose three finalists Feb. 2. They will be posted on the museum's Facebook page. The number of "likes" determines the winner on Feb. 12.

The winner will receive a gift-shop water bottle, a t-shirt, library and museum guide, and a brand-name "selfie stick."

North Pekin Man Dies in Dirt Biking Accident

A 25-year-old North Pekin man has died in a dirt biking accident in a farm field earlier this week.

Dewayne Appleyard died Monday after riding motorized bikes with another person in South Pekin. Capt. Craig Catton of the Tazewell County Sheriff's Department says Appleyard lost control of his bike when it struck the wheel of a mobile irrigation spray system and sent him flying into the system's tower.

Reports say he was airlifted to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Peoria County Coroner Johnna Ingersoll said Appleyard suffered from apparent head injuries.

Father Sentenced for Killing Infant Son in 2012

A 31-year-old Peoria Heights man has been sentenced to 38 years in prison for shaking or striking his six-week-old son to death in 2012.

Reports indicate that a Peoria County judge sentenced Zachary Knowles Friday.

Under a plea agreement, Knowles pleaded guilty to a single count of first-degree murder this year. Under the deal, he faced up to 40 years in prison rather than up to 100 years.

The father told authorities two years ago that Asa Knowles became unresponsive after he was bouncing his son to calm him down. And in court, the defense portrayed Knowles as a good person who simply made a "serious, mortal mistake."

But prosecutors disputed that portrayal. They say autopsy results showed the injuries, including a fractured skull, weren't accidental.

Peoria Man Charged With Making Child Pornography

A 24-year-old Peoria man faces charges of producing child pornography.

Reports indicate that Seth A. Morris was charged Monday in Peoria's U.S. District Court.

A filed complaint says the investigation began when a middle school-aged girl told authorities that Morris allegedly sent her a sexually explicit photo involving a minor on a social networking site.

Investigators allegedly found several sexually explicit chats between the tipster and Morris, including a photo.

Authorities say police were able to trace the photos to Morris' phone. He allegedly admitted involvement in the online chats and using his phone to take sexually explicit photos involving a 3-year-old boy.

He allegedly admitted sending the girl a photo in the hope of getting similar pictures.

A listed number for Morris couldn't be located Monday.

Police: Fake $100 Bills Surface In Central Illinois

Police in central Illinois have announced instances in which high-quality counterfeit $100 bills have surfaced.

Reports state that Lincoln police said this week there are two locations in the city where $100 bills were passed. The money appeared real even after clerks used counterfeit marking pens to check them.

Lincoln police urge businesses to follow appropriate procedures to identify money.

Joe Roesch is chief deputy of the Sangamon County Sheriff's Department. He says between Dec. 15 and 17, a man went into businesses on Springfield's north side and asked for change for $100 bills. In one case, the man convinced a customer to break the bill for him when the store didn't have change.

The U.S. Secret Service is responsible for investigating counterfeit money.

Ebola Drew Most Google Interest In Illinois Last Year

So what were Illinoisans up to when they "Googled it"? The search engine reveals in its list of rising search topics, that there was a big surge in Illinois users looking for details on the Ebola virus. That spike came despite the face that no one in the state was ever diagnosed with the disease. The World Cup was the second-most googled term in Illinois. Apple's iPhone six came in at number three.

High Flu Activity In Illinois And Still Time To Get Your Flu Shot



[audio:fluactivity.mp3] [/audio]


Illinois Manufacturers' Chief Says Tax Reform Needed In Illinois

If tax reform leads to stability, Illinois businesses are ready to talk with lawmakers.
Illinois leaders have floated the idea of business tax reforms, possibly adding new taxes or slightly higher taxes, in exchange for a more modern tax code. Mark Denzler with the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association, says as long a job creators get some stability from Springfield, they’re willing to talk.

[audio:DENZLERTAX1.MP3] [/audio]

Denzler says businesses don’t want more taxes. But he says both the manufacturing sector and service sector could support some tax changes.

New Law Aims To Make Life A Little Easier For Illinois Drivers



[audio:sticker.mp3] [/audio]


Lady Maroons Hold Off The Panters

As heard on The Big 1520 AM/ 92.3 FM and streamed online at dewittdailynews.com, The Clinton Lady Maroons defeated the Pana Lady Panters Saturday afternoon 60-50.

For the Lady Maroons (7-9),Haley Ginger lead the team with 16 points. She was not alone with high scores, as Peyton Bieber scored 12 points and Jessica Scott and Megan Tool both had 10 points.

For the Lady Panthers (4-11), Reghan Vaughn lead the team with 14 points, with Lexie Siegert and Erin Holthaus behind her, both sharing 12 points.

Tune into WHOW Thursday as the Lady Maroons take on Tri-Valley at 7:30 PM.

DeWitt County Museum Plans Busy 2015 During Winter Closure

With the start of 2015, the staff of the DeWitt County Museum will soon go to work on needed projects.

The Museum will close for the winter beginning this weekend and there will be a full plate of preparations for the Spring. Museum Manager Larry Buss explains their work really begins once the doors close. He notes self-discipline plays into their tight schedule to get everything ready for the re-opening in April.

[audio:1215museumclose1.mp3] [/audio]

A new display involving the Illinois Central Railroad will be displayed beginning in the Spring. Buss says various areas of the house will have new items on view when the museum opens it doors.

[audio:1215museumclose2.mp3] [/audio]

New Museum Director Joey Woolridge is working on a World War I exhibit for the spring. She's also excited about a new event involving C.H. Moore. The event will look at life during the Victorian Era of history and spotlight various cultural aspects of the time.

[audio:1215museumclose3.mp3] [/audio]

Another event for the DeWitt County Museum will be an art show held on the grounds in June according to Woolridge.

Clinton Chamber Plans Busy Calendar for 2015

2015 will provide a busy calendar of events for the Clinton Area Chamber of Commerce.

The first portion of the year will see a loaded schedule for the Chamber and Clinton community. Executive Director Marian Brisard notes January through April features events such as their Annual Chamber Dinner and the local Ag Banquet. Spring Break at the High School will allow time for the annual Business Expo as well.

[audio:1215chamber20151.mp3] [/audio]

Other events including the Golf Outing and Barn Quilt Tours are planned for the summer months. Brisard says once summer's over, plans for the Clinton Haunted House will begin once again and hopes the support shown for this year's event will continue into 2015. The final major event for the Chamber's 2015 will be the annual Christmas Parade.

[audio:1215chamber20152.mp3] [/audio]

All scheduled events will be posted on the Chamber's 2015 Calendar of Events once all dates are finalized.

Thursday's Scoreboard

Chicago Bulls 106, Denver Nuggets 101
Sacramento Kings 110, Minnesota Timberwolves 107

Washington Capitals 3, Chicago Blackhawks 2
Los Angeles Kings 3, Vancouver Canucks 2

NCAA Football (College Football Playoff Rankings)
#18 Wisconsin Badgers 34, #19 Auburn Tigers 31 (OT)
(Outback Bowl at Tampa, FL)

#8 Michigan State Spartans 42, #5 Baylor Bears 41
(Cotton Bowl Classic at Arlington, TX)

#16 Missouri Tigers 33, #25 Minnesota Golden Gophers 17
(Citrus Bowl at Orlando, FL)

#2 Oregon Ducks 59, #3 Florida State Seminoles 20
(National Semifinal - Rose Bowl at Pasadena, FL)

#4 Ohio State Buckeyes 42, #1 Alabama Crimson Tide 35
(National Semifinal - Sugar Bowl at New Orleans, LA)

NCAA Top-25 Men's Basketball ("USA Today" Rankings)
Evansville Purple Aces 52, #23 Northern Iowa Panthers 49


Billikens, Tigers, Illini In Action Tomorrow

Saint Louis, Missouri and Illinois are all in action tomorrow.  The Billikens battle Rhode Island to get the Atlantic 10 slate underway.  Mizzou faces Lipscomb at home.  The Fighting Illini are at Ohio State. 

Mizzou Tops Minnesota

Maty Mauk threw for 97 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions as Missouri topped Minnesota 33-17 in the Citrus Bowl.  Mauk also rushed for a TD for the Tigers, who end the season 11-and-3.  Bud Sasser hauled in seven catches for 68 yards and both scores in the win. 

Illinois At Ohio State

The Fighting Illini are at Ohio State tomorrow to play the Buckeyes.  Tipoff from Value City Arena is at 2:30 p.m. on ESPN2.  Illinois is 10-and-4 and 0-and-1 in the Big Ten.  The Buckeyes are 11-and-3 and 0-and-1. 

Brouwer Nets Late Goal, Caps Win Winter Classic

Troy Brouwer lit the lamp with just 12.9 seconds left to play and the Washington Capitals beat the Chicago Blackhawks 3-2 in the 2015 Winter Classic from Nationals Park. Brouwer scored on a power-play after a controversial hooking call on Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews [[ tayves ]]. Eric Fehr and Alex Ovechkin also scored for Washington. Braden Holtby stopped 33 shots for the Caps, who improved to 2-and-0 in the New Year's Day event. Corey Crawford allowed three goals on 35 shots for Chicago. Patrick Sharp and Brandon Saad [[ sod ]] netted goals as the Blackhawks saw their two-game win streak come to an end.

Bulls Edge Nuggets

Jimmy Butler led the way with 26 points, eight rebounds and eight assists as the Bulls edged the Nuggets 106-101 at the United Center. Derrick Rose chipped in 17 on 7-of-25 shooting and Pau Gasol added 17 points, nine blocks and nine boards. Joakim Noah cleaned the glass with 11 rebounds as the Bulls improved to 23-and-10. Wilson Chandler led the Nuggets with 22 points and Kenneth Faried recorded an 18-point, 19-rebound double-double. Ty Lawson added 20 points and seven assists for Denver, which fell to 13-and-20.

Chatman, E Illinois rally to beat Tennessee Tech

Chris Olivier scored a career-high 22 points and Dylan Chatman hit a pair of free throws with 2 seconds left to help Eastern Illinois rally to beat Tennessee Tech 61-59 in the Ohio Valley opener for both teams on Thursday.

Reggie Smith hit a 3 with 2:13 left to give Eastern Illinois (7-6) a 55-52 lead. Charles Jackson's free throws with 17 seconds to play capped a 7-0 run by Tennessee Tech (8-6) and made it 59-55.

Smith hit another 3-pointer with 11 seconds remaining and, after a Tennessee Tech turnover, Olivier made the first of two free throws, tying the game at 59.

Chatman was fouled after grabbing the offensive rebound on the second free throw and made the clinching free throws.

Josiah Moore missed a desperation heave as time expired.

Smith and LeTrell Viser scored 11 apiece for the Panthers.

Torrance Rowe led Tennessee Tech with 16 points.

Presidential Library Bid in Trouble

Bids for another presidential library in the state are perhaps in jeopardy. A few reports say there’s trouble for the two bids in Chicago for President Barack Obama's library. The Barack Obama Foundation, a group screening the bids, says they have concerns about the pair of proposals. The first from the University of Chicago, the problem there is the University can’t guarantee can secure the land for where it’s proposing to build the library. The second bid, from the University of Illinois at Chicago is troublesome because of the current change in leadership at the University. The Illinois bids are competing against Honolulu and New York.

Presidential Library Bid in Trouble

Bids for another presidential library in the state are perhaps in jeopardy. A few reports say there’s trouble for the two bids in Chicago for President Barack Obama's library. The Barack Obama Foundation, a group screening the bids, says they have concerns about the pair of proposals. The first from the University of Chicago, the problem there is the University can’t guarantee they can secure the land for where it’s proposing to build the library. The second bid, from the University of Illinois at Chicago is troublesome because of the current change in leadership at the University. The Illinois bids are competing against Honolulu and New York.

Knife-Wielding Sushi Chef Foils Restaurant Robbery

Authorities say an attempted robbery at a Champaign sushi restaurant unraveled when the suspect concluded the pellet gun he was holding was no match for the large, shiny and really sharp knife the restaurant's chef was holding.

The attempted robbery happened Tuesday night at the Kamakura Japanese restaurant. 23-year-old Clayton Dial of Ogden allegedly pulled out his weapon and demanded money from the hostess. Sushi chef Tetsuji Miwa overheard the exchange and grabbed his knife - the sight of which prompted the suspect to run away.

Miwa and two co-workers chased Dial and captured him outside. They held him - without using the knife - until police arrived. On Thursday, Dial remained in the county jail.

Illinois Has No Explanation For Delay in Marijuana Permits

Gov. Pat Quinn's administration concedes it missed its end-of-the-year target for deciding which businesses will receive permits to begin the state's medical marijuana program.

The lag will force cultivation center owners to break ground for new construction during the coldest winter months. The delay pushes back the harvest of the first cannabis crop. Patients will have to wait, perhaps until summer, before they can legally use the drug.

Illinois Department of Public Health spokeswoman Melaney Arnold says the state is conducting "a comprehensive review" of applications to ensure only the most qualified are approved. She says an announcement will come when the review is finished.

Democratic state Rep. Lou Lang, who sponsored the state's medical marijuana legislation, predicts permits will be awarded before Gov.-elect Bruce Rauner's inauguration Jan. 12.

Local Nutriton Expert Encourages Well-Planned New Year's Resolutions

The New Year is a great time for setting goals when it comes to eating better.

Most New Year's resolutions tend to fall by the wayside after a couple months into the year. U of I Extension Nutrition Educator Caitlin Huth explains most of these goals tend to be too difficult for the average person. An acronym called SMART can also help those wanting to lose weight according to Huth. She adds simpler, specific goals will be easier to achieve for those wanting to be healthier.

[audio:12152015health1.mp3] [/audio]

Most goals should have a solid definition and the ability to be reached. Huth notes goals are easy to neglect when they become difficult to follow. Keeping resolutions realistic is an easy way to follow through with want you want to achieve.

[audio:12152015health2.mp3] [/audio]

Weight loss goals need to be healthy and realistic according to Huth. Time-based goals are also essential to productive results. Measuring by time allows one to evaluate how a particular process worked for you. Huth says making changes to one's original plans is nothing to be ashamed of.

[audio:12152015health3.mp3] [/audio]

Huth stresses having a plan is essential to getting healthier. She says having something to strive for will keep you going through the process.


Boston Celtics 106, Sacramento Kings 84
Indiana Pacers 106, Miami Heat 95
Los Angeles Clippers 99, New York Knicks 78
Milwaukee Bucks 96, Cleveland Cavaliers 80
San Antonio Spurs 95, New Orleans Pelicans 93 (OT)
Houston Rockets 102, Charlotte Hornets 83
Oklahoma City Thunder 137, Phoenix Suns 134 (OT)

New York Islanders 5, Winnipeg Jets 2
Tampa Bay Lightning 5, Buffalo Sabres 1
New York Rangers 5, Florida Panthers 2
Toronto Maple Leafs 4, Boston Bruins 3 (SO)
Pittsburgh Penguins 2, Carolina Hurricanes 1
Columbus Blue Jackets 3, Minnesota Wild 1
Detroit Red Wings 3, New Jersey Devils 1
San Jose Sharks 3, Anaheim Ducks 0
Dallas Stars 6, Arizona Coyotes 0
Colorado Avalanche 4, Philadelphia Flyers 3 (OT)
Calgary Flames 4, Edmonton Oilers 3 (OT)

NCAA Football (College Football Playoff Rankings)
#6 TCU Horned Frogs 42, #9 Ole Miss Rebels 3 (Peach Bowl at Atlanta, GA)
#20 Boise State Broncos 38, #10 Arizona Wildcats 30 (Fiesta Bowl at Glendale, AZ)
#12 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets 49, #7 Mississippi State Bulldogs 34 (Orange Bowl at Miami, FL)

NCAA Top-25 Men's Basketball ("USA Today" Rankings)
#2 Duke Blue Devils 84, Wofford Terriers 55
#4 Wisconsin Badgers 89, Penn State Nittany Lions 72
#5 Villanova Wildcats 67, Butler Bulldogs 55
#9 Iowa State Cyclones 83, Mississippi Valley State Delta Devils 33
#16 Wichita State Shockers 66, Drake Bulldogs 58
Seton Hall Pirates 78, #17 St. John's Red Storm 67
#21 Oklahoma Sooners 61, George Mason Patriots 43
#24 Colorado State Rams 71, Boise State Broncos 65
#25 San Diego State Aztecs 53, Air Force Falcons 49

Illinois At Ohio State Saturday

Illinois will try to bounce back from a loss in its Big Ten opener when it travels to Columbus to play 18th-ranked Ohio State on Saturday.  The Fighting Illini lost 73-65 in overtime at Michigan on Tuesday to fall to 10-and-4.  The Buckeyes are 11-and-3 after losing to Iowa on Tuesday.

Cubs Sign Denorfia

The Cubs are adding depth to their outfield.  FoxSports.com reports the Cubs have agreed to a one-year deal with veteran Chris Denorfia, pending a physical.  Denorfia hit .230 with three homers and 21 RBI in 121 games with San Diego and Seattle last season. 

Bulls Continue Homestand Tonight Against Nuggets

The Bulls continue their five-game homestand tonight against Denver at the United Center.  Chicago is coming off a 96-82 loss to Brooklyn on Tuesday.  That snapped a seven-game winning streak and dropped the Bulls to 22-and-10.  Denver is 13-and-19. 

Blackhawks Clash With Caps In Winter Classic Today

The Blackhawks clash with the Capitals in the NHL's annual Winter Classic game today at Nationals Park in DC.  The 'Hawks previously hosted the Winter Classic at Wrigley Field in 2009.  Chicago has won two in-a-row to improve to 25-10-and-2. 

Missouri State tops Southern Illinois, 53-50

Marcus Marshall and Dorian Williams combined to score 22 points as Missouri State nursed a shrinking 11-point first-half lead into a 53-50 win over Illinois State in the Missouri Valley Conference opener for both schools Wednesday night.

Loomis Gerring scored on a jumper in the paint barely 90 seconds into the game to give Missouri State a lead it did not relinquish. Marshall's 3-pointer with a second left in the half pushed the margin to 11 points, 26-15.

The Bears (7-6, 1-0) pushed the lead to as many as 16 points twice in the second half. The Salukis (7-7, 0-1) rallied but got no closer than three points down the stretch.

Marshall finished with 12 points and Williams added 10 more as Missouri State shot 40.4 percent from the field (19 of 47) while the defense checked Illinois State field goal shooting to 33.3 percent on 12 of 36 attempts.

Indiana State Edges Illinois State 63-61

Khristian Smith scored the game-winner with 5.8 seconds left and Indiana State held on to beat Illinois State 63-61 in the Missouri Valley Conference opener for both teams Wednesday.

Illinois State came back from an 11-point deficit at the 7:42 mark when Tony Wills scored to tie it at 61 with 34.4 seconds left. Smith answered by splitting two defenders and scoring a 12-foot turnaround jumper in the lane. The Redbirds then got the ball to Wills underneath the basket, but his shot was blocked at the buzzer to seal it for the Sycamores.

Tre' Bennett scored 15 points, and Justin Gant had 10 to lead Indiana State (5-8, 1-0), which shot 62 percent overall in the second half.

Wills had 16 points, MiKyle McIntosh added 11 points and Paris Lee had six steals for Illinois State (8-5, 0-1).

Eavesdropping Legislation Is A Go

The state's latest version of an Eavesdropping Law is now on the books after a previous version was tossed out by the courts. The new law boosts penalties for people recording private conversations without getting permission first. Now, someone who records a phone conversation without permission could face a felony and time behind bars. Rumors have circulated that the measure made it illegal to record police officers while they're on duty. In reality, people can now record police officers because they don't have a reasonable expectation of privacy.

Top 5 Stories from 2014 (1-5)

Yesterday on Regional Radio News, we started unveiling the top 10 stories from Clinton and DeWitt County this last year, starting with ten and finishing with six. Today we'll countdown from five to one the top stories of 2014.

The results are based off statistics compiled through DeWittDailyNews.com. The stories as presented have been edited from their original versions.

#5 - Spouse of DeWitt County Official Charged With Drug Crimes (Oct. 21)

The spouse of a DeWitt County Office holder was charged with a pair of Class-A Misdemeanor drug crimes in late October.

Task Force Six investigated Circuit Clerk Pam Barnes' husband, 62-year old Jeff Barnes, who was charged with possession of 10-30 grams of cannabis and also the possession of the plant, both Class A misdemeanors.

A Class misdemeanor is punishable of up to a year in jail.

A special prosecutor, Thomas J. Brown from the Illinois State's Attorneys Appelate Prosecutors Office has been assigned to the case.

UPDATED: Barnes is set to appear January 8.

#4 - Clinton Elementary Principal Resigns (Oct. 1)

The principal of the new Clinton Elementary school resigned amid an impending investigation by DCFS in early October.

The Clinton School District announced October 1, Clinton Elementary School principal Gary Gullone resigned his position effective immediately.

Gullone was on administrative leave pending the outcome of a DCFS investigation. He was a part of the Clinton district for 33 years and had previously served as principal of Lincoln Elementary school prior to his role as principal of Clinton Elementary school.

Mary Diener is now the acting principal, she was serving as assistant principal to Gullone.

Clinton Schools Superintendent Dr. Jeff Holmes would not make any statements on Gullone's resignation.

DCFS had no comment on the case.

#3- Single Car Accident Claims Life of Clinton Man (May 21)

DeWitt County Coroner, Randy Rice and the DeWitt County Sherriff’s Dept. is investigating a single car accident that resulted in one fatality.

20-year old Erick M. Briseno of Clinton was traveling west on DeWitt Road when he lost control of the vehicle. The vehicle rolled and 2 other occupants were ejected. The 2 ejected were transported to local hospitals.

Briseno was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident May 20.

#2- DeWitt County Leader Dies In Farm Accident (June 26)

Tragedy struck the DeWitt County community mid-summer when a local leader tragically passed away in a work related accident.

54-year old Tom Pruser was reported missing at 6:15 AM the morning of June 26 and was found pinned beneath a utility tractor in Heyworth at 6:45 AM that same morning at Tate and Lyle in Heyworth. No obvious signs of life were visible when he was found by the Heyworth Fire Department and Heyworth Emergency Medical Services. Pruser was pronounced dead at 7:38 AM.

Pruser had been performing maintenance on the property at Tate and Lyle in Heyworth where he was the manager. Employees indicated to McLean County Coroner officials they had last seen Pruser Wednesday at the grain elevator.

Pruser was a member of the Clinton School Board of Education and also sat on the DeWitt County Board.

#1- Clinton Schools Leader Reacts To Death of Student (Sept. 8)

In the early fall tragedy struck the community again as a Clinton High School student took his own life.

The head of the Clinton School district says the death of 17-year old Evan Workman "is a tragedy above any proportion I could have thought".

The Clinton community learned in the late evening [of September 6] of the death of Workman and Superintendent Dr. Jeff Holmes says when he was first informed by Principal Jerry Wayne of the news he was left speechless and devastated.


Upon learning of the passing, Wayne opened up the high school for students to come and gather to remember and share their stories. Dr. Holmes says Wayne has always preached making the high school a family, and he applauds his efforts over the weekend to bring together the students and staff who make up that family.


To remember Workman, Wayne encouraged his students to write or draw things to remember Evan. Those pieces were put together in a scrap book and given to his parents, Randy and Tammy Workman of Clinton.

Over 25 counselors were on hand at the school to talk with students.

2015 will see increased payment to Illinois pension funds

The new year will see an increase in the amount Illinois pays into the state's five publicly-funded pension systems.

Illinois' auditor general on Wednesday released a report by the state actuary showing a more than $680 million increase in pension payments in 2015 to $7.5 billion.

The report doesn't explain the increase. However, it noted three of the five pension systems lowered the estimated rate of return they expect from investments.

Pension systems get their money through employee contributions, state contributions and investment income. When investment income lags, higher state contributions are made.

Illinois lawmakers last fall increased employee contributions and reduced benefits such as cost-of-living adjustments to close a $111 billion pension deficit. The Illinois Supreme Court will decide whether the action is constitutional.

Former Illinois Rep. Rosemary Mulligan Dies

The brother of former state lawmaker Rosemary Mulligan says she has died after her health suffered in recent months.

Stephen Granzyk says the 73-year-old Republican died Tuesday, months after moving into a retirement community in the Chicago suburb of Des Plaines.

Mulligan represented the Northwest suburbs in the Illinois House from 1993 to 2013. She was considered a social moderate with expertise in the state's human services budget and the disabled.

House Republican Leader Jim Durkin called Mulligan "a fierce advocate of women's health issues and protector of our most vulnerable citizens."

Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn said in a statement that Mulligan was "never afraid to reach across the aisle to get the job done."

Mulligan is survived by two sons in addition to her brother. Services are pending.

New Legislation Helps Disabled Veterans Become and Remain Homeowners

Illinois veterans who return home from the battlefield with disabilities are getting a big thank you from the State of Illinois that offers far more than gratitude. Legislation signed by Governor Quinn makes them and their spouses eligible for more property tax exemptions. Disabled veterans will see an increased homestead exemption to $100,000 from $70,000. In some cases donors have provided homes for disabled vets but the returning vets struggled with property taxes. 

Will Cheap Oil Kill Fracking in Illinois

Did Illinois miss its window for fracking?

It was high oil prices that had companies finding profits in the shale and oil sand fields across this country, but the price of oil has plummeted in recent months. Mark Denzler with the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association says as long as oil doesn’t see another huge drop, there could still some interest in fracking in southern Illinois.

[audio:Denzler1.MP3] [/audio]

Oil was in the $60 a barrel range before the new year.
If Illinois misses out, Denzler says there has to be a recognition that a two year delay by Gov. Pat Quinn’s office may be to blame.

Year One of Concealed Carry Skips Doomsday Scenarios

Fears that the arrival of concealed carry legislation would restore a 19th Century Wild West atmosphere to Illinois have been unfounded. No major problems have been reported with the law. Roughly 90,000 people across the state have been approved to travel with a gun in public. Illinois was the last holdout state without a concealed carry law. Illinois finally relented after a court ordered the state to adopt such a plan.


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