Local News

DeWitt County Sheriff's Weekend Report

Jail Population:

Paper Services: 1

Warrants: 1

Steven Martin, 21, Clinton was arrested on a DeWitt County Warrant charging him with Leaving the Scene/ FTA. Martin posted the necessary bond and was released.

Lance Simon, 29, Muncie, IN was issued Citations for Driving Under Influence Alcohol, Operating Vehicle Without Evidence or Registration, Driving While License Suspended, Operating Uninsured Vehicle and Failure to Reduce Speed/ Accident. Simon unable to post the necessary bond remains lodged in the DeWitt County Jail.

Dylan Holmes, 37, Clinton was issued a Citation for Speeding 72 MPH in a 55 MPH Zone. Holmes was issued a Promise to Comply and was released.

Gregory Hougham, 58, Heyworth was issued a Citation for Speeding 79 MPH in a 55 MPH Zone. Hougham was issued a Promise to Comply and was released.

Tyler King, 21, Decatur was issued a Citation for Speeding 71 MPH in a 55 MPH Zone. King was issued a Promise to Comply and was released.

Brittin Haury, 29, Florissant, MO was issued a Citation for Speeding 76 MPH in a 55 MPH Zone. Haury was issued a Promise to Comply and was released.

Montarius Howell, 18, Decatur was issued a Citation for Speeding 74 MPH in a 55 MPH Zone. Howell was issued a Promise to Comply and was released.

Fabian Sustayta, 27, Chicago was issued a Citation for Speeding 72 MPH in a 55 MPH Zone. Sustayta was issued a Promise to Comply and was released.

Paula Langdon, 43, Wayne was issued a Citation for Speeding 71 MPH in a 55 MPH Zone. Langdon was issued a Promise to Comply and was released.

Brett Jesse, 27, Decatur was issued a Citation for Operating Uninsured Vehicle. Jesse was issued a Notice to Appear and was released.

Donatas Kupsys, 31, Decatur was issued a Citation for Speeding 78 MPH in a 55 MPH Zone. Kupsys was issued a Promise to Comply and was released.

Mark Sohns, 53, Mahomet was issued a Citation for Speeding 73 MPH in a 55 MPH Zone. Sohns was issued a Promise to Comply and was released.

Catherine Alarie, 44, Downs was issued a Citation for Speeding 79 MPH in a 55 MPH Zone. Alarie was issued a Promise to Comply and was released.

Gary Jackson, 58, St. Paul, MN was issued a Citation for Speeding 63 MPH in a 45 MPH Zone. Jackson was issued a Promise to Comply and was released.





Legislation Making Prescription Opioids Noncrushable Gains Steam

Legislation designed to cut into prescription opioid abuse is making progress. House Bill 2743 requires such pills be made with ADP-abuse deterrent properties.

Dr. Dennis Rademacher, a family physician and addiction medicine specialist at Springfield Clinic says that's important because it would prevent the prescription drugs from being turned into a powder, which creates a whole new set of often deadly problems.

[audio:3311561817-powderbites.mp3] [/audio]

Overdose deaths due to prescription opioids has quadrupled nationally over the past decade. A number of co-sponsors have been added to the legislation since it passed through the Human Services Committee.

Next State Budget Will Be More Difficult

Lawmakers are on a two week spring break but they were able to get one big task completed before heading home.

They passed a fix to the states current budget, setting up funding for some critical programs before money started to run out before the end the fiscal year. Steve Brown, spokesman for House Speaker Mike Madigan says that the work that lies ahead might be much more difficult.

[audio:3311561927-BROWN1.MP3] [/audio]

The budget passed with a mix of Republican and Democratic votes, the same will have to happen for a budget dealing with the next fiscal year.

Next State Budget Will Be More Difficult

Lawmakers are on a two week spring break but they were able to get one big task completed before heading home.

They passed a fix to the states current budget, setting up funding for some critical programs before money started to run out before the end the fiscal year. Steve Brown, spokesman for House Speaker Mike Madigan says that the work that lies ahead might be much more difficult.

[audio:3311561927-BROWN1.MP3] [/audio]

The budget passed with a mix of Republican and Democratic votes, the same will have to happen for a budget dealing with the next fiscal year.

Rauner Promoting Ambitious Criminal Justice Reform Plan

A prison reform commission formed by Governor Bruce Rauner has been assigned one tough task.

Rauner wants them to craft ways to cut the state's overcrowded inmate population and he's not thinking small.

[audio:3311562014-Raunercorrections.mp3] [/audio]

Illinois' current prison population of about 48,000 would drop to nearly 36,000 by 2025. If Rauner and the commission are successful, the prison system would still be overcrowded because it was designed for 32,000 inmates.

Clinton High School Takes Home 1st Place At Argenta-Oreana Fishing Tournament

 width=Around 80 high school fishing squads converged on Clinton Lake this past weekend to take part in the the Argenta-Oreana Bomber Invitational Bass Tournament.

CHS Coach Jay Peterson indicates two of his students, Bryce Reeves and Kaleb Leach took home several honors. The duo competed all day Saturday in some difficult weather conditions.

[audio:3311562132-33115clintonfish1.mp3] [/audio]

Peterson indicates the fishing program in Illinois has been around for seven years now and Clinton High School has enjoyed a great deal of success. He notes they only participate in a handful of events but they have won their sectionals two of the six years of the program's existence.

[audio:3311562135-33115clintonfish2.mp3] [/audio]

Reeves and Leach took first place with six fish weighing 19 pounds and three ounces.

Fourth place went to Dakota McMillen and Jacob Forbes of Cerro Gordo High School. Their six fish totaled ten pounds and five ounces.

Peterson says once the kids return from Spring Break, they will begin their preparation for Sectionals in May. He says they have eight students on the team.

School Board Candidates Address Future Funding

 width=Despite having a new governor in Springfield, school districts in Illinois continue to face uncertaintity in their budgeting.

Cuts once again appear to be on the horizon and Clinton Board of Education candidates recently uesd a "Meet the Candidates" forum to address the issue. Mike Walker says how the money is spent will come down to the new Superintendent, Kurt Nettles. Walker says it is his job to direct the board on how the money should be spent.

[audio:3311562113-33115budgettalk1.mp3] [/audio]

Chris Hammer feels the amount of students per teacher are in a classroom would be his first area of investigation. He says while cutting teachers may not be popular, it is one way to trim the budget.

[audio:3311562116-33115budgettalk2.mp3] [/audio]

According to incumbent Russell Long, there is some good news. While Senate Bill 1 is getting a lot of attention, he notes there is legislation that would incorporate aspects of Vision 20/20, a reform to the education system led by educators in Illinois.

[audio:3311562119-33115budgettalk3.mp3] [/audio]

Evan Severson says cuts would have to come first and then the discussion of raising taxes. He says whatever is done needs to be done with the community in mind and keeping the community informed.

[audio:3311562122-33115budgettalk4.mp3] [/audio]

Incumbent Board member Nancy Stokowski says cuts through attrition have been going on for many years in the district. She says cuts to vocational is not an option because of the amount of students that benefit from them.

[audio:3311562126-33115budgettalk5.mp3] [/audio]

Mitchi Tucker says prior to current Superintendent Dr. Jeff Holmes' tenure, Clinton was well staffed with an award winning ratio of students to teachers. She feels the district must find a way to maintain it's programs in place.

[audio:3311562130-33115budgettalk6.mp3] [/audio]

Each candidate had two minutes to give an answer.

The election is April 7.

Hear the entire candidates forum below:

[audio:3251515949-32415MeettheCandidatesForumSeg1.mp3] Segment 1 [/audio]

[audio:3251515531-32415MeettheCandidatesForumSeg.mp3] Segment 2 [/audio]

Jimmy Walker Moves Up To No. 10 In World Rankings

 width=Jimmy Walker cruised to a 4-shot victory over Jordan Spieth at the Valero Texas Open on Sunday and that saw Walker break into the top-10 and up to No. 10 in the world rankings.

Walker, who now has five career victories on the PGA Tour, all of which have come over the last two seasons, moved up three spots from 13 to 10.

Rory McIlroy remained in control of the world's top spot and he was again followed by Henrik Stenson and Bubba Watson at two and three, respectively.

With his runner-up finish last week, Spieth jumped two slots to No. 4, which dropped both Jason Day and Adam Scott down one each to five and six. Dustin Johnson also rose a pair from nine to seven and Sergio Garcia held firm at eight.

Jim Furyk fell two spots two No. 9 and Walker rounded out the top-10. With Walker's ascension, Justin Rose, Rickie Fowler and Martin Kaymer all fell a spot. They are now Nos. 11-13.

Matt Kuchar, Patrick Reed and Hideki Matsuyama each stayed the same at Nos. 14-16, while Billy Horschel and Victor Dubuisson swapped spots, with Horschel up to 17 and Dubuisson down to 18. Brooks Koepka and J.B. Holmes rounded out the top-20 once again at 19 and 20.

NCAA Basketball Notes

 width=>>Chris Mullins Expected To Be Next St. John's Head Coach

In hopes of recapturing its past glory in men's basketball, St. John's is turning to one of its all-time greats.

The New York Daily News reported Monday that Hall of Famer Chris Mullin has agreed to become the Red Storm's next head coach, with an official announcement expected to come on Wednesday.

Mullin won three Big East Player of the Year awards as a St. John's forward from 1981-85 and still holds the school's all-time scoring record with 2,240 points. The Brooklyn native went on to have an illustrious 16-year playing career in the NBA, during which he was named to five All-Star teams and won a gold medal in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics as a member of the United States' famed "Dream Team".

The 51-year-old has never coached at any level, however, though Mullin sports significant experience as an NBA executive. He served as the vice president of basketball operations for the Golden State Warriors from 2004-09 and has worked as an advisor for the Sacramento Kings since 2013.

Mullin will replace Steve Lavin, who mutually parted ways with the university last week. The Red Storm went 92-72 in five seasons under Lavin, reaching the NCAA Tournament twice along with a pair of NIT appearances.

 width=>>Louisville's Harrell, Rozier To Enter NBA Draft

Louisville coach Rick Pitino said Monday that Montrezl Harrell and Terry Rozier, the team's top two scorers this past season, will both leave school early to enter the NBA Draft.

"They're both leaving, yes -- 100 percent. And it's the right thing to do for both of them," Pitino told reporters after he was asked about the players.

His comments came one day after Louisville lost to Michigan State in overtime in the East Region final of the NCAA Tournament, coming one win short of a third Final Four berth in the last four seasons.

Harrell, a 6-foot-8 junior forward, is widely projected to be a first-round pick after averaging 15.7 points, 9.2 rebounds and 1.2 blocks this past season.

Rozier, a 6-foot-1 sophomore guard, led the Cardinals in scoring at 17.1 points per game and averaged three assists, 5.6 rebounds and two steals.

Pitino said he did not share the media's perceived doubts about Rozier's NBA prospects.

The Cardinals are also losing senior swingman Wayne Blackshear, who made the Sweet 16 in all four years at Louisville.

 width=>>Texas C Turner To Enter NBA Draft

Texas freshman Myles Turner will apparently enter the NBA Draft after one season in college.

Turner posted a thank you tweet to his account Monday, writing "it's been real," and his father told ESPN that he will declare for the draft but hasn't submitted the paperwork yet.

A university spokesman said he couldn't confirm the news at this point.

Turner, a 6-foot-11 forward, averaged 10.1 points, 6.5 rebounds and 2.6 blocks in 34 games for the Longhorns, who lost their NCAA Tournament opener to Butler.

Texas is looking for a new coach after parting ways with Rick Barnes over the weekend after 17 seasons.

>>Cincinnati's Cronin Declared Ready To Return To Sideline

After sitting out much of the season with a non-life threatening vascular condition, Cincinnati men's basketball coach Mick Cronin has been cleared to return to work, the school announced Monday.

Cronin coached the first nine games of the season before a mid-December checkup for lingering headaches showed he had a condition called arterial dissection. He was ruled out for the remainder of the season on Jan. 2.

While he did not attend games, Cronin stayed active with his team, assisting the coaching staff with game planning and recruiting.

"Obviously, I'm excited to be coaching again, but most importantly, I'm grateful to be 100 percent healthy," Cronin said in a statement.

In Cronin's absence, Cincinnati was led by Larry Davis, who coached Furman for nine seasons. The Bearcats finished 23-11 and won their opening game of the NCAA Tournament against Purdue before falling to No. 1 Kentucky in the round of 32.

Oklahoma RB Suspended Indefinitely

 width=Oklahoma running back Keith Ford has been suspended indefinitely for violating academic and team rules, Sooners coach Bob Stoops confirmed Monday.

Ford rushed for 392 yards and five touchdowns on 71 carries as a sophomore last season and caught 11 passes for 140 yards and a score. He appeared in eight of 13 games, making starts against Tulsa, Tennessee and Kansas.

He has rushed for 526 yards and six touchdowns in 18 total games for Oklahoma.

Blackhawks Win; Blues Lose

 width=>>Blackhawks Take Down Kings

Scott Darling turned aside 31 shots and four different players lit the lamp as Chicago claimed a 4-1 victory over Los Angeles at United Center.

Bryan Bickell, Duncan Keith, Niklas Hjalmarsson and Marian Hossa scored for the Blackhawks, who have won two in a row and finished the month of March with a 9-3-1 record.

Jake Muzzin supplied the lone offense for the Kings, who failed to make up ground on Calgary -- which won at Dallas -- in the Pacific Division. In addition, L.A. remained two points back of idle Winnipeg for the final wild- card spot in the West.

Jonathan Quick took the loss despite making 36 saves in the defending champs' first and only regular-season appearance in Chicago since winning Game 7 of the Western Conference finals last June 1.

>>Canucks Dominate Blues


The Vancouver Canucks had been stumbling of late. A matchup with the slumping St. Louis Blues couldn't have come at a better time.

Eddie Lack made 23 saves and the Canucks got goals from four different players in a 4-1 victory over the Blues on Monday night.

Vancouver's win was the sixth straight over St. Louis and snapped a two-game losing streak. The Canucks hold a slim lead on second place in the Pacific Division.

Brian Elliott gave up three goals on 21 shots for the Blues, who have dropped five of six and squandered a chance to clinch a playoff spot.

St. Louis may have lost more than just a game. Leading scorer Vladimir Tarasenko left in the third period with an apparent leg injury. The Blues were already playing without forward Alexander Steen (lower-body injury).

Coach Ken Hitchcock had no update on Tarasenko, who suffered the injury when he was tripped by Vancouver's Kevin Bieksa. He will be evaluated on Tuesday.

NHL Scoreboard
Tampa Bay Lightning 5, Montreal Canadians 3
Calgary Flames 5, Dallas Stars 3
Edmonton Oilers 4, Colorado Avalanche 1
Buffalo Sabres 4, Arizona Coyotes 1

Rose Progresses To Contact In Practice

 width=Bulls star Derrick Rose took contact in practice Monday for the first time since undergoing right knee surgery late last month.

The Bulls hope to get the former MVP point guard back for a playoff run. He had a minor procedure on Feb. 27 and was expected to miss four to six weeks.

Rose sat out most of last season because of a torn meniscus in his right knee. He also tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in the 2012 playoff opener and missed the entire following season.

>>Blazers Clinch Playoff Berth In Rout

The Portland Trail Blazers clinched a second straight playoff berth emphatically Monday night.

Damian Lillard had 19 points and seven assists as the Blazers routed the Phoenix Suns 109-86. LaMarcus Aldridge posted 17 points and seven rebounds, while Nicolas Batum and Arron Afflalo netted 16 points apiece for Portland, which has won four straight on the heels of a five-game losing streak.

The Blazers' magic number to clinch the Northwest Division got reduced to three.

Gerald Green and T.J. Warren poured in 13 points apiece off the bench to lead the Suns, who have dropped four consecutive contests.

NBA Scoreboard
Boston Celtics 116, Charlotte Bobcats 104
LA Lakers 113, Philadelphia 76ers 111 (OT)
Atlanta Hawks 101, Milwaukee Bucks 88
Toronto Raptors 99, Houston Rockets 96
Memphis Grizzlies 97, Sacramento Kings 83
Utah Jazz 104, Minnesota Timberwolves 84

Cubs, Cards, Baseball Notes

 width=>>Bryant, Baez and Russell Sent To Minor League Camp

Third baseman Kris Bryant has been reassigned to the Chicago Cubs' minor league camp despite hitting .425 in spring training with nine homers and 15 RBIs in 40 at-bats.

If Bryant spends 12 or more days in the minor leagues, Chicago would delay him from becoming eligible for free agency until after the 2021 season.

Bryant was slowed defensively in the middle of camp by right shoulder soreness.

Preparing for its first season under manager Joe Maddon, the Cubs also optioned second baseman Javy Baez to Triple-A Iowa and reassigned shortstop Addison Russell were assigned to minor league camp.

>>Cardinals' Garcia To Start Season on DL

 width=St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Jaime Garcia will start the season on the 15-day disabled list because of continuing left shoulder issues.

The DL move is retroactive to March 27.

Garcia had surgery for a torn labrum in May 2013 and had his 2014 campaign cut short in June before undergoing thoracic outlet surgery for his left shoulder a month later.

The 28-year-old lefty threw a simulated game last week and reported shoulder fatigue. He pitched in three games earlier this spring, allowing four runs on 10 hits in 9 1/3 innings.

Garcia has made just 16 starts the last two seasons because of injuries. He was 3-1 with a 4.12 ERA in seven outings last year.

The Cardinals purchased the contract of pitcher Carlos Villanueva, who signed a minor league deal with the team in February. The right-hander was 5-7 with a 4.64 ERA in 42 games, five of which were starts, last season for the Chicago Cubs.

>>Mets Bolster Bullpen With Pair of Lefties

The New York Mets acquired left- handed reliever Jerry Blevins from Washington in exchange for outfielder Matt den Dekker on Monday and left- handed pitcher Alex Torres from the San Diego Padres in exchange for minor league right-hander Cory Mazzoni and a player to be named later.

Torres, 27, went 2-1 with a 3.33 ERA in 70 games with San Diego in 2014, striking out 51 and walking 33 in 54 innings.


After Josh Edgin underwent Tommy John surgery near the start of spring training, the Mets were in need of left-handed pitching out of their bullpen. Earlier on Monday, they acquired lefty Alex Torres from San Diego for pitching prospect Cory Mazzoni.

Blevins, 31, was beginning his second season with Washington. In 2014, he owned a 4.87 ERA and 66 strikeouts in 57 1/3 innings and limited opposing lefties to a .160 average.

In eight seasons with Washington and Oakland, Blevins has made 345 appearances totaling 324 1/3 innings. He has 305 strikeouts and a 3.58 ERA and has held left-handed batters to a .212 average.

Torres is 1-0 with a 2.25 ERA in eight spring games with San Diego this year, striking out seven and walking three in eight innings.

The native of Valencia, Venezuela, is 7-4 with a 2.55 ERA (34 earned runs in 120 innings) and 122 strikeouts in 113 major league games with the Rays and Padres.

Mazzoni, 25, went 7-2 with a 4.68 ERA in 14 starts for four different minor league teams last year.

Den Dekker was competing for a spot on the Mets' bench but was expected to be beat out by veteran outfielders Kirk Nieuwenhuis and John Mayberry Jr. The 27- year-old has played all three outfield spots in 80 career games with the Mets and owns a .238 batting average and .325 on-base percentage.

Illini Take Series With Wild Series Finale Over Michigan State; Move Up In Latest Poll

No. 15 Illinois won its fourth straight series and first in Big Ten play with a 13-9 victory over Michigan State on Monday. The Illini racked up 14 hits and scored in five innings, including a five-run second and three runs in the seventh and ninth. UI improved to 20-6-1, marking the fastest Illinois team to reach 20 wins since 1989 (25 games).

 width=Starter John Kravetz improved to 2-0 on the season and 21-7 in his career, moving him alone into eighth place on the school's all-time wins list. He turned in 6.1 innings.

Illinois jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the second. Four straight singles started the stanza, as sophomore Ryne Roper drove home Casey Fletcher for the first run.

With the bases loaded, senior Will Krug drew a bases-loaded walk that pushed across junior Jason Goldstein and featured a wild pitch on ball four, allowing senior David Kerian to score from second. Redshirt-sophomore Adam Walton capped off the rally with a two-run single, plating Ryne Roper and Krug.

MSU scored twice in the sixth, but UI responded with three runs in the seventh. The Spartans scored seven runs over the next two innings to get back within one at 10-9.

Illinois added three insurance runs in the top of the ninth to provide a four-run cushion. McInerney scored on a wild pitch during Krug's at-bat and Goldstein came home on another wild pitch when Krug walked. Four of Illinois' 13 runs scored on wild pitches. Walton tacked on the final run with an RBI single that drove in Kerian.

No. 15 Illinois will square off with Missouri on Tuesday night at 6:30 p.m. in Sauget, Illinois, at GCS Ballpark, home of the Gateway Grizzlies of the Frontier League.

Before the game, Illinois moved up two spots to No. 15 in the D1 Baseball poll, marking the highest Illini ranking since finishing No. 11 in the 1962 Collegiate Baseball poll.

Bill Pushes For Possible Municipal Bankruptcies In Illinois

Some Illinois cities want the option to file for bankruptcy to help deal with pension debt, other financial issues.

They've found an ally in a Republican lawmaker who wants them follow in the footsteps of Detroit and other cities in restructuring debt.

Opponents, however, say there are less drastic, intermediate steps than the "dangerous" path of bankruptcy.

The legislation is sponsored by state Sen. Ron Sandack. The Republican from Downers Grove says the measure gives municipalities facing threats to a loss of state money the option to file for Chapter 9 bankruptcy.

Gov. Bruce Rauner has proposed cutting in half the share of state income tax local governments receive.

Experts say municipal bankruptcies are rare. The City of Detroit filed the largest local government filing in history two years ago.

Moody's Says Task Force on Government Units Is Credit Positive

The Local Government and Unfunded Mandates Task Force recently created by Illinois’ Governor is a credit positive act, according to Moody’s Investor Service. Illinois News Network has more:

[audio:3301561640-MOODYSCREDITPOSITIVE.mp3] [/audio]

Moody’s says credit positive does not impact the actual credit rating, which Illinois remains at A3/negative outlook.

DeWitt County Sheriff's Deputies To Carry Naloxone

Sheriff’s Deputies will soon carry the life-saving drug Naloxone with them as they patrol rural areas of DeWitt county.

According to DeWitt County Sheriff Jered Shofner, the drug, also known as Narcan, is used to temporarily reverse the effects of opiates like heroin. Quick administration of the drug can bring a person back from the brink of death during an overdose. He adds deputies are sometimes the first to arrive on the scene of an overdose.

[audio:3301562011-33015narcan1.mp3] [/audio]

Narcan is a medication that is simple to administer and can truly save lives. The Sheriff says the entire country is seeing an increase in heroin overdose deaths, and the biggest increase has been seen in rural areas. He notes heroin used to be a drug associated with the innercities but that has is no longer the case.

[audio:3301562015-33015narcan2.mp3] [/audio]

Carrying Narcan is just a single aspect to the battle of narcotics in the community. According to Sheriff Shofner, they continue to rely on tough enforcement and cooperation with the drug task force.

[audio:3301562019-33015narcan3.mp3] [/audio]

The Sheriff says the drug is easy to administer and is proud his department was one of the first to have it on their person. He notes it will quickly become readily available to the public.

The DeWitt County Ambulance Service worked together with the Sheriff to implement to the program.

City Council Candidates Talk Hospital Future

Candidates seeking re-election and election to the Clinton City Council addressed the city-owned Dr. John Warner Hospital at a recent "Meet The Candidates" forum at Clinton High School last week.

The DJWH last week decided they would turn the management of the hospital over to Alliant Management services, however, candidate Mike Bray says no matter what the Board does, they need to make sure the hospital stays in the community.

[audio:3301561952-33015hospitalcand1.mp3] [/audio]

Incumbent Commissioner Nan Crang calls the hospital "the backbone of the community". She has not discussed the situation at the hospital with the Board but rather the employees. She also notes it's only been in the last few months and feels it is way over her head.

[audio:3301561957-33015hospitalcand2.mp3] [/audio]

Challenger for Mayor, Roger Cyrulik believes as long as the DJWH keeps the designation "critical access hospital", it will always be in the community. He also believes aligning with a bigger hospital would be the same as hiring a management firm.

[audio:3301562001-33015hospitalcand3.mp3] [/audio]

Incumbent Jerry Milton disputes the label "band-aid station" the city owned hospital sometimes receives. He sees both the positives and negatives to having a management firm run the hospital.

[audio:3301562003-33015hospitalcand4.mp3] [/audio]

Clinton Mayor Carolyn Peters is in favor of the hospital remaining independent and knows firsthand its service to the community. She also expressed her support for the hiring of a management firm and points out the issues with having an independent CEO.

[audio:3301562008-33015hospitalcand5.mp3] [/audio]

Currently only five of seven seats on the Hospital board are filled. The Mayor is generall charged with bringing appointments forward for Council approval.

The City election is April 7.

Hear the Meet the Candidates Forum in it's entirety below:

[audio:3251515949-32415MeettheCandidatesForumSeg1.mp3] [/audio]

[audio:3251515531-32415MeettheCandidatesForumSeg.mp3] [/audio]

Hamlin Holds Off Keselowski For Martinsville Win

Denny Hamlin ended a 31-race winless streak in the Sprint Cup Series after beating Brad Keselowski in a fierce battle for the lead in the closing laps of Sunday's STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway.

Hamlin, who hails from nearby Chesterfield, Virginia, passed Matt Kenseth, his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate, for the lead with 28 laps to go. Keselowski, the winner of last weekend's race in Fontana, California, challenged Hamlin for the top spot during the last 20 laps of this 500-lap race.

 width=Coming out of the final turn of the last lap, Keselowski nudged Hamlin from behind in an attempt to take the lead. Hamlin wiggled slightly but held on to it, beating Keselowski to the finish line by just 0.186 seconds for his 25th career Sprint Cup win but his first since last May at Talladega.

Hamlin, the driver of the No. 11 Toyota for JGR, led a total of 91 laps. He grabbed the top spot for the first time on lap 148, but shortly after during a round of pit stops under caution, he was penalized for a tire that got away from his pit stall. The penalty dropped him far back in the field.

Keselowski's second-place run marked his best finish at Martinsville.

It's also the fifth time Hamlin has won a Cup race at Martinsville, which is the oldest and smallest track -- 0.526 miles in length -- in NASCAR's premier series.

Kenseth ended up finishing fourth, while David Ragan, substituting for the injured Kyle Busch in JGR's No. 18 car, placed fifth. Martin Truex Jr. and Danica Patrick were sixth and seventh, respectively.

Jeff Gordon and Jamie McMurray completed the top-10.

Jimmy Walker Cruises To San Antonio Win

 width=Jimmy Walker cruised to a 4-stroke win at the Texas Open on Sunday.

Walker closed with a 2-under 70 to finish at 11-under-par 277. This was his second win this season on the PGA Tour, and fifth of his tour career. He became the first multiple winner on tour this season.

The Texan, who lives 30 minutes from the AT&T Oaks Course at TPC San Antonio, stretched his lead to seven shots with seven holes to go. Jordan Spieth made a late rally, but Walker matched Spieth's birdies at 16 and 17 to pick up the win.

Walker snapped a streak of 54-hole leaders failing to win. The last nine 54- hole leaders on the PGA Tour had failed to hang on for the victory.

Reigning FedExCup champion Billy Horschel posted a 1-under 71 to grab third place at 4-under-par 284. Daniel Summerhays (69) and Chesson Hadley (70) shared fourth place at minus-3.

Dustin Johnson closed with his second straight 68 to match the low round of the day. He tied for sixth at 2-under 286 with Ryan Palmer, who also shot 68 on Sunday.

Duke, Michigan State Complete Final Four Field

 width=>>Duke Holds Off Gonzaga To Reach Final Four

Duke overcame a poor shooting performance and another quiet showing from Jahlil Okafor on Sunday to win the South Region and reach its 12th Final Four under Mike Krzyzewski.

Matt Jones and Justise Winslow each scored 16 points for the top-seeded Blue Devils, who pulled away late and denied Gonzaga its first Final Four berth in a 66-52 victory that was closer than the final score indicated.

Duke (33-4) shot an uncharacteristic 37.5 percent from the floor but only turned it over three times and held Gonzaga without a a field goal over the final 6 1/2 minutes.

Tyus Jones chipped in with 15 points and six assists, while Okafor was held to single digits for the second straight game. The National Player of the Year candidate was held to six points in a win over Utah on Friday and only scored nine with eight rebounds on Sunday.

Despite Okafor's struggles, the Blue Devils are headed to Indianapolis to face East Region champ Michigan State on Saturday. The Spartans upended Louisville on Sunday to set up a head coaching duel between Tom Izzo and Krzyzewski.

Kyle Wiltjer paced second-seeded Gonzaga (35-3) with 16 points, and the senior backcourt of Kevin Pangos and Gary Bell Jr. totaled nine on 4-of-14 shooting.

 width=>>Michigan State Outlasts Fellow Cindarella, Louisville, To Reach Final Four

Tom Izzo and Michigan State are heading back to the Final Four, this time as a No. 7 seed.

The unheralded Spartans survived Louisville 76-70 in overtime on Sunday to cut down the nets at the Carrier Dome as champions of the East Region.

Mangok Mathiang had a chance to put Louisville ahead with 4.9 seconds left in regulation, but the 48.0 percent free throw shooter only made the first of his two free throws. The Spartans never trailed in overtime and are heading to Indianapolis next weekend to face South Region champ Duke.

Michigan State (27-11) faced an eight-point deficit at halftime before locking down defensively. Louisville was limited to 18.8 percent (6-of-32) shooting after the break to fall short of reaching its third Final Four in four years.

Instead the Spartans are regional champs for the seventh time under Izzo, who won the chess match against Hall-of-Fame coach Rick Pitino thanks in part to a deep bench that outscored its counterparts 26-5.

Travis Trice scored a team-high 17 points, Denzel Valentine added 15 and Bryn Forbes led MSU's reserves with 14. Branden Dawson chipped in with nine points and 11 rebounds and provided a big putback late in OT.

Dawson also helped shut down Montrezl Harrell, who scored 12 points over the first 11 minutes but was held without a field goal the rest of the way. Harrell finished with 16 points, Wayne Blackshear poured in 28 and Terry Rozier added 13 on 23 shots.

Bears Sign CB Ball

 width=The Chicago Bears added secondary depth on Friday by signing cornerback Alan Ball to a one-year contract.

Ball, 29, spent the past two seasons with Jacksonville, starting 22 games. He missed the final nine games in 2014 because of a biceps injury.

A seventh-round pick by Dallas in 2007, Ball has registered 216 tackles and six interceptions in 93 career games (44 starts) with the Cowboys, Texans and Jaguars.

Indianapolis Drops Dallas

 width=C.J. Miles scored 28 points to lead the Indiana Pacers to a 104-99 win over the Dallas Mavericks on Sunday night.

Roy Hibbert and George Hill each scored 14 points, while David West and Rodney Stuckey both added 10 apiece for Indiana, which moved into a tie with Boston for ninth in the Eastern Conference.

Chandler Parsons led the Mavs with 27 points and Dirk Nowitzki chipped in with 19. Dallas guard Monta Ellis missed the contest with a calf injury he suffered in Friday's loss to San Antonio.

Rajon Rondo posted 17 points, 10 assists and seven rebounds in the setback.

NBA Scoreboard
Houston 99, Washington 91
Brooklyn 107, LA Lakers 99
New Orleans 110, Minnesota 88
Cleveland 87, Philadelphia 86
LA Clippers 119, Boston 106
Miami 109, Detroit 102
San Antonio 103, Memphis 89
Oklahoma City 109, Phoenix 97

Blackhawks Score Late Drop Winnipeg

 width=Jonathan Toews scored the winning goal with 30.8 seconds to play to lead the Chicago Blackhawks to a 4-3 win over the Winnipeg Jets on Sunday.

With time winding down, Niklas Hjalmarsson blasted a shot on net from the right point that hit off Toews and went in to give Chicago the lead and the team was able to keep the Jets from getting another shot before time expired.

Patrick Sharp, Andrew Shaw and Brad Richards all scored for the Blackhawks, who had lost three of four coming in.

Crawford stopped 31 shots in the win for Chicago, which has 96 points on the season and sits in the third spot in the Central Division, one ahead of Minnesota and three back of St. Louis.

NHL Scoreboard
Washington 5, NY Rangers 2
Calgary 5, Nashville 2
Boston 2, Carolina 1 (OT)
NY Islanders 5, Detroit 4
Florida 4, Ottawa 2
Anaheim 2, New Jersey 1
Pittsburgh 3, San Jose 2 (SO)

Commissioner Defends Cubs On Bryant Decision; Cards Deal Freeman

 width=>>Baseball Commissioner Says Bryant Decision For Cubs, Not Boras

Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred says agent Scott Boras should steer clear of the Chicago Cubs' plan on how to handle rookie Kris Bryant.

Manfred spoke Friday at the spring training home of the Minnesota Twins.

"I don't think the Cubs' decision with respect to what's going to happen with Kris Bryant is really any of Mr. Boras' business," Manfred said.

The 23-year-old Bryant has hit nine home runs this spring, most in the majors. He led the minor leagues with 43 homers last season.

The Cubs seem to be leaning toward starting the third baseman in the minors. If Bryant begins in the minors, the Cubs could gain an extra year until he's eligible for free agency.

Boras brought up the "integrity" of baseball in lobbying for Bryant to begin the season in the majors.

 width=>>Cards Deal Lefty Freeman To Texas

The Texas Rangers have acquired left- handed reliever Sam Freeman from the St. Louis Cardinals for a player to be named later or cash considerations.

Freeman, 27, made 81 appearances over three seasons with St. Louis, posting a 3.33 ERA with 61 strikeouts in 70 1/3 innings.

The Cardinals were considering Freeman for a role in their bullpen, but he is out of options and would have had to pass through waivers to be assigned to the minors.

Bradley Names Brian Wardle Head Basketball Coach

 width=Bradley University has hired Brian Wardle as its new basketball coach.

Wardle led Wisconsin-Green Bay to the 2014 Horizon League regular-season championship and three straight postseason appearances in five years.

Bradley Director of Athletics Chris Reynolds said Friday that Wardle has a track record of success and has a work ethic and personality that fit the Bradley Braves.

Reynolds said Wardle, who played for Marquette and later was an assistant coach from 2003-2005, will be formally introduced Saturday.

In a statement, Wardle said he is honored by his appointment, saying Bradley's tradition and support was a draw for him. He is a native of Willowbrook, Illinois.

Wisconsin-Green Bay went 24-9 in the 2013-2014 season and received an at-large selection to the NIT.

ISU Falls To No. 15 Dallas Baptist, Sweep Series

 width=The Illinois State baseball team lost to No. 15 Dallas Baptist for the third day in a row as the Redbirds suffered a 10-3 loss in the series finale Sunday at Joan & Andy Horner Ballpark.

Illinois State (11-13, 0-3 MVC) pulled within one run of the lead after scoring two runs in the top of the seventh inning, but Dallas Baptist (22-3, 5-1) plated six runs in the bottom of the eighth to complete the series sweep of the Redbirds.

ISU starter Jack Landwehr went four innings, allowing four hits, four walks and four runs (three earned), against three strikeouts. The Redbirds got three strong innings of relief from Jack Czeszewski, who allowed just two hits and no walks, while striking out four over his three innings.

Paul DeJong, Sean Beesley and Joe Kelch collected two hits apiece for Illinois State in the loss. The Redbirds stranded 14 baserunners Sunday, leaving the bases loaded in the third, fifth and sixth innings.

The Redbirds return to action Tuesday with a non-conference game at Eastern Illinois. First pitch is set for 3 p.m. in Charleston, Illinois.

Information courtesy of GoRedbirds.com.

Illinois Falls In Game Two of Opening Big Ten Series

In game two at McLane Stadium, No. 17 Illinois fell 5-2 to Michigan State on Sunday. Senior David Kerian hit his team-high sixth home run in the ninth, but the Illini couldn't complete the comeback. The Spartans evened the series by playing error-free baseball with 11 hits.

 width=Illinois evened it up at 1-apiece in the second inning with a two-out rally. Senior Will Krug doubled down the left field line and came home on redshirt-sophomore Adam Walton's single up the middle.

The Spartans jumped ahead 4-1 with three runs in the fifth.

Starter Drasen Johnson was charged with four runs in six innings, suffering his second loss of the year. Redshirt-senior Rob McDonnell made his first relief appearance with a scoreless seventh, including two strikeouts.

Adam Walton led the Illini offensively with a pair of hits and an RBI.

Illinois and Michigan State will battle for the series victory in the rubber game on Monday at noon CT.

Information courtesy of FightingIllini.com

Monticello Starts Fast, Holds On Late Over LeRoy

As heard on 95.9 FM WEZC and dewittdailynews.com, the Monticello Lady Sages softball team started fast Monday afternooon in an 8-6 victory of LeRoy in non-conference action.

The Lady Sages put up four first inning runs and two second inning runs and weathered a late rally that saw the Lady Panthers put up five runs in the fourth, capped by a two-run home run by Payton Risinger.

 width=Each team had three games canceled last week thanks to frigid cold temperatures and rain.

For the Lady Sages, Makayla Reedy capped the four run first inning with a two-run home run and finished 2-for-4 with the two RBIs.

Sam Valentine scored three times, finishing 1-for-3 and Layne Buzan drove in two runs in a 1-for-3 effort as well and also scored twice.

Megan Magsaman added a pair of RBIs.

Sophie Catlin went the distance in the circle, going seven innings, allowing six runs on five with five hits yeilding four walks and had nine strikeouts.

The Lady Sages improve to 2-0 on the season, and LeRoy falls to 2-2.

Future of Fire Dept. Highlighted By Commissioner Candidates

The two men seeking the City's Commissioner of Public Health and Safety both agree a new fire station is a need in the City of Clinton, but how do they feel about the specifics of the new station?

Incumbent Commissioner of Public Health and Safety, Jerry Milton says the equipment the station currently has is barely adaquete for their current facility. He points out they already have a diagram for a new fire station but notes they need to make sure they can afford one first.

[audio:3291573015-32925firehouse1.mp3] [/audio]

Milton adds their trucks may be getting older but they are in excellent shape thanks to their diligent upkeep.

For challenger Danny Ballenger, his work on the DeWitt County Board may give him an inside scoop for a new firehouse. He explains they are in the midst of a disaster action plan that would help fund a new firestation in Clinton.

[audio:3291573011-32915firehouse2.mp3] [/audio]

Both agree, the staff at the Fire Department is a good one.

The election is April 7. Be sure to tune into 92.3 FM WHOW and dewittdailynews.com that night for live election coverage as we bring you up to date results throughout the night.

Illinois Lawmakers Look to Add a State Polka Song



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IDOT and State Police Urge Motorists to be Careful in Highway Work Zones



[audio:3281583644-wzsafety.mp3] [/audio]


Author Says Illinois Business Climate Not Welcoming

More than two-thousand workers in the southwestern Illinois town of Granite City are facing layoffs in the face of U.S. Steel’s planned operations consolidation. A press release from U.S. Steel says they plan to consolidate their North American Flat-Rolled operations which will mean a temporary idle of the Granite City outfit, though for how long is uncertain. The release says the move reflects market conditions like steel prices, unfair trade, imports and fluctuating oil prices. Illinois News Network has more:

[audio:3281583636-BIZCLIMATE.mp3] [/audio]

In the press release from U.S. Steel the company indicates their operations will remain in Alabama, and Pennsylvania, as well as Illinois’ neighboring states Indiana, and Michigan.

Farmers Have Until April 7 to Update Yields, Reallocate Base Acres, and Make Final Selections

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack Friday provided farm owners and producers one additional week, until April 7, 2015, to choose between Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC), the safety-net programs established by the 2014 Farm Bill.

The final day to update yield history or reallocate base acres also will be April 7, 2015.

Vilsack says nearly 98 percent of owners have already updated their yield and base acres, and 90 percent of producers have enrolled in ARC or PLC.

He feels the additional week will give producers more time to have those final conversations, review their data, visit their local Farm Service Agency offices, and make their decisions.

If no changes are made to yield history or base acres by the deadline, the farm's current yield and base acres will be used. If a program choice of ARC or PLC is not made, there will be no 2014 crop year payments for the farm and the farm will default to PLC coverage for the 2015 through 2018 crop years.

Producers who have an appointment at their local FSA offices scheduled by April 7 will be able to make an election between ARC and PLC, even if their actual appointment is after April 7.

Producers need to contact the Farm Service Agency by April 7. To learn more, farmers can contact their local Farm Service Agency county office. To find local offices, visithttp://offices.usda.gov.

Get more information on this announcmement at dewittdailynews.com.

Mayoral Candidates Differ On Video Game Machines in Community

If you are looking for an area where the two Clinton Mayoral candidates differ, look no further than the subject of video gambling.

The State of Illinois allows communities to decide if and how many electronic video gambling devices are in their respective communities. The City of Clinton currently allows them, and the two mayor candidates have differing views on them. For challenger Roger Cyrulik, he feels the gaming machines are a good source of revenue for the city.

[audio:3281583633-32815gamediffer1.mp3] [/audio]

However, Mayor Carolyn Peters does not want to see anymore gaming in the bars and restaurants. She feels there will come a point that the video gambling market in Clinton will be so "saturated" it will hurt the groups and organizations that depend on them.

[audio:3281583633-32815gamediffer2.mp3] [/audio]

The Mayor adds the city does not control truck stops. She points to the Clinton Shell station which recently was able to get a "truck stop" designation. She explains they were able to get a lease from Dairy Queen next to them to get the necessary five acres to get the designation. The Mayor notes that is why the gaming machines are in that establishment and does not believe they should have the designation of "truck stop".

DeWitt County Sheriff's Report For March 26

Jail Population: 44

Paper Services: 2

Warrants: 0

Teddy Cloyd, 28, Danville was issued a Citation for Disobey No Passing Zone. Cloyd was issued a Promise to Comply and was released.

Sarah Reynolds, 44, Farmer City was issued a Citation for Operating Uninsured Vehicle. Reynolds was issued a Promise to Comply and was released.

Dawn Granger, 44, Wapella was issued Citations and Arrested for Driving While License Suspended and Speeding 76 MPH in a 55 MPH Zone. Granger posted the necessary bond and was released.



Bobcat Bill Is Back

An Illinois House committee has approved a Quad City area lawmaker's legislation legalizing bobcat hunting.

House Bill 352 would establish an annual open season from November 1st through February 15th says State Representative Patrick Verschoore of Taylor Ridge.

[audio:3271560617-bobcat.mp3] [/audio]

Under the bill, individuals who possess a bobcat hunting permit would be able to trap or hunt bobcats with a gun, dog or bow and arrow.

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources would be responsible for the issuance of hunting permits and each permitted hunter would be allowed to collect one bobcat per year.

The legislation has been approved by the House Agriculture & Conservation Committee with bipartisan support and now awaits consideration by the full House.

Schock Says Goodbye

It’s not his last day but Congressman Aaron Schock stood on the floor of the House of Representatives and said good bye.

The Illinois Republican took a few minutes to look back on his 4 terms in Congress. He never directly gave mention of the trouble that has caused him to resign from Congress rather calling it a “valley” in life.

[audio:3271560715-schock1.mp3] [/audio]

Schock is set to leave office after about a month of revelations about spending on decorating his House office, trips on private jets at tax payer expense and questions about tax payer funded reimbursements on vehicle mileage.

[audio:3271560716-schock2.mp3] [/audio]

Schock is set to officially resign his seat on March 31.

Senate Passes Bill Establishing Low Carbon Energy Changes

The Illinois Senate Energy and Public Utilities Committee Thursday passed Senate Bill 1585, legislation to establish a Low Carbon Portfolio Standard (LCPS) that would bolster Illinois’ clean energy leadership, support the state’s nuclear energy facilities and protect jobs, consumers and a reliable electricity supply.

The LCPS proposal includes strong consumer protections, including a consumer price cap that would limit the impact to a 2.015 percent increase, or about $2 per month for the average Illinois residential electricity customer – less than the costs customers would face if the nuclear plants close early. A separate customer rebate provision would provide a direct bill credit to customers if wholesale electricity prices exceed a specified level.

Joseph Dominguez, Exelon’s executive vice president of governmental and regulatory affairs and public policy says they support the LCPS because it would reduce harmful emissions, provide for the development of additional renewable energy, and help keep electricity reliable and affordable for Illinois families and businesses.

The LCPS would require ComEd and Ameren to purchase low carbon energy credits to match 70 percent of the electricity used on the distribution system. It is a technology-neutral solution, which means it would allow all low carbon energy sources – including wind, solar, hydro, clean coal and nuclear – to compete on equal footing.

According to a release from Exelon Thursday, the legislation has "broad, bipartisan support among legislators, business, labor and community leaders."

Clinton Chamber Gearing Up For Annual Business Expo

The Clinton Chamber of Commerce is gearing up for one of it's most popular events attended by the community.

The 2015 Clinton Chamber Business Expo is just days away and organizers are hoping the event continues to grow. Executive Director of the Clinton Chamber, Marian Brisard says the Chamber always attempts to gear the event for families of all ages. She adds guests may have to wait in line but all the activities provided by local businesses are worth the wait.

[audio:3271560954-317152015expo1.mp3] [/audio]

The Business Expo provides a unique experience for businesses to network with local citizens. Brisard stresses the event also gives businesses an opportunity to network and socialize in way that everyday life may not afford them.

[audio:3271560955-317152015expo2.mp3] [/audio]

The popular event draws a large number of locals every year and Brisard notes it's always difficult to measure the total number of visitors.

The 2015 Business expo will take place on Wednesday April 1st in the Clinton High School gym from 4 to 7pm.

School BOE Candidates Discuss New Superintendent

 width=This summer, Superintendent of Clinton Schools, Dr. Jeff Holmes is set to retire and his successor was the topic of a recent forum of candidates for the Clinton Board of Education.

Kurt Nettles, currently serving as Superintendent of Lexington Schools, has been named to the post, and will take over this summer and candidates for the Board of Education elections this April addressed issues they'd like see the new leader tackle.

Chris Hammer says it is the Superintendent's job to tackle the finances and take the lead on several issues. He feels Nettles is going to need to focus on the present but also come up with a solution for the future.

[audio:3271561114-32715candsuper1.mp3] [/audio]

According to incumbent candidate Russell Long, he hopes the new Superintendent comes in and keeps his word he will not make immediate changes, and learn about the district first. Long points to the curriculum as an area of emphasis.

[audio:3271561119-32715candsuper2.mp3] [/audio]

For candidate Evan Severson, he feels the new school leader's focus should be establishing relationships with community members. He hopes Nettle's then focuses on the schools and what is going well and not so well.

[audio:3271561123-32715candsuper3.mp3] [/audio]

Incumbent candidate Nancy Stokowski is pleased the new Superintendent is making an effort to be involved in the community by simply residing here and also being involved in what is going on already within the school district.

[audio:3271561126-32715candsuper4.mp3] [/audio]

Mitchi Tucker is a former educator in the Clinton district, and she feels the new Superintendent needs to understand what is going on by meeting the staff at each building. She says she has seen too many administrators say they would not change anything and then make major changes.

[audio:3271561130-32715candsuper5.mp3] [/audio]

Candidate Mike Walker says voters are concerned about where the new Superintendent will reside. He feels Nettles living in the district is very important but says how he handles the finances is going to be important as well.

[audio:3271561135-32715candsuper6.mp3] [/audio]

Each candidate had two minutes to address the issue. Hear the entirety of the Candidates forum hosted by the Clinton Area Chamber of Commerce and WHOW/WEZC/dewittdailynews.com in it's entirety below:

[audio:3251515949-32415MeettheCandidatesForumSeg1.mp3]Segment 1[/audio]

[audio:3251515531-32415MeettheCandidatesForumSeg.mp3] Segment 2[/audio]

The election is April 7.

Hoffman Leads After Round One In San Antonio

 width=Charley Hoffman carded a 5-under 67 on Thursday to take the early lead at the wind-whipped Texas Open.

Hoffman picked up his third PGA Tour win earlier this season in Mexico.

Aaron Baddeley posted a 4-under 68 and is alone in second place on the AT&T Oaks Course at TPC San Antonio. Max Homa is one stroke back at minus-3.

Phil Mickelson birdied his final two holes for a 2-under 70. He stands alongside Ryan Palmer in fourth place.

Texas natives Jordan Spieth and Jimmy Walker are among seven players tied for sixth at minus-1.

Matt Kuchar and Cameron Percy were the leaders after the morning wave finished in windy conditions. They carded even-par 72s and are now tied for 13th. The scoring average in the morning wave was 78.61, but improved to 74.86 in the afternoon.

NFL Notes

 width=>>Niners Cut Former Embattled OL

The San Francisco 49ers waived offensive tackle Jonathan Martin on Thursday.

The 49ers acquired Martin in a trade with the Miami Dolphins on March 11, 2014. He appeared in 15 games (nine starts) for the 49ers last season.

Martin walked away from the Dolphins in October 2013 amid claims he was bullied by former teammate Richie Incognito. He had started the first 23 games of his NFL career before abruptly leaving the team.

The Dolphins took Martin in the second round of the 2012 NFL Draft.

>>Steelers Sign WR Heyward-Bey

The Pittsburgh Steelers re-signed wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey to a one-year contract on Thursday.

Financial terms were not disclosed.

Last season with the Steelers, Heyward-Bey had just three catches for 33 yards in 16 games. He played mostly on special teams, notching seven tackles.

The seven-year pro was originally selected by the Raiders with the seventh overall pick of the 2009 NFL Draft and spent four seasons in Oakland before joining the Colts for the 2013 campaign.

Heyward-Bey has played in 88 regular-season games with 65 starts, hauling in 172 passes for 2,413 yards with 12 receiving touchdowns.

Baseball Notes

>>2014 Top Pick Undergoes Tommy John Surgery

Pitching prospect Brady Aiken, the top overall selection in the 2014 draft, underwent Tommy John surgery on Wednesday.

Aiken was selected No. 1 overall by the Houston Astros, but the two sides could not agree on a contract before the mandated deadline, thus giving Aiken another chance to enter the draft.

 width=Houston, which had concerns of Aiken's elbow during the negotiation process, reduced its original offer of $6.5 million down to $3.1 million before making one last effort with a $5 million deal that Aiken declined.

Aiken was pitching at the IMG Academy last week when the injury first occurred. He attended the academy rather than a four-year college so he can remain eligible for the 2015 draft, and he is considered to once again be a strong choice early in the first round.

>>Blue Jays Demote Former All-Star

Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Steve Delabar will most likely start the 2015 season with Triple-A Buffalo after being optioned to minor league camp on Thursday.

Delabar, a 2013 All-Star, was 3-0 with a 4.91 ERA in 30 appearances last season. He was demoted to Triple-A last June and didn't return to the majors.

In seven innings this spring, Delabar struck out nine and allowed three runs.

The 31-year-old right-hander has a career record of 13-9 with a 3.72 ERA in 152 big league games -- all out of the bullpen -- with Toronto and Seattle.

Rangers Rout Senators

 width=The clock finally struck midnight for Andrew Hammond.

The New York Rangers scored five times on the Ottawa Senators' red-hot goaltender in just two periods of play en route to a 5-1 rout that gave Hammond his first regulation loss in the rookie's 16th career NHL start.

Chris Kreider led the Rangers' barrage with two goals and an assist. Mats Zuccarello and Dan Boyle each scored once and assisted on another, while Derek Stepan and Kevin Hayes notched a pair of helpers for New York.

Thursday's result, combined with Boston's overtime loss to Anaheim, also clinched a playoff berth for the Metropolitan Division-leading Rangers.

Ottawa had vaulted itself into postseason contention as well due to the surprisingly stellar play of Hammond, who entered Thursday's showdown having gone a sensational 14-0-1 with a 1.58 GAA in 15 outings filling in for the injured duo of Craig Anderson and Robin Lehner.

He was burned for five goals on 22 shots, however, before being removed in favor of Chris Driedger late in the second period.

NHL Scoreboard
Carolina 5, Pittsburgh 2
Washington 3, New Jersey 2 (OT)
Los Angeles 3, NY Islanders 2
Arizona 4, Buffalo 3 (OT)
Anaheim 3, Boston 2 (OT)
Nashville 3, Tampa Bay 2
San Jose 6, Detroit 4
Florida 4, Toronto 1
Winnipeg 5, Montreal 2
Colorado 4, Vancouver 1

Bucks Get By Pacers

Ersan Ilyasova netted 34 points with six rebounds as the Milwaukee Bucks defeated the Indiana Pacers, 111-107, on Thursday night.

Khris Middleton recorded 17 points, Giannis Antetokounmpo had 16 and Michael Carter-Williams added 13 points, eight assists and five rebounds before fouling out.

Milwaukee has won two straight on the heels of a six-game skid.

C.J. Miles led the Pacers with 26 points and George Hill chipped in with 24.

Indiana, which fell into a three-way tie with Brooklyn and Charlotte for ninth place in the East, has lost seven of its last eight. Those three teams trail Boston by a half-game in the standings.

Kentucky Dominates West Virginia; Arizona, Notre Dame, Wisconsin Advance

 width=West Virginia freshman Daxter Miles Jr. will surely think twice the next time he makes a bold prediction. Kentucky made sure of that, as the unbeaten Wildcats embarrassed Miles and the Mountaineers 78-39 in a Sweet 16 mismatch on Thursday night.

The Mountaineers' press was rendered irrelevant because Kentucky (37-0) simply refused to let them score. West Virginia was limited to an ugly .241 field goal percentage, turned it over 13 times and trailed by as many as 41.

Trey Lyles scored 14 points, Andrew Harrison added 13, and Aaron Harrison, Devin Booker and Dakari Johnson each chipped in 12 for the victors.

Standing in the way of Kentucky's fourth Final Four appearance in five years is Notre Dame. The Midwest Region final will take place on Saturday.

Juwan Staten led the Mountaineers (25-10) with 14 points, while Miles, who was quoted as saying Kentucky was going to be "36-1," was held without a point.


 width=Mike Brey called a timeout early in the second half after Wichita State took its first lead of the night. Whatever was said in the huddle apparently provided a spark, as Notre Dame took over and rolled to an 81-70 win that ended its long Elite Eight drought.

Notre Dame lit up the usually-stingy Shockers for 48 points in the second half on 18- of-24 (75 percent) shooting, including a 6-of-8 effort from behind the arc.

Four Notre Dame players scored in double figures, and a fifth, Wooden Award finalist Jerian Grant, provided 11 assists with just two turnovers to go along with nine points. Demetrius Jackson poured in 20 points on only 10 shots, and Pat Connaughton added 16 with 10 rebounds in the convincing win.

The third-seeded Irish (32-5), whose last trip to the Elite Eight came in 1979, will face undefeated Kentucky in the Midwest Region final on Saturday.

Fred VanVleet and Darius Carter carried seventh-seeded Wichita State (30-5) with 25 and 22 points, respectively, while Ron Baker, Tekele Cotton and Evan Wessel combined for just 15 points on 4-of-21 shooting.


 width=Sam Dekker had a career-high 23 points to go with 10 rebounds and Wisconsin advanced to the West Regional final for a second straight year with a 79-72 win over North Carolina.

Frank Kaminsky netted 15 of his 19 points in the second half and added eight rebounds for top-seeded Wisconsin (34-3), which will play Arizona in the Elite Eight Saturday.

Wisconsin shot 57.7 percent (15-of-26) from the field in the second half after going just 36.7 percent (11-of-30) from the floor in the opening 20 minutes.

Justin Jackson and Brice Johnson each scored 15 points for the fourth-seeded Tar Heels (26-12), who defeated No. 5 seed Arkansas to reach the Sweet 16.


 width=Sean Miller beat his good friend Chris Mack to get Arizona back into the West Regional final. Now it's time to exact some revenge.

T.J. McConnell had 17 points, seven rebounds and five assists as the Wildcats pulled away from Xavier 68-60 Thursday night to set up a rematch of last year's Elite Eight against Wisconsin.

The Badgers edged the Wildcats in a West Regional final OT thriller, 64-63, in Anaheim last year.

Arizona (34-3) advanced to the Elite Eight for the third time in its last five seasons. Matt Stainbrook led Xavier (23-14) with 17 points.

USDA Extends Farm Bill Sign Up Deadline

Farmers Have Until April 7 to Update Yields, Reallocate Base Acres, and Make Final Selections

WASHINGTON, March 27, 2015 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today provided farm owners and producers one additional week, until April 7, 2015, to choose between Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC), the safety-net programs established by the 2014 Farm Bill. The final day to update yield history or reallocate base acres also will be April 7, 2015.

"This is an important decision for producers because these programs help farmers and ranchers protect their operations from unexpected changes in the marketplace," said Vilsack. "Nearly 98 percent of owners have already updated their yield and base acres, and 90 percent of producers have enrolled in ARC or PLC. These numbers are strong, and continue to rise. This additional week will give producers a little more time to have those final conversations, review their data, visit their local Farm Service Agency offices, and make their decisions," said Vilsack.

If no changes are made to yield history or base acres by the deadline, the farm's current yield and base acres will be used. If a program choice of ARC or PLC is not made, there will be no 2014 crop year payments for the farm and the farm will default to PLC coverage for the 2015 through 2018 crop years. Producers who have an appointment at their local FSA offices scheduled by April 7 will be able to make an election between ARC and PLC, even if their actual appointment is after April 7.

These safety-net programs provide important financial protection against unexpected changes in the marketplace. As part of the strong education and outreach campaign launched by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) in September, to date more than 5 million educational postcards, in English and Spanish, have been sent to producers nationwide, and more than 5,000 events with more than 430,000 attendees, including training sessions and speaking engagements, have been conducted to educate producers on the programs. The online tools, available at www.fsa.usda.gov/arc-plc, which allow producers to explore how ARC or PLC coverage will affect their operation, have been presented to more than 3,400 groups.

Covered commodities under ARC and PLC include barley, canola, large and small chickpeas, corn, crambe, flaxseed, grain sorghum, lentils, mustard seed, oats, peanuts, dry peas, rapeseed, long grain rice, medium grain rice (which includes short grain and sweet rice), safflower seed, sesame, soybeans, sunflower seed and wheat. Upland cotton is no longer a covered commodity.

Producers need to contact the Farm Service Agency by April 7. To learn more, farmers can contact their local Farm Service Agency county office. To find local offices, visithttp://offices.usda.gov.

The 2014 Farm Bill builds on historic economic gains in rural America over the past six years, while achieving meaningful reform and billions of dollars in savings for the taxpayer. Since enactment, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has made significant progress to implement each provision of this critical legislation, including providing disaster relief to farmers and ranchers; strengthening risk management tools; expanding access to rural credit; funding critical research; establishing innovative public-private conservation partnerships; developing new markets for rural-made products; and investing in infrastructure, housing and community facilities to help improve quality of life in rural America. For more information, visit www.usda.gov/farmbill.

DeWitt County Sheriff's Report for March 27

Jail Population: 44

Paper Services: 2

Warrants: 0

Teddy Cloyd, 28, Danville was issued a Citation for Disobey No Passing Zone. Cloyd was issued a Promise to Comply and was released.

Sarah Reynolds, 44, Farmer City was issued a Citation for Operating Uninsured Vehicle. Reynolds was issued a Promise to Comply and was released.

Dawn Granger, 44, Wapella was issued Citations and Arrested for Driving While License Suspended and Speeding 76 MPH in a 55 MPH Zone. Granger posted the necessary bond and was released.



Bill Restricting License Plate Readers Passes Committee

A State Representative says government should be limited in how they use license plate reading technology to track citizens. Illinois News Network has more.

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The Illinois Sheriffs’ Association, Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police and the Illinois State Police filed witness slips in opposition to the measure.

Entrance to Capitol Crumbling

Some people might need to find a new way to get into the state Capitol as concerns have been raised over brickwork high above one of the building’s entrances.

The north entrance is being restricted to individuals with passes that wouldn’t have to wait outside under the overhang. The Secretary of State office says that workers noticed some flaking on the brickwork and further examination reveals it needs to be shored up.

Staying on the side of caution the entrance will be restricted to individuals with passes that don’t have wait in line to go through security, often groups cause lines that snake out of the doors and create gatherings of people standing under the roof in question.

Group Homes Advocates Push For More Community Care For Disabled

Forces who believe developmentally disabled Illinoisans should be in community care and not state run institutions make their sales pitch.

Equip for Equality's Cheryl Jansen was among advocates calling for the state to close six of the state's seven remaining developmental centers. She waved a carrot at state lawmakers, saying such a move would help them with their budget woes.

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Governor Rauner said during the campaign he supported keeping the doors open at Murray Developmental Center. Former Governor Pat Quinn called for closing all state-run institutions, and shut down the Jacksonville Developmental Center in 2012.

Some parents of the disabled residents in state care maintain community care doesn't provide sufficient monitoring or care and they say uprooting their sons or daughters place of residence is a threat to their health and mental well being.

House Passes Madigan Budget Fix

The Illinois House has passed Speaker Mike Madigan's emergency budget fix. The deal plugs a $1.6 billion dollar shortfall.

The best perspective of the impact of the state's budget woes and delayed payments is the newest member of the General Assembly, newly installed State Representative Tim Butler of Springfield who knows some crucial state supported businesses are in jeopardy.

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The budget fix shifts $1.3 billion in so called special funds to help with the unbalanced budget. Various state programs are enduring a 2.25 percent cut in state funding.

Opposition To Current Budget Year Fix

Not everyone is on board with the measures to fill the current fiscal year budget shortfall of more than one-point-five-billion dollars.

The two measures that passed the House Tuesday did so with more than forty-five no votes each, all from democrats. Illinois News Network has more:

[audio:3261562602-fy15bud.mp3] [/audio]

All but one republican representative voted yes for the measure. Representative Joe Sosnowski was not on the House floor Tuesday.

Schock Replacement Election Could Lead To Lawsuit

Aaron Schock’s resignation is likely going to get Illinois sued.

Not because of anything Schock may have done, but because the election to replace him in Congress could be “impossible.”

Illinois State Board of Elections lawyer Ken Menzel says there’s not enough time for candidates to get on the ballot and for counties to meet all of the federal and state election mandates.

[audio:3261562825-Menzel1.mp3] [/audio]

McLean County Clerk Kathy Michael says lawmakers are focused on good intentions, but ignore the realities of each new election mandate.

[audio:3261562826-Michael1.mp3] [/audio]

Menzel said the Justice Department in DC has sued Illinois over the past two special elections, and he says a suit over the Schock special election “wouldn’t surprise” him.

Troubled Rural Hospitals Facing Additional Challenges

Decreasing federal Medicare and Medicaid payment rates have hit rural hospitals especially hard due the high proportion of older and poorer residents of rural areas.

Alan Morgan, CEO of the Nat Rural Health Assoc. says nearly 250 rural hospitals, including many in Illinois may close their doors in the near future due to lack of adequate funding. He adds one thing helping some facilities remain viable is USDA rural development.

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USDA Rural Dev has a 3.5 Billion dollar budget for Illinois alone, and says The Illinois Dir of rural development Colleen Callahan, much of that goes to help rural health care facilities.

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Lacking local health care, many older residents are forced to relocate to areas with adequate health care facilities… And that has an adverse impact on the local economy and tax base.. contributing to a downward economic spiral in small towns across America.

Former Lincoln Mayor Embracing New Role In Springfield

The Mayor of Lincoln resigned last week due to an appointment from Governor Bruce Rauner's office.

 width=Former Lincoln Mayor Keith Snyder was confirmed to his new position on the Illinois Labor Relations Board last Thursday. He notes he will be working with the state and local unions the collective bargaining process. Snyder has previously served with the Educational Relations Board under former Governor Jim Edgar.

[audio:3261563344-32515snyder1.mp3] [/audio]

Snyder is looking forward to being back in the field of collective bargaining. He adds he enjoyed his previous tenure with the State of Illinois and stresses it's an interesting time to be part of the decision-making process.

[audio:3261563346-32515snyder2.mp3] [/audio]

Among Snyder's proudest accomplishments during his time as Mayor are the improvement made to Downtown Lincoln. The area has seen some new streetscaping along with a future expansion of the Lincoln Theater. The City has also purchased the historic Lincoln Depot through several grants. Snyder stresses everything accomplished downtown was a group effort by many individuals.

[audio:3261563349-32515snyder3.mp3] [/audio]

The future of Lincoln looks bright to Snyder as he concludes his mayorship. He notes the city had to rebuild part of its foundation in order to move forward. Lincoln also hired their first city administrator under Snyder's tenure.

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As of now, Snyder plans for his home to remain in Lincoln and looks forward to seeing the city continue to evolve and improve

The Lincoln City Council are currently in the process of appointing a new Mayor which should take place next month.

Exelon Power Station's Status Topic Among Clinton City Council Candidates

The candidates for the Clinton City Council fielded question Tuesday night about the future of the Clinton Power Station.

For over a year now, it has been widely reported the station is not profitable as it tries to compete in the current energy market. While the power plant does not directly benefit the city of Clinton through taxes, the revenues of the employees in the community do find their way into the city coughers. Commissioner Nan Crang says the conservative budgeting would get even tighter from a city standpoint.

[audio:3261563521-32615cityplant1.mp3] [/audio]

Challenger for Mayor, Roger Cyrulik says he wants to increase the fight for the power plant. He notes though, if the plant leaves, the city needs to find a way to maintain services.

[audio:3261563528-32615cityplant2.mp3] [/audio]

For incumbent Commissioner of Public Health and Safety, Jerry Milton, he says it's about keeping as much in Clinton as possible. He notes while the money lost would be awful, he wants to keep those jobs here and families living in the community.

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To remedy the potential loss of the power plant, Mayor Carolyn Peters says the city needs to continue to work towards economic development and broadening the tax base.

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Challenger for Commissioner of Public Health and Safety, Danny Ballenger says it is inevitable the power plant is going to close eventually. He notes, that may be soon or later, but he wants to see the city put a plan in place and make Clinton a place attractive to businesses.

[audio:3261563540-32615cityplant5.mp3] [/audio]

Mike Bray is running for Commissioner of Public Improvements. He feels dealing with a potential closure with Exelon is about development locally. He feels businesses established in the community need to be approached about improvements.

[audio:3261563543-32615cityplant6.mp3] [/audio]

Candidates were given two minutes to answer each question. The election is April 7.

In the coming days, keep it tuned to Regional Radio News to hear more from the Tuesday night 'Meet the Candidates' Night hosted by the Clinton Area Chamber of Commerce and WHOW/WEZC/Dewittdailynews.com.

Hear the entire Candidates forum below:

[audio:3251515949-32415MeettheCandidatesForumSeg1.mp3]Segment one[/audio]

[audio:3251515531-32415MeettheCandidatesForumSeg.mp3]Segment two[/audio]

PGA Tour Starts Texas Swing

 width=After a four-week swing in Florida, the PGA Tour is set for its first of two straight events in Texas at the Valero Texas Open.

Steven Bowditch struggled to the finish last year as he shot a 4-over 76 in the final round, but he was still able to hang on and win by one shot over Will MacKenzie and Daniel Summerhays to pick up his first career victory on tour.

Bowditch, who held a 3-shot lead headed into the final round, did not make it easy on himself all day. Still, Bowditch had a 2-shot lead going into the final hole and he was able to make bogey and win by a shot. Bowditch finished the week at 8-under-par 280. He has not won since.

MacKenzie carded a 2-under 70, while Summerhays shot a 1-under 71 and they ended tied for second at 7-under 281.

Bowditch, MacKenzie and Summerhays are all back in action again this week as Bowditch will defend his title.

Jordan Spieth and Dustin Johnson headline a relatively strong field that features 13 of the top-30 players in the world. Both Spieth and Johnson have already earned victories this season. Spieth won the Valspar Championship two weeks ago, while Johnson won the WGC-Cadillac Championship at the beginning of March.


>>NASCAR Suspends Crew Chief For Labbe For 3 Races

NASCAR placed Sprint Cup Series crew chief Slugger Labbe on suspension for three races and fined him $50,000 for a rules infraction discovered during last Friday's opening-day inspection at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California.

Labbe, the crew chief for the No. 33 Circle Sport Racing team, has also been placed on probation until Dec. 31. Car owner Joe Falk was docked 25 points in the owners' championship standings. Brian Scott, a regular in the Xfinity Series, drove the No. 33 Chevrolet this past weekend at Fontana.

 width=According to NASCAR, three infractions were found on the No. 33 during inspection. The car's three-quarter-inch diameter magnetic steel truck trailing arm mounting bolt was not installed horizontally. The truck trailing arm monoball sleeve did not meet the drawing specifications, and the truck trailing arm mounting bracket adapter was machined from aluminum solid.

>>Son of JGR Owner Receiving Treatment For Brain Issues

Joe Gibbs Racing revealed on Wednesday that J.D. Gibbs, the team's president, is starting treatment for symptoms impacting areas of brain function, including speech and processing issues.

Gibbs is the 46-year-old son of JGR team owner Joe Gibbs, who is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame and winner of three Super Bowls as the Head Coach of the Washington Redskins.

According to a news release from JGR, Gibbs has undergone a series of tests after experiencing a gradual onset of symptoms that includes speech and processing issues. His doctors believe the complications he has experienced were triggered by head injuries likely suffered earlier in life, but no specific injury was referenced or identified.

Gibbs played defensive back and quarterback at the College of William and Mary from 1987-90. He also had a brief career as a race car driver in NASCAR. Gibbs participated in several other sports such as mountain biking and snowboarding.

JGR also said that Gibbs will be undergoing more testing and receiving treatments to help manage the symptoms. During that time, it is expected that his presence at the racetrack will be limited. He will continue many of his day-to-day responsibilities at JGR's headquarters as well as involvement with his various ministry endeavors."

NCAA Tournament Round of 16 Opens Tonight

After six exhilarating days of basketball, the NCAA Tournament field has dropped to 16 participants.

While reaching the Sweet 16 is certainly satisfying, all the teams still alive in the tournament know there is a golden opportunity staring them in the face. Whether they can take advantage is what will make this week's action so much fun to watch.

 width=In the Midwest bracket, the No. 1, 3, 5 and 7 seeds earned their way into the second week of action. The one given there was the Kentucky Wildcats. With wins over Hampton (79-56) and Cincinnati (64-51), John Calipari's crew moved into rarified air, marking the first time in NCAA history a team has gone 36-0 to begin a season. West Virginia, the region's No. 5 seed, is up next for the Wildcats.

 width=The other half of the bracket features No. 3 seed Notre Dame taking on seventh-seeded and tournament darling Wichita State. The Irish haven't exactly looked sharp in their two tournament games, edging out Northeastern (69-65) and Butler (67-64 in overtime), but Mike Brey's team, which has struggled in recent tournament play, is still alive and kicking. Notre Dame is a lethal offensive squad, and if the shots start falling, the Irish are as good as any team out there. Of course, they will have to turn things around in a hurry as the Shockers are full of energy after upsetting in-state rival Kansas, the No. 2 seed in the region. Wichita State is no average mid-major with 95 wins over the last three seasons (just the 26th team in NCAA history to do so).

 width=In the West Region, three of the top four seeds have advanced in No. 1 Wisconsin, No. 2 Arizona and No. 4 North Carolina. Third-seeded Baylor fell in second-round action to Georgia State, which then in turn fell to sixth- seeded Xavier. Bo Ryan's top-seeded Badgers are an impressive 33-3 after disposing of Coastal Carolina (86-72) and Oregon (72-65) in tournament play. They will take on North Carolina, which survived Harvard (67-65) before knocking off Arkansas (87-78). The Tar Heels may be at less than full strength, but Roy Williams' squad has great depth and athleticism, two traits that could be problematic for Wisconsin.

 width=Arizona is as hot as any team in the tournament not named Kentucky. Sean Miller's squad swept the Pac-12 regular-season and tournament titles and has made light work of Texas Southern (93-72) and Ohio State (73-58) in consecutive tournament games while improving to 33-3. With a great facilitator and loads of talent along the frontline, Arizona will cause a headache for No. 6 Xavier in the Sweet 16. The Musketeers finished in the middle of the pack in the Big East, but somehow are the one conference representative still around (Villanova, Butler, Providence. St. John's and Georgetown are all out). Xavier isn't flashy, but it has looked sharp in tournament wins over Ole Miss (76-57) and Georgia State (75-67).

Bears Sign LB Foster

 width=The Chicago Bears have agreed to a one-year contract with former Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Mason Foster.

The Bears announced the move Wednesday.

The 6-foot-1, 241-pound Foster appeared in 57 games and made 54 starts over four seasons with the Buccaneers after being drafted in the third round in 2011. He has 341 tackles, six sacks, five interceptions and 12 pass breakups in his career.

Mason Leads Flyers Past Blackhawks

 width=Steve Mason turned away 34 pucks and four different players lit the lamp as Philadelphia claimed a surprise 4-1 victory over Chicago on Wednesday.

Wayne Simmonds, Ryan White, Claude Giroux and Michael Raffl scored once each for the Flyers, who put a four-game losing streak to bed against one of the top teams in the Western Conference.

Philadelphia, which is on the outside of the Eastern Conference playoff chase, recorded just its second regulation win in the last 10 games (2-4-4).

In addition, the Orange and Black are 9-1-4 in their last 14 games against teams currently in playoff position while an incomprehensible 0-6-3 against teams which would not be included in postseason play at present.

Andrew Shaw provided the sole offense while Corey Crawford made 29 saves for the Blackhawks, who completed a four-game road swing with a 2-2 record.

NHL Scoreboard
Edmonton 4, Colorado 3
Dallas 4, Calgary 3 (SO)

Bulls Blast Raptors

 width=Jimmy Butler scored 23 points, Pau Gasol had 18 and the Chicago Bulls beat Toronto 116-103 on Wednesday night for their fifth consecutive victory against the Raptors.

Tony Snell scored 17 points as the Bulls moved 1 1/2 games ahead of the Raptors for third in the Eastern Conference. Aaron Brooks had 16 points, and Nikola Mirotic finished with 15.

Toronto has dropped three of four. It hasn't defeated Chicago since Dec. 31, 2013.

Greivis Vasquez had 22 points for the Raptors, and DeMar DeRozan scored 20. Vasquez also matched a career high with six 3-pointers.

NBA Scoreboard
Brooklyn 91, Charlotte 88
LA Clippers 111, New York 80
Atlanta 95, Orlando 83
Miami 93, Boston 86
Cleveland 111, Memphis 89
LA Lakers 101, Minnesota 99 (OT)
Houston 95, New Orleans 93
Portland 92, Utah 89
San Antonio 130, Oklahoma City 91
Sacramento 108, Phoenix 99

Illinois Pounds Kent State

No. 17 Illinois (18-5-1) rounded out its longest stretch at home this season with a 9-4 victory over Kent State (10-10). Starter Rob McDonnell earned his second win with five scoreless frames, while the offense notched 12 hits, led by three from junior Ryan Nagle and a three-run triple by sophomore Matthew James.

 width=Sophomore Pat McInerney, who leads the team with a .403 average, went 2-for-3 with two RBI and started the scoring with an RBI double in the first. Nagle singled and stole second before crossing home as the first run.

McDonnell (2-1) exited after five solid innings with three hits and three strikeouts.

The Illini broke it open with a five-run seventh for a 9-1 edge. Four consecutive walks forced a run home followed by James' bases-clearing triple off the wall in center. Sophomore Ryne Roper brought home James with an RBI groundout.

Illinois finished 7-2 during its nine-game homestand at Illinois Field.

Due to expected cold temperatures in East Lansing on Friday, this weekend's Big Ten series between No. 17 Illinois and Michigan State has been moved to Saturday through Monday at McLane Baseball Stadium. Each game is scheduled to begin at Noon CT.

Information of fightingillini.com

14 of 18 Candidates Make Appearance At Special Community Event

The Clinton Area Chamber of Commerce and The Big 1520 AM/92.3 FM WHOW, 95.9 FM WEZC and dewittdailynews.com co-hosted a meet the candidates forum that was open to the public.

Around 50 were in attendance to hear from 14 of the 18 candidates that will appear on the ballot in April. Candidates for the Clinton Board of Education and the City Council of Clinton fielded questions relevant to their respective areas of service. Each was also given the opportunity before and after to express their platforms.

Mike Bray is challenging for Commissioner of Streets and Public Improvements on the Clinton City Council. Bray says he wants to see improvements to streets, and adress the Clinton Power Station, the Dr. John Warner Hospital and economic development.

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Clinton Mayor Carolyn Peters is being challenged for her seat. She points to the many accomplishments under her tenure, however, she credits the community for those accomplishments, and calls herself only a "facilitator".

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For Commissioner of Public Health and Safety, Danny Ballenger is challenging for a seat at the Council. He says major change needs to come to the Department. He feels the fire department is understaffed and there are other major problems within the department that need addressed.

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Incumber Commissioner of Streets and Public Property, Nan Crang says her platform four years ago was an opportunity for change. She believes she has accomplished some of the things she set out to, and says she has more to accomplish.

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Former Mayor, and challenger for Mayor this year, Roger Cyrulik focused on economic development. Additionally, he wants to focus on the Dr. John Warner Hospital.

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Commissioner Jerry Milton is the current Commissioner of Public Health and Safety. He is being challenged and defends his departments. He says they are well trained and they have a healthy number of staff.

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Commissioner John Wise is running unopposed for the Commissioner of Public Property. He points to several accomplishments he has seen through and points out, despite running unopposed, he will continue to work for and listen to the residents of the community.

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Because of health reasons, Commissioner of Finances, Tom Edmunds could not be a part of the night before the community. He too, is running unopposed.

Among the topics addressed among the Council members included economic development, funding challenges, the Dr. John Warner Hospital and a new fire station.

Former Principal of Clinton High School, Ron Connor will be on the Board of Education. He explains his sole focus is to do what is best for the kids of the school.

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A teacher is Lincoln is seeking a seat on the Board of Education. Chris Hammer is a life long time resident of Clinton. He explains he has coached football here and currently teaches and holds several leadership roles at Lincoln High School.

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Mike Walker is seeking a seat on the Board of Education. Walker calls himself dedicated, community oriented, and experienced. He feels he has made a large impact within the school district.

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Incumbent Russell Long is seeking re-election to the Board of Education. He points to the many areas of oversight he has had in his professional career and feels he has extensive knowledge in them as well. He also points to his hiring experience.

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Long time community member Evan Severson is seeking a spot on the Board of Education. He is running to give back. He hopes the community will consider his qualifications as a CPA and his experience dealing with money.

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Incumbent Board Member Nancy Stokowski addressed a number of issues that weren't addressed Tuesday night such as transportation and facilities. She points to the many things that have gone on during her time on the Board of Education.

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Former teacher in the Clinton School District, Mitchi Tucker says her experience will allow her to be an effective Board of Education member. She feels she sets herself to a standard of excellence that can be evidenced through her former students.

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Among the topics discussed among the School Board of Education candidates included a new Superintendent starting this summer, the future of the Exelon Power Station and it's funding of the school system, and bullying.

Keep it tuned to Regional Radio News leading up to the election as we'll highlight all the topics discussed Tuesday night.

NCAA Basketball Notes

>>K-State Dismisses Guard Foster

Kansas State has dismissed sophomore guard Marcus Foster and freshman guard Tre
Harris from its basketball program.

Foster led the Wildcats in scoring in each of his two seasons in Manhattan, though he
took a step back after a promising freshman campaign. After averaging 15.5 points per
game and leading KSU to the 2014 NCAA Tournament, he posted 12.5 points per game
while struggling with his shot as a sophomore.

 width=Harris made 21 appearances in his lone season with the Wildcats, averaging 3.8 points
in 10 minutes per game.

Circumstances surrounding the dismissals have not been released.

>>Arizona State Fires Coach

Arizona State has fired men's basketball coach Herb Sendek.

In a statement released Tuesday, ASU vice president for university athletics Ray
Anderson cited the lack of competitiveness by the program as the main reason for the

Sendek's squad went 18-16 this season, losing in the second round of the NIT to
Richmond. The Sun Devils were 9-9 in Pac-12 play.

Overall, Sendek went 159-137 in nine years at ASU, earning conference coach of the
year honors in 2009-10. He took the Sun Devils to the NCAA Tournament just twice, first
in 2009 and again in 2014.

In 22 seasons as a head coach, which also includes 10 seasons at NC State and three
years at Miami-Ohio, Sendek's record is 413-295.

Warriors Pull Past Trail Blazers

Steph Curry posted 33 points and 10 assists, outdueling his counterpart Damian Lillard
and leading the Golden State Warriors to a 122-108 win over the ailing Portland Trail

 width=Andrew Bogut finished with 10 points, 16 rebounds and six assists for the Warriors,
winners in 12 of their last 13 games. Andre Iguodala netted 21 points off the bench, Klay
Thompson scored 16 and Draymond Green flirted with a triple-double, tallying 14
points, 11 rebounds and eight assists.

Lillard did all he could to keep the short-handed Blazers afloat, pouring in 29 points
with seven rebounds and five assists. C.J. McCollum recorded a career-high 23 points off
the bench.

Portland fell to 3-5 this season without All-Star forward LaMarcus Aldridge, who
sprained his index finger earlier in the week. Nicolas Batum (back) and Chris Kaman
(shoulder) were also out of the lineup.

NBA Scoreboard
Detroit 108, Toronto 104
Dallas 101, San Antonio 94
Milwaukee 89, Miami 88
Oklahoma City 127, LA Lakers 117
Sacramento 107, Philadelphia 106
Golden State 122, Portland 108

Baseball Notes

>>Dodgers Sign Cuban Prospect

The Los Angeles Dodgers and Cuban free agent second baseman Hector Olivera have
reportedly agreed to terms on a six-year contract.

The Los Angeles Times reported that the contract is worth $62.5 million over the length
of the contract and includes a $28 million signing bonus.

Olivera, who will turn 30 on April 5, was a standout offensive player in Cuba and can
also play third base. He was ranked as the No. 4 prospect at the 2009 World Baseball
Classic by Baseball America.

 width=Multiple teams were, however, concerned about Olivera's health. He missed the 2012-
13 season with what was said to be a blood clot in his left arm and may reportedly need
surgery to repair a damaged ulnar collateral ligament on his throwing arm.

The highly-touted infielder is not the first Cuban defector to sign with the Dodgers in
recent years, as Yasiel Puig, Alex Guerrero, Erisbel Arruebarrena and Pablo Millan
Fernandez have also left their native country to play in Los Angeles.

The Yankees, Braves, Marlins, Giants and Padres were all reported to be interested in
signing Olivera.

>>Twins Ink 2B Dozier

The Minnesota Twins have signed second baseman Brian Dozier to a four-year contract
worth $20 million.

Dozier's new deal will carry him through 2018 and buys out his remaining three years
of salary arbitration. He will earn $2 million this season and $3 million in 2016 before a
raise to $6 million in 2017 and $9 million in 2018.

The 27-year-old native of Mississippi batted .242 with 23 homers, 33 doubles, 71 RBI,
21 stolen bases and 112 runs scored in 156 games last season. He became the third
Twin to hit at least 20 homers, steal 20 bases and score 100 runs, joining Kirby Puckett
(1986) and Corey Koskie (2001).

Dozier broke into the majors in 2012 and owns a career .241 batting average with 47
homers, 77 doubles and 170 RBI in 387 big league games.

Bears Sign DL McDonald

 width=The Chicago Bears have agreed to a one-year contract with former San Francisco 49ers
defensive end Ray McDonald.

Bringing in McDonald, who played under new Bears defensive coordinator Vic Fangio in
San Francisco, could be controversial for Chicago given his issues with the law.

The 49ers cut McDonald in December after a woman accused him of sexually assaulting
her following a night of drinking in which she injured her head in a fall by his swimming

The team also announced Tuesday a one-year deal with defensive end Jarvis Jenkins,
who spent the past four years with the Washington Redskins.

>>Eagles Sign Matthews, Mays

The Minnesota Vikings signed linebacker Casey Matthews and safety Taylor Mays on

Mays, a five-year veteran, spent the past four seasons with Cincinnati and totaled nine
tackles, a sack and a safety in 16 contests in 2014.

A second-round pick of San Francisco in 2010, he was traded to Cincinnati a year later.

Over 66 games during his career, which has included 10 starts, Mays has totaled 98
tackles, one sack, six passes defensed and a safety.

Matthews spent his first four seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles and in 2014totaled
62 tackles and 1 1/2 sacks in 16 games (11 starts).

The Oregon product, who was taken by Philadelphia in the fourth round of the 2011
draft, totaled 72 tackles and 2 1/2 sacks in 65 games (15 starts) with the Eagles.

Blues Drop Penguins in Pittsburgh

 width=Alex Steen recorded the game-winner just 35 seconds into overtime and St. Louis ended
a road trip with a 3-2 decision over Pittsburgh at CONSOL Energy Center.

Zbynek Michalek held the puck at the right point, raised his stick and faked a shot
before slapping a cross-ice pass to Steen for a successful deflection.

Robert Bortuzzo and Marcel Goc scored in the second period for the Blues, who head
home after going 3-1-2 on their six-game sojourn.

Jake Allen emerged victorious with a 24-save effort.

Blake Comeau and Steve Downie lit the lamp for the Penguins, who lost for the fifth
time in their last six.

Marc-Andre Fleury suffered the setback despite stopping 32 shots.

NHL Scoreboard
Columbus 5, Anaheim 3
Los Angeles 4, NY Rangers 2
Minnesota 2, NY Islanders 1 (SO)
Tampa Bay 4, Florida 3
Arizona 5, Detroit 4 (OT)
Nashville 3, Montreal 2 (OT)
Vancouver 5, Winnipeg 2

Monticello Drops Arthur

The Montiecllo Sages scored two runs in the top of the seventh inning, and three
starters combined to hold Arthur to a run Tuesday afternoon, as Monticello rallied to a
2-1 win.

 width=Daniel Caldwell drove in the go ahead run to give the Sages the lead.

Tyler Jones started going 4 innings, giving up a run on two walks and four strikeouts.

Daniel Peterson and Jacob Burton collected a pair of hits and Jones reached twice on
base on balls.

Konnor Bundy and Cam Wittig closed out the final three innings for the victory.

Monticello has started their season a red hot 6-0 and travel to Shelbyville this afternoon.

95.9 FM WEZC and dewittdailynews.com will be broadcasting a "Monticello Game of the
Week" starting Friday when the Sages travel to Cerro Gordo.

Broadcast time will be just short of game time, which is set for 4:30.

DeWitt County Sheriff's Report for 3-24

Jail Population: 42

Paper Services: 1

Warrants: 1

Alberta Mileham, 31, Clinton, was arrested on a DeWitt County Warrant charging her with Canc/Revoke/Suspend Regis/IL/FTA.  Mileham posted the necessary bond and was released.

Paul Squires, 50, Champaign, was issued a citation for Operating Uninsured Vehicle.  Squires was given a Notice to Appear and was released.

Kurt Asmussen, 43, Warrensburg, was issued a citation for Wrong Way in a One Way.  Asmussen promised to comply and was released.

Michael Beul, 32, Norfolk, was issued a citation for Speeding (65 mph in a 45 mph zone).  Buel promised to comply and was released.



DeWitt County Sheriff's Weekend Report

Jail Population: 42

Paper Services: 10

Warrants: 0

Rodney Sinclaie, 57, Decatur was arrested and charge with Contempt of Court (Macon County). Sinclair posted the necessary bond and was released.

Jordan Gravitt, 27, Wapella was arrested on a In State Warrant. Gravitt posted the necessary bond and was released.

Darren Williams, 23, Waynesville was issued a Citation for Failure to Wear Seat Belt. Williams was issued a Promise to Comply and was released.

Matthew Pickens, 28, Decatur was issued a Citation for Speeding 75 MPH in a 55 MPH Zone. Pickens was issues a Promise to Comply and was released.

Thad Coakley, 43, Illiopolis was issued a Citation for Speeding 71 MPH in a 55 MPH Zone. Coakley was issued a Promise to Comply and was released.

Michaela Kitson, 20, Clinton was issued a Citation for Speeding 70 MPH in a 55 MPH Zone. Kitson was issued a Promise to Comply and was released.

Trevor Jones, 21, Atlanta was issued a Citation for Speeding 78 MPH in a 55 MPH Zone. Jones was issued a Promise to Comply and was released.

Miguel Guerrero, 33, Clinton was issued a Citation for Speeding 74 MPH in a 55 MPH Zone. Guerrero was issued a Promise to Comply and was released.

Brian Charron, 43, Clinton was issued Citations for Driving Under Influence  and Driving while License Revoked. Charron was arrested for Driving Under Influence. Charron unable to post the necessary bond remains lodged in the DeWitt County Jail.








DeWitt County Sheriff's Report for March 20

Jail Population: 47

Paper Services: 4

Warrants: 1

William Wheeler, 24, Clinton was arrested on a DeWitt County Warrant charging him with Disorderly Conduct/ FTA. Wheeler posted the necessary bond and was released.




DeWitt County Sheriff's Report for March 19

Jail Population: 44

Paper Services: 5

Warrants: 1

Jacob McPeek, 33, Clinton was arrested on a DeWitt County Warrant charging him with Violate Order of Protection/ FTA. McPeek posted the necessary bond and was released.

Joyce Todd, 79, Mount Pulaski was issued Citations for Failure to Wear Seat Belt and No Valid License. Todd was issued a Notice to Appear and was released.

Bala Pujari, 40, Natrona Heights, PA was issued a Citation for Speeding 77 MPH in a 55 MPH Zone. Pujari was issued a Promise to Comply and was released.

Amanda Mudd, 23, Crest Hill was issued a Citation for Speeding 66 MPH in a 45 MPH Zone. Mudd was issued a Promise to Comply and was released.

Holly Isaacson, 29, Bloomington was issued a Citation for Speeding 66 MPH in a 45 MPH Zone. Isaacson was issued a Promise to Comply and was released.






Former County Treasurer Passes Away

 width=Long time DeWitt County Treasurer Christy Long passed Saturday morning.

Long served as the DeWitt County Treasurer for 25 years. She resigned the post earlier this year.

She is survived by her daughter, Hanna Davis Long of Clinton, brother Richard Davis of Farmer City, and sister Carol Davis of Kuttawa, KY.

Memorial service will be 6 P.M. Thursday, March 26, 2015 at Calvert Funeral Home, Clinton, IL. Friends may call from 4 – 6 P.M. Thursday at Calvert Funeral Home.

Memorials may be made to Second Chance Pet Adoption, DOVE or the American Cancer Society.

Long was 58.

Maroa-Forsyth Community At Crossroads With Education

In two weeks, voters in the Maroa-Forsyth School district will be tasked with making a decision that could have major implications for the district.

A property tax increase proposal will be on the ballot Tuesday, April 7, as voters in Maroa-Forsyth must decide whether they will support the school district's bottom line, or face further cuts. To Superintendent Mike Williams, a vote of support would keep the district from making further reductions on an already bare-minimum budget.

[audio:3241585237-32415mfvote1.mp3] [/audio]

Unlike the taxes that come from the sales-tax referendum of a couple years ago in Macon County, the money generated from this tax will be able to go straight to the education fund, which encompasses teachers salaries and books. Williams says a special committee made the recommendation to go above and beyond what he thought would be enough for the district.

[audio:3241585241-32415mfvote2.mp3] [/audio]

According to Williams, the revenue generated would come in at just short of $1-million annually. He points out it would allow the district to begin replenishing their reserves, which he notes, are starting to dwindle.

[audio:3241585243-32415mfvote3.mp3] [/audio]

The election is two weeks away, April 7.

CHS Students To Hear About Helping Those Battling Depression

Clinton High School was struck with tragedy earlier this year when a student took his own life, now, administrators are hoping an upcoming workshop will help better prepare them to handle a potential situation in the future.

Senior Evan Workman passed away tragically in September and this week, administrators at Clinton High School hope a special workshop will help them better understand and approach people struggling with depression or even suicide. Jerry Wayne, Principal of Clinton High School wants to give students the knowledge to provide help in a proper way to help them.

[audio:3241585225-32415depresshelp1.mp3] [/audio]

Students will learn about the knowing what a person with depression will do and look like, how they will act, and Wayne says while literature and electronic presentations can provide good information, he feels, it might be more impactful coming from someone who has been through it.

[audio:3241585229-32415depresshelp2.mp3] [/audio]

Timing of this training was of great concern for Wayne as he prepared for this. Wayne explains he inquired about how soon is too soon and when is a good time frame to once again bring the subject back up. It was recommended a semester of time be the approximate healing period.

[audio:3241585234-32415depresshelp3.mp3] [/audio]

This Friday is the final day before Spring Break for the students. Wayne indicates each class will be addressed individually through the course of the day. His Facebook page, for more information, is called "Finding Hope" and anyone with inquiries or questions should direct themselves there.

DJWH Board Approves Management Firm Hiring

The Doctor John Warner Hospital Board approved a motion to begin negotiations with a hospital management firm to help run the hospital on Monday night.

After hearing proposals from two firms, Quorum Health Resources and Alliant Management Services, the Board's Personnel Committee met last week to review the pros and cons of each firm. Personnel Committee Chair Joanna Holtman explained every Board Member attended last week's meeting. Each member also received input from various community members and medical leaders.

[audio:3241590223-32415Alliant1.mp3] [/audio]

The Board felt each company had postive aspects that would benefit DJWH. Holtman noted the conclusion reached was to authorize Board President Cindy Saylors to enter negotiations with Alliant. The proposed contract will be brought back to the Board for a final vote.

[audio:3241590225-32415Alliant2.mp3] [/audio]

The motion was approved 4-1 with Evan Severson voting no.

Stay tuned to Regional Radio News for more information regarding good news regarding DJWH's financial situation .

Everth Jumps To 40th in World After Arnold Palmer Win

 width=Matt Every outlasted Henrik Stenson to successfully defend his title at the Arnold Palmer Invitational on Sunday and that victory propelled him up to No. 40 in the world rankings.

Every, who's lone two wins on the PGA Tour have now come at the same event, jumped 56 spots from No. 96 to No. 40 in the world.

Rory McIlroy finished tied for 11th in his third PGA Tour start of the season, and while his average points dipped by 0.23, the Ulsterman is still in firm control of the No. 1 ranking.

Stenson, who finished runner-up and earned his third consecutive top-10 finish, moved up one and back to No. 2 after a couple weeks in the third spot. Stenson swapped spots with Bubba Watson, who fell one to No. 3.

Jason Day and Adam Scott also traded places, with Day up to four and Scott falling to five.

The remainder of the top-16 stayed the same. Jordan Spieth, Jim Furyk, Sergio Garcia, Dustin Johnson, Justin Rose, Rickie Fowler, Martin Kaymer, Jimmy Walker, Matt Kuchar, Patrick Reed and Hideki Matsuyama are Nos. 6-16 once again.

Former NFL Safety Gets 20 Years in Sexual Assault Case

 width=Former NFL star Darren Sharper will be sentenced to 20 years in prison after pleading guilty to rape charges in Louisiana, according to a report.

The deal is part of a "global" resolution to settle multiple sexual assault cases against the former Pro Bowl safety in four states.

The New Orleans Times-Picayune, citing an unnamed lawyer familiar with the case, reported Monday that Sharper has agreed to plead guilty to two counts of forcible rape and one count of simple rape. He is scheduled to appear in court in New Orleans on April 6.

Sharper was sentenced to concurrent nine-year sentences in two other states on Monday after reaching plea deals in Arizona and California.

Crawford Leads Blackhawks Past Hurricanes

 width=Corey Crawford stole two points for Chicago on Monday night.

The Blackhawks goaltender made 43 saves, 15 in the third period, to backstop his team to a 3-1 win over the Carolina Hurricanes.

Andrew Shaw opened the scoring and added an empty-net goal for Chicago, which was coming off a 4-0 loss to Dallas on Saturday and trails Central Division- leading St. Louis by three points with a game in hand.

Two personal milestones were reached by members of the Blackhawks. Captain Jonathan Toews picked up the 500th point of his career with an assist on Shaw's second tally with 40 seconds remaining, and Joel Quenneville earned his 750th win as a head coach.

Anton Khudobin stopped 22 shots for the Hurricanes, who have dropped four straight and seven of their last eight games overall.

NHL Scoreboard
Los Angeles 3, New Jersey 1
Ottawa 5, San Jose 2
Minnesota 2, Toronto 1
Dallas 4, Buffalo 3
Calgary 3, Colorado 2
Winnipeg 4, Edmonton 1

>>NHL Dishes Out Weekly Honors

Two goaltenders -- Winnipeg Jets netminder Ondrej Pavelec and Tampa Bay's Ben Bishop -- along with Ottawa Senators forward Kyle Turris were selected as the NHL's top players for the week ending March 22.

Pavelec earned the First Star after posting a 3-0-0 record, league-best .970 save percentage and 0.97 GAA to help the Jets jump into the final wild-card slot in the Western Conference. His best performance of the week was a 28- save, 3-0 shutout victory over Washington on Saturday night.

Turris netted the Second Star honors by posting an NHL-best four goals and tied for the lead with six points as Ottawa recorded three victories to remain in the playoff chase. He posted three points (2G, 1A) in a 6-4 win over the Bruins last Thursday.

Bishop took home Third Star after he won all three of his starts last week, posting a 2.00 GAA and .935 save percentage for the Lightning, who are challenging Montreal for the top spot in the Atlantic Division.

Bulls Clinch Playoff Spot

 width=Nikola Mirotic scored 14 of his 28 points in the fourth quarter and the Chicago Bulls clinched a playoff berth with a 98-86 win over the Charlotte Hornets on Monday night.

Pau Gasol added 27 points and 12 rebounds to pick up his 47th double-double of the season for Chicago, which won for the third time in four games after a 1-5 stretch.

The Bulls gained a half-game on idle Cleveland for first place in the Central Division and now sit three games back. They moved within percentage points of idle Toronto for the third seed in the Eastern Conference.

Jimmy Butler scored 19 points in the win and Aaron Brooks had 13 points and 10 assists.

Kemba Walker scored 29 points to lead the Hornets, who fell to 2-6 since a season high-tying five-game winning streak. They finished 1-4 on a five-game road trip and fell a half-game behind Boston for the last playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

Mo Williams added 15 points in the loss and Gerald Henderson scored 11.

NBA Scoreboard
Houston 110, Indiana 100
Boston 110, Brooklyn 91
Memphis 103, New York 82
Minnesota 106, Utah 104 (OT)
Golden State 107, Washington 76

White Sox Acquire Neftali Soto

 width=Infielder Neftali Soto has been traded from the Cincinanti Reds to the Chicago White Sox.

The 26-year-old was a third-round pick in the 2007 amateur draft. He was on Cincinnati's opening-day roster last year, then was sent to Triple-A Louisville on May 22.

Soto was called up from July 12 to July 19, made four starts and had three hits in 30 at-bats.

The Reds assigned him outright to Louisville after the season. He became a free agent and signed a minor league deal with the Reds in December.

Soto has appeared in four spring training games with the Reds, going 2 for 7.

Illini Lefty Gets Big Ten Pitcher of the Week Honors; Move Up In Latest Polls

University of Illinois junior Kevin Duchene became the third Illini this season to win Big Ten Pitcher of the Week honors, announced the conference office Monday. The Joliet, Illinois, native only gave up two hits and did not allow an earned run over seven innings in Friday night's 13-1 win, which snapped USF's nine-game winning streak.

 width=Duchene improved to 3-1 on the season and lowered his ERA to 0.67, which ranks second in the Big Ten. He fanned eight and only allowed one base on balls, giving him 32 strikeouts (3rd in Big Ten) and two walks (2nd in Big Ten) on the year. He has limited opponents to a .167 average (4th in Big Ten), with only 16 hits in 27 innings pitched.

Duchene collected his third career Big Ten Pitcher of the Week laurel, as we won it as both a freshman (5/13/13) and sophomore (3/3/14). UI hurlers have earned half the weekly awards in 2015, with all three being LHP: Duchene (March 23), Tyler Jay (March 9) and Rob McDonnell (Feb. 16).

>>Illini Move Up In Polls

The Illini moved up one spot to No. 17 in the D1Baseball.com Top 25, marking the program's highest ranking since finishing No. 16 in the 1990 Baseball America final poll.
Illinois is also ranked No. 21 by Perfect Game, No. 22 by Collegiate Baseball and the USA TODAY Coaches Poll, No. 25 by Baseball America and No. 26 by NCBWA.

No. 17 Illinois will host two midweek games at Illinois Field today against Illinois State at 4 p.m. and tomorrow against Kent State at 3 p.m.

A trip to East Lansing for their first Big Ten series at Michigan State is on the horizon this weekend.

Groce Says Team Didn't Finish Tough or Together

 width=Illinois coach John Groce said his team handled injuries and suspensions to make the most of its first 31 games. That left the Illini on the verge of a spot in the NCAA Tournament.

But the last three games left the Illini in the National Invitation Tournament and, finally, done for the season.

Groce said Monday that Illinois' trouble started in the second half of the regular-season finale at Purdue. It ended with a blowout loss to Alabama in the NIT.

Groce said the Illini didn't play tough or together in those games, and players and coaches share the blame.

Groce said he won't have any idea whether anyone might transfer until he meets with players next week.

Groce also said he understands fan unhappiness with the season's disappointing ending.

>>Former UCLA Coach, Howland, Named Coach At Mississippi State

en Howland has been named the new men's basketball coach at Mississippi State, the university announced Monday night.

The school acted quickly after Ricky Ray was fired on Saturday after just three seasons. Mississippi State finished 37-60 during Ray's brief tenure, including 13-19 this past season.

Howland has been out of coaching since March 2013 when he was fired by UCLA after 10 seasons with the Bruins. He guided UCLA to a record of 233-107 with seven NCAA Tournament berths, including three consecutive Final Four appearances from 2006-08.

Despite the success, Howland was fired after a 25-10 season in 2012-13. The Bruins won the Pac-12 regular-season title that year, but fell to Oregon in the conference tournament championship game and lost to Minnesota in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

ISU Falls Short To Old Dominion

Jonathan Arledge made the go-ahead layup with 19 seconds and Old Dominion held off Illinois State 50-49 on Monday in the second round of the NIT for its 23rd straight win at home.

It's the seventh-longest active home winning streak in the country.

Illinois State's MiKyle McIntosh missed two free throws with 4.3 seconds left. Then Ambrose Mosley missed the frontend of a 1-and-1 for ODU, but the Redbirds turned it over on their final play.

Arledge had 10 points for ODU (26-7) and reserve guard Keenan Palmore scored a season-high 11, subbing for starter Trey Freeman who played sparingly due to an ankle injury.

Knight led the Redbirds with 14 points and DeVaughn Akoon-Purcell added 13.

Illinois State (22-13) handed ODU its worst loss of the season, 64-45, in November in the Virgin Islands.

Fighting Off ID Theft Delaying Tax Refunds

The waits for Illinois tax returns continue to be longer than last year and state budget woes aren't the reason.

Illinois Department of Revenue spokesman Terry Horstman says trying to thwart ID thieves has cut into IDOR's turnaround time.

[audio:3231562822-returns0.mp3] [/audio]

Horstman says with the growing trend of ID theft involved tax fraud, the department is taking a better safe than sorry approach.

[audio:3231562824-returns1.mp3] [/audio]

Wait times for a typical electronic return have reached two to three weeks.

White Closer To Closing Loopholes For Interlock Drivers

Legislation proposed by Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White requiring Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Devices (BAIID) to be installed on all vehicles used by DUI offenders gets a thumbs up from the Illinois House.

Spokesman Dave Drucker says House Bill 1377 seeks to ensure BAIIDs are installed on all cars driven by DUI offenders, including rental cars.

[audio:3231563046-Whiterentals1.mp3] [/audio]

Currently the law only requires the use of the BAIID system for vehicles those drivers own.

Local Unemployment Figures Not Positive In January

Unemployment figures in Illinois increased in many local counties throughout January as local unemployment figures were released Thursday afternoon.

DeWitt County saw unemployment increase from 5.6% in December to 6.2 in January.

Piatt County grew a whole percentage point, going from 4.8% to 5.8%.

Macon County's unemployment also increased by a percent going from 7% in December to8% in January.

Logan County saw unemployment go from 5.5% to 6.3%.

Unemployment in McLean County grew in January, going from 4.8% to 5.4%.

In Champaign County, employment also increased,up to 5.8%.

Unemployment in Sangamon County increased to 6%.

The highest unemployment rate was at 9.7% in Johnson County.

Brown County once again had the state's lowest unemployment rate at 4%.

The state's unemployment increased going from 5.8% in December to 6.9% in January. The national unemployment rate dropped from 6.1% to 5.4%.

DeWitt County Board Recognizes Local Volunteers, Encouraging Volunteering From Community

The DeWitt County Board Chair is encouraging community volunteerism next month.

Thursday night's Board meeting saw Board Chair David Newberg read a proclamation for National Volunteer Week in 2015. He noted the need for volunteers in all communities will be recognized throughout the country during the week in April. National Volunteer Week will also look to honor those who are committed to service.

[audio:3231563206-32315volunteer1.mp3] [/audio]

The proclamation also stated that private citizens should step up and give of themselves where government is unable to. Newberg stated strong volunteerism contributes greatly to a strong and vital community.

[audio:3231563208-32315volunteer2.mp3] [/audio]

Newberg concluded the proclamation by thanking Silvia Comfort ,with DeWitt County RSVP ,who has given sixteen years of service to DeWitt County. Comfort will be relocating soon and an open house in her honor will be held at the DeWitt County Friendship Center from 3-6pm today.

National Volunteer Week in DeWitt County will be observed April 12-18.

Every Takes Arnold Palmer Championship

 width=Matt Every came from behind on Sunday to win the Arnold Palmer Invitational for a second straight year.

Every fired a 6-under 66 to end at 19-under-par 269. He followed Tiger Woods as the second straight back-to-back winner at this event.

Third-round leader Henrik Stenson posted a 2-under 70. The Swede finished alone in second at minus-18. Stenson was the ninth straight 54-hole leader that failed to win.

Matt Jones, who will defend his title in two weeks at the Houston Open, carded a 4-under 68 in the final round at Bay Hill Golf Club and Lodge to grab third place 17-under-par 271.

Morgan Hoffmann, who led after the first and second rounds, closed with his second straight 71 to slide into fourth place at minus-15. Ben Martin (71) took fifth at minus-14.

Keselowski Wins Thrilling Finish At Fontana

Brad Keselowski led only one lap -- the final one -- to win Sunday's Sprint Cup Series race in thrilling fashion at Auto Club Speedway.

The Auto Club 400 featured two green-white-checkered finish attempts. Kurt Busch, the pole sitter, led the way for the final restart with two laps to go, but after completing the penultimate lap, Keselowski moved to the inside of Busch and then passed him for the lead between turns 1 and 2.

 width=Greg Biffle wrecked on the frontstretch during the last lap, but NASCAR did not display the caution flag, allowing the field to finish the race under green.

Busch attempted to reclaim the lead, but coming out of the final turn, he bounced off of the wall, which helped Kevin Harvick, his Stewart-Haas Racing teammate and defending Sprint Cup champion, grab the second position.

Keselowski beat Harvick to the finish line by 0.7 seconds for his first win of the season and the 17th of his Sprint Cup career. Busch ended up finishing third after leading a race-high 65 laps.

Keselowski became the fourth driver to virtually assure himself a spot in this year's Chase for the Sprint Cup championship. He joins his Team Penske teammate, Joey Logano, as well as Jimmie Johnson and Harvick.

Dodgers Expect LHP Ryu To Start Season on DL

Los Angeles Dodgers starter Hyun-Jin Ryu is expected to start the 2015 season on the disabled list when he experienced more shoulder soreness on Sunday.

 width=The Dodgers sent the lefty back to Los Angeles to be examined by Dr. Neal ElAttrache, four days after receiving a cortisone injection intended to alleviate his discomfort.

Ryu first reported the soreness after last Tuesday's Cactus League start. He made just two spring training starts totaling five innings after dealing with back soreness at the start of camp.

Early last season, Ryu experienced shoulder inflammation and had to go on the disabled list, and he pitched through fatigue in September.

In two seasons with the Dodgers, the 27-year-old Ryu owns a 28-15 record with a 3.17 ERA in 344 innings.

NCAA Tournament Sunday Recap

 width=>>Wichita State Dominates In State Rival Kansas To Get To Sweet-16

Tekele Cotton scored 19 points to lead five Wichita State players in double figures as the Shockers posted a 78-65 win over the Kansas Jayhawks in the NCAA Tournament on Sunday.

Fred VanVleet totaled 17 points, six rebounds, six assists and four steals for the seventh-seeded Shockers (30-4), who advanced to the Sweet 16 for the second time in three years. They will face Notre Dame in the Midwest Region semifinals.

Evan Wessel provided a spark for the Shockers in the Sunflower State showdown, scoring 12 points on four 3-pointers and grabbing nine rebounds. Ron Baker also had 12 points and Darius Carter added 10.

Perry Ellis and Devonte' Graham contributed 17 points apiece for second-seeded Kansas (27-9), which was held to 35.1 percent shooting in the first meeting between the schools since Jan. 6, 1993.

 width=>>Wisconsin Gets By Oregon For Second Straight Year

It was exactly one year ago that Wisconsin and Oregon battled for a Sweet 16 berth.

The two teams clashed Sunday in the NCAA Tournament with the same stakes.

Once again, Wisconsin prevailed.

Sam Dekker scored 17 points, Frank Kaminsky had 16 and the top-seeded Badgers posted a 72-65 win over the Ducks.

The win by Wisconsin (33-3) sets up a matchup with fourth-seeded North Carolina in the West Region semifinals in Los Angeles.

Joseph Young poured in 30 points for the eighth-seeded Ducks (26-10), who last year squandered a double-digit, second-half lead and lost 85-77 to the Badgers in the tourney's third round in Milwaukee.

 width=>>Michigan State Upsets Second-Seed Virginia

Travis Trice scored 13 of his 23 points in the opening 5 1/2 minutes of the game to give Michigan State the lead and the Spartans managed to hold on for a 60-54 victory over Virginia, knocking the Cavaliers out of the NCAA Tournament for the second year in a row.

Branden Dawson added 15 points, nine rebounds and four blocks for the Spartans (25-11), who are seeded seventh in the East Region and advanced to the Sweet 16 for the seventh time in the last eight years. Michigan State will next play third-seeded Oklahoma on Friday in Syracuse.

Anthony Gill scored 11 points for Virginia and Darion Atkins contributed 10 with 14 rebounds in defeat. The Cavaliers (30-4) became the first ACC team to lose in this year's tournament, as the conference won its first nine games prior to Sunday.

These teams also met last year in the NCAA Tournament, as Michigan State knocked off a top-seeded Virginia squad in the East Region semifinals at Madison Square Garden by a 61-59 decision.

Michigan State's victory opens the door in the East Region as top-seeded Villanova was knocked off Saturday by North Carolina State.

 width=>>Louisville Takes Down Northern Iowa

Terry Rozier led the way with 25 points and seven assists as Louisville defeated Northern Iowa 66-53 in the third round of the NCAA Tournament on Sunday.

Montrezl Harrell chipped in with 14 points and six rebounds, while Quentin Snider and Wayne Blackshear each scored 10 for the fourth-seeded Cardinals (26-8), who will face eighth-seeded North Carolina State Friday in their fourth straight Sweet 16 appearance.

Seth Tuttle provided 14 points and seven boards, while Nate Buss had 11 points for the fifth-seeded Panthers (31-4), who were coming off a 74-54 victory over Wyoming in the second round.

Sunday NCAA Tournament Scoreboard
Duke 68, San Diego State 49
Gonzaga 87, Iowa 68
Oklahoma 72, Dayton 66

Paul, Griffin Lead Clippers Past Pelicans

 width=Chris Paul and Blake Griffin both scored 23 points and DeAndre Jordan was his usual dominant self on the glass as the Los Angeles Clippers took down the New Orleans Pelicans 107-100.

Paul added 11 assists, seven rebounds and four steals, Jordan grabbed 16 rebounds and J.J. Redick scored 20 points for the Clippers, winners in four straight.

The Clippers have won six straight games in which Redick has scored at least 20 points.

>>NBA Scoreboard
San Antonio 114, Atlanta 95
Cleveland 108, Milwaukee 90
Oklahoma City 93, Miami 75
Toronto 106, New York 89
Detroit 105, Boston 97
Denver 119, Orlando 110
Sacramento 109, Washington 86
Charlotte 109, Minnesota 98
Phoenix 98, Dallas 92
LA Lakers 101, Philadelphia 87

Blues Fall in OT To Detroit

 width=Justin Abdelkader scored a power-play goal 24 seconds into overtime, lifting the Detroit Red Wings to a 2-1 victory over the St. Louis Blues on Sunday.

Patrik Berglund was whistled for tripping with 1:21 to play in regulation and the third-period horn sounded before the Red Wings could take advantage.

Abdelkader finished with a goal and an assist, Erik Cole also scored and Jimmy Howard made 23 stops for the Red Wings, who had lost four of five coming in.

Alexander Steen scored the only goal while Allen turned aside 23 shots for the Blues, who have lost three straight.

Detroit was 1-for-6 on the power play, while St. Louis went 1- for-4 with the extra skater.

St. Louis plays in Pittsburgh on Tuesday.

>>Rangers Stay Hot, Blast Ducks


The Ducks' quest to become the top team in the National Hockey League turned out to be a blowout ... for all the wrong reasons.

Derek Stepan broke out of a scoring slump with two goals and one assist, while Keith Yandle contributed three helpers, as the New York Rangers pounded Anaheim by a 7-2 count at Madison Square Garden on Sunday night.

Chris Kreider, Carl Hagelin, J.T. Miller, Jesper Fast and Derick Brassard also tallied for the Rangers, who pumped home a season high in goals and have won seven of their last eight.

Cam Talbot backed the torrent of goals with a 36-save performance.

Corey Perry notched both goals for the Ducks, who could have moved past idle Montreal into first-overall in the NHL with a win, but now face a tie with the Blueshirts and Habs atop the standings with 99 points.

Frederik Andersen lasted just over half of the opening period having allowed three goals on seven shots in the loss. John Gibson finished the contest with 18 saves.

NHL Scoreboard
Tampa Bay 5, Boston 3
Vancouver 3, Arizona 1

Geno Ford Dismissed As Bradley Basketball Coach

 width=Geno Ford is out as head basketball coach at Bradley after four years.

Director of Athletics Chris Reynolds made the announcement Sunday in a news release.

Ford compiled a 46-86 record during his tenure, including a 9-24 record in the 2014-15 season.

Reynolds says a national search for a new coach will begin immediately.

ISU Resumes NIT Run At Old Dominion

 width=After a first-round NIT win over Green Bay, Illinois State travels to Old Dominion for a second-round matchup with top-seeded Monarchs tonight at the Ted Constant Convocation Center.

ISU (22-12) has won seven of its last eight games.

Old Dominion (25-7) received an at-large bid after the NCAA Men's Basketball Committee announced the Monarchs as one of the "first four teams out" of the NCAA Men's Basketball Championship field, ensuring ODU one of the NIT's four No. 1 seeds.
The Monarchs tied for second in Conference USA before falling in their conference tournament quarterfinals. Last week, they beat eighth-seeded Charleston Southern in the NIT first round.

Game time is set for 7 p.m. to be aired on ESPNU.

The winner meets the winner of tonight's third-seeded Murray State at second-seeded Tulsa game.

Redbirds Sweep Eastern Kentucky

The Illinois State baseball team completed a three-game sweep of Eastern Kentucky with a 7-3 win over the Colonels Sunday at Duffy Bass Field.

 width=Illinois State broke a 3-3 tie with a single tally in the seventh inning before tacking on three insurance runs in the eighth. Daniel Dwyer and Paul DeJong both matched career highs in hits, with three and four, respectively, to lead the Redbird bats.

All four of DeJong's hits were singles. He drove in one run and stole a base. Dwyer's three hits were all singles as well; the junior outfielder scored a game-high three runs.

Jake Sale earned his first win of the season with two perfect innings in relief of starter Jack Landwehr. Ryan Koziol pitched a 1-2-3 ninth inning to finish off the game.

The Redbirds return to action Tuesday when they travel to take on No. 18 Illinois at Illinois Field. First pitch is set for 4 p.m.

Illini Drop Series Finale To USF, Take Series

No. 18 Illinois battled back from a 5-1 deficit to send the finale with USF to extra innings, but came up short in the 10th, 8-5.

Redshirt-senior Reid Roper blasted a 3-run homer in the fifth and senior David Kerian knotted it up 5-5 with an RBI single in the eighth.

 width=Junior J.D. Nielsen relieved starter John Kravetz in the fifth and worked a pair of scoreless stanzas.

With the Illini back in the game at 5-4, junior Nick Blackburn took over in the seventh and posted a zero. Junior Tyler Jay toed the rubber in the eighth and allowed a pair of hits but erased it with a 4-6-3 double play.

Jay breezed through a 1-2-3 ninth, but ran into trouble in the 10th, giving up his first runs of the season. USF (16-8-1) delivered a two-run double and RBI single for an 8-5 advantage, which proved to be the final score. Jay (4-1) suffered his first loss of the year, while the Illini ended the weekend with a record of 17-5-1.

No. 18 Illinois will host two midweek games at Illinois Field on Tuesday against Illinois State and Wednesday against Kent State.

Bill Bans The Use of Drones For Hunting



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Gov. Rauner Defends $250K Salary for Education Secretary

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner is defending the $250,000 salary for a former Chicago charter schools executive who's spearheading his top education initiatives.

Education secretary Beth Purvis is making more than double what her predecessors received. She's the highest-paid member of a Cabinet already under scrutiny for its lofty paychecks.

Speaking in Chicago on Friday, Rauner said Purvis is "well worth every penny."

The Republican says Purvis is tasked with leading a transformation of education and vocational training in Illinois. He says she's "one of the few leaders that can pull that off."

Purvis holds a doctorate in special education and served as CEO of the Chicago International Charter School network from 2003 through last year.

She previously served on education advisory councils under the last two Illinois governors.

Lottery Directors Calls It a Day

Illinois Lottery Director Michael Jones isn't taking a chance on enjoying the coming years. He is resigning effective Friday and he's not exactly using Linked In friendly language in discussing his future. He told Illinois Lottery employees in a recent memo he's headed for the beach and his only plan is to take a "surfing vacation." Jones and former Governor Pat Quinn were under scrutiny for their plan to terminate the contract with Northstar, which was hired to run the lottery. They failed to meet revenue projections. Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan rejected the deal, saying it was too generous and possibly illegal. Jones returned to the lottery chief post in 2011, 26 years after he left a previous stint as Lottery Director.

LaHood on Dad and Politics

A family name might be headed back to the US Congress but the future candidate wants little to do with some of his father’s political decisions. Darin LaHood, the son of former Congressman Ray LaHood is running for the soon to be open seat in the 18th Congressional District. A seat once filled by his father, the LaHood’s are both Republicans but Ray ended his career in government serving in the in the Obama Administration as Secretary of Transportation. Darin says that like any family father and son won’t always agree on politics.

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Governor Bruce Rauner will need to act soon. He has to set a date for a primary for the seat within 5 days of it becoming open. Aaron Schock has said he will serve in the House until the end of March.

Schock Under DOJ Investigation

When embattled Congressman Aaron Schock resigned, many said he was not out of the woods on the ethics front. Now the other shoe has dropped. A source tells the Associated Press the Justice Department has started a crminal investigation into the Peoria Republican's office and campaign expenses. His personal business dealings, including profitable real estate deals, with political donors are also under the DOJ microscope. A federal grand jury is being assembled in Springfield, and the FBI has begun issuing subpoenas to compel people close to the Republican congressman to testify. The grand jury will hear testimony in early April. The US Attorney's office in Springfield isn't commenting.

McLean County Police Searching for Bald Eagle Shooter

McLean County-Crime Stoppers of McLean County needs the public’s help in finding a person who fatally shot a federally protected bald eagle.

During the afternoon of Saturday, March 14, 2014, Illinois Conservation Police responded to a call in rural McLean County in-reference to an injured, adult, bald eagle in a farm field. The eagle was captured, by officers, and transported to the Illinois Raptor Center in Decatur, IL for treatment. Initial assessments conducted by the raptor center suggested the eagle sustained injuries consistent with a gunshot wound. Despite receiving emergency medical treatment, the eagle died. Forensic tests were conducted and verified the eagle had been shot which lead to its death.

Upon examination, a brood patch was discovered on the female eagle. Experts confirmed eagles are currently nesting and commonly have 2-3 eggs. The presence of a brood patch, on the shot eagle, indicates she had a nest, likely containing eggs. The eggs will not hatch without being tended to.

Eagles are federally protected under The Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act.

Illinois Conservation Police are conducting an investigation.

Crime Stoppers will pay cash rewards of up to $1,000 for information leading to the arrest and indictment of people who commit felony crimes in McLean County. Call 309-828-1111.


 width=Photo Courtesy of DRN Conservation Police Facebook Page.

Meet the Candidates Forum to Be Held Tomorrow

Local citizens will have an opportunity to hear from many 2015 candidates on Tuesday night

The Clinton Area Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Bureau, in partnership with WHOW THE BIG 1520 AM/92.3 FM, WEZC 95.9FM & DeWitt DailyNews.com, will host a “Meet the Candidates Night” for all of the city council candidates for the City of Clinton and candidates for the Clinton Unit School District #15 Board of Education. The event is open to the public with no admission and will be held in the Clinton Community High School auditorium. Excutive Director of the Clinton Chamber Marian Brisard says anyone with any interest in their community are invited.

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There are 18 candidates on this year's ballot who will be participating in the forum. Brisard notes there has been some confusion regarding the voting process this year but says reading the ballot carefully should clear it up.

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This year will be the first to include the candidates for school board along with other city offices. Brisard mentions the additons to the forum should work well for the community.

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The event will take place at 6pm and will be broadcast live on WHOW 92.3 FM, on Clinton Cable Channel 13, and will also be streamed live on DewittDailyNews.com. The public is invited to attend and gain knowledge about the candidates.

Neither the Clinton Area Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Bureau nor WHOW THE BIG 1520 AM/92.3 FM, WEZC 95.9FM & DeWitt DailyNews.com will endorse or promote any particular candidate or party affiliation. The purpose of this event is to provide a non-partisan opportunity for the candidates to discuss their ideas and to highlight the differences in their individual platforms. The public is invited to attend and gain knowledge about the candidates.

35 Year Sentence in Farmer City Murder Case

Press Release-

James Jacquart, 26, of Wisconsin, has pled guilty to  First Degree Murder for the September 7, 2013  slaying of Blayne Benefield in Farmer City.  Jacquart was sentenced to 35 years in prison.  He will serve 100% of the sentence.

DeWitt County State’s Attorney Dan Markwell and Sheriff Jered Shofner issued a joint statement indicating that the sentence was reached in consultation with Blayne  Benefield’s family.   Markwell said; “Although no penalty under the law can be sufficient to address the loss suffered by the friends and family of Blayne Benefield, hopefully those who love Blayne may take some solace that his killer has been held accountable and that some semblance of justice has been meted out in the imposition of this 35 year sentence”.

State’s Attorney Markwell  went on to say that this conviction was possible due to the diligent investigation and corroborative efforts of the DeWitt County Sheriff’s Office, Farmer City Police Department,  and Illinois State Police.  Alex Jacquart, brother and co-defendant of James Jacquart, remains incarcerated pending a May trial date.

The DeWitt County State’s Attorneys office can be reached at 217-935-7810 for further comment.

Illinois Senate Confirms State Agency Directors

The Illinois Senate has voted to confirm Gov. Bruce Rauner's appointments to the top posts of three state agencies.

Confirmed on Thursday were Hugo Chaviano (SHAH'-vee-ah-noh) as director of the Department of Labor, Philip Nelson as director of the Department of Agriculture and Erica Jeffries as director of the Department of Veterans' Affairs.

Chaviano has 35 years of legal experience, including work as a mediator and arbitrator. Chaviano was previously a senior partner for Sanchez Daniels and Hoffman.

Nelson previously was president of the Illinois Farm Bureau. His farm near Seneca grows corn, soybeans and alfalfa and includes a cow-calf operation.

Jeffries is a former U.S. Army captain and Black Hawk pilot, with more than 10 years of additional experience in government and the private sector.

Former Charter Schools CEO Earning $250K as Rauner's Adviser

A former Chicago charter schools executive is earning $250,000 a year to spearhead Gov. Bruce Rauner's top education initiatives. That's more than double what her predecessors received and places her as the highest-paid member of a Cabinet already under scrutiny for its lofty paychecks.

Education secretary Beth Purvis' hiring has not been formally announced by the Rauner administration. But Purvis stood and introduced herself during a House education committee meeting earlier this month.

Purvis holds a doctorate in special education and served as CEO of the Chicago International Charter School network from 2003 through last year.

She previously worked as a special education teacher in Maryland and Tennessee, as a professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago and served on education advisory councils under the last two Illinois governors.

Lawmaker Headed To Prison on Child Porn Conviction

A former state politician is headed to prison and if he’s telling the truth about his health he won’t live to see the end of his sentence. Former Democratic State Rep. Keith Farnham was sentenced to 8 years in prison for possession and distribution of child porn. Farnham and his lawyer had been asking for home confinement so the former lawmaker could live his final few months at home, Farnham is suffering from pulmonary fibrosis and a doctor says he’s going to die in 4 months. A federal judge saw little reason for pity ordering Farmham to prison in 60 days. The US Attorney’s office pointed out that Farnham was diagnosed with the illness in 2011 and kept viewing child porn until his arrest in 2014.

County Departments Asked to 'Buckle Down' on Spending for a While

Thursday night's DeWitt County Board Meeting featured discussion of the county's current financial situation.

Finance Committee Chair Camille Redman read a letter sent out to DeWitt County department heads and elected officials on Thursday. The letter noted that the committee reviewed the February financial statement from the Treasurer which saw the general fund end the month with $180,000. $400,000 of investments had to be cashed in to keep the fund viable.

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The finance committee is asking each department to eliminate spending that is above and beyond their normal budget. Redman said the hope is that mandatory furlough days can be avoided by this request. She stressed that current negotiations with Clinton Landfill will hopefully lead to receiving host fees once again as well.

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Thursday night's meeting also the Board take the following action:

-Gloria Wills was appointed as County Treasurer with a term set to expire on November 30, 2016.

-A motion to proceed with the design of the new Animal Shelter in the south unfinished building was approved

-A motion to approve the agreement with Paramedic Services of Illinois expiring November 30, 2017 was approved.

-A motion to sell the Haynes building and vacant lot to the City of Clinton for $151,300 was approved.

Expanding Concealed Carry Central Theme of IGold Rally

About a thousand gun rights advocates turned up for the annual IGOLD rally with concealed carry legislation on their minds. Senator Sam McCann told those on hand he and other lawmakers are working to reduce the places where firearms are off limits...

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There are 23 different zones where the law allowing concealed weapons doesn't apply, including hospitals, rest stops, public transportation and museums.

Company Contesting Marijuana Award Wants to Depose Quinn

Lawyers for the company that is delaying a medical marijuana cultivation center in northeastern Illinois say they want to depose several former Illinois officials, including former Gov. Pat Quinn.

Cresco Labs was the top-scoring company and the winner in the permit competition in a district that includes Ford, Iroquois and Kankakee counties. But PM Rx claims the Illinois Department of Agriculture broke its own rules when awarding permits and it should have been the winner.

PM Rx CEO Andrew James said with Thursday's extension of a restraining order, everyone is closer to seeing the process the state used in picking medical marijuana growers.

James said the company's lawyers will file a court notice of the documents they expect the state to produce and a notice to depose Quinn and others involved in the process.

Bears Re-Sign TE Rosario

The Chicago Bears re-signed tight end Dante Rosario to a one-year contract on Thursday.

Rosario started three games last season and had 116 yards on 16 catches.

The 30-year-old Rosario has appeared in 122 career games with 32 starts over the course of eight seasons with the Panthers, Broncos, Dolphins, Chargers and Bears. For his career, Rosario has totaled 116 receptions for 1,235 yards and eight touchdowns.

Jets Beat Blues

Ondrej Pavelec made 32 saves through the first 65 minutes and then made two key stops in the shootout to help the Winnipeg Jets top the St. Louis Blues by a 2-1 score. Winnipeg entered the game holding onto the second wild card spot in the Western Conference and needed its third straight win to stay six points ahead of San Jose, which had beaten Toronto earlier Thursday. Drew Stafford scored the Jets' goal in regulation and was one of two Jets to score in the shootout. The Blues lost their two-game winning streak despite 33 saves, including four in overtime, from Brian Elliott. David Backes scored his 25th goal of the season to help St. Louis earn a point.

NFL Scoreboard

Florida 3, Detroit 1

Ottawa 6, Boston 4

Montreal 4, Carolina 0

San Jose 4, Toronto 1

Washington 3, Minnesota 2

Dallas 2, Pittsburgh 1

Calgary 4, Philadelphia 1

Colorado 5, Arizona 2

Columbus 6, Vancouver 2

Werth Trying to Make Opening Day After Interesting Winter

Nationals star outfielder/colorful character Jayson Werth had, how shall we put this, an eventful offseason. Between the shoulder pain and operation that has slowed his start here in spring training plus the brief five-day jail stay for driving too fast, it's hard to imagine many more interesting winters.

Werth isn't able to drive yet, or hit for that matter.

It isn't like he could fool anyone and take a car for a spin even if he wanted to (the 6-foot-6 frame and famed bushy beard are a dead giveaway). He'll re-apply for a restricted license when he returns home to Virginia. In the meantime, he's making progress on the field here, and will play outfield in a minor-league game Friday. But he still has a ways to go.

Minnesota Uses Injured Guard Banham for NCAA Inspiration

Minnesota has been using injured guard Rachel Banham since she went down with a knee injury in December and plan to continue it against DePaul in the NCAA Tournament.

Coach Marlene Stollings says the eighth-seeded Gophers (23-9) will be wearing "Buckets for Banham" T-shirts before the game after since she was injured. Stollings called losing Banham one of the most challenging situations she's been involved in, especially as she changed to a faster style of play.

DePaul coach Doug Bruno is more concerned about the players who will be on the court Friday when the ninth-seeded Blue Demons (26-7) face the Gophers, particularly although 6-foot-5 center Amanda Zahui B.

Hoffmann Grabs Early Lead at Bay Hill

Morgan Hoffmann fired a 6-under 66 in Thursday's opening round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational and he leads by one stroke over five players.

Hoffmann is winless on the PGA Tour. He finished third at the BMW Championship last September for his best career finish.

Ian Poulter and Kevin Na both carded 67s on Thursday at Bay Hill Golf Club and Lodge. They were joined in second place at minus-5 by Ken Duke, Jason Kokrak and John Peterson.

Henrik Stenson and Adam Scott, world Nos. 3 and 4, shot 4-under 68 in the opening round. They share seventh place with defending champion Matt Every, Honda Classic winner Padraig Harrington, Hunter Mahan, Brandt Snedeker, 2011 winner Martin Laird, reigning FedExCup champ Billy Horschel, last year's runner-up Keegan Bradley, Ben Martin and Harris English.

World No. 1 Rory McIlroy, who is playing this event for the first time, posted a 2-under 70. He is among a large group tied for 32nd.

Clinton YMCA Otters To Compete In 2014-15 State Swimming Championships

The Clinton Community YMCA Otters will be competing this weekend in the 2014-2015 Illinois State YMCA Swimming Championships, which will be held in St. John, Indiana, at Lake Central High School. Over a thousand kids from swim teams across central and northern Illinois will be competing for the chance to be named the top swimmers in the state. Teams are divided into 2 categories, large or small, depending on the number of athletes on the team. The Clinton Community YMCA Otters will be a part of the small team competition along with 22 other teams.

This season the Otters have competed in 15 swim meets, Junior District Championships, and District Championships. After working hard all season, 23 swimmers have earned the honor to represent the Clinton Community YMCA Otters swim team this weekend at the State Championships. This includes 10 relay teams and 8 swimmers competing in 19 individual events.

The individuals and relay teams that will be competing at the Illinois State YMCA Swimming Championships are:

Individual Events:

Madison Becker
Girls 12 & Under 50 Fly
Girls 12 & Under 50 Free
Aliyah Ellison
Girls 8 & Under 100 IM
Girls 8 & Under 25 Free
Girls 8 & Under 50 Free
Girls 8 & Under 25 Fly
Girls 8 & Under 25 Breast
Alivia Hay
Girls 21 & Under 200 Free
Girls 21 & Under 100 Back
Allison Herman
Girls 21 & Under 100 Fly
Girls 21 & Under 50 Free
Cassidee Stoffel
Girls 8 & Under 25 Fly
Madison Stoffel
Girls 12 & Under 100 Free
Dalton Glynn
Boys 10 & Under 200 Free
Boys 10 & Under 100 IM
Boys 10 & Under 200 IM
Boys 10 & Under 50 Breast
Blaise Willoughby
Boys 21 & Under 100 Back
Boys 21 & Under 50 Free


Girls 21 & Under 400 Free
Alivia Hay, Victoria Wayne, Dana Herman, Allison Herman

Girls 12 & Under 200 Medley
Ella Korneman, Madison Stoffel, Madison Becker, Payne Turney

Girls 21 & Under 200 Medley
Alivia Hay, Hanna Hickman, Dana Herman, Allison Herman

Girls 8 & Under 100 Medley
Mara Bobek, Aliyah Ellison, Cassidee Stoffel, Audrey Rodriguez

Boys 10 & Under 200 Medley
Carter Bugner, Dalton Glynn, Kaine Trimble, Drew Moser

Girls 21 & Under 400 Medley
Alivia Hay, Hanna Hickman, Dana Herman, Allison Herman

Boys 10 & Under 200 Free
Drew Moser, Kaine Trimble, Nicholas Zenger, Dalton Glynn

Girls 12 & Under 200 Free
Madison Stoffel, Samantha Zocher, Payne Turney, Madison Becker

Girls 21 & Under 200 Free
Alivia Hay, Victoria Wayne, Dana Herman, Allison Herman

Boys 21 & Under 200 Free
Blaise Willoughby, Collin Underwood, Isaac Fabris, Jt Harrold

Head Coach: Daniel Bugner
Coaching Staff: Christy Hickman
Carly Hickman
Phil Donelson

Good Luck Otters at the Illinois State YMCA Swimming Championships on March 21st and 22nd!

DeWitt County Sheriff's Report for 3-18

Jail Population: 44

Paper Services: 5

Warrants: 1

Jacob McPeek, 33, Clinton was arrested on a DeWitt County Warrant charging him with Violate Order of Protection/ FTA. McPeek posted the necessary bond and was released.

Joyce Todd, 79, Mount Pulaski was issued Citations for Failure to Wear Seat Belt and No Valid License. Todd was issued a Notice to Appear and was released.

Bala Pujari, 40, Natrona Heights, PA was issued a Citation for Speeding 77 MPH in a 55 MPH Zone. Pujari was issued a Promise to Comply and was released.

Amanda Mudd, 23, Crest Hill was issued a Citation for Speeding 66 MPH in a 45 MPH Zone. Mudd was issued a Promise to Comply and was released.

Holly Isaacson, 29, Bloomington was issued a Citation for Speeding 66 MPH in a 45 MPH Zone. Isaacson was issued a Promise to Comply and was released.






Richland Culinary Department Holds Scholarship Dinner on Saturday

The culinary department of Richland Community College will be highlighted in an upcoming annual dinner.

The 7th annual Scholarship Dinner will held this Saturday and the event is used to raised funds for the culinary department and be used as scholarships for students. The scholarships help students purchase needed items such as knives and uniforms. Chef Ryan Tucker says the event will feature ten courses and provides the students with experience in planning events.

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This year's theme for the dinner will be " A Date in Time". Tucker notes the guests will be transported back in time to Paris, France in 1906. The menu of ten courses will feature authentic French cuisine that visitors won't be able to eat anywhere else in the area.

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The students are a large part of the creation of the annual dinner. Tucker adds various alumni usually enjoy getting involved with the event also. He says the response for the event this year has been great and they may end up having to turn people away.

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The event is Saturday March 21st at 6:30 pm in the Schilling Education Center at Richland Community College. Tickets are $100 and anyone wanting more information can call 875-7211 ext. 350.

Right-To-Try Act to Get Hearing

A measure to allow terminally ill patients the ability to try experimental drugs will get committee hearings in both chambers. House Bill 207 and Senate Bill 29 would establish the Right to Try Act and both are scheduled for hearings Wednesday in Springfield. Illinois News Network has more:

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The House Judiciary-Civil Committee hearing is Wednesday morning. The Senate Insurance Committee is Wednesday afternoon. Eight states currently have Right to Try laws and twenty-five other states are considering similar legislation this year, according to the Goldwater Institute.

Clinton Rotary To Host Alumni Basketball Game Saturday

A local community group is hosting one of their largest events of the year this weekend to benefit a DeWitt County non-profit organization.

The annual Alumni basketball game at Clinton High School has become a yearly tradition for many. Clinton High School alumni return to the gym where they played their high school athletics to support Habitat for Humanity. Event Coordinator Terry Ijams says the game was created 24 years ago and is sponsored by the Clinton Rotary. Graduates of varying ages have participated over the years.

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A ladies game was added to the alumni game in 2005 and attracted even more support from the community. Ijams adds the public enjoys seeing their favorite stars from years past play again. The event also provides a time for old friends to reconnect while supporting a good cause.

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This year's game, as always, is geared to be an event for the whole family. Ijams notes this year's game will feature many familiar names on each team. All four coaches are also names the Clinton community will know.

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This year's ladies game will start at 6:30 on Saturday evening with the men following right after. Tickets are $5 for adults while children under 12 get in for free. All the proceeds from the game go to benefit Habitat For Humanity in DeWitt County.


Miller Park Zoo To Unveil River Otter Pup

For the second straight year, the Miller Park Zoo in Bloomington will successfully have bred their river otters.

Jay Tetzloff is the Zoo Superintendent, he says they delivered the single male pup late in February. Patrons will soon be able to watch the pup grow and develop via video monitor.

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According to Tetzloff, the river otters are common across zoos in North America, but he points out, only a few litters are born each year in those institutions. He feels proud they were able to be successful once again this year in the breeding program.

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The mystery of why river otter pups have difficulty reproducing in captivity is one experts continue to try to solve. Tetzloff says it could be a number of possibilities, but they continue to reach for answers.

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Tetzloff is optimistic their female will be give birth to pups again next year. He says they are already pairing her back up with their male otter.

River Otter pups were once endangered but have since reestablished because of the decline in the demand for their fur.

Bill Puts Reimbursement Onus on Public Defenders

People who take advantage of a public defender but still get convicted of a crime are on the hook for attorneys fees, but only one-percent pressed for the payment can actually pay and a House bill is aimed at changing that percentage. Illinois News Network has more:

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The measure now heads to the Senate.

Bill Increases Time and Distance for Funeral Protests

It will be more difficult for protesters to disrupt funerals if a House bill makes it through both chambers. The House passed a measure that would limit protests at funerals, but there are still some changes the sponsor is looking to pass. Illinois News Network has more:

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The measure passed the House with zero no votes and now advances to the Senate.

Clinton Native, Former Arkansas Ag Secretary Richard Bell Dies

Clinton native and former Arkansas Agriculture Secretary Richard Bell passed away on Friday.

A 2003 inductee in the state’s Business Hall of Fame, Bell had been in ill health for some time.

After 27 years, he retired as president and CEO from Riceland Foods in July 2004.

He was then appointed as Arkansas’ first Agriculture Secretary in 2005 by then-Gov. Mike Huckabee where he served until 2012.

Bell was 81-years old.

Lee's 18 points lead Illinois State, 69-56 in NIT

Paris Lee scored 18 points to lead Illinois State past the Wisconsin-Green Bay 69-56 in Wednesday's first round of the National Invitation Tournament.

Daishon Knight added 17 points, while Reggie Lynch and DeVaughn Akoon-Purcell scored 15 and 14, respectively, for the Redbirds (22-12).

The Phoenix were led by Keifer Sykes, who scored 14 points after missing last week's Horizon Conference final loss against Valparaiso because of an ankle injury. Alfonzo McKinnie added 11 points and seven rebounds for Green Bay (24-9).

Green Bay led 31-24 at the half after a sloppy 20 minutes that saw ISU shoot 20 percent (5 for 25) from the field to Green Bay's 45 percent (14 for 31). The Redbirds stayed in the game thanks to making 14 of 15 at the foul line; ISU ended up 27 for 33 from the line, while Green Bay went 6 of 13.

The Phoenix saw their NCAA tournament chances dashed with the loss to Valparaiso, while the Redbirds fell to Northern Iowa in the Missouri Valley championship after shocking top-seeded Wichita State in the semifinals.

ISU will visit top-seeded Old Dominion on Monday in the tournament's second round.

Bulls Beat out Pacers

Mike Dunleavy scored 19 of his 21 points in the first half and the Chicago Bulls led for the final 39-plus minutes in a 103-86 win over the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday night. Nikola Mirotic led the way with 25 points off the bench and Pau Gasol added 19 points and 12 rebounds for the Bulls, returned home after losing the last two games of a three-game road trip in Charlotte and Oklahoma City. They won for only the second time in their last seven games and remained 2 1/2 games behind Cleveland for first place in the Central Division. Solomon Hill scored 13 points and Roy Hibbert had 12 to lead the Pacers, who shot just 39.5 percent in the game. Chicago outrebounded Indiana 52-38.

NBA Scoreboards

Philadelphia 94, Detroit 83
Cleveland 117, Brooklyn 92
Miami 108, Portland 104
Toronto 105, Minnesota 100
Dallas 107, Orlando 102
San Antonio 114, Milwaukee 103
Oklahoma City 122, Boston 118
LA Clippers 116, Sacramento 105
Golden State 114, Atlanta 95
Washington 88, Utah 84

Blackhawks Defeat Rangers


Scott Darling halted all 25 shots he faced to post his first career shutout and Chicago gained a measure of revenge over the New York Rangers with a 1-0 decision at Madison Square Garden. Brad Richards registered the lone score for the Blackhawks, who suffered a 1-0 overtime defeat to the Metropolitan Division leaders at United Center 10 days earlier. Chicago, which is chasing Nashville and St. Louis for the Central Division lead, has won four in a row. Cam Talbot made 30 saves for the Rangers, whose five-game win streak came to a halt.

49ers Make Bush Signing Official

The San Francisco 49ers officially signed running back Reggie Bush on Wednesday.

Bush, released by the Detroit Lions last month, is returning to the state of California on a one-year contract.

The former USC star delivered his second career 1,000-yard rushing season with the Lions in 2013, but saw his production drop during an injury-plagued 2014 season. Limited to just 11 games, the 30-year-old managed just 297 yards and two touchdowns on 76 carries, though he did record 40 receptions totaling 253 yards.

The nine-year veteran will likely serve as the 49ers' primary back on passing downs while splitting ball-carrying duties with promising second-year pro Carlos Hyde.

Frank Gore, San Francisco's leading rusher in each of the last 10 seasons, signed with Indianapolis on Tuesday's first day of free agency.

Bubba Watson WDs After Death of Friend

Bubba Watson WDs after death of friend

Masters champion Bubba Watson has withdrawn from this week's Arnold Palmer Invitational due to the death of a childhood friend, the PGA Tour said Wednesday.

Watson, the world No. 2, won his second Masters title last year.

The tour did not release any more information and Watson has not commented online about the death.

Maroons Lose Season Opener to New Rival

As heard on the Big 1520 AM/92.3 FM WHOW and streamed live on dewittdailynews.com, the Clinton Maroons were defeated by the Midwest Central Raiders 11-1Thursday night. width=

For the Maroons (0-1), they got 1 run on 2 hits, with 6 errors. Eli Logue was the best hitter on the team, going 1-3 with an RBI. He was also given the loss, as he pitched 4 1/2 innings, giving up 6 runs on 2 hits. He gave up 10 walks with 3 strikeouts.

For the Raiders (1-0), they earned 11 runs on 6 hits, with no errors. Chase Picken was given the win, pitching all 5 innings, allowing 1 run on 2 hits. He also walked 2 batters with 4 strikeouts, also hitting 2 batters. Braxton Ary helped his team to victory, going 1-2, with a double and 3 RBIs.

The Maroons will play Saturday at Heyworth to take on the Hornets.

Tune into the Big 1520 AM/92.3 FM WHOW and streamed live on dewittdailynews.com next Friday as the Lady Maroons will host the Maroa-Forsyth Trojans. Approximate start time is 4:30 pm.

Mayor of Lincoln Has Resigned Due a New Opportunity from Governor Bruce Rauer's office.


The Mayor of Lincoln has resigned due a new opportunity from Governor Bruce Rauer's office.

Mayor Keith Snyder completed his last day as mayor on Monday and is looking ahead to a new position on the Illinois Labor Relations Board. To accept the appointment, Snyder has to resign from both his position as Mayor of Lincoln and from Lincoln Christian University where he serves as an associate vice president. He tendered his resignation via letter to the Lincoln City Council on Monday afternoon. The letter expresses Snyder's excitement at the prospect of the new job, but will greatly miss serving the people of Lincoln.

The City Council elected Martha Neitzel as a temporary chariman to run meetings until a new mayor is appointed at a later date. Snyder's position on the Labor Relations Board will still have to be approved by State Senate, though the appointment has already been made.

Stay tuned to Regional Radio News for comments from Snyder about his new position and time as Lincoln's Mayor.



It's official. Schock resigning.

Not long ago he was a GOP rising star. After a political career that has featured his picture in Men's Health and a school board slot in his teenage years, Congressman Aaron Schock is stepping down effective at month's end after repeated waves of controversy. Schock's travel and office decor patterned after the PBS hit Downtown Abbey has drawn scrutiny as well profitable real estate transactions with donors in his home base of Peoria. If anyone had as much heat on Schock as the Chicago Sun Times, it was CREW-Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. Last month they asked ethics investigators to look into Schock spending of taxpayer money three times. Director Anne Wiseman wasn't ready to call for Schock's ouster but she had serious questions about his ability to stay on at Capitol Hill as the negative headlines continued to stack up...

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U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Ill.) released the following statement after Congressman Aaron Schock (R-Ill.) announced his resignation from Congress.

“Aaron is a friend and this is a sad day for the Illinois delegation but I know Congressman Schock is doing what he thinks is best for his constituents and I support his decision." said Davis. "I have enjoyed serving with Aaron in Congress and will miss working with him on legislative issues important to Illinois."

- U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) released the following statement regarding the resignation of U.S. Representative Aaron Schock (R-IL):

“The allegations against Congressman Schock are serious, raising questions about his expenditure of official funds and campaign funds. His resignation came as a surprise and reflects the gravity of his situation.”

Governor Bruce Rauner issued the following statement:

“This is a sad day for the people of Illinois and the 18th District.”

Lawmakers to consider license plate to aid monarch habitat

Environmentalists are urging Illinois lawmakers to create a new monarch butterfly license plate to help boost the population of the state insect and other pollinators.

Bills introduced in the state House and Senate would create a specialty plate, with the money generated by sales going toward planting milkweed throughout the state.

A dramatic drop in the monarch population worries environmentalists and scientists, with much of the decline blamed on habitat destruction.

Monarchs lay their eggs only on milkweed, which is the sole source of food for the caterpillars that later develop into the distinctive orange-and-black butterflies. But milkweed has been eliminated in much of the Midwest where it once was abundant.

Fraternity to Announce Steps Against Racial Intolerance

A fraternity under scrutiny because of a racist chant caught on video plans to announce an extensive review of its chapters around the country.

Sigma Alpha Epsilon Fraternity said it will unveil Wednesday what it calls a "national plan to combat racial intolerance." The Evanston, Illinois-based organization is holding a news conference in Chicago to announce its plans to eliminate insensitivity among its members.

The fraternity is responding to a video that surfaced last week. It showed University of Oklahoma fraternity members engaging in a racist chant that referenced lynching and indicated that black students never would be admitted to that university's chapter.

SAE has disbanded the local chapter for the video. The university has expelled two students and banned SAE. Two students identified in the video have apologized publicly.

Medical Marijuana Grower Wants Court to Lift Hold

A medical marijuana company plans to ask a Cook County judge to dissolve a court order that is delaying its operation in Kankakee.

Cresco Labs will get a hearing Wednesday afternoon in Chicago on its motion.

Judge Kathleen Kennedy granted the temporary restraining order two weeks ago. It halted the Illinois Department of Agriculture from issuing a marijuana cultivation permit to Cresco.

A competing company claimed the Department of Agriculture broke its own rules when it selected corporations for a limited number of cultivation permits. The competitor filed a lawsuit and soon others followed.

There are now at least four Illinois medical marijuana growing operations entangled in litigation filed by competitors. Lawsuits and other court filings are gumming up the works for cultivators in Joliet, East St. Louis and Shelbyville.

Clinton Board of Education Discusses Weight Room Renovations

 width=The weight room at Clinton High School was the focal point of nearly an hour of discussion Tuesday night at the Clinton Board of Education meeting.

Football Coach John Hayden (right) presented plans put together for upgrades to the weight room. Coach Hayden says a lot of their equipment is very old and others are beginning to fall apart.

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According to Coach Hayden, he wants to see the weight room bring in multi-purpose racks. He explains that is something a lot of facilities have and he says it can help his classes and teams serve more individuals at once.

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Teacher and coach Kay Wertz took exception to some of the plans. She recognizes the plans are much needed for the current facility, however, she points out she had just seen the plans this week and hopes more equipment will be included in all the upgrades.

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According to Athletic Director Barry Gurvey, all the coaches have been asked about the new equipment, and he notes, he has yet to hear from many of them. He also notes, they are seeking each team to give $500 towards the effort.

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It was suggested by the Board of Education to phase all the equipment in over time, however, Coach Hayden says that is not a good idea. He points to conference schools and schools in the area they have visited that have made wholesale changes at once and have top of the line facilities.

Gurvey notes, the athletic department has sought out funds from the athletic department, the athletic boosters, and has asked the school board to match what the athletic boosters invests.

The board approved the plans under the condition Hayden and Gurvey seek out the opinions of other coaches and bring their ideas to the table as well.

Bradley set to introduce Reynolds as new athletic director


Bradley University plans to introduce new athletic director Chris Reynolds on campus on Wednesday.

The private university in Peoria says it hired Reynolds from Northwestern to replace athletic director Michael Cross, who announced his resignation last month.

Reynolds is a Peoria native who has been Northwestern's deputy director of athletics and recreation since 2012. He previously spent nine years in a variety of positions at Indiana University.

Reynolds has bachelors, law and doctoral degrees from Indiana. He also played four seasons of basketball for the Hoosiers.

Reynolds was a two-time all-state basketball player at Peoria High and is a member of the Greater Peoria Sports Hall of Fame.

Alabama takes down Illinois 79-58 in NIT 1st round

Randolph had 20 points, seven rebounds and four assists to help Alabama beat Illinois 79-58 on Tuesday in the first round of the NIT.

Alabama (19-14) played its first game without head coach Anthony Grant, who was fired Sunday afternoon and replaced by interim coach John Brannen.

Alabama shot 59.6 percent from the field overall, including 8 of 15 from 3-point range. Rodney Cooper added 19 points.

Malcolm Hill led Illinois (19-14) with 22 points and six assists. The Fighting Illini shot 32.3 percent from the field, including just 7 of 24 from beyond the arc.

Alabama trailed for only 13 seconds in the game, falling behind 4-3 early in the first half.

The Crimson Tide will face Miami in the second round.

Toews has 2 goals, 2 assists in Blackhawks' win over Isles

Jonathan Toews scored twice and assisted on both of Marian Hossa's goals to lead the Chicago Blackhawks past the slumping New York Islanders 4-1 on Tuesday night.

Toews recorded his first four-point game this season as the Blackhawks won their third straight and improved to 7-1-1 since Feb. 24 when leading scorer Patrick Kane broke his collarbone against Florida.

New York's Nikolay Kulemin scored at 5:29 of third period to end Corey Crawford's shutout bid, but the Islanders lost their season-worst fourth straight.

Although Crawford made 38 saves, he wasn't tested heavily by the goal-starved Islanders. New York has scored only one goal in each of its four consecutive losses.

The Islanders are five points behind the Atlantic Division-leading New York Rangers, who have played four fewer games.

Blues Trump Flames

Alexander Steen scored twice and Brian Elliott made 25 saves for his fifth shutout of the season as the St. Louis Blues topped the Calgary Flames 4-0 on Tuesday. David Backes posted a goal and two assists, Jori Lehtera also scored and T.J. Oshie supplied two assists for the Blues, who have won five of their last six games. Elliott turned aside six shots during the first period, 11 in the middle stanza and eight more in the third for his 30th career whitewash. Jonas Hiller allowed three goals on 25 shots in Calgary's second straight loss.

NHL Scoreboard

Ottawa 2, Carolina 1 (OT)

New Jersey 2, Pittsburgh 0

Montreal 3, Florida 2

Buffalo 2, Boston 1 (SO)

Minnesota 3, Nashville 2 (OT)

Winnipeg 5, San Jose 2

Vancouver 4, Philadelphia 1

Former Bulls, Lakers player Jack Haley dead at 51

Jack Haley, who played nine seasons in the NBA including a reserve role on the Chicago Bulls' 1996 championship team, has died. He was 51.

Haley's family on Tuesday confirmed his death, saying the cause was heart disease. He died Monday at Los Alamitos Medical Center, according to the Orange County coroner's office website. There were no indications of foul play and an autopsy will be performed to determine the cause of death, the coroner said.

Haley played for the Bulls, New Jersey Nets, Los Angeles Lakers and San Antonio Spurs. The Bulls drafted the 6-foot-10 forward-center out of UCLA in 1987. He was known for his friendship with eccentric Bulls star Dennis Rodman.

After his playing career ended, Haley worked as an assistant for the Nets and as a TV broadcaster working on Lakers telecasts.

NCAA Tournament First Round Recap

Quinton Chievous and Reginald Johnson each scored 15 points as Hampton defeated Manhattan 74-64 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament at University of Dayton Arena. Chievous also grabbed 13 rebounds before leaving the game with three minutes left due to an ankle injury. Brian Darden added 13 points for the Pirates (17-17), who will travel to Louisville for a meeting with top overall seed Kentucky on Thursday. Hampton had a season-high 20 assists, with Deron Powers leading the way with seven dimes. Shane Richards led the Jaspers (19-14) with 17 points. Emmy Andujar posted 11 points and eight rebounds in the setback.

In a tale of two halves, Ole Miss saved the best for last as it erased a 17-point halftime deficit to move on in the NCAA Tournament on Tuesday night. Stefan Moody scored 26 points and M.J. Rhett recorded 20 in the Rebels' 94-90 win over BYU at University of Dayton Arena. Ole Miss (21-12) outscored the Cougars 62-41 in the second half to surge back and advance to play sixth-seeded Xavier in Jacksonville on Thursday. Jarvis Summers had 11 points with 10 assists and Sebastian Saiz totaled 10 points with nine rebounds in the win. Tyler Haws did all he could for BYU (25-10), netting 19 of his 33 points in a high-scoring first half, while Chase Fischer finished with 23 points, although he scored 17 of those in the opening 20 minutes. Kyle Collinsworth, who recorded an NCAA record six triple-doubles this season, tweaked his surgically repaired right knee in the first half and was not his dominant self for the Cougars. He finished with eight points on 1-of-7 shooting, but the stat-stuffing guard dished out 10 assists and grabbed seven rebounds.

Clinton Native, Former Arkansas Ag Secretary Richard Bell Dies

Clinton native and former Arkansas Agriculture Secretary Richard Bell passed away on Friday.

A 2003 inductee in the state’s Business Hall of Fame, Bell had been in ill health for some time.

After 27 years, he retired as president and CEO from Riceland Foods in July 2004.

He was then appointed as Arkansas’ first Agriculture Secretary in 2005 by then-Gov. Mike Huckabee where he served until 2012.

Bell was 81-years old.

Former WHOW Personality Passes Away Monday

A longtime WHOW personality passed away Monday.

Bill Ward lent his on-air talents to WHOW in Clinton for over fifty years beginning in 1947. Throughout his time, he witnessed the AM station move from the south side of the Clinton square to its present location in the Big Red Barn. He recalled several of these memories in a 2007 interview for WHOW's 60th anniversary.

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WHOW provided a great starting point for may radio personalities and county music acts. Ward said he had many good times during those early years and was always pleased when listeners remembered his on-air work.

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Ward also remembered the Clinton businessmen who jump started the original WHOW. He noted the station was located on the top floor of a local ladies department store on the Clinton square.

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Ward stressed he was always proud of his work on WHOW and believed Clinton deserved a quality radio station.

Funeral arrangements for Ward are still incomplete but stay tuned to WHOW and dewittdailynews.com for further details.

Illinois to Take Peregrine Falcon Off Threatened List

Illinois officials are set to remove the peregrine falcon from the state's threatened species list.

Reports indicate that the bird will be taken off the list in the coming weeks after action by a legislative committee. The formal removal process has been going on for more than three years, after the bird has made a comeback in the state.

The peregrine falcon was once on the U.S. endangered species list, as the use of the pesticide DDT in the mid-20th century caused its population to decline severely. It was removed from the national list in 1999.

Illinois State University zoology professor Angelo Capparella says the peregrine falcon's comeback is a success story of the endangered species designation.

Donors Had Role in Congressman's 2014 Property Deal

The financial questions about Illinois congressman Aaron Schock keep coming.

Illinois state and county property records show that a shell company linked to the embattled congressman paid a political donor $300,000 last year for a commercial property in Peoria then took out a $600,000 mortgage for the property from a local bank run by other donors.

The newly disclosed arrangement follows similar Schock real estate deals detailed by a recent Associated Press investigation into the Republican's business transactions involving political contributors over the past decade.

The 2014 deal, which occurred after the congressman's most recent financial report, raises new questions about Schock's pattern of repeated reliance on campaign contributors.

DCDC Receives Funding From City Council By Slim Margin

The Clinton City Council's support of the DeWitt County Development Council, or DCDC, seems to be diminishing.

By a vote of 3-2 Monday night, the DCDC received renewed support of $47-thousand in funding from the Clinton City Council. Commissioner John Wise indicates he was approached recently about questions and concerns over the DCDC's operations, however, Commissioner Wise says, it's a little late in the game to be bringing those forward.

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While Wise expressed his support for the DCDC, he says maybe the organization needs to be examined a little closer. He believes it is the duty of the Council to investigate what day-to-day operations look like and where the money they receive goes towards.

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Wise emphasizes, the DCDC's role is to bring economic development to DeWitt County as a whole and not just Clinton. The DCDC receives funding from Farmer City, DeWitt County and the City of Clinton.

The vote of 3-2 was supported by Wise, Commissioner Tom Edmunds and the deciding vote was Mayor Carolyn Peters. Nan Crang and Jerry Milton voted 'no'.

DeWitt County DOVE Hoping To Improve Outreach To Individuals

A local non-profit aimed at helping abused individuals in the community find support is hoping to hear from those they serve about ways they can better reach them.

DeWitt County DOVE is a safe haven for those who find themselves in the midst of an abusive situation in their personal lives, and according to Megan Neville, they want to hear about ways they can better reach out them. She explains this starts with finding if the support groups they have are Monday evenings, but they hope to hear if that is an idea time for others that would like to participate.

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While the numbers in those that attend the support group have dwindled recently, Neville doesn't believe it is a case of abusive situations declining. She says it is a problem that every community deals with and wants to give as much support as possible in Clinton.

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Neville explains the groups tend to have a lot of different formats. They many times will come to the group with topics pre-planned, however, Neville notes it can also take a more personal turn if members of the groups need individual support or find themselves in difficult circumstances and need advice.

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The meeting will be at 6 pm Wednesday (March 18) at the DOVE office next to Baum Chevrolet Buick in Clinton. Neville encourages current attendees of their group and those who have interest but want more information.

To get more information or to inquire confidentially, contact the DOVE office at 217-935-6072.

Spieth up to career-best 6th in world rankings

 width=Jordan Spieth drained a 28-foot putt on the third playoff hole to win a wild Valspar Championship over Patrick Reed and Sean O'Hair on Sunday, which propelled Spieth up to a career-best sixth in the world rankings.

Spieth, who picked up his second career victory on the PGA Tour, jumped four spots from No. 10 to No. 6.

There was no movement inside the top-5 as Rory McIlroy remained firmly in control of the No. 1 spot. He was followed yet again by Bubba Watson, Henrik Stenson, Adam Scott and Jason Day from two.

With Spieth jumping four spots, Jim Furyk dropped one from six to seven. While Sergio Garcia held steady at No. 8, WGC-Cadillac Championship winner Dustin Johnson fell two to No. 9 and Justin Rose dropped one spot to No. 10.

Rickie Fowler, Martin Kaymer, Jimmy Walker and Matt Kuchar all remained Nos. 11-14 and Reed improved one to No. 15. Reed traded spots with Hideki Matsuyama, who fell to 16.

Billy Horschel and Brooks Koepka stayed put at 17 and 18, while Victor Dubuisson and J.B. Holmes swapped places, with Dubuisson up one to 19 and Holmes down to 20.

Baseball Notes

>>>Phils' Lee shut down, put on 60-day DL

Philadelphia Phillies starter Cliff Lee will be shut down indefinitely due to a strained left forearm, the team said Monday.

The Phillies and Lee mutually decided to try to rehab the elbow rather than go with the recommended surgery, which would end the left-hander's season and possibly his career. The hope is that rehab will allow Lee to pitch again this season.

Lee was placed on the 60-day disabled list and will immediately be shut down from throwing, the team said. He will be sent home to rest and will be set up with a rehabilitation program to maintain his overall conditioning.

He will be brought to Philadelphia periodically to be evaluated to determine a time at which he might be able to begin a throwing program again.

Lee, 36, owns a 143-91 record with a 3.52 ERA over 13 seasons with Philadelphia, Cleveland, Texas and Seattle.

 width=>>>Mets' Wheeler has torn UCL

New York Mets pitcher Zack Wheeler has a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow.

The Mets did not disclose the severity of the tear, but the injury most times leads to Tommy John surgery. Doctors, however, could recommend rest and rehab for a partial tear.

Wheeler underwent an MRI exam Saturday in Florida and the results were reviewed Monday by doctors in New York. The 24-year-old right-hander will return to New York on Monday for a further exam and to discuss the next step toward recovery.

Mets ace Matt Harvey underwent the reconstructive procedure in October 2013 and is making his return this spring after missing the entire 2014 campaign.

Another Mets pitcher, lefty reliever Josh Edgin, will have Tommy John surgery this spring.

Wheeler was set to begin his third season in the Mets' rotation. He was 11-11 with a 3.54 ERA in 32 starts last year after posting a mark of 7-5 with a 3.42 ERA in 17 starts in 2013.

Toronto Beats Indiana

 width=Kyle Lowry scored 20 points and added 11 rebounds and 10 assists for his second triple-double this season to lead the Toronto Raptors to a 117-98 win over the Indiana Pacers.

Toronto never trailed on its way to its second win in three games and a season sweep of Indiana. Lou Williams paced the Raptors with 24 points off the bench, DeMar DeRozan scored 22, and Jonas Valanciunas contributed 14 points and 12 boards.

NBA ScoreBoard
Washington 105, Portland 97
Boston 108, Philadelphia 89
Memphis 92, Denver 81
Miami 106, Cleveland 92
Brooklyn 122, Minnesota 106
Dallas 119, Oklahoma City 115
Utah 94, Charlotte 66
Atlanta 110, Sacramento 103
Golden State 108, LA Lakers 105

Bears agree to 1-year deal with Vladimir Ducasse

 width=Veteran guard Vladimir Ducasse has agreed to a one-year contract with the Chicago Bears.

Ducasse has made 11 starts and played in 63 games over five seasons with the New York Jets (2010-13) and Minnesota Vikings (2014). A native of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, the 6-foot-5, 325-pound Ducasse played at UMass before getting drafted by the Jets in the second round in 2010.

>>>49ers LB Borland, 24, says he's retiring

San Francisco 49ers linebacker Chris Borland says he's retiring at the age of 24 over concerns about brain trauma.

Borland told ESPN's "Outside the Lines" he was worried about the long-term effects of repetitive head trauma, an issue that's been raised in recent years as studies have linked the sport with neurodegenerative diseases.

"I just honestly want to do what's best for my health," Borland told ESPN. "From what I've researched and what I've experienced, I don't think it's worth the risk."

Borland had 108 tackles, one sack and two interceptions in 14 games as a rookie last season before being placed on season-ending injured reserve in December with an ankle injury.

The third-round draft pick notified the 49ers on Friday that he would retire, according to ESPN, and the team announced his retirement late Monday night.

Borland told ESPN he feels "as sharp as I've ever been" but wanted to be "proactive" in avoiding any potential effects from playing in the league.

Kentucky Remains Number One Heading Into The Tournament

 width=Not surprisingly, Kentucky will head to the NCAA Tournament as the top-ranked team in the final Associated Press men's college basketball poll.

The Wildcats are 34-0 and went wire-to-wire as the No. 1 team in the country, becoming the first team since Duke in 1991-92 to maintain the top ranking from the preseason to the NCAA Tournament.

Kentucky, which captured its 28th SEC Tournament title on Sunday and earned the top overall seed for the upcoming NCAA Tournament.

Villanova, after winning the Big East title for the first time in 20 years, moved up two spots to second and was followed by Big Ten champ Wisconsin, Duke and Pac-12 winner Arizona. Wisconsin moved up three spots from sixth, while Duke dropped two spots from second after losing in the semifinals of the ACC Tournament.

Virginia, Gonzaga, ACC tourney champ Notre Dame, Big 12 tournament winner Iowa State and Kansas completed the top 10. Iowa State moved up four spots from 13th after beating Kansas in the Big 12 final.

Arkansas, Georgetown, Big Ten runner-up Michigan State, Butler and Atlantic-10 champ VCU were the last five teams ranked. Michigan State and VCU were the lone newcomers, replacing Davidson and Boise State. Davidson lost to VCU in the A-10 semifinals, while Boise State was also beaten in the Mountain West semis.

Illinois Heads to Alabama For NIT With Uncertainty

 width=When Illinois travels to Alabama Tuesday for its first-round National Invitation Tournament game, coach John Groce isn't sure how motivated his team will be.

The Illini (19-13) will be making a second straight trip to the NIT. And they'll be playing what would have otherwise been a home game at Alabama (18-14) because the State Farm Center is being renovated.

Groce said last season's team played well in the NIT because seniors Jon Ekey and Joseph Bertrand didn't want to stop playing. The coach believes this team will do as well seniors Rayvonte Rice, Nnanna Egwu and Ahmad Starks play.

Illinois will also be looking for consistency that has been missing from Malcolm Hill and Kendrick Nunn.

Alabama (18-14) will be playing fresh off the firing of coach Anthony Grant.

>>> Penn names Steve Donahue men's hoops coach

Onetime University of Pennsylvania assistant Steve Donahue was hired Monday as the head men's basketball coach at the Ivy League school.

Donahue, who has long roots in the area, replaces Jerome Allen and returns to Philadelphia after stints as the head coach at Cornell and Boston College and a season analyzing basketball on TV.

He was an assistant for the Quakers during a successful run under Fran Dunphy from 1990-2000, a 10-year span during which the program won six league titles and made five appearances in the NCAA Tournament.

Illinois Adds College Baseball Game Today, Move Up In Latest Polls

 width=The 18th-ranked University of Illinois baseball team announced the addition of a home game against Lindenwood University - Belleville for today at 4 p.m. at Illinois Field.

With the addition of this game, the Orange and Blue are in the midst of a 10-game homestand at Illinois Field, which they began 3-1 with a midweek win over Chicago State in the home opener and a series victory over Southern Illinois this past weekend.

Illinois will continue its longest stretch at home this season with a weekend series against South Florida this weekend followed by midweek tilts against Illinois State next Tuesday and Kent State Wednesday.

The Fighting Illini (14-4-1) moved up one spot to No. 18 in the D1Baseball.com Top 25, marking the program's highest ranking since finishing No. 16 in the 1990 Baseball America final poll. UI is also ranked No. 18 by Collegiate Baseball, No. 25 by Baseball America and No. 27 by NCBWA.

Mumm Leads Monticello in Season Opener

 width=Nathan Mumm reached base three times, David Vanderkloot drove in a pair of runs, and Austin Hopper and Daniel Caldwell combined to shut down the LeRoy Panthers offense in a 5-1 season opening win for Monticello.

Mumm reached base twice via hits and drew a walk to lead Monticello in their opener.

Caldwell and Hopper threw three innings apiece, Caldwell striking out seven and Hopper four, and held the Panthers to a run on four hits.

Jacob Burton also drove in a run for Monticello who benefited from three LeRoy errors.

The Sages are 1-0 on the season and take on Arcola this afternoon at 4:30.

Three Homers Carry Illinois Over SIU

No. 19 Illinois (14-4-1) hit three home runs and received impressive pitching from senior John Kravetz and junior Tyler Jay in Sunday's 4-1 series-clinching win over Southern Illinois (3-15). Sophomore Pat McInerney had the game-tying homer in the third, while senior Casey Fletcher connected on the game-winning bomb in the eighth.

The Salukis scored their only run on an RBI single in the third, but weren't ahead for long, as McInerney crushed a homer to left with two outs in the bottom half.

Kravetz, who received a no decision after seven solid innings, kept SIU off the board over his final four innings. He only gave up six hits and didn't walk anyone while striking out two.

Jay took over on the mound in the eighth and delivered two shutdown stanzas, retiring all six Salukis he faced. The Lemont, Illinois, native improved to 4-0 and has yet to allow a run in 22.1 innings this season.

In the 8th, Fletcher smacked an 0-2 pitch over the wall in right to put the Illini up 2-1.

David Kerian provided the insurance with a two-run shot to right later in the inning.

Illinois will play host to a three-game series at Illinois Field next weekend (March 20-22) when South Florida comes to town.

Crowdsourcing Bill Gains Bipartisan Support


A bill that would allow less red tape for startups seeking investments is gaining support in the Illinois House. The measure from Democratic Representative Carol Sente (SEN’-tay) would make certain levels of investments in startups exempt from filing and registration requirements, if they meet some conditions. Illinois News Network has more:

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The measure was placed in the House Judiciary - Civil Committee with a possible hearing one of two days next week. House Bill 3429 currently has support from a bipartisan group of twenty-eight lawmakers.

PARCC Testing Underway At Warrensburg-Latham Schools

A new method of tesing being rolled out in Illinois schools is once again under fire from a local school leader.

The new PARCC tests have replaced the former-ISATs and PSAEs across the state of Illinois. Warrensburg-Latham is in full swing taking these tests and Superintendent Dr. Kristen Kendrick-Weikle (WHY-kel) notes the state is encouraging schools to administer these tests using technology.

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While many schools participated in the pilot program for PARCC, Dr. Kendrick-Weikle believes there are still many unknowns regarding the tests. She feels it will be interesting to see if the expectations for PARCC tests come to fruition.

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There's been concern among local school districts that PARCC decision makers are not part of the day-to-day school experience. Dr. Kendrick-Weikle believes assessing students is important but it's the daily assessments made by teachers that probably make the most difference.

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The PARCC tests are being administered to most third through eighth graders and some high school students . Districts only have a certain amount of time to administer the tests, another challenge for districts, and many face getting the tests in before, or surrounding their spring breaks

Local Lawmaker Says Possibility of Clinton Power Station Closing Very Real

A local lawmaker last week addressed the future of the three nuclear power plants in Illinois that are currently fighting to keep their doors open.

Exelon has three power plants in Illinois that are not profitable and a local lawmaker says the possibility all three could close, including the Exelon Clinton Nuclear Power Station, is all too real. He points to power plants that have closed in the last few years in Wisconsin and Vermont as evidence this is a real possibility.

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The Senator says all Exelon is asking is to be included into a standard. Sen. Rose explains the argument towards Exelon is they are not considered a renewable energy, however, there is the belief by allowing nuclear energy providers into a standard, they could provide energy more efficiently and cleanly.

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According to Sen. Rose, there are some interesting parties coming together to make this bill happen that normally would not. He also notes there are those that are pushing back.

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Sen. Rose says something needs to happen this year or Exelon will be forced to make some tough decisions. He adds they will do as much as possible to keep the plants from closing and protect the jobs and economies of the local communities.

ISU Falls in Extra Innings To Butler

The Illinois State baseball team lost in extra innings for the second time in three days Sunday as the Redbirds were topped by Butler, 5-4 in 10 innings, in their final game at the RussMatt Central Florida Invitational at Chain O'Lakes Park.

Illinois State (8-9) finished its eight-game trip to Florida with a 4-4 record after Sunday's loss. The extra-inning game Sunday was the second in three days for the Redbirds, who also lost to Maine in 10 innings on Friday.

Dennis Colon led the Redbirds with three hits Sunday in support of starter Jack Landwehr, who limited the Bulldogs to two runs on three hits and one walk, while striking out five.

The Redbirds will host their home opener Wednesday at Duffy Bass Field. The game against Illinois-Chicago begins at 3 p.m.

Illini, Redbirds Selected for NIT

For the fifth time in the last eight seasons, Illinois State has earned a spot in the National Invitation Tournament and will open the first round Wednesday at 7 p.m. on Doug Collins Court at Redbird Arena versus Green Bay in a game nationally-televised by ESPNU.

The Redbirds, who finished the regular season with a 21-12 overall record after winning six of their last seven games, enter the tournament as a No. 4 seed – ISU's highest NIT seeding since 2007-08 – while Green Bay earned a No. 5 seed after posting a 24-8 record.

Illinois (19-13) earned a No. 3 seed in the 2015 National Invitation Tournament and will face No. 6 seed Alabama (18-14) in the first round on Tuesday, March 17, at 8 p.m. CT. The game will be broadcast by ESPN.

Despite having a higher seed, the Fighting Illini will hit the road to face the Crimson Tide at Coleman Coliseum in Tuscaloosa due to renovations taking place at State Farm Center in Champaign.

Alabama went 18-14 overall and 8-10 in conference play to finish eighth in the SEC regular season standings and earn one of 20 at-large bids to the NIT.

This will mark the sixth appearance in the NIT for Illinois.

Chicago Uplift Trumps Decatur St T in Class 2A State Finals

Daniel Soetan scored 13 points, Deshon Fluckes scored 11 and Spencer Foley added 10 as Chicago Uplift won its first boys basketball state title with a 53-47 win against Decatur St. Teresa in the IHSA Class 2A championship game.

St. Teresa's all-state forward Christian Williams, who scored 15 points and grabbed seven rebounds, battled foul trouble in the first half, leaving with his third foul with more than six minutes left in the second quarter. The Bulldogs (27-5) handled the adversity well, outscoring the Titans 15-11 until the break. The second half was a different story.

Foley added eight rebounds and four blocks for the Titans (28-5).

NCAA Brackets Released

Kentucky, Wisconsin, Villanova and Duke were each awarded top seeds for the 2015 NCAA Tournament on Sunday.

Kentucky (34-0) predictably captured the No. 1 overall seed after winning the SEC tourney and becoming just the fourth team to go into the NCAA Tournament undefeated since Indiana in 1976. The three previous teams, including Wichita State last year, did not win the national title.

Those Wildcats, who were last year's runner-up to Connecticut, will play in the Midwest Region, while the Villanova Wildcats (32-2), who won the Big East regular season and tournament titles, will play in the East Region.

The Big Ten regular season and tourney champion Wisconsin Badgers (31-3) will try to make consecutive trips to the Final Four out of the West Region, while Duke (29-4) is the top seed in the South Region despite not even making the ACC tourney final.

The No. 2 seeds in the field are Kansas, Gonzaga, Arizona and Virginia. Notre Dame, Iowa State, Baylor and Oklahoma comprise the No. 3 seeds, while Maryland, Georgetown, North Carolina and Louisville round out the top four seeds in each region.

Reigning-champion Connecticut lost in the AAC Tournament title game on Sunday and did not garner an at-large bid.

Westbrook Lifts Thunder To 109-100 Win Over Bulls

Russell Westbrook had 36 points and 11 rebounds and the Oklahoma City Thunder held off the Chicago Bulls 109-100 on Sunday afternoon.

Centers Enes Kanter (18 points, 18 rebounds) and Steven Adams (14 points, 11 rebounds) both posted double-doubles for the Thunder.

For only the third time in the Thunder's last nine games, Westbrook didn't record a triple-double, recording only six assists, largely because his teammates weren't shooting well early and Westbrook took over as the team's primary offensive option late. Oklahoma City shot 46 percent from the field, with Westbrook finishing 12 of 27.

Westbrook's final assist came on the game-turning play. With the Thunder up 99-95 in the final minute, he held the basketball until near the end of the shot clock, then passed to Anthony Morrow, who swished a 3-pointer to seal the win.

NBA Scoreboard

Houston 100, LA Clippers 98
Denver 118, New Orleans 111 (2-OT)
Cleveland 123, Orlando 108
San Antonio 123, Minnesota 97
Portland 113, Toronto 97

Blues Beat Stars

Jake Allen made 28 saves for his fourth shutout of the season and the St. Louis Blues beat the Dallas Stars 3-0 on Sunday to open a key six-game road trip.

Vladimir Tarasenko broke a scoreless tie 4:26 into the third period and Alexander Steen added a power-play goal later on as the Blues tied Nashville for first place in the Central Division and won for the fourth time in five games.

T.J. Oshie scored into an open net with 1:46 remaining to seal the win.

They matched Nashville at 93 points, bouncing back from a loss to Minnesota on Saturday.

NHL Scoreboard

Detroit 5, Pittsburgh 1
Carolina 3, Columbus 2
NY Rangers 2, Florida 1
Ottawa 2, Philadelphia 1 (SO)
Washington 2, Boston 0
Anaheim 4, Nashville 2

Harvick Claims Fourth Win In a Row at Phoenix

Kevin Harvick continued his dominance at Phoenix International Raceway and in the Sprint Cup Series with a convincing win in Sunday's CampingWorld.com 500.

Harvick, the defending Sprint Cup champion, started on the pole and led 224 of 312 laps for his fourth consecutive victory and fifth in six races at Phoenix, a flat, one-mile racetrack. He became the first driver in the series to win four in a row at the same track since Jimmie Johnson last accomplished the feat from 2004-05 at Charlotte.

With the victory at Phoenix, Harvick widened his lead in the drivers' standings to 22 points.

Jamie McMurray placed second. McMurray challenged Harvick for the lead following the last restart with 12 laps to go, but he ended up crossing the finish line 1.153 seconds behind Harvick.

NASCAR's top series wraps up its three-week West Coast swing next weekend at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. Harvick won the 2011 race at that two-mile track. He finished 36th in last year's event there.

Rangers Darvish To have Tommy John Surgery

Texas Rangers starter Yu Darvish will have Tommy John surgery on his pitching elbow, the team said Friday, meaning the ace right-hander will miss the upcoming season.

The reconstructive surgery on the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow will be performed Tuesday in Pensacola, Florida, by Dr. James Andrews, Rangers spokesman John Blake said.

The team revealed last week that Darvish, 28, had a sprained UCL that might require the season-ending surgery so common these days.

Darvish underwent an MRI exam last Friday after pitching just one inning in his spring debut.

He missed the final seven weeks last season due to mild inflammation in his right elbow.

Reggie Bush Signs With 49ers

Reggie Bush is heading back home to California, as the former USC star running back has agreed to a deal with the San Francisco 49ers.

Bush, released by the Detroit Lions last month, announced his intentions via Twitter on Saturday.

"The best is yet to come #49ers", Bush tweeted.

Bush delivered his second career 1,000-yard rushing season with the Lions in 2013, but saw his production drop during an injury-plagued 2014 season. Limited to just 11 games, the 30-year-old managed just 297 yards and two touchdowns on 76 carries, though he did record 40 receptions totaling 253 yards.

The nine-year veteran will likely serve as the 49ers' primary back on passing downs while splitting ball-carrying duties with promising second-year pro Carlos Hyde.

Spieth Wins Wild 3-Man Playoff At Valspar Championship

Jordan Spieth rolled in a bending, 28- foot birdie putt on the third playoff hole Sunday to defeat Patrick Reed and 2008 champion Sean O'Hair and win the Valspar Championship.

After hitting his tee shot on the green at the par-3 17th, Spieth watched as Reed and O'Hair failed to make birdie before rolling in his huge putt for the win. The trio finished regulation tied for the lead at 10-under-par 274.

Spieth, who now has two career victories on the PGA Tour, carded a 2-under 69 in the final round. Reed fired a 5-under 66, while O'Hair shot a 4-under 67 on the Copperhead Course at Innisbrook Golf & Spa Resort.

World No. 3 Henrik Stenson hung around throughout most of the day, but his 67 was not quite enough as he ended alone in fourth at 9-under 275.

Third-round leader Ryan Moore, who held a 3-shot lead with six holes to play, made three crucial bogeys down the stretch and was unable to make birdies when it mattered most. Moore shot a 1-over 72 and finished alone in fifth at minus-8.

State Sen. Calls EPA Ruling 'Victory'

Earlier this week, the US Environmental Protection Agency ruled the Mahomet Aquifer as a sole source for drinking water and a local senator calls the ruling a victory for the area.

State Senator Chapin Rose notes the ruling is far from the end of the fight, but he feels it is just another victory for all the people working hard to protect the Mahomet Aquifer from PCBs going into the Clinton Landfill.

[audio:3141594915-31415roseaquifer1.mp3] [/audio]

Sen. Rose says the Mahomet Aquifer ruling by the EPA was just one of a long line of victories for his area this week. He points to the new engineering medical school the University of Illinois approved this week tha will partner with Carle Foundation Hospital. He says both are huge victories for his district.

State and Local Police Beef Up Patrols Through St. Patrick's Day



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Treasurer Frerichs' Office Holding Online Auction Next Week



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Illinois Lottery Helps Fight Against Multiple Sclerosis

The Illinois Lottery has a growing tradition of helping raise funds for important causes. The latest beneficiary of those efforts is the MS Project, which is engaged in the battle against multiple sclerosis. Lottery Director Michael Jones promoted the new instant game last week at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine...

[audio:3141594922-MStickets.mp3] [/audio]

The instant tickets sell for five dollars each with a top prize of $250,000.
100% of profits fund research into the cause, prevention and future cure of multiple sclerosis.

Pensioner Says Underfunding is State?s Own Making

With the state Supreme Court now taking the arguments over pension reform under advisement, there’s plenty of reaction from both sides. Illinois News Network has more:

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The court is expected to rule on the case before the end of the current fiscal year.

Durbin Urges More Funding for Treatments and Cures

Senator Dick Durbin is urging colleagues to invest in medical treatment and research. On the Senate Floor, he urged Congress to make federal funding for agencies like the National Institutes of Health a top priority. Durbin said while there was heavy reaction to the headline grabbing Ebola story last year, more attention needs to be paid to issues that are a proven threat to the health and welfare of Americans...

[audio:3141594920-Durbinresearch.mp3] [/audio]

Durbin introduced the American Cures Act earlier this year, legislation he introduced earlier this year to support the future of research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the Department of Defense Health Program (DHP), and the Veterans Medical & Prosthetics Research Program. Durbin first introduced this legislation – which is endorsed by the National Multiple Sclerosis Society – during the previous Congress last year.

Rauner Indefinitely Suspends Grants For Parks Projects

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner has suspended state grants for park district construction projects as Illinois faces an estimated $1.6 billion budget deficit.

The indefinite suspension affects parks projects across the state, including ones in Decatur, Mount Pulaski and Streator.

Rauner spokeswoman Catherine Kelly says the governor's office "is taking actions necessary to address the fiscal crisis that the governor inherited."

Reports indicate it wasn't clear Wednesday how much funding is now up in the air, but it affects at least $26 million announced in January by former Gov. Pat Quinn.

Protestors Swarm Capitol Over Medicaid Cuts

It was a chaotic Wednesday inside and outside the State Capitol in Springfield.

1,500 protesters turned out to protest Governor Rauner's proposed budget cuts impacting low income Illinoisans, including a $1.5 billion cut to the Medicaid program alone. Reverend Jamie Canty of the Morgan Park Pentecostal Church in Chicago, believes candidate Rauner and Governor Rauner are offering two different messages.

[audio:3131563951-werise.mp3] [/audio]

Protesters surrounded the Governor's office at the Capitol then some marched to the Executive Mansion to express their displeasure.

Big Brothers Big Sisters Celebrating Successful 'Bowl For Kids Sake'

A local organization is celebrating a recent event in Lincoln as a big success.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of DeWitt County held their annual "Bowl For Kids Sake" event in Lincoln at Logan Lanes Saturday night. Brie Weaver with BBBS says a lot of community groups and businesses stepped up to be a part of their annual trip.

[audio:3131564105-31315bbbsbowl1.mp3] [/audio]

Thanks to all the participants, close to $7-thousand was raised. Weaver indicates they ask for a $50 donation up front, and for some, it comes out of pocket and for others, they find ways to raise money for the fee.

[audio:3131564107-31315bbbsbowl2.mp3] [/audio]

Weaver says fundraisers like the "Bowl For Kids Sake" goes to support the costs it takes to support a "big" in the program. She explains while there is no cost to the "little" or the volunteer, there are costs associated with having volunteers in their organization.

[audio:3131564109-31315bbbsbowl3.mp3] [/audio]

Weaver thanks Ameren and CrimeStoppers who were the presenting sponsors of the event. She was very pleased they were able to fill all 16 lanes of Logan Lanes, she also thanks them for allowing to be held there once again.

DJWH Hears From Two Management Firms Thursday

The Doctor John Warner Hospital board heard two presentations from a pair of hospital management firms during a special meeting at the Richland Education Center on Thursday night.

Both firms are under hiring consideration by the hospital Board and were dedicated to presenting relevant information to the Clinton community. Quorum Health Resources presented first and say they are committed to smaller rural and community hospitals. Regional Vice-President Tim Widner notes Quorum is experienced in decreasing "out-migration" to larger community medical facilities.

[audio:3131564602-31315djwhfirm1.mp3] [/audio]

The Quorum team also featured Don Annis, CEO of Crawford Memorial Hospital in Robinson, who has worked with the firm since 1977. He explains Robinson's demographics are very similar to Clinton's and would fit well with Quorum. He also notes the firm has allowed Crawford Memorial to have low employee turnover and large employee satisfaction.

[audio:3131564605-31315djwhfirm2.mp3] [/audio]

 width=The second management firm presentation was by Alliant Management Services. They highlighted the many services they can provide to DJWH to staff and patents. Alliant President and CEO Tim Jarm (right) stressed the company provides education and networking opportunities in many different forms.

[audio:3131564609-31315djwhfirm3.mp3] [/audio]

Like Quorum, Alliant is also dedicated to protecting rural and community hospitals. Jarm says Alliant has never had one of their hospitals close despite many rural hospitals being in danger of closing within the next few years. Jarm points out Alliant's group of hospitals are in the top 50th percentile in the county.

[audio:3131564611-31315djwhfirm4.mp3] [/audio]

Both presentations concluded with a question and answer period for board members and the public.

Board member Joanna Holtman encourages anyone with questions, comments or concerns to contact a hospital board member.

Davis With Early Lead At Valspar Championship

 width=Brian Davis fired a 6-under 65 in Thursday's first round and the Englishman holds a 1-shot lead over Sean O'Hair and Ricky Barnes at the Valspar Championship.

Davis, a two-time winner on the European Tour, is looking for his first victory on the PGA Tour. Davis last won at the ANZ Championship in 2004, with his other win coming at the Open de Espana in 2000.

World No. 3 Henrik Stenson and last week's Puerto Rico Open champion Alex Cejka headline a group of six players tied for fourth at 4-under 67. They are joined there by rookie Justin Thomas, Derek Ernst, Brendon de Jonge and Nicholas Thompson.

Defending champion John Senden carded a 3-over 74 in the first round and he is tied for 114th.

NFL Free Agency Frenzy Continues

>>Eagles Add Murray, Matthews

The Philadelphia Eagles have replaced 2013 NFL rushing champion LeSean McCoy with the winner of last year's rushing title and stole him away from the NFC East rival Dallas Cowboys.

DeMarco Murray landed in Philadelphia on Thursday and signed a five-year contract.

The Eagles were in need of a star running back after trading McCoy to the Buffalo Bills in exchange for linebacker Kiko Alonso.

Murray's deal is reportedly worth $42 million and includes $21 million guaranteed. For comparison, McCoy signed a five-year, $40 million deal with $26.5 million guaranteed with the Bills.

The 27-year-old Murray was named the 2014 AP Offensive Player of the Year after rushing for an NFL-best and career-high 1,845 yards and 13 touchdowns. He also caught 57 passes for 416 yards.

Earlier Thursday, the Eagles signed veteran running back Ryan Mathews to a three-year contract. Murray and Mathews will join Darren Sproles and Chris Polk in a crowded Philadelphia backfield.

Mathews spent each of his five NFL seasons with the San Diego Chargers, who drafted him No. 12 overall in 2010.

He had two 1,000-yard seasons with San Diego, in 2011 and 2013, but rushed for just 330 yards and three touchdowns in six games last season while dealing with knee and ankle injuries.

>>Colts Waive RB Richardson

Trent Richardson's time in Indianapolis has officially come to an end.

The Colts waived the running back Thursday after two lackluster seasons with the organization.

 width=Richardson, a former No. 3 overall pick and All-American out of Alabama, was acquired by Indianapolis in a September 2013 deal that sent a 2014 first-round draft pick to the Cleveland Browns.

The move comes as no surprise after the Colts added five-time Pro Bowler Frank Gore to their backfield on Tuesday.

In two seasons with the Colts, Richardson played in 29 games (20 starts) and rushed 316 times for 977 yards and six touchdowns, while also adding 494 receiving yards and a TD catch.

>>Texans Land S Moore

The Houston Texans have signed free agent safety Rahim Moore, the team announced Thursday.

Though terms of the agreement were not disclosed, NFL.com reported the deal to be for $12 million over three seasons.

Moore joins the Texans off a solid 2014 campaign with the Denver Broncos, in which the 25-year-old recorded career highs of four interceptions and two forced fumbles along with 49 tackles. He started all 16 regular-season games for the AFC West champions as well as Denver's playoff loss to Indianapolis.

A second-round pick of the Broncos in 2011, Moore had served as Denver's regular free safety in each of the past three seasons and logged eight interceptions during his four-year tenure with the club.

Pacers Beat Bucks

 width=Rodney Stuckey contributed 25 points in the Indiana Pacers' 109-103 overtime win against the Milwaukee Bucks on Thursday night.

Luis Scola and George Hill each tallied 17 points in Indiana's seventh straight win, with Scola grabbing a season-high 15 rebounds.

C.J. Miles added 14 points and Ian Mahinmi grabbed 10 boards in place of Roy Hibbert, who missed the contest with a sore left elbow.

Michael Carter-Williams had his best offensive output since being acquired by the Bucks, scoring 28 points with eight rebounds and four assists.

Ersan Ilyasova had 19 points with 10 rebounds and Khris Middleton chipped in with 18 in the setback.

>>Irving Explodes For 57 In Cavs Win

Kyrie Irving clutched the game ball against his hip while being congratulated by teammates following the most scintillating performance of the season.

And that might've be an understatement.

Irving scored a Cleveland Cavaliers franchise-record 57 points, leading them to a thrilling 128-125 overtime win over the San Antonio Spurs on Thursday night.

Irving scored Cleveland's last nine points of regulation, including a game-tying 3-pointer at the fourth-quarter buzzer. He then added 11 points in the extra session to help the Cavs snap a 10-game losing streak against the defending-champion Spurs.

It was also Cleveland's 23rd win over its last 28 games.

Tony Parker supplied 31 points, six assists and five boards, while Danny Green and Leonard poured in 24 points apiece for San Antonio, which had a six-game winning streak snapped.

NBA Scoreboard
Washington 107, Memphis 87
Utah 109, Houston 91
New York 101, LA Lakers 94

Blues, Blackhawks Win Thursday

 width=>>Blackhawks Edge Out Coyotes

Brad Richards scored a tiebreaking power-play goal with 7:11 left in the third period to give the Chicago Blackhawks a 2-1 win over the Arizona Coyotes on Thursday night.

Richards scored near the end of the advantage, putting in a rebound of Kris Versteeg's blocked shot. It was the 900th NHL point for Richards, who entered in ninth place among active players.

The Blackhawks had seven power plays and converted two of them, including Andrew Shaw's first-period goal. Corey Crawford made 17 saves in the win, and Arizona's Mike Smith stopped 43 shots.

The Coyotes had a power play for the last 38.5 seconds of the game, and made it a 6-on-4 skating advantage after pulling Smith, but couldn't force overtime. Tobias Rieder had given Arizona a 1-0 lead early in the first period.

 width=>>St. Louis Beats Philly In Shootout

T.J. Oshie and Vladimir Tarasenko both scored in the shootout, ruining a brilliant 35-save effort by Steve Mason in regulation and overtime, and St. Louis claimed a 1-0 decision over Philadelphia at Scottrade Center.

Brian Elliott turned aside 28 shots to tie a franchise record with his 20th shutout for the Blues, who provided head coach Ken Hitchcock with his 700th win as a head coach.

Mason was credited with his third shutout of the year, but lost his second 1-0 shootout result for the Flyers, who suffered a similar defeat in their last trip to St. Louis back on Apr. 1.

The Philadelphia netminder stopped all 16 shots he faced through two periods, then came up with 19 more through the game's final 25 minutes.

NHL Scoreboard
Boston 3, Tampa Bay 2 (SO)
Pittsburgh 6, Edmonton 4
Dallas 5, Carolina 3
Ottawa 5, Montreal 2
Columbus 3, Detroit 1
Florida 4, Winnipeg 2
Colorado 2, New Jersey 1 (SO)
Los Angeles 4, Vancouver 0
San Jose 2, Nashville 0

Eastern Illinois Looking For Rebound in 2015

Eastern Illinois football is hoping a potentially difficult non-conference schedule in September will lead to Ohio Valley Conference title contention in October and November.

On Thursday, EIU announced an 11-game schedule for coach Kim Dameron's second season. The Panthers finished 5-7 last year, losing all four of their non- conference games.

 width=The Panthers will play a pair of Missouri Valley Football Conference opponents, traveling to Western Illinois on Sept. 3 and hosting FCS national runner-up Illinois State in the Mid-America Classic on Sept. 19 at O'Brien Field. In between, they will visit Big 10 member Northwestern on Sept. 12.

Within the OVC, Eastern Illinois will host Southeast Missouri (Oct. 10), Tennessee Tech (Oct. 24, Homecoming), Jacksonville State (Nov. 7) and Eastern Kentucky (Nov. 21).

The Panthers' conference road matchups are against Austin Peay (Oct. 3), Tennessee State (Oct. 17), Murray State (Oct. 31) and UT Martin (Nov. 14).

2015 Eastern Illinois Football Schedule

Sept. 3, at Western Illinois
Sept. 12, at Northwestern
Sept. 19, Illinois State
Oct. 3, at Austin Peay*
Oct. 10, Southeast Missouri*
Oct. 17, at Tennessee State*
Oct. 24, Tennessee Tech* (Homecoming)
Oct. 31, at Murray State*
Nov. 7, Jacksonville State*
Nov. 14, at UT Martin*
Nov. 21, Eastern Kentucky*
* - Ohio Valley Conference game

Illinois A No Show vs Michigan At Big Ten Tournament

 width=Aubrey Dawkins scored 18 points and Michigan beat Illinois 73-55 Thursday in the second round of the Big Ten tournament.

Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman added 15 points and eight rebounds. Zak Irvin scored 14, and the ninth-seeded Wolverines (16-15) advanced in the tournament after dropping eight of 11 games. They will meet No. 6 Wisconsin, the top seed, in the quarterfinals on Friday.

Illinois (19-13) simply came out flat on a day when it needed to impress the NCAA selection committee. Instead, the eighth-seeded Illini trailed by 17 at halftime and lost for the fifth time in seven games.

They watched as Michigan nailed 7 of 15 3-pointers, with Dawkins and Irvin hitting two apiece. Illinois shot just 1 of 13 from long range in a game where none of its starters played well.

Malcolm Hill had 13 points but shot just 3 of 12. Rayvonte Rice, who came in averaging 17 points, scored 10 and missed all four 3-pointers while going 4 of 13 from the field.

Big Ten Tournament Scoreboard
Penn State 67. Iowa 58
Indiana 71, Northwestern 56
Ohio State 79, Minnesota 73

Big East Tournament Scoreboard
(4) Villanova 84, Marquette 49
Providence 74, St. John's 57
(23) Georgetown 60, Creighton 55
Xavier 67, (22) Butler 61 (OT)

PAC-12 Tournament Scoreboard
(5) Arizona 73, California 51
UCLA 96, Southern California 70
Oregon 93, Colorado 85
(17) Utah 80, Stanford 56

Mountain West Tournament Scorebaord
(25) Boise State 80, Air Force 68
Wyoming 67, Utah State 65
San Diego State 67, UNLV 64
Colorado State 71, Fresno State 59

ACC Tournament Scoreboard
(3) Virginia 58, Florida State 44
(19) North Carolina 70, (14) Louisville 60
(2) Duke 77, North Carolina State 53
(11) Notre Dame 70, Miami-Florida 63

SEC Tournament Scoreboard
Florida 69, Alabama 61
Tennessee 67, Vanderbilt 61
Auburn 66, Texas A&M 59
South Carolina 60, Ole Miss 58

Big 12 Conference Tournament Scoreboard
(9) Kansas 64, TCU 59
(16) Baylor 80, (18) West Virginia 70
(13) Iowa State 69, Texas 67
(15) Oklahoma 64, Oklahoma State 49

Youth Swimmers Off To State Next Weekend

The Clinton YMCA Otters swim team concluded their regular season at the Illini YMCA District Championship swim meet held at the Gus & Flora Kerasotes Branch of the Springfield, IL, YMCA this past weekend.

In the combined team results, both boys and girls, they finished in 8th place with the boys finishing in 7th place and the girls finishing in 8th place out of 15 teams from across the District, covering much of central Illinois.

 width=Clinton YMCA took 41 swimmers to Districts receiving many medals and 2 trophies, one for the 9-10 year old boys (consisting of Nick Zenger, Nate Zenger, Carter Bugner, Drew Moser, Kaine Trimble, and Dalton Glynn) placing 3rd overall in their age group and one for the 15-18 year old girls (consisting of Claire Benton,Dana Herman, Allison Herman, Alivia Hay, Riley Donelson, Victoria Wayne, and Hanna Hickman) who also took 3rd place overall in their age group.

Special recognition went to Dalton Glynn who won 1st place in the 9-10 year old boys division of the 50 breaststroke with a time of 38.39, the only Clinton swimmer to receive a 1st place.

There were many swimmers who swam a personal best with a few surprises.

Kaine Trimble dropped 7 seconds off his best time in the 9-10 year old boys 100IM to put him into finals where he finished in 7th place with a time of 1:25.47. 6-year old Caleb Zirkelbach dropped almost 2 seconds off his best time in the 8 & under boys 25 breast stroke to make finals and placed 6th with a time of 28.74.

First year swimmer, Mabry Bruhn, finished 5th in the 9-10 year old girls 100 IM after dropping more than 2 seconds off her best time to finish with a time of 1:28.73.

Veteran swimmer, Riley Donelson, placed 4th in the 15-18 year old girls 200 breast stroke with a time of 3:06.50 after dropping 7 seconds off her previous best time.

Clinton YMCA Otters competed in several relay events. The 11-12 year old girls 200 medley relay (Ella Korneman, Maddison Stoffel, Maddison Becker, and Payne Turney) dropped 3 seconds to make a time of 2:14.96, which qualified them for the Illinois State YMCA Swimming Championship.

The 15-18 year old boys 200 free relay (Blaise Willoughby, Isaac Fabris, Collin Underwood, and Jt Harrold) also dropped over a second to qualify for the upcoming state swim meet with a time of 1:44.07.

Several Athletes from the Clinton YMCA Otters will be competing in the Illinois State YMCA Swimming Championship that will be held at Lake Central High School in St. John, Indiana on March 21 and 22, 2015.

The Otters have 23 swimmers that have qualified for the state championship, including 10 relay teams and 8 swimmers competing in 19 individual events.

More on the upcoming Illinois State YMCA Swimming Championship next week on 95.9 WEZC, AM 1520 92.3 FM WHOW and online at Dewittdailynews.com.

Logon to DewittDailynews.com for a full list of District results.

Individual Results:
Charlotte Ball
Girls 10 & Under 100 Free - 1:27.55
Girls 10 & Under 50 Breast - 50.54
Madison Becker
Girls 12 & Under 50 Free - 27.57
Girls 12 & Under 50 Fly - 33.07
Claire Benton
Girls 21 & Under 100 Free - 1:13.61
Girls 21 & Under 100 Breast - 1:30.09
Laura Benton
Girls 12 & Under 50 Breast - 48.36
Olivia Benton
Girls 21 & Under 200 Breast - 3:20.57
Girls 14 & Under 100 Breast - 1:32.24
Mara Bobek
Girls 8 & Under 25 Back - 28.10
Mabry Bruhn
Girls 10 & Under 100 IM - 1:28.73
Girls 10 & Under 50 Free - 35.53
Girls 10 & Under 50 Fly - 44.48
Mylin Bruhn
Girls 8 & Under 25 Free - 24.32
Girls 8 & Under 25 Back - 30.13
Carter Bugner
Boys 10 & Under 50 Back - 45.82
Tyler Costa
Boys 8 & Under 25 Free - 25.21
Riley Donelson
Girls 21 & Under 200 Breast - 3:06.50
Girls 21 & Under 100 Breast - 1:25.04
Aliyah Ellison
Girls 8 & Under 100 IM - 1:42.34
Girls 8 & Under 25 Fly - 22.10
Girls 8 & Under 25 Breast - 25.73
Isaac Fabris
Boys 21 & Under 200 Free - 2:22.15
Boys 21 & Under 100 Breast - 1:23.27
Sarah Fabris
Girls 12 & Under 50 Free - 33.68
Girls 12 & Under 50 Back - 41.47
Girls 12 & Under 50 Breast - 45.37
Dalton Glynn
Boys 12 & Under 200 IM - 2:55.67
Boys 10 & Under 50 Breast - 38.39
Jt Harrold
Boys 21 & Under 50 Free - 25.86
Boys 21 & Under 100 Free - 59.27
Alivia Hay
Girls 21 & Under 200 IM - 2:25.25
Girls 21 & Under 100 Back - 1:04.86
Allison Herman
Girls 21 & Under 50 Free - 26.45
Girls 21 & Under 100 Fly - 1:05.93
Dana Herman
Girls 21 & Under 100 Free - 1:00.46
Girls 21 & Under 100 Back - 1:08.69
Hanna Hickman
Girls 21 & Under 50 Free - 29.22
Girls 21 & Under 100 Free - 1:08.05
Girls 21 & Under 100 Breast - 1:24.86
Ella Korneman
Girls 12 & Under 200 IM - 2:59.57
Girls 12 & Under 50 Back - 36.70
Girls 12 & Under 50 Breast - 42.63
Elizabeth Lukach
Girls 14 & Under 50 Free - 30.30
Girls 14 & Under 100 Free - 1:10.11
Drew Moser
Boys 10 & Under 50 Free - 33.59
Boys 10 & Under 100 Free - 1:17.74
Audrey Rodriguez
Girls 8 & Under 25 Free - 21.34
Girls 8 & Under 25 Fly - 31.47
Jack Shaw
Boys 14 & Under 50 Free - 32.10
Boys 14 & Under 100 Free - 1:11.83
Cassidee Stoffel
Girls 8 & Under 25 Free - 18.29
Girls 8 & Under 25 Back - 21.89
Madison Stoffel
Girls 12 & Under 50 Free - 28.44
Girls 12 & Under 100 Free - 1:03.98
Kaine Trimble
Boys 10 & Under 100 IM - 1:25.47
Boys 10 & Under 50 Fly - 38.57
Payne Turney
Girls 12 & Under 50 Free - 30.25
Girls 12 & Under 50 Breast - 42.56
Collin Underwood
Boys 21 & Under 50 Free - 27.70
Boys 21 & Under 100 Breast - 1:24.59
Victoria Wayne
Girls 21 & Under 50 Free - 28.05
Girls 21 & Under 100 Free - 1:06.20
Jessica West
Girls 12 & Under 200 IM - 3:29.00
Girls 12 & Under 50 Free - 37.11
Girls 12 & Under 50 Breast - 44.79
Justyn West
Boys 12 & Under 200 IM - 3:23.56
Boys 12 & Under 50 Free - 37.55
Boys 12 & Under 50 Breast - 49.19
Blaise Willoughby
Boys 21 & Under 50 Free - 23.62
Nathan Zenger
Boys 10 & Under 50 Free - 37.07
Boys 10 & Under 50 Fly - 49.30
Boys 10 & Under 100 Free - 1:24.78
Nicholas Zenger
Boys 10 & Under 50 Free - 35.67
Boys 10 & Under 100 Free - 1:22.46
Boys 10 & Under 50 Back - 46.74
Caleb Zirkelbach
Boys 8 & Under 25 Back - 27.49
Boys 8 & Under 25 Breast - 28.74
Samantha Zocher
Girls 12 & Under 50 Free - 31.61
Girls 12 & Under 50 Fly - 39.50
Girls 12 & Under 100 Free - 1:16.48

Girls 8 & Under 100 Medley – 1:45.25 Y
Mara Bobek, Cassidee Stoffel, Audrey Rodriguez, Mylin Bruhn
Boys 8 & Under 100 Medley - 2:02.82Y
Kaelym Upton, Timothy Bugner, Caleb Zirkelbach, Tyler Costa
Boys 10 & Under 200 Medley - 2:38.65Y
Carter Bugner, Dalton Glynn, Kaine Trimble, Drew Moser
Girls 12 & Under 200 Medley - 2:14.96Y
Ella Korneman, Madison Stoffel, Madison Becker, Payne Turney
Girls 21 & Under 200 Medley - 2:01.43Y
Alivia Hay, Hanna Hickman, Dana Herman, Allison Herman
Boys 21 & Under 200 Medley - 2:01.31Y
Jt Harrold, Isaac Fabris, Blaise Willoughby, Collin Underwood
Girls 8 & Under 100 Free - 1:21.86Y
Mylin Bruhn, Aliyah Ellison, Audrey Rodriguez, Cassidee Stoffel
Boys 8 & Under 100 Free - 1:42.57Y
Timothy Bugner, Caleb Zirkelbach, Tyler Costa, Kaelym Upton
Boys 10 & Under 200 Free - 2:17.88Y
Drew Moser, Nicholas Zenger, Kaine Trimble, Dalton Glynn
Girls 12 & Under 200 Free - 2:01.96Y
Madison Stoffel, Madison Becker, Samantha Zocher, Payne Turney
Girls 21 & Under 200 Free - 1:47.72Y
Alivia Hay, Allison Herman, Dana Herman, Victoria Wayne
Boys 21 & Under 200 Free - 1:44.07Y
Isaac Fabris, Jt Harrold, Collin Underwood, Blaise Willoughby

Information Courtesy of Darren Moser

Illinois State Gets Walk-Off Win Over Bowling Green

The Illinois State baseball team surrendered a six-run lead late but rallied back to win with a walk-off single from Sean Beesley Wednesday as Illinois State took an 8-7 win over Bowling Green at the RussMatt Central Florida Invitational at Chain O'Lakes Park.

 width=Bowling Green plated six runs in the seventh inning to tie the game at 7-7. The game remained tied until the bottom of the ninth, when Daniel Dwyer walked and Paul DeJong singled to start the inning. Jared Hendren bunted the runners into scoring position before Mason Snyder was intentionally walked.

Beesley followed with a chopper to the left side of the infield to score Dwyer and win the game.

In his first at-bat wearing a Redbird uniform, Danny Jackson hit a two-run home run in the second inning.

DeJong led the Redbirds' offensive charge with three hits, while Jared Hendren and Snyder added two hits apiece.

The Redbirds are off Thursday before returning to action Friday against Maine at the RussMatt Invitational. First pitch Friday is set for 9 a.m. CT.

Clinton Police Report for 3-12






DeWitt County Sheriff's Report for 3-12

Jail Population: 40

Paper Services: 8


Kelly Timmons, 42, Clinton was issued a Citation and Arrested and Charged with Reckless Driving. Timmons posted the necessary bond and was released.

DeWitt County Sheriff's Report for 3-9

Jail Population: 39

Paper Services: 1

Warrants: 2


John Snelling, 30, Lucdale, MI, was arrested on a DeWitt County Warrant charging him with Contempt of Court.  Snelling, being un-able to post the necessary bond, remains lodged in the DeWitt County Jail.

Ryan Smith, 30, Normal IL, was arrested on a DeWitt County Warrant charging him with Contempt of Court.  Smith. being un-able to post the necessary bond, remains lodged in the DeWitt County Jail.



Advocates Push For Solutions To Child Care Funding



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Rauner Uses Troubled Executive Mansion For Comical Relief

Repairs at the troubled Executive Mansion are a work in progress but Governor Bruce Rauner is taking it in stride.

While addressing farmers at the Prairie Farmer Awards Ceremony in Springfield, his description of life inside the mansion resembled the screenplay of the 1986 Tom Hanks/Shelley Long hit The Money Pit.

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Rauner encouraged those on hand to actively support his agenda to cut the cost of state government.

Blue Ridge To Expand Technology In Classrooms

Blue Ridge Schools introduced the first phase of a three year implementation of technology into their classrooms.

Seven teachers were given Chromebooks in the amount of 30 per classroom. According to Susan Wilson, Superintendent of Blue Ridge Schools, the introduction has been a lot of work but she feels it has been a big success.

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The Google Chromebooks provide the district with a lot of conveniences other devices can't. Wilson explains the Chromebooks are web based, which means teachers can keep tabs on projects or provide feedback.

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Wilson explains the Chromebooks are also a big help in customizing their curriculum. Wilson says with instant access to internet, her staff can get the students the most up to date information whereas traditional textbooks become dated in many subject areas very quickly.

DCDC Preparing For Financial Uncertaintity

It's budget time for one area non-profit.

The DeWitt County Development Council is aimed at assisting current businesses and also recruiting potential businesses to DeWitt County. Ruth Stauffer is the agency's Executive Director, she says right now is their budget time, so they are approaching their supporters about funding for next year.

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With the certainty local governments are going to be cut, the future of funding from the governmental bodies is up in the air. Stuaffer says the fear of having their funds reduced never goes away. She says they continue to build relationships in hopes of gaining financial support from local businesses.

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The DCDC is already running on a shoestring budget with no reserves. Stauffer indicates they have cut back in several areas, the DCDC board will continue to seek out those private partnerships with uncertainties ahead.

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Stauffer believes they have great support from the entities they receive funds from. She feels they all work well together and are in constant contact with them.

EPA Declares Mahomet Aquifer A Primary Drinking Water Source

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has added an extra layer of regulatory protection for a central Illinois aquifer by declaring it a primary source of drinking water.

The EPA on Wednesday said the Mahomet aquifer is primary water source for more than 750,000 people in central Illinois. That guarantees extra scrutiny of any project there that includes federal finances.

Local leaders in towns that use the aquifer pushed for the designation to try to block plans to store toxic PCBs in a landfill over the aquifer in Clinton. The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency blocked those plans last summer based on a problems with local approvals of the project.

Busch Reinstated By NASCAR, On Permanent Probation

NASCAR announced on Wednesday that Kurt Busch's indefinite suspension has been lifted, effective immediately, allowing him to compete in this weekend's Sprint Cup Series race at Phoenix International Raceway.

 width=According to a news release from NASCAR, Busch is eligible to return to racing under indefinite probation subject to additional mandatory requirements that include but are not limited to participation in a treatment program and full compliance with any judicial requirements placed upon him.

NASCAR placed Busch, the driver of the No. 41 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet and 2004 Cup Series champion, on suspension Feb. 20, two days before the Daytona 500, when it learned that a Delaware judge had concluded that Busch "more than likely not" committed an act of domestic violence against his ex- girlfriend Patricia Driscoll in his motorhome at Dover International Speedway last September.

Earlier this month, Busch agreed to NASCAR's terms and conditions for reinstatement. The sanctioning body had said there was no timetable in place for his potential return to competition, and it did not reveal the terms and conditions for his reinstatement.

PGA Tour Moves To Copperhead at Palm Harbor

 width=The penultimate event of the Florida swing is this week with the Valspar Championship.

John Senden picked up his second PGA Tour title at this event last year. He was two strokes behind entering the final round, but a 1-under 70 on Sunday was enough for the win.

The field this week includes five of the top-10 players in the world - Henrik Stenson, Adam Scott, Jim Furyk, Justin Rose and Jordan Spieth. Furyk has five straight top-20 finishes at this event, including a win in 2010 and a playoff loss in 2012.

The PGA Tour wraps up the Florida swing next week with the Arnold Palmer Invitational, where Matt Every beat Keegan Bradley by one stroke in 2014.

Rangers Take Metropolitan Division With Win Over Caps

Cam Talbot finished with 28 saves and Martin St. Louis registered a key late insurance goal as the New York Rangers continued their recent stretch of sterling play, downing Washington by a 3-1 count at Verizon Center.

 width=Carl Hagelin and J.T. Miller also tallied with Kevin Hayes adding a pair of assists for the Rangers, who vaulted over the idle Islanders to assume first place in the Metropolitan Division.

New York's 12-1-2 stretch also has it contending for the top spot in the Eastern Conference and the entire NHL.

Alex Ovechkin's 45th goal of the season proved to be the sole offense for the Capitals, who had won three of four coming in.

Braden Holtby took the loss despite also stopping 28 shots.

Chris Kreider helped seal the victory by intercepting a pass inside his own zone, breaking up ice and then dishing across for a tap-in by St. Louis with 2:27 to play.

NHL Scoreboard
Toronto 4, Buffalo 3 (SO)
Calgary 6, Anaheim 3

Tonight the Blues host Philadelphia and the Blackhawks are in Arizona.

Bulls Need Overtime To Beat Sixers

 width=Aaron Brooks scored a season-high 31 points, Pau Gasol added 27 points and 16 rebounds and the Chicago Bulls defeated the Philadelphia 76ers 104-95 in overtime Wednesday night.

Brooks knocked down a game-tying 3-pointer with 33.2 seconds remaining in regulation and the Bulls pulled away in the extra session.

Nikola Mirotic posted 16 points, 12 boards and five assists for the Bulls, who snapped a three-game losing streak.

Ish Smith tallied a career-high 23 points with six assists, Isaiah Canaan netted 20 and Nerlens Noel and Thomas Robinson pulled down 15 rebounds apiece for Philadelphia, which has dropped 10 of its last 12 games.

NBA Scoreboard
Sacramento 113, Charlotte 106
Boston 95, Memphis 92
Miami 104, Brooklyn 98
Milwaukee 97, Orlando 91
LA Clippers 120, Oklahoma City 108
Denver 115, Atlanta 102
Phoenix 106, Minnesota 97
Golden State 105, Detroit 98
Portland 105, Houston 100

Bears Add Safety Rolle; Colts Add WR Johnson

>>Bears Agree With Safety Rolle

The Chicago Bears have agreed to a three-year contract with three-time Pro Bowl safety Antrel Rolle.

 width=The move, announced Wednesday night, adds a playmaker and stabilizing force to a defense that struggled in a big way the past two years. Chicago gave up the two highest points totals the past two years and is undergoing a makeover after a five-win season.

Chicago has a new general manager in Ryan Pace and coach in John Fox. The Bears also are switching from a 4-3 to 3-4 defense.

Rolle, a 10-year veteran, has 26 interceptions with the Arizona Cardinals and New York Giants. He thanked the Chicago organization on Twitter and posted a picture showing him signing, with Bears helmet on the table. He wrote it was a "long, painful, and exhausting day," but both sides got what they want -- A Team that wants to win and a player that would give them everything he got to win."

 width=>>Colts Add WR Johnson

The Indianapolis Colts added another veteran player to their roster on Wednesday.

Seven-time Pro Bowl wide receiver Andre Johnson has decided to join running back Frank Gore and defensive end Trent Cole in Indianapolis. Johnson reportedly signed a three-year deal worth $21 million with the Colts.

Johnson was released by the Houston Texans on Monday, ending his 12-year tenure there. He had been the longest-tenured player for the Texans, having been drafted third overall by the team in 2003.

The 33-year-old Johnson caught 85 passes for 936 yards and three touchdowns in 15 games last season. A four-time All-Pro selection, Johnson hauled in 1,012 passes for 13,597 yards and 64 touchdowns in 169 games with the Texans.

>>Former Packers LB Hawk To Cincinnati

The Cincinnati Bengals signed linebacker A.J. Hawk on Wednesday.

The team also re-signed offensive linemen Clint Boling and Eric Winston and cornerback Chris Lewis-Harris.

Hawk spent the past nine seasons with the Green Bay Packers. Last season, Hawk played 16 games (13 starts) and recorded 89 tackles. The Ohio State product tallied 921 tackles, 19 sacks and nine interceptions in 142 career games with the Packers.

Illinois Looking To Keep Tournament Hopes Alive Today vs Michigan

 width=Sitting right on the bubble, the Illinois Fighting Illini need at least a victory in the Big Ten tournament to better their position into the NCAA tournament.

The Illini can reach the 20-win plateu again under John Groce with a win this morning against Michigan at the United Center in Chicago against Michigan.

The 19-11 Illini split the season series with the Wolverines, each winning at home.

The brackets are released Sunday.

>>Penn State Knocks Off Nebraska In Big Ten Tourney Action

D.J. Newbill scored 26 points on 9-of-22 shooting and the Penn State Nittany Lions held off the Nebraska Cornhuskers, 68-65, in the first round of the Big Ten Conference Tournament.

Shep Garner made five 3-pointers en route to 19 points for the 13th-seeded Nittany Lions (17-15), who will play the fifth-seeded Iowa Hawkeyes in the second round on Thursday.

Terran Petteway ended with 29 points for the 12th-seeded Cornhuskers (13-18), who lost their ninth straight game. Shavon Shields contributed 20 points and 10 rebounds.

>>Minnesota Takes Down Rutgers

Joey King was one of four Minnesota Golden Gophers to net double figures as his 20 points led the 11th-seeded Minnesota Golden Gophers to an 80-68 victory over the 14th-seeded Rutgers Scarlet Knights in the first round of the 2015 Big Ten Conference Tournament at the United Center.

King converted 6-of-9 from 3-point distance, while Carlos Morris added 16 points to the scoring effort for Minnesota (18-14). Nate Mason contributed 15 points and Maurice Walker tallied a double-double of 10 points and 10 rebounds in the win. Minnesota, which won despite Andre Hollins (14.3 ppg) being held scoreless, will now challenge sixth-seeded Ohio State on Thursday in the quarterfinal round.

Kadeem Jack scored 18 points and pulled down five rebounds for Rutgers (10-22). Myles Mack tallied 15 points and four steals, while Bishop Daniels also netted 15 points before fouling out. Junior Etou nearly collected a double-double as he scored nine points and grabbed nine rebounds.

Down Exports Impacting Downstate Economy

It’s a tale of two states when Illinois’ jobs numbers are considered.

During a hearing with the Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability, lawmakers heard economic information concerning the the Land of Lincoln. Illinois News Network has more.

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The most recent monthly report from CoGFA (cog-fah) says the Illinois is the fifth largest exporter in the U.S. but data shows exports were down five-point-one percent in December and six-point-six percent for last year.

Renovation of State Farm Center In Full Swing

After the final buzzer for the Fighting Illini's home basketball season last Wednesday, construction crews went right to work on the most radical stage of the renovation of State Farm Center.

Kent Brown with Illini Athletics says much of the lower interior of the longtime Assembly Hall has been cleared of seats and concrete as the school prepares for an improved fan experience.

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Large machinery had the lower levels almost completely removed in just a few days. Brown says things are moving right along.

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The final stages of the renovation will offer improved creature comforts for student athletes, which Brown says will help recruiting. In November, the Illini will play their first month of games in Springfield's Prairie Capital Convention Center.

Clinton YMCA Trialing New Arts Program

 width=In an effort to reach more youth in Clinton, the YMCA is hoping a new program they have will encourage more involvement.

Executive Director Rennie Cluver calls the new Arts Program an alternative for the more artistic kids of the community. Cluver says many of their programs are centered around sports and athletics, but he felt there wasn't anything available to students who aren't interested in those things.

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An art program can be an expensive endeavor for a non-profit, but Cluver says the members of the YMCA came through donating items they needed. Now he says, they need volunteers to step up and be a part of the program.

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The Art Program registration has ended, but Cluver says when the next session opens up, they will open registration again and at that point, more students can get involved. He says they meet weekly and are hoping to expand to host or go to different events in the next session.

NASCAR Penalizes Keselowski, Allgaier's Crew Chiefs

 width=NASCAR handed down penalties to two crew chiefs in the Sprint Cup Series on Tuesday for technical violations discovered this past weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Paul Wolfe, the crew chief for Brad Keselowski's No. 2 Team Penske Ford, was placed on probation through Dec. 31, and Steve Addington, the crew chief for Justin Allgaier's No. 51 HScott Motorsports Chevrolet, received a $25,000 for separate violations.

According to a news release from NASCAR, the right and left rear quarter panel wheel openings on Keselowski's No. 2 car were modified after qualifying inspection on Friday.

Allgaier's No. 51 car was found to be too light during post-race inspection on Sunday.

Pacers Route Magic

 width=Rodney Stuckey had 34 points, seven assists and six rebounds as the Indiana Pacers routed the Orlando Magic 118-86 on Tuesday night.

Damjan Rudez posted 17 points and five assists for the red-hot Pacers, who have won six straight and nine of their last 10 games. Luis Scola added 15 points and 10 rebounds.

Indiana was 17-of-34 from beyond the arc.

Tobias Harris provided 22 points and six rebounds for Orlando, which has dropped five of its last seven contests.

NBA Scoreboard
New Orleans 111, Brooklyn 91
Cleveland 127, Dallas 94
San Antonio 117, Toronto 107
Utah 87, New York 82

Rams Trade QB Bradford; Bears Make Marshall Trade Final

 width=>>Rams Move Trade Bradford for QB Foles

The Philadelphia Eagles have agreed to terms on a trade that will send quarterback Nick Foles, a fourth-round draft pick in 2015 and a second-round pick in 2016 to the St. Louis Rams in exchange for former No. 1 overall draft pick Sam Bradford and the Rams' fifth-round pick in 2015.

Also, if Bradford plays less than 50 percent of the snaps next season, the Eagles get a 2016 fourth-rounder back, and if he doesn't play one snap for Philadelphia, it gets a third-round pick in 2016.

Bradford was named the NFL's Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2010 but has since had his career derailed by an assortment of injuries, most recently a torn ACL that sidelined him for the entire 2014 season.

The 27-year-old Bradford started seven games for the Rams in 2013, completing 60.7 percent of his passes for 1,687 yards and 14 touchdowns to just four interceptions before suffering a season-ending knee injury.

The 2008 Heisman Trophy winner threw for 11,065 yards, 59 touchdowns and 38 interceptions over 49 games with the Rams.

Foles put together a terrific 2013 campaign in which the three-year pro threw 27 touchdown passes and just two interceptions while leading the Eagles to an NFC East title. However, he wasn't able to replicate those outstanding numbers while missing half of last season with a broken collarbone sustained in November.

The 26-year-old Foles completed 61.6 percent of his passes for 6,753 yards, 46 touchdowns and 17 interceptions in 28 games (24 starts) with the Eagles.

 width=>>Brandon Marshall Passes Physical, Trade To Jets Complete

Brandon Marshall has passed his physical and his trade to the New York Jets from the Chicago Bears is official.

The teams agreed on the deal last Friday, but it became official at the start of the unrestricted free agency signing period Tuesday.

The Jets sent a fifth-round draft pick to the Bears for Marshall and a seventh-rounder. Marshall, who turns 31 on March 23, has played the last three seasons with the Bears. He dealt with injuries and had 61 catches last season, his lowest total since his rookie year with Denver in 2006, for 721 yards and eight touchdowns.

Marshall told the team's website playing in New York and for new coach Todd Bowles is "an amazing opportunity."

 width=>>Colts Bring In RB Gore, DE Cole, WR Johnson

The Indianapolis Colts made a quick start to the free agency period, agreeing to terms with running back Frank Gore and defensive end Trent Cole on Tuesday.

Gore had spent his entire 10-year career with San Francisco and was reportedly headed to Philadelphia, but apparently pulled out of a pending deal with the Eagles.

The five-time Pro Bowl selection will turn 32 years old in May. He has run for 11,073 yards and 64 touchdowns in 148 career games.

Despite his age, Gore's production hasn't diminished. He appeared in all 16 games last season, rushing for 1,106 yards and four touchdowns on 255 carries. He's gone over 1,000 rushing yards in four straight seasons.

Cole was released by the Eagles last week, saving Philadelphia $11.625 million against the salary cap in 2015.

A two-time Pro Bowl selection, Cole recorded 569 tackles, 85 1/2 sacks and 19 forced fumbles in 10 seasons with Philadelphia, which selected him in the fifth round of the 2005 draft. He ranks second in Eagles history in sacks, behind only Reggie White's 124.

The 32-year-old Cincinnati product had 52 tackles and 6 1/2 sacks in 2014.

>>Revis Returns To Jets

The agents for Darrelle Revis tweeted Tuesday night that the star cornerback has agreed to terms on a contract with the New York Jets.

Revis, 29, would return to the Jets after two seasons with Tampa Bay and New England.

According to multiple reports, the deal is for five years and $70 million with $39 million fully guaranteed.

He played his first six NFL seasons for the Jets, building a reputation as one of the league's top cornerbacks after they drafted him No. 14 overall in 2007.

Revis started all 16 games last season for the Patriots, collecting 47 tackles and two interceptions on the way to a sixth Pro Bowl nod.

>>Seahawks Trade For TE Graham From New Orleans

Just minutes before the NFL's free agency period was set to begin, the New Orleans Saints traded All-Pro tight end Jimmy Graham to the two-time reigning NFC champion Seattle Seahawks.

The move sends Graham and a fourth-round draft pick to Seattle in exchange for center Max Unger and Seattle's first-round pick.

It will mean a third straight draft for the Seahawks without a first round pick unless they work out a move on draft night.

Graham, a former basketball star at the University of Miami, has been one of the league's most dominant tight ends since his breakout season in 2011.

He has appeared in 78 of a possible 80 games in five years with New Orleans, accumulating 4,752 yards and 51 touchdown catches, including a league-best 16 in 2013.

In Unger, New Orleans gets a 28-year-old, two-time Pro Bowler to bolster its offensive line.

Late Goal Stuns Winnipeg, Lifts Blues

 width=Barret Jackman's surprising goal from the neutral zone with 1:03 to play lifted the St. Louis Blues to a thrilling 5-4 victory over the Winnipeg Jets on Tuesday.

Robert Bortuzzo gathered the puck off a neutral zone faceoff win and sent it across the ice to Jackman, who played the puck off the boards and fired it from above the blue line and past an unsuspecting Ondrej Pavelec for the game- winner.

Not only did Jackman score from an unorthodox spot on the ice, but it was also his first goal since Dec. 11.

Vladimir Tarasenko, Jori Lehtera and Jaden Schwartz each tallied a goal and an assist, Steve Ott also lit the lamp and Brian Elliott stopped made 12 saves for the Blues, who have won their last two games.

Blake Wheeler and Andrew Ladd posted a goal and an assist, while Lee Stempniak and Michael Frolik scored for the Jets. Michael Hutchinson allowed four goals on seven shots and was replaced by Pavelec, who stopped 19 shots.

NHL Scoreboard
NY Rangers 2, NY Islanders 1
Dallas 2, Philadelphia 1
Columbus 4, Carolina 3 (SO)
Tampa Bay 1, Montreal 0 (OT)
Boston 3, Ottawa 1
Minnesota 6, New Jersey 2
Los Angeles 5, Colorado 2

Cubs' Soler, Baez, Bryant Go Back-To-Back-To-Back In Loss

 width=Jorge Soler, Javier Baez and Kris Bryant hit consecutive home runs for the Chicago Cubs and yet they still became the only winless team in the majors this spring, falling to the Cleveland Indians 10-6 Tuesday.

The Cubs, full of expectations this season under new manager Joe Maddon, dropped to 0-6. Milwaukee posted its first exhibition win earlier in the day.

Soler, Baez and Bryant connected in the fourth inning off Trevor Bauer. Baez got his first hit of the spring.

Welington Castillo singled after the three homers. Castillo homered later in the day.

The Cubs made four errors.

Michael Bourn had three hits and Tyler Holt, celebrating his 26th birthday, drove in two runs for the Indians.

Chicago starter Travis Wood gave up four runs, two of them earned, and seven hits in three innings.

>>Jays Lose Stroman For Season

Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Marcus Stroman will miss the 2015 season after suffering a torn ACL in his left knee.

The 23-year-old right-hander was hurt Tuesday morning during pitchers' fielding practice.

"Beyond devastated. Not being able to compete with my brothers each and every day is extremely disappointing," Stroman wrote Tuesday on Twitter. "Still can't believe it."

Stroman was expected to be a key piece to Toronto's starting rotation this season after a strong rookie campaign. He was 11-6 with a 3.65 ERA and 111 strikeouts over 130 2/3 innings in 26 games, including 20 starts, in 2014.

Groce: We Are What We Are

 width=Heading into the season's final games Illinois coach John Groce (grohs) says there aren't major changes he can make in his team at this point.

That team opens the Big Ten Tournament Thursday against Michigan in search of wins it hopes will get it to the NCAA Tournament.

Bracketologists put the Illini (19-12, 9-9 Big Ten) anywhere from just barely in the NCAA Tournament to a longshot that needs to add some wins.

The team has struggled to play well for 40 minutes and to make shots.

Saturday at Purdue the Illini lost after opening up big first half leads.

Groce said Rayvonte Rice and Nnanna Egwu played well. But he said other players need to follow that example.

ISU Falls To No. 20 Florida Atlantic

The Illinois State baseball team came up short in a back-and-forth game at No. 20 Florida Atlantic Tuesday afternoon at FAU Stadium. Florida Atlantic won its ninth-straight game, 6-4.

Illinois State took an early lead but could never pull away from the hosts, who led by three runs heading into the ninth inning. Illinois State brought the potential go-ahead run to the plate in the final frame, but the nationally-ranked Owls escaped with the win.

 width=Illinois State (6-7) jumped out to a two-run lead in the first inning as Paul DeJong hit his team-leading fifth home run of the season, a two-run shot to left field, to give the Redbirds an early lead.

Hendren and Dwyer led the Redbird bats with two hits apiece, accounting for half of the Redbirds' eight hits.

Lambert allowed three runs, five hits and four walks over 4.2 innings, while striking out a pair, in his first start of the year. Czeszewski suffered the loss after allowing three hits, a walk, and the Owls' fourth run of the game. Headean allowed two runs over an inning of work before Jake Sale got the final two outs of the eighth inning.

The Illinois State baseball team is back in action Wednesday, as they travel to Winter Haven, Florida, for their first of four games at the RussMatt Central Florida Invitational. The Redbirds will play Bowling Green, Maine, LIU-Brooklyn and Butler, March 11-15, before returning home to Duffy Bass Field for their home opener against Illinois-Chicago on March 18.

Information Courtesy of GoRedbirds.com

Illini Baseball Downs University of Chicago in Home Opener

On Opening Day at Illinois Field, No. 19 Illinois scored seven runs in the first six innings and cruised past Chicago State, 7-3. Starter Rob McDonnell nabbed his first win of the year with six shutout stanzas, while the offense totaled 14 hits, led by Reid Roper and Adam Walton with three hits apiece.

 width=Illinois (12-3-1) boasts its best record after 16 games under 10th-year head coach Dan Hartleb and since 1989 (13-3) when the Illini eventually started 18-3 under Augie Garrido. The Illini also improved to 8-2 in home openers under Hartleb.

Roper finished 3-for-5 with a pair of RBIs and a pair of runs. Pat McInerney was 2-for-3 with three RBIs and a run. Casey Fletcher finished with a pair of runs.

McDonnell scattered five hits, struck out four and didn't walk anybody over his six solid innings. Redshirt-freshman Doug Hayes allowed two runs in the seventh, while junior Nick Blackburn worked the final two innings, as the Cougars put one more on the board.

No. 19 Illinois will welcome Southern Illinois to Champaign for a three-game series this weekend (March 13-15) at Illinois Field.

Information courtesy of fightingillini.com

DeWitt County Board Member Concerned Over Potential Wind Farm

A DeWitt County Board member recently addressed the Land Use committee about the prospects of a wind farm that could ultimately come to DeWitt County.

Board member Terry Ferguson says the County's ordinance regarding wind farm regulations was well thought out, but it was last visited in 2009 and since then, much has changed in that industry. The Board member says a recent visit with Illinois Farm Bureau officials leave him with many concerns.

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There are current battles going on around the state over the effects of these wind farms that are being proposed elsewhere. According to Ferguson, the effects these machines have can bring some health concerns for the low resonance vibrations they give off.

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Ferguson is hoping the County will revisit the ordinance in place. In June, more presentations are set for this proposal in DeWitt County. Ferguson points to nearby communities who have adjusted their ordinances based on the issues the machines have.

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Ferguson appreciates property rights and landowners privilege to do what they wish with their property, however, he feels if it is going to effect their neighbors and could have health impacts on them, he feels those things should be looked at a little closer.

Corrections Taking a Stand Against Changes

The state of Illinois already has a prison system with 49,000 inmates with a history of overcrowding.

The population of prisons could grow even faster if any one of a number of bills that “get tough on crime” pass the legislature. But this year the Illinois Department of Corrections is coming out against those plans. IDOC’s Michael Lane says the prison system is already too full and taxed to protect both inmates and guards.

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There is second way to examine the problem of overcrowding – Governor Bruce Rauner has created a justice reform commission to examine criminal penalties and sentencing. Currently the prison system has 17,000 more inmates than what it was designed for.

Davis Says New Railcars Need Review

The derailment of some railcars carrying crude oil near Galena is another reason to review rules put on rail companies. That’s according to Congressman Rodney Davis.

Reports indicate the train that derailed in northwest Illinois causing a large crude oil fire, but no injuries, involved new cars that fit updated government regulations. Davis says if that’s the case, the rules put in place several years ago need to be reviewed.

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The republican lawmaker says the review should ensure the mandates are making things safer instead of just costing companies more money to comply. Meanwhile, the congressman saw the oil spill as an opportunity to highlight the importance of the Keystone XL Pipeline.

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Davis says crude oil transferring through pipelines will open up rail to the agriculture industry, rather than the rail capacity being taken up by transferring crude. Of the more than one-hundred railcars that were on the tracks, twenty derailed and burst into flames Thursday evening.

Illinois Leading Way In Using Historic Tax Credits for Construction

In Illinois, what's old is what's new.

The Illinois Historic Preservation Agency reports last year it helped private developers and property owners with rehabilitation projects that are pumping $1.3 billion into the state economy. IHPA says Illinois has the nation’s best record in helping projects qualify for federal tax credits. Spokesman Chris Wills says the impact on the economy is based on a simple principle.

[audio:3101562117-historiccredits.mp3] [/audio]

The federal government offers a 20 percent income tax credit on certain expenditures for rehabilitation of historic properties. Expenses that qualify for tax credits include architectural and structural renovation, life-safety improvements and energy-saving upgrades such as window repairs. Wills notes the program doesn't hurt the state's tax base.

[audio:3101562119-historiccredits2.mp3] [/audio]

Illinois rehab projects that wrapped up in fiscal 2014 included $726.6 million in private expenditures that qualified for federal tax credits – The closest state was Pennsylvania with $430.6 million dollars spent.

Projects that went forward with help from the agency’s Preservation Services Division included overhauling Chicago’s Wrigley Building, renovating Peoria’s Hotel Pere Marquette, revitalizing Rockford’s Peacock Brewery and opening the new Virgin Hotel Chicago.

Supreme Court Hears Pension Arguments This Week

The clause that could be worth billions will be heard in the state’s high court Wednesday.
The State Supreme Court will hear about a recent measure to reform pensions in Illinois. The law, commonly referred to as SB 1, mandates an increase in how much the state funds employee retirements while cutting the cost-of-living increases moving forward for state retirees.

Reform supporters say that would save the state and taxpayers billions of dollars over many years, but unions representing retirees filed suit in lower courts saying the law is an unconstitutional diminishment of benefits.

The state says the extraordinary debt, which is nearly a quarter of every dollar the state spends, is taking away from other vital state services and the change is necessary.

The court is expected to rule sometime before the end of the current fiscal year.

Social Security To Expand Office Hours

If you're looking to make a trip to your local Social Security office, you'll have more of an opportunity to do so starting next week.

As a cutback measure, Social Security reduced their office hours a few years, now, they are expanding those. According to Jack Myers with Social Security, those new office hours go in effect next Monday.

[audio:3101562326-31015ssoffice1.mp3] [/audio]

The Social Security website is now geared to handle a lot of the needs you may have, however, Myers says there are still those issues that can only be done in the office, and still others that prefer to come in.

[audio:3101562330-31015ssoffice2.mp3] [/audio]

Myers encourages you to check out the Social Security, www.socialsecurity.gov, and find out just how much you can accomplish there and save the trip to their office. He notes the website is 100% secure and is completely free.

City of Clinton Seeking Second Contract For Electric Aggregation

The City of Clinton will be headed out to get bids for mass purchase of electricity for city residents.

The process known as electric aggregation locks in a rate for electricity that is lower than what local providers can offer to residents. According to City Administrator Tim Followell, the upcoming bidding process is because an 18-month contract on a previous rate will soon expire.

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According to Followell, forecasts are projecting electric rates to rise over the next few years. Because of that, he believes the rate they receive should be very good for those who decide to be a part of the program.

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Electric aggregation is a choice all residents have. Followell explains, just as what happened the first time around 18 months ago, if residents do not want to be a part of the program, they will have the opportunity to decline being a part of electric aggregation.

[audio:3101562320-31015aggregationrenew3.mp3] [/audio]

Followell also indicates the billing for this cycle of aggregation bidding will not change. Residents will continue to receive their bill from Ameren and they will continue to deliver the engery and payments would continue to be made to them.

[audio:3101562323-31015aggregationrenew4.mp3] [/audio]

For residents that do not wish to be a part of the program, they will need to complete a form that they will receive indicating they do not wish to be a part of the program. Followel says anyone that does not provide that information will automatically be enrolled.

Rangers G Talbot Highlights Players of the Week

 width=Calgary Flames center Jiri Hudler and goaltenders Semyon Varlamov of Colorado and Cam Talbot of the New York Rangers have been selected as the NHL's top players for last week.

Hudler earned the First Star after leading the NHL with eight points in four games last week. He shared the league lead with four goals, including an overtime winner last Tuesday against Philadelphia.

Varlamov picked up the Second Star thanks to a 3-0-0 week that included a goals-against average of 0.69 and a .981 save percentage. He backstopped the Avs to three wins, including a 44-save shutout of Columbus on Saturday.

Talbot helped the Rangers blank the Chicago Blackhawks on Sunday to complete his week to garner Third Star honors. He went 2-0-1 with a 0.99 GAA and a .965 save percentage last week.

College Basketball Notes

>>Gonzaga Downs Pepperdine, Headed To WCC Finals

Byron Wesley had 25 points to lead No. 7 Gonzaga in a 79-61 victory over Pepperdine in the semifinals of the West Coast Conference Tournament.

Kyle Wiltjer had 17 points and nine rebounds and Przemek Karnowski added 13 points and six boards for the Bulldogs (31-2), who advanced to their 18th straight WCC finals appearance.

Gonzaga, which has won this tournament the past two years, will play BYU, which defeated Portland in the other semifinal game, in a rematch of last year's final on Tuesday.

Stacy Davis had 15 points and seven rebounds and Jeremy Major added 12 points for the Waves (18-13), who had defeated San Diego on Saturday to advance to the finals.

 width=>>Kentucky, Again, Unanimous Number One

Kentucky finished the regular season the same way it started the campaign, as the No. 1 team in the country.

The Wildcats will head into the SEC Tournament with a perfect 31-0 record and will try to become the first team since UNLV in 1990-91 to go from the preseason poll to the NCAA Tournament as the top-ranked team according to the Associated Press.

Kentucky was again a unanimous choice among the 65 nationwide voters, earning that distinction for a sixth consecutive week.

Duke moved up one spot to second, while Virginia slipped one spot to third after the Cavaliers came up short on Saturday at Louisville and suffered just their second loss of the season.

Villanova, Arizona, Wisconsin and Gonzaga held their positions from fourth through seventh, respectively, while Maryland moved up two spots to eighth. Kansas and Northern Iowa completed this week's top 10. Northern Iowa moved up one spot after winning the Missouri Valley Tournament title on Sunday.

Providence, Ohio State and Murray State each dropped out. Providence lost to Butler on Saturday, while Ohio State was throttled at home by Wisconsin on Sunday and Murray State fell to Belmont in the final of the Ohio Valley Tournament on Saturday.

Phillies' LHP Lee Season, Career Could Be In Jeopardy

 width=A day after his first spring training start, Phillies starter Cliff Lee reported elbow soreness during an off-day workout.

Lee, a former Cy Young Award winner, was limited to 13 starts in 2014 due to a strained flexor tendon in his left elbow that led to two stints on the disabled list.

Philadelphia general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said that the examination is precautionary due to Lee's recent history. Lee will miss his next start scheduled for Tuesday against the Tigers.

After Doral Victory, Johnson Up To No. 7 In World Rankings

 width=Dustin Johnson claimed his first win after a six-month leave of absence from the tour, and that helped him return to the top-10 in the world rankings.

Johnson, who has at least one win in each of the last eight seasons on the PGA Tour, jumped nine spots to No. 7 after winning the WGC-Cadillac Championship.

Outside of the top-3 in the rankings, there was plenty of movement. Rory McIlroy, Bubba Watson and Henrik Stenson were Nos. 1, 2 and 3 again this week. Watson did move a little closer to McIlroy with his third-place finish at Trump National Doral.

Australians Adam Scott and Jason Day exchanged places with Scott moving up to No. 4. Jim Furyk held steady in sixth and was followed by Johnson.

With Johnson's big move, Sergio Garcia, Justin Rose and Jordan Spieth all dropped one spot and are eighth to 10th this week. Rickie Fowler stayed put at No. 11, while Martin Kaymer dropped two to 12th and Jimmy Walker remained 13th.

Matt Kuchar dipped a pair to 14th. Hideki Matsuyama and Patrick Reed slipped one notch apiece to 15 and 16. Billy Horschel and Brooks Koepka both climbed one spot to 17 and 18.

J.B. Holmes, who finished second to Johnson, soared 22 spots to 19th. Phil Mickelson was bumped out of the top-20 as he was down one to 21st.

Packers Bring Back Cobb; Rams Cut Pair of OL

 width=>>Packers Resign WR Cobb

The Green Bay Packers have re-signed wide receiver Randall Cobb and backup quarterback Scott Tolzien, the team announced on Monday.

According to reports over the weekend, Cobb received a four-year deal worth $40 million with $17 million guaranteed. He turned down several other offers to stay with the Packers.

Cobb, 24, was regarded as one of the top players primed to hit free agency after a career season in which he caught 91 passes for 1,287 yards and 12 touchdowns over 16 games.

He was named to his first career Pro Bowl and became just the fifth player in team history to register 90-plus receptions in a season.

 width=>>Rams Letting OL Long Go

The St. Louis Rams announced the release of offensive linemen Jake Long and Scott Wells on Monday.

A Michigan product who was a 2008 pick of the Dolphins, Long signed with St. Louis prior to the 2013 season. He made 22 starts during his two seasons with the Rams, but was limited to seven appearances last season due to a torn anterior cruciate ligament.

Wells, out of Tennessee, joined the Rams from the Packers as a free agent in 2012. He departs the Gateway City after participating in 35 games in three seasons with the club, including all 16 in 2014.

>>TE Thomas Signs With Jaguars

The Jacksonville Jaguars will reportedly make a big splash Tuesday by signing Pro Bowl tight end Julius Thomas.

NFL.com has reported that Thomas, the best tight end available in the free agent market, plans to leave the Denver Broncos and Peyton Manning for the Jaguars.

Thomas, 26, finished with 43 receptions for 489 yards and 12 touchdowns in 13 games (10 starts) last season, his fourth with the Broncos.

His breakout season came in 2013, where he started 14 games and recorded 65 catches for 788 yards and 12 scores.

>>Gore Gets Cold Feet On Signing With Philly, Indy Possibility

Veteran running back Frank Gore is reportedly having second thoughts about signing with the Philadelphia Eagles.

On Sunday, Gore reportedly informed those around him that he planned to sign with Philadelphia when free agency begins on Tuesday.

But NFL.com reported Monday that Gore has "pulled out" of the pending deal with the Eagles and is considering signing with the Indianapolis Colts.

The Eagles are in the market for a starting running back with LeSean McCoy set to be traded to Buffalo on Tuesday.

Gore, who will turn 32 in May, has spent his entire 10-year career with the 49ers. The five-time Pro Bowler has accumulated 11,073 yard on the ground with 64 touchdowns in 148 career games.

>>Texans Release WR Johnson

The Houston Texans have released wide receiver Andre Johnson after they were unable to work out a trade.

Johnson, 33, had two years remaining on his contract and would have counted $16.1 million against the salary cap in 2015.

Johnson was the longest-tenured and best offensive player in the history of the Texans, who drafted him third overall in 2003.

The Miami-Florida product caught 85 passes for 936 yards and three touchdowns in 15 games last season. A seven-time Pro Bowl selection, Johnson departs Houston after catching 1,012 passes for 13,597 yards and 64 touchdowns in 169 games.

Little Brother Tops Big Brother In Bulls/Grizzlies Matchup; D. Rose Hopes To Be Back in 2015

 width=Marc Gasol scored 23 points to lead the Memphis Grizzlies past his brother Pau Gasol and the Chicago Bulls 101-91 on Monday night.

Gasol was 10 of 16 from the field for the Grizzlies, who moved to two games ahead of idle Houston for the Southwest Division lead.

Jeff Green had 19 and Zach Randolph added 16 for the Grizzlies, who held the Bulls to 43.8 percent shooting from the field and improved to 21-11 on the road.

Pau Gasol, Marc's older brother, had 13 points and 11 rebounds for his 43rd double-double to match the career high he set during the 2010-11 season with the Los Angeles Lakers.

Marc Gasol started opposite his brother at last month's NBA All-Star game.

NBA Scoreboard
Washington 95, Charlotte 69
Atlanta 130, Sacramento 105
Boston 100, Miami 90
New Orleans 114, Milwaukee 103
Denver 106, New York 78
Golden State 98, Phoenix 80
LA Clippers 89, Minnesota 76

>>DRose Says He Will Play This Year

Chicago Bulls guard Derrick Rose says he thinks he will be back this season after last month's knee surgery.

Speaking to reporters for the first time since undergoing surgery Feb. 27 to repair the torn medial meniscus in his right knee, Rose says Monday his return this season is "the plan, so whenever I feel right, that's when I'm going to step back."

Rose hasn't played since Feb. 23 against Milwaukee. The next night, the Bulls announced that Rose would undergo his latest knee surgery. He missed all of the 2012-13 season after tearing his left ACL during the first round of the 2012 playoffs, and played only 10 games last season after initially tearing the meniscus in his right knee.

Rose spent time on the United Center floor Monday shooting flat-footed jumpers, and Chicago coach Tom Thibodeau said the former MVP is "right on schedule."

Illini Lefty Jay Named Big Ten Pitcher of the Week

 width=Fighting Illini junior Tyler Jay was named Big Ten Pitcher of the Week for the first time in his career, announced the conference office Monday. The Lemont, Illinois, native went 1-0 with two saves last week, totaling 7.2 scoreless innings in relief while only allowing three hits in three appearances.

Jay pitched in Illinois' three wins.

Jay boasts a 0.00 ERA in 2015 and has held opposing hitters to a .121 average. He racked up eight strikeouts last week, giving him 23 strikeouts in 20.1 innings pitched on the year.

The laurel marks Illinois' second Big Ten Pitcher of the Week honor, with Rob McDonnell winning it on Feb. 16.

Illinois will host its home opener on Tuesday against Chicago State at 3 p.m. at Illinois Field.

Wisconsin's Kaminsky Wins Big Ten Player of the Year; Illini's Egwu All-League Defense

Wisconsin's Frank Kaminsky is the Big Ten's Player of the Year.

As Kaminsky led the Badgers to the outright Big Ten championship, the senior averaged 19.9 points and 8.2 rebounds per game in conference play.

Kaminsky has scored at least 20 points on 13 occasions this season and hauled in double-digit rebounds in 10 games.

Badger head coach Bo Ryan was named Coach of the Year by conference coaches, while Maryland head coach Mark Turgeon received the honor from the media.

In Maryland's first Big Ten season, Turgeon led the Terrapins to the No. 2 seed in the conference tournament.

Ohio State's D'Angelo Russell was named Freshman of the Year by coaches and media. Purdue's Rapheal Davis was named the Defensive Player of the Year, and Iowa's Gabe Olaseni was voted Sixth Man of the Year by coaches.

 width=Illinois senior Nnanna Egwu was selected to the Big Ten All-Defensive Team.

Egwu earned a spot on the All-Defensive Team, chosen by the league coaches. Known for his versatility and ability to guard anywhere on the court, Egwu ranked among conference leaders in blocked shots, steals and rebounds. During Big Ten play he was third in the league in blocks (1.8 bpg), seventh in steals (1.3 spg) and 11th in rebounding (6.3 rpg).

Senior Rayvonte Rice and sophomore Malcolm Hill were honorable mention All-Big Ten picks.

Pair of Monticello Guards Named To All-Okaw Valley Team

 width=The Okaw Valley All-Conference teams were named Monday and a pair of Monticello juniors made the list.

Juniors Zach Fisher and Noah Freemon were named unanimous First team all-selections.

Fisher led the Sages in scoring and rebounding this year at 19.5 PPG and 5 RPG. In his first full season of varsity action, the junior also shot 45% from 3-point range.

Freemon, who has been a regular started since his sophomore year, averaged 15 points and led the team in steals with 39.

Other All-Conference selections were St. Joe-Ogden sophomore Brandon Trimble and senior Tyler Harms.

Kevin Williams from Rantoul and Doug Wallen from St. Thomas More were also First-Team selections as sophomores.

Brody Adreon from Maroa-Forsyth was a second team selection and Blake Bryan, a Maroa-Forsyth senior was a special mention.

Monticello senior Daniel Peterson was also a special mention.

Monticello's Layne Buzan Named First Team All-Conference

 width=Monticello senior Layne Buzan was named to the First-Team All Okaw Valley Conference team Tuesday.

Buzan led the Lady Sages to a Regional title this year and highlight a group that also included St. Thomas More tandum Elizabeth Bristow and Lexi Wallen.

In addition, Brenna Finck of Maroa-Forsyth, Aysia Jacobs of St. Joe-Ogden, Hannah Stone and Rebecca Maxwell of Tolono Unity were also selected.

Buzan, Bristow, Wallen, and Finck were unanimous selections.

Maroa-Forsyth Senior Tori Weis and Monticello Junior Claire Caldwell were Special Mentions.

Ceasefire Targeted in Current Fiscal Year Strain

A representative from Chicago says money for a program meant to combat street crime is drying up to the detriment of her district but the Governor’s office says the budget shortfalls were a making of the previous General Assembly and Governor Pat Quinn.
Illinois News Network has more:

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When asked about the Ceasefire funding, Governor Bruce Rauner’s office said programs across the state are running out of money because the legislature knowingly passed a budget that was unfunded by one-point-six-billion dollars and the Governor is working with the legislature on a bipartisan solution.

State Rep. Proposes No Jail Time For Those Who Possess Marijuana

Under current Illinois law, a few grams of pot could put you in jail and leave you owing a major fine.

Democratic State Representative Kelly Cassidy has proposed a bill would make the possession of 30 grams or less of marijuana punishable by only a 125-dollar fine and no jail time. Chris Lindsey is a legislative analyst and represents the Marijuana Policy Project. He says the bill will save the state money and avoid prison overcrowding.

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Lindsey says getting caught with pot is not the end for that person.

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Many cities in Illinois have already passed local ordinances that give the officer a choice to only issue a citation for possession of small amounts of pot. The bill would also keep the violation from being a permanent part of someone's criminal record.

Cut To Community General Funds Could Force Lincoln Leaders To Make Tough Decisions

 width=Illinois' budget crisis has caused Governor Rauner to propose making cuts in local governments.

The Local Government Distributive Fund (LGDF) has been in place since 1969 and shifts percentages of income tax back to cities and counties. Lincoln Mayor Keith Snyder explains, as of now, eight percent of those funds come back to local communities. He notes the governor plans to cut the LGDF fund in half.

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Local communities could see a reduction of close to fifty dollars per resident due to the cuts, which are unrestricted and usually go to support local police and fire departments. Mayor Snyder says the size of community would determine the cuts.

[audio:3091562747-3915lgdf2.mp3] [/audio]

 width=LGDF funds help to operate a city's government and Mayor Snyder says these proposed cuts could result in reduction of certain city services. Despite the proposal, he feels confident the Governor can meet the needs of Lincoln and surrounding communities.

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Lincoln is in the process of putting their budget together by the end of April. Snyder adds the LGDF funds are usually are a large portion of the budget and is hopeful local legislators can find a solution that will help assist the Illinois economy while protecting local communities.

DJWH Board To Hear From Management Firms This Week

 width=The Dr. John Warner Hospital Board is set to hear from a pair of management firms they are considering this Thursday.

The important meeting has been moved to the Richland Community College Clinton Education Center to accommodate, what they hope, is a good crowd. Board member Joanna Holtman explains the two companies have been asked to present on several topics already given to them by the Hospital Board.

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The process of getting down to two management firms has been going on since last fall. According to Holtman, they sent out Requests for Proposal, or RFP, and narrowed the list down to two companies based on several factors including cost and the best fit for the city-owned hospital's needs.

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Much has been made in recent weeks about the Hospital board only seeking out management firms, and according to Holtman, the board feels this is the best option. She explains the predominant thought is partnering with an outside hospital would not be best for the community, or the patients of the hospital.

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While the Board recognizes the communities concerns, Holtman indicates Thursday night is not the time to voice those concerns. She says the meeting is strictly about hearing from the two firms they have invited to present, but encourages concerned community members to contact hospital board members to discuss their questions.

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The meeting Thursday evening gets underway at 6 pm at the Richland Community College Clinton Education Center. Holtman says they will receive presentations at 6 pm and 7 pm and have asked each company to keep their presentations to roughly 45 minutes.

Dustin Johnson Storms To Doral WGC-Cadillac Championship Victory

 width=Dustin Johnson closed with a 3-under 69 on Sunday as he came from behind to win the WGC-Cadillac Championship by one stroke.

Johnson finished at 9-under-par 279. This was his eighth PGA Tour win and second title on the European Tour, both of which were World Golf Championship victories.

The win came in Johnson's fifth start after returning from a 6-month leave of absence from the PGA Tour. He had missed the cut in two of his previous four starts, finished fourth at Pebble Beach and lost in a playoff at the Northern Trust Open.

J.B. Holmes, who led after each of the first three rounds, had three early bogeys before he played the final 12 holes in even-par to close with a 3-over 75. Holmes ended alone in second place at minus-8.

Bubba Watson birdied four of the first seven holes in the final round to grab a 2-shot lead, but three bogeys on the back nine at Trump National Doral left him two back at 7-under-par 281. Watson shot 1-under 71 in the final round.

Adam Scott (71) and Henrik Stenson (72) shared fourth at minus-4. Louis Oosthuizen stumbled to a 1-over 73 and ended alone in sixth place at 3-under 285.

World No. 1 Rory McIlroy found water twice at the 18th before chipping in for double-bogey. He managed an even-par 72 and shared ninth place at 1-under 287 with Kevin Na (71) and Ryan Moore (76).

NFL Notes

>>Suh Signs With Miami

The Miami Dolphins have reportedly won the Ndamukong Suh sweepstakes.

 width=Suh will sign with the Dolphins when free agency opens Tuesday, according to ESPN, for a deal that's worth as much as $114 million with about $60 million guaranteed. He will be paid $60 million in the first three years of a six-year deal.

The deal would make Suh the highest-paid defensive player in the NFL. J.J. Watt of the Houston Texans set the market in 2014 when he signed a six-year, $100 million contract with $51.8 million in guaranteed money.

Suh recorded 239 tackles, 36 sacks and one interception over five seasons with the Lions. A four-time Pro Bowl selection, Suh is known for his aggressive style of play.

>>Reports: WR Maclin Headed To KC

Jeremy Maclin is reuniting with former coach Andy Reid.

Maclin plans to sign with the Kansas City Chiefs when free agency officially begins Tuesday, according to ESPN.com.

Maclin, who signed a one-year contract prior to last season after missing all of 2013 with a torn ACL, caught 85 passes for 1,318 yards and 10 touchdowns while playing all 16 games.

Reid was the head coach of the Eagles when they selected Maclin in the first round of the 2009 draft.

Kansas City did not have a receiver with a touchdown catch in 2014.

>>Report: DB McCourty To Stay With Pats

Devin McCourty is staying put.

The safety will reportedly re-sign with the New England Patriots.

According to ESPN.com, McCourty agreed to a five-year, $47.5 million contract with $28.5 million guaranteed.

McCourty entered the league as a cornerback but has transitioned into one of the NFL's best safeties.

A first-round pick of the Patriots in 2010, McCourty has been durable throughout his career, missing only three games. He has 17 interceptions and 58 passes defensed over the first five years of his career.

>>Report: Eagles To Sign RB Gore; QB Sanchez Returns

Veteran running back Frank Gore has reportedly agreed to sign a contract with the Philadelphia Eagles when free agency begins on Tuesday.

According to multiple reports, Gore has informed those around him that he plans to sign with Philadelphia, which traded star running back LeSean McCoy to Buffalo last week.

Gore, who will turn 32 before the 2015-16 season, has spent his entire 10-year career with the San Francisco 49ers. The five-time Pro Bowler has accumulated 11,073 rush yards and 64 touchdowns in 148 career games.

The Eagles will also be bringing back quarterback Mark Sanchez on a two-year deal. The 28-year-old signed a one-year contract with the Eagles last offseason after being released by the New York Jets.

Sanchez threw for 2,418 yards with 14 touchdowns and 11 interceptions over Philly's final eight games after Nick Foles broke his clavicle Week 9 against the Houston Texans.

>>Jets RB Johnson Wounded In Drive-By Shooting

Free agent running back Chris Johnson was shot in the shoulder early Sunday morning in a drive-by shooting that left one man dead and another man injured, according to multiple reports.

The Orlando Sentinel reported that the shooting took place at about 4:09 a.m. at the intersection of Southland Boulevard and Orange Blossom Trail, according to the Orange County Sheriff's Office.

An unknown vehicle pulled up at a red light beside the Jeep Johnson was riding in and opened fire, deputies said. Johnson was wounded in the shoulder, while the driver was killed and another victim was wounded in the shoulder, hand and leg.

Johnson and the other victim are listed in stable condition. The investigation into the case is ongoing.

The 29-year-old Johnson, who attended Olympia High School in Orlando, was recently released by the New York Jets after the organization did not pick up his contract option.

>>RB McCoy Signs Five-Year Pact With Bills

The Buffalo Bills are set to give former NFL rushing champion LeSean McCoy the big payday he wanted.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reported Sunday that McCoy and the Bills have agreed to a new five-year contract that will start once the star running back is officially traded to Buffalo by the Eagles.

Philadelphia will get linebacker Kiko Alonso in the trade that was reported last week. The deal cannot be formally completed or announced until the 2015 league season begins Tuesday at 4 p.m. ET.

McCoy had three years worth $25 million remaining in his existing deal with only $1 million of his $10.25 salary for 2015 guaranteed. With his new contract, the first year is guaranteed for $16 million and he will get a total of $26.5 million guaranteed of $40 million overall.

Harvick Takes Vegas Kobalt Tools 400

Defending Sprint Cup Series champion Kevin Harvick continues to be on a roll after winning Sunday's Kobalt Tools 400 in dominating fashion at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Harvick started 18th and took the lead for the first time on lap 91 when then leader Jimmie Johnson, who won last weekend at Atlanta, had to pit unexpectedly for a loose wheel. Harvick ran in front for 142 of the 267 laps in this race, including the final 16. He crossed the finish line 1.64 seconds ahead of his closest competitor, Martin Truex Jr. It's the first time he's won at this 1.5-mile racetrack in 15 starts.

 width=Truex had his best finish in a Sprint Cup race at second. Ryan Newman finished third, while Denny Hamlin placed fifth.

A.J. Allmendinger, Brad Keselowski, who won last year's race at Las Vegas, Kyle Larson, Matt Kenseth and Logano completed the top-10.

Jeff Gordon was the last driver to finish either first or second in six consecutive races, accomplishing the feat in 1996.

With the win, Harvick is virtually guaranteed of making this year's Chase for the Sprint Cup championship. He joins Joey Logano (Daytona) and Johnson (Atlanta) as those drivers who have all but assured themselves a spot in the playoffs.

Harvick also grabbed the lead in the Sprint Cup point standings. He holds a nine-point advantage over Dale Earnhardt Jr., who finished fourth.

Las Vegas began a three-week West Coast swing for NASCAR's premier series. Next weekend, the series will be at Phoenix, where Harvick has won four of the last five races, including a season-sweep last year. Fontana, California is the following week.

Samardzjia Goes 3 Innings In Spring Debut

 width=Jeff Samardzjia gave up two runs over three innings in his first start with the Chicago White Sox, enjoying a double homecoming in a 10-4 victory over the Oakland A's on Sunday.

Adam Eaton, Jose Abreu and Carlos Sanchez each drove in a pair of runs for the White Sox, who ended a three-game skid. George Kottaras hit a home run.

Samardzjia, who gave up three hits, walked one and struck out one, was 5-6 with a 3.14 ERA in 16 starts for the A's last year after being acquired from the Cubs. He made his major league debut with the Cubs, who formerly occupied HoHoKam Park.

Billy Butler hit a home run and Craig Gentry drove in a run for the A's, who lost for the first time in six exhibition games.

Drew Pomeranz helped his chances of securing a spot in the starting rotation with two scoreless innings. He allowed two hits, walked one and struck out four.

Rangers Down Blackhawks in OT

 width=Derick Brassard scored 32 seconds into overtime and Cam Talbot made 29 saves for his fifth shutout of the season in the New York Rangers' 1-0 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks on Sunday night.

Brassard swooped in from left wing and fired a shot past Corey Crawford on the stick side after taking a cross-ice feed from Mats Zuccarello.

The Rangers moved within a point of the first-place New York Islanders in the Metropolitan Division.

Talbot was sharp in his 15th start in 16 games since No. 1 goalie Henrik Lundqvist has been sidelined with a neck injury. Talbot has eight career shutouts.

Crawford finished with 35 saves after stopping a career-high 46 shots Friday night in a 2-1 shootout win over Edmonton.

>>NHL Scoreboard
Ottawa 5, Calgary 4 (SO)
Colorado 3, Minnesota 2
New Jersey 5, Philadelphia 2
Carolina 7, Edmonton 4
Boston 5, Detroit 3

Parker Leads Spurs Past Bulls

 width=Tony Parker had a season-high 32 points in leading the San Antonio Spurs to their fifth straight victory, 116-105 over the Chicago Bulls on Sunday.

Kawhi Leonard added 20 points, Patty Mills had 15 points and Manu Ginobili 14 for the Spurs.

Pau Gasol had 23 points and Aaron Brooks added 22 to lead Chicago (39-25).

San Antonio (39-23) tied Dallas for sixth in the Western Conference. The Mavericks play the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday night.

Tim Duncan was 0-for-8 shooting while scoring just three points, but his struggles were lessened by balanced scoring fueled by a strong defensive effort.

Chicago had 22 turnovers, which resulted in 32 points for San Antonio.

NBA Scoreboard
Golden State 106, LA Clippers 98
Utah 95, Brooklyn 88
Charlotte 108, Detroit 101
Orlando 103, Boston 98
Dallas 100, LA Lakers 93
Oklahoma City 108, Toronto 104

Purdue Stuns Illinois In Second Half

 width=Rapheal Davis scored 18 points, and A.J. Hammons had 16 points and 10 rebounds, helping rally Purdue to a 63-58 victory against Illinois on Saturday in Mackey Arena.

Trailing by as many as 13 in the first half, the Boilermakers (20-11, 12-6) dominated the final 22 minutes, finishing the Big Ten Conference home schedule 8-1 and avenging a Jan. 21 loss at Illinois. Jon Octeus added 11 for Purdue.

The Boilermakers could be the fourth or sixth seed in the Big Ten tournament, depending on the outcome of the Wisconsin at Ohio State game.

Illinois (19-12, 9-9) got 25 points from guard Rayvonte Rice. The Illini, who had a two-game winning streak snapped, will be the No. 8 seed in the Big Ten Tournament and will play No. 9 seed Michigan on Thursday in Chicago's United Center. Malcolm Hill added 15 for Illinois.

Top 25 NCAA Basketball Scores
#6 Wisconsin 72, #23 Ohio State 48
#10 Maryland 64, Nebraska 61
#22 SMU 67, Tulsa 62

Illinois State Bid For NCAA Tourney Spot Falls Short

 width=Seth Tuttle had 15 points, nine rebounds and three assists, leading No. 11 Northern Iowa back from an 18-point first-half deficit to beat Illinois State 69-60 in the Missouri Valley Conference tournament championship game on Sunday.

Nate Buss added 12 points and the Panthers (30-3) took control with a 25-4 run that erased a 36-22 deficit at the break. Jeremy Morgan had three 3-pointers in the run and Tuttle, the Valley player of the year and tournament MVP, added eight points, often getting loose from constant double-teaming.

Daishon Knight had 16 points for fourth-seeded Illinois State (21-12), which needed a win to make the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1998. Knight had 25 points in the Redbirds' semifinal upset of top seed Wichita State.

Northern Iowa won the title for the third time in seven years and has won 19 of 20 games.

Redbirds Fall In Finale of Snowbird Classic

 width=The Illinois State baseball team lost to Bucknell in its Snowbird Classic finale Sunday. Bucknell won by a 13-8 score.

The loss was the first of the weekend for Illinois State (6-6) after the Redbirds won their first two games at the Snowbird Classic on Friday and Saturday.

Daniel Dwyer went 3-for-4 with a walk, an RBI and four runs scored, to lead the Redbird bats. Paul DeJong and Ryan Koziol added two hits apiece in the losing effort.

The 19 hits allowed by Redbird pitchers matched a season high, as starter Jack Landwehr took the loss after allowing four runs over the first four innings. Mitch Vogrin allowed two runs over the next two innings before the Bison scored three runs off ISU reliever Jake Sale. Jeffrey Barton pitched a scoreless eighth inning for the Redbirds, but Bucknell scored four insurance runs off Koziol in the ninth.

The Redbirds will now travel to Boca Raton, Florida, for a true road game at Florida Atlantic on Tuesday. First pitch is set for 2:30 p.m.

>>Information Courtesy of GoRedbirds.com

Illinois Baseball Takes Two Out of Three From #10 Oklahoma State

 width=Senior David Kerian sent No. 27 Illinois to a road series victory on Sunday with a game-winning two-run home run in the 10th for a 4-2 win over No. 10 Oklahoma State. Junior Tyler Jay tossed three scoreless stanzas to earn his third win in relief of a solid start by senior John Kravetz.

The Fighting Illini captured a series win against a top-10 ranked opponent for the first time since taking two of three at No. 1 LSU (March 6-8, 2009). Illinois improved to 2-0 in extra-inning games and 11-3-1 overall, which is the program's best start since going 12-3 in 2009.

It was the bottom of the order that powered the Illini Sunday, as Pat McInerney went 3-for-5 with a pair of runs. David Kerian went 2-for-5 with a run and a pair of RBIs.

Casey Fletcher added an RBI and Ryne Roper scored a run in the win.

Illinois will host its home opener on Tuesday against Chicago State at 3 p.m. at Illinois Field.

>>Information Courtesy of FightingIllini.com

DeWitt County Sheriff's Weekend Report

Jail Population:

Paper Services: 8


Raymond James, 45, Clinton was Arrested and Charged with Driving Under Influence of Alcohol. James was issued Citations for Speeding 81 MPH in a 65 MPH Zone and 2 Counts Driving Under Influence. James posted the necessary bond and was released.

Kenneth Hatcher, 52, Decatur was issued a Citation for Speeding 82 MPH in a 55 MPH Zone. Hatcher was issued a Promise to Comply and was released.

Brian Kenshol, 48, Lincoln was issued a Citation for Operating Uninsured Vehicle. Kenshol was issued a Notice to Appear and was released.

Sabrina Ferrill, 22, Dalton City was issued Citations for Speeding 76 MPH in a 55 MPH Zone and Expired Registration. Ferrill was issued a Notice to Appear and was released.

Emmanuel Lopez-Cibtreras, 26, Clinton was issued Citations for Disobey Stop Sign and No Valid Driver’s License. Lopez-Cibtreras was issued a Notice to Appear and was released.

Terry Davis, 25, Chicago was issued a Citation for Speeding 83 MPH in a 55 MPH Zone. Davis was issued a Promise to Comply and was released.

Robert White, 43, DeWitt was issued a Citation for Operating Uninsured Vehicle. White was issued a Notice to Appear and was released.

Chevy Miller, 29, Clinton was arrested on a DeWitt County Warrant Charging him with Criminal Trespass to Land. Miller posted the necessary bond and was released.

Governor Urges Voters to Pressure GA to Allow Right-to-Work Zones

Illinois’ Governor is touring the state encouraging voters to contact their lawmakers about Right-to-Work zones. Governor Bruce Rauner says he isn’t advocating for a statewide Right-to-Work law, but says it’s up to local voters to put the pressure on the legislature to allow for local choice when it comes to issues like forced unionization, project labor agreements and prevailing wage. Illinois News Network has more:

[audio:3071593647-LOCALRTW.mp3] [/audio]

Rauner says it will be a difficult battle to get lawmakers on board with a local Right-to-Work initiative, but he says with enough pressure from voters there could be legislation passed to allow counties and municipalities to pass so-called Right-to-Work zones.

Ask Your Boss For A Raise Month Debated on House Floor

There wasn’t much heated debate on the House floor Tuesday, with the exception of a bill to make March this year and next year “Ask Your Boss for a Raise Month”. Illinois News Network has more

[audio:3071593632-ASKFORARAISEMONTH.mp3] [/audio]

Several other Republican representatives, some of them business owners, stood in opposition of the bill saying that the measure was not necessary because good businesses reward employees without being prompted by a particular month designated by the government. The resolution passed on a voice vote from the house.

Springfield Hospital Gets Boost in Bid to Reach Out to Heart Patients

Springfield's HSHS St. John's Hospital gets a boost in its bid to use virtual medicine to reach out to heart patients at their homes. Thanks to a $205,000 grant from pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca, they now can add 120 new patients with congestive heart failure to their Tele-Heart Pathway Program at St. John's based Prairie Heart Institute. Dr. Mark Stampehl is the medical director for the Tele-Heart Pathway Program. He says it not only is a more efficient use of doctors critical time but also cuts health care costs....

[audio:3071593638-Heart1.mp3] [/audio]

Stampehl says the program offers improved quality of life and the program helps the hospital monitor patient weight and other symptoms from afar..

[audio:3071593638-Heart2.mp3] [/audio]

In fact, specialty trained nurses use high-tech scales to automatically transmit weight information. Patient answers to symptom questions are also recorded. Doctors are continuing to plead with federal officials to bring reimbursement into play for programs like Tele-Heart. Tele-Heart costs patients a mere $15 a month.

AstraZeneca also awarded a grant to Urbana based Presence Covenant Medical Center for the Cardiovascular Awareness and Risk Reduction Program. It aims to engage the community and Presence Covenant Medical Center's community health partners to improve the quality of cardiovascular care in the greater Champaign County area through screening, education, treatment and support of healthy lifestyles, targeting uninsured and underinsured individuals.

Durbin Wants To Expand Vet Care Program

A program that can keep disabled vets out of hospitals and nursing homes and cared for at home is being pushed for expansion.

US Senator Dick Durbin is calling for more room inside the VA Family Caregivers Program. Currently only disabled vets post 9/11 qualify. Durbin wants vets from all wars to be able to apply for the VA program that allows for vet’s families to receive caregiver home health training, support and a small financial stipend.

[audio:3061561619-DURBINVET1.mp3] [/audio]

Durbin says that in small towns and rural America this is a good way to keep families together and loved one’s close.

[audio:3061561619-DURBINVET2.mp3] [/audio]

Durbin sites financial numbers that says a year of care in a VA nursing home costs $332,000, its $88,000 a year in a community nursing home and through the Care Givers Act the VA cost per veteran is $36,000 a year.

The program, introduced in 2009, has been a major success. Enrollment tops 22,000 and can save the county money while allowing more vets to be cared for at home.

Measure To Give School Boards Charter School Commission Bypass Passes Committee

A measure that would allow local school districts to bypass the state’s Charter School Commission has passed a committee hearing.

Democratic Representative Emanuel Welch says the issue doesn’t take away all the power of the Charter School Commission but empowers local school districts. Illinois News Network has more.

[audio:3061561618-CHARTERSCHOOLS.mp3] [/audio]

Regardless, there is sure to be more conversation about Charter Schools in Illinois. Democratic Representative Emily McAsey said she will file a resolution to spark more dialog about the public school alternative.

Rauner Ready To Spend Billions on Infrastructure and Schools

The Governor says he’s ready to spend tens of billions on infrastructure and schools, but things like prevailing wage and project labor agreements could make contracts less competitive and cost more money.

Illinois News Network has more:

[audio:3061561616-PLAPREVAILINGWAGE.mp3] [/audio]

The Governor delivered his Turnaround Agenda to voters outlining conflicts of interest he says must be addressed and also encouraged voters to fight for local choice on relaxing labor laws like forced unionization, PLAs and prevailing wage.

University Employees Face Possible Perk Cut

A popular perk of working at a state university could go away if an Illinois lawmaker’s plan moves ahead.

Democratic state Rep. Jack Franks wants to slowly do away with the tuition waivers that employees at state universities get for their children. Frank’s plan would eliminate the 50 percent tuition wavier over the next 4 years and incoming students wouldn’t get them next fall.

Franks chalks up savings of $10 million a year to the state’s universities by eliminating the 2,100 tuition waivers that were issued last year.

Despite Cuts Coming, Allerton Park Not Worried


Governor Bruce Rauner has proposed major cuts to state agencies everywhere in Illinois, however, one local entity isn't too concerned.

Allerton Park officials say despite the Governor's proposals, the park is in good standing financially thanks to years of conservative budgeting and moving towards self-sustainability. Matt Smith with Allerton Park in Monticello says they have tried to take on more of a business model and rely on the assets they have.

[audio:3061562055-3615allertonfunds1.mp3] [/audio]

While park officials have moved to a more conservative model, Smith says they always keep their guests in mind. He explains many of the changes likely go unnoticed by the public.

[audio:3061562057-3615allertonfunds2.mp3] [/audio]

Smith says he and his peers prefer not to call their changes cut backs, but "finding ways to invest their money more wisely". He points to improvements throughout the mansion that are money saving measures.

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Events such as the Park's upcoming Bridal Brunch are ways they try to find to increase not only awareness of the park, but to generate revenue. Smith says the event is this Saturday's event showcases for bride's to be the trends in weddings and ideas for wedding planning.

The brunch is from 10 am to 1 pm at the Allerton Mansion. Reservations for the event are required, so contact Smith at 217-333-3287.

You can also get more information on Allerton Park at allerton.illinois.edu and can search Allerton Park on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to follow their social media activity.

Local Triad Group Focused On New Ideas

One local program is dedicated to assisting local seniors and their families when dealing with Alzheimer's and other illnesses.

The DeWitt County Triad is a program made up of connecting community groups including law enforcement and senior citizens. DeWitt County CENCOM Coordinator Tony Harris plays a major part in Triad and explains CENCOM recently implemented the "R U OK" program which is an automated dialer that checks on seniors at home.

[audio:3061562045-3215triad1.mp3] [/audio]

Now, Triad is working on a new GPS locater for wandering senior citizens with illnesses such as Alzheimer's. Harris recently presented the idea to the Triad Board and says its still a work in progress but feels the program could save lives if implemented properly.

[audio:3061562049-3215triad2.mp3] [/audio]

Triad would like to receive feed back from community members regarding the program. Harris notes there are several Triad leaders for the public to contact and says the organization is looking for a beneficial tool to aid families of seniors during scary situations.

[audio:3061562052-3215triad3.mp3] [/audio]

Triad and CENCOM encourages anyone with new ideas or issues to contact them. The CENCOM office can be reached at 217-935-7880.

Holmes Leads At Doral After Day 1

 width=J.B. Holmes fired a 10-under 62 on Thursday and he grabbed a 4-stroke lead after the opening round of the WGC-Cadillac Championship.

Ryan Moore was tied for the lead with Holmes late in the round, but he found water off the tee on the 18th at Trump National Doral and that led to a closing double-bogey. Moore stands alone in second place at 6-under 66.

Rickie Fowler, 2011 runner-up Dustin Johnson and Alexander Levy share third place at 4-under 68. Henrik Stenson and Brooks Koepka are one stroke back at minus-3.

Adam Scott, who is making his first PGA Tour start of the season, carded a 2- under 70. He was joined in eighth place by Jim Furyk, Charley Hoffman, Gary Woodland and Jamie Donaldson, who shared second place last year.

World No. 1 Rory McIlroy bounced back from a tough opening nine to card a 1- over 73. He is tied for 27th with 11 others, including Keegan Bradley, Matt Kuchar, Justin Rose, Sergio Garcia and Graeme McDowell.

NFL Notes

>>Former Cardinals DT Dockett Signs With San Francisco

The San Francisco 49ers and defensive lineman Darnell Dockett have agreed to a contract.

Dockett's agent, Drew Rosenhaus, revealed the news Thursday via Twitter.

"Congrats to the newest Niner!" Rosenhaus wrote accompanied by a picture with Dockett.

Dockett, a three-time Pro Bowl pick, was released by the Arizona Cardinals last week. He missed the entire 2014 season after suffering a knee injury in training camp.

 width=The 33-year-old veteran had spent his entire career with the Cardinals, who selected the Florida State product in the third round of the 2004 draft. He has compiled 459 tackles, 40 1/2 sacks, seven forced fumbles and four interceptions in 158 career games.

>>MJD Announces Retirement

Former Jacksonville Jaguars running back Maurice Jones- Drew has announced his retirement from the National Football League.

Jones-Drew spent last season with the Oakland Raiders. He carried the ball just 43 times for 96 yards in 12 games.

The 29-year-old spent the first eight seasons of his career with Jacksonville, totaling 1,804 rushing attempts for 8,071 yards and 68 touchdowns from 2006-13. He also had 2,873 yards and 11 touchdowns receiving with the Jaguars.

In a statement he posted on Twitter, Jones-Drew said: "After much discussion with my family and business team during this off-season, I've decided to retire from the National Football League. The past nine years were absolutely amazing! I'll be forever grateful to the countless people who have assisted me throughout my NFL career. To my fans and NFL fans worldwide, you are the absolute greatest! But for you, our league would not exist. Football has been a central part of my life for the past 24 years. But now I'm excited about and looking forward to the next chapter of my life."

The three-time Pro Bowler won the NFL rushing title in 2011 with 1,606 rushing yards. He was drafted by the Jaguars in the second round of the 2006 draft.

>>Panthers Extend TE Olson

The Carolina Panthers signed Pro Bowl tight end Greg Olsen to a three-year contract extension on Thursday.

The Charlotte Observer reports that Olsen's contract is worth $22.5 million and includes a $12 million signing bonus.

Olsen was coming off a career season in which he compiled 84 catches for 1,008 yards, setting new franchise records by a tight end for the NFC South champion Panthers. He also added six touchdown receptions.

The 29-year-old is the only tight end to catch at least five touchdown passes in every season since 2008 and has played in 126 straight games.

Flyers Clip Note

 width=Wayne Simmonds netted the game-winning goal with 8:23 remaining, one of three third-period tallies which lifted Philadelphia past St. Louis by a 3-1 count on Thursday night.

Michael Del Zotto and Michael Raffl also lit the lamp for the Flyers, who ended up 2-0-1 on a three-game homestand. Steve Mason came up with 28 saves for the win.

Jaden Schwartz provided the sole offense for the Blues, who suffered just their second regulation loss this season when leading after two periods. Brian Elliott stopped 28 shots in defeat.

NHL Scoreboard
Calgary 4, Boston 3 (SO)
Minnesota 2, Washington 1
Tampa Bay 4, Toronto 2
Dallas 4, Florida 3 (SO)
NY Islanders 4, Nashville 3
Arizona 3, Vancouver 2 (SO)
Los Angeles 4, Montreal 3 (SO)

Illinois State Baseball To Spend Next Ten Days in Florida

 width=The Illinois State baseball team will head to Florida for eight games over 10 days, beginning Friday.

The Redbirds will play three games at the Snowbird Classic in Port Charlotte, Florida, March 6-8, before playing an away game at No. 24-ranked Florida Atlantic in Boca Raton, Florida, on March 10. The Redbirds will then finish the trip with four games at the RussMatt Central Florida Invitational in Winter Haven, Florida, March 11-15.

Illinois State (4-5) will open the trip with games against St. Joseph's (1-5), Georgetown (1-6) and Bucknell (5-2) on consecutive days, beginning Friday, at the Snowbird Classic.

The Redbirds will then head from the Gulf Coast to the Atlantic Coast, to Boca Raton, Florida, for a true road game at No. 24 Florida Atlantic (11-2) on March 10.

From there, the team will travel to Central Florida, to play four games over five days at the RussMatt Central Florida Invitational. The Redbirds will open up against Bowling Green (3-3), before taking on Maine (4-9), LIU-Brooklyn (2-1) and Butler (1-9) to finish out the trip.

Upon their return, the Redbirds will play their first game at Duffy Bass Field on March 18 against Illinois-Chicago.

Illini Baseball Heads To Stillwater For Weekend Matchup With No. 10 Oklahoma State

 width=The Illinois baseball will play tenth-ranked Oklahoma State for the first time since 1981 when they meet for a three-game series at Allie P. Reynolds Stadium in Stillwater, Okla., this weekend (March 6-8).

Illinois went 3-2 last weekend at the Chanticleer Classic, finishing with a 1.23 ERA and outscoring its opponents 14-8. The Illini suffered their first two losses of the season, both coming in tight one-run games. Ball State's winning run scored on a passed ball, while Kent State's winning run came home on a wild pitch.

Friday's game is slated for 4 p.m. followed by a 3 p.m. start on Saturday and a noon contest on Sunday. The Cowboys are 7-4 overall on the season after a rough start but have won six of their last seven.

The winner meets the victor of a matchup between Wisconsin-Stevens Point and Concordia on Saturday.

Moore Lifts Bulls Past Thunder

 width=E'Twaun Moore hit a go-ahead 3-pointer with 2.1 seconds remaining and the Chicago Bulls rallied to beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 108-105 on Thursday night, ending Russell Westbrook's triple-double streak at four.

Westbrook had 43 points, seven assists and eight rebounds. On Wednesday night in Oklahoma City, he had career highs with 49 points and 16 rebounds and added 10 assists in an overtime victory over Philadelphia.

Nikola Mirotic made two free throws with 28.9 remaining, pulling Chicago within one. Westbrook then shot an air-ball with the shot-clock expiring, and Moore followed with his 3-pointer. After the 3, Westbrook stepped out of bounds after receiving the inbounds pass.

Mirotic finished with 26 points, Pau Gasol and Mike Dunleavy each 21, and Moore added 19.

NBA Scoreboard
Portland 94, Dallas 75

Illinois Wesleyan Back In Div. III NCAA Tournament

 width=The Illinois Wesleyan men's basketball team will play the University of Dubuque (23-5) at 5 p.m. tonight in the first round of the 62-team NCAA Division III basketball championships from Stevens Point, Wis.

The Spartans are in after winning the automatic qualifier from the Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.

Led by Andre Norris, who is averaging 20.3 points and 8.8 rebounds per game to lead the Spartans, and senior Gage Heffernan is averaging 14.3 points and 2.9 assists per game, Dubuque is in the NCAA Division III tournament for the second time in the last three years and for the sixth time overall.

Meanwhile, the Titans (19-8) are making their sixth straight and 24th overall NCAA tournament appearance in the 32 years of NCAA affiliation. Earning an at large bid, Wesleyan has mad a national championship appearance in 1997, third place finishes in 1996, 2001 and 2006 and semifinal appearances in 2012 and 2014.

Illini At Purdue Saturday; ISU Takes On Evansville At MVC Tourney

 width=>>Illinois At Purdue In Battle Of Bubble Teams

It could very well be one of the most important games in the tenure of John Groce at Illinois when his Fighting Illini visit Mackey Arena for a 3:30 pm showdown with the Purdue Boilermakers.

Both squads come in at 19-11 and precisely in the midst of the bubble conversation. A win for either side could put them into the NCAA tournament.

Coming off a 64-57 win against Nebraska Wednesday, Illinois has won two straight following a three game losing streak. Led by Rayvonte Rice the past two games, the senior guard returned to the starting lineup against Northwestern last Sunday and is averaging 21.6 points and seven rebounds per game in his last three outings.

For the 'Boilers, they've lost two in a row following a stretch where they won seven of eight.

With the Big Ten Tournament looming next weekend, the loser could still play themselves into the tournament, but a win puts either side into better standing heading towards selection Sunday.

>>ISU Takes on Evansville This Afternoon in St. Louis

 width=The Missouri Valley Conference Tournament is here as mid-major schools look to upend a pair of national powers and punch their tickets to the NCAA tournament.

Chasing No. 8 Wichita State and No. 11 Northern Iowa, the rest of the Missouri Valley is hoping to upend the two powers and punch an automatic birth into the NCAA tournament.

Fourth seeded Illinois State will meet up with fifth seeded Evansville this afternoon from the Scottrade Center in St. Louis, the 25 year host of the Valley tournament.

The Redbirds concluded their season at 20-14 while Evasville was 19-12.

The winner moves on for a date with either top-seeded Wichita State or Southern Illinois, who meet today.

Bradley defeated Drake Thursday to move on to take on Northern Iowa today. The winner meets Loyola-Chicago or Indiana State Saturday.

>>College Basketball Notes

The first ticket to the NCAA tournament will be stamped tonight in the northeast as the Harvard Crimson host the Yale Bulldogs in a regular season matchup that will determine the champion of the Ivy League.

At 20-6 overall, Harvard is seeking their fourth consecutive trip to the NCAA tournament as the Champion of the Ivy League. 21-8 Yale has not made the tournament since 1962.

At 10-2, the co-leaders of the Ivy League meet at 7 pm from Lavietes Pavilion in Cambridge, MA.

 width=Frank Kaminsky had 25 points, seven assists, six rebounds and two steals as the sixth-ranked Wisconsin Badgers won the Big Ten Conference regular-season crown outright with a 76-63 victory over the Minnesota Golden Gophers.

Sam Dekker added 20 points and six rebounds for the Badgers (27-3, 15-2 Big Ten), who have won four in a row against Minnesota. Nigel Hayes tallied 12 points and nine boards.

Nate Mason ended with 15 points for the Golden Gophers (17-13, 6-11), who have lost four of five. Carlos Morris contributed 11 points.

Arizona clinched its second straight outright Pac-12 title in a most convincing fashion, with the fifth-ranked Wildcats dominating California in all facets in a 99-60 rout at the McKale Center.

Brandon Ashley led the way with a career high-tying 21 points, Kaleb Tarczewski added 14 with eight rebounds and T.J. McConnell dished out 11 assists without a turnover as Arizona (27-3, 15-2 Pac-12) kept itself in the hunt for a possible No. 1 regional seed in the NCAA Tournament.

NCAA Top 25 Basketball Scoreboard
#13 Utah 67, Washington State 59
#18 Arkansas 78, South Carolina 74

Clinton Fire Chief Reminds Residents To Check Smoke Detectors During 'Spring Ahead'

 width=As we get set to "Spring Ahead" this weekend, local fire officials are encouraging residents to switch out those smoke alarm batteries.

Sunday morning at 2 am Daylight Savings time goes back into effect and those clocks will need to be pushed forward one hour. As you do so, Clinton Fire Chief Shawn Milton is hoping you will also take five minutes and check those smoke detectors. He says having fresh batteries or even new devices in your home are your first line of defense in the event of a home fire.

[audio:30615112732-3715alarmdetect1.mp3] [/audio]

Placement of smoke detectors in your home varies widely based on the size of your home. The Chief says you should have at least two, one near bedrooms and another close to the kitchen. Chief Milton notes they find many times the detectors near the kitchen are often unplugged or taken down all together.

[audio:30615112736-3715alarmdetect2.mp3] [/audio]

The Clinton Fire Department has smoke alarms available to their residents through the State Fire Marshall's Office. According to Chief Milton, they give out at least two per homeowner and they are free of charge.

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Chief Milton encourages residents to check their detectors for "born on dates". He says smoke detectors should be replaced every seven years and also encourages routine maintenance such as taking cans of air to them and cleaning them. He explains this will keep them in top working condition.

More Illinoisans Cleared For Medical Marijuana

There's a surge in the number of Illinoisans who have the go ahead to use medical marijuana.

Illinois Public Health officials say the number of patients has climbed from roughly 1,000 to 1,600 in the past month. The program's coordinator said this past summer he hoped to reach tens of thousands in the program's first year.

Qualifying patients pay an annual fee of $100 for a marijuana card and need a doctor's written certification.

Advocates Ponder Next Step For Rauner Budget

Groups that depend on government dollars have not been silent in their dislike of Governor Bruce Rauner’s proposed budget.

But advocates are now wondering what’s next. Emily Miller with the educational group Voice for Illinois Children says just about every group that is set to lose in Rauner’s smaller state budget is gearing up for a fight.

[audio:3051563615-Miller1.MP3] [/audio]

Miller with education group Voices for Illinois Children, says Gov. Rauner should get credit for $300 million new dollars for schools. But she would like more.

[audio:3051563616-Miller2.mp3] [/audio]

Miller said cuts to education and health programs may cost more than they save.

The governor said during his budget speech that Illinois has run out of money, and this is the budget that the state can afford.

February Finishes As One of Coldest On Record



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Cornel West Cancels Speech At University of Illinois Over Salaita

A prominent civil rights activist and academic has cancelled a speech at the University of Illinois because of the school's decision to rescind a job offer to a Native American studies professor.

Cornel West said Wednesday that he will not speak at the Urbana-Champaign campus because of the dispute between the university and Steven Salaita. West was scheduled to deliver a lecture in April.

He called the university's decision to rescind the job offer "a moral scandal."

Salaita was offered a job starting in August 2014. The university withdrew the job offer over a series of sometimes profane, anti-Israel Twitter messages.

Salaita has sued in an effort to force the university to give him the job.

Bloomington Woman Gets 18 Years in Mutilation of Man's Body

A 25-year-old Bloomington woman has been sentenced to 18 years in prison for concealing a homicide and mutilating a body.

Vishawn Mills admitted to covering up the August 2013 slaying of 74-year-old Oakley Mitchell of Secor. He was shot and his body was burned and dumped in the Mackinaw River. Secor's remains were found at his Woodford County home and under a bridge along the river in another county.

According to reports, Mills was sentenced Tuesday to 14 years on the mutilation charge and four years on the homicide concealment charge. First-degree murder charges against her were dropped as part of a plea agreement.

Mills' boyfriend, Rayshawn Johnson, is serving 50 years for murder in the case.

Clinton Lake Hot Spot For Eagle Pairs

Thanks to some prolonged cold weather in central Illinois, eagles have found a home in DeWitt County.

According to Department of Natural Resources CPO, John Williamson, there are quite a few eagles near Clinton Lake recently. He explains when you get near them, you know it.

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The eastern edge of DeWitt County is a prime area for seeing an eagle as the weather remains cool for a short while longer. According to Williamson, they like to away from people as much as possible but notes near Route 48 and DeWitt Road they are very prevalent.

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Even though a warm up is expected, Williamson believes the eagles should stick around for a while. He says the best times to see them are in the early morning hours or in the evenings.

4-H International Night This Weekend

4-H members and their families will be a part of a special night with this weekend in Farmer City.

The DeWitt County 4-H International Night gives youth a chance to showcase what they have learned about a country they've studied. Youth Educator with the University of Illinois Extension office, Sherry Fulton indicates the groups set up informational areas about the country they've studied as a part of the night.

[audio:3051563624-3515internationalnight1.mp3] [/audio]

The 4-H leadership arm of DeWitt County, the 4-H Federation, hosts the event. Fulton says it is a great family event that draws all 4-H students from across the county together.

[audio:3051563626-3515internationalnight2.mp3] [/audio]

International Night has been a staple on the 4-H calendar for over a decade and Fulton indicates it continues to grow in numbers and popularity. She feels the event is so popular because it brings people together and is a good time.

[audio:3051563628-3515internationalnight3.mp3] [/audio]

The 4-H International Night starts at 5:30 pm Saturday night at the Farmer City Victory Christian Center.

Those planning to attend to need to contact the DeWitt County Extension Office by calling 217-935-5764.

PGA Tour Heads To Miami For World Golf Championship/Cadillac Open



Following a Monday finish for The Honda Classic, the top-50 players in the world rankings move to Doral this week for the WGC-Cadillac Championship.

This event will mark the first tournament since the 2012 PGA Championship that all of the top-50 will be playing the same event.

Patrick Reed returns to Doral to defend his title. He closed with an even-par 72 last year and it was enough to hold off Jamie Donaldson (70) and Bubba Watson (68). It was Reed's second win in seven weeks, and afterward declared himself one of the top-5 players in the world.

The injured Tiger Woods will miss the event. It is just the second time in his career that he didn't qualify for a World Golf Championship event.

Peyton Manning To Return to Denver, Take Pay Cut


Peyton Manning will play an 18th NFL season on a reduced salary in 2015, agreeing to a $4 million cut with the Denver Broncos.

ESPN first reported the news that Manning will have his pay slashed from $19 million to $15 million next season, with the Denver Post confirming the news. The Broncos are expected to make an official announcement Thursday once Manning takes and passes a physical exam.

According to NFL.com, the five-time NFL MVP can still earn the $4 million back in incentives.

Manning is entering the fourth season of a five-year, $95 million contract he signed with the Broncos in March of 2012. The soon-to-be 39-year-old has started every game during his tenure with the club and led Denver to an AFC championship in 2013, though his struggles near the end of last season and the Broncos' plans to make changes on offense under new head coach Gary Kubiak led to speculation that Manning would consider not returning.

It marks the first time in Manning's storied career that he has agreed to a pay cut.

Manning finished second in the NFL with 39 touchdown passes this past season after throwing for a league-record 55 in 2013. The NFL's all-time leader in that category finished last year's campaign with 4,727 passing yards and a 101.5 quarterback rating.

Red Wings Down Rangers in OT

 width=Marek Zidlicky scored 1:09 into overtime to give the Detroit Red Wings a 2-1 win over the New York Rangers on Wednesday.

Acquired by the Red Wings from New Jersey at the trade deadline, Zidlicky paid dividends with a power-play goal in the extra session.

Henrik Zetterberg, who returned from a four-game absence due to injury, sent a short pass from the right circle to the front of the net for Pavel Datsyuk, who turned around and tried to jam the puck in.

Cam Talbot made the stop, but the puck sat in the slot and Zidlicky was able to take a swipe at it, with the puck bouncing over Talbot and in for the victory.

Justin Abdelkader scored the other goal while Jimmy Howard made 39 saves for the Red Wings, who have won three straight.

Dan Girardi scored the only goal of the game for the Rangers, who had won five of six coming in. Talbot made 29 stops.

NHL Scoreboard
Ottawa 3, Winnipeg 1
Anaheim 3, Montreal 1
Colorado 3, Pittsburgh 1

Pacers Crush Knicks

 width=George Hill put up 21 points in 27 minutes to help the Indiana Pacers stay hot with a 105-82 drubbing of the New York Knicks.

Hill finished 8-of-13 from the field and the Pacers went 10-of-22 from 3-point range en route to their ninth win in 11 games, a stretch that has vaulted last season's No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference back into playoff contention.

Rodney Stuckey added 17 points and C.J. Miles had 16 for an Indiana squad that never trailed in dealing the hapless Knicks a second lopsided defeat in as many days.

Coming off Tuesday's 124-86 home loss to Sacramento, New York trailed by as many as 30 in this one. Andrea Bargnani was the Knicks' lone bright spot, matching a season high with 25 points.

NBA Scoreboard
Phoenix 105, Orlando 100
Boston 85, Utah 84
Boston 85, Utah 84
Charlotte 115, Brooklyn 91
Cleveland 120, Toronto 112
Memphis 102, Houston 100
Miami 100, LA Lakers 94
Denver 100, Minnesota 85
New Orleans 88, Detroit 85
Oklahoma City 123, Philadelphia 118 (OT)
San Antonio 112, Sacramento 85
Golden State 102, Milwaukee 93
Portland 98, LA Clippers 93 (OT)

Valley Tournament Kicks Off Today; Wichita State Looking For Second Straight Sweep

 width=No. 8 Wichita State is back as the top seed in the Missouri Valley Conference tournament.

The Shockers (27-3, 17-1) opens the tourney Friday against the winner of the play-in game between the eighth and ninth seeds, Missouri State (11-19, 5-13) and Southern Illinois (11-20, 4-14) on Thursday night. Northern Iowa (27-3, 16-2) faces either Drake (9-21, 6-12) and Bradley (8-23, 3-15) on Friday night.

Guards Ron Baker and Fred VanVleet, second and third in balloting for Valley player of the year, have been keys to Wichita State's continued success despite breaking in eight new players. Forward Tekele Cotton was named the conference top defensive player for the second straight season.

Illinois State will take on Indiana State Friday. The Redbirds tied for third in the MVC but because the Sycamores swept the season series between the two, the Redbirds fall to the fourth seed.

Illinois Downs Nebraska On Senior Night; College Basketball Notes

 width=Rayvonte Rice scored 23 and led Illinois to a badly needed win over Nebraska Wednesday, 69-57.

The Illini (19-11, 9-8 Big Ten) have won two straight as they look for a way into the NCAA tournament.

Nebraska (13-16, 5-12) has lost seven games in a row and nine of its last 10.

Rice had a quiet six-point first half but scored 17 in the second 20 minutes. That included seven straight over a key stretch midway through the half that brought Illinois back from a 40-39 deficit to a 46-42 lead.

He drilled home a long 3-pointer with 1:35 left in the game to give Illinois a 59-50 lead.

Kendrick Nunn and Leron Black added 11 each for Illinois.

Shavon Shields led Nebraska with 14 points. Terran Petteway added 13.

>>Michigan State Downs Purdue; Sets Up Showdown Between Bubble Teams Saturday

Travis Trice finished with 27 points and six assists as the Michigan State Spartans downed the Purdue Boilermakers, 72-66, in a Big Ten Conference matchup at the Breslin Center.

Denzel Valentine contributed 17 points and six rebounds for the Spartans (20-10, 11-6 Big Ten), who snapped a two-game losing streak with the decision. Matt Costello provided a spark off the bench with 13 points, seven rebounds and four blocked shots in 25 minutes.

Kendall Stephens paced Purdue (19-11, 11-6) with 16 points on 5-of-9 shooting from the floor. Dakota Mathias chipped in 12 points, while Jon Octeus tallied 11 points and five assists. The loss was the second in a row for the Boilermakers, who will close out their regular season slate at home versus Illinois on Saturday.

>>Notre Dame Tops Louisville At Yum Center

Demetrius Jackson led four Notre Dame players in double figures with 21 points to help the No. 12 Fighting Irish earn a tough 71-59 road win at No. 16 Louisville on Wednesday.
Bonzie Colson scored nine of his 17 points in the final 10 minutes to help Notre Dame (25-5, 13-4 ACC) hold off a second-half comeback attempt from Louisville. The Fighting Irish also got 12 points and seven assists from Jerian Grant and 10 points from Steve Vasturia.
Louisville (23-7, 11-6) received a game-high 23 points and 12 rebounds from Montrezl Harrell. Terry Rozier and Wayne Blackshear each added 11 points.

>>Ohio State Downs Penn State

D'Angelo Russell racked up 28 points and carried Ohio State in the second half as the 23rd-ranked Buckeyes rallied for a 77-67 victory over Penn State.

The sensational freshman did most of his damage during a 29-6 swing that turned a 38-29 deficit into a 14- point Buckeyes lead just past the midway stage of the second half.

Russell accounted for 17 points during the game- deciding burst, which helped Ohio State (22-8, 11-6 Big Ten) remain in the hunt for a double-bye in next week's Big Ten Tournament.

Ohio State, which hosts conference leader and sixth-ranked Wisconsin Saturday in its regular-season finale, used a similar formula to down Purdue three days prior. The Buckeyes overcame a 12-point halftime deficit in that one, with Russell tallying 17 of his 28 points after the break.

D.J. Newbill eclipsed the career 2,000-point mark for Penn State (15-15, 3-14) in his final game at the Jordan Center, and finished with 17. Fellow senior Ross Travis posted 14 points and eight rebounds in defeat.

>>NCAA Scoreboard
#3 Duke 94, Wake Forest 51
#24 Providence 79, Seton Hall 66

School Board Elections Creating Confusion Among Voters

As the spring elections near, DeWitt County voters will have to wrap their minds around a difficult scenario as it relates to one of the local races.

The Clinton Board of Education is one of the many of governing bodies with an election this spring, and according to local leaders, it has been the subject of a great deal of confusion. Dana Smith, DeWitt County Clerk explains the school board consists of three members from each township within the district. She notes much of the confusion surrounds the representation of Clintonia township.

[audio:30515120411-3615voteconfuse1.mp3] [/audio]

In addition to the confusion surrounding the Clintonia Township candidates, Smith says confusion has arisen given who voters can cast their ballot for. She explains there are no restrictions in who you can vote for.

[audio:30515120412-3615voteconfuse2.mp3] [/audio]

To ensure each township has equal representation on the School Board, Smith notes, there is a scenario that could play out where certain candidates may get more votes than another, though the candidate with the lower vote totals get on the Board.

[audio:30515120414-3615voteconfuse3.mp3] [/audio]

The two-year seat that is up for election is the unfinished term of the late Tom Pruser, who's seat was filled by Russell Long shortly after Pruser's passing.

The spring election is April 7.

Attorney General Reveals Consumer Complaints List

The Illinois Attorney General's office is sharing its annual top ten consumer complaints list.
In 2014, consumer debt related complaints topped the list of nearly 22-thosuand complaints. Those complaints were connected to mortgage lenders, debt collectors and credit card companies.

Identity theft finished second, with telecommunications ranking third. Telecommunications involves wireless service, local phone service and cable and satellite services.

Construction and home improvement companies finished fourth. Auto sales finished fifth.

Gov. Rauner, Christie No Longer On Same Page

Bruce Rauner and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie seemed like political soulmates during the election season.

Now Rauner sounds like Taylor Swift singing about a past love interest. Christie made multiple visits to Illinois last year but Rauner took some verbal jabs at the Garden State with some late night monologue style at a gathering of the Illinois Farm Bureau.

[audio:3041564400-RAUNERNJ.mp3] [/audio]

So far, Rauner and Christie staffers aren't commenting.

State Farm Profits Fall

State Farm saw its profits fall in 2014, from $5.2 billion in 2013 to $4.2 billion last year. Underwriting losses in the company's property-casual companies totaled $939 million last year.

Spokesman Dick Luedke (lud-key) says there was a spike in insurance claims last year.

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Luedke (lud-key) says the company doesn't put much stock into the year-by-year numbers

[audio:3041564713-FARM2.mp3] [/audio]

Total auto claims rose $2.5 billion dollars last year from 2013. State Farm Chairman and CEO Ed Rust made $12.9 million dollars last year, compared to $11.6 million last year. His salary includes a base salary that hasn't changed since 2001 and four other metrics: financial results, growth, customer retention and employee satisfaction over the last three years.

Evolving Technology Proving Challenging For Emergency Preparedness Group

Many challenges present themselves to the local DeWitt County CENCOM team when it comes to operating 911 calls.

Several challenges are coming to light in 911 operations due to constantly changing phone services. CENCOM Coordinator Tony Harris explains the disappearance of land lines and the emergence of cell phones contribute to confusion at times with the 9-1-1 system.

[audio:3041564828-22615911challenge1.mp3] [/audio]

Land lines are typically the best device to use when dialing 911. According to Harris, cell phones can be more difficult to locate due to weather conditions or locations without good reception. He also points out, internet based phone services are not as reliable as land lines.

[audio:3041564831-22615911challenge2.mp3] [/audio]

Wireless services and cell phone carries are always improving their technology and equipment, yet there may always be problems locating someone dialing 911 in certain situations. Harris says CENCOM has had many success stories and are very capable in finding a location through a cell phone though.

[audio:3041564833-22615911challenge3.mp3] [/audio]

For any questions regarding the 911 process, you can contact your local police department Tony Harris at 935-7880.

Clinton Bracing For Major Budget Restraints

Proposals in Governor Bruce Rauner's budget indicate communities across Illinois will suffer greatly as it relates to moneys they receive from the state.

Clinton City Commission Tom Edmunds indicates the losses in their general revenue could total up to $350-thousand dollars. Edmunds, who was in attendance of the Monday night Clinton City Council meeting via telephone, says that is a cut of around 50% and would greatly impact the city's finances.

[audio:3041565036-3415clintoncuts1.mp3] [/audio]

Clinton Mayor Carolyn Peters hopes the cuts don't run that deep, but she says department leaders need to plan like they will. She notes there are several target areas that could be reduced or cut.

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The Mayor is asking for department heads to review their budgets and try to cut more. She wants to see a more balanced budget.

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The Governor's budget proposal has widely been considered a starting point for negotiations, and the Mayor is hoping that is the case. She says a 50% in their state revenues would force the city to make tough decisions.

NFL Notes

>>Eagles Move RB LeSean McCoy To Bills

The Philadelphia Eagles have a deal in place to trade former NFL rushing champion LeSean McCoy to the Buffalo Bills for linebacker Kiko Alonso, ESPN.com reported on Tuesday.

The deal, which would be a blockbuster, would reunite Eagles coach Chip Kelly with Alonso, who played four seasons under Kelly at Oregon.

Trades cannot be made official until the new league year begins at 4 p.m. next Tuesday.

 width=McCoy, 26, has blossomed in Kelly's hurry-up offense, rushing for 2,926 yards and 14 touchdowns with 80 receptions for 694 yards and two scores over the past two seasons.

He led the NFL in both rushing yards and yards from scrimmage in 2013 but saw a dropoff in both categories last season. The six-year NFL veteran would have cost the Eagles close to $12 million against the salary cap in 2015.

Alonso, 24, missed all of last season after having surgery to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament suffered during an offseason workout in Oregon.

The second-round draft pick led the Bills in tackles in 2013 as a rookie with 159. He had two sacks and four interceptions while starting all 16 games.

>>49ers Ink Rugby Star

The San Francisco 49ers signed Australian rugby star Jarryd Hayne to a three-year contact on Tuesday.

Hayne picked the 49ers over the Detroit Lions and Seattle Seahawks.

The 27-year-old Hayne has spent the past nine years (2006-14) in the National Rugby League (NRL) with the Parramatta Eels. In 2014, Hayne won numerous Dally M Awards, which are given to the best and fairest player over the entire National Rugby League regular season. He was named Player of the Year, Best Fullback, Top Tryscorer and Representative Player.

The 6-foot-2, 220-pounder likely will compete for a job as a running back and return man on special teams.

>>Cowboys Sign WR Beasley To 4-Year Deal

The Dallas Cowboys re-signed wide receiver Cole Beasley to a four-year contract on Tuesday.

According to multiple reports, the deal is worth $13.6 million with $7 million guaranteed.

Beasley caught 37 passes for 420 yards and four touchdowns in 16 games last season. He added seven receptions in two postseason games.

In his three seasons with Dallas, the former SMU Mustang has played in 40 games, catching 91 passes for 916 yards and six touchdowns.

The Cowboys placed the franchise tag on top receiver Dez Bryant on Monday.

Shorthanded Bulls Hold Off Wizards

 width=A pair of hustle plays led to a Chicago Bulls win Tuesday night.

It's something they'll have to rely on without two of their stars for the next month.

Nikola Mirotic had 23 points and eight rebounds, Pau Gasol added 20 points and 10 rebounds and the Bulls held off the Washington Wizards for a 97-92 victory.

Aaron Brooks netted 22 points to go with eight assists and Joakim Noah supplied 14 points and 12 boards for the Bulls, who have won four of their last six games.

John Wall tallied 21 points and 11 assists to lead free-falling Washington, which has dropped seven of its last eight contests.

NBA Scoreboard
Charlotte 104, LA Lakers 103
Cleveland 110, Boston 79
Sacramento 124, New York 86
Atlanta 104, Houston 96
Utah 93, Memphis 82
Denver 106, Milwaukee 95

Groce Expecting Baby As Illinois Prepares For Nebraska

 width=Illinois basketball coach John Groce (GROHS) has his hands full trying to coax his team into the NCAA Tournament over the next couple of weeks. But his priorities could change in the next few days.

Groce's wife, Allison, is expecting the couple's third child any day now. They have two young sons.

Groce said Tuesday that his wife could deliver "any time now." The Illini (18-8, 8-8 Big Ten) are preparing to play Nebraska on Wednesday, and Groce says he hopes to coach that game.

Groce told reporters during a news conference that an assistant was trailing him with a cell phone in case his wife calls.

If it rings, Groce said, "I like you guys, but I'm out of here."

Allison Groce is expecting a daughter.

>>Kentucky Survives Georgia, Remains Unbeaten

Kentucky put a scare into Big Blue Nation, but Karl-Anthony Towns and the top-ranked Wildcats found a way to win another close game.

Towns scored 17 of his 19 points in the second half and No. 1 Kentucky rallied past Georgia 72-64 in front of a raucous Stegeman Coliseum crowd to remain unbeaten.

The Bulldogs had Kentucky on the ropes, leading by nine past the midpoint of the second half. But like it has so many times this season, the Wildcats flipped the switch at the right time.

Aaron Harrison scored 16 points and his brother Andrew had 12 for Kentucky (30-0, 17-0 SEC), which will try to polish off a perfect regular season when it hosts Florida on Saturday.
Nemanja Djurisic paced Georgia (19-10, 10-7) with 18 points, and fellow senior Marcus Thornton chipped in 14 on Senior Night.

Monticello Meets St. Joe-Ogden At Sectionals Tonight

Coming off a Regional Title last week, the Monticello Sages will seek to reach the Sectional Finals for the second time in three years tonight when they meet Okaw Valley foe St. Joe-Ogden at Maroa-Forsyth.

The Sages defeated Central Illinois Conference members Clinton and Argenta-Oreana to reach the Sectional, while St. Joe-Ogden defeated GCMS and Paxton-Buckley-Loda at the PBL Regional.

 width=The two teams split their season series, each defending home court.

Tonight the two will play at neutral Maroa-Forsyth High School and the winner will meet Decatur St. Teresa Friday night at 7 pm. St. Teresa dominated Westville Tuesday night 64-31.

Tonight's game is set for 7 pm and can be heard on 95.9 FM WEZC and online at dewittdailynews.com.

Scores in Class 2A Sectional Semifinals Tuesday:

At Riverton

Macomb 51
Pleasant Plains 45

Class 1A Sectional Semifinal Games Tuesday:

At Danville Schlarman

Decatur Lutheran 56
Milford 63

Class 3A Regional Semifinal action Tuesday:

At Canton

Galesburg 59
Limestone 56

Peoria Manual 70
Peoria 30

At Chatham Glenwood

Chatham Glenwood 53
Mattoon 33

Chatham Glenwood 53
Mattoon 33

Taylorville 34
Rochester 40

At Mahomet-Seymour

Champaign Centennial 74
Urbana 49

At Mt. Zion

Lincoln 57
Mt. Zion 38

Decatur MacArthur 60
Decatur Eisenhower 52

At Springfield (H.S.)

Springfield Lanphier 76
Springfield 69

Class 2A Sectional Semifinal games today:

At Riverton

Petersburg PORTA 7:00pm
Bloomington Central Catholic

Class 1A Sectional semifinal games today:

At Danville Schlarman

Ridgeview 7:00pm

Clinton Police Report for 3-4

CITATIONS 03/03/15





Sages Can't Hold Off the Spartans in the Semifinals


As heard on 95.9 WEZC and streamed live on dewittdailynews.com, the Monticello Sages were defeated by the St. Joseph-Ogden Spartans 34-33 in Sectional Semifinal action Wednesday night.

With less than a minute remaining, Monticello led 33-30, but a trio of miscues of allowed the Spartans back into the ballgame and ultimately finishing the final minute with four unanswered points.

After St. Joe-Ogden took a 14-11 lead into the fourth quarter, neither team would finish a quarter in double-figure scoring in what quickly became a physical and well defended chess matchup between the two Okaw Valley Conference schools.

For the Sages (20-6), Noah Freemon lead the game with 14 points. Zach Fisher added 13 points and six rebounds.

Monticello shot 47% from the floor.

For the Spartans (24-5), Brandon Triable and Tyler Harris had 12 points apiece. Trimble and Connor Janes each pulled down five boards apiece.

St. Joe-Ogden shot just 39% from the floor and went 0-10 from beyond the arc.

With the win, St. Joseph-Ogden will move on to a Sectional Championship game against Decatur St. Teresa Friday night at 7pm.

Scores in Class 2A Sectionals Wednesday:

At Riverton

Petersburg PORTA 56
Bloomington Central Catholic 64

In Class 1A:

At Danville Schlarman

Ridgeview 58
Arthur-Lovington-Atwood-Hammond 56

February Finishes As One of Coldest On Record



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Kurt Busch Begins Process For Reinstatement

Kurt Busch has agreed to NASCAR's terms and conditions for reinstatement after he was suspended indefinitely for domestic violence allegations on Feb. 20.

NASCAR placed Busch, the driver of the No. 41 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet and 2004 Cup Series champion, on suspension when it learned that a Delaware judge had concluded that Busch "more than likely not" committed an act of domestic violence against his ex-girlfriend Patricia Driscoll in his motorhome at Dover International Speedway last September.

 width=On Monday, NASCAR spokesman David Higdon said that Busch informed the sanctioning body late last week that he would agree to its process for reinstatement. There is no timetable in place for his potential return to NASCAR competition. NASCAR also did not reveal the terms and conditions for his reinstatement.

Delaware Family Court Commissioner David Jones granted Driscoll a protective order on Feb. 16. When Jones released his 25-page opinion of the court case four days later, he noted that Busch committed an act of abuse against Driscoll by "manually strangling (her) with his left hand on her throat, while placing his right hand against her chin and face, causing her head to forcefully strike the interior wall of (Busch's) motorhome, thereby recklessly causing physical injury to (Driscoll) and recklessly placing (her) in reasonable apprehension of physical injury."

Busch lost both of his appeals for reinstatement the day before the Daytona 500. A three-member National Motorsports Appeal Panel heard and considered Busch's initial appeal before he presented his position to National Motorsports Final Appeals Officer Bryan Moss.

Padraig Harrington Wins Suspended Honda Classic; Shoots Up World Rankings

Padraig Harrington parred the second playoff hole to defeat Daniel Berger and win The Honda Classic on Monday.

Harrington shot an even-par 70 in the final round and Berger fired a 6-under 64 to finish tied at 6-under-par 274.

 width=Both players reached the green in three on the first playoff hole, the par-5 18th. Harrington missed a 24-foot birdie effort. On a similar line, but nine feet closer, Berger also missed his putt left.

Harrington picked up a playoff victory over Daniel Berger on Monday at the PGA Tour's Honda Classic and that helped the Irishman soar up the world rankings.

Harrington, who won for the first time on the PGA Tour since the 2008 season, climbed 215 spots from No. 297 to No. 82. Berger jumped 100 spots to No. 73.

The top-5 remained the same with Rory McIlroy followed by Bubba Watson, Henrik Stenson, Jason Day and Adam Scott. Jim Furyk and Sergio Garcia exchanged places for the second straight week with Furyk back to No. 6 and Garcia down to No. 7.

Justin Rose, Jordan Spieth and Martin Kaymer were eighth, ninth and 10th again this week. Rickie Fowler inched up one to 11th and that pushed Matt Kuchar down one notch.

NFL Franchise Tag Notes

>>Chiefs Use Franchise Tag On League Sacks Leader

The Kansas City Chiefs used their franchise tag on reigning NFL sacks leader Justin Houston, the team announced Monday.

Houston will earn $13.195 next season under the franchise tag, according to the widely reported number for linebackers.

The 26-year-old had 22 sacks last season, breaking Hall of Famer Derrick Thomas' single-season franchise record and coming within a half-sack of Michael Strahan's NFL mark.

 width=Chiefs general manager John Dorsey said the team will continue to work on a long-term deal for Houston.

>>Giants Franchise Tag DE Pierre-Paul

The New York Giants assigned the non-exclusive franchise tag to defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul at Monday's deadline as the team continues to attempt to work out a long-term deal with its top pass rusher.

Pierre-Paul will earn a $14.8 million salary in 2015 as a franchise player, though the Giants now have until July 15 to negotiate an extension with the 2010 first-round pick by applying the tag.

The 26-year-old is coming off a bounce-back 2014 campaign in which he recorded 12 1/2 sacks and three forced fumbles while starting all 16 games. Pierre-Paul had a career-low two sacks while being limited to 11 games by injuries the previous season.

>>Bryant Gets Cowboys Franchise Tag

The Dallas Cowboys have slapped the franchise tag on wide receiver Dez Bryant.

The designation will keep Bryant off the free agent market and will give him a salary of $12.8 million for the 2015 season. The two sides can still work towards a long-term deal until July 15.

Bryant has emerged as one of the top receivers in the NFL. He caught 88 passes for 1,320 yards and a career-high 16 touchdowns in 2014, following 90-catch seasons in both 2012 and 2013.

In all, the 26-year-old Oklahoma State product has 381 receptions for 5,424 yards and 56 touchdowns in five seasons.

Kentucky Stays Atop AP Poll; Texas Fights Past Baylor

>>Kentucky Tops AP Poll Again

 width=Kentucky is one week shy of a perfect regular season and on Monday remained a unanimous choice as the top-ranked team in men's college basketball.

The Wildcats are 29-0 with games this week against Georgia and Florida. John Calipari's team received all 65 first-place votes and a total of 1,625 points from the nationwide panel of the Associated Press for a fifth consecutive week.

Virginia remained second and is followed by Duke, Villanova, Arizona, Wisconsin, Gonzaga, Wichita State, Kansas and Maryland.

Gonzaga dropped four spots from third after a surprising home loss to BYU on Saturday, while Wichita State moved up three spots into the top 10 following its victory over Northern Iowa on Saturday that captured the Missouri Valley regular-season title.

The second 10 consists of Northern Iowa, Notre Dame, Utah, Baylor, Oklahoma, Louisville, Iowa State, Arkansas, North Carolina and West Virginia. Notre Dame dropped out of the top 10, falling three spots after a loss to Syracuse in its lone game last week, while Baylor had the biggest jump within the poll. The Bears moved up five spots from 19th after beating Iowa State and West Virginia last week.

Butler, SMU, Ohio State, Providence and Murray State are the last five teams ranked this week. Ohio State is back in the poll after dropping out last week, while Ohio Valley regular-season champion Murray State is ranked for the first time since 2012.

VCU and San Diego State dropped out this week. VCU lost twice last week, while San Diego State had just rejoined the poll for the first time since late December and lost its lone game last week against Boise State.

 width=>>Texas Upends Baylor

Texas picked up a much-needed signature win on Monday, fighting both figuratively and literally to upend No. 14 Baylor 61- 59 in overtime.

Isaiah Taylor hit the game-winning floater with 4.8 seconds remaining just minutes after a scrum he instigated resulted in seven players, including four Texas regulars, being ejected for leaving the bench.

The Longhorns (18-12, 7-10 Big 12) were in dire need of a victory having gone 2-9 against ranked opponents coming in. Ranked as high as No. 6 earlier this season, they are still in danger of being left out of the NCAA Tournament.

Knocking off a Baylor (22-8, 10-7) squad coming off wins over Iowa State and West Virginia gives Texas' resume a boost. The outcome also eliminated the Bears from having a chance at sharing the Big 12 title.

Demarcus Holland and Javan Felix came off the bench and contributed 12 and 10 points, respectively, while Kendal Yancy added 11 for the victors.

Taurean Prince led Baylor with 17 points, while Rico Gathers totaled 12 points and 11 rebounds in a losing effort.

NCAA Top-25 Scoreboard
#2 Virginia 59, Syracuse 47
#17 Iowa State 77, #15 Oklahoma 70

No Surprise: Lester To Start April 5 Opener vs Cardinals

 width=Jon Lester is slated to make his first start for the Chicago Cubs on opening night, April 5, against the St. Louis Cardinals.

Cubs manager Joe Maddon confirmed Monday what he had earlier indicated about Chicago's new ace. Lester signed a six-year, $155 million contract with the Cubs in December.

In his first season Cubs manager, Maddon also said the fourth starter in the team's rotation likely will be Kyle Hendrix. He'll follow Lester, Jake Arrieta and Jason Hammel.

The fifth starting spot is wide open, with contenders including past starters Travis Wood and Edwin Jackson.

Bulls' Butler Out Three to Six Weeks

 width=The Chicago Bulls say guard Jimmy Butler will miss three to six weeks because of a sprained ligament in his left elbow and join the injured Derrick Rose on the sideline.

Butler, Chicago's scoring leader, was injured during Sunday's loss to the Los Angeles Clippers. He missed most of the second half after he ran into a pick by DeAndre Jordan, the latest blow to a team that has shuffled players in and out of the rotation because of various ailments.

The injury to Butler comes on the heels of last week's announcement that Rose needed surgery to repair a medial meniscus tear in his right knee. He had the operation on Friday and is expected to miss four to six weeks.

The Bulls host the Wizards tonight at 7 pm.

NBA Scoreboard
Toronto 114, Philadelphia 103
Brooklyn 110, Golden State 108
Miami 115, Phoenix 98
LA Clippers 110, Minnesota 105
Dallas 102, New Orleans 93

Blackhawks Blast 'Canes

 width=Jonathan Toews had two goals and assisted on Marian Hossa's score as the Chicago Blackhawks rolled to a 5-2 win over the Carolina Hurricanes on Monday night.

Brandon Saad scored his 20th to reach that mark for the first time in his career and Marcus Kruger also connected for the Blackhawks, who have won three of their last four. Toews increased his total to 21 goals.

Corey Crawford made 27 saves for Chicago and lost his bid for a second straight shutout when Carolina's John-Michael Liles scored at 4:29 of the third period. Alexander Semin also scored late in the third for the Hurricanes, who snapped a three-game winning streak.

Cam Ward allowed four goals on 18 shots through the first two periods for Carolina, and was replaced by Anton Khudobin to start the third. Khudobin stopped seven of the eight shots he faced.

NHL Scoreboard
NY Rangers 4, Nashville 1
San Jose 4, Montreal 0

 width=>>Rangers Extend F Zuccarello

Ending days of speculation ahead of Monday's trade deadline, the New York Rangers and forward Mats Zuccarello have agreed to a contract extension.

No details were disclosed by the club, but the Daily News reported on Monday that the new deal is worth $18 million over four years and includes a full no-trade clause in the first season. His salary and average annual value against the cap for the duration of the pact are an identical $4.5 million, according to the paper.

Zuccarello was reportedly set to be traded before the deadline if a new deal could not be reached.

The diminutive 27-year-old native of Norway has 12 goals and 23 assists in 59 games this season.

Wesleyan Gets At-Large Bid In Div. III Tournament

The Illinois Wesleyan men's basketball team will play the University of Dubuque (23-5) at 5 p.m. on Friday in the first round of the 62-team 2015 NCAA Division III basketball championships in Stevens Point, Wis. The Pointers (21-5) will host Concordia Wis. (19-9) with the winners to meet Saturday night.

 width=Augustana and Elmhurst from the College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin also made the field. Augustana was one of two schools to receive a first-round bye and the Vikings' opponent Friday will be either the Bears of Washington University (20-5 and runners-up in the University Athletic Association) or the Tigers of DePauw (19-9 and champions of the North Coast Athletic Conference postseason tournament). In the NCAA tournament for the fourth time in school history, Elmhurst (19-7) will play at No. 3-ranked St. Norbert (24-1) on Friday.

Earning an at-large bid into the tourney, the Titans (19-8) are making their sixth straight and 24th overall NCAA tournament appearance in the 32 years of NCAA affiliation and have a 53-23 record in tournament play, including a national championship in 1997, third place finishes in 1996, 2001 and 2006 and semifinal appearances in 2012 and 2014.

Illinois Finishes Off Florida Swing With Win

Illinois, which was ranked No. 27 by Collegiate Baseball on Monday, wrapped up the Chanticleer Classic with a 7-1 win over host Coastal Carolina. Every Illini starter recorded a hit, while four UI pitchers limited CCU to two hits at Springs Brooks Stadium.

 width=Reid Roper went three-for-five with an RBI and a pair of runs. Ryan Nagle and Pat McInerney added a pair of RBIs and James Matthews hit a pinch-hit home run in the eighth.

Junior Tyler Jay came on in relief and went three perfect innings with three strikeouts. Jay earned his third save and 12th of his career, which ranks seventh in school history.

The Illini won three out of five games at the tournament and boast a 9-2-1 record through 12 games. Both losses were by one run. Illinois finished with a 1.23 ERA at the Chanticleer Classic and outscored its opponents 14-8.

For the season, Illinois' pitching staff owns a 1.67 ERA with 105 strikeouts and 21 walks.

Illinois will head to Stillwater, Oklahoma, next weekend for a three-game series against No. 10 Oklahoma State.

DeWitt County Sheriff's Report for 3-3

Jail Population: 41

Paper Service: 0

Warrants: 2

Jonathan Bratcher, 39, Clinton was arrested on a DeWitt County Warrant charging him with Aggravated Assault/Public Prop. Bratcher posted the necessary bond and was released.

Bradley Burton, 20, DeWitt was arrested on a DeWitt County Warrant charging him with Consumption of Liquor/ Minor. Burton posted the necessary bond and was released.

Clinton Police Report for 3-3






DeWitt County Sheriff's Weekend Report

Jail Population: 41

Paper Services: 2

Warrants: 0

Craig Spencer, 41, LeRoy was issued a Citation for Leaving the Scene of Accident. Spencer was issued a Promise to Comply and was released.

Gene Blue, 54, Clinton was arrested and charged with Contempt of Court. Blue unable to post the necessary bond remains lodged in the DeWitt County Jail.

Heyworth Schools Leader Blasts PARCC Testing

Monday, Heyworth students began the strenuous PARCC assessments.

Most schools will start the new assessments next week, but according to Superintendent Dr. Ty Wolfe the district received a waiver that allows them to begin the testing a week early. He notes the waiver is going to be a great boost because the testing is very lengthy per student.

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Dr. Wolf has a big issue with the new PARCC assessments. Combining cuts of recent years along with mandates that come with no funds to implement force districts to do more with less. The Superintendent calls the initiative "a drain on their resources".

[audio:3021520218-3315PARCCslam2.mp3] [/audio]

Not only are the assessments a drain on resources, but Dr. Wolfe says they are a drain on their teachers' time. He explains the teachers have been put through a lot to quickly prepare students for these tests.

[audio:3021520222-3315PARCCslam3.mp3] [/audio]

Nearly 12 hours of testing will be done per student and Dr. Wolfe points out, the tests are not used to measure student growth or aid in improving instruction. He feels it's another school accountability measure that they are burned out on.

[audio:3021520226-3315PARCCslam4.mp3] [/audio]

The tests will eventually go to a 100% online assessment, but for this year, schools can administer paper tests.

Dr. Wolfe says Heyworth schools have good technological infrastructure in place that is going to allow them to test students online.

IDPH Says Budget Keeps Core Focus on Public Health

Governor Bruce Rauner’s proposed budget supports the Illinois Department of Public Health’s core functions in its entirety.

That’s a message from the IDPH after the acting director spoke in front of a committee Thursday.

IDPH says that Dr. Nirav Shah’s vision for the Department is to focus on the core public health functions such as disease surveillance, screening, response and treatment.

The message says while outreach and education programs are vital, some of those programs have not delivered results in recent years.

Despite millions in proposed budget reductions, IDPH says funding for local health departments, which are the front-line in any outbreak, is maintained in full, as is funding for state laboratory testing.

IDPH says Governor Rauner’s budget does not in anyway compromise the Department’s ability to protect the public from outbreaks or epidemics.

Lontime LaHood, Davis Aid Named As Rep. Brauer's Replacement

Longtime Central Illinois State Representative Rich Brauer's replacement has been chosen in the 87th House District.

Tim Butler, a longtime aide to former Congressman Ray LaHood and Congressman Rodney Davis has been chosen to serve in the district that covers Logan, Sangamon, Menard and Tazewell Counties. Butler says the district is a good fit.

[audio:3021563937-Butler1.mp3] [/audio]

Butler says working with former Secretary of Transportation LaHood was a great proving ground for his future legislative work.

[audio:3021563939-Butler3.mp3] [/audio]

Butler was the unanimous choice after a search committee looked over 15 applications.

Sponsor Says Legislative Scholarships Not Likely To Move Soon

A proposal to revive an abolished legislator scholarship program seems to be dead on arrival, according to several lawmakers and one of the bill’s sponsors.

Democratic Representative Thaddeus Jones has proposed House Bill 1397 that would reinstitute giving lawmakers the ability to dole out scholarships to state universities. A similar program was abolished in 2012 after reports of abuse. Illinois News Network has more.

[audio:3021564043-LEGSCHOARL1.mp3] [/audio]

The proposal to reinstate the legislative scholarship program has been placed in the House Higher Education Committee with no date set on a committee hearing.

Lincoln HS Leader Not Sold On Proposed Education Funding Increases

 width=Governor Bruce Rauner's budget proposal saw deep cuts to every area of the budget except education.

Many school leaders are celebrating the proposal, however, one is not sold it will happen. Lincoln High School Superintendent Robert Bagby says while the Governor has great ideas and vision for education, he isn't sold it will happen.

[audio:3021564137-3215educationwin1.mp3] [/audio]

The absence of optimism on the part of Bagby comes mostly from the fact Illinois Republicans and Democrats haven't worked together well for many years. Bagby says if things are going to change, the two sides are going to have to make serious amends and begin to work together.

[audio:3021564139-3215educationwin2.mp3] [/audio]

Bagby says there is a fundamental problem with the way education in Illinois is funded. He points out Illinois is last in the nation in funding education and feels a lot of the problems are because local citizens are funding schools.

[audio:3021564143-3215educationwin3.mp3] [/audio]

The Superintendent admits the Governor has a lot of good ideas, but he has talked with the Governor about doing away with many unfunded mandates. That has been a target topic for school leaders across the state.

[audio:3021564147-3215educationwin4.mp3] [/audio]

Schools across the state in recent years have faced not knowing how much money they will receive from the state when it comes time to budget. Bagby would like to see more timely information come from the state.

DeWitt County SWCD 71st Meeting Recap

Landowners from across DeWitt County gathered Friday at the Clinton Country Club for the 71st annual meeting of the DeWitt County Soil and Water Conservation District.

Those in attendance were treated to a breakfast and door prizes, as well as updates involving all aspects of the local SWCD office. A key theme to the meeting was funding concerns given the State of Illinois' current financial situation, and Governor Rauner's recent budget proposal. However, Shelly Finfrock, DeWitt County SWCD Office Manager, says their office is in good shape compared to many similar offices across the state.

[audio:3021564148-2015swcd1.mp3] [/audio]

State Senator Chapin Rose was a guest speaker at the meeting. He gave an update on the state's fiscal situation from his perspective in Springfield. Senator Rose notes that the next few years could be tough for state agencies, but says he believes there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

[audio:3021564150-2015swcd2.mp3] [/audio]

Even with the state's financial issues, Chairman of the DeWitt SWCD, Myron Kirby, believes the agency is in good shape for the future. He notes the new Illinois Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy currently being considered by Illinois EPA contains many practices already being implemented by local Soil and Water Districts, and says the local offices are best suited to encourage nutrient loss reduction strategies on the farm.

[audio:3021564153-2015swcd3.mp3] [/audio]

The annual meeting also featured updates from the DeWitt County Farm Service Agency office, the local NRCS office, and the introduction of the Soil and Water Conservation District staff.

Jimmy Johnson Wins In Atlanta

Jimmie Johnson is virtually guaranteed of making the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship for the 12th consecutive year after winning Sunday's Fold of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

Johnson's win at Atlanta didn't come easy. On Friday, he was one of 13 drivers who did not get a chance to participate in qualifying due inspection issues. All 13 had their cars initially fail inspection and then could not have another examination of their vehicles completed in time for qualifying. Johnson was placed in the 37th starting position.

 width=Former series champions Jeff Gordon, Matt Kenseth and Tony Stewart did not make a qualifying run as well and joined Johnson deep in the starting field.

Dale Earnhardt wound up finishing third, while Logano, the pole sitter, took the fourth spot after he had led 84 of the first 96 laps. Johnson, Harvick and Earnhardt outran Logano after that.

Johnson, the six-time Sprint Cup Series champion, earned his 71st career win, including his fourth at this 1.54-mile racetrack. He joined Joey Logano as those drivers who have all but assured themselves of making this year's Chase, which begins in September.

Final Round of Honda Classic Suspended Due To Darkness

 width=Ian Poulter and Paul Casey shared a 1-shot lead in the final round at the Honda Classic on Sunday when play was suspended due to darkness.

After third-round play was suspended on Saturday due to heavy rain and wind, play continued on Sunday and the third round was concluded before players teed off for their final rounds. Play will continue Monday at 8 a.m. ET.

Poulter, who held a 3-shot lead at the end of round three after a 4-under 66, is 2-over through seven holes of his last round, while Casey is 4-under through nine after carding a 2-under 68 in his third round. The duo is tied for the lead at 7-under.

Phil Mickelson, Daniel Berger, Jeff Overton, Brendan Steele and Russell Knox are all three shots back at minus-4 in the middle of their rounds, while 36- hole leader Padraig Harrington is 3-over through seven holes and he is alone in ninth at 3-under.

Poulter used his four-birdie and bogey-free third round to grab a 3-shot lead before teeing off for the final round at 4:30 p.m. ET.

Sox, Baseball Notes

>>Former Sox Star Minoso Dies

Former Chicago White Sox star Minnie Minoso has died.

The White Sox didn't release details of the Minoso's death, saying he passed away Saturday night in Chicago.

Baseball-reference.com listed Minoso's age as 89 and the White Sox said he was 90.

 width=Minoso, a native of Cuba, began his big league career with Cleveland in 1949, but spent 12 of his 17 seasons in the majors with the White Sox. He was Chicago's first black player when he was acquired from the Indians in 1951.

A nine-time All-Star, Minoso played most of his career in the outfield and was a lifetime .298 hitter with 336 doubles, 83 triples, 186 homers and 1,023 runs batted in. He won three Gold Glove awards, led the American League in triples and stolen bases three times and topped the circuit in doubles once.

In addition to his time with the White Sox and Indians, Minoso also played for the Cardinals and Senators.

>>White Sox Ace Sale Breaks Foot

Chicago White Sox ace left-hander Chris Sale has a fracture in his right foot and may miss opening day.

The team announced Saturday that he's expected to be sidelined at least three weeks.

Sale, who was injured in an accident at his home on Friday, had X-rays of his foot Saturday at a hospital in Glendale. He'll have more tests after the swelling goes down.

The 25-year-old was 12-4 with 208 strikeouts and a 2.17 ERA last season, finishing third in the American League Cy Young Award voting.

>>Blue Jays Sign Former Sox OF Viciedo

The Toronto Blue Jays signed veteran slugger Dayan Viciedo to a minor league contract on Sunday and will give him a chance to make the team in spring training.

Viciedo was released by the Chicago White Sox on Feb. 4 after batting .231 last season with 21 home runs and 58 RBI in 145 games, playing mostly in the outfield.

Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said Viciedo can play both corner positions in the infield and outfield.

Viciedo, 25, signed with the White Sox as an amateur free agent on Dec. 12, 2008, after defecting from Cuba. He hit .254 with 66 homers and 211 RBI over 483 games in five seasons with the club.

>>Brewers Ramirez Could Retire After 2015

Aramis Ramirez is set to enter his 18th big league season and the Milwaukee Brewers third baseman said Friday it could very well be his last.

Speaking with reporters at Milwaukee's spring training camp, Ramirez gave all indications that he won't play beyond 2015.

"I'm going to play this year and probably be done after this year. I don't know if I want to play after this year. I think this is it. We'll see what happens, but I don't think I'll play after this year."

Ramirez will begin his fourth season in Milwaukee after also playing for the Cubs and Pirates in a career that began in 1998. He hit 15 homers, drove in 66 runs and batted .285 last year, earning All-Star honors for a third time.

The Dominican native will turn 37 years old in June. He broke into the majors with the Pirates at the age of 19.

"It's more of a family thing," he added. "I've got three kids, I've been playing for a long time, been away for a long time. Sometimes it's just time to do something else."

Ramirez is a career .285 with 369 homers and 1,342 runs batted in.

Canucks Come Back, Stun Blues; Trade Deadline Busy

 width=Chris Higgins netted the deciding shot in the third round of the shootout, rescuing Vancouver from a worse fate and producing a 6-5 victory over St. Louis from Rogers Arena.

Shawn Matthias, Yannick Weber, Jannik Hansen, Henrik Sedin and Nick Bonino tallied in regulation for the Canucks, who blew a three-goal, third-period lead but recovered to win for the first time in three contests.

Eddie Lack stopped 34 shots over the game's first 65 minutes, then held off T.J. Oshie in the shootout.

Ryan Reaves, Alex Pietrangelo, Dmitrij Jaskin, Petteri Lindbohm and David Backes lit the lamp for the Blues, who have gone 2-0-1 on their current six- game road trip.

Jake Allen surrendered four goals on 25 shots through most of regulation, but was beaten three times in the contest's final segment in defeat. Brian Elliott gave up one goal on six shots during a brief appearance at the outset of the third.

NHL Scoreboard
Los Angeles 2 Winnipeg 5
Tampa Bay 3 Florida 4
Columbus 3 Pittsburgh 5
Toronto 0 Washington 4
Anaheim 3 Dallas 1
St. Louis 5 Vancouver 6

 width=>>Blackhawks Add Vermette From Arizona

The Chicago Blackhawks acquired forward Antoine Vermette in a trade with the Arizona Coyotes on Saturday.

The Blackhawks sent defenseman Klas Dahlbeck and a 2015 first-round draft pick to the Coyotes in the trade.

Chicago filled its need for a scoring forward with Vermette after star Patrick Kane fractured his left clavicle on Tuesday and is expected to miss 12 weeks.

Vermette, Arizona's second-leading scorer with 35 points, has tallied 13 goals and 22 points over 63 games this season. He has also played in 456 straight games, which is the second-longest active games played streak in the NHL.

The 32-year-old has registered 194 goals and 236 assists in 815 games across 10 seasons with the Senators, Blue Jackets and Coyotes.

Dahlbeck has scored one goal in four games this season with the Blackhawks.

The 23-year-old, 6-foot-3 rookie defenseman spent most of the season with Chicago's AHL affiliate in Rockford, where he produced four goals and six assists in 41 games.

>>Rangers Make Flury of Moves

The Arizona Coyotes finally found a buyer for their largest bargaining chip and top defenseman Keith Yandle: the New York Rangers.

 width=The 28-year-old rearguard was the centerpiece of a Sunday evening deal which saw Yandle, along with fellow defenseman Chris Summers and a fourth-round draft pick in 2016 head to Manhattan for defenseman John Moore, forward prospect Anthony Duclair as well as a second-round pick in 2015 and a conditional first-round selection in 2016.

Yandle posted 41 points (4G, 37A) but was a staggering minus-32 playing heavy minutes against top competition (23:55 per game) over 63 appearances for Arizona this season, his ninth NHL campaign.

The Boston native will take 311 points (65G, 246A) and 372 penalty minutes over 558 games for the Coyotes to New York, which appears to be going all in on another trip to the Stanley Cup Finals.

The New York Rangers acquired forward James Sheppard from the San Jose Sharks on Sunday.

San Jose will receive New York's fourth-round pick in the 2016 draft for Sheppard, who had five goals and 11 assists in 57 games with the Sharks this season.

Over 380 games with Minnesota and San Jose, he has totaled 21 goals and 68 assists.

The Winnipeg Jets acquired forward Lee Stempniak from the New York Rangers in a trade Sunday.

The Rangers received minor league forward Carl Klingberg in return.

Stempniak has nine goals and nine assists in 53 games this season. He signed with the Rangers as a free agent last summer and also played for St. Louis, Toronto, Arizona, Calgary and Pittsburgh.

The 32-year-old veteran has 159 goals and 200 assists in 690 career NHL games.

>>Minnesota Goalie Named Top Star For February

Minnesota Wild goaltender Devan Dubnyk was named the NHL's top star for the month of February.

Dubnyk, who was acquired from Arizona in January, led the NHL with 11 wins last month. He was 11-2-1 with a 1.64 goals-against average and a .939 save percentage.

Montreal goaltender Carey Price was named the second star Sunday after going 9-1-1 in February and Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin was recognized as the third star after leading the league with 10 goals and tying for the lead with 17 points.

>>Isles C Named Top Rookie In Febraury

New York Islanders center Anders Lee was selected as the NHL's top rookie for February.

Lee led all rookies with seven goals and 15 points in 15 games last month. He registered multi-goal games on Feb. 3 against Florida and Feb. 12 against Toronto, then set a career high with four assists in a win over Columbus on Feb. 14.

Others considered for the honor included Ottawa teammates Mike Hoffman and Mark Stone, as well as Rangers right wing Kevin Hayes.

Bulls Lose To Clippers, Lose Butler

 width=Chris Paul had 28 points and 12 assists and the Los Angeles Clippers pulled away to beat the injury-riddled Chicago Bulls 96-86 on Sunday.

DeAndre Jordan grabbed 26 rebounds in the win, including 17 in the first half, while Jamal Crawford added 16 points and Spencer Hawes had 14 points and nine rebounds.

The Clippers have won two in a row and are 6-3 without star forward Blake Griffin, who underwent surgery before the All-Star break to remove a staph infection in his right elbow.

They took the lead for good on Crawford's jumper with seven minutes remaining in the fourth quarter. It was part of a 15-4 run led by Paul's six points and capped by his free throw for an 11-point lead with just over a minute to go.

The Clippers improved to 9-1 in their last 10 games at United Center since the 2004-05 season.

Chicago played much of the second half without All-Star guard Jimmy Butler, who left the game early in the third quarter with a sprained left elbow.

NBA Scoreboard
Cleveland 103 Houston 105
Golden State 106 Boston 101
Philadelphia 74 Indiana 94
Charlotte 98 Orlando 83
Portland 110 Sacramento 99
Oklahoma City 108 LA Lakers 101
New Orleans 99 Denver 92

Illinois Wesleyan Falls In CCIW Title Game

 width=The Illinois Wesleyan men's basketball team came up short in its bid for an NCAA automatic berth, losing 78-74 at Augustana in the title game of the 2015 CCIW postseason tournament on Saturday.

Dylan Overstreet and Trevor Seibring led the way for IWU with 14 points. Overstreet added seven assists and Seibring had a game high eight boards. Pat Sodermann and Alec Bausch had 11 points apiece.

For Augustana, Hunter Hill led all scoreres with 17 points, Jawan Slaughter and Griffin Pils added 15 points apiece.

The Titans are now 19-8 while No. 8-ranked Augustana improved to 23-4. IWU will await the selection committee decision for its postseason fate with the championship announcement set for 11:30 a.m. on Monday, March 2, via NCAA.com.

Illinois, Illinois State Win Saturday

 width=>>Illinois Crushes Northwestern

Rayvonte Rice scored 19 points in his first start since early January and Illinois buried Northwestern with 3-pointers Saturday, 86-60.

The win ended a three-game losing streak for the Illini (18-11, 8-8 Big Ten) and stopped a four-game win streak for the Wildcats (14-15, 5-11).

Rice, who added seven rebounds, was one of five Illini to score in double figures. Ahmad Starks had 17 points, Malcolm Hill added 15 and Kendrick Nunn 14. Maverick Morgan contributed 10 points and a game-high eight rebounds.

Illinois hit 14 of 29 3-point attempts in a game that was all but over by halftime. Illinois led at the break 45-23.

Alex Olah led the Wildcats with 18 points.

The win was big for an Illinois team still trying to play its way into the NCAA Tournament.

 width=>>Illinois Escapes Evansville

Daishon Knight hit a baseline jumper with two seconds remaining, lifting Illinois State to a 69-67 victory over Evansville in overtime on Saturday.

As a result, the Redbirds (19-11, 10-8) claimed the No. 4 seed for the Missouri Valley Conference tournament at St. Louis, but will again face the Purple Aces (19-11, 9-9), the No. 5 seed, at St. Louis on Friday.

DeVaughn Akoon-Purcell made a runner with two seconds left in regulation to tie the game after the Redbirds blew an eight-point lead with 7:57 to go.

Evansville's Mislav Brzoja hit a 3-pointer to tie it with 32 seconds left in overtime before the Redbirds ran down the clock prior to Knight's winner.

Akoon-Purcell had 16 points to lead the Redbirds, who had 21 of their 49 rebounds on the offensive glass.

B.J. Balentine scored 18 of his 22 points in the second half for Evansville.

Top 25 Basketball Scoreboard
#5 Wisconsin 68, Michigan State 61
Connecticut 81, #21 SMU 73
#25 Providence 77, Marquette 66

Top Ranked Vandy Storms Back To Top ISU Sunday

The Illinois State baseball team built a 10-run lead but couldn't hang on as No. 1 Vanderbilt scored 16 unanswered runs to earn a 16-10 win and complete a three-game series sweep of the Redbirds.

 width=Illinois State (4-5) scored 10 runs over the first two innings of Sunday's contest, but Vanderbilt scored four runs in the fifth inning and six runs in the sixth to tie the game. The hosts then broke the tie with six more runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to take the lead for good.

Paul DeJong and Ryan Koziol recorded two hits each for Illinois State, but the entire Redbird lineup was held hitless between the third and eighth innings. The Redbirds also committed four errors in the game.

Kuziol and Mason Snyder had a pair of runs batted in.

Illinois State is back in action Friday, when it will play the first of eight games in Florida. The Redbirds will play three games in Port Charlotte, Florida, beginning with a game against St. Joseph's Friday. They will play a road game at Florida Atlantic on March 10, before playing four more games in Winter Haven, Florida, finishing up the eight-game trip on March 15.

No. 25 Illinois Splits Sunday Double-Header in Florida

No. 25 Illinois homered twice on Sunday but fell by one run for the second straight game in the first of a Sunday double header. The Illini led 3-1 until Kent State (5-4) came back with three runs in the sixth and held on for the 4-3 final. UI made three errors that proved costly and the winning run scored on a wild pitch.

After falling behind 1-0 in the top of the first, the Illini responded with a run in each of the first three innings. Senior Casey Fletcher tied it up with a homer to right in the bottom of the first, while freshman Mark Skonieczny, who made his first career start at catcher, delivered his first hit and RBI in the second. Reid Roper made it 3-1 with a solo shot in the third.

 width=Illinois would only manage three hits the rest of the way and did not score again.

Rob McDonnell, who suffered his first loss, was charged with three earned runs and struck out five over seven innings.

Seven different Illini tallied a hit, but none had a multi-hit performance. Fletcher and Reid Roper each went deep for the first time this year, giving the Illini six home runs.

Illinois (8-2-1) returned to its winning ways in a game two 2-1 victory over West Virginia (4-6) at TicketReturn.com Field.

Adam Walton scored a run in the first on Reid Roper's RBI groundout and crossed home again in the ninth on Ryan Nagle's game-winning RBI groundout.

Kravetz received a no decision after one of the best starts in his career. He racked up a career-high nine strikeouts over seven scoreless innings, lowering his season ERA to 1.77, scattering four hits and allowed one walk in 103 pitches.

The Illini will close out the tournament with an 11 a.m. CT game on Monday at Coastal Carolina.

Chamber Ag Banquet Recap

 width=Around 75 turned out Saturday night for the Clinton Chamber's annual Ag Banquet at the Copper and Brass Room in Clinton.

Bob Utterback (right), President of Utterback Marketing Services, with over 27 years of experience analyzing commodity markets was the guest speaker for the Banquet. Since 1993 he has been an economist for Farm Journal magazine, and also makes regular appearances on U.S. Farm Report.

During his hour long presentation, Utterback gave his view of the current economic situations facing agriculture. Utterback says a lot of corn producers are holding onto their 2014 crop waiting for an upswing in the market, but he cautions that bounce may not come.

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Utterback's outlook on soybeans is similar. He notes projections are calling for more soybean acres to be planted in 2015, which would add to already high stock numbers. He expects that to lead to lower long term soybean prices for producers.

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Utterback notes Mother Nature is the largest variable that could change the outlooks for the 2015 growing season. He says adverse weather conditions would likely bring market prices for both commodities back up, but barring that he expects commodity prices to remain fairly flat through the growing season.

Hospital Hot Topic Monday Night At Clinton City Council Meeting

The Dr. John Warner Hospital Board was the subject of much scrutiny Monday night at the Clinton City Council Meeting.

The animated discussion began with a written statement by Commissioner Nan Crang. In an approximate five minute presentation, the Commissioner questioned the hospital's desire for a management and expressed reasoning for a partnership with a nearby entity.

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 width=The Commissioner believes the only prospects the hospital board has considered are management firms, and Crang questioned if they have considered other options. Mayor Carolyn Peters (right) explains the hospital board has extensively evaluated management firms and encourages her fellow board members to contact hospital board members with questions.

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Commissioner John Wise may have had the most pointed comments of the night, saying the hospital has been a point of control in the community for almost a decade, with little transparency and people wanting to control it.

[audio:3021584200-3315hospitaltalk3.mp3] [/audio]

The Mayor continues to stand behind the board and their decision making. She explains their decision making has been thorough and does not believe aligning with another hospital is the best option.

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Commissioner Tom Edmunds believes the Board's reluctance to move away from options other than a management firm is them trying to not have to admit they were wrong about pursuing management companies to run the city-owned hospital.

In other business from the Monday night City Council meeting...

>>The purchase of six bullet proof vests for the Police department were approved at a cost of just over $4-thousand.

>>Two handheld cordless radar units were approved also for the Police Department at a cost of just over $1750.

>>City Hall will be receiving new equipment soon. A copy machine purchase was approved at a cost not to exceed $6-thousand. Three new computer purchases were approved at a cost not to exceed $35-hundred. And a new server will be purchased a cost not to exceed $65-hundred.

University of Illinois Asks Court To Dismiss Professor's Lawsuit

The University of Illinois has asked a federal judge to throw out a lawsuit filed by a professor who lost a job offer from the school over profane, anti-Israel Twitter messages.

University lawyers on Wednesday filed a motion arguing that Steven Salaita had no "binding contract" to go work for the university.

According to reports, Salaita lawyer Anand Swaminathan (SWOM'-ee-nay- thun) says the motion ignores normal academic hiring practices.

Salaita accepted an offer in 2013 to teach at the Urbana-Champaign campus starting in August 2014. But the offer was rescinded over sometimes-profane, anti-Israel Twitter messages he sent last summer.

His lawsuit argues he'd already been hired and his speech was protected.

The university has argued that his hire did not yet have the required approval of university trustees.

Central Illinois City To Get Tesla Charging Stations

Effingham soon will get charging stations from electric car manufacturer Tesla.

According to reports, the California-based company will supply six charging stations to the Jack Flash gas station in the central Illinois city.

Tesla produces two models of fully-electric cars. It has dozens of "Supercharger" stations across Illinois and in most states.

Gas station owner John Wortman says Tesla representatives approached him last fall about adding them to his location. He signed a lease for the charging stations in February.

Wortman believes Effingham was chosen due to its proximity to the interstates and because it lies between Chicago, St. Louis and Indianapolis. He says the charging stations at his store will only work with Tesla cars.


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