Local News

Growth To Be Found in Job Numbers

Job growth in Illinois has been slower than the nationwide average but the trend is still to the better rather than the worse.
The Illinois Department of Employment Security says that unemployment numbers and percentages are on a slight rise because more people are back looking for work. Overall IDES says that Illinois lost a net of 1600 jobs in 2015 but there are a few areas of growth. Ron Payne is with IDES.


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Danville and Decatur have the highest rate of joblessness in Illinois. Springfield, Bloomington-Normal and Champaign-Urbana have the lowest.

State Rep. Says Cell Phone Intercepting Tech is Scary

A measure to require law enforcement get a warrant if they want to use cellphone intercept technology in a criminal investigation is gaining momentum with a group of bipartisan lawmakers signing on in support.

Senate Bill 2343 and House Bill 4470, both introduced this month, would create the Citizen Privacy Protection Act. The House measure from Democratic Representative Ann Williams added several Republicans as co-sponsors this week. One of them, Republican Representative Tim Butler, says the technology is scary.

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The American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois’ Ed Yohnka said Republicans signing on shows personal privacy is bigger than politics.

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Both measures remain in committee.

Weekly Weather Report

A mild weekend is ahead in central Illinois, followed by a wet, cool start to the new work week. State Climotologist Jim Angel has more.


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President To Return To Springfield

The President is returning to the building that started him down the political path to that has lead to the White House.

Barack Obama is scheduled to address the Illinois General Assembly at the State Capitol on February 10th, 9 years to the day of Obama announcing his bid for the White House on the steps of the Old State Capitol.

The President will focus his speech on “what we can do, together, to build a better politics - one that reflects our better selves. “

The President served in the Illinois House from 1997 to 2004.

The Governor has released a statement that says he and the President “share a passion for improving education, especially for young people from disadvantaged backgrounds.”

Final 2015 Unemployment Reports Mixed in Area Figures

2015 ended on a mixed notes across central Illinois when it comes to employment statistics.

DeWitt County's unemployment finished the year at 6.2%, a slight increase from November.

For Piatt County, unemployment was down slightly for December, finishing the year at 5.3.

Unemployment dropped slightly in December for Logan County as well. They finished 2015 with a 5.7% unemployment rate.

In larger areas like McLean County, unemployment was unchanged from November to December, and finished the year out at 5.3%.

Macon County's unemployment continued a downward trend on the year, finishing the 2015 year at 7.4%.

Champaign County finished 2015 with a 5.4% unemployment rate, down from November.

The State's unemployment rate was 5.9%, well behind the national average of 4.8%.

Former Illinois Senate President Dies

Former Senate President Phil Rock has passed away.

The Chicago Democrat led the chamber for 14 years, longer than any other Senate President. Rock has long been remembered for bipartisanship. He's remembered fondly by longtime Statehouse reporter, author and former Illinois Coal Association President Taylor Pensoneau.

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Rock was so respected by the other side of the aisle, that former Governor Jim Thompson named a Glen Ellyn facility for the deaf and blind after Rock. He had been a strong advocate for that community for years. Rock battled Lewy body dementia. He retired from the Senate in 1993 when Republicans seized control of the chamber.

Warrensburg- Latham Defeat Tuscola in CIC Tourney

As heard on WEZC, the Warrensburg-Latham Cardinals defeated the Tuscola Warriors by a score of 54-37 on Saturday afternoon.

Warrensburg-Latham play next on Tuesday night and Tuscola play Monday night. You can hear all of the games of the CIC boys basketball tournament live on WEZC and online at dewittdailynews.com.

Clinton Maroons Fall to Shelbyville

As heard on WHOW and WEZC, the Clinton Maroons fell to the Shelbyville Rams by a score of 54-49 on Saturday evening. The Maroons were lead by junior Peyton McCubbin with 27 points. 

With the loss the Maroons fall to 7-14 overall.

Tune in Monday, February 1, as the Maroons take on the Tuscola Warriors. You can hear the game live on The Big 1520 AM/92.3 FM WHOW and online at dewittdailynews.com. You can hear all of the games of the Central Illinois Conference boys basketball tournament games on 95.9 FM WEZC. 

St. Teresa Defeat Sullivan in CIC Action

As heard on 95.9 FM WEZC, the St. Teresa Bulldogs defeated the Sullivan Redskins by a score of 43-36 on Saturday night.


St. Teresa will play its next game on Tuesday, Feb. 2 at 7:30p, and Sullivan will play again on Monday, Feb.1 at 7:30p. You can hear all of the games of the CIC boys basketball tournament live on WEZC and online at dewittdailynews.com. 

Meridian Slams the Raiders in CIC Tournament

As heard on 95.9 FM WEZC, the Meridian Hawks defeated the Central A&M Raiders by a score of 64-60 on Saturday night.


Meridian will play its next game on Tuesday, Feb. 2 at 7:30p, and Central A&M will play again on Monday, Feb.1 at 7:30p. You can hear all of the games of the CIC boys basketball tournament live on WEZC and online at dewittdailynews.com. 

Budget Transparency Group Says Liability Larger Than What Moody's Says

Moody’s Investors’ Service says Illinois’ backlog of bills has climbed to $6.6 billion dollars, as of the end of the calendar year, but that doesn’t paint the whole picture, according to a budget transparency group.

In a short report from Moody’s this week, the ratings agency says Illinois’ unpaid bills equal approximately 19 percent of the state’s general fund expenditures and is a quote “clear indicator of weak liquidity and governance.” Bill Bergman, director of research with Truth In Accounting, says the real picture is much more quote “staggering.”

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Truth In Accounting looks at all states and the country as a whole and Bergman says Illinois is at the bottom of the barrel which causes people to leave the state out of fear of a potentially higher tax burden and loss of state services.

Durbin Continues Fight Against Heroin

Senator Dick Durbin continues to raise the issue of heroin addiction and deaths in the United States.

He saluted Dixon officials who have followed the lead of Gloucester (Glau-ster), Massachusetts authorities. They are extending an olive branch to heroin addicts and stepping back from the war on the drug.

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At Wednesday's Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, Senator Durbin pointed to prescription narcotic drugs as a dangerous and growing source of opioid addiction.

High Tech Blood Donations Are Coming

Starting next month, giving blood in Illinois will become more tech savvy.

Mindy Melton from the Central Illinois Community Blood Center says electronic tablets will be introduced soon, making the process much faster.

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Melton says the new system will require donors to show a photo ID during each visit.

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Melton says the photo ID is in line with the new FDA requirements coming soon. Melton hopes to have photos on donor cards in the near future.

Republicans Plan To Fund Higher Education Includes Governor Fund Sweep Approval

Republicans are looking to give the governor authority to do more fund sweeps to help pay for MAP grants and higher education.

Democratic Representative Kelly Burke said a measure Democrats support to fund MAP grants doesn’t include a revenue stream outside of what the state is currently bringing in.

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Republican Representative Tim Butler says passing a bill without a revenue stream is a bad idea. Butler says there’s another measure that would allow the governor to sweep funds, an unpopular practice, but something the Springfield-area lawmaker says is needed right now.

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Regardless of the Republican’s plan, the Democrats’ bill passed 67-42 and now heads to the Senate.

Senate Minority Leader Says Speaker Won't Talk About Things That Hurt His Supporters

The leading Senate Republican scoffs at the the leading House Democrat saying there have been some accomplishments where lawmakers and the governor found common ground without the governor demanding his agenda.

Reacting to the governor’s State of the State speech, Speaker Michael Madigan said there have been accomplishments in record K-12 spending, correcting the 2015 fiscal year budget, landmark public safety legislation, like body cameras, and updates to unemployment insurance. Madigan said in each instance there weren’t strong demands from the governor.

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However, Republican Senator Christine Radogno said the Speaker isn’t willing to address things that would diminish his power or hurt groups that support Madigan.

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Governor Bruce Rauner laid out his “turnaround agenda” again Wednesday for his second State of the State speech.

Senate Passes MAP Funding Bill Without Funding Source

It’s on to the governor’s desk with a bill Democrats say will fund MAP grants, but House Republicans says it’s sure to be vetoed because there’s not a funding source.

During debate on concurring several House amendments to Senate Bill 2043, Democratic Senator Donne Trotter said the legislature must act to free MAP grants.

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However, leading Republican Senator Matt Murphy said the measure is an empty gesture.

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Meanwhile Republicans had a plan to fund MAP grants and money for higher education. They also have another bill that would give the governor more broad budget management ability for the current fiscal year.

Blue Ridge Schools Leader Not Thrilled About Standardized Test Change

 width=The leader of a DeWitt County school district says she isn't thrilled about the change in the standardized test for college bound students.

The State of Illinois went away from the ACT tests for their students and have moved to the SAT. Susan Wilson is the Superintendent of the Blue Ridge school district and she feels the timing of the switch is less than ideal.

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The significance of the ACT was being able to track how their students were doing year to year, and Wilson says resetting all those statistics will not give them a point of reference.

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Blue Ridge is one of the testing sites for the state and according to Wilson, this was something they were hearing was going to happen early on. For Wilson and their guidance counselor, they notified students that were eligible for the test to get registered to take it. She s indicates those steps have paid off.

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Wilson is in her sixth year as the Superintendent of Blue Ridge, and she feels continued changes like the ACT switch and the budget and all the issues that come with the State of Illinois are just the norm for. She says other Superintendents say this isn't the norm. She says it is very frustrating to always be dealing with something that is not funded or something that is changing.

Scams Continue To Be Chronic Problem Locally

 width=If you receive a phone call from a number you don't know, there's a good chance it's from a scam artist.

The DeWitt County Sheriff's office unveiled a scam hotline recently and Sheriff Jered Shofner says it has been a heavily utilized tool. He explains scam artists continue to target local residents with incessant persistence.

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Sheriff Shofner says the number one rule with scams is if it is too good to be true, it probably is. He also says if you question the legitimacy of a phone call, you should disconnect right away.

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The latest scam trend local authorities are seeing involves the social network site, Facebook. Sheriff Shofner says scam artists will lure people in with a simple post on Facebook with a catchy headline or post.

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Even though scams may only be successful a small percentage of the time, they continue to crop up because of that small success rate. According to Sheriff Shofner, it is often unlikely when a person becomes a victim the money they transfer or send is unlikely to be recovered.

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Sheriff Shofner says for many that fall victim to a scam, the feeling of embarrassment comes right to the top. He says for those in care of an older person, who is often the target of scam artists, the best defense is education.

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Sheriff Shofner is convinced once you either become a victim of a scam or you play along with that person on the other line for "the fun of it", the likelihood you will be targeted again greatly increases.

The phone number for the DeWitt County Sheriff's Office Scam hotine is 217-985-7867.

Brown, Loupe Share Early Lead At Farmer's Insurance Open

 width=Scott Brown and Phil Mickelson both had reason to believe it could be a long day on the South Course at Torrey Pines. It turned out just fine Thursday in the Farmers Insurance Open, especially for Brown.
Brown hit into a hazard and made bogey on the first par 5 he faced and was 2 over through six holes. He finished with eight birdies over his last 11 holes for a 6-under 66, giving him a share of the lead with Andrew Loupe.

Only it felt much better for Brown because it was on the South, which played 2 1/2 shots harder than the North Course where Loupe shot his 66.

Brown and Loupe had a one-shot lead over five players, including Billy Horschel, who all played the North Course.

Defending champion Jason Day, who missed the pro-am because of the flu, made his tee time but not a lot of birdies. He shot 72 on the North Course. That was one shot better than Rickie Fowler, who won Sunday in Abu Dhabi and couldn't buy a putt on the North Course in his round of 73.

Mickelson, whose last win at Torrey Pines was 15 years ago, didn't have the ideal start, either. On the second-easiest par 4 on the South Course, he hit into a fairway bunker, caught the lip trying to get out, hit his third shot just over the green and failed to get up-and-down, making double bogey.

As significant as his birdies was a par on No. 11, where his tee shot found a bunker and he escaped with a 20-foot par putt. Mickelson hit enough good drives to set up three straight birdies. He reached the 614-yard 13th hole in two, hit wedge to 5 feet for birdie on the 14th and an 8-iron to 4 feet on the next hole.

He ended with a 30-foot birdie putt on the 18th.

Rays, Rockies Make Swap

 width=The Rays have acquired outfielder Corey Dickerson and minor league third baseman Kevin Padlo from the Rockies for lefty reliever Jake McGee and minor league right-hander German Marquez, the team announced.

Dickerson, 26, is coming off a 2015 season in Colorado in which he batted .304/.333/.536 with 10 home runs in 68 games (he missed substantial time because of plantar fascitiis and then a rib fracture). Dickerson is capable of manning all three outfield positions, and for his career he owns an OPS+ of 125 across parts of three big-league seasons. He'll be eligible for salary arbitration following the upcoming season and is slated for free agency after the 2020 season.

On the Rockies' side of things, McGee, 29, owns an ERA+ of 139 and 4.43 K/BB ratio across six major-league seasons, all with the Rays. In terms of batted-ball outcomes, McGee's actually been more effective against right-handers over his career, so he's capable of being a full-inning lefty out of the bullpen.

Toews, Ovechkin To Miss All Star Game, Suspended

 width=Washington Capitals winger Alex Ovechkin and Chicago Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews are two of the biggest stars in the NHL and were selected to play in the 2016 All-Star game in Nashville this weekend.

Both players have decided to opt out of the game (Ovechkin to injury; Toews to illness) and as a result will have to miss their team's first game back after the All-Star break.

The league not only announced on Thursday they will be replaced on the roster by Evgeny Kuznetsov and James Neal, but that Ovechkin and Toews have also been suspended for one game for missing the All-Star game.

Per league rules, any player that is voted into the game or named to the roster and does not play in the game for any reason receives a mandatory one-game suspension that must be served their team's game immediately preceding or following the All-Star game.

Ovechkin will miss the Capitals' Feb. 2 game against the Florida Panthers, while Toews will miss the Blackhawks' game against the Colorado Avalanche the same night.

Bulls Topple Lakers

 width=Jimmy Butler had 26 points and 10 assists, and the Chicago Bulls opened their longest road trip of the season with a 114-91 victory over the spiraling Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday night.

Pau Gasol had 21 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists while facing Kobe Bryant for the final time at Staples Center and the first time anywhere since the 7-foot Spaniard left the Lakers as a free agent in 2014.

Bryant scored 10 points on 4-for-13 shooting after sitting out the previous game for the Lakers, who lost their season-worst eighth straight game to drop to 9-39.

Bryant and Gasol had a seven-year partnership that produced two NBA championships and three trips to the finals.

Kobe hadn't been healthy enough to suit up against the Bulls since the 2012-13 season.

Illini Fall To Ohio State in Overtime

 width=Trevor Thompson scored 16 points and Ohio State survived a furious comeback by Illinois to win in overtime Thursday night, 68-63.

JaQuan Lyle hit a pair of free throws with 14 seconds left in overtime to put the Buckeyes (14-8, 6-3 Big Ten) up 66-63 and Mickey Mitchel followed with a layup to ice the game.

The Illini (10-11, 2-6) trailed by 13 with 6:34 to play but fought back and tied the game at 58-58 on a 3-pointer by Jalen Coleman-Lands with 56.9 seconds left in regulation.

But Illinois scored just five points in overtime.

Keita Bates-Diop finished with 15 points and 12 reoubnds for Ohio State and Marc Loving scored 11 with 10 boards.

Kendrick Nunn led Illinois with 24 points, including five 3-pointers.

BREAKING NEWS: Clinton Man Arrested in Connection with 2015 Death of Clinton Woman

A 32-year old Clinton man has been arrested after investigators concluded an investigation into the death of Christina Godinet of Clinton.

Joshua S. Dubson was arrested in Peoria by the US Marshals Service on charges of Drug Induced homicide for the illegal delivery a controlled substance.

Godinet was found unresponsive in her home and was subsequently pronounced dead by the DeWitt County Coroner on October 30.

Dubson faces 30-years in prison and is being held on $250-thousand bond.

Clinton Police Chief Ben Lowers could not comment on the arrest.

The Illinois State Police, Task Force 6, and the DeWitt County Sheriff's office along with the DeWitt County Coroner's office aided in the investigation.

Mixed Reactions To Governor's State of the State


Rep. Mitchell Responds To State of State Address

For months, State Representative Bill Mitchell has preached compromise when it comes to agreeing to a state budget.
Yesterday, the Forsyth Republican called the Governor's call for compromise the most important part of his speech. 
Rep. Mitchell has prepared legislation to do just that. If the legislature doesn't pass a budget, they don't get paid and if they pass a budget that is deemed unbalanced by the Auditor General, they also won't get paid until it is balanced. 

Sen. Brady Says Governor's Agenda Gets To Core of What We Need

State Senator Bill Brady took a few minutes after the Governor's State of the State address Wednesday afternoon to provide his thoughts.
Sen. Brady says the agenda the Governor outlined gets right to the core of what Illinois needs. He feels a budget won't solve Illinois' problems, and applauds him for sticking to what he believes.
The Senator says around $8-billion of unpaid bills is the primary reason for the needs for reform.
The Governor addressed reforms to the pension system, term limits and local governments. 

Rep. Brown Disappointed Governor Didn't Address Budget

State Representative Adam Brown was pleased with many of the talking points of Governor Bruce Rauner during his State of the State address Wednesday, but felt the governor missed the mark in one area.
Rep. Brown says he appreciated his call for term limits and remapping reforms, but he felt he should have addressed the budget.

Not All House Democrats on Same Side

The House Democrats have a super majority of members but they that doesn’t mean that they all have to vote the same way. It’s unusual for house members on Mike Madigan’s side of the isle buck the trend but that is what Rep. Ken Dunkin is doing. 
He skipped a vote on union collective bargaining last summer and after the Governor’s State of the State says that one person in Springfield, Michael Madigan is standing in the way of the state budget. Dunkin actually brought a sleeping bag and backpack to a press conference so he can stay at the capitol until a budget can be crafted and passed.
Dunkin says he wants rank and file democrats to come together and pass a budget and not hold citizens of Illinois hostage to Mike Madigan political shenanigans.

Start of Early Voting Delayed

The official start date of Early Voting & Vote by Mail for the March 15th primary election will be delayed at least to mid-February according to the Illinois State Board of Election.
Challenges to several Presidential candidates have delayed the ballot from being certified to County Clerks in all Counties.
Dewitt County Clerk Dana Smith indicates the pending objections to the candidacy of several Presidential candidates in Illinois will delay the start of early voting and vote by mail in DeWitt County
Smith says as soon as the State Board of Elections certifies the final ballot to us they will work as quickly as possible to print, test, and finalize ballots to begin early voting.
Smith says there is still time to get an application in for early voting. She suspects that the ballots will be ready for voting by February 17, which also serves as the first day of grace period registration.

Rep. Demmer Say Governor Hit Important Issues

St. Rep. Tom Demmer, a Dixon Republican, says Gov. Rauner talked about the good things the state has going for it Wednesday. 
Those include a transportation system, natural resources, strong agriculture, and a capable work force. Demmer says there’s hope of Illinois getting out of its mess.
For Demmer, some of that hope comes from a willingness of people to cross party lines once in a while to get things done. And that’s something Rauner asked for.
Demmer says Gov. Rauner’s speech Wednesday is one of hope and optimism because of what Illinois has going for it.
Demmer, the Dixon Republican who just helped launch the bipartisan Illinois Future Caucus, says there are plenty of areas where Democrats and Republicans can work together as Rauner is asking.
He says reforms in education, criminal justice, and workers compensation are examples.

Better Government Association Weighs in on State of the State

The Better Government Association is giving Governor Rauner's State of the State Address mixed reviews. BGA Senior Policy Analyst Alden Loury liked the Governor's tone, but he hopes it leads to bipartisan results.
Loury thinks something was missing from Rauner's roughly forty minute address.
More than 500 people with the Responsible Budget Coalition gathered at the Capitol ahead of Rauner's address to call for an end to the state budget impasse.

Better Government Association Weighs in on State of the State

The Better Government Association is giving Governor Rauner's State of the State Address mixed reviews. BGA Senior Policy Analyst Alden Loury liked the Governor's tone, but he hopes it leads to bipartisan results.

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Loury thinks something was missing from Rauner's roughly forty minute address.

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More than 500 people with the Responsible Budget Coalition gathered at the Capitol ahead of Rauner's address to call for an end to the state budget impasse.

Not All House Democrats on Same Side

The House Democrats have a super majority of members but they that doesn’t mean that they all have to vote the same way. It’s unusual for house members on Mike Madigan’s side of the isle buck the trend but that is what Rep. Ken Dunkin is doing.

He skipped a vote on union collective bargaining last summer and after the Governor’s State of the State says that one person in Springfield, Michael Madigan is standing in the way of the state budget. Dunkin actually brought a sleeping bag and backpack to a press conference so he can stay at the capitol until a budget can be crafted and passed.

[audio:1281683511-DURKIN1.mp3] [/audio]

Dunkin says he wants rank and file democrats to come together and pass a budget and not hold citizens of Illinois hostage to Mike Madigan political shenanigans.

Rep. Demmer Say Governor Hit Important Issues

St. Rep. Tom Demmer, a Dixon Republican, says Gov. Rauner talked about the good things the state has going for it Wednesday.

Those include a transportation system, natural resources, strong agriculture, and a capable work force. Demmer says there’s hope of Illinois getting out of its mess.

For Demmer, some of that hope comes from a willingness of people to cross party lines once in a while to get things done. And that’s something Rauner asked for.

[audio:1281683509-DemmerA.mp3] [/audio]

Demmer says Gov. Rauner’s speech Wednesday is one of hope and optimism because of what Illinois has going for it.

[audio:1281683510-DemmerC.mp3] [/audio]

Demmer, the Dixon Republican who just helped launch the bipartisan Illinois Future Caucus, says there are plenty of areas where Democrats and Republicans can work together as Rauner is asking.

He says reforms in education, criminal justice, and workers compensation are examples.

Mixed Reactions To Governor's State of the State



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Sen. Brady Says Governor's Agenda Gets To Core of What We Need

State Senator Bill Brady took a few minutes after the Governor's State of the State address Wednesday afternoon to provide his thoughts.

Sen. Brady says the agenda the Governor outlined gets right to the core of what Illinois needs. He feels a budget won't solve Illinois' problems, and applauds him for sticking to what he believes.

[audio:1281683513-senbrady1.mp3] [/audio]

The Senator says around $8-billion of unpaid bills is the primary reason for the needs for reform.

[audio:1281683516-senbrady2.mp3] [/audio]

The Governor addressed reforms to the pension system, term limits and local governments.

Rep. Brown Disappointed Governor Didn't Address Budget

State Representative Adam Brown was pleased with many of the talking points of Governor Bruce Rauner during his State of the State address Wednesday, but felt the governor missed the mark in one area.

Rep. Brown says he appreciated his call for term limits and remapping reforms, but he felt he should have addressed the budget.

[audio:1281683507-BrownSOS.mp3] [/audio]

Rep. Mitchell Responds To State of State Address

For months, State Representative Bill Mitchell has preached compromise when it comes to agreeing to a state budget.

Yesterday, the Forsyth Republican called the Governor's call for compromise the most important part of his speech.

[audio:1281684132-MitchellSOS.mp3] [/audio]

Rep. Mitchell has prepared legislation to do just that. If the legislature doesn't pass a budget, they don't get paid and if they pass a budget that is deemed unbalanced by the Auditor General, they also won't get paid until it is balanced.

Rickie Fowler Wants To Be World No. 1

 width=It's been a great week for Rickie Fowler. He won the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship over Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth, took home over $500,000 in prize money (and probably more in appearance fees) and rose to No. 4 in the world and No. 2 in our golf power rankings.

Fowler said after his win he wants more.

“I've got my eye on No. 1, that would be the ultimate goal, but I'm up against some pretty tough competition,” Fowler told The Guardian.

Fowler made it pretty clear that he's never been this far along in a season this early even though he finished in the top five in all four majors two years ago. What could this season bring?

As for that No. 1 dream. Good luck. He's still closer to being passed by world No. 16 Brooks Koepka than he is to passing world No. 1 Jordan Spieth. It's going to take a monster year from Fowler to even pass No. 3 McIlroy, much less Jason Day and Spieth in the top two spots. Is he capable? Absolutely.

Michigan To Hire AD With Harbaugh Ties

 width=Michigan interim athletic director Jim Hackett led the Wolverines out of a rocky period for its football program with the hiring of Jim Harbaugh, but his plan was always to remain in the office only until a new full-time athletic director was chosen.

According to the Detroit Free Press and longtime scribe Mark Blaudschun, now of AJerseyGuy.com, that person will be UConn athletic director Warde Manuel. "Contract details are still being finalized," according to the Free Press, but an announcement could come as soon as this week.

Manuel, 47, is a former Michigan football player who was teammates with Harbaugh on the Wolverines in 1986. He also spent time in the school's athletic department as an administrator and has been the athletic director at UConn since 2012.

Flyers Get By Capitals

 width=The Philadelphia Flyers coughed up a two-goal lead, survived a second-period onslaught and beat the league-leading Washington Capitals 4-3 in overtime with a goal by Jakub Voracek that sends them into the All-Star break feeling better about themselves.

Philadelphia had lost three in a row, including two when allowing a goal in the final two minutes of regulation. A hooking penalty on Matt Read with 2:02 left put the pressure on, but the penalty kill got the job done against the Caps' No. 1-ranked power play.

Burakovsky's first two-goal game in almost a year and 28 saves from All-Star Braden Holtby allowed Washington to get a point to reach 74. That's four more than the Chicago Blackhawks for tops in the NHL despite playing six fewer games.

The Capitals announced after the game that captain Alex Ovechkin would miss this weekend's All-Star festivities because of a lingering lower-body injury.

Ovechkin thought rest would heal the problem but took responsibility that cleaning up his house after the snowstorm was his ''bad decision.''

Golden State Keeps Rolling


Klay Thompson scored a season-high 45 points, Steph Curry got going after halftime and so did the Golden State Warriors, who avenged one of their four losses this season by beating the Dallas Mavericks 127-107 on Wednesday night.

Curry hit three quick 3-pointers after intermission as Golden State overcame a sluggish first half, and he finished with 14 points on a night the Warriors' role players and bench provided a balanced effort.

Chandler Parsons scored 23 points for Dallas, which handed the Warriors their second loss of the season, 114-91 on Dec. 30 - but without Curry because of a lower left leg injury. It was Golden State's largest loss of the four.

After going 1 for 8 in the first half and missing his first four from long range, Curry connected for his first 3 early in the third and had his team rolling again right away.

The Warriors ran their regular-season winning streak at Oracle Arena to 40 games, including 22-0 this season.

Dallas star Dirk Nowitzki had the night off to rest following a 92-90 road win at the Lakers on Tuesday.

Kevon Looney made his NBA debut for Golden State, the 11th former UCLA player to wear a Golden State uniform. He had two points and two rebounds, scoring on his first attempt, was given the game ball afterward and asked by Green to make a speech.

Former Giants Safety Sash Had Advanced Stages of CTE

The family of former New York Giants safety Tyler Sash announced that representatives from Boston University and the Concussion Legacy Foundation found Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) in his brain and that the disease had advanced to a stage rarely seen in someone that age, per the New York Times. Sash was found dead in his home at the age of 27 on Sept. 8.

 width=Dr. Ann McKee, chief of neuropathology at the V.A. Boston Healthcare System and a professor of neurology and pathology at the Boston University School of Medicine who conducted the examination, said Tuesday that the severity of the C.T.E. in Sash's brain was about the same as the level found in the brain of the former N.F.L. star Junior Seau, who committed suicide in 2012 at age 43.

Doctors grade C.T.E. on a severity scale from 0 to 4; Sash was at Stage 2. McKee, comparing the results to other athletes who died at a similar age, said she had seen only one case, that of a 25-year-old former college player, with a similar amount of the disease.

Sash's brother, Josh, said that Tyler sustained at least five concussions throughout his 16 years of playing football: two in high school, one in college, and two with the Giants.

Sash's autopsy revealed that he had overdosed on a mixture of methadone and hydrocodone, two extremely powerful painkillers. He'd been battling extreme shoulder pain for quite some time, with the injury having played a role in the end of his career back in 2013. He was prescribed the hydrocodone for the pain while evaluating options for surgery on his shoulder, but his family said that it greatly affected his life and personality. His brother described him as not "quite the same person he used to be," while his mother said "he couldn't focus long enough to do a job."

>>Eli Says Super Bowl Likely Peyton's Last Game

Peyton Manning is busy preparing for Super Bowl 50, so it's going to be a hectic couple of weeks for his brother. Eli won't be busy preparing for another game until next fall, but he'll almost certainly be on hand for what might be Peyton's last game and should be able to give us all some insight into Peyton considering they are, after all, brothers. And that means it's open interview season for the Giants quarterback.

Eli's interviews began early, even before Super Bowl week. On a conference call with reporters Wednesday, Eli revealed that he thinks this might be Peyton's final game, that the result of the game shouldn't impact Peyton's legacy, and that they do not brag to each other about accomplishments (yeah, right).

As for Peyton and if he'll retire after Feb. 7. When the Broncos beat the Patriots this past weekend, he told Bill Belichick on the field that this might be his "last rodeo." And that makes sense, given Manning's coming off his worst season as a pro and seems to have lost the ability to throw downfield darts.

Eli agrees: He thinks this will be it for Peyton but doesn't want this game to change Peyton's legacy.

Eli said, per NFL.com quote-"Honestly, I think there's maybe too much placed on rings and Super Bowl championships just because because it's not one player. The quarterback is not the sole reason that you win a championship, it's the team."

Bulls' Mirotic Has Appendix Removed, Expected Back After AS Break

 width=The Chicago Bulls expect forward Nikola Mirotic to be sidelined until after the All-Star break following surgery Wednesday to remove his appendix.

The team says Mirotic was diagnosed with acute appendicitis and that the operation at Chicago's Rush University Medical Center "went as expected." Mirotic did not accompany the Bulls to Los Angeles, where they start a seven-game trip against the Lakers on Thursday night. He figures to miss at least eight games, with the All-Star break scheduled for Feb. 12-14.

The 6-foot-10 Mirotic has been inconsistent this season, averaging 10.6 points while shooting 38.6 percent. But he played well the past two games against Cleveland and Miami, averaging 16 points and shooting 11 of 20.

The Bulls (25-19) are fourth in the Eastern Conference.

Northern Iowa Tops Bradley; Kentucky Throttles Mizzou

 width=Paul Jesperson hit 8 3-pointers and scored 28 points - both career highs - and Northern Iowa limited Bradley to just 18 second-half points as the Panthers took a 68-50 victory Wednesday night.

Jesperson and Matt Bohannon each knocked down a pair of 3-pointers as Northern Iowa took a 12-4 lead, but Bradley kept pace. Antoine Pittman hit a 3-pointer to tie it at 32-32 with 1:06 left in the first half. Jesperson hit a late 3 to give Northern Iowa a 35-32 halftime advantage.

Bradley took a 38-37 lead on Pittman's 3-pointer less than three minutes into the second half, but the Braves scored on just two Pittman 3-pointers over the next eight minutes.

Northern Iowa (11-11, 3-6 Missouri Valley) built a 54-44 advantage and Jesperson hit three straight 3s to make it 63-47.

Ronnie Suggs scored 15 and Pittman added 14 points for Bradley (3-19, 1-8).

>>Kentucky Throttles Mizzou

Tyler Ulis scored 20 points, Derek Willis added a career-best 18 and Kentucky used an early 20-0 run to blow past outmanned Missouri 88-54 on Wednesday night.


The Wildcats (16-4, 6-2 Southeastern Conference) had it easy in improving to 9-0 against Missouri and winning their third straight overall. Kentucky spotted the Tigers an opening layup by Wes Clark before the big spurt that quickly put the game out of reach, twice stretching its lead to at least 40 points in the second half.

Good shooting was the key again for Kentucky, which made 52 percent from the field after hitting 55 percent against Vanderbilt.

Willis was a big part of the Wildcats' accuracy, going 6 of 9 from the floor - including 4 for 5 on 3-pointers. He also grabbed 12 rebounds for his second double-double in four games, a major improvement after being on the periphery of Kentucky's rotation for much of his career.

Isaiah Briscoe had 15 points, Skal Labissiere 12 and Jamal Murray 11 to round out Kentucky's double-figure scorers.

Clark had 11 points for Missouri (8-12, 1-6 SEC), which sustained its second-biggest loss this season. Kevin Puryear and K.J. Walton each added 10.

DeWitt County Sheriff's Report For Jan. 28

Jail Population: 24

Paper Services: 14

Warrants: 0

Andretta Johns, 40, Mt.Zion was Arrested and Charged with Driving Under Influence of Alcohol and Driving While License Revoked. Johns posted the necessary bond and was released.



Clinton Lady Maroons Fall to Saint Teresa

As heard on WHOW, the Clinton Lady Maroons fell to the Saint Teresa Lady Bulldogs by a score of 50-35 on Thursday night. The Lady Maroons were led by sophomore Madi Filkin with 15 points. Filkin was also named as the Stephan York Country Financial Representative Maroons Player of the Game.

The Lady Bulldogs were led by Kaelyn Jaerrett with 13 points and Jordan Brunner added 13 points.

With the loss the Lady Maroons fall to 9-13 overall and 1-4 in the Central Illinois Conference.

Tune in Thursday, February 4, as the Lady Maroons take on Sullivan. You can hear the game live on The Big 1520 AM/92.3 FM WHOW  and online at dewittdailynews.com.

Term Limits, Business Reforms, Taxes Among Gov. Rauner's Topics From Wednesday's State of the State

Term limits, business reforms and taxes were among the many topics Governor Bruce Rauner addressed in his second State of the State address Wednesday afternoon.
Governor Rauner is calling on the legislator to reform the business climate. He says workers compensation is hurting Illinois' businesses.
As for term limits, the Governor points out President Obama supports redistricting reforms. He feels Illinois voters deserve the right to vote on the matter.
The Governor says raising taxes won't fix Illinois. Gov. Rauner says when taxes were raised in 2011, things did not go well at all.
The Governor continues to tout his commitment to education. He says a quality education in Illinois is the key to more high paying jobs and quality jobs in Illinois.
The Governor does not dispute 2015 was not an easy year. He is calling on the General Assembly to make "historic progress". He says a lot of good things happened last year and wants to see that continue.
The Governor also addressed the ongoing negotiations with AFSCME, calling their demands "out of touch with reality". He also touched on streamlining local governments, pension reform and criminal justice reforms. 

DNR Reveals Bobcat Hunting Rules



[audio:1271675836-bobcatrules1.mp3] [/audio]


[audio:1271675836-bobcatrules2.mp3] [/audio]


Hot, Dry Summer Predicted for Illinois

While the East coast was battered by record snowfall this past weekend, Illinois continued to enjoy a mostly above average temperature and below average snowfall pattern. State Climatologist Jim Angel says that is typical of the current El Nino pattern and the next couple of weeks should see the mild conditions to continue.

Another typical El Nino pattern is for it to revert to neutral or even flip to La Nina patterns in the spring and summer months.

[audio:1271675837-JimA1.mp3] [/audio]

And while history does not always repeat itself, Angel says the Weather Service long range forecasts are starting to lean toward a hot dry summer in 2016

[audio:1271675837-JimA2.mp3] [/audio]

State Climatologist Jim Angel.

Senate President Predicts Unions To Oppose Pension Reform Plan

There is an agreement on pension reform among the state’s political leaders that could save $1 billion a year after all.

Last week, after Governor Bruce Rauner announced a pension reform plan he said matched up with Senate President John Cullerton’s idea, the leading Senate Democrat quickly said the bill wasn’t his. However Tuesday, Cullerton clarified where those negotiations stand after talking with the governor.

[audio:1271675839-PENSION2.mp3] [/audio]

Cullerton says he expects the proposal that would give state employees options in what would or would not be considered pensionable in exchange for adjusting cost of living increases will be opposed by unions.

Senate President Says Pension Reform Deal Coming Together

The leading Senate Democrat is willing to go along with pension reform that is estimated to save taxpayers $1 billion a year.

Last week Governor Bruce Rauner came out with a pension reform plan he said jived with Senate President John Cullerton’s idea to give employees choices between a reduced cost of living increase while raises are included in pensions or not including raises in pension and allowing for the 3 percent compounded cost of living allocation. Rauner also said he wants to take raises out of collective bargaining. Cullerton quickly stated that wasn’t in his bill but Monday clarified his stance.

[audio:1271675838-PENSION1.mp3] [/audio]

The Chicago Democrat said he talked with the governor Monday and there is an agreement on the language that lawyers are working out, but the next big hurdle is to work towards passage. Illinois taxpayers are on the hook for nearly $113 billion in unfunded pension liability.

Community Action Focused on Serving Underserved in DeWitt County

 width=With a new location in DeWitt County, one non-profit is looking to end the cycle of poverty through a number of programs.

Alison Rumler-Gomez leads the Central Illinois Community Action Partnership and says a renewed focus within the organization hopes to give under served residents the tools to better themselves.

[audio:1271675822-12716capcilturn1.mp3] [/audio]

Rumler-Gomez explains they have two programs designed to provide free assistance to anyone who would need additional services for things like advice during job interviews or managing money.

[audio:1271675824-12716capcilturn2.mp3] [/audio]

The Jobs for Life program through Community Action has a number of opportunities attached to it. Rumler-Gomez says once you go through the program, you become eligible for scholarship opportunities through Community Action for further job training that could lead to gainful employment, which is the goal of the Jobs for Life program.

[audio:1271675827-12716capcilturn3.mp3] [/audio]

The new location for Community Action in DeWitt County is now at 45 Cedar Square. To learn more about the programs they offer, contact their Lincoln office at 217-732-2159 or visit www.capcil.info.

DeWitt County Working To Produce Roadmap For Future

 width=As the leadership of DeWitt County looks to the future, the imminent need for an updated plan is rather obvious.

David Newberg is the DeWitt County Board Chair and he indicates the comprehensive plan that is in place now is roughly 20 years old, leaving a huge need to be updated. Newberg indicates the process of doing so is underway.

[audio:1271675830-12716countyplan1.mp3] [/audio]

Newberg explains it was roughly ten years ago the County tried to update their comprehensive plan through the University of Illinois, but that did not pan out.

[audio:1271675831-12716countyplan2.mp3] [/audio]

Utilizing the strengths of the area are going to be a focus of the planning team. According to Newberg identifying what type of community you are is likely the first step but then he says utilizes resources like Clinton Lake will be incorporated.

[audio:1271675835-12716countyplan3.mp3] [/audio]

As the comprehensive plan is being formed, the plan the University of Illinois put together is not being completely disregarded. Officials with the DeWitt County Development Council indicate that plan is being evaluated for things that might still be relevant and can be used in the upcoming comprehensive plan.

MLB Commissioner Says No DH in NL For 'Foreseeable Future'

 width=You'll recall that MLB commissioner Rob Manfred recently set off an Internet brushfire by suggesting that the Designated Hitter rule might make its way to the National League as soon as 2017. The current collective bargaining agreement, which governs the working relationship between owners and players, expires prior to the 2017 season, which made that initial DH timeline a very plausible one.

Now Manfred seems to be walking back those remarks just a bit in a wide-ranging discussion with ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick saying quote-"The most likely result on the designated hitter for the foreseeable future is the status quo. I know [St. Louis Cardinals general manager] John Mozeliak talked about it, and when you have any National League club talking about it, it's interesting. But I think the vast majority of clubs in the National League want to stay where they are."

Manfred's comments seem to imply there's simply not enough momentum among NL owners for such a drastic structural change.

Clippers Clip Pacers

Chris Paul scored 19 of his 26 points in the second half including a 19-foot pullup jumper with 33.7 seconds left in the game and J.J. Redick added 19 points to help the short-handed Clippers hold on for a 91-89 victory at Indiana.

 width=The Clippers (29-16) desperately needed a victory to create some semblance of normalcy on an otherwise bizarre day.

Just hours before playing the game, word leaked that Griffin had broken his shooting hand after punching equipment manager Matias Testi, one of his friends, in the face. The Clippers later confirmed Griffin would miss four to six weeks with the injury and could also face additional punishment.

Late in the third quarter, the defense buckled down and held the Pacers scoreless for nearly eight minutes as Los Angeles scored 13 straight points to take an 81-72 lead midway through the fourth. The Clippers never trailed again thanks largely to Paul, who made three 3-pointers and was 8 of 13 from the field in the second half and finished with six rebounds, seven assists and one steal.

Paul George had 31 points and 11 rebounds to lead the Pacers (23-22) and spurred a late 14-7 run that got the Pacers within 88-86 with 1:43 left in the game. His 3 with 28 seconds left made it 91-89 and after forcing a turnover with 2.1 seconds to go, Indiana had a chance to force overtime or win the game.

Instead, Jamal Crawford deflected the inbound pass from the frontcourt to the backcourt on the opposite side, running off all but 0.3 seconds. George Hill then tried to lob the ball into the paint, but it bounced off the backboard all the way past midcourt before the Clippers touched it to run out the clock.

Hurricanes Blast Blackhawks; Give GM Extension

Riley Nash scored two goals, Jeff Skinner had a goal and an assist and the Carolina Hurricanes routed the Chicago Blackhawks 5-0 on Tuesday night in the final game before the All-Star break for each team.

 width=Carolina outshot the reigning Stanley Cup champions 16-5 in the first period, taking a 3-0 lead and chasing goalie Corey Crawford.

Eddie Lack made 26 saves to improve to 4-1 in his career against the Blackhawks. Crawford, replaced by Scott Darling, made 13 saves.

The Hurricanes, 7-2-1 in their last 10 games, completed a season sweep of the Blackhawks, who have lost three of their last four.

>>Blackhawks GM Gets 3-Year Extension

The Chicago Blackhawks have given a three-year contract extension to general manager Stan Bowman that runs through the 2020-21 season.

Bowman is in his 15th season with the Blackhawks and his sixth as senior vice president and GM. The Blackhawks have won three Stanley Cup championships in the past six seasons and Bowman is the first GM to win three titles in the salary cap era.

Bowman, who graduated from Notre Dame with degrees in finance and computer applications, is credited with building a core group of top players led by Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Duncan Keith and Marian Hossa and has re-signed Joel Quenneville, the second-winningest coach in NHL history, to two contract extensions.

Illini LB TJ Neal Latest To Announce Transfer

 width=Illinois starting linebacker T.J. Neal plans to transfer before his senior season.

Sports information director Kent Brown said Tuesday that Neal plans to leave the team after three seasons. Brown said Neal plans to transfer closer to home but there was no immediate word on his destination. The junior is from McKeeseport, Pennsylvania.

Neal was the team's second-leading tackler last season with 109 tackles. The 6-1, 235-pound Neal was a starter for two seasons.

His exit means Illinois will be without six of its top seven leading tacklers from the 2015 season and all of its starting linebackers. The team also recently lost a pair of backup linebackers when LaKeith Walls and B.J. Bellow announced plans to transfer.

Illinois State Downs Drake; Indiana Falls at Wisconsin

 width=MiKyle McIntosh scored 25 points with four 3-pointers and three steals, Deontae Hawkins added 17 points with five 3s and Illinois State beat Drake 76-64 on Tuesday night to win its third straight.

Justin McCloud scored 12 with four 3-pointers, DeVaughn Akoon-Purcell added 10 points and Tony Wills had a career-high seven assists for the Redbirds (12-10, 6-3 Missouri Valley), who shot 15 of 28 from long distance.

Drake led 15-13 on Ore Arogundade's 3-pointer, but the Redbirds hit three straight 3-pointers and a dunk and surged to a 40-35 halftime lead.

Illinois State led by 20 on McCloud's 3-pointer with 13:46 left in the second half and cruised from there.

The Redbirds outscored Drake on fast-break points, 13-2, and used 18 assists in making 26 of 58 field goals (45 percent).

Reed Timmer scored 19 and Graham Woodward added 12 for the Bulldogs (5-16, 0-9), who have lost nine straight.

 width=>>Wisconsin Hands Hoosiers First Big Ten Loss

The Wisconsin Badgers handed the Indiana Hoosiers their first loss in Big Ten play Tuesday in an 82-79 overtime decision. It was a back-and-forth battle that featured terrific performances from Wisconsin's Nigel Hayes and Indiana's Yogi Ferrell.

Ferrell scored 30 on 12-of-20 shooting from the field, and was largely a dominating force on the offensive end for a Hoosiers team that largely struggled to establish anything away from him.

Hayes scored 31 points on 7-of-12 shooting from the field and 17 of 22 from the line as the Hoosiers simply had no one who could stay in front of him. Ethan Happ scored a career-high 25 points for Wisconsin.

Ferrell's 3 with 5 seconds left pulled the Hoosiers within 80-79 before Hayes stretched the lead back to three with two free throws.

But Indiana (17-4, 7-1) never had a chance to give Ferrell one last shot to tie after Hayes tipped away OG Anunoby's inbounds pass as time expired.

The Badgers (12-9, 4-4 Big Ten) have won three straight games, each by six points or less, after having lost three straight by five points or less.

Warrensburg-Latham Edges Monticello

A showdown between two area heavyweights lived up to the billing Tuesday night in non-conference boys basketball action as the Warrensburg-Latham Cardinals edged Monticello 56-54.

 width=The undefeated Cardinals (19-0, 4-0) overcame a late third quarter deficit of six and scored the first six points of the final period to pull ahead for good.

Tyler Bond led all scorers for the Cardinals with 25 points. Garrett Shea added 10 points and eight baords. The Cardinals overcame ten Monticello three pointers by going 15-for-21 at the foul line.

The Sages were led Zach Fisher's 20 points. Sutten Witterbottom added 14 points with four rebounds and four assists in 26 minutes.

The Sages drop to 12-4 overall and are 2-1 in Okaw Valley play.

They host Champaign St. Thomas More Friday night at 7:30 pm. Hear all the action on 95.9 FM WEZC and online at dewittdailynews.com.

Scores in boys basketball action from Tuesday:

Unity 65
Clinton 58

Maroa-Forsyth 31
Decatur St. Teresa 63

Watseka 58
Tuscola 51

Central A&M 61
Carlinville 58

Sullivan 56

The Central Illinois Conference tournament opens Saturday from Shelbyville.

DeWitt County Sheriff's Report for Jan. 27

Jail Population: 24

Paper Services: 12

Warrants: 0

Zachary Howell, 39, Maroa was issued a Citation for Speeding 75 MPH in a 55 MPH Zone. Howell was issued a Promise to Comply and was released.

Rebbeca Brown, 19, Wapella was issued a Citation for Speeding 76 MPH in a 55 MPH Zone. Brown was issued a Promise to Comply and was released.

Sarah Evans, 29, Decatur was issued a Citation for Speeding 81 MPH in a 65 MPH Zone. Evans was issued a Promise to Comply and was released.

Angela Fentem, 53, Decatur was issued a Citation for Speeding 75 MPH in a 55 MPH Zone. Fentem was issued a Promise to Comply and was released.



Term Limits, Business Reforms, Taxes Among Gov. Rauner's Topics From Wednesday's State of the State

 width=Term limits, business reforms and taxes were among the many topics Governor Bruce Rauner addressed in his second State of the State address Wednesday afternoon.

Governor Rauner is calling on the legislator to reform the business climate. He says workers compensation is hurting Illinois' businesses.

[audio:1271620455-SOS161.mp3] [/audio]

As for term limits, the Governor points out President Obama supports redistricting reforms. He feels Illinois voters deserve the right to vote on the matter.

[audio:1271620457-SOS163.mp3] [/audio]

The Governor says raising taxes won't fix Illinois. Gov. Rauner says when taxes were raised in 2011, things did not go well at all.

[audio:1271620459-SOS164.mp3] [/audio]

The Governor continues to tout his commitment to education. He says a quality education in Illinois is the key to more high paying jobs and quality jobs in Illinois.

[audio:1271620500-SOS169.mp3] [/audio]

The Governor does not dispute 2015 was not an easy year. He is calling on the General Assembly to make "historic progress". He says a lot of good things happened last year and wants to see that continue.

[audio:1271620503-SOS1610.mp3] [/audio]

The Governor also addressed the ongoing negotiations with AFSCME, calling their demands "out of touch with reality". He also touched on streamlining local governments, pension reform and criminal justice reforms.

Expect Campaign Financing To Increase This Election

Over the past fifteen years, there’s been a steady increase of campaign dollars during elections years in Illinois and it’s expected this year will be no exception, according to the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform.

ICPR Executive Director Sarah Brune (brew-knee) says every week they compile data on political donations to show the Top 10 donations, transfers, and committees with highest current funds. So far for the month of January 2016 there has been over $6.6 million in donations and fund transfers.

[audio:1261682219-CAMPAIGNFINANCE2.mp3] [/audio]

In 2014, an election year for statewide offices, there was nearly $340 million in campaign donations and transfers, which was more than $60 million more than in 2010. Voters can subscribe to the weekly reports by visiting Illinois Sunshine (dot) org.

Governor Rauner Creates New Agency To Streamline Technology

The state of Illinois is set to change the way it approaches information technology.

Governor Bruce Rauner’s plan is to consolidate all state agencies and CMS technology departments together to streamline the process for information sharing. Rauner, standing at the Department of Corrections headquarters today said that that department files through more than 276,000 pieces of paper a day.

Rauner contends Illinois spends the 3rd most on IT infrastructure but the state has one of the worst ratings for digital services among the other 50 states.

[audio:1261682549-RAUNERIT.mp3] [/audio]

It will be known as the Department of Innovation and Technology. In all there are about 1,700 IT jobs inside of state government where an estimated $800 million is spent on yearly basis.

The Governor did not have an immediate figure of how much money could or would be saved by this consolidation.

Governor Standing Behind Budget Process

As the state continues into a new calendar year without a budget the continued lack of a spending plan and paying bills is increasing the toll to social agencies.

Lutheran Social Services of Illinois says they are going to close over 30 programs and eliminate more than 750 positions after they waited months for millions in state payments. The statewide group will be suspending services to more than 4,500 people.

Yesterday, Governor Bruce Rauner said he still stands on the side of needing reforms to be passed in order to craft a balanced budget.

[audio:1261682223-GOVONSERVICES.mp3] [/audio]

NBC in Chicago is reporting that Catholic Charities might be next in limiting services and closing programs. They are owed $16 million.

Governor's Agency To Consolidate Information Technology

Illinois’ governor hopes to find potentially hundreds of million of dollars in savings for taxpayers by creating a new state agency.

It’s called the Department of Innovation and Technology and it was announced through executive order Monday morning in Springfield. Governor Bruce Rauner says every state agency has their own information technology operations which is inefficient and a waste of resources. The new director, Hardik Bhatt, says there’s a long way to go after the announcement.

[audio:1261682220-DOITAIM1.mp3] [/audio]

Bhatt says there’s a decentralized system with agencies using dozens of different outdated programs and they want to move to a more modern centralized system where taxpayers experience seamless interaction with government and for caseworkers to access documents on tablets and smartphones.

Group Wants Voters To Know Who Funds Elected Officials

Illinois voters need to be more aware of how their elected officials are funded and that’s the goal of the weekly Illinois Sunshine reports from the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform.

Sarah Brune (brew-knee), executive director for Illinois Campaign for Political Reform, says the public could grow frustrated trying to work the Illinois State Board of Education website to find information about political contributions.

[audio:1261682218-CAMPAIGNFINANCE1a.mp3] [/audio]

Brune says the information is important for voters and political observers.

[audio:1261682218-CAMPAIGNFINANCE1b.mp3] [/audio]

Brune says voters can sign up for the weekly “Illinois Sunshine” reports by signing up through the website Illinois Sunshine (dot) org, where they can also do searches for candidates, committees and fund transfers.

Rauner Says DOIT Could Help Save Hundreds of Millions, If Not Billions

There’s a new state agency announced the governor hopes will drive value for taxpayers and save hundreds of million, if not billions, of dollars over time.

Governor Bruce Rauner revealed the Department of Innovation and Technology, or DO-IT, Monday, saying the state’s outdated mainframes are not efficient.

[audio:1261682221-DOITAIM2.mp3] [/audio]

The department will be in charge of consolidating the various state agency mainframes, outdated systems DO-IT director Hardik Bhatt says raises cyber security questions. Bhatt says the goal is to make citizen interaction with government similar to modern banking.

Bhatt also says another goal is to have case workers have remote access to vital case information on smartphones and tablets.

Rauner and Bhatt said the state spends roughly $800,000 for information technology per year.

Rauner Says Further Tax Reforms Will Save Taxpayers Money

While the president of the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association says Illinois’ governor wants to shift more burden onto taxpayers with workers’ comp reforms, the governor says taxpayers could actually find big savings.

Last week, Governor Bruce Rauner said Speaker Michael Madigan is wrong that further reforms to workers’ compensation would hurt the middle class. Rauner said the only ones who would be hurt are the trial lawyers.

ITLA’s President Perry Browder said the governor is attempting to diminish the rights of injured workers, boost profits for the insurance industry and shift risk and burden onto taxpayers.

However, Rauner said taxpayers could save on the cost of workers’ compensation in the public sector.

[audio:1261682223-WORKCOMP1.mp3] [/audio]

Workers’ compensation is among several reforms items the governor says are needed to make Illinois more business friendly. Leading Democrats say 2011 reforms are bringing costs down but the governor says more needs to be done to make Illinois competitive with other states.

Sen. Rose Says Governor Will Likely Tout Positives in State of the State

Governor Bruce Rauner's State of the State address will be this Wednesday afternoon and one local lawmaker is taking a stab at what Illinoisans can expect to hear.

State Sen. Chapin Rose expects the Governor to tout the good things that have happened in Illinois in the past year. He feels the Governor bringing in good leadership for various state agencies will be one area of focus.

[audio:1261682216-12616roseaddress1.mp3] [/audio]

The largest issue facing the state is of course the lack of a budget. While some don't care about the areas of the state the Governor has made more efficient, Sen. Rose believes all those changes eventually tie back into the budgeting process.

[audio:1261682218-12616roseaddress2.mp3] [/audio]

The Governor's State of the State address will be at approximately noon on Wednesday afternoon. Hear it in its entirety on The Big 1520 AM/92.3 FM WHOW and online at dewittdailynews.com.

Blue Ridge Schools Doing Practice Evacuation Drill

A new system for school safety in the event of an emergency will be practiced in one DeWitt County school district.

Blue Ridge schools along with a host of others, have gone to a new method for their evacuations in the event of a serious emergency. Superintendent of Blue Ridge Schools, Susan Wilson indicates the new ALICE drill has been put in place in their district. Now the next step is to practice the drill, and she wants to get parents involved.

[audio:1261682208-12616alicedrill1.mp3] [/audio]

The ALICE drill is a new in depth way of assessing an emergency and protecting students during an intruder emergency. Wilson feels the new methods are great because it allows everyone to be involved.

[audio:1261682211-12616alicedrill2.mp3] [/audio]

The leadership of the district are in the early stages of planning and Wilson feels it's going to be a big adjustment from what they've been doing for many years.

[audio:1261682213-12616alicedrill3.mp3] [/audio]

Wilson indicates parents that want to be a part of the drill will receive more information at a later time. The drill is set for mid-April.

College Basketball Notes

 width=>>Oklahoma Retains No. 1 Ranking in AP Poll Despite Loss, Coach Tab UNC

Despite losing a game, the No. 1-ranked team in the country has not been taken from the top spot. Oklahoma, which fell at Iowa State last Monday, is still the numero uno in the latest AP rankings.

Why did this happen? Well, every team except UNC ranked in the top eight last week did lose, meaning the Sooners stayed with the tide, basically. And given Iowa State is also a really good team, AP voters -- unlike the coaches -- believe the Sooners have a right to the top spot still. Some welcomed rationale from the masses.

Elsewhere, you'll see the Big East is really staying strong at the top. Xavier is No. 7, while Providence is No. 10 -- and those two square off Tuesday night. Villanova, which saw its 22-game win streak in the conference brought to an end by Providence on Sunday, is ranked sixth.

Elsewhere, Iowa makes a big leap from ninth to third. Texas A&M didn't lose last week, so now it's gone from 10th to fifth. SMU was the last unbeaten, but with its loss at Temple on Sunday the Ponies tumble from eighth to 13th. Iowa State was another big climber this week, going from 19th to 14th.

For the fifth straight week, there is a new team atop the Coaches Poll.

North Carolina jumped Oklahoma to become the No. 1 team in the nation following the Sooners' loss to Iowa State last Monday. For their part, the Tar Heels defeated Wake Forest and Virginia Tech to move to 7-0 in the ACC. Those two wins were their 10th and 11th victories in a row.

Oklahoma only moved down to No. 2 after its win at Baylor on Saturday. Behind them are Kansas at No. 3 and Iowa at No. 4. The Hawkeyes are another one of the hottest teams in the country, as they're currently on a nine-game run that features five wins over the top-30 teams currently ranked over at KenPom. Texas A&M rounds out the top five.

As has been usual throughout this season, there was some pretty heavy movement throughout the rest of the poll. The biggest riser was Providence, who moved up seven spots to No. 10 following its win on the road over Villanova. Indiana moved up six spots to No. 17 in response to a 12-game winning streak that has seen them also reach 7-0 in the Big Ten. Iowa State, Oregon and Wichita State -- who re-entered the ranking at No. 25 -- were all also risers of five spots following big weeks.

Duke was the week's biggest faller, dropping eight spots to No. 20 after losing to Syracuse last Monday at home. South Carolina and Arizona were also big droppers, going to No. 15 and No. 22 respectively after losses on the road. Butler and USC also fell out of the bottom of the poll, replaced by the aforementioned Oregon and Wichita State.

>>Iowa State Bounces No. 4 Kansas

Monte Morris scored 21 points, Georges Niang had 15 of his 19 in the second half and No. 14 Iowa State blew past No. 4 Kansas 85-72 on Monday night for its fourth straight win.

Abdel Nader wasn't easy to guard either, adding 17 points for the Cyclones (16-4, 5-3 Big 12). They have beaten three of the top four teams in this week's Top 25.

Iowa State overcame a sluggish start with a 24-7 run midway through the second half, and Niang's three-point play made it 80-67 with 2 minutes left.

Perry Ellis had 23 points and Frank Mason III scored 16 to lead Kansas (16-4, 5-3), which lost its third straight road game.

The Jayhawks have lost four of their last five against the Cyclones, a first for a Bill Self-coached team against a Big 12 opponent.

Kansas hit 17 of its first 29 shots against a defense that entered play ranked last in the Big 12 in points allowed and went up 43-36 at halftime.

But the Jayhawks went cold, and the Cyclones finally pulled even at 53-all on a 3-pointer by Matt Thomas with 11:40 left. Deonte Burton's 3 with 9 minutes to go gave Iowa State its first lead, 60-57.

The Cyclones kept rolling after that, handing the Jayhawks their third straight road loss by double digits.

Rangers Double Up Buffalo

Derrick Brassard scored two goals, set up crucial third-period tallies by J.T. Miller and Mats Zuccarello and finished with a career-best five points while the Rangers blew a two-goal lead and came back to beat Buffalo 6-3 Monday night for their eighth straight win over the Sabres.

 width=Miller snapped a tie, Zuccarello added a power-play goal and Brassard scored into an empty net after the Sabres made it 3-3 to allow the Rangers to head into the NHL All-Star break with three wins in four games.

Rookie defenseman Dylan McIlrath and Viktor Stalberg also scored for the Rangers.

Zemgus Girgensons scored twice in a 1:13 span early in the third period to rally Buffalo from a 3-1 deficit. It was his first game after missing four with an upper-body injury.

Brian Gionta also scored for Buffalo, which lost its third straight game overall. Rookie Jack Eichel assisted on both of Girgensons' goals.

Eichel has five goals and 13 assists in his last 17 games.

Rangers F Rick Nash missed his second straight game with a lower-body injury and D Dan Boyle was a healthy scratch after playing in the last 24 games.

Mets To Retire Piazza's No. 31

 width=Mike Piazza will be enshrined into Cooperstown's Baseball Hall of Fame and now the Mets will retire his number 31.

The Mets made the announcement in a press release Monday. The ceremony for Piazza will take place in Citi Field on Saturday, July 30 at 6:30 p.m. before they play host to the Rockies.

Piazza becomes the fourth man to have his jersey number retired for the Mets, but only the second player after Tom Seaver (41). Managers Casey Stengel (37) and Gil Hodges (14) have also had their numbers retired and, of course, Jackie Robinson's 42 is retired throughout baseball.

No one has worn 31 since Piazza left the club after the 2005 season and now no one will ever wear it again.

In parts of eight seasons with the Mets, Piazza hit .296/.373/.542 (136 OPS+) with 193 doubles, 220 homers and 655 RBI. He led them to the NLCS twice and World Series once.

Wade, Bosh Lead Heat in Comeback Win Over Bulls; Rose Hurt

 width=Dwyane Wade had 28 points, Chris Bosh added 18 and the Miami Heat rallied from an eight-point deficit early in the fourth quarter for an 89-84 victory over the Chicago Bulls on Monday night, snapping a four-game losing streak.

Wade scored 10 points in the fourth period. He and Bosh combined for the last five points in the final 1:02 as Miami snapped an 84-all tie.

Pau Gasol had 19 points and 17 rebounds to lead the Bulls. Jimmy Butler scored 13 on 5-for-15 shooting.

Chicago, coming off a win at Cleveland on Saturday, has dropped three straight home games.

The Bulls were without backup guards Kirk Hinrich (bruised left quadriceps) and E-Twaun Moore (right hamstring strain) and Derrick Rose left action early.

>>Rose Exits Early

Bulls guard Derrick Rose left Chicago's game against the Miami Heat with lower back and right hamstring injuries Monday night.

Rose, who scored four points in 13 first-half minutes Monday night, did not start the second half. The Bulls announced early in the third quarter that he would not return.

Aaron Brooks took Rose's place with the starting unit.

Start of Early Voting Delayed

The official start date of Early Voting & Vote by Mail for the March 15th primary election will be delayed at least to mid-February according to the Illinois State Board of Election.

Challenges to several Presidential candidates have delayed the ballot from being certified to County Clerks in all Counties.

Dewitt County Clerk Dana Smith indicates the pending objections to the candidacy of several Presidential candidates in Illinois will delay the start of early voting and vote by mail in DeWitt County

Smith says as soon as the State Board of Elections certifies the final ballot to us they will work as quickly as possible to print, test, and finalize ballots to begin early voting.

Smith says there is still time to get an application in for early voting. She suspects that the ballots will be ready for voting by February 17, which also serves as the first day of grace period registration.

DeWitt County Sheriff's Report for Jan. 26

Jail Population: 24

Paper Services: 2

Warrants: 1

Michael Russo, 26, Bloomington was Arrested on a DeWitt County Warrant charging him with Arson/ Failure to Appear. Russo unable to post the necessary bond remains lodged in the DeWitt County Jail.


Clinton Maroons Fall to Tolono Unity

As heard on 92.3 FM WHOW and online at dewittdailynews.com, The Clinton Maroons fell to the Tolono Unity Rockets by a score of 65-58 on Tuesday night. The Maroons were led by Stephan York Country Financial Player of the Game Jr. Peyton McCubbinb with 23 points. Sr. Jacob Overton also chipped in with 19 points. 


The Rockets were led by Jared Shotton with 25 points and Cameron Reifsteck added 12 points.


With the loss, The Maroons fall to 7-13 on the year.


Tune in Saturday, January 30th at 4:30p as the Maroons take on Shelbyville. You can hear the game live on The Big 1520 AM/92.3 FM WHOW and online at dewittdailynews.com

Governor Rauner Creates New Agency To Streamline Technology

The state of Illinois is set to change the way it approaches information technology.

Governor Bruce Rauner’s plan is to consolidate all state agencies and CMS technology departments together to streamline the process for information sharing. Rauner, standing at the Department of Corrections headquarters today said that that department files through more than 276,000 pieces of paper a day.


Rauner contends Illinois spends the 3rd most on IT infrastructure but the state has one of the worst ratings for digital services among the other 50 states.



It will be known as the Department of Innovation and Technology. In all there are about 1,700 IT jobs inside of state government where an estimated $800 million is spent on yearly basis.

The Governor did not have an immediate figure of how much money could or would be saved by this consolidation. 

Clinton High School Evaluating Technology Needs

The lower levels of the Clinton school district have for a few years now, have had technology in the form of personal devices, mainly iPads in their classrooms.


Now the high school is evaluating where they want to go with a one to one initiative. Superintendent Curt Nettles indicates the discussion of late has been what devices would best meet their needs.


Nettles indicates the administration at the high school would like to bring the Microsoft Surface to their students. Nettles says the cost might set off a little bit of sticker shock when they purchase them.


For Nettles, the value of having technology in their classroom is a big deal. He says it will not only teach the students responsible habits, but he hopes it will prepare them for when they enter the workforce as mature adults, the ways to properly use technology in a professional setting.


Nettles says they could pursue allow their seniors to purchase the device they have used all through school at a discounted rate. He hopes to get at least four years out of each device they purchase and then get them on rotation.

Durbin Wants To Make College More Affordable

Senator Dick Durbin is calling on colleagues to make college more affordable, during and after schooling.

Durbin talked about a three pronged attack Sunday. He is pushing for a Student Bill of Rights that would ensure student loan borrowers get a fair deal and understand their repayment options. He also is promoting legislation to give private and federal student loan borrowers the right to refinance their higher interest loans at today’s lower rates.

[audio:1251671622-Durbinrefi.mp3] [/audio]

Durbin also wants to give students the power to take advantage of educational materials on the internet and cut textbook costs.. Over 1.7 million Illinoisans are saddled with some $50 million in student loan debt.

Fears Over Global Economy Slowdown Factor in Jobs Decline

With shaky global economy, Illinois said goodbye to over 16,000 jobs in December and hello to a higher unemployment rate, according to the latest jobs numbers.

For the year, the Illinois Department of Employment Security says Illinois saw a total of 3,000 jobs lost, the first time since 2009 the state ended the year with fewer jobs than it started with. Evelina Loescher, labor market information director at IDES, says some job losses were seasonal jobs but there are also fears about a slowdown in the global economy.

[audio:1251671539-JOBS2a.mp3] [/audio]

Steve Rauschenberger, president of the Technology and Manufacturing Association and a former state Senator, agrees but says it’s also alarming when comparing Illinois to other midwestern states.

[audio:1251671540-JOBS2b.mp3] [/audio]

IDES says Illinois’ unemployment rate is up to 5.9 percent, nearly a full percentage point higher than the rate for the entire U.S., which sits at 5 percent.

Governor Agrees Current Funding Formula Not Effective

The push to bring about school funding reform is on, but not everyone’s on board with the idea.

Bunker Hill State Senator Andy Manar equated the current funding formula to outdated technology that no one uses anymore. He also said that things won’t just happen out of nowhere.

[audio:1251671540-SCHFUND2a.mp3] [/audio]

Wheaton Republican Representative Jeanne Ives agrees the status quo can’t continue but questions the fairness of the funding reform being proposed.

[audio:1251671541-SCHFUND2b.mp3] [/audio]

Governor Bruce Rauner’s office says after signing the K-12 education bill the governor reiterated his belief that the “current school funding formula is not effective” but did not want to comment on Manar’s bill at this time.

Illinois Ends Year With Less Jobs Than It Began With

For the first time in 7 years, Illinois ended the year with fewer jobs than it started with and that means more burden on existing taxpayers to make up for the smaller tax base.

The latest jobs numbers from the Illinois Department of Employment Security shows the state lost over 16,000 jobs in December and the unemployment rate rose to 5.9 percent. Over the entire year, Illinois saw 3,000 less jobs. Evelina Loescher, labor market information director at IDES, says that means a smaller tax base.

[audio:1251671538-JOBS1a.mp3] [/audio]

Steve Rauschenberger, president of the Technology and Manufacturing Association and a former state Senator, says the state doesn’t only need business reforms but also patience.

[audio:1251671538-JOBS1b.mp3] [/audio]

Both Rauschenberger and Loescher says other factors in the decline include the slowdown in the global economy.

Decatur Group Seeking Macon, DeWitt County Residents To Help Find Employment

If you are a Macon or DeWitt County resident and you've been seeking employment opportunities in the manufacturing industry, a group in Decatur has additional resources to help you find work.

Larry Peterson with Workforce Investment Solutions in Decatur says their group works to find employers needs and then find people and train unemployed or underemployed people in the DeWitt and Macon Counties.

[audio:1251671514-12516findwork1.mp3] [/audio]

Workforce Investment Solutions has held many trainings in recent years and placed a great deal of workers into jobs. He says new to their training this time around is a focus on logistics.

[audio:1251671515-12516findwork2.mp3] [/audio]

There are several areas of focus in the training. Peterson says the training can actually be taken for college credit because they work with Richland Community College.

[audio:1251671519-12516findwork3.mp3] [/audio]

The program over the last two years has been very successful. Peterson says they place roughly 80-percent in the workforce and he says of the remaining 20-percent, some of those went on to further training.

[audio:1251671521-12516findwork4.mp3] [/audio]

Workforce Investment Solutions has a great relationship with area employers according to Peterson. He explains not only do they find the employees that go through their program very valuable, but often times, Workforce Investment Solutions is able to find work for their clients that are not listen.

[audio:1251671525-12516findwork5.mp3] [/audio]

To apply the for the program, you need to have a certain reading and math level. If you do not meet the requirement, Peterson says that should not keep you from trying for this free program.

[audio:1251671527-12516findwork6.mp3] [/audio]

There are four opportunities to attend a mandatory meeting this week to be a part of it. Those are Tuesday and Wednesday at 9 am or 1 pm both days at the Workforce Investment Solutions building at their location off Monroe and Pershing Roads behind the Perkins restaurant in the strip mall.

To learn more about the program, contact Peterson at 217-820-0577 or their office at 217-875-8751.

Clinton High School Evaluating Technology Needs

 width=The lower levels of the Clinton school district have for a few years now, have had technology in the form of personal devices, mainly iPads in their classrooms.

Now the high school is evaluating where they want to go with a one to one initiative. Superintendent Curt Nettles indicates the discussion of late has been what devices would best meet their needs.

[audio:1251671530-12516highschooltech1.mp3] [/audio]

Nettles indicates the administration at the high school would like to bring the Microsoft Surface to their students. Nettles says the cost might set off a little bit of sticker shock when they purchase them.

[audio:1251671534-12516highschooltech2.mp3] [/audio]

For Nettles, the value of having technology in their classroom is a big deal. He says it will not only teach the students responsible habits, but he hopes it will prepare them for when they enter the workforce as mature adults, the ways to properly use technology in a professional setting.

[audio:1251671537-12516highschooltech3.mp3] [/audio]

Nettles says they could pursue allow their seniors to purchase the device they have used all through school at a discounted rate. He hopes to get at least four years out of each device they purchase and then get them on rotation.

Fowler Wins in Abu Dhabi

 width=After Rickie Fowler shot a 70 on the first day of the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship while playing partners Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy bested him, the least decorated of the three was largely written off. If not on paper then at least in our heads. So, of course, he closed with rounds of 68, 65 and 69 to win by one over Thomas Pieters and two over McIlroy and Henrik Stenson.

"It was a lot of fun today," Fowler said of his final round 69 that included a double bogey, an eagle and three birdies.

A tournament Fowler controlled most of the day hung in the balance briefly on the 17th hole. McIlroy had just made eagle on the final hole to draw within one. Fowler had missed the green on No. 17. He slammed the door swiftly with a birdie, though, and other than the scare of a playoff from Pieters at the last hole, the tournament was over.

European Tour events are sometimes looked upon poorly by those of us in the United States because they are filled with golfers we don't know and take place in the middle of the night. This was a big one for Fowler with a monstrous field to boot.

McIlroy and Stenson finished 14-uunder tied for third.

Spieth finished tied for fifth at 11-under.

Spieth, Jason Day, McIlroy and Fowler are expected to be the top four in the world later today when the newest World Golf Rankings are released.

Mets Bring Back Cespedes

 width=The Mets have agreed to terms with free-agent outfielder Yoenis Cespedes on a three-year contract, Jon Heyman reports. The deal, pending a physical, includes an opt-out after year one, per Heyman. Fox's Ken Rosenthal adds that the contract is worth a total of $75 million. For 2016, Cespedes will reportedly make $27.5 million. The opt-out, of course, would allow him to re-enter the free agent market next offseason, when the crop of available free agents will be much thinner.

Cespedes, 30, is coming off a 2015 campaign in which he batted .291/.328/.542 with 35 homers for the Tigers and Mets. He also won his first career Gold Glove this past season. For his career, Cespedes has put up a 122 OPS+ at the plate across parts of four major-league seasons while averaging 30 homers and 35 doubles per 162 games played. Cespedes was originally signed by the Athletics in 2012 as a high-profile free agent out of Cuba.

The Mets of course acquired Cespedes from Detroit last season prior to the non-waiver trade deadline. Down the stretch he batted .287/.337/.604 with 17 home runs in 57 games. Cespedes wasn't productive during the Mets' postseason run to the World Series, but he did hit two home runs in the playoffs.

Bulls Win In Lue's Debut For Cleveland Saturday

 width=Tyronn Lue didn't make much of a difference in his coaching debut for Cleveland as Pau Gasol scored 25 points, leading the Chicago Bulls to a 96-83 win over the Cavaliers on Saturday night.

Lue was promoted Friday, when the Cavaliers fired David Blatt despite him taking the team to the NBA Finals last season and currently leading the Eastern Conference. The coaching swap didn't have any immediate impact on the Bulls, who outhustled the Cavs to loose balls and won for just the third time in nine games.

Jimmy Butler scored 20 points, Nikola Mirotic added 17 and Taj Gibson 15 for Chicago, which opened a 17-point lead in the third quarter and never let the Cavs get closer than eight in the fourth.

LeBron James just missed his first triple-double this season, finishing with 26 points, 13 rebounds and nine assists. J.R. Smith added 18 points.

Carolina, Denver To Meet in Super Bowl 50

>>Carolina Blasts Arizona To Advance To Super Bowl

Cam Newton threw for two touchdowns and ran for two others leading the Carolina Panthers into the big game with a 49-15 rout of Arizona for the NFC championship.

Carolina's big-play defense stifled Arizona's top-ranked offense by picking off Carson Palmer four times, forcing two fumbles by him, and never let up the assault.

Special teams also had a takeaway, and when Carolina grabbed a 24-7 halftime lead this time, it didn't back off, as it did in nearly blowing a 31-point margin a week ago vs. Seattle.

When Newton flew into the end zone for a 12-yard third-quarter touchdown, he posed like a superhero, dabbed a bit, and pointed the Panthers toward the Bay Area.

Newton finished with 335 yards passing and 47 rushing as Carolina won its 13th straight home game, including three in the playoffs.

 width=One of his biggest helpers was Ted Ginn Jr., who was dumped by the Cardinals after last season. Ginn had a 32-yard punt return to set up his weaving 22-yard TD run, and chased down All-Pro cornerback Patrick Peterson to prevent a second-quarter touchdown. He also had 52 yards on two receptions.

Carolina's defense did the rest, most notably making Palmer uncomfortable in the pocket and turning Larry Fitzgerald, the star of last week's overtime victory against Green Bay, into a virtual non-entity. It led the league with 39 takeaways, and at times it made an Arizona team that gained more yards than anyone look amateurish.

The Cardinals put together a 79-yard scoring drive on which David Johnson starred after an ignominious start. He was plastered by All-Pro linebacker Thomas Davis for a 6-yard loss on the first play of the series, then came back to gain 25 yards, including a 1-yard TD dive.

Davis, who already had six tackles, left with a broken right forearm during that drive.

Jonathan Stewart ran for 17 and 23 yards

>>Broncos Hold On To Beat Brady, Pats

The strangest season of Peyton Manning's Hall of Fame-ready career will play itself out all the way to the last game. Manning and the Denver Broncos are heading to the Super Bowl, thanks to his efficient offense and a big-play defense that saved a 20-18 victory over Tom Brady and the New England Patriots on Sunday.

Manning's fourth trip to the Super Bowl wasn't wrapped up until cornerback Bradley Roby picked off Brady's pass on a 2-point attempt that would have tied it with 12 seconds left.

Brady hit a double-covered Rob Gronkowski in the back of the end zone on fourth down from the 4 to set up the potential tie. The Patriots had to go for 2 because Stephen Gostkowski pushed an extra point to the right in the first quarter - his first miss in 524 tries.

That left it to one play, and after the Broncos took a timeout to give DeMarcus Ware time to rest and get back in the game, Aqib Talib stepped in front of Brady's pass and deflected it skyward.

Roby, who forced the game-changing fumble in last week's victory over Pittsburgh, made the pick. The Broncos recovered the onside kick and the celebration began.

Von Miller finished with 2 1/2 sacks and an interception. The Broncos harassed Brady into a 27-for-56 day for 310 yards and two picks.

After giving it up twice on downs inside the Denver 20 late in the fourth quarter, Brady lobbed a 40-yard pass to a double-covered Gronkowski on fourth-and-10 to keep the late TD drive going.

But the Broncos barely held on, and the franchise is now headed to its eighth Super Bowl. The last trip was ugly - a 43-8 loss to Seattle two years ago.

His 17-for-32 performance Sunday was not Vintage Manning. But 17 completions were enough, and the two most important were touchdowns to Owen Daniels, the tight end who has played his whole career with Kubiak.

Gronkowski finished with eight catches for 144 yards and the big touchdown late.

Crawford, Blackhawks Blank Red Hot Blues

 width=Corey Crawford stopped 25 shots for his league-leading seventh shutout, rookie Artemi Panarin and Andrew Shaw scored and the Chicago Blackhawks beat the St. Louis Blues 2-0 on Sunday night to end a two-game losing streak.

Crawford wasn't consistently tested while earning his 19th career shutout. The defending Stanley Cup champion Blackhawks rebounded from listless road losses at Tampa Bay and Florida that followed a franchise-record 12-game winning streak.

St. Louis's Brian Elliott made 23 saves in his eighth straight start since taking over for Jake Allen, who suffered a lower-body injury on Jan. 8. Elliott is 5-2-2 since entering in the second period of that game against the Ducks.

The Blues lost their second straight since ending a three-game winning streak and are 5-2-1 in their past eight. They lost Friday night 2-1 in a shootout in Colorado.

Illinois State Tops Northern Iowa Saturday

 width=MiKyle McIntosh scored 18 points, Paris Lee had 16 and Illinois State pulled away early in the second half for a 76-67 victory over Northern Iowa on Saturday.

Justin McCloud added 15 points on 5-of-6 shooting from 3-point range for the Redbirds (11-10, 5-3 Missouri Valley), who have won consecutive games since snapping a three-game skid.

Wes Washpun scored 23 points and had six assists to lead Northern Iowa (10-11, 2-6), which has lost four straight. Paul Jesperson had 15 points, and Matt Bohannon 13 points and five assists.

Washpun scored five points to open the second half and pull the Panthers to a 43-all tie. McIntosh and Lee made back-to-back 3s, sparking a 17-6 surge and the Redbirds led 60-49 with eight minutes left. Illinois State had a double-digit lead until Bohannon made a 3-pointer to end it.

Illini Use Big Surge in Overtime To Beat Minnesota Saturday

 width=Malcolm Hill had 28 points and 10 rebounds to lead a late surge by Illinois to beat Minnesota 76-71 in overtime on Saturday night, ending an eight-game losing streak on the road for the Fighting Illini.

Maverick Morgan added 14 points, Kendrick Nunn scored 13 points and Michael Finke grabbed 16 rebounds for the Illini (10-10, 2-5 Big Ten), who used a 16-0 run that started with 2:03 left in regulation to take over the game.

Joey King had 20 points and Nate Mason added 19 points for the Golden Gophers (6-14, 0-8), who lost their ninth straight game. They tied a program record with 36 attempts from 3-point range, making 11.

Jordan Murphy, who had 12 points and 10 rebounds, made a layup with 4:03 left to give the Gophers a 59-55 lead.

Clinton Police Weekend Report

CITATION 01/24/16




DeWitt County Sheriff's Weekend Report

Jail Population: 23

Paper Services: 10

Warrants: 0

Lacie Riley, 23, Decatur was issued a Citation for Speeding 79 MPH in a 55 MPH Zone. Riley was issued a Promise to Comply and was released.

Adelaida Bustamante, 20, Metamora was issued a Citation for Speeding 77 MPH in a 55 MPH Zone. Bustamante was issued a Promise to Comply and was released.

Kalin Durbin, 27, Bloomington was issued a Citation for Speeding 73 MPH in a 55 MPH Zone. Durbin was issued a Promise to Comply and was released.

Cait;in Husted, 22, Metamora was issued a Citation for Speeding 74 MPH in a 55 MPH Zone. Husted was issued a Promise to Comply and was released.

Raymond Dyer, 46, Sullivan was issued a Citation for Speeding 80 MPH in a 55 MPH Zone. Dyer was issued a Promise to Comply and was released.

Angela Schmahl, 47, Decatur was issued a Citation for Speeding 82 MPH in a 55 MPH Zone. Schmahl was issued a Notice to Appear and was released.

Maurice Randle Jr, 22, Bloomingdale was issued a Citation for Speeding 80 MPH in a 65 MPH Zone. Randle was issued a Promise to Comply and was released.

Rachel Hull, 29, Mt.Zion was issued a Citation for Speeding 78 MPH in a 55 MPH Zone. Hull was issued a Promise to Comply and was released.

John Russell, 63, Decatur was issued a Citation for Speeding 73 MPH in a 55 MPH Zone. Russell was issued a Promise to Comply and was released.



Medical Pot Advocates Approve 'The 8' Campaign

Illinois is facing a teacher shortage.


With an improving economy many college graduates with an education degree are moving into the private sector where demand is growing for people with degrees in math, science and agriculture. According to Jeff Vose, President of the Regional Superintendents of Schools, fewer young people are seeking a career in education.


Vose says critical areas of shortage are in math, science, agriculture and special education, especially in smaller, rural districts.


In Illinois, over three hundred school districts offer vocational agriculture and with turnover and retirement the state needs up to fifty new ag teacher a year, but between the four Illinois Universities training ag teachers, only a dozen or so new teachers graduate each year.

Kathy Navotney is a program advisor for Facilitating Coordination in Ag Education


And many of the ag education graduates go into agribusiness instead of teaching, making the shortage event worse.


The state is looking at ways to incentivize students to go into education careers, but resources are very limited due to the state’s budget woes.

Medical Cannibas Testimonial

Before she had access to legal medical cannabis she could barely brush her teeth.


Sarah Wright, a 61-year-old from Rock Falls, Illinois, says she tried opiates to get relief from severe fibromyalgia -- a condition that causes constant severe pain flare ups -- but it was when she was approved and began to use medical cannabis that she found real relief.


Wright says if the program were to end, as it’s set to sunset in about 2 years, she would leave Illinois for a state where she could get cannabis legally. Wright joins others across the state urging the governor to approve 8 other conditions to the list of ailments people suffer from to get legal access to medical cannabis.

Clinton Maroons Fall to Tuscola

The Clinton Maroons fell to Tuscola by a score of 65-54 on Friday night. The Maroons were led by junior Peyton McCubbin with 27 points.

Tuscola was led by Bates with 30 points.

With the loss the Maroons fall to 7-12 overall and 2-2 in the Central Illinois Conference.

Tune in Tuesday, January 26, as the Maroons take on Tolono Unity. You can hear the game live on The Big 1520 AM/92.3 FM WHOW and online at dewittdailynews.com.

Medical Pot Advocates Approve 'The 8' Campaign

A poll released this week by a coalition of medical cannabis supporters shows majority support to expand the pilot program to include more conditions.

Caprice Sweatt, founder and CEO of Medical Cannabis Outreach, says the poll indicates 80 percent of Illinois voters believe in the pilot program while nearly 70 percent think the program should be expanded. Sweatt says those aren’t the only statistics to look at. She says people are turning to medical cannabis because of the negative impacts of pharmaceuticals.

[audio:1241675051-MEDCAN2.mp3] [/audio]

Sweatt says the Approve the 8 campaign to urge Illinois’ governor to give the green light to 8 conditions like PTSD, irritable bowel syndrome and others, has over 18,000 signatures.

Medical Cannibas Testimonial

Before she had access to legal medical cannabis she could barely brush her teeth.

Sarah Wright, a 61-year-old from Rock Falls, Illinois, says she tried opiates to get relief from severe fibromyalgia -- a condition that causes constant severe pain flare ups -- but it was when she was approved and began to use medical cannabis that she found real relief.

[audio:1241675051-MEDCAN1.mp3] [/audio]

Wright says if the program were to end, as it’s set to sunset in about 2 years, she would leave Illinois for a state where she could get cannabis legally. Wright joins others across the state urging the governor to approve 8 other conditions to the list of ailments people suffer from to get legal access to medical cannabis.

Illinois Faces Teacher Shortage

Illinois is facing a teacher shortage.

With an improving economy many college graduates with an education degree are moving into the private sector where demand is growing for people with degrees in math, science and agriculture. According to Jeff Vose, President of the Regional Superintendents of Schools, fewer young people are seeking a career in education.

[audio:1241675257-Teacher1.mp3] [/audio]

Vose says critical areas of shortage are in math, science, agriculture and special education, especially in smaller, rural districts.

In Illinois, over three hundred school districts offer vocational agriculture and with turnover and retirement the state needs up to fifty new ag teacher a year, but between the four Illinois Universities training ag teachers, only a dozen or so new teachers graduate each year.

Kathy Navotney is a program advisor for Facilitating Coordination in Ag Education

[audio:1241675258-Teacher2.mp3] [/audio]

And many of the ag education graduates go into agribusiness instead of teaching, making the shortage event worse.

The state is looking at ways to incentivize students to go into education careers, but resources are very limited due to the state’s budget woes.

Governor Introduces Program For Minority Entrepreneurs








Governor Introduces Program For Minority Entrepreneurs



[audio:1231695152-entrepreneur1.mp3] [/audio]


[audio:1231695153-entrepreneur2.mp3] [/audio]


La Nina Could Make An Appearance This Summer



[audio:1231695350-warmdry1.mp3] [/audio]


[audio:1231695352-warmdry2.mp3] [/audio]


Governor Defends Bond Sale

Governor Bruce Rauner is defending a recent bond sale he initiated after a report from a state university says the state received millions less than it could have because of the state’s poor financial status.

A report from the University of Illinois’ Institute of Government and Public Affairs released this week says Illinois’ poor financial condition was one reason the state got $53 million less from last week's bond sale than it would have gotten from a similar sale 10 years ago. Governor Rauner defended the bond sale earlier this week saying he hears a different message from the market.

[audio:1221681730-BONDS1.mp3] [/audio]

Critics of bond sales at the Cato Institute have said that governments should fund programs, even big capital projects, with current funds, not putting future generations into debt through bond sales. IGPA’s report says the estimated financial condition penalty could grow to more than $400 million per year when future capital needs are included.

Report Says Future Infrastructure Costs Will Put Illinois Further In Debt

It’s called a financial condition penalty and the Institute for Government and Public Affairs at the University of Illinois says that’s why Illinois brought in over $50 million less in a recent bond sale than it could have 10 years ago.

Governor Bruce Rauner defended last week's $480 million bond sale and said the bonds for infrastructure were appropriate.

[audio:1221681730-BONDS2a.mp3] [/audio]

Chris Edwards, an economist at the Cato Institute, is critical of bonds. He says regardless of what the project is, future taxpayers should not be put into debt.

[audio:1221681731-BONDS2b.mp3] [/audio]

Meanwhile IGPA says Illinois will need to issue much more annual debt than in the past to address its growing infrastructure needs.

Signs of Inching Forward On Pension Reform

There's movement on pension reform but how much remains to be seen. Governor Rauner and GOP legislative leaders are supporting elements of a pension reform plan being offered by Senate President John Cullerton.

Rauner says he favors a premise from Cullerton providing state workers the option of having future raises go towards their pensions or receiving cost of living increases when they retire.

Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno is happy to move forward, even if it falls short of a solution to the state's pension debt.

[audio:1221681733-radognopension.mp3] [/audio]

Rauner wants any pension reforms to remove the debate over wages from collective bargaining with public employees. Cullerton does not support that.

Miller Park Zoo To Host Informational Meeting For Potential Volunteers

A local zoo is giving area residents an opportunity to learn more about what it would be like to volunteer with them.

The Miller Park Zoo in Bloomington is giving anyone who might be interested in volunteering with the zoo to get more information. Jay Tetzloff is the Zoo's Superintendent, he says they are seeking anyone with a variety of skill sets.

[audio:1221681726-12216zoovol1.mp3] [/audio]

To be a part of the volunteer base, Tetzloff says they are seeking adult volunteers, so you have to be at least 18 years old. He notes being a volunteer is different from their junior zookeeper program.

[audio:1221681729-12216zoovol2.mp3] [/audio]

There will be a couple informational meetings coming up this weekend and next week. They are this Saturday at 11 am and then Monday evening at 6 pm.

The meetings are non-binding and for informational purposes.

For more information contact the Silvia Schuh at the zoo at 309-434-2250 or sschuh.mzoo@gmail.com.

DeWitt County's New Animal Shelter Completion Is Near

 width=The completion of a new DeWitt County Animal Shelter is in sight.

That's the message from the Chair of the DeWitt County Board's Public Safety Committee, Cris Rogers (right). Thursday night at the DeWitt County Board meeting Rogers outlined where the progress of the shelter stands and what is left to be done.

[audio:1211690642-12216shelterupdate1.mp3] [/audio]

DeWitt County's pet adoption group, Second Chance for Pets is going to play a role in the completion of the new shelter. According to Rogers, they've agreed to furnish an adoption area for the pets that come to the shelter that need homes and to purchase a washer and dryer for the facility.

[audio:1211690644-12216shelterupdate2.mp3] [/audio]

Additionally Thursday night, the DeWitt County Board also approved an increase in the rabies registration fees.

Kentucky Beats Arkansas

 width=John Calipari is admittedly still searching for the identity of this revamped Kentucky team.

The No. 23 Wildcats coach looked down the roster for an answer following a second early season Southeastern Conference loss at Auburn last week, and he was more than pleased with what he found in an 80-66 win over Arkansas on Thursday night.

With junior Derek Willis making only his second start of the season and Tyler Ulis performing at his usual lofty level, Kentucky (14-4, 4-2) put together a nearly wire-to-wire victory - putting the Auburn loss behind it in the process.

Ulis had 24 points to lead four Wildcats in double figures, but it was Willis who provided the stability Calipari has been looking for while finishing with 12 points on 5-of-8 shooting.

He also added seven rebounds, and Jamal Murray had 19 points and Skal Labissiere 11 in Calipari's search for the chemistry that led to last year's Final Four appearance.

Dusty Hannahs had 20 points to lead the Razorbacks (9-9, 3-3). Anthlon Bell had 16 and Moses Kingsley 13, but Arkansas was unable to recover following a barrage of early putback dunks by the Wildcats and never solved the Kentucky defense.

Curry, Kobe Highlight All-Star Teams

 width=It's official: Kobe Bryant and nine other big names will start in the 2016 All-Star Game in Toronto on Feb. 14. The NBA announced the results of fan voting on Thursday on TNT.

The big surprise for the East squad was likely Toronto Raptors guard Kyle Lowry. He'll be joined by LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Paul George and Carmelo Anthony.

For the West, Bryant is joined by Warriors' guard Steph Curry, Russell Westbrook, and Kawhi Leonard of the San Antonio Spurs.

MLB Commissioner Says DH Could Be In NL As Early As 2017

Major League Baseball is holding owners meetings this week, so we'll hear of a few newsworthy items on occasion, such as the trade deadline moving back a whopping 24 hours.

But Commissioner Rob Manfred told reports the National League could go to the designated hitter by the 2017 season.

 width=Given the year-long interleague play, concern by some over pitcher injuries and how bad the NL pitchers in general are at hitting (note that naming an outlier like Madison Bumgarner doesn't change the overall horrifying .133/.160/.171 batting line posted by hurlers last season), it's not all too surprising to see this discussion.

Where it might take some aback would be that it might happen as early as next season.

>>MLB Moves Non-Waiver Trade Deadline To August 1

Thanks to more competitive balance and the addition of the second wild card, Major League Baseball has discussed moving the annual non-waiver trade deadline from the long-standing July 31 date.

And for 2016, it will be moved back. All the way back to Aug. 1. The move doesn't have anything to do with the aforementioned reasons. According to the Associated Press, it's to avoid the litany of day games on July 31, since it lands on a Sunday this year.

MLB last pushed the deadline back in time for the 1986 season. Prior to that, the deadline was June 15.

Championship Weekend in NFL

>>Brady, Manning Square Off Again

After splitting their four postseason meetings, Sunday's AFC Championship game between Tom Brady's Patriots and Peyton Manning's Broncos in Denver could be the last head-to-head matchup between these future Hall of Famers.

 width=Brady is 11-5 against his friend, but Manning, who turns 40 in March, has won the last two in the postseason - both in conference championships on his home field. The most recent came two years ago this week, a 26-16 victory in Denver as Manning threw for 400 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. Brady went for 277 with a TD in the air and one on the ground in the fourth quarter, but the Broncos held the Patriots to 320 total yards.

While this potential swan song between the two greats provides a made-for-television storyline, the outcome could be decided by how well Denver's top-ranked defense can stop Brady and offense that averaged an AFC-high 29.1 points.

Denver scored 17 points in the fourth to force overtime and Anderson rumbled for 48 of his season-high 113 rushing yards on the winning score.

>>Palmer, Newton Playing in First Championship Weekend

Sunday night's NFC Championship game will be the first-ever meeting between Heisman Trophy-winning quarterbacks in the playoffs, with the winner carrying his franchise to its second Super Bowl appearance.

Carson Palmer won all six of his starts for the Cardinals in 2014 but missed three games early in the season with a right shoulder injury and the final part after tearing his ACL. Arizona limped into the playoffs at 11-5 before the 7-8-1 Panthers held the Cardinals to a playoff-record low 78 total yards in a 27-16 victory.

Playing in all 16 regular-season games this time, Palmer finished with career highs of 35 touchdown passes and a 104.6 passer rating in guiding Arizona (14-3) to a league-high 408.3 yards per game and the NFC West title. He tossed three TDs in last week's wild 26-20 divisional playoff win over Green Bay, and hit Larry Fitzgerald on a 75-yard catch-and-run to set up a shovel pass to Fitzgerald that won it three plays into overtime.

Carolina (16-1) has become a different team with the emergence of Newton. The Panthers, often known for their defense under coach Ron Rivera, averaged an NFL-high 31.3 points to rank just ahead of Arizona's 30.6.

Newton became the first quarterback in NFL history to throw 35 touchdown passes and run for 10, and along with Palmer will garner plenty of MVP votes. Newton, the 2010 Heisman winner at Auburn, threw for 161 yards and a touchdown in last week's 31-24 win over Seattle.

Arizona blitzes more than any team in the league, and it likely will try to put Newton under pressure from the start even though Carolina's QB threw a league-high 18 TDs in blitz situations this season.

Rams Fans Sue

The Rams are facing two lawsuits stemming from their relocation to Los Angeles, which became official on Jan. 12.

 width=In one lawsuit, several fans allege that the team violated Missouri's Merchandising Practices Act, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The lawsuit was filed because fans claim that the Rams acted with "deception, fraud, false pretense, false promise," in regards to their move.

The four fans who filed the lawsuit are hoping to win a settlement that would force the Rams to reimburse anyone who bought team merchandise between 2000 and 2015. The four fans say their allegation of "deception" and "fraud" is justified because Rams owner Stan Kroenke promised on multiple occasions to keep the team in St. Louis.

The other lawsuit against the team was filed by personal seat license (PSL) holders in St. Louis. The attorney who filed that suit, David Bohm, says that the PSL agreements signed by his clients gave them the "the right to purchase season tickets for the assigned seats for each and every football season through the year 2025."

According to Bohm, the agreement didn't say anything about the PSL being in St. Louis or Los Angeles. A PSL in St. Louis would presumably be much cheaper than a PSL in L.A., and if St. Louis fans were able to keep their PSLs at the lower St. Louis rate, they could sell it for more or keep it or transfer it.

Lightning End Blackhawks 12 Game Win Streak

 width=Nikita Kucherov snapped a second-period tie with his 20th goal and the streaking Tampa Bay Lightning ended Chicago's franchise-record 12-game winning streak with a 2-1 win victory over the defending Stanley Cup champions on Thursday night.

The win was the seventh straight for the Lightning - one shy of a team record - and gave the defending Eastern Conference champs a split of the season series with the Blackhawks, who won last year's Stanley Cup final against Tampa Bay in six games.

Ben Bishop had 17 saves as the Blackhawks were held to a season-low 18 shots. Corey Crawford stopped 31 shots to keep the Blackhawks in the game, but it wasn't enough to extend a career-best nine-game winning streak for the Chicago goaltender.

Anton Stralman scored in the first period and Victor Hedman had two assists for the Lightning. Artem Anisimov scored Chicago's lone goal in the opening minute of the game.

House Fire in Kenney Thursday Night

A house fire in Kenney resulted in damage to the second floor of a two story home.

The Kenney Fire Department was called to the 200th block of Henderson Street in Kenney to reports of a house fire around 7 pm Thursday night.

Kenney Fire Chief Earl Jiles indicates there was a fire on the second story resulting in heavy fire and smoke damage but did not believe the structure was a total loss. He also indicates the lower floor received water damage.

He could not give a cause until the State Fire Marshall released their findings. The Fire Marshall was at the home this morning.

Crews from Clinton, Wapella, and Maroa were on scene until approximately 10 pm Thursday.

Chestnut Fire Protection District was called to man the Kenney Fire Station.

Chief Jiles says they were fortunate temperatures were not nearly as cold as we've seen in the last few weeks but he says the cold was definitely still a factor in fighting the fire.

He indicates they rotated their crews in and out to keep them warm. The American Red Cross was also on scene to aid in the care of the firefighters and provide assistance to the impacted family.

DeWitt County Sheriff's Report For Jan. 22

Jail Population: 24

Paper Services: 1

Warrants: 0

Trina White, 36, Decatur was arrested and charged with Driving on Suspended License.  White, being un-able to post the necessary bond remains lodged in the DeWitt County Jail.



Clinton High Honor Roll Recipients Named For 2nd Quarter










Clinton High School A-Honor Roll Announced For 2nd Quarter









 width=BENZ, DYLAN J.

Clinton High School B-Honor Roll Announced For 2nd Quarter










Monticello Uses Second Quarter Burst To Down Maroa-Forsyth

The Monticello Sages outscored Maroa-Forsyth 24-11 in the second quarter and never looked back in a 76-45 route Friday night from Maroa-Forsyth High School.

 width=Despite persistent, physical defense, Zach Fisher scored 27 points leading the Sages to their fourth straight win following a three game losing streak.

Calvin Fisher added 13 points and eight rebounds, and the Sages dominated the glass with a 33-21 advantage.

The Sages also turned 18 Trojan turnovers into 27 points and had a commanding 21-7 advantage in second chance points.

Adreon Brody led the Trojans with 15 points and scored just five after halftime. Parker Barrett added 11, all in the first half as Maroa-Forsyth was outscored 34-21 i n the second half.

The Sages improve to 11-4 overall and 2-1 in the Okaw Valley. Maroa-Forsyth is 8-9 overall and 0-3 Okaw Valley play.

The Sages are back in action Saturday night taking on Meridian. After a game at Warrensburg-Latham next Tuesday, WEZC rejoins the Sages for a home game against Champaign St. Thomas More at 7:30 pm next Friday night.

Could Ameren Customers Be Getting A Refund?

A utility watchdog group is encouraging people to sign an online petition asking federal regulators to order refunds for customers of Ameren Illinois.

The Citizens Utility Board is basing its request on a revision order last month by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to reform an electricity auction that led to a 30 percent price spike in Ameren supply price for central and southern Illinois customers, that went into effect June 1st.

There are two parts to electric bills, delivery and supply. CUB spokesman Jim Chilsen explains this refund involves the supply part of the bill.

[audio:1211680920-amerenrefund1.mp3] [/audio]

Chilsen notes Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, the Citizens’
Utility board and thousands of concerned CUB Action Network members urged the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to investigate and reform the market.

[audio:1211680921-amerenrefund2.mp3] [/audio]

Rates would not apply to customers who are a part of an electric aggregation program. If a refund is ordered, it would be retroactively effective to May 28th, 2015. To sign the petition, you can go online at www.stopillinoisratehikes.org.

Illinois Future Caucus Formed

Congress has No Labels. The Illinois General Assembly now has the Illinois Future Caucus.

Republican Tom Demmer is one of its founding members. The idea is to bring together Democrats and Republicans who are willing to find common ground from which to start building a consensus around legislation.

[audio:1211680924-DemmerA.mp3] [/audio]

Demmer says it’s possible and necessary for people with different views of a problem to get together and work out a solution.

[audio:1211680925-DemmerB.mp3] [/audio]

Demmer and Chicago Democrat Will Guzzardi announced the caucus’s formation last week. Future Caucus is aware that younger people are more likely to cross party lines so Demmer and other young legislators have come together in the caucus. Many younger voters identify with libertarian policies, although they don’t necessarily adhere as strictly as Libertarian Party members.

Municipal League Says Joint Purchasing Agreements Have Few Downsides

The state could be partnering more with local governments to find cost savings for taxpayers, according to the Illinois Municipal League.

IML Executive Director Brad Cole says the state currently has a program to join with local governments to purchase things like police squad cars, but they could do more to partner with local governments.

[audio:1211680926-IMLPROCURE2a.mp3] [/audio]

Cole says there are also regional procurement agreements the state could join. Meanwhile Cole says there is one downside to Joint Purchasing Agreements -- overlooking local products or services.

[audio:1211680927-IMLPROCURE2b.mp3] [/audio]

Governor Bruce Rauner said last week he hopes to find more savings through quote “rethinking how government buys things.”

Municipal League Says State Can Do More With Joint Purchasing Agreements

As the governor resolves to find more savings for taxpayers by quote “rethinking how government purchases things,” a group representing local governments says efforts are already underway.

They’re called Joint Purchasing Agreements and Illinois Municipal League Executive Director Brad Cole says they’re a great way for local governments to find taxpayers cost savings by banding together to get discounts for a variety of things.

[audio:1211680925-IMLPROCURE1a.mp3] [/audio]

Cole says the state could partner with local governments to find even bigger cost savings.

[audio:1211680926-IMLPROCURE1b.mp3] [/audio]

However, Cole says there is one downside. That’s the possibility of overlooking local services and vendors for bigger savings in the long run.

Sen. Brady Says Smaller Schools Hurt Most By MAP Problems

The University of Illinois is going to survive without a full slate of MAP grant funding this semester. But the same can't be guaranteed for community colleges or some of the state's smaller universities.

State Senator Bill Brady says lawmakers need to realize who is being hurt by the lack of college aide.

[audio:1211680922-BRADY1.mp3] [/audio]

Western Illinois University is looking to eliminate about 50 jobs, Eastern Illinois University is looking at 30 job cuts.

[audio:1211680923-BRADY2.mp3] [/audio]

State Senator Bill Brady says it's the smaller schools in the state, Eastern Illinois and Western Illinois, and community colleges that will suffer from a lack of MAP grants.

Retirement Preparation Tips from Social Security

According to Social Security, the first few months of the year is the hot time to retire.

Kevin Rice with Social Security says when you are considering retirement to remember age 62 is the first time you can start to receive social security benefits.

[audio:1211680915-12116retiretips1.mp3] [/audio]

Full retirment is age 66 for most and Rice says there will be no deductions in your benefits and there is no restrictions in earnings.

[audio:1211680917-12116retiretips2.mp3] [/audio]

Prior to full retirement age, there is a limit to what you can earn. He says this year's rates have been set.

[audio:1211680919-12116retiretips3.mp3] [/audio]

Rice says the scenarios can get confusing, but encourages giving your local social security office a call to find out how they all impact you.

You can also visit www.socialsecurity.gov for any information regarding retirement and social security.

Clinton Superintendent Lays Out Goals For Strategic Plan

 width=The leader of the Clinton School district has laid out the goals he would like to set for the upcoming five years in the Clinton district.

After meeting with the community and his staff, Superintendent Curt Nettles says he has taken things he heard from all those people and turned it into a rough draft of sorts, for their strategic plan. He says the plan starts with academic opportunities for their students.

[audio:1211680906-12116clintonplan1.mp3] [/audio]

A focus on teachers will be a big aspect to the plan for Nettles. He wants to focus on professional development for their staff but also to focus on a positive and healthy environment.

[audio:1211680909-12116clintonplan2.mp3] [/audio]

Part of the plan will include what happens in the event the Clinton Nuclear Power Plant were to close down. Nettles hopes to put together what that would look like for Clinton Schools. He says the hope is the power plant can remain viable and an integral part of the community.

[audio:1211680911-12116clintonplan3.mp3] [/audio]

Facilities will be one of the four pillars of the plan. According to Nettles, they'll evaluate everything from contingencies for their current facilities to their sports complex.

[audio:1211680913-12116clintonplan4.mp3] [/audio]

According to Nettles, his next goal in the planning process is to provide more evaluation and details about the goals he's set. He hopes to have the plan finalized at the February board meeting.

Spieth, McIlroy, Day Among Early Favorites At 2016 Masters

 width=We're only a couple of weeks into the 2016 golf year, but the Masters is just around the corner. Here are some way too early notable numbers for golf's stars at the Masters via Bovada.

Jordan Spieth tops the list at 5 to 1 odds followed by Rory McIlroy at 6 to 1 and Jason Day at 7 to 1.

Two time Masters champ Bubba Watson has 14 to 1 odds. The talented Dustin Johnson has 16 to 1 odds to win this year's Masters while fan favorite Rickie Fowler sits at 20 to 1 odds.

Other notables include Phil Mickelson at 25 to 1. The same odds as Green Jacket winner Adam Scott.

Tiger Woods hasa surprising 33 to 1 odds to win this year's Masters.

Rams Value Doubles After Announced Move To Los Angeles

Rams owner Stan Kroenke will never come out and say it, but a big reason he moved his team to Los Angeles is because there's almost no ceiling to the amount of profits Kroenke will be able to make there.

 width=The Rams owner will basically be able to print his own money once his $1.86 billion stadium complex is up and running in Inglewood, California.

Although the stadium isn't expected to be finished until 2019, that doesn't mean Kroenke won't see any immediate financial benefits from his team's move to L.A.

Take the Rams' valuation, for instance. According to Michael Ozanian, the executive editor for Forbes, the franchise is already worth a lot more money, thanks to the move.

Michael Ozanian, the executive editor for Forbes, told the Washington Post this week quote-"It doubles the value of the team."

That means the Rams' value shot up from $1.45 billion to $2.9 billion the minute the NFL made the move official. That also means the Rams are now the third-most valuable team in the NFL, behind only the Cowboys ($4 billion) and Patriots ($3.2 billion).

When Forbes released its annual rankings of most valuable NFL franchises back in September, the Rams were ranked 28th.

 width=>>Knicks are NBA's Most Valuable Franchise

The New York Knicks are the most valuable team in the NBA and fourth among all US sports franchises, according to Forbes. They are worth a whopping $3 billion after signing a new local television deal.

Rounding out the top five are the Chicago Bulls ($2.3 billion), Boston Celtics ($2.1 billion) and Los Angeles Clippers ($2 billion). Thirteen teams are worth at least $1 billion, up from just three two years ago.

The last two seasons rank among the three worst in Lakers history, and the 2015-16 season, which doubles as Kobe Bryant's retirement tour, is shaping up even worse. Even so, the Lakers are the NBA's most profitable team thanks to the club's 20-year, $3.6 billion deal with Time Warner Cable's SportsNet LA. The Lakers are now worth $2.7 billion.

Blues Grind Out Win Over Red Wings

 width=Brian Elliott stopped 29 shots in the St. Louis Blues' latest win, though he didn't face many great chances.

Elliott came within less than 2 1/2 minutes of handing Detroit its first shutout in 69 games, Dmitri Jaskin scored a key third-period goal, and the Blues beat the Red Wings 2-1 Wednesday night.

Henrik Zetterberg spoiled Elliott's shutout bid with 2:13 remaining with a power-play goal through Justin Abdelkader's screen to pull Detroit within one.

Ty Rattie also scored for St. Louis, giving the Blues the lead on a fluky goal late in the first period. Alex Pietrangelo took a shot from the point that was headed wide of the net when it bounced off Rattie's right leg and into the net.

Jaskin's last-second switch from his backhand to his forehand was enough to beat Mrazek.

Warriors Pound Bulls

 width=Stephen Curry scored 25 points, and the Golden State Warriors made it look easy again, beating the Chicago Bulls 125-94 on Wednesday night.

Curry tied a season high with 11 assists and grabbed seven rebounds.

Klay Thompson added 20 points. Harrison Barnes scored 19, and the defending champions simply outclassed Chicago after embarrassing LeBron James and the Cavaliers in Cleveland on Monday night. The Warriors built a big lead in the first quarter and never were threatened after that, improving their league-best road record to 20-4.

Derrick Rose scored 29 and Jimmy Butler added 23 points after a slow start for Chicago. Pau Gasol was a nonfactor with one point and the Bulls missed 19 of 20 3-pointers on the way to their fifth loss in seven games.

Big Ten Baseball Tournament Tickets Go On Sale Friday

 width=All-session tickets for the Big Ten baseball tournament at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha go on sale Friday at 10 a.m.

Fans can buy tickets at Ticketmaster.com or by calling (800) 745-3000. The tournament is May 25-29. The Big Ten's top eight teams will play for the conference's automatic berth to the NCAA tournament.

This will be the second time the tournament is played at TD Ameritrade Park. A Big Ten-record 62,020 fans attended the five-day event in 2014, with an NCAA single-game conference tournament-record 19,965 watching Nebraska and Indiana play in the 2014 title game.

Illinois State Escapes Bradley

 width=Paris Lee scored 16 points, including a 3-pointer to give Illinois State an eight-point lead with 3:37 left, and the Redbirds held on Wednesday night to beat Bradley 55-52 despite missing four free throws in the final 1:17.

DeVaughn Akoon-Purcell added 15 points and Deontae Hawkins grabbed 15 rebounds to help Illinois State (10-10, 4-3 Missouri Valley) snap a three-game losing streak.

Tony Wills missed the front-end of a one-and-one for the Redbirds, who led 52-48 with 1:17 left. Bradley (3-17, 1-6) got as close as 54-52 and had a chance to tie on a 3-point attempt at the buzzer.

The Redbirds led by four at halftime and stretched it to 41-27 with a 14-4 run to open the second.

Ronnie Suggs had 16 points and eight rebounds and Donte Thomas scored 12 to lead the Braves.

 width=>>Nebraska Upsets Michigan State

Shavon Shields scored 28 points, playing through hip pain, and Denzel Valentine missed a shot near the top of the key just before the buzzer to allow Nebraska to hold on for a 72-71 win over No. 11 Michigan State on Wednesday night.

Shields, who left the game with a hip injury in the first half and came back to play after halftime, made a shot to put Nebraska ahead by eight points with 2:31 left.

Nebraska's Glynn Watson scored 13 and Tai Webster had 10 points and missed a free throw with four seconds left that gave the Spartans an opportunity to avoid another loss, but they couldn't make the most of the opportunity.

The Spartans pulled within two with 45.8 seconds to go when Eron Harris made a 3-pointer. Shields made a floater over Valentine on the ensuing possession.

Deyonta Davis had 13 points and seven points for the Spartans, who made just 42 percent of their shots from the field and 12 of 21 at the line.

The Cornhuskers (12-8, 4-3 Big Ten) have won four straight, three on the road. They've also won three straight against the Spartans.

Michigan State (17-4, 3-4) has lost three straight and suddenly looks nothing like the top-ranked team it was earlier in the season.

Community Action Unveils New Facility

 width=The Community Action Partnership of Central Illinois unveiled their new headquarters for DeWitt County.

Located in Cedar Square, the new location is going to open a host of new opportunities for the organization according to their leader. Alison Rumler-Gomez says the new facility sends a message they want to send to the community, and that is they are a presence in the community.

[audio:1211690609-12216capcil1.mp3] [/audio]

Rumler-Gomez calls the new location a "makeover" for the agency. She says they have gone through a lot of changes in the last year and this is just another phase in that transition.

[audio:1211690611-12216capcil2.mp3] [/audio]

The head start program will be housed at the new location every day and Rumler-Gomez notes all of their programs are either income eligibility or age eligibility.

UPDATED: Lady Maroons Fall to the Lady Cardinals

 />As heard on 92.3 FM WHOW and online at dewittdailynews.com, The Clinton Lady Maroons fell to the Warrensburg-Latham Lady Cardinals by a score of 46-42 Thursday night. The Maroons were led by Jr. Jessi Benson with 11 points. Jr. Tori Wilson also chipped in with 10 points and Stephan York Country Financial Player of the Game Fr. Savanna Moore added 7 points.</p>
<p>The Lady Cardinals were led by Tristen Six with 20 points and Anna Bucholz added 10 points.</p>
<p>With the loss, the Lady Maroons fall to 8-12 on the season and 1-4 in the CIC.</p>
<p>The next time the Lady Maroons play in Saturday, January 23rd at 4:30p against Warrensburg-Latham in the CIC tournament at Central A&M.</p>
<p>Our next broadcast will either be the following Monday, January 25th, or Wednesday, January 27th, based on the outcome of the tournament. You can hear the broadcast live on The Big 1520 AM/92.3 FM WHOW and online at dewittdailynews.com.</p>
<p>Girls basketball scores in the CIC last night:</p>
<p>Central A&M 82, Macon Meridian 38 <br />Decatur St. Teresa 60, Tuscola 42 <br />Sullivan 60, Shelbyville 22</p>						</div>

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Heyworth Schools Starting Technology Initiative

A local school district is joining the trend of bringing more technology into their classrooms.

Heyworth schools will begin the process of introducing a more personal approach to the technology in their schools and their leader, Dr. Ty Wolf is very excited about it. He explains the groundwork for the initiative has been laid in recent years.

[audio:1201682517-12016heyworthtech1.mp3] [/audio]

Starting next year, fifth graders and their high school freshman will be getting Chromebooks and Dr. Wolf says this is something he's very excited to get started in their schools.

[audio:1201682519-12016heyworthtech2.mp3] [/audio]

Dr. Wolf believes the initiative isn't about the technology but rather about how the devices will be used. He feels they have a great staff and it will expand on their current offerings.

[audio:1201682523-12016heyworthtech3.mp3] [/audio]

Dr. Wolf indicates they have a committee that is going to engage the community and the school about the initiative and get their input. He says a high priority for them is to make sure their teachers have the resources successfully utilize the technology in their classrooms.

DeWitt County Museum Using Winter Season To Prep For Upcoming Year

 width=There may not be a lot happening at the DeWitt County Museum, but that doesn't mean there is not anything going on.

Foot traffic this time of year is generally slow for the DeWitt County landmark and according to its director, Joey Woolridge, during their traditional open season, they might be a moment away from having to give a tour to a group. She notes that makes it hard to get things done.

[audio:1201682524-12016museumoff1.mp3] [/audio]

Woolridge indicates they are working to redo the wood floors of the mansion. She says they have a unique vantage point not everyone gets to see.

[audio:1201682526-12016museumoff2.mp3] [/audio]

Other than the hardwood floors being redone, Woolridge notes they are still recovering from the candlelight tours from December. She notes a lot of that is done by their board members and other work is done by a group at the high school who volunteers.

[audio:1201682528-12016museumoff3.mp3] [/audio]

The DeWitt County Museum will reopen in April and Woolrdidge indicates she hopes to have some things to display that have yet to be seen by their guests.

McIlroy, Spieth, Fowler Grouped At Abu Dhabi

Phil Mickelson is making his 2016 debut at the CareerBuilder Challenge this week, which is nice. However, the real show will be taking place a 19-hour plane ride away from Palm Desert, California, in Abu Dhabi.

 width=Rickie Fowler, Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy are grouped together for the first round of the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship. That would golfers ranked No. 6, No. 1 and No. 3 in the world, respectively. They will play at 10:40 p.m. on Wednesday and 3:05 a.m. on Friday with action able to be viewed on Golf Channel.

Spieth knows McIlroy is gunning for him in 2016.

Spieth told The Telegraph quote- “I'm sure there are very few players who have been working harder than he is to make this season his best season yet – and that is scary. Hopefully I can prevent that to an extent.”

Throw Fowler in the mix with these two, and we should get some terrific golf throughout the week. Fowler certainly seems to agree.

“It would be fun to kind of get the three of us going and see if we can push each other and all have a good week,” Fowler told Golfweek. "I want to see those guys play well, because I feel it brings out the best in me, and I feel like I can push and motivate them as well.”

Pacers Edge Suns

 width=Monta Ellis scored 20 points, Paul George had 19 and the Indiana Pacers beat the Phoenix Suns 97-94 to end a three-game losing streak.

George added eight rebounds and Myles Turner scored 15 points for Indiana.

The Pacers almost blew a 20-point second-half lead Tuesday night. In the end, the deficit was too large for struggling and short-handed Phoenix to close.

The Suns fought back to trail 95-92 with 3.8 seconds left after an off-balance 3-pointer by Knight, but they didn't have enough time to complete the comeback.

Booker, a rookie out of Kentucky, became the third-youngest player in NBA history at age 19 years and 81 days to record a 30-point game. LeBron James and Kevin Durant are the only two players who were younger than Booker to score 30 in a game, and Booker achieved the highest point total in a game for a rookie in the NBA this season.

George Hill missed his second straight game for personal reasons and Rodney Stuckey missed his fourth straight game due to a sprained right ankle and bone bruise.

Blackhawks Record Franchise Record 12th Straight Win

 width=Patrick Kane had a goal and an assist, and the Chicago Blackhawks beat the Nashville Predators 4-1 Tuesday night for their franchise-record 12th straight win.

Chicago tied the Florida Panthers' recent streak for the longest this season in the NHL. The Blackhawks have four games left before the All-Star break to chase the NHL record of 17 straight wins by the 1992-93 Pittsburgh Penguins.

Rookie forward Richard Panik had a goal and an assist, Artem Anisimov also scored and Artemi Panarin added two assists for Chicago. Andrew Desjardins scored into an empty net.

Corey Crawford won his ninth straight as the Blackhawks took the season series 3-1 with a game remaining against their Central Division rivals.

Indiana Routes Illinois

 width=Troy Williams scored 21 points and Yogi Ferrell finished with 16 points and nine assists Tuesday night, helping No. 25 Indiana blow out Illinois 103-69.

It was a milestone night for Ferrell. The senior guard broke Michael Lewis' career record for assists at 545. He has 553. Ferrell moved within 13 points of passing Eric Anderson for No. 10 on the Hoosiers' career scoring list.

All that came on a night that the Hoosiers (16-3, 6-0 Big Ten) extending their winning streak to 11 and set a school record with 19 3-pointers.

Illinois (9-10, 1-5) was led by Malcolm Hill with 20 points and Kendrick Nunn with 10.

But this one got away in a hurry.

Indiana closed out the first half on a 20-4 run to take a 42-25 lead and opened the second half by making five of its first six shots to seal it.

Maroa-Forsyth Beats Cerro Gordo-Bement

 width=As heard on 95.9 FM WEZC and online at dewittdailynews.com, Brody Adreon scored the first 14 points for Maroa-Forsyth and the Trojans led from wire to wire to beat Cerro Gordo-Bement, 68-41.

Adreon finished with 25 points and Parker Barrett led the Trojans with 26 in non-conference action.

Frankie Foran led CGB with 18 points.

Maroa improves to 8-8 overall. Cerro Gordo-Bement drops to 2-13.

Scores across central Illinois Tuesday night:

Warrensburg-Latham 76
Shelbyville 41

Macon Meridian 53
Sullivan 42

Tuscola 42
Central A&M 49

Illinois State Police Urging Travelers To Slow Down This Morning

The Illinois State Police are urging travelers to use extreme caution this morning, especially if you are going to be utilizing area interstates.

Illinois State Police are reporting multiple cars sliding off the roadways on Interstate 57, Interstate 72 and Interstate 74 as the roads are and exit ramps are mostly snow covered.

They are asking drivers to avoid any unnecessary lane changes and to not utilize cruise control.

Allow extra travel time. Slow down. Buckle up. Move over and slow down
for stopped emergency vehicles. Give the snow plows plenty of room. Use

Governor Resolved To Find More Taxpayer Savings Through Procurement

Governor Bruce Rauner says he’s saved taxpayers hundreds of million in various state agency operations and he’s resolving to find more savings.

Last week when reviewing his past year in office, Governor Bruce Rauner talked about the year ahead saying he will continue to push for economic and political reforms as part of his agenda. However, another change he says he is going to pursue is new ways for government to buy things.

[audio:1201682531-PROCURE1.mp3] [/audio]

Rauner also says he’s saved taxpayers $700 million in various state agencies through streamlining operations, but the state is on course to spend more than $4 billion than it’s expected to bring in because of court orders and consent decrees after lawmakers failed to pass a balanced budget.

While the leading House Democrat said solving the budget deficit is the No. 1 issue, Rauner says the only way to fix the budget shortfall is through economic growth.

Rauner Reiterates Push To Grow Economy As Budget Fix

In year two of his term, Illinois’ governor hopes to find taxpayers cost savings, but says the real fix to the state’s fiscal crisis is growing the economy.

Governor Bruce Rauner Says he’s already saved taxpayers $700 million in state agencies through various efficiency measures.

[audio:1201682532-PROCURE2a.mp3] [/audio]

The governor also says taxpayers could save if government rethought how it purchases things, though he didn’t elaborate. As for making up the budget deficit, the governor says lawmakers should pass pro-growth policies.

[audio:1201682533-PROCURE2b.mp3] [/audio]

Because lawmakers failed to pass a balanced budget, court order and consent decrees have the state on pace to spend $4 billion more than it expects to bring in this fiscal year.

Mild Weather Ahead

After a record mild month of December, the last week has reminded us that winter is still with us.

We have seen a couple night of below zero temperatures, but Eric Schmidt of EJS weather says the cold will be short lived. There may be a little snow in southern Illinois around Thursday but through the end of January the forecast calls for average temperatures and fairly calm weather patterns.

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As we move into February, the jet stream looks to return North and some of that mild December weather could return.

[audio:1201682530-EricS2.mp3] [/audio]

Eric Schmidt of EJS weather.

Most Social Security Business Can Be Handled Online

If you're going to be in the market for the many programs Social Security offers, it is likely whatever your business, it can be taken care of online.

Kevin Rice with Social Security says most of their services are available to you online. He explains their website, socialsecurity.gov, has come a long ways and it updated frequently.

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One of the great tools that Social Security has created in recent years is their retirement estimator. Rice says it can be utilized by anyone at any stage of their professional career.

[audio:1191681723-11916ssonline2.mp3] [/audio]

If you begin receiving social security benefits, Rice says there's just about anything you can do online. He says their online options range from changing banking information for payments to changing your address to finding out what you're benefits are.

[audio:1191681725-11916ssonline3.mp3] [/audio]

Doing things online isn't for everyone and Rice says there's always offices located near you. He says the old fashion way of calling and making an appointment or walking into an office and getting help is always available.

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The website again is www.socialsecurity.gov or to contact a Social Security represenetative, call 800-772-1213.

Maroa-Forsyth Superintendent Frustrated By Recent Proposal At Regional Superintendents Meeting

At a recent meeting of area school leaders in Illinois, one local school leader says he's frustrated after a proposal he heard.

At the latest Regional Superintendents Meeting, Mike Williams, who is the Superintendent of Maroa-Forsyth Schools says a proposal they received is very misleading. According to Williams, the state is proposing redirecting funds from a mandate and diverting them to their general state aid.

[audio:1191681715-11916fundchange1.mp3] [/audio]

Williams says the problem is the state is promoting the change as an increase in the funding to their general state aid, but he calls it "a wash for districts".

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For Williams, his biggest issue with the change is the way it is being presented. He calls it "deceitful" for the state to handle it this way.

[audio:1191681719-11916fundchange3.mp3] [/audio]

Williams say districts will still be able to fund the program but feels the way it is presented, it isn't an increase, it's the combining of two funds.

Clinton Chamber Extends Deadline To Attend Annual Dinner

If you have been deciding on attending the Clinton Chamber of Commerce's annual dinner, the deadline has been extended for you to still do so.

The Clinton Chamber announced yesterday the extension of the deadline to purchase tickets for the Annual Dinner & Auction to Friday, January 22nd.

The Annual Dinner is Saturday, January 30 at The Copper and Brass Room in Clinton.

The meal will be catered by Hilltop Catering. After the business meeting, a live auction will take place, with Lance Schmid of Lance Schmid Auctions offering his talents and immediately after the auction, “Trivia Night Extraordinaire” will begin, featuring Twin City Trivia from Normal.

The Chamber’s Annual Dinner is a fundraising event, with the auction proceeds benefiting not just the Chamber, but the whole community.

To get your tickets or for more information, contact the Chamber 217-935-3364 or 866-4-DeWitt.

Two Top Recruits Flip Commitments To Ohio State

 width=Ohio State had a big recruiting Monday as two of Maryland's top verbal pledges flipped to the Buckeyes. Four-star quarterback Dwayne Haskins (Potomac, Md.) and four-star outside linebacker Keandre Jones (Olney, Md.) both changed their commitments from the Terps to the Buckeyes within an hour of each other on Monday.

Haskins, the top recruit from the state of Maryland, is rated as the third best pro-style quarterback in the country, according to 247Sports. He made his change of commitment public on Monday, though he had already let the Buckeyes know he would be coming to Columbus back in December when he took a visit, according to 247Sports.

Jones was Maryland's third-best recruit, per the 247Sports Composite rankings, and is the ninth-best outside linebacker in the 2016 class. The losses of Haskins and Jones are big blows for new Maryland coach D.J. Durkin, who's 2016 class now has just 10 commits (three four-stars, seven three-stars).

As for Ohio State, the additions of Haskins and Jones were not the only big moves it made Monday.

Coveted four-star wide receiver Binjimen Victor (Pompano Beach, Fla.), solidified a tremendous day for the Buckeyes by committing to Ohio State and pushing them over LSU into the No. 1 spot in the 247Sports Composite team rankings.

Justin Upton, Detroit Tigers Agree To Terms

 width=The Tigers and free agent outfielder Justin Upton have agreed to a six-year contract, reports Bob Nightengale of USA Today. The deal is worth $132.75 million and includes an opt-out after the second year. The Tigers have not yet confirmed the signing.

Upton will step into left field for the Tigers. Detroit currently has J.D. Martinez in right field and an Anthony Gose/Cameron Maybin platoon in center field. Tyler Collins is another outfield candidate.

Last season the 28-year-old Upton hit .251/.336/.454 (121 OPS+) with 26 home runs, 81 RBI, and 19 stolen bases in 150 games for the Padres. He's averaged a .262/.344/.470 (126 OPS+) batting line with 27 homers, 12 steals and 3.5 WAR over the last three years.

Oklahoma No. 1 in Country; Lose on Road To Iowa State

Georges Niang scored 22 points, Monte Morris added 20 and No. 19 Iowa State beat top-ranked Oklahoma 82-77 on Monday night, its first win over a No. 1 team since toppling Wilt Chamberlain's Kansas Jayhawks in 1957.

Morris had a jumper, a key rebound and two free throws in the final 21 seconds for the Cyclones (14-4, 3-3 Big 12), who were actually slight favorites at home.

It was the third time a No. 1 team lost within Iowa's borders this season. Northern Iowa beat North Carolina and Iowa beat Michigan State.

Oklahoma, which moved to No. 1 earlier Monday for the first time in 26 years, didn't go down quietly. Isaiah Cousins hit a 3 with 41 seconds left to tie the game at 75.

But Morris drilled a step-back jumper for the lead, and Abdel Nader's free throws with 3.1 seconds to go put it out of reach.

Buddy Hield scored 27 points and Cousins had a career-high 26 for the Sooners (15-2, 4-2). They could make a case for retaining the top spot with a win Saturday at No. 13 Baylor.

Oklahoma's two losses came in two of the toughest places to play in the country. The Sooners fell in triple overtime at Kansas in arguably the best game of the season so far.

>>Oklahoma No. 1 in Coaches, AP Poll

The last time Oklahoma was the No. 1 team in the country, it was coached by Billy Tubbs, the Sooners averaged more than 100 points per game, and Skeeter Henry led the team in scoring.


Now, 26 years later, the Sooners are sitting at 15-1 with the leading candidate for Player of the Year in Buddy Hield and have been unanimously voted by the Associated Press' voters as the best team in college basketball. Monday's poll finds the Sooners slotted ahead of UNC, Kansas, Villanova and Xavier. Overall, it was a volatile week inside the polls -- so many ranked teams lost games over the past seven days -- but there were only two teams that got pushed out of the rankings. Within the numbers, West Virginia jumped up to sixth from 11th. Iowa moved from No. 16 to 9. Texas A&M is now in the top 10 after being No. 15 last week.

Duke and Kentucky took on rough losses, but they're both still ranked, too. Kentucky falls from 14th to 23rd, while the Blue Devils slip from No. 9 to No. 20. Inversely, Baylor's big week saw the Bears leap from 22 to 13.

The Sooners received 26 first-place votes this week in the coaches poll after Oklahoma State on the road and now-No. 7 West Virginia at home. Behind Oklahoma, North Carolina is No. 2 with four first-place votes, and Kansas is No. 3 with one. Villanova and Maryland round out the top-five.

None of those teams particularly moved far in one direction or the other. However, there was quite a bit of movement throughout the rest of the poll. Iowa, now No. 9, was the biggest mover, rising 10 spots. Baylor jumped up seven spots to No. 15. Texas A&M is now No. 8 after rising six places.

With those rises, there were plenty of falls as well. Duke, following two losses this week to unranked teams, fell six spots to No. 12. Kentucky, who lost to Auburn over the weekend, also fell six spots to No. 19. Both Providence and Miami (Fla.) fell five spots each, to No. 17 and No. 15 respectively.

Despite those losses though, there is only one newly ranked team. USC replaced Gonzaga in the poll after the Trojans won at UCLA last week and the Bulldogs fell at home to BYU. Southern Cal is now 15-3 on the season.

Blues Blast Penguins

 width=Paul Stastny had a goal and three assists, and linemates Alexander Steen and Troy Brouwer each added a goal and an assist for St. Louis in a 5-2 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Vladimir Tarasenko and Kevin Shattenkirk also scored for the Blues, who have won four of five following a five-game losing streak. Brian Elliott followed up his career-high 46 saves Saturday by stopping 36 shots against Pittsburgh.

Evgeni Malkin and Chris Kunitz scored, and Kris Letang had two assists for the Penguins. They have lost three of four and five of seven. Jeff Zatkoff, making his first start since Dec. 31, stopped 20 shots.

Malkin reached 20 for the third consecutive year and eighth time in 10 seasons.

Bulls Take Advantage of Pistons Miscues For Win; Longtime Assistant Dies

Pau Gasol had 31 points and 12 rebounds, and the Chicago Bulls won again without Joakim Noah, 111-101 over the Detroit Pistons on Monday.

Noah dislocated his left shoulder Friday and likely will miss the rest of the season, but the Bulls have had success without him. They improved to 9-2 in 2015-16 when he doesn't play.

 width=Ersan Ilyasova had 19 points and 11 rebounds for Detroit, which was outplayed after taking a 13-point lead in the first quarter. The Pistons also lost their cool, getting called for three technical fouls in the third. Detroit guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope received two of them and was ejected.

Derrick Rose had 20 points and Jimmy Butler added 16 for Chicago.

>>Title-Winning Bulls Assistant Johnny Bach Dies At 91

Johnny Bach, whose defensive expertise as an assistant coach helped the Chicago Bulls win three NBA titles from 1991 to 1993, has died. He was 91.

The Bulls confirmed the death Monday.

Bach was the head coach of the Golden State Warriors from 1983-86 before joining the Bulls as an assistant. He also worked as an assistant for Charlotte, Detroit and Washington. He returned to the Bulls in 2003 and retired in 2006 after more than a half-century in coaching.

Bach was the coach at Fordham from 1950-68 and at Penn State from 1968-77.

John Paxson, Chicago's executive vice president of basketball operations, says Bach was "a true treasure in the world of basketball."

Illini Visit Indiana Tonight

 width=The 25th-ranked Hoosiers are seeking an 11th straight win Tuesday night against the visiting Fighting Illini, who will try to halt Indiana's best conference start under Tom Crean.

Despite its worst shooting effort of the season, Indiana (15-3, 5-0) got out of last-place Minnesota with a 70-64 win Saturday. The Hoosiers were limited to 41.3 percent but held the Golden Gophers to the same.

The Illini (9-9, 1-4) haven't won a true road game in nearly a year, going 0-7 since a five-point win at Michigan State on Feb. 7. They're also coming off Saturday's 78-67 home loss to Nebraska while being outrebounded 42-24. Dating to their win over Missouri on Dec. 23 as their final tune-up before conference play, the Illini have been outrebounded 40.3-28.0.

Illinois has averaged 25.8 3-point attempts in the last six games and made 33.5 percent after trying 21.7 at 37.7 percent through the first 12.

The border rivals have split the last 10 and traded wins and losses with the Hoosiers holding a 0.7-point scoring edge, though Indiana has won the three meetings in that time in Bloomington.

Clinton Police Holiday Weekend Report








Clinton Maroons Fall to St. Teresa

As heard on WHOW and dewittdailynews.com, the Clinton Maroons fell to the St. Teresa Bulldogs by a score of 70-56 on Tuesday night. The Maroons were led by Stephan York Country Financial Player of the Game Sr. Jacob Overton with 17 points. Jr. Peyton McCubbin also chipped in with 15 points.


The Bulldogs were led by Isaiah Bond with 16 points and Rashan Smith added 14 points.


With the loss, the Maroons fall to 7-11 on the season and 2-1 in the CIC.


Tune in Tuesday, January 26th at 7:30p as the Maroons take on Tolono-Unity. You can hear the game live on The Big 1520 AM/92.3 FM WHOW and online at dewittdailynews.com.

Illinois Chamber Weighs in On Tax Hike

The wait for an Illinois budget has faded somewhat from the headlines as a number of court orders has reduced the pain of the lack of a spending blueprint.

There are continued concerns about revenue but Illinois Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Todd Maisch doesn't believe returning to the old 5% income tax rate is the answer.

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Maisch says while some may not feel the pain of a state without a budget, he believes that could soon change for a number of Illinoisans.

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Maisch is pleased with some new Illinois laws now in effect, in particular changes to unemployment benefits. Now individuals who commit harmful actions that hurt their employer will no longer be covered.

Farmer City Welcomes Pharmacy To Downtown

 width=The Medicine Shoppe of Farmer City officially opened their doors with a ribbon cutting ceremony Saturday morning.

(Picture Right: Mayor Mike Jenkins Addresses Crowd at Ribbon Cutting of Medicine Shoppe, Pharmacist Norma Holts right of Jenkins)

Pharmacist Norma Holtz explains they will provide the community with any medication needs and over the counter products. One of her favorite parts of the store will be their old fashion soda fountain.

[audio:1181682104-11816pharmacy1.mp3] [/audio]

The Medicine Shoppe's location, 217 South Main Street in downtown Farmer City, was an eye sore. According to Mayor Mike Jenkins (center in picture right), the city and community coming together to make the location a more appealing is going to keep up with their efforts to continue to build up their downtown.

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The DeWitt County Development Council's Mark Killough was instrumental in getting the Medicine Shoppe to downtown Farmer City. Killough says he worked hard for many years to get a service into Farmer City that community was telling them they wanted.

[audio:1181682109-11816pharmacy3.mp3] [/audio]

Mayor Jenkins calls Main Street the "heart of Farmer City" and is pleased with all the progress but says that's just the heart of what is happening in the community.

Holtz looks forward to implementing more programs in the future. She plans to bring imminuzizations to their pharmacy for cold and flu season. She also has other plans in the works, such as availability to consult during allergy season, so as to be more of a resource in the community.





New Manager Starts At DeWitt County Farm Bureau

 width=For the first time in 35 years, the DeWitt County Farm Bureau has a new manager.

Clinton native, Janell Baum-Thomas, begins her term as the DeWitt County Farm Bureau Manager today. She is taking over for long time manager, Ken Bjelland, who is retiring at the end of the month. Baum-Thomas is excited about the opportunity, and feels her previous journalism experience, and service as a state FFA officer will serve her well in her new role.

Picture Right: Farm Bureau Vice President, Dave Steward (left) and Baum-Thomas (right)

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Baum-Thomas was born and raised in DeWitt county, which she also sees as a benefitw. One of her main goals in the new position is to increase the amount of communication that takes place between local farmers and consumers.

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Dave Steward, Vice President of the DeWitt County Farm Bureau, says the Board of Directors is excited about the move. He thinks Baum-Thomas brings a lot of positives to the position.

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Baum-Thomas will go through a few weeks of Illinois Farm Bureau training before taking over the DeWitt County Farm Bureau office full time.

A retirement celebration for Ken Bjelland is set for Thursday, January 28th, from 3 to 5:30p at the DeWitt County Farm Bureau building. You can RSVP by calling the office at 935-2126 by January 21st.

Oregon Brings in Brady Hoke as Defensive Coordinator

 width=After spending one year as a college football analyst, former Michigan coach Brady Hoke will return to the sidelines as Oregon's defensive coordinator.

Hoke joins a staff that still includes Don Pellum, the team's defensive coordinator for the last two seasons. Mark Helfrich announced a change in the staff in January that included a change in responsibilities for Pellum, who will continue to coach the Ducks' linebackers.

"We are extremely excited to welcome Coach Hoke to the Oregon family," Helfrich said Saturday. "He's passionate, knowledgeable and tough, and has an outstanding track record of success from a defensive standpoint."

Hoke had a 31-20 record as a head coach at Michigan, where his highlights include one Big Ten Coach of the Year award and a Sugar Bowl win, and a tremendous track record as a Wolverines defensive assistant (1995-2002). Hoke earned conference coach of the year honors at Ball State and San Diego State before returning to Ann Arbor in 2011.

Bulls' Noah To Have Shoulder Surgery, Future in Doubt; Nuggets Beat Pacers

 width=Joakim Noah likely has played his last game this season. Now the question is whether the two-time All-Star has played his last game for the Chicago Bulls.

Noah dislocated his left shoulder Friday and will undergo surgery. The team estimates the recovery period at four to six months, which means his season is probably over.

The 30-year-old Noah also is in the final year of a five-year, $60 million contract and will be an unrestricted free agent after the season. Before the injury, there was talk the team would explore dealing the eight-year veteran before next month's trading deadline.

Noah was moved to a reserve role by new coach Fred Hoiberg this season. He has been bothered by a variety of injuries the past two years and struggled on the court when healthy this season. He never seemed to embrace his new role and is averaging a career-low 4.3 points and 8.8 rebounds in 21.9 minutes.

>>Nuggets Beat Pacers

Randy Foye hit a go-ahead 3-pointer with 21 seconds left and the Denver Nuggets rallied with 75 points in the second half to beat the Indiana Pacers 129-126 on Sunday night.

 width=The Nuggets came back to get their seventh straight win at home over the Pacers. Danilo Gallinari had 23 points and Will Barton scored 21, including two free throws with 6 seconds left to help seal it.

Barton had 15 of Denver's 45 points in the fourth quarter. The 75 points was a season high for a half this season.

The Pacers shot 66 percent in the first half and were 7 of 10 from 3-point range. Monta Ellis had 15 points for Indiana, which led 66-54 at halftime.

Indiana led 119-116 after rookie Myles Turner hit 1 of 2 free throws.

Barton, who scored 15 point in the fourth, tied it at 119 with his third 3-pointer of the game. The teams traded baskets and missed free throws before Foye hit the tiebreaking 3.

The Pacers hit three free throws and Barton a pair to make it a 3-point game. Paul George's 3-point attempt in the final seconds that would have tied it was blocked by Emmanuel Mudiay.

Turner scored a career-high 25 points, Ellis had 24 and George added 19 for the Pacers. Indiana, which has lost three straight, remained winless in Denver since 2007.

Cardinals GM Says Support Increasing For DH in National League; Cubs Co-Owner Thinks Mets Fans are 'Obnoxious'


Since 1973, the American League has used the designated hitter rule, and the National League has continued to have pitchers bat. Depending upon your perspective, this either makes the senior circuit a vanguard of tradition or a stubborn holdout (the DH is widely used throughout organized baseball).

Maybe it's the simple passage of time, the desire for uniformity, the fresh memory of recent injuries and near-injuries on the part of pitchers batting and running the bases, or maybe it's all of that. Whatever the case, support for the DH making its way to the NL seems to be rising within the game.

For evidence of that claim, Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Dispatch tweeted quote- "Mozeliak says there is "more momentum" in discussions with GMs and owners for the DH coming into the National League."

quite obviously, he's in position to take an accurate temperature-reading of the mood within baseball. This isn't to say that such a tectonic shift is imminent -- such things tend to move slowly. Rather, it's to say that support for change seems to be building among some of the most powerful figures in the game.

As for Mozeliak, he certainly hasn't forgotten about a play from last season where star pitcher Adam Wainwright went down after running the bases with an Achilles injury. Wainwright wouldn't pitch again until Sept. 30 and wouldn't make another start at all in 2015.

>>Cubs Co-Owner Calls Mets Fans 'Really, Really Obnoxious'

 width=This past season, the Cubs dimmed the glow of their 97-win regular season by getting swept by the Mets in the NLCS. Regarding that disappointment, Cubs co-owner and board member Todd Ricketts was left with unfavorable impression of Mets rooters.

Patrick Mooney of Comcast Sports Net tweeted Saturday quote- "#Cubs board member Todd Ricketts: "I don't know if you know this, but #Mets fans are really, really obnoxious."

Mr. Ricketts' better half is similarly disinclined to think very much of the Queenslanders. Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune tweeted similarly Saturday quote- "Todd Ricketts not a Mets fan, neither is his wife. 'She really, really hates the Mets.'"

Yet to come to light is what Mets fans did to engender such antipathy, but there it is just the same.

Toews Leads Blackhawks Past Canadiens; Bickell To Minors

The Chicago Blackhawks matched a franchise record with their 11th straight victory, using two goals from Jonathan Toews to beat the slumping Montreal Canadiens 5-2 on Sunday night.

 width=Marian Hossa had an empty-net goal and two assists for Chicago, and Patrick Kane had a goal and an assist. Richard Panik scored his first goal of the season, and Corey Crawford, a Montreal native, made 27 saves while improving to 5-0-2 in seven career starts against his hometown team.

The Blackhawks (31-13-4) also won 11 straight from Feb. 15 to March 6, 2013, and then went on to the second of three Stanley Cup titles in the past six seasons. The defending NHL champions, who won 2-1 at Montreal on Thursday night, go for 12 in a row at Nashville on Tuesday night.

Montreal (23-19-4) has lost four in a row and five of six. The Canadiens also dropped to 6-15-2 since star goaltender Carey Price was shelved by a lower-body injury in November.

>>Bickell To Minors

The Chicago Blackhawks have reassigned slumping forward Bryan Bickell to Rockford of the American Hockey League.

The 29-year-old Bickell has no goals and two assists in 23 games with Chicago. It is his second stint with the IceHogs this season.

Bickell signed a $16 million, four-year contract after he played a key role in the Blackhawks' run to the Stanley Cup title in 2013. But he hasn't been able to live up to that big deal.

Chicago announced the move before Sunday night's game against Montreal.

Nebraska Tops Illinois Saturday

 width=Andrew White III scored 21 points and had 13 rebounds Saturday and three of his teammates scored in double figures to lead Nebraska past Illinois, 78-67.

The win was the third straight for the Cornhuskers (11-8, 3-3 Big Ten). Illinois (9-9, 1-4) lost for the fourth time in five games.

Nebraska used a 17-2 run to go up by 10 points late in the first half and never trailed over the game's final 28 minutes.

Glynn Watson Jr. scored 17 for Nebraska while Tai Webster added 16 and Shavon Shields 14.

Illinois relied on the 3-point shot. Thirty-seven of its 59 shots from the field were from 3-point range but the Illini only made 11.

Malcolm Hill led Illinois with 17 points. Kendrick Nunn added 15.

Another Amazing Play By Rodgers For Not As Cardinals Beat Packers in OT; Broncos, Panthers Win Sunday

After being forced into overtime by another Hail Mary from Aaron Rodgers, the Arizona Cardinals wasted no time calling for the ''Hail Larry'' to get to the NFC title game.

On the first play of overtime, Carson Palmer spun away from a defender and throw across his body to an uncovered Larry Fitzgerald. The 32-year-old darted through tacklers for 75 yards as the screaming Cardinals fans finally drowned out the visiting Cheeseheads. He was tackled at the 5. On the next play, Palmer shoveled the ball to Fitzgerald who ran it in to give the Cardinals a 26-20 victory over the Packers Saturday night.

He finished with eight receptions for 176 yards.

 width=Rodgers, in a play reminiscent of his final-play heave against Detroit this season, took the snap with 5 seconds to go in regulation, scrambled around and heaved it 41 yards to the end zone.

Jeff Janis, a 6-foot-3 receiver pressed into extended duty because Green Bay's top two receivers were hurt, outjumped defenders Patrick Peterson and Rashad Johnson and clutched the ball to his chest as he fell to the turf in the silence of University of Phoenix Stadium, except for the Packers fans, who went nuts.

Arizona won the overtime coin toss - after the referee declared the first toss hadn't flipped - took the ball and scored a touchdown, denying the Packers a chance to touch the ball in the extra period.

The Packers, already without wide receiver Davonte Adams, lost Randall Cobb in the first quarter to a chest injury. James Jones was neutralized most of the game with All-Pro Peterson on him, forcing Rodgers to go to Janis, who had seven catches, five more than he had all year.

Packers runningback Eddie Lacy had 90 yards, 61 on a ramble to set up the first Green Bay TD.

Rodgers completed 24 of 44 passes for 261 yards and two touchdowns with one interception. Palmer, in his first playoff victory (in three tries) was 25 of 41 yards for 349 yards and three scores with two interceptions.

>>Broncos Beat Steelers

The NFL's only five-time MVP, Peyton Manning, earned one more and possibly final game against his rival by leading the Denver Broncos to a come-from-behind 23-16 win over Ben Roethlisberger and the Pittsburgh Steelers on a blustery Sunday.

With Denver down 13-12 with less than 10 minutes left, cornerback Bradley Roby, burned time and again, punched the ball from Fitzgerald Toussaint's arms and teammate DeMarcus Ware recovered at the Denver 35-yard line.

After Toussaint's fumble, Manning went to work, driving Denver to its only touchdown, a 1-yard run by C.J. Anderson, followed by Demaryius Thomas' catch on the 2-pointer that put Denver ahead 20-13 with three minutes left.

That was Manning's 55th game-winning drive in the fourth quarter or overtime, extending one of the dozen NFL records he owns.

Roethlisberger completed 24 of 37 passes for 339 yards despite playing with a sore right shoulder and missing his top receiver - Antonio Brown (concussion) and rusher - DeAngelo Williams (foot). Martavis Bryant had nine catches for 154 yards.

Manning completed 21 of 37 passes for 222 yards.

That set up an AFC championship game next weekend in Denver against Tom Brady and the New England Patriots.

>>Carolina Survives Seahawks Comeback

The Panthers, winners of 12 straight at home, made all the right plays in building a 31-0 lead, then were dominated by the two-time defending NFC champs in the second half. So if Carolina wins its first NFL championship, it can credit the lesson learned from the Seahawks (11-7) after Carolina's 31-24 victory over Seattle on Sunday.

Jonathan Stewart, returning from a foot injury, scored two touchdowns after jumpstarting the Panthers with a 59-yard sprint on their first play. Newton threw for a touchdown.

Russell Wilson, who was sacked five times, made some big throws, particularly to Kearse, who had 11 catches for 110 yards. Wilson went 31 for 48 for 366 yards, but the early turnovers - Seattle had an NFC-low 16 in the regular season - and spotty defense were too much to overcome.

Stewart finished with 106 yards on 19 carries and extended Carolina's string of 100-yard rushing games to 28 and made it 21-0. Seattle hadn't allowed a 100-yard rusher in 27 games.

New Class of Cadets Welcomed At Lincoln's Challenge Academy



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Snow Fall Below Average

It's not a surprise snow fall in Illinois is well below average for the season. State Climotologist Jim Angel says even though snow fall is down, the early part of this upcoming week will definitely feel like January.

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Constitutional Amendment May Not End Legal Challenges

Any pension reform proposal, even if the state constitution is amended, could face a legal challenge.

With Illinois taxpayers now on the hook for nearly $113 billion in unfunded liability for the state’s various public sector pension funds, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle on a House pension committee have different ideas to amend the constitution. Republican Representative Tom Morrison says the state could amend the pension clause to address benefits in the future.

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Democratic Representative Elaine Nekritz says there could be an amendment to remove the pension protection clause altogether, but there may still be lawsuits.

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Any proposed constitutional amendment would have to be approved by three-fifths of voters.

Lawmakers Talk About Amending Constitution To Fix Pension Crisis

With taxpayers being on the hook for nearly $113 billion, one idea is to change the state’s constitution to address the problem moving forward.

Republican Representative Tom Morrison says there could be an amendment to the constitution that would allow for already earned benefits to be kept in place but to amend any future benefits moving forward.

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Democratic Representative Elaine Nekritz says there could also be a constitutional amendment proposed to remove the pension protection clause altogether, but that may not solve the overarching question.

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Any proposed amendment to address the growing unfunded liability for public sector pensions requires three-fifths approval from voters.

Human Trafficking Awareness Month in Illinois



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Governor Moves Contract Talks With Labor Relations Board

Governor Bruce Rauner says the only agreement his team and AFSCME have been able to reach in the last 12 months is that they would submit their disputes to the Illinois Labor Relations Board.

That’s the message the governor has for state employees as he announced he’s taking negotiations with the state’s largest public employees union to the next step. Another option, the governor writes, is for AFSCME to submit the administration’s proposed contract to union members for a vote.

AFSCME, however, disputes the governor’s position that contract talks have hit an impasse. It said in an email to members Friday morning the union remains committed to finding common ground.

Both sides claim the other side is putting out misinformation about various proposals.

The state and AFSCME have been operating under a tolling agreement since the contract expired last summer.

Critics of Automatic Voter Registration Say It Won't Increase Turnout

Automatically registering voters through driver’s license facilities will streamline the process and increase voter rolls, according to supporters, but critics say increasing rolls doesn’t increase turnout at the polls.

Senate Bill 2134, introduced by Bunker Hill Democratic Senator Andy Manar, will change the current system of opting in at the DMV to an opt-out system, something Manar and others hope would increase participation. However Heritage Foundation’s Hans von Spakovsky says when congress passed the national Motor Voter Act years ago, it was in hopes of increasing voter participation, but voter turnout is still low.

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However, Democratic Senator Jacqueline Collins says that’s why she pushed to get civics lessons back in schools.

Advocates for the measure say they want to have the second-largest voter drive for Illinois’ more than 2 million eligible citizens, saying when California implemented automatic registration they had 7 million citizens automatically become registered.

Even After Senate Meets, No Budget Yet

The state of Illinois is still without a budget, regardless of the Illinois Senate being in session briefly Wednesday.

Before adjourning until January 27th, the same day Governor Bruce Rauner is set to deliver his State of the State address, the Illinois Senate worked through various resolutions recognizing people who have passed away, renaming certain roadways in honor of other individuals and also heard a slew of various executive appointments.

The House session for this week was canceled with House Speaker Michael Madigan’s office saying there wasn’t enough workload.

The state is now more than six months into the fiscal year without a balanced budget in place.

Gov. Rauner Says Not All Criminal Justice Reform Proposals Require Legislation

Many of the recommendations in a report spurred on by Illinois’ governor to reform the state’s criminal justice system can be implemented by the executive without lawmakers getting involved.

Governor Bruce Rauner says the report from the Commission on Criminal Justice and Sentencing Reform released at the end of last year is meaningful and some of the recommendations can be accomplished without lawmakers passing legislation.

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Rauner says reforms that may require legislation should be supported on a bipartisan basis. The 46 page report provides recommendations to reduce the number of prison admissions, reduce the length of prison stays, and reduce recidivism rates, among others suggestions.

Independent Map Amendment Group Wants Voters To Decide

A proposal to change how Illinois legislative maps are drawn isn’t coming from the legislature, it’s coming from an independent group collecting hundreds of thousands of signatures so you can decide.

Jim Bray, a spokesman for the group Independent Maps Amendment, says they’re well on their way towards asking voters this November to take the map making power away from politicians.

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Bray says an end of year report for supporters indicates they’ve collected over 480,000 signatures, around $3 million, and support from editorial boards across the state.

Lawmakers Differ on Fix To Pension Shortfall

Taxpayers are now on the hook for nearly $113 billion for public sector pension, according to the latest Auditor General Report, but not every reform idea is going to stick.

Democratic Representative Mike Zalewski (zah-LESS-key) says lawmakers should have put a reform measure on the books after the state Supreme Court struck down a previous measure last May.

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Zalewski would like to see a dedicated revenue stream solely for pensions and thinks lawmakers need to extend the payment arc. Republican Representative Tom Morrison says that would just kick the can further down the road. Morrison suggests moving the General Assembly Retirement System to a defined contribution model to make other pension reform proposals more palatable.

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Other ideas Morrison floated include developing a defined contribution plan for new employees and getting a constitutional amendment to address the pension crisis moving forward.

Sen. Murphy Has No Optimism For State Budget

The Republican's budget point-man in the Illinois Senate tasked says Illinois may not have a budget until November.

Senator Matt Murphy says Illinois is six months late on the 2015 state budget, he worries we may not get a 2016 state budget until after the next election

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Murphy says some much of the battle in Springfield is political, not based in policy, that an election may be the only way to break the log-jam.
Additional audio:

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Republican Senate budget point-man Matt Murphy says it may take an election, or two, to force and end to Illinois' budget standoff.

Some Criminal Justice Reforms May Be Controversial

There may be some controversial proposals in a report Illinois’ governor ordered to reform the state’s criminal justice system, but the governor says the state must take them head on.

Visiting with the Commission on Criminal Justice and Sentencing Reform Thursday Governor Bruce Rauner thanked commission members for work he says is critically important. Rauner says some of the proposed reforms could be controversial.

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Some of the recommendations include giving judges discretion to sentence probation for residential burglary, class 2 felonies and drug law violations, removing barriers keeping those convicted of crimes from obtaining professional licenses, and prevent the use of prison for felons with short lengths of stay, among other suggestions.

Rauner says the state has to be honest about the issues spanning from racial disparities in the criminal justice system to drug laws and sentencing provisions.

Supporters of Automatic Voter Registration Hope It Increases Participation

A measure to allow automatic voter registration at driver’s license facilities isn’t meant to increase voter participation, but supporters hope it will.

Bunker Hill Democratic State Senator Andy Manar says his automatic voter registration bill would replace the current opt-in registration at the DMV to an opt-out process, increasing the number of registered voters.

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But Heritage Foundation’s Hans von Spakovsky says increasing the number of registered voters won’t increase participation.

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Manar and other supporters hope the measure will sail through both chambers and doubts the continued loggerheads from the budget impasse will hinder the bill’s passage.

Hometown Spotlight: Heyworth

 width=Thursday's Hometown Tour broadcast on WHOW took us to Heyworth.

Like many small communities in Heyworth, a rich history makes them one of the unique places in central Illinois. Their Mayor, Todd Zalucha (right), says while trying to keep their historical presence, they've begun to grow and see development on the west side of their community in recent years.

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 width=Superintendent of Heyworth Schools Dr. Ty Wolf (left) explains they have a lot of good things going on but he says one thing that can hang over the heads of area schools is the state funding situation, and Heyworth is no different.

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Police Chief Chris Lane and Fire Chief Denny Powe also joined the program Thursday morning. Hear the intervew in it's entirety at dewittdailynews.com and click on the audio on demand section.

Children's Advocacy Centers See Spike in Cases in 2015

A local group dedicated to the well being of children in our communities says they saw a spike in abuse cases in 2015.

Judy Brucker is the Executive Director of the Children's Advocacy Centers and says a trend they're seeing among the spike in cases is offenses committed by juvenile offenders.

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Brucker says it is important to know who you are leaving your children with. She explains they have seen trends where a non-family member might be the one to be a perpetrator.

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When reviewing a year's statistics, Brucker indicates she looks at a number of factors and she says they are seeing their statistics fall in line with what is happening nationally.

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Brucker says in a lot of juvenile cases where an older child is a perpetrator, often times DCFS cannot get involved. She explains in those cases, locally they have tried to identify if that person needs help through treatment rather than go to delinquency court.

She says a lot of those decisions are on a case-by-case basis.

Spieth Anticipating 'Extra' Motivated Rory in '16

 width=You sort of get the feeling that Jordan Spieth fears no golfer. He stared down Phil Mickelson, Justin Rose, Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and their 23 combined majors at the Masters last year on his way to a win. He took it to Dustin Johnson at the U.S. Open. He strutted with Jason Day down the stretch at the PGA Championship. It took a record score by Day for Spieth to lose.

But there is one guy Spieth knows is a concern -- one guy everyone in golf knows is a concern. That is Rory McIlroy, and Spieth told the Associated Press this week that McIlroy's rejuvenated drive is going to be an issue for everyone in 2016.

"In a season that he considered lost, he still came back and ended up winning the Race to Dubai, the final event. It proves what a player he is," Spieth told the AP. "I'm sure there's very few people working harder than he is to make this season his best season yet, which is scary. Hopefully, I can help prevent that to an extent."

What McIlroy hasn't said is how tough he's going to make it on Spieth to win. Both are scheduled to be at the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship next weekend.

Kevin Kisner Leads After Day 1 At Sony Open

 width=Vijay Singh had his best opening round in more than three years, good enough for a five-way share of the lead Thursday in the Sony Open.

And it was just enough to beat players in his own age group.

Singh, who turns 53 next month and could be the oldest PGA Tour winner in history with a victory at Waialae, narrowly missed an 8-foot eagle putt on his final hole and still posted his best score in 19 years playing the Sony Open.

Brandt Snedeker and Kevin Kisner caught him in the afternoon. Snedeker holed out a long chip for eagle on the short par-4 10th and made two birdies late on the back nine. Kisner got up-and-down from a bunker for a birdie on the par-5 18th.

Ricky Barnes, winless in 205 starts on the PGA Tour as a pro, and Morgan Hoffmann also shot 63 in the morning.

Zach Johnson, Charles Howell III and Si Woo Kim were one shot out of the lead.

Even so, it was difficult to ignore the performance of the seniors in the opening round.

Fred Funk, who turns 60 this summer, made a late bid for the lead until a bogey on the 16th hole. He wound up with a 65. Davis Love III, who won the Wyndham Champion last August at age 51, birdied the last hole for a 66.

Louisville Pounds Pitt in Battle of Top 25s

 width=Chinanu Onuaku had 18 points and 10 rebounds as Louisville ground down No. 20 Pittsburgh for a 59-41 victory Thursday night.

The sophomore center had his fourth consecutive double-double to go with three blocks. Damion Lee also scored 18 points for the Cardinals (14-3, 3-1 Atlantic Coast Conference).

Louisville led 20-17 at halftime, the lowest halftime total for both teams this season. Both teams were 1-of-11 (9 percent) from 3-point range. Louisville had a 34-20 advantage on points in the paint.

Louisville used a 7-0 run to stretch the lead to double digits with 16:07 left, capped by Ray Spalding's reverse layup. The Cardinals led 33-23 when Pitt's Sheldon Jeter, a 93 percent free throw shooter, missed three straight from the line. That helped Louisville to stretch its lead to 40-25 with 9:33 remaining before Pitt began clawing back. Ryan Luther's steal and dunk with 4:54 remaining cut the lead to nine before Louisville went on an 11-0 run.

Pitt (14-2, 3-1) saw its 10-game winning streak snapped in by far its worst outing of the season. Michael Young led the Panthers with 18 points and eight rebounds.

White Sox Avoid Arbiration, Come To Terms With Lawrie, Jennings

 width=The Chicago White Sox have agreed to one-year contracts with infielder Brett Lawrie and reliever Dan Jennings, avoiding arbitration.

Lawrie's deal is for $4,125,000, more than double his $1,925,000 salary last season with Oakland. Jennings gets $810,000.

The agreements were announced Thursday.

Acquired from the Athletics in December, Lawrie set career bests in virtually every category last season - his first with the A's. He batted .260 with 16 home runs, 60 RBIs and 64 runs. He made 106 starts at third base and 40 at second.

Jennings went 2-3 with a 3.99 ERA in 53 appearances for Chicago last season, when his salary was $523,000.

The White Sox have two other players who filed for arbitration: outfielder Avisail Garcia and pitcher Zach Putnam.

Blackhawks Edge Canadians

 width=Jonathan Toews scored, Corey Crawford made 39 saves and the Chicago Blackhawks beat the Montreal Canadiens 2-1 on Thursday night to extend their winning streak to nine games and move Joel Quenneville into sole possession of second place in career coaching victories.

Quenneville has 783 wins, one more than Al Arbour but still well behind leader Scotty Bowman's 1,244.

The Blackhawks haven't lost since Dec. 27 against Carolina and will try to make it 10 straight Friday night in Toronto. Ryan Garbutt also scored in the first period.

Paul Byron scored but Montreal fell to 5-14 since Dec. 1 despite a spirited effort against the defending Stanley Cup champions.

Shots were 40-33 in favor of the Canadiens and both Crawford and Montreal's Mike Condon had strong performances in net.

Packers Look To Avenge Blowout December Loss to Arizona in Divisional Round; Bears' Long Selected To Third Straight Pro Bowl

The confident Arizona Cardinals are prepared to face a much tougher challenge this weekend than they did in last month's meeting with Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers.

Following the winningest regular season in franchise history, the Cardinals host the motivated Packers in Saturday night's NFC divisional matchup.

 width=Arizona extended its winning streak to nine with a 38-8 home rout of Green Bay on Dec. 27. It recorded more sacks (nine) than points allowed and held the Packers to 178 yards - their second-lowest total of the season. The Cardinals also scored twice on defense in one of their most dominant efforts of 2015 and perhaps Green Bay's worst.

But after the Packers overcame an 11-0 deficit to win 35-18 at Washington in Sunday's wild-card round, the Cardinals' eyes were opened.

A franchise-record 13 wins gave Arizona the West Division title, the second seed in the conference and a first-round bye. With Carson Palmer injured and third-stringer Ryan Lindley under center, the Cardinals lost 27-16 on the road to Carolina in last season's wild-card round.

However, they're 4-0 at home in the postseason and beat Green Bay 51-45 in overtime in their most recent meeting in the desert during the 2009 season. Rodgers threw for 423 yards, four TDs and an INT in his first playoff start but was sacked and lost the ball, with Karlos Dansby picking it up and running 17 yards with for the winning score.

Rodgers has enjoyed much more postseason success since, and the Cardinals expect to get his best. They also expect to play better than they did in a 36-6 home defeat to Seattle in the regular-season finale.

After setting franchise records with 4,671 passing yards and 35 TDs, the 36-year old Palmer tries a third time for his first playoff win. He leads a team that ranked first in total offense at 408.3 yards per game and second in scoring at 30.6 points.

Palmer was 18 of 27 for 265 yards with two TDs and one INT against the Packers last month.

"(Green Bay) will be better (than last time)," linebacker Markus Golden said. "And we will be ready."

>>Bears Long Selected To Third Straight Pro Bowl

 width=Chicago Bears right tackle Kyle Long has been selected to his third Pro Bowl in as many seasons.

Long was announced Thursday as a replacement for injured Philadelphia Eagles tackle Jason Peters. The game is scheduled for Jan. 31 in Honolulu.

The recognition comes after an up-and-down season that had the athletic Long struggle at times following a switch from right guard in the week leading up to the opener. Long is the first Bears offensive lineman and seventh Chicago player to make the Pro Bowl in his first three years as a pro. The most recent was linebacker Brian Urlacher (2000-02 seasons).

Long started all 16 games and helped quarterback Jay Cutler produce one of his steadiest seasons while creating room for running back Matt Forte. Cutler had a career-high 92.3 passer rating, and Forte averaged 99 yards from scrimmage - ninth in the NFL.

The Bears went 6-10 in their first season under coach John Fox and general manager Ryan Pace.

>>49ers Hire Chip Kelly as Coach

The 49ers made a splash on Thursday afternoon, hiring Chip Kelly as their next head coach.

Owner Jed York announced the move on Twitter, saying he and GM Trent Baalke are "thrilled" to hire Kelly as Jim Tomsula's replacement.

What makes the hire so intriguing is the potential for quarterback Colin Kaepernick in Kelly's system. Theoretically, he fits Kelly's style of play and offensive system as a dynamic athlete with great wheels.

But he also doesn't fit Kelly's system as a highly-cerebral quarterback capable of moving through his reads quickly.

It's not likely Kelly will have a lot of say in who ends up on the 49ers roster.

Butler Goes For 53 as Bulls Get By 'Sixers

 width=Jimmy Butler scored a career-high 53 points and E'Twaun Moore had seven of his 14 in overtime to lead the Chicago Bulls to an 115-111 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers on Thursday night.

Butler also had 10 rebounds and six assists while making 15 of 30 field goals and 21 of 25 free throws to help the Bulls snap a three-game losing streak. He became the first Chicago player to score 50 points since Jamal Crawford in 2004.

Robert Covington scored 25 points and Ish Smith had 24 for the 76ers, who fell to 4-37.

But the Sixers didn't go down easily in this one.

Clinton Maroons Defeat Central A&M

The Clinton Maroons defeated the Central A&M Raiders by a score of 86-75 on Friday night. The Maroons were led by Jr. Peyton McCubbin with 26 points. Stephan York Country Financial Player of the Game Sr. Tanner White also chipped in with 20 points, and So. Austin Baker also added 11 points.


The Raiders were led by Jordan Miller with 30 points and Keaton Garvey added 13 points.


With the win, the Maroons improve to 7-10 on the year.


Tune in Tuesday, January 19th at 7:30p as the Maroons take on St. Teresa. You can hear the game live on The Big 1520 AM/92.3 FM WHOW and onine at dewittdailynews.com.

Bill Appropriates Funds For MAP Grants



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Kinzinger Reacts To State of the Union

One big area of agreement for Pres. Obama and Cong. Adam Kinzinger is the president’s call to fight cancer with the same focus as when America decided to go to the moon. That came up during the State of the Union Address Tuesday night.

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Kinzinger also agrees somewhat that the economy is better than it was seven years ago, but he says the recovery has been anemic. He says government should get out of the entrepreneur’s way.

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The Congressman also disagrees that America’s enemies aren’t gaining military strength with Russia involved in the Middle East again and North Korea testing a nuclear bomb. Pres. Obama asked Congress to authorize military force against ISIS and ISIL. Kinzinger says Congress will do that after the Pres. presents a plan to defeat them.

Durbin Reacts To State of the Union

Senator Dick Durbin witnessed the final State of the Union Address by hsi former Senate colleague, President Obama. He heard a lot he liked in the President's Tuesday address.

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Durbin hosted a veteran once again as Major Gerry Sharp – a Buffalo Grove, Illinois native was able to take in last night's speech.

DeWitt County Development Council Updating Strategic Plan

Looking to the future is the name of the game for one DeWitt County group aimed at furthering economic development.

The DeWitt County Development Council (DCDC) and their leadership have spent the last several months outlining the future of their organization and Executive Director, Ruth Stauffer explains the strategic plan will set up goals three to five years down the road.

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Stauffer indicates the big focus of the strategic plan is funding. Funding for the DCDC is very thin at times and Stauffer says they have to better find ways to do more with less.

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Recruiting business to a community is a challenge for economic development organization, and Stauffer says it's all about networking. She points to a pharmacy that will open up in Farmer City as one of their successes of ongoing efforts to network.

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Stauffer hopes to have the approval of their plan later this month at the monthly DCDC board meeting.

PGA Notes

 width=>>Spieth Overtakes Tiger As Top Earner

We know Jordan Spieth is keeping pace with Tiger Woods on the course. Now he's keeping pace with him off of it. According to Golf Digest, for the first time in 13 years, Tiger Woods was not golf's No. 1 earner in 2015. It was Spieth.

Spieth earned more than $53 million on and off the course to lead the GD50. At more than $48.5 million, Woods fell to No. 3, behind 45-year-old Phil Mickelson and ahead of Rory McIlroy, 26. Arnold Palmer, golf's most enduring cash machine at 86, is No. 5.

The majority of Spieth's money ($30 million) was made off the course. And the majority of that came from Under Armour.

>>Spieth Signs Deal With Coca-Cola

Jordan Spieth can do no wrong these days. Barely 48 hours after ripping through the Tournament of Champions for his seventh PGA Tour win, it was announced that Spieth signed a deal with Coca-Cola. A really, really big deal.

Figures of the deal were not available but ESPN's Darren Rovell says it's quote-"brand puts him on level of LeBron & Taylor Swift."

NFL Notes

>>Browns Hire Hue Jackson

For the fifth time in seven years, the Cleveland Browns have a new head coach. The team announced on Wednesday that former Bengals offensive coordinator Hue Jackson has been hired to fill the vacancy.

Jackson was expected to fly to New York on Wednesday to meet with the Giants about their opening. However, the Browns made sure that didn't happen. The team offered Jackson a contract before he could leave town.

 width=Jackson told NFL.com that he chose the Browns because, "They made me feel comfortable."

Jackson had been with the Bengals since 2012.

>>Giants Expected To Name McAdoo Head Coach

The Giants are expected to name Ben McAdoo their next head coach Thursday, according to a league source.

The team's offensive coordinator has been a strong candidate throughout the process and was impressive in his interview. The team wants to keep him with quarterback Eli Manning and believes in his vision for the offense.

McAdoo, 38, is likely to promote from within to fill the soon-to-be vacant offensive coordinator position. He worked closely with defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo and could keep him on as well with pressure on GM Jerry Reese to improve the roster, particularly on the defensive side of the ball.

Before his tenure with the Giants, McAdoo worked with the Packers for eight seasons, coaching the quarterbacks in 2012 and 2013 after six seasons as the tight ends coach. He has served as the Giants' offensive coordinator for the past two seasons.

>>Marshawn Lynch Full Go in Wednesday Practice

After surprisingly missing last week's wild card game against the Minnesota Vikings, Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch was a full participant in Wednesday's practice, the team announced on its official website.

Head coach Pete Carroll cautioned against taking that as a sign that Lynch would definitely suit up for this week's divisional game against the No. 1-seeded Carolina Panthers, though.

Carroll said quote-"We're going to go day to day."

Lynch was also listed as a full participant in all three of last week's practices before being declared out for Sunday's game late Friday night.

Lynch has been out since mid-November after getting surgery for a sports hernia. Thomas Rawls filled in for him -- and outperformed him -- early on, but since Rawls broke his ankle in Week 14, the combination of Christine Michael, Bryce Brown, and Fred Jackson has gotten most of the backfield work.

Celtics Beat Pacers


Isaiah Thomas scored 28 points, Jae Crowder matched his career high with 25 and the Celtics snapped a four-game losing streak with a 103-94 win over the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday night.

Boston (20-19) closed the game with a 12-0 run over the final 1:46, turning steals into easy baskets.

The Pacers led 94-91 with just more than 2 minutes to play before they turned the ball over on consecutive possessions, leading to a pair of breakaway dunks by Boston. The first was by Amir Johnson and the second by Marcus Smart, giving the Celtics the lead with 1:32 to play.

With the Celtics clinging to a one-point advantage, Paul George stole an inbounds pass, but Crowder stole the ball back from him on the other end and went in for an uncontested dunk that gave Boston a 97-94 edge.

After George missed a 3-pointer, Thomas scored in the lane to push Boston's lead to 99-94 with 32 seconds to play.

Johnson had a season-high 18 rebounds and scored 14 points for the Celtics, who beat the Pacers for the first time this season after losing the first two meetings.

George led Indiana 23 points. George Hill had 13 and Monta Ellis 12.

White Sox Name Play-By-Play Announcer

 width=The Chicago White Sox have hired Jason Benetti as a TV play-by-play announcer with Ken Harrelson taking a reduced role.

The White Sox announced a multiyear contract for Benetti as well as extensions for Harrelson and analyst Steve Stone on Wednesday.

Benetti, a Chicago-area product who also works for ESPN, will call almost all home games alongside Stone.

Harrelson, starting his 32nd season in the booth, will call 78 of 81 road games as well as the home opener and the two games against the Cubs at U.S. Cellular Field. The new arrangement cuts back on his 180-mile round-trip commute from his home near South Bend, Indiana.

Thomas Three Helps Bradley Beat Loyola-Illinois

 width=Donte Thomas sank a 3-pointer with 13 seconds to play to give Bradley the edge over Loyola of Chicago 54-53 on Wednesday night, snapping a six-game slide.

Luuk van Bree scored 14 points and grabbed five rebounds for the Braves (3-15, 1-4 Missouri Valley). Callum Barker added 10 points and nine rebounds, Ronnie Suggs had nine points and Antoine Pittman chipped in eight points. Bradley averaged 40 percent shooting from the field and 100 percent from the line.

Thomas sank the game-winning 3-pointer with 13 second to go, capping a 9-2 surge by the Braves that took them from a six-point deficit to lead by one for the win.

Loyola of Chicago led 23-21 at the break and had an 11-point advantage, 39-28, early in the second half.

Devon Turk led the Ramblers (7-10, 0-5) with 15 points and five rebounds.

UPDATED: Blue Ridge Fall to LeRoy

 width=As heard on 95.9 FM WEZC and at dewittdailynews.com, Matt Chastain came alive in the second half to lead the LeRoy Panthers past Blue Ridge Thursday night, 45-35.

Blue Ridge was outscored 28-14 and Chastain scored 17 of his 23 in the second half as the Panthers overcame a 21-17 halftime deficit.

Noah Perry, Teddy Harms and Nick Perry all added 6 points each for LeRoy.

Dylan Lytel led Blue Ridge with 14 points. Lindi Balazi added 10 points and Chase Zimmerman finished with just 8 points.

Tune in next Thursday, February 18th at 7:30p as the Knights take on El Paso-Gridley. You can hear the game live on 95.9 FM WEZC and online at dewittdailynews.com.

UPDATED: Lady Maroons Slammed by the Lady Warriors

 width=As heard on WHOW and at dewittdailynews.com Thursday night, the Clinton Lady Maroons fell to the Tuscola Lady Warriors by a score of 31 to 65.

The Maroons were led by Faythe Newberry with eight points. Sophomre Madi Filkin chipped in with seven points and Country Financial Stephan York Player of the Game Lexi Peterson added five points.

The Warriors were led by Halle McCrory with 20 points, with Emma Henderson adding 17 points, and Madeline Mewhold also adding 11 points.

With the loss, the Lady Maroons fall to 8-10 on the year.

Tune in Thursday, January 21st at 7:30p as the Lady Maroons take on Warrensburg-Latham. You can hear the game live on 92.3 FM WHOW and online at dewittdailynews.com.

Independent Map Amendment Group Provides Year End Report

They’re well on their way towards asking voters to override politicians in making legislative districts.

Jim Bray, a spokesman for the group Independent Map Amendment, says an end of year update reports the effort has 483,000 signatures, raised around $3 million, and has a growing number of supporters to change how maps are drawn. Bray says opponents should be worried.

[audio:1131681758-MAPAMENDMENT1.mp3] [/audio]

Bray says there are a few months to reach their goal of 600,000 signatures, double the number the law requires, and Bray says that’s enough to survive any challenges.

There would need to be three-fifths support to approve the constitutional change if the proposal makes it on the November ballot.

Rauner Says No. 1 Issue is Growing Economy

After a full year in office, most of it without a balanced budget from lawmakers, Illinois’ governor says the number one issue is growing the economy.

Republican Governor Bruce Rauner says he has accomplished a lot: saving taxpayers millions in government operations, increasing funding for early education, and what he says are innovated new contracts with over a dozen employee unions that includes merit pay. However the governor says he’s disappointed lawmakers haven’t come together to bring about structural reforms.

[audio:1131681759-RAUNER1.mp3] [/audio]

While the governor says growing the economy is most important, Speaker Michael Madigan has said the number one issue is solving the budget deficit. Rauner has been at odds with a Democrat supermajority in the General Assembly who have, for more than six months, not passed a budget with revenues equal to spending.

Rauner Wants Some Court Ordered Spending Reversed

The state’s more than six month old budget crisis is causing people to find cost savings and rethink how government works, but it’s also harming the state’s most vulnerable citizens. That’s the assessment from Governor Bruce Rauner in his first full year in office.

Governor Rauner recognizes the impact on the most vulnerable, but the governor says in a budget crisis people are willing to dig deep and look for cost saving opportunities.

[audio:1131681759-RAUNER2.mp3] [/audio]

Meanwhile the state is spending more than it’s bringing in because of court orders and consent decrees, something Rauner wants to reverse.

[audio:1131681800-RAUNER3.mp3] [/audio]

Without a balanced budget from lawmakers for the current fiscal year the governor is set to deliver his State of the State speech January 27th and a budget address a few weeks after that.

Big Brothers, Big Sisters Welcomes New Case Manager

A new face will be coordinating meetings between the community and their clients for one local non-profit.

Big Brothers, Big Sisters has a new case manager that will be working to pair community children with a "big". Lauren Hutton comes to McLean and DeWitt Counties from eastern Illinois and indicates she's served with Big Brothers Big Sisters though a volunteer capacity the past year.

[audio:1131681747-11316hutton1.mp3] [/audio]

Hutton says McLean and DeWitt County are a much bigger area than she served at previously, but feels that is not a problem and likes the way everyone in their office works together.

[audio:1131681748-11316hutton2.mp3] [/audio]

Moving forward, Hutton hopes to build a relationship with those in the communities they serve. She feels there is a great volunteer base already and she wants to build on that.

[audio:1131681750-11316hutton3.mp3] [/audio]

To get in touch with Hutton about becoming a Big Brother, Big Sister volunteer or to inquire about having your child become a part of the program, you can contact her in DeWitt County at 217-935-1234 or at l.hutton@bbbscil.org.

UPDATED: DeWitt County Artifact Provides More Proof of CH Moore's Ties To Abraham Lincoln

Longtime residents of DeWitt County and those that have since moved on don't need to be told of the areas connections to Abraham Lincoln.

After all, one of the most influential people to ever reside in the community held on to piece after piece after piece of proof, that is regularly on display at the CH Moore Homestead and DeWitt County Museum.

But just in case you wanted more, Director of the Museum, Joey Woolridge has more proof for you. She says she came across a letter late last year that further ties CH Moore to Abraham Lincoln, but also those close to him during his time in Washington DC.

[audio:1131681753-11316mooreties1.mp3] [/audio]

Woolridge indicates she pieced together that the letter was legitimate through other findings she had from the Homestead.

[audio:1131681754-11316mooreties2.mp3] [/audio]

Tourism Director Larry Buss says the fact the letter was not only legible but was not faded or worn makes a piece they will be able to display this upcoming year. He says it's amazing the things they continue to find at the museum.

[audio:1131681757-11316mooreties3.mp3] [/audio]

Woolridge says she hopes to have the letter ready for display for their seasonal opening in April.



Marlins Agree To Deal With LHP Chen

 width=The Miami Marlins reportedly agreed with free-agent left-hander Wei-Yin Chen on Tuesday on a five-year contract, guaranteeing $80 million, with a vesting option for a sixth year. Jon Heyman of MLB Network first reported that a deal was close, and Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports and Buster Olney of ESPN first reported it was done.

Chen posted a 3.34 ERA with 153 strikeouts in 31 starts for the Orioles in 2015, and has a 3.72 ERA in 117 starts for them since 2012, when he came over from Taiwan.

The deal does not include a no-trade clause, and with the Marlins history it's possible that Chen will be a trade chip at any of the next five upcoming deadlines. Heyman adds that the deal includes an opt-out for the player after the second season, and could be worth $96 million total if it vests.

Rams Moving To LA

After a 21-year absence, the NFL is finally returning to Los Angeles. The league's 32 owners voted on Tuesday to send the Rams back to the city where they spent 49 years of their existence.

CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora has reported that NFL owners officially approved the Rams' relocation in a 30-2 vote.

 width=The relocation vote is a huge victory for Rams owner Stan Kroenke who had been doing everything in his power to make sure his team would be able to leave St. Louis after the 2015 season. When the Rams turned in their relocation application in early January, they noted that any team trying to survive in St. Louis would suffer "financial ruin."

The vote means that Kroenke can get started almost immediately on his $1.86 billion stadium project in Inglewood, California.

For the Chargers, the vote means that the team still has the option to try and work things out with the city of San Diego. The NFL has given the Chargers until January 2017 to negotiate a partnership with the Rams in Inglewood. If the Chargers haven't made a relocation decision by Jan. 16, 2017, then the Raiders will have the option to join the Rams in L.A.

>>Former Rams Great, Eric Dickerson Says Rams Should Be In LA

To no one's surprise, Eric Dickerson is extremely excited about the Rams returning to Los Angeles in 2016. Dickerson started his Hall of Fame career with the Los Angeles Rams and said Tuesday night he thinks L.A. is where the Rams should be.

Speaking on NFL Network, Dickerson said he feels "bad for St. Louis" but believes the Rams belong in Los Angeles.

"I think it's great to have the Rams back in Los Angeles. They were here 49 years. Not having football in L.A. I think it's been missed here the last 20 years for sure," Dickerson said. "I do feel bad for St. Louis. I do go to St. Louis every year. I went to three games this year. They won a Super Bowl in St. Louis -- something they didn't do in Los Angeles.

"The Rams are the Rams and I'll support them no matter where they go to, but this is where they should be, back in Los Angeles."

Dickerson's stats while playing for the Rams were pretty good: 1,525 carries, 7.245 yards and 56 touchdowns in 65 games.

Blues, Blackhawks Win

 width=Andrew Shaw scored two goals and the Chicago Blackhawks celebrated coach Joel Quenneville's contract extension Tuesday night with a 3-2 win over the Nashville Predators for their eighth consecutive victory.

Brent Seabrook also scored for Chicago, which was without center Artem Anisimov due to an illness. Corey Crawford made 41 saves and Marian Hossa added two assists on his 37th birthday.

The Blackhawks closed out a perfect four-game homestand hours after they announced a three-year extension with Quenneville that runs through the 2019-20 season. Quenneville, the only active coach with three Stanley Cup titles, also moved into a tie with Al Arbour for second on the NHL list with his 782nd victory, trailing only Scotty Bowman (1,244).

>>Blues End Slide, Blast Devils

Patrik Berglund scored twice, including the go-ahead goal in the second period, and Ty Rattie netted his first NHL goal to lead St. Louis to a 5-2 win over the Devils on Tuesday night.

 width=Scottie Upshall and David Backes also scored for St. Louis, which converted on its first two power-play attempts. The Blues won in regulation for the first time since Dec. 22.

St. Louis also won its fifth in a row against New Jersey, which lost for the fourth time in five games.

Berglund returned to the lineup Jan. 2 after missing the first 40 games of the season with a shoulder injury. He underwent surgery in late August.

Brian Elliott made 22 saves and earned his second successive win after taking over for Jake Allen, who is out with a knee injury.

Lee Stempniak and Bobby Farnham scored for New Jersey. Backup goalie Keith Kinkaid made 32 saves but fell to 3-5. He was making his eighth start of the season.

Cardinals To Upgrade Video Boards; Schwarber's Homerun Ball Finally Removed From Video Board

 width=For the upcoming season, their 10th at Busch Stadium, the St. Louis Cardinals will be adding a wow factor to their game-day experience.

The Cardinals announced details Tuesday of a multimillion-dollar investment in high-definition LED video boards that just might make the place feel brand new all over again.

Rather than a video board arms race or adding another layer to the Cubs-Cardinals rivalry, team officials say it's a simple matter of keeping up with available enhancements to the game. Multiple major league teams have made the switch to high definition the last handful of years, and with equipment now a decade old, the Cardinals were ready for their turn.

>>Schwarber's Homerun Ball Finally Removed From Video Board

Back in the NLDS, Cubs rookie slugger Kyle Schwarber sent a baseball on a ride that ended up on top of the right-field video board.

The Cubs did say at the time that the ball was only to be encased until the Cubs' playoff run was over, so the news that it's now gone shouldn't be a surprise.

 width=Via the Chicago Tribune:

Cubs spokesman Julian Green said Tuesday that the ball is no longer atop the board and was removed sometime after the season.

He would not say where the ball is now “for security reasons.” But he did confirm that it is in the Cubs' possession in "a safe, secure place” and that they have not yet decided what its future will be.

Green also said that there is no marker atop the board to mark that remarkable moment.

Bucks Rally Past Bulls Tuesday

 width=Giannis Antetokounmpo had 29 points and 10 rebounds, and the Milwaukee Bucks used a late rally to slip past the Chicago Bulls, 106-101 on Tuesday night.

Greg Monroe added 17 points and 12 rebounds for Milwaukee.

Jimmy Butler scored 30 points and Nikola Mirotic and Tony Snell added 17 apiece for Chicago, which used a 25-9 run late in the third quarter and early into the fourth to seemingly gain control of the game.

The Bulls, who have lost three straight, have scored 100 or more points for 12 consecutive games. But Chicago has allowed at least 100 points in eight of those games.

Southern Illinois Tops Illinois State

Leo Vincent scored a career-high 24 points, including the winning 3-pointer with 24 seconds left, to help Southern Illinois rally from a 12-point, second-half deficit and beat Illinois State 81-78 Tuesday night.

 width=Illinois State (9-9, 3-2 Missouri Valley Conference) led 56-44 with 15 minutes to play.

An 11-2 run pulled Southern Illinois (15-3, 4-1) within three about 2 ½ minutes later.

Illinois State's Deontae Hawkins made a layup to make it 72-68 with 4:15 left, but Mike Rodriguez had five points as the Salukis scored eight in a row to take a four-point lead with 1:29 left.

DeVaughn Akoon-Purcell converted a 3-point play and, after Vincent made two free throws, Hawkins hit a 3 to tie it at 78 with 55 seconds remaining - setting up Vincent's winner.

Paris Lee missed a potential tying 3 on the other end.

Vincent hit a career-high six of his seven 3-point shots.

MiKyle McIntosh, who scored a career-high 20 in Illinois State's loss to Indiana State on Saturday, scored 25.

Monticello Uses Big Second Quarter To Pull Away From Clinton

 width=The Monticello Sages scored 22 unanswered points to close the first half and open the second half en route to opening up a 30 point lead against the Clinton Maroons, and rolled to a 72-35 win at Monticello High School Tuesday night.

Zach Fisher led the way for the Sages with 17 points, five rebounds and five assists. Noah Freemon added 10 points with four boards and four dimes.

Four other Sages scored between six and eight points Tuesday as Monticello used balance and exceptional defense, that forced 19 Clinton turnovers. The Sages scored 23 points off turnovers.

The Maroons were led by Jacob Overton's 11 points. The Maroons as a team had just two assists.

The Sages head to Tolono Unity Friday night.

The Maroons host Central A&M Friday night. Hear the action on 92.3 FM WHOW and online at dewittdailynews.com.

Central Illinois Conference Scores from Tuesday...

Argenta-Oreana 58
Decatur St. Teresa 45

Newton 50

Macon Meridian 63
Pana 60

Tuscola 41
Tolono Unity 54

Decatur Lutheran 51

Central A&M 53

Arthur-Lovington/ 39

Hrvol Leads Sullivan Past Cerro Gordo-Bement

 width=As heard on 95.9 FM WEZC Tuesday night, Zach Hrvol was brilliant, leading the Redskins with 26 points as Sullivan dominated Cerro Gordo-Bement 58-33 from Cerro Gordo High School.

Ty Molzen added 12 for the Redskins who improve to 9-5 overall.

Ben Flaugher led CGB with seven points. Frankie Foran and Brant Knowles added six apiece as the Broncos fall to 1-11 overall.

Tune in Thursday night for Blue Ridge basketball, as the Knights take on LeRoy. Hear the action on 95.9 FM WEZC and online at dewittdailynews.com.

The next Cerro Gordo-Bement broadcast on WEZC will be Tuesday January 19, when the Broncos head to Maroa-Forsyth.

Hometown Tour Spotlight: Lincoln

The community of Lincoln was the location of Wednesday's Hometown Tour broadcast on WHOW.

 width=The theme among several leaders was preparing for the expected downturn in the state's economy. Superintendent of Lincoln High School, Robert Bagby explains at the start of his tenure at the school, nearly seven years ago, the school board began their preparations for what was to come. He's says it's resulted in the district being one of the most financially stable districts in the state.

[audio:1131614218-11416hometownlincoln1.mp3] [/audio]

 width=For Clay Johnson, who is the Lincoln City Administrator, he says they have maintiained a solid budget through all the uncertainties. He points out Lincoln is working hard to overcome the many stigmas that come with trying to recruit businesses and families to Lincoln because of being in Illinois.

[audio:1131614220-11416hometownlincoln2.mp3] [/audio]

 width=Mayor Marti Neitzel feels the community is going in the right direction. She says they are working on a lot projects to better the community.

[audio:1131614222-11416hometownlincoln3.mp3] [/audio]

 width=Tourism and the Chamber of Commerce along with several other entities in Lincoln have seen a lot of change in the last several years. At the lead of those changes is Andi Hake, who is the president of the Logan County Alliance. She explains the Alliance was formed to bring a lot of entities together and eliminate overlap in many of their goals.

[audio:1131614225-11416hometownlincoln4.mp3] [/audio]

For all the coverage from Wednesday's Hometown Tour Broadcast, visit the audio on demand section at dewittdailynews.com.

Tune in Thursday, as WHOW's Hometown Tour takes us to Heyworth.

Message From DeWitt County Sheriff Regarding Facebook Scams

From the Sheriff’s Desk…

New Facebook Scams;

 width=Facebook scams are real and becoming more common. Here are three to look out for:
The Secret sister scam. This scam promises that if you give $10, 36 others will do the same for you. It is unlikely, mathematically impossible, and illegal. Exchanges are a variation of the pyramid scheme. It’s not a GREAT offer or deal. Ignore it.

The Facebook Lottery scam. You won a prize! But, you have to send money to cover fees and “insurance.” If you wire money, it is GONE, plus scammers will continue to harass for more “fees,”. Victims are often committed to getting that imaginary payoff and loose thousands of dollars. Many realize they have been scammed and are too ashamed to report it. Avoid this by never wiring money in response to a Facebook notification. Facebook accounts are being hacked and cloned to fool victims. If unsure, contact the friend by other means to varify.

The Airline Ticket scam. Promises of free flights by sharing photo, liking a page, and posting comments to win is a set up. This INCREDIBLE offer usually includes a link, if clicked, exposes a computer or mobile device to a scammer. Avoid participating in the “free flights for a year” posts.

Remember that the Sheriff’s Office maintains at scam hotline at 217-935-7867. Give us a call BEFORE you respond to a suspicious offer. You don’t have to leave you name. A Deputy Sheriff will help you determine if you are being scammed. Information provided by the National Association of Triads.

Jered Shofner

DeWitt County Sheriff's Report For Dec. 13

Jail Population: 22

Paper Services: 3

Warrants: 1

Kristina Keller, 31, Forsyth was Arrested on a DeWitt County Warrant charging her with Domestic Battery/ Physical Contact. Keller posted the necessary bond and was released.



Analysts Waiting For More From Rauner

Government analysts are reviewing the governor’s first year in office.

Paul Simon Public Policy Institute’s David Yepsen says he’s not willing to call the game on Governor Bruce Rauner quite yet.

[audio:1121681918-YEPSEN.mp3] [/audio]

However Yepsen says the governor deserves credit for being willing to consider more revenue in exchange for his Turnaround Agenda items but criticized the governor for picking a fight with organized labor.

Illinois Times Reporter Bruce Rushton says the governor has yet to leave Illinois better than he found it.

[audio:1121681918-RUSHTON.mp3] [/audio]

Rushton says he’s not implying the governor isn’t putting forth a good faith attempt but suggests ideology may get in the way of the quote “politics of the possible.”

Governor Rauner, a Republican, has been in office for a full year dealing with Democrat supermajority that has yet to put forth a budget with revenues equal to spending.

Durbin Celebrates Progress Towards Funding Medical Research

U.S. Senator Dick Durbin is encouraged by recent developments in Congress when it comes to funding medical research. In a visit to Springfield's Southern Illinois University School of Medicine, he noted funding for medical research at the National Institutes of Health is on the rise.

[audio:1121681606-Durbinresearch.mp3] [/audio]

That research would involve the scientific and biomedical arenas and he says that will reverse a decades-long downward trend in funding.

The funding boost is part of a $2 billion increase he was able to secure in the Omnibus Appropriations bill for Fiscal Year 2016.

Fair Share Plantiff Thinks Union's Argument Isn't Valid

One of the plaintiffs in the Illinois fair share case says a similar case originating in California heard at the U.S. Supreme Court Monday is historic.

Mark Janus is a child support specialist with the state of Illinois and is suing over being forced to pay fair share dues to a union as a condition of his employment. Janus says the public union’s arguments heard Monday at the Supreme Court in the case Friedrichs vs. California Teachers Association, a case similar to his, were unfounded. Janus says the unions said if fair share was taken away, they’d disappear.

[audio:1121681601-JANUS1.mp3] [/audio]

Janus joins two other Illinois state employees in fighting fair share dues, but the U.S. Supreme Court took the Friedrichs case first. A ruling isn’t expected until sometime this summer, but the decision is expected to impact all states that require fair share dues as a condition of employment.

Some Universities To Offer MAP Grants

Half of the state’s public universities in a volunteer survey say they will offer up credits for a state grant that hasn’t been appropriated, while more than half of overall respondents, including community colleges say they can’t.

Lynne Baker, director of communications at the Illinois Student Assistance Commission, says most community college respondents will not be crediting MAP in the Spring.

[audio:1121682158-BAKER1.mp3] [/audio]

Meanwhile Baker says six of the twelve public universities that responded said they will offer up the grant, regardless of it not being appropriated.

With more than six months into the fiscal year most of the state’s spending has been decided by court orders and consent decrees.

Tax dollars for public universities, the MAP grant and some social services have not been funded.

Parent Company of Logan County Mine Files For Bankruptcy

More signs of lean times for the coal industry. The parent company of Logan County's Viper Mine, St. Louis-based Arch Coal, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

The coal industry is struggling as electric power companies shift to using natural gas and adjust to talk of tougher emissions standards. Arch Coal Inc. says its mines will remain open and its employees should not be immediately affected by the bankruptcy process. Phil Gonet, President of the Illinois Coal Association, believes the bankruptcy court action will mine positive results for the company.

[audio:1121681604-archcoal.mp3] [/audio]

Arch Coal stock recorded considerable losses throughout the day of trading on Wall Street.

Children's Advocacy Centers Report Great Participation For Annual Blue Kids Trees

The leaders of the area's Child Advocacy Centers are praising their local communities for stepping up and helping them this past holiday season.

The Children's Advocacy Center serves McLean, DeWitt and Livingston Counties and their leader, Judy Brucker says they are beyond thankful for the communities providing them with needed items during their latest Blue Kids drive.

[audio:1121681611-11216bluekids1.mp3] [/audio]

Brucker says the generosity of the communities allows them to provide basic need items for their clients and their families. She says it includes items like gas cards to get to counseling or laundry detergent and pillows and sheets.

[audio:1121681615-11216bluekids21.mp3] [/audio]

Brucker says last year their gifts held them through about three-quarters of the year and she hopes that can be the same this year thanks to the generosity of their servicing communities.

[audio:1121681613-11216bluekids3.mp3] [/audio]

To get the agency through the remainder of the year, they work with the Child Protection Network works to provide them with the necessary things they might need.

Rangers Outlast Bruins

The New York Rangers beat Western Conference-leading Dallas on Tuesday, rallying from a two-goal deficit in the third period and took the lead against Eastern Conference-leading Washington before losing in overtime on Saturday.

 width=And the latest step came Monday night, when Jesper Fast scored on a deflection in front with 1:42 to play for a 2-1 win over the Boston Bruins.

It marked the first time this season the Rangers overcame a deficit at the start of the third period and won in regulation. They were 0-11-2 entering the game.

Jimmy Hayes scored for the Bruins, and Tuukka Rask had 28 saves. Boston is 2-6-1 in its last nine games.

Lundqvist kept the game tied with a magnificent save on Talbot shortly after Brassard evened the score early in the third.

With the goalie out of position after a shot in front, the puck came to Talbot to the left of a wide-open net. Lundqvist slid back with his pad on the ice and then lifted his leg to make a pad save as Talbot elevated the puck.

Fast got the game-winner by deflecting a point shot from defenseman Keith Yandle.

The Rangers needed only 35 seconds to wipe out a 1-0 deficit entering the third period. The big move was made by coach Alain Vigneault, who put Brassard, Mats Zuccarello and Rick Nash back on the same line.

New York defenseman Ryan McDonagh worked the puck along the left boards and shoveled it to Zuccarello. He worked his way toward the net and flipped the puck to the crease past Rask and defenseman Torey Krug to a wide-open Brassard for his 15th goal.

Hayes, who was playing against his brother, Kevin, for the fifth time, gave the Bruins a 1-0 lead at 9:04 of the second period with a 40-shot snap shot to the corner of the net that simply beat a stunned Lundqvist.

Rangers D Dan Girardi left with a lacerated hand in the second period and did not return. With Chris Kreider returning to the lineup after missing two games with a cut hand, rookie Oscar Lindberg was a healthy scratch for the second time this season.

The game was Boston's third on a five-game road trip, with the final two stops in Philadelphia and Buffalo.

Spieth Says Too Early For Woods Comparisons

Jordan Spieth joined Woods on Sunday at the Tournament of Champions as the only golfers since World War II to win seven PGA Tour events before turning 23. The question is not whether Spieth is tracking Woods at this point. The only question is, "how long can he keep it up?"

 width=There have been zero other golfers since World War II who have won seven times before their 23rd birthday. For comparison, Rory McIlroy had three wins.

Spieth turns 23 in late July so who knows how many wins (or majors) he will have added by then. The problem for him is what Woods did in the years just after he turned 23. By the time he turned 26, Woods had won 29 times and collected six majors. Spieth is going to have to turn up the heat to match those figures.

But after what we saw over the weekend in Maui, are we sure this is not going to happen? Patrick Reed and Brooks Koepka put on unbelievable performances at the Tournament of Champions. They finished a combined 43 under and got destroyed by eight and nine strokes respectively.

Fifth-place finisher Rickie Fowler said quote-"It's just solid golf and I think you're going to see a lot of that like he did last year. You're going to have to play a good solid golf tournament to have a chance to win."

As for those Woods comparisons, Spieth doesn't want them but he also likes them.

He said Sunday quote-"I just think (the Woods comparisons are) premature, but I'll say that probably my entire career. There's just such an age gap that I understand there's comparisons are going to be there. I hope they continue to be there, that means I'm still being in the same ballpark as he is."

Spieth doesn't seem like he's leaving the ballpark anytime soon.

Kansas Unanimous No. 1 in Coaches Poll; Still No. 1in AP Poll

There is a new No. 1 in the coaches poll this week following last Monday's Big 12 thriller.

Kansas defeated Oklahoma in a battle of No. 1 ranked teams in the country in triple-overtime, and thus is now the No. 1 team according to the coaches. The Jayhawks accrued every single first place vote. The Sooners only fell one spot to No. 2, as the coaches clearly realized that the two teams seem to be relatively evenly matched after the high-level performance last week.

 width=Below them, Maryland stayed at No. 3 but the shake-up starts at No. 4. Last week's No. 4, Virginia, lost both of its road games last week and fell all the way to No. 11. Michigan State moved up one place to No. 4, with North Carolina moving up to round out the top-five. Duke replaced Arizona at No. 6 after the Wildcats also dropped a pair of road games this week and tumbled 10 spots down to No. 16, the biggest drop in this week's poll.

There was only one new entrant to the poll this week, the Indiana Hoosiers. Despite losing James Blackmon Jr. for the season, Tom Crean has the Hoosiers out to a 4-0 start in the Big Ten. Overall, Indiana is 14-3 and has won nine straight games. They replaced Connecticut, who fell to Temple on Tuesday.

The Jayhawks and Sooners' triple-overtime classic on Jan. 4 saw Oklahoma lose on the road, but with the Sooners' double-digit home win over K-State on Saturday, the Big 12 keeps the top two teams in the country.

Maryland and Michigan State stay steady in their three and four spots, respectively, while preseason No. 1 UNC is back into the top five after its road win against Syracuse on Saturday night. There are two undefeated teams left in college hoops, but they're separated by nine spots in the latest poll. SMU is in the top 10, while Frank Martin's Gamecocks are slowly but surely moving up with each week.

Villanova, with its 4-0 start in the Big East, jumps from No. 11 to No. 6 this week. Big drops: Virginia (fourth to 13th) and Arizona (seventh to 18th) after both those teams lost two in a row.

Alabama Tops Clemson For National Title

Derrick Henry, O.J. Howard and Kenyan Drake hit No. 1 Clemson with long touchdowns, and No. 2 Alabama outlasted the dynamic play of Deshaun Watson to win the College Football Playoff championship 45-40 on Monday night.

With 10:34 left in the fourth quarter and Alabama having just tied the game at 24-24, Saban took a gamble to try to keep the ball away from Watson. He called for an onside kick called Pop Kick from Adam Griffith and Alabama defensive back Marlon Humphrey caught it over the shoulder at midfield.

 width=Tide turned.

Moments later, Alabama took back the lead for good. For the second time, Clemson (14-1) lost track of the tight end Howard in coverage and Jake Coker hit him in stride deep for a 51-yard touchdown to make it 31-24 with 9:45 left.

Clemson and Watson proved to be every bit Alabama's equal. The Tigers just kept coming.

Watson led Clemson to a field goal to make it 31-27.

Drake broke free and streaked down the sideline for a 95-yard kickoff return touchdown, diving the last 5 yards to the pylon.

Watson threw his third touchdown pass to make it 38-33 with 4:40 left, and then Alabama went back to its workhorse Heisman Trophy winner. Henry plunged into the end zone for his third touchdown of the game to make it 45-33 with 1:07 left.

Watson threw another touchdown pass to cap a wild 40-point fourth quarter, but would not get another chance. Clemson's onside kick went out of bounds. Coker took a knee and after a two-year drought that felt like eternity in Tuscaloosa, Alabama was back on top.

Watson gave the Tide all it could handle, throwing for 405 yards and four touchdowns, and conjured up memories of Vince Young's miraculous performance for Texas in the 2006 Rose Bowl that derailed Southern California's dynasty.

The sophomore, who finished third in the Heisman Trophy voting, had 478 total yards against a loaded Tide defense and bested Young's 467 yards against the Trojans. But Watson couldn't finish the job the way Young did in Pasadena, California, and win the national title.

Bears Name Dowell Loggains As Offense Coordinator

The Chicago Bears have promoted quarterbacks coach Dowell Loggains to replace Adam Gase as offensive coordinator.

 width=Loggains was widely viewed as a logical candidate to get promoted after Gase was hired as the Miami Dolphins' head coach on Saturday, given quarterback Jay Cutler's success this past season and the chance to maintain some continuity.

With Loggains taking over play-calling duties, the Bears are looking for a quarterback's coach. Chicago finished 6-10 in its first season under coach John Fox and general manager Ryan Pace, but showed some progress after winning five games the previous season.

Fox says Loggains "played a critical role" on offense and "earned the respect of our players."

Topping the list is Cutler, who will be working with his sixth coordinator since coming to Chicago in 2009.

He repeatedly praised Gase and Loggains this season - their first in Chicago - after clashing with previous assistants.

Cutler had a career-high 92.3 passer rating and cut his interceptions from 18 to 11 in 15 games.

Renewed Excitement Around SIU-C Basketball

 width=Saluki basketball fans didn't get the kind of result they hoped for in Saturday's game with Wichita State, but there was one encouraging development as SIU Arena hosted a sellout crowd, a reminder of the glory days of recent years under the direction of future Big Ten coaches Bruce Weber and Matt Painter.

Southern Illinois University system President Randy Dunn says the benefits of the basketball program's resurgence under Coach Barry Hinson extend beyond the athletic arena.

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Dunn is also excited about the direction of the Salukis on the gridiron with a new coach taking the helm, who is no stranger to fans...

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The 14-3 Saluki hoopsters (3-1 conference) will be back in action on Tuesday, hosting Illinois State.

Wizards Get By Bulls

 width=John Wall had 17 points and 10 assists to help the banged-up Washington Wizards pull away from the Chicago Bulls for a 114-100 victory on Monday night.

Washington had seven players score in double figures in its second straight win after a stretch of five losses in six games. Ramon Sessions had 16 points, and Garrett Temple, Otto Porter Jr. and Nene scored 14 apiece.

The Wizards led by as many as 18 points while playing without key performers Marcin Gortat, Kris Humphries and Bradley Beal. Gortat was scratched with a sore left knee, Humphries missed his fourth straight game with a sore right knee and Beal remains out due to a stress reaction in his lower right leg.

Derrick Rose scored 23 points in the first of four games in five nights for the Bulls. Jimmy Butler had 19 points and seven assists, and Pau Gasol added 15 points and 10 rebounds.

Roanoke Benson Pounds Lady Maroons

 width=A poor start against Roanoke-Benson on Monday night doomed the Clinton Lady Maroons as they fell 61-37 in non-conference action.

Roanoke-Benson took a 12-2 lead into the second quarter and led 51-24 after three quarters.

The Lady Maroons were led by Faythe Newberry's 20 points.

The Lady Maroons drop to 8-9 overall.

Clinton takes on Tuscola Thursday night at Clinton High School. Hear the action on 92.3 FM WHOW and online at dewittdailynews.com.

Central Illinois Conference Girls Basketball Scores from Monday:

Central A&M 84
Argenta-Oreana 22

Riverton 37,
Meridian 34

Sullivan 53
Cerro Gordo/Bement 36

Tuscola 66
Arthur-Lovington/Atwood-Hammond 59

Warrensburg-Latham 49
Decatur Lutheran 48

Clinton Chamber Preparing For Annual Dinner

It's one of the big events to kick off the year for the Clinton Chamber of Commerce, their annual dinner.

Business leaders, local and state dignitaries and community members make their way to the gathering each year and this year Chamber leaders are excited about what's in store. Marian Brisard, Executive Director of the Chamber says tickets are now on sale at the Chamber office for this year's event on January 30th at The Copper and Brass Room.

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Brisard says the auction items up this year are similar to years past though they continue to try and grow the variety. She also indicates this year's auction will be shorter and there won't be a silent auction at this year's event.

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This year's Chamber Dinner is at the Copper and Brass Room in Clinton on January 30th. Tickets can be purchased at the Clinton Chamber office or by calling 217-935-3364.

Illinois Drivers Licence Will Work Just Fine For Next Two Years

For frequent travelers, talk of Homeland Security officials no longer recognizing Illinois driver's licenses set off alarms.

Today there's good news from the Secretary of State's office. Spokesman Henry Haupt says Illinoisans who plan to fly won't have to scramble for a passport.

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Haupt says Illinois is closing in on complying with the Real ID act.

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Federal officials still want additional steps taken to ensure that no one falsely obtains a bogus identity through an Illinois driver's license. The decision also impacts neighboring Missouri, which has faced similar concerns.

Warner Library To Bring Back Crazy 8s Math Program

 width=The Warner Public Library introduced a math program to middle-school students last year and it was so popular, leaders are going to bring back a similar program for younger students.

According to Children's Librarian, Paula Lopatic, they are targeting kindergarteners through second grade this time around. She says the same developers who made their first club possible are behind it once again.

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Lopatic indicates the program is successful because the kids are active and are having a good time. She feels the great thing about the program is they are learning and they may not even realize it.

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The Crazy Eight Math Program is made possible through a grant that provides all the materials and lesson plans.

The program begins this Tuesday and is an eight week course.

Clinton Education Group Now on Amazon's Non-Profit List

 width=If one of your new year's resolutions was to help out local non-profit groups more, there is a simple way to do so for one local non-profit.

The Clinton Community Educational Foundation, or CCEF, is now a certified beneficiary of a program to benefit non-profit organizations through Amazon. The program is called Amazon Smile and according to Ruth Lowers, if you use Amazon, it's as easy three clicks to allow the CCEF to benefit from dollars you spend online.

[audio:1111675604-11116ccefsmile1.mp3] [/audio]

The funds from the Amazon Smile program will go to things like the teacher grants, which will be awarded soon by the CCEF. Lowers explains their teacher grants provide in-classroom opportunities for the students of the Clinton school district.

[audio:1111675607-11116ccefsmile2.mp3] [/audio]

Funds the CCEF also distributes go towards scholarships and an end of the year academic banquet is furnished by the Foundation.

For further details about the Educational Foundation and more on the Amazon Smile program, visit clintonedfoundation.org.

Alabama, Clemson Meet For National Title

 width=Top-ranked Clemson and No. 2 Alabama will face off in the desert for the national championship after dominating wins in the College Football Playoff semifinals. The Tigers romped in the second half for a 37-17 win over No. 4 Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl, followed by an even more dominating performance in which the Crimson Tide thumped No. 3 Michigan State 38-0 in the Cotton Bowl.

Monday night's title game in Glendale, Arizona, matches a high-scoring Clemson offense led by quarterback Deshaun Watson against Nick Saban's latest dominating defense at Alabama, which limited the Spartans to 239 yards.

There's another storyline to the title game. Clemson coach Dabo Swinney is an Alabama alumnus who played on the Tide's 1992 national championship team.

Now, he's going against the greatest coach of this generation. Saban has won three national titles in the last six years at Alabama to go along with a BCS title at LSU.

Clemson (14-0) and Alabama (13-1) will be playing for the first time since 2008, when Alabama won 34-10 in a game that signaled the Tide's return to national prominence under Saban.

With Alabama favored by seven points, Clemson is the underdog for a second straight game. Oklahoma was favored in the Orange Bowl by four points.

Rockets Edge Pacers in O/T

Trevor Ariza scored a season-high 24 points and Corey Brewer hit the go-ahead 3-pointer in overtime to give Houston a 107-103 victory.

 width=The Pacers scored the first six points of overtime before Houston scored the next six to tie it at 99 with about 2 minutes left.

Monta Ellis made two baskets after that to put the Pacers up twice, but each time Houston responded with a 3-pointer. Ariza hit the first one and Brewer made the second to make it 105-103 with 40.9 seconds left.

Ariza added a dunk with 2 seconds left to secure Houston's third straight victory.

The Rockets trailed by 12 midway through the fourth quarter before rallying to tie it with 17.1 seconds left on a 3 by Ariza. The Pacers had a chance to win in regulation, but Ellis missed a jump shot at the buzzer.

Paul George had just four points in the first half before scoring 14 of his 20 in a 27-point third quarter to help Indiana build a big lead before Houston came back in the fourth.

Dwight Howard had 21 points with 17 rebounds in almost 43 minutes for his fifth straight double-double.

The Pacers host Phoenix on Tuesday.

>>Nets Fire Coach

One day after losing their fourth straight game, the Brooklyn Nets decided a change was needed. On Sunday, the Nets announced that they have parted ways with head coach Lionel Hollins and that GM Billy King will be reassigned within the organization.

"After careful consideration, I've concluded that it's time for a fresh start and a new vision for the direction of the team,” Nets Owner Mikhail Prokhorov said in a statement.

Hollins has coached the team for less than two seasons, getting hired after Jason Kidd left to coach the Milwaukee Bucks last summer. Under Hollins, the Nets won 38 games last season and made the playoffs but lost to the Atlanta Hawks in the first round. The Nets are currently 10-27 and are one of the worst teams in the league this season.

King has been the GM of the Nets since 2010 and under Prokhorov's direction, aggressively traded away assets to get players like Joe Johnson, Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce. Prokhorov had a win-now type of attitude and King mortgaged Brooklyn's future to make this happen. Now after not winning anything, the Nets are left with a bleak future and no first-round draft picks until 2019.

Assistant Coach Tony Brown will be the interim head coach and the Nets are planning on keeping the GM job open until a replacement is found.

Cardinals To Sign Korean Reliever

 width=According to Daniel Kim, the Cardinals have an agreement in place with Korean right-handed reliever Seung-Hwan Oh, pending a Monday physical.

Oh, 33, has pitched to a 1.81 ERA and 5.18 K/BB ratio across parts of 11 seasons in the Korean Baseball Organization and the Japanese Central League. In St. Louis, he figures to work as a setup man to closer Trevor Rosenthal.

If this deal gets done, then Oh will join a Cardinals setup corps that also figures to include Kevin Siegrist, Seth Maness, Jordan Walden, and Jonathan Broxton.

Blackhawks Double-Up Avalanche At Home

 width=Patrick Kane and Marian Hossa each scored two goals and the Chicago Blackhawks rolled to a 6-3 victory over the Colorado Avalanche on Sunday night that extended their season-high win streak to seven.

Jonathan Toews had a goal and two assists to help Chicago chased Semyon Varlamov and improved to 18-5-1 at home. Brandon Mashinter scored his second career goal and Corey Crawford had 34 saves.

The Blackhawks (58 points) moved within four points of idle Dallas for the top spot in the Western Conference.

Matt Duchene had two goals and an assist for Colorado, which had won three in a row and four of six. Nathan MacKinnon also scored and Calvin Pickard finished with 13 stops in relief of Varlamov, who had 16 saves.

>>Alex Ovechkin Scores 500th Career Goal

Alex Ovechkin's status among the greatest goal scorers of his or any generation in the NHL was never in question, but now the Great 8 has achieved one of the iconic milestones in the game. The Washington Capitals captain scored his 500th NHL goal Sunday against the Ottawa Senators.

It came like so many others before it. Ovechkin set himself up inside the left faceoff circle on the power play. Long-time teammate Jason Chimera passed the puck through a group of Senators penalty killers and hit the captain on the tape. Ovechkin had plenty of space and let it rip. The puck soared past Sens goalie Andrew Hammond and set off the celebration.

Ovechkin was mobbed by his teammates, all of them including those that were previously on the bench. Even goalie Braden Holtby, who was backing up was on the ice to join in the group hug.

Ovechkin took a curtain call, waving to the home crowd at Verizon Center.

Ovechkin is the 43rd player overall and one of just six players in the history of the NHL to reach the 500-goal mark before his 31st birthday.

Packers Surge Past Redskins

Aaron Rodgers opened the NFC wild-card game against the Washington Redskins by going 1 for 8, and the Packers' first four drives went: punt, safety, punt, punt. They gained all of 11 yards heading into the second period, and they trailed by double digits.

 width=And then, spurred by using the hurry-up approach he loves, Rodgers played like a two-time NFL MVP. Drawing defensive penalties with quick snaps, making adjustments at the line of scrimmage, and running the show the way few QBs can, Rodgers threw for a pair of TDs while Eddie Lacy and James Starks each ran for a score, and Green Bay came back to overwhelm the NFC East champion Redskins 35-18.

Green Bay (11-6) will play at the No. 2 seed Arizona Cardinals on Saturday night. It's a rematch of a Week 16 game that Arizona dominated 38-8.

Kirk Cousins, made his first playoff start for Washintington after a breakthrough season and was 29 for 46 for 329 yards. He threw for one touchdown, ran for another, lost one fumble and was sacked six times.

Rodgers, the 2011 Super Bowl MVP, turned things around in the second quarter, twice catching Washington with too many men on the field. He went 5 for 6 for 68 yards on a drive that ended with a 12-yard TD pass to Randall Cobb. Then he hit Davante Adams for a 10-yard touchdown that gave the Packers a 17-11 halftime lead.

In the second half, the running game took over. After 17 yards at halftime, the Packers finished with 141 yards on 32 carries.

Illinois Upsets Purdue

 width=Malcolm Hill scored 30 points and Kendrick Nunn added 22 to lead Illinois past No. 20 Purdue 84-70 on Sunday.

Hill and Nunn were a combined 17 for 27 from the field for the Illini (9-8, 1-3 Big Ten).

Nunn returned after missing Thursday's loss at Michigan State for the birth of his son. He started slowly but scored 18 points in the second half. That included a nine-point run to open the half and turn a 37-all tie into a 46-37 Illinois lead.

Purdue (14-3, 2-2) was led by Caleb Swanigan and P.J. Thompson with 12 points each.

Illinois big men Michael Finke and Maverick Morgan helped hold Purdue's two 7-footers, A.J. Hammons and Isaac Haas, to a combined 16 points.

Boilermakers forward Raphael Davis fouled out with 1:49 to play. He didn't score.

DeWitt County Sheriff's Weekend Report

Jail Population: 20

Paper Services: 4

Warrants: 1

Jake Butler, 22, Clinton was Arrested and Issued a Citation for Driving on Suspended License. Butler posted the necessary bond and was released.

William Rivera, 34, Clinton was Arrested on a DeWitt County Warrant charging him with Possess Hypodermic/Syringe/Needles/1st. Rivera unable to post the necessary bond remains lodged in the DeWitt County Jail.

Stosh Eichenauer, 28, Peoria was issued a Citation for Speeding 78 MPH in a 55 MPH Zone. Eichenauer was issued a Promise to Comply and was released.

Daniel Merriman, 34, Decatur was issued a Citation for Speeding 26-34 MPH Over Posted Limit. Merriman was issued a Notice to Appear and was released.

Joshua Rohrscheib, 35, Decatur was issued a Citation for Speeding 83 MPH in a 65 MPH Zone. Rohrscheib was issued a Promise to Comply and was released.

Brooke Seaman, 34, Heyworth was issued a Citation for Speeding 77 MPH in a 55 MPH Zone. Seaman was issued a Promise to Comply and was released.

Genesis Carson, 26, Decatur was issued a Citation for Speeding 75 MPH in a 55 MPH Zone. Carson was issued a Promise to Comply and was released.

Armand Primeaux Jr, 66, Clinton was issued a Citation for Speeding 73 MPH in a 55 MPH Zone. Primeaux was issued a Promise to Comply and was released.

Carl Rytych, 77, Downers Grove was issued a Citation for Speeding 73 MPH in a 55 MPH Zone. Rytych was issued a Promise to Comply and was released.

Janet Cunningham, 45, Forsyth was issued a Citation for Speeding 71 MPH in a 55 MPH Zone. Cunningham was issued a Promise to Comply and was released.


FAFSA Filings Now Open



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Snow Possibility This Weekend

With snow scarce across the area, that could change this weekend. State Climotologist tells more about what to expect this weekend.

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COGFA Releases December Revenue Report

Despite taxpayers keeping more of their income because of the decrease in the income tax rates, personal income tax revenue for the state performed marginally better than expected for the month, even though revenue for the state is down from the year before.

That’s according to the Illinois Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability which says overall base revenues declined over $484 million in December.

Meanwhile the COGFA report for December says corporate income tax revenue was weaker than expected.

The report also says sales taxes posted a modest loss, as did federal reimbursements, which could have been from one less receipting day in December. The report says it’s still too early to know if the drop in sales tax is related to timing of receipts or a sign of future weakness.

Meanwhile there were gains for the state in corporate franchise taxes, utility taxes, cigarette taxes, vehicle use taxes and interest income. COGFA says base receipts, year-to-date, are down over $1.8 billion.

License Plate Renewals Down

Taxpayers are saving hundreds of thousands of dollars a month because the Illinois Secretary of State is no longer sending out license plate renewal notices, but some drivers may be forgetting to renew their plates.

That could be one reason there’s been a significant drop off in the number of plate renewals, according to the secretary of state’s office. Dave Druker (as in trucker), press secretary for the secretary of state, says in a cost savings move spurred on by the ongoing budget impasse -- now more than six months old -- the office stopped sending out notices in November. Druker says not sending the notices through the mail saves taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars a month.

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But there could be a downside for forgetful drivers. Druker says since the renewal notices stopped going out there has been a reduction of renewals in November by 20 percent from the year before.

In December there was a reduction of close to 30 percent from the year before. Druker says drivers can get up to three electronic renewal notices for no cost by contacting the secretary of state or they can check their license plate sticker for the expiration date.

Failing to update the sticker will lead to a $20 dollar fine upon renewal and if police notice the expired plate the driver could get a ticket.

Clinton Maroons Defeat Shelbyville Rams

The Clinton Maroons defeated the Shelbyville Rams by a score of 57-45 on Friday night. The Maroons were leady by junior Peyton McCubbin with 22 points. 

The Rams were lead by Malcolm Miller with 14 points and Turner Pullen added 13 points.

With the win the Maroons improve to 6-9 overall, and 1-0 in the Central Illinois Conference.

Tune in Friday, January 15, as the Maroons take on the Central A&M Raiders. You can hear the game live on The Big 1520 AM/92.3 FM WHOW and online at dewittdailynews.com.

Presidential Candidates File For Illinois Primary

Wednesday was the deadline for candidates seeking to get on the ballot for the Illinois Primary.

Hillary Clinton's effort to win in her native state is now a little more difficult. A team of Bernie Sanders supporters turned up at the deadline to turn in his nominating petition for the March 15th vote. Bernie supporters rallied and say he's an agent of change.

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Martin O'Malley filed in the Democratic field on Tuesday. On the Republican side, Marco Rubio drew scrutiny when he filed to enter the race on Monday, but didn't provide any delegates.

That changed in the final hour as Rubio turned in his delegate slate to the State Board of Elections.

Springfield Tiring of Waiting on State To Pay Power Bill

The lack of a budget has drawn less and less attention as court orders and other moves have allowed the state to pay bills and meet payroll.

One thing not being paid is the state's seven figure power bill with Springfield's municipal utility for the Capitol and various state office buildings in Springfield. The city council is considering a resolution calling on Governor Rauner and lawmakers to designate utilities as an "essential service". Mayor Jim Langfelder is hopeful the state pays sooner rather than later.

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The state's power bill has reached $9 million with Springfield City, Water, Light and Power. $6 million of that total is considered overdue.

Meanwhile, in the Metro-East, the city of Glen Carbon had seen enough. They cut off water service at an Illinois Department of Public Health office because of an unpaid bill. Service is expected to be restored after the state agreed to make a pair of payments toward a bill of nearly $800.

Glen Carbon hadn't received a payment since August.

Fatal Accident South of Heyworth Thursday Afternoon

A semi-SUV collision left one person dead around 3:30 pm Thursday afternoon south of Hewyorth.

At approximately 3:30 pm, the driver of an SUV collided with a semi truck just south of Heyworth on US Highway 51, killing the driver of the SUV.

Authorities could not release the name of the victim. An autopsy is scheduled for today.

The Illinois State Police and McLean County Coroner's office are investigating the crash.

McLean County Sheriff's deputies and Heyworth Fire and ambulance were on scene.

Honor Flight Holding Informational Meeting

If you or someone you know might be interested in taking part in the annual Honor Flight, there is an informational meeting later this month in Springfield you won't want to miss.

 width=Land of Lincoln Honor Flight is holding their annual meeting on Saturday, January 16th, at Lakeside Christian Church’s hall, located at 225 Toronto Road (I-55 Exit 100 West) in Springfield IL at 1:00 PM.

The meeting is for veterans, guardian escorts, volunteers and supporters of LLHF.

A review of the previous season’s six flights, financials and statistics will be presented, as well as announcements of changes, events, training and more.
Updates on the current Waiting List and scheduled flights for 2016 will also be given. A short video summary will also be shown and a raffle, door prizes and light refreshments will be provided.

Veteran applications continue to be accepted and is seeking any eligible veterans that have not had their Honor Flight, especially our more elderly ones.

Veterans are offered a flight in the order their application is received, with priority given in the following sequence: World War II, Korean War Era then Vietnam War Era.

Honor Flights are availbe thanks to the generous donations, sponsorships, fund raising and efforts of many individuals, businesses and organizations.

For more information on the Honor Flight mission, to obtain a Veteran or Guardian application, arrange a speaker to your organization, or make a donation to LLHF, please visit the official web site at LandofLincolnHonorFlight.org or contact John Dust via email at HonorFlightGuy@aol.com or by calling 309-339-0227.

City Approves Bid for AREA Despite Being Outbid By J&S Disposal

 width=Despite being outbid by a local company, the Clinton City Council Monday night chose to stick with AREA Disposal for their garbage collection needs.

Several Council members voiced a sentiment of rewarding loyalty as their primary reason for sticking with AREA. Commissioner Tom Edmunds (right) says AREA has been a great benefit to the community and felt they've also benefited the City in tough times.

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 width=Commissioner John Wise (left) says the reason he is supporting AREA is not only because of loyalty but because sometimes lower bids are not always the best bids. He adds, despite AREA's bad press in recent years, he feels they still do things right.

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Commissioner Nan Crang also echoed some of the same sentiments at Wise, and feels their role in the community is worth considering.

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The Council did not technically have to go out for bid for the service of garbage cleanup. City Attorney Steve Myers indicates because of that, they Council was not required to take the lowest bid.

A contract with AREA was approved for three years with a 2.5% increase each year over the life of the contract. AREA's bid was roughly $24-hundred greater than J&S Disposal's.

The contract was approved 4-0. Commissioner Dan Ballenger abstained citing a professional relationship with both companies.

Spieth Off To Roaring Start in 2016

The first round of the new year on the PGA Tour was not an encore for Jordan Spieth -- or defending champion Patrick Reed.

 width=Spieth had said earlier in the week that an encore means the show is over, and it sure didn't look that way at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions. He opened with seven birdies and no bogeys for a 7-under 66 that left him one shot behind when Reed finished strong and made a 15-foot eagle putt on the 18th hole for a 65.

Reed hasn't won since he rallied to win at Kapalua a year ago, though he hasn't been far off. He ended last year with six top 10s in five countries, and he showed his comfort level on a Plantation Course in gorgeous sunshine and only a stiff breeze that picked up in the middle of the round.

Reed and Spieth both had eagle putts on three of the par 5s.

The difference was Reed converting on the final hole. They were in the last group and part of a five-way tie for the lead when Reed smashed a 3-wood from 309 yards that trickled onto the front of the green and let the grain take it 15 feet below the hole.

That capped off a finish that took Reed from the middle of the pack to the lead. He was 6 under over the last six holes with that eagle.

Spieth came up some 60 yards short and hit a great shot of his own, a flip wedge that rolled to 4 feet for birdie.

Brandt Snedeker, still battling a head cold, J.B. Holmes and Danny Lee were all at 67, while Fabian Gomez of Argentina was another shot behind.

Jason Day, who has a chance to replace Spieth at No. 1 in the world this week, has not played in three months since the Presidents Cup. And it showed. In ideal scoring conditions, Day didn't make a birdie until the ninth hole and made only two on the back nine for a 70.

Only seven players from the 32-man field of PGA Tour winners last year failed to break par. One of them was Dustin Johnson, a past winner at Kapalua, who had to birdie the 18th for a 73. Johnson had the longest drive on six of the holes, including three of them just short of 400 yards. It didn't help him score.

Smylie Kaufman, one of 14 players making their debut at Kapalua, hit the opening tee shot of 2016 so far left that he played his next shot from the ninth hole. He still made birdie, and wound up with a 70.

Chip Kelly Visits With Alabama

 width=Chip Kelly is no longer employed by the Philadelphia Eagles.

Since Kelly was wildly successful in college football (46-7 record as Oregon's coach over four seasons with three top-five finishes), there is a belief that he might return to the college game.

Therefore, any connection between Kelly and a college football program is going to generate interest, especially when it's the Crimson Tide. According to ESPN's Brett McMurphy, Kelly visited with Alabama's coaching staff in Tuscaloosa earlier this week.

What does it mean? Probably that Kelly enjoys spending time with other football coaches and exchanging ideas. It's something that Kelly has done throughout his time as a coach and right now there are few places with more highly regarded staffs than the one Nick Saban has assembled in Tuscaloosa.

Ovechkin Leads Caps Past Islanders

 width=Alex Ovechkin moved closer to a major milestone, Braden Holtby kept up his stellar play and the Washington Capitals kept rolling.

Ovechkin scored his 497th goal, Holtby stopped 34 shots and the NHL-leading Capitals beat the New York Islanders 4-1 Thursday night.

Jason Chimera, Nate Schmidt and Nicklas Backstrom also scored to help Washington reach 63 points and become the first team with 30 wins. Holtby improved to 26-4-2, including 18-0-2 in his last 21 games.

Brock Nelson scored for New York and Jaroslav Halak made 34 saves in his first action in nearly three weeks. The Islanders had won four of six and fell to 7-2-2 against Metropolitan Division foes.

Ovechkin had a chance for No. 498 about 9 minutes into the second, but the puck clanged off the crossbar.

Holtby has appeared in 33 of Washington's 40 games so far.

Packers, Redskins Cap Off Wild Card Weekend

While the Green Bay Packers hope the playoffs present an opportunity to start anew, the Washington Redskins would like to ride their late-season push for as long as possible.

 width=The performances of both quarterbacks have mirrored their team's fate down the stretch as Aaron Rodgers has looked human while Kirk Cousins has played like an All-Pro.

As the Packers try avoid losing three in a row twice in the same season for the first time in seven years, the surging Redskins seek their first postseason victory in 10 years Sunday in an NFC wild-card game at FedEx Field.

Green Bay was considered one of the conference's top contenders after winning its first six games. Now it's stumbling into the playoffs with six losses in its last 10, and things could have been worse if not for a Hail Mary on the final play against Detroit in Week 13.

The Packers are focused on forgetting about the end of the regular season after coughing up an opportunity for a fifth straight NFC North title in last Sunday's 20-13 loss to Minnesota. They haven't lost three straight twice since 2008, the only time they missed the playoffs in the past nine seasons.

Game time is 3:40 local time Sunday on FOX.

Sox Claim OF Off Waivers From Dodgers

 width=The Chicago White Sox have claimed outfielder Daniel Fields off waivers from the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Fields spent most of last season with Detroit's Triple-A affiliate. He appeared in one game for the Tigers on June 4 and recorded his first hit in his major league debut. He was claimed off waivers by Milwaukee on Sept. 10 and by the Dodgers on Dec. 7.

With Thursday's move, Chicago's 40-man roster stands at 38.

>>Dodgers Sign International Prospect Maeda

Over a week after the deal reportedly came together and a few days after there were reported concerns over his physical, the Kenta Maeda signing with the Dodgers has come to fruition.

The deal has been reported as eight years and $25 million with plenty of incentives. As part of the deal, the Dodgers had to ship a $20 million posting fee to the Hiroshima Carp of Nippon Professional Baseball, as Maeda was still under contract there.

Maeda, 27, was 97-67 with a 2.39 ERA in eight seasons in Japan's top league. His best year was in 2012, but he was pretty stellar last season, too, going 15-8 with a 2.09 ERA, 1.01 WHIP and 175 strikeouts in 206 1/3 innings.

Many see Maeda as a mid-rotation guy but we can't definitively know until he starts seeing big-league action. He does balance out a lefty-heavy Dodgers rotation which features Clayton Kershaw, Scott Kazmir, Brett Anderson and Hyun-Jin Ryu.

The next option is also a lefty in Alex Wood, but right-hander Brandon McCarthy is due around mid-season as he returns from Tommy John surgery.

Bulls Beat Celtics

 width=Pau Gasol had 17 points and 18 rebounds, Derrick Rose scored 18 points, and the Chicago Bulls beat the Boston Celtics 101-92 on Thursday night for their sixth straight victory.

Jimmy Butler added 19 points and 10 assists.

The Bulls used a big third quarter to extend their longest win streak of the season and handed the Celtics their fourth loss in five games.

Boston coach Brad Stevens missed this one to visit cancer-stricken former Butler center Andrew Smith, who played on the Bulldogs' two runs to the national championship game. He has been battling non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and was scheduled to undergo a bone marrow transplant Thursday, according to The Boston Globe.

With assistant Jay Larranaga filling in for Stevens, Boston got 17 points from Jae Crowder.

Short-Handed Illini Crushed By Michigan State

 width=Bryn Forbes scored 17 points to help No. 5 Michigan State rout Illinois 79-54 on Thursday night.

The Spartans (15-1, 2-1 Big Ten) were without Denzel Valentine for a fourth straight game. Valentine participated in pregame warmups and might play at Penn State on Sunday, nearly three weeks after having surgery on his left knee.

The Illini (8-8, 0-3) didn't have leading-scorer Kendrick Nunn, who the team said stayed in Illinois for the birth of his child.

Maverick Morgan had 15 points and Malcolm Hill scored 10 for Illinois. The Illini made barely more than one-fourth of their shots in the first half and allowed the Spartans to connect on 61 percent of their shots before halftime.

Eron Harris scored 13 and Matt McQuaid had a career-high 10 points for the Spartans.v

DeWitt County Sheriff's Reports For Jan. 6-8

Jail Population: 20

Paper Services: 0

Warrants: 0

Stephen Chan, 31, Cincinnati, OH was issued a Citation for Speeding 81 MPH in a 65 MPH Zone. Chan was issued a Promise to Comply and was released.

Jordan Woollen, 26, Surprise, AZ was issued a Citation for Speeding 74 MPH in a 55 MPH Zone. Woollen was issued a Promise to Comply and was released.


Jail Population: 22

Paper Services: 3

Warrants: 0

Sarah Alldredge, 31, Clinton was Arrested and Charged with unlawful Display Title/ Certification/ Plate. Alldredge unable to post the necessary bond remains lodged in the DeWitt County Jail.

Mark Mandros, 62, Bloomington was issued a Citation for Speeding 73 MPH in a 55 MPH Zone. Mandros was issued a Promise to Comply and was released.

Bradley Jameson, 33, Bloomington was issued a Citation for Speeding 76 MPH in a 55 MPH Zone. Jameson was issued a Promise to Comply and was released.


Jail Population: 24

Paper Services: 12

Warrants: 0

Sarah Alldredge, 31, Clinton was issued a Citation for Unlawful Display of Registration. Alldredge posted the necessary bond and was released.

Daniel Overberg, 31, Mapleton was issued a Citation for Speeding 74 MPH in a 55 MPH Zone. Overberg was issued a Promise to Comply and was released.

Miriam Troutner, 30, Latham was issued a Citation for Speeding 75 MPH in a 55 MPH Zone. Troutner was issued a Promise to Comply and was released.

Katherine Williams, 30, Normal was issued a Citation for Speeding 78 MPH in a 55 MPH Zone. Williams was issued a Promise to Comply and was released





ACLU Says Cost of REAL Id Not Only Concern

There’s no such thing as a secure database.

That’s one of the many problems the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois has with the state of Illinois having to comply with the federal REAL ID Act. Ed Yohnka with the ACLU of Illinois says Illinois and other large states like California and New York are being quote “bullied” into compliance by the federal government to get what the ACLU amounts to a national ID card.

Despite the federal government being wary of calling the national mandate a national ID, Yohnka says REAL ID is a national ID because it links all states’ ID databases together, something Yohnka says is not secure.

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One example Yohnka provided is someone possibly leaving a laptop with access to the database at a coffee shop. And, he pointed out, a nationally linked system will only be as strong as the weakest state’s security.

The state was notified by the federal government last month that citizens with Illinois driver’s licenses may face extra scrutiny when boarding a commercial plane at an airport or when entering a federal facility if the state issued ID is not in compliance 120 days after this weekend’s deadline.

REAL ID To Impact Low Income

Find yourself living paycheck-to-paycheck? If REAL ID is implemented in Illinois it may mean trading in a week’s worth of lunch to get the ID that complies with federal standards.

That’s the message from the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois. Ed Yohnka, director of communications for the ACLU of Illinois, says getting a REAL ID will be labor intensive and not something applicants could pick up almost instantly, as is done now with the state’s current ID.

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Yohnka says at the end of the process of providing all the documents the applicant would then go home and wait for the ID card to arrive in the mail. Meanwhile Yohnka says for people who are struggling financially REAL ID will be even more burdensome.

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Yohnka estimates if REAL ID is implemented in Illinois, as the federal government is pushing the state towards, it could put the price of a driver's license to more than $100, whereas it now costs $30.

The Illinois Secretary of State’s office couldn’t say how much it will cost individuals but estimates overall implementation of the ID will cost taxpayers $60 million dollars, and there’s little indication of what the yearly costs thereafter would be.

UPDATE: DeWitt County HRC Faces Severe Cutbacks by March if No Budget is Passed

 width=The worst case scenario has been laid out for one DeWitt County non-profit if a budget is not passed by the Illinois legislature.

A date of March has been set by leaders of the DeWitt County Human Resource Center for severe cutbacks to a point of core services only if the State of Illinois doesn't get its fiscal house in order. Executive Director Lynn Scovill (right) says they have already taken every measure possible to keep their doors open and their most vital services available and will continue to strive to serve the community in as much of a capacity as possible

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The Human Resource Center of DeWitt County is for many, the last line of help they could get access to. Scovill explains many cannot travel out of the county where help could be awaiting them and for many, the only proper care they receive is through an outside certified mental health official coming to DeWitt County help.

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The Human Resource Center has been able to patch together funding sources thanks to advances in funding from the taxing body the 708 mental health board but Scovill says those funds and others will run out in March.

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 width=HRC's Corey Baxter (right) says their absence in the community would be felt greatly by the hospital and law enforcement. He explains when they have a person in the community who would be in need of psychiatric help, they can prevent someone from being arrested and even put in jail, but without their services, that won't happen.

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Baxter says those types of scenarios play out two or three times a month locally.

Scovill says the potential of their doors closing has law enforcement agencies very concerned.

Additionally, she points out it is hard to find these people help close to home and if they can get them help out of state, mainly in Missouri or Indiana, even more challenges arise because these people don't have a support network in those places and then getting them back home once they've been treated is another challenge.

Scovill also adds, they have had to lay off or let go of much of their staff, and getting those people back or replacing them is going to be difficult.

Rose Happy For Jimmy Butler; Pacers Win

 width=Jimmy Butler has clearly emerged as the Chicago Bulls' No. 1 option, and it sounds like Derrick Rose is OK with this development. Two days after scoring 40 points in a half, Butler led the team with 32 points on 11-for-21 shooting and 10 assists as the Bulls beat the Milwaukee Bucks 117-106 on Tuesday, their fifth win in a row.

"The way Jimmy is playing, the patience he is playing with, you can tell the game is slowing down for him," Rose said, via Bulls.com's Sam Smith. "It's fun to see, exciting; I'm happy for him."

There has been all sorts of drama around this team, and lots of talk about the relationship between the two guys in the backcourt. Rose was once undeniably the franchise player and the most popular man in Chicago. Butler signed a five-year, $95 million contract last summer and then declared he was a point guard. While Butler made his name as a defensive player, you can now run an offense through him. It's easy to figure out why that might make things awkward for Rose, who is not producing like the player he was before numerous serious knee surgeries.

What remains in question is whether or not this long-term pairing makes sense. Rose has historically been most effective with the ball in his hands, and it's become obvious that Butler deserves to use a huge chunk of Chicago's possessions.

>>Pacers Beat Magic

 width=It wasn't Indiana's best shooting night, not by a long shot.

But the Pacers made enough shots and played enough defense to beat the Orlando Magic 95-86 on Wednesday.

Paul George had 20 points and Monta Ellis scored nine of his 19 in the fourth quarter, helping the Pacers beat the Magic for the sixth straight time.

George, who scored at least 31 points in his previous three games, shot 5 of 13 but led a second-quarter rally that put Indiana ahead for good.

After the teams combined to shoot 5 for 39 from 3-point range in the first three quarters, Hill and the Magic's Victor Oladipo picked up the scoring pace in the fourth with two long-range jumpers apiece.

Oladipo led the Magic with 20 points, 11 in the fourth period. Nik Vucevic added 17 points and four rebounds.

Orlando missed nine of its first 10 shots and fell behind by nine points early. But Jason Smith made three shots and left the game with an ankle injury during a 15-6 spurt that left the Magic with a six-point lead, its largest of the game, late in the second quarter.

George scored the final five points of an 8-0 Indiana run early in the second half, and the Pacers held the lead for the rest of the game.

Indiana plays at New Orleans on Friday night.

Griffey, Piazza Elected To Hall of Fame

The National Baseball Hall of Fame has two new members. Ken Griffey Jr. and Mike Piazza have both been voted into the Hall of Fame by the Baseball Writers Association of America, it was announced Wednesday evening.

 width=Induction weekend will be held July 22-25 this summer, at the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York. The induction ceremony itself will be held Sunday, July 24, at 1:30 p.m. ET.

Griffey was elected in his first year on the ballot. He received 99.32 percent of the vote, the highest total in history. Tom Seaver was the all-time leader at 98.84 percent. Nolan Ryan (98.79 percent), Cal Ripken Jr. (98.53 percent), and Ty Cobb (98.23 percent) round out the top five.

Piazza, meanwhile, appeared on 83.0 percent of the ballots. This was his fourth year on the ballot and his support increased with each passing year. Piazza appeared on 57.8 percent of the ballots in 2013, 62.2 percent in 2014, and 69.9 percent in 2015. Seventy-five percent is needed for induction.

Griffey, now 46, was the best and most exciting player in baseball for much of the 1990s. He spent the vast majority of his career with the Mariners and Reds, and, during his peak from 1991-98, Griffey hit .304/.386/.596 (157 OPS+) while averaging 39 home runs, 14 stolen bases, and 110 RBI per season.

During his 22-season career Griffey amassed 2,781 hits and 630 home runs. He is sixth on the all-time home run list, trailing only Barry Bonds (762), Hank Aaron (755), Babe Ruth (714), Alex Rodriguez (687), and Willie Mays (660).

Piazza, now 47, is the greatest power-hitting catcher in baseball history. He retired as a career .308/.377/.545 (142 OPS+) hitter with 2,127 hits, 427 home runs, and 1,335 RBI. Piazza was a 12-time All-Star and ranks first among all catchers in home runs, slugging percentage, and OPS+. He played the majority of his 16-year career with the Dodgers and Mets.

NFL Notes

>>Lovie Smith Out In Tampa

Out of nowhere on Wednesday night the Buccaneers dismissed second-year head coach Lovie Smith, the team announced.

Tampa Bay improved from a two-win season (and the No. 1 overall pick) to 6-10 in 2015 and showed serious signs of improvement with first-round pick Jameis Winston under center.

However the Glazer family -- through a statement from Buccaneers co-chairman Joel Glazer -- decided it was time to move on from Smith.

"After careful consideration, we informed Lovie that we have decided to make a change. I want to thank Lovie for his hard work and dedication to the Buccaneers during his time here," Glazer said in a statement.

The move came out of nowhere, making it perhaps the most difficult offseason coaching move to parse.

 width=>>Sean Payton Returns To New Orleans

In another unexpected development during an offseason that now seems like it's going to feature a bunch of those, Sean Payton is staying on as head coach of the New Orleans Saints.

Rumors had been swirling that Payton would leave New Orleans throughout much of the season, and they had picked up steam up in recent days as teams like the Giants and 49ers parted with their own head coaches (Tom Coughlin and Jim Tomsula, respectively) earlier this week. Reports earlier in the week indicated that the Saints were seeking at least a second-round pick to pry Payton away from them, and Giants owner John Mara did not deny that his team would be willing to deal picks for a coach.

Instead, as reported by CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora and others, the Saints will not be making Payton available to other teams, and the NFL's current fourth-longest tenured head coach is sticking around for at least one more year.

Payton has been with the Saints since 2006, the same offseason during which the team signed Drew Brees. Since then, the team has routinely ranked near the top of the league in many offensive categories on a yearly basis. The Saints are 87-57 under Payton's stewardship, which does not include a year during which Payton was suspended and the team went 7-9. That 94-66 total record is the sixth-best mark in the NFL since 2006, and the 87-57 mark gives Payton's version of the Saints the fifth-best winning percentage in the league during that time.

>>Calvin Johnson Mulling Retirement

Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson is 30 years old. He's played nine seasons in the NFL. And he has recently told some former teammates that he is considering retirement, according to the Detroit Free Press.

"There has been some conversations about it, not asking me how it is," said one former teammate who asked to remain anonymous, per the Free Press.

According to Terry Foster of CBS Detroit, Megatron has been picking the brains of former teammates about what life is like after football, hinting that the Lions star could follow in the footsteps of Hall of Famer Barry Sanders.

Johnson has been one of the best, if not the best, players at his position since he entered the NFL out of Georgia Tech back in 2007. In that time, Johnson ranks seventh in the NFL in catches and first in both receiving yards and receiving touchdowns. His 731 catches are the sixth-most ever for a player in their first nine seasons, while his 11,619 yards rank third, and his 83 touchdown grabs rank fifth.

Blackhawks Beat Penguins For 2nd Straight Night; Blues Lose 4th Straight

 width=Rookie Artemi Panarin scored two goals for the second straight night, and the Chicago Blackhawks beat Pittsburgh 3-1 on Wednesday for their second win against the Penguins in two days.

Panarin broke a 1-1 tie when he jumped on a loose puck after a faceoff and whipped it over the glove of goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury at 8:56 of the third. Teuvo Teravainen added an empty-net goal as Chicago earned its season-high fifth straight win in the opener of a four-game homestand.

Panarin also had two goals in Chicago's 3-2 victory at Pittsburgh on Tuesday night, including the winner in overtime. The Russian winger leads all NHL rookies with 15 goals and 38 points.

Scott Darling, filling in for starter Corey Crawford, made 17 saves as the Blackhawks swept the season series against the Penguins for the second straight year.

Evgeni Malkin scored for Pittsburgh, and Fleury finished with 34 stops. The Penguins had won two in a row and four of six before the two losses against the Blackhawks.

>>Blues Lose 4th Straight

Nathan MacKinnon got the Colorado Avalanche to overtime, where Gabriel Landeskog finished off a big win.


Landeskog scored at 4:44 of overtime and the Avalanche rallied late Wednesday night to beat the St. Louis Blues 4-3.

It was a valuable two points for Colorado, which has overcome a slow start to move within two points of the second wild card in the Western Conference at the halfway point of the season.

The Avalanche trail Nashville for the last playoff spot with the Predators in town Friday night.

Matt Duchene and Mikhail Grigorenko also scored for the Avalanche, who handed the Blues their fourth straight loss.

Landeskog got the winner when St. Louis goalie Jake Allen lost a race to the puck near the right circle. John Mitchell got there just ahead of the diving Allen and sent it across to Landeskog, who put it in the empty net.

It was his ninth of the season and first since Dec. 15.

Vladimir Tarasenko, David Backes and Patrik Berglund scored for the Blues. Allen finished with 29 saves.

St. Louis was poised to get a key Central Division win before Colorado rallied. The Avalanche pulled goalie Semyon Varlamov for an extra skater with 2:10 left and MacKinnon scored at 18:31 with a sharp-angle shot that went off Allen.

It was his 14th of the season.

Varlamov had 35 saves.

Lewis Back For Illinois Tonight vs Michigan State

 width=An Illinois team hit hard by injuries and illness will get guard Khalid Lewis back in time for Thursday's game at No. 5 Michigan State.

Illini coach John Groce said Wednesday that Lewis will return to the lineup against the Spartans (14-1, 1-1 Big Ten). Lewis missed games against Michigan and Ohio State while recovering from the mumps.

Groce says he has no idea when center Mike Thorne Jr. or forward Leron Black will start practicing again. Both are out with knee injuries.

Illinois (8-7, 0-2) has opened Big Ten play with a pair of losses.

Illinois State Gets By Loyola-Chicago; Bradley Loses

Deontae Hawkins scored 13 points and grabbed five rebounds as Illinois State won its fourth-straight, beating Loyola of Chicago 54-52 on Wednesday night.

 width=DeVaughn Akoon-Purcell added 14 points and four rebounds for the Redbirds (9-7, 3-0 Missouri Valley Conference). Nick Banyard had 10 points and five rebounds. The team averaged 35.3 percent shooting from the field and 57.9 percent from the line.

The Redbirds didn't score a bucket till Banyard sank a layup nearly eight minutes into the first half. They went on to take a 26-21 lead at the break.

Hawkins hit a 3-pointer early in the second half and Banyard hit two more midway to help keep the Redbirds out front throughout the period. With three seconds to go, Banyard blocked a shot by Illinois State's Montel James that would have tied the game.

James led the Ramblers (7-8, 0-3) with 14 points and 14 rebounds.

 width=>>Southern Illinois Gets By Short-Handed Bradley

Anthony Beane scored 11 points and Bola Olaniyan gathered 10 rebounds as Southern Illinois dominated Bradley 65-44 on Wednesday night.

Southern Illinois (14-2, 3-0 Missouri Valley) won for the first time in Peoria since 2012 and improved to 6-0 on the road, its best start in school history.

Beane scored seven straight points with five free throws and a jumper to give Southern Illinois a 23-13 lead and the Salukis extended it to 41-23 at the break.

Beane's dunk at the 16:19 mark gave the Salukis a 24-point lead.

Ronnie Suggs was the only player in double figures with 12 points for Bradley (2-14, 0-3). The Braves are the youngest team in Division I, with a rotation of nine freshmen and a sophomore. Ka'Darryl Bell and Scottie James were out with injuries.

The Braves' active roster has scored 1,367 career points, 269 fewer than Beane.

Barry Sanders Jr. To Transfer

 width=Barry Sanders Jr. will graduate from Stanford in June and has been granted release of his scholarship, which makes him eligible to transfer to any school outside the Pac-12 and play immediately under graduate transfer rules.

According to The Oklahoman, Sanders is considering a move to Oklahoma State, where his father was the 1988 Heisman Trophy winner and put together one of the greatest careers by a collegiate running back.

“[Oklahoma State is] definitely an option," Sanders said to The Oklahoman.

Sanders Jr. was a four-star running back coming out of high school but never became a featured back at Stanford. In his three-year career, Sanders has had only 117 carries for 701 rushing yards and four touchdowns.

Most notably, he served as the backup this season to Heisman Trophy semifinalist Christian McCaffrey, who returns to the Cardinal next year.

LSU Blasts Kentucky; Marquette Upsets Providence

 width=Tim Quarterman had 21 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists, Craig Victor added 15 points and 12 rebounds, and LSU defeated No. 9 Kentucky 85-67 on Tuesday night.

Ben Simmons, the heralded freshman, added 14 points and 10 rebounds for the Tigers (9-5, 2-0 Southeastern Conference), who seem to be figuring things out after a disappointing 7-5 start in non-conference play.

LSU never trailed after tying the game at 2 and kept their lead at or near double digits for much of the game to the delight of a packed and energized Pete Maravich assembly Center.

Tyler Ulis had 23 points and Jamal Murray added 21 for Kentucky, (11-3, 1-1), which lost for the third time in seven games and had their 22-game SEC winning streak snapped.

The Wildcats struggled with their shooting early and later were hampered by foul trouble. Starting forwards Marcus Lee and Alex Poythress both fouled out by the time 7:29 remained in the game.

Kentucky visits Alabama on Saturday. LSU is at Florida.

>>Marquette Upsets Providence

Henry Ellenson had 13 points, 10 rebounds and four blocked shots, swatting away Kris Dunn's attempted buzzer-beater as the Marquette Golden Eagles beat the eighth-ranked Providence Friars 65-64 Tuesday.

Duane Wilson scored on a layup with 31 seconds left to give Marquette (11-4, 1-2 Big East) the 65-64 lead. The Golden Eagles avoided opening the conference schedule with three straight losses for the first time since joining the Big East in 2005.

The Friars trailed 42-34 with 15 minutes to play before scoring 16 of the next 20 points to take their first lead. Included in that run were 14 straight points from Ben Bentil - three baskets and then eight free throws.

Bentil scored 28 points and added nine rebounds for Providence (14-2, 2-1), which had won eight straight. Dunn had 20 points, seven assists, five rebounds and five steals for the Friars, who had climbed to their highest ranking in The Associated Press Top 25 since 1977.

Marquette hosts St. John's Saturday. Providence is at Creighton.

Bears Offensive Coordinator Interviews For Eagles Job; NFL Notes

 width=Bears offensive coordinator Adam Gase interviewed with the Philadelphia Eagles for their vacant coaching position on Tuesday.

Gase is the third candidate to meet with the Eagles since Chip Kelly was fired last week. Eagles running backs coach Duce Staley and offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur already interviewed.

Gase helped Jay Cutler post a career-high passer rating (92.3) this season after spending the past two seasons as offensive coordinator in Denver. Gase worked with Peyton Manning as Denver's quarterbacks coach for two seasons before running the offense.

The Eagles finished 7-9 after entering the year with Super Bowl expectations. Owner Jeffrey Lurie is expected to meet with several candidates before making a decision.

>>Mets Front Office Man Bolts For Browns

The Cleveland Browns have tried just about everything to win and it hasn't worked out so now they're just going full Moneyball.

The woebegone franchise announced Tuesday that it has hired Paul DePodesta of the New York Mets away from baseball to be the team's new chief strategy office. Joel Sherman of the New York Post first reported the news, writing that DePodesta's job is "answerable only to" owner Jimmy Haslam and president Sashi Brown

Worth noting: Brown is a big analytics guy and DePodesta is kind of the analytics guy. Remember Jonah Hill in Moneyball? That's DePodesta.

Also worth noting: DePodesta did get his start in football.

>>Report Says RGIII Wants To Play For Cowboys If Cut

The Cowboys' backup quarterback situation was basically a nightmare in 2015. After Tony Romo went down with a broken collarbone, Brandon Weeden, Kellen Moore and Matt Cassel combined to go 1-11.


Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has spent years looking for a capable backup -- and a potential replacement for Romo -- but he's found nothing. That could change this offseason, because two former first-round picks really want to play for the Cowboys in 2016.

Not only is Johnny Manziel hoping to end up in Dallas for the 2016 season, but so is Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III. According to Yahoo Sports, Dallas is atop Griffin's "preferred destinations should he become available," and Griffin is almost definitely going to become available.

If the Redskins were to cut Griffin this offseason, it would cost them exactly zero dollars in salary cap space.

The only thing that could possibly throw a wrench into things is if RG3 were to somehow get injured during the playoffs. When the Redskins exercised his fifth-year option, that guaranteed his 2016 salary of $16.155 million for injury only, so basically, the Redskins would only owe RG3 that money if he were to be injured in a football-related activity.

Assuming that doesn't happen, there's a good chance RG3 will be available soon.

Although Jones has spent a lot of time over the past three years talking about Manziel, he's also likes Griffin, who was the second-overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft.

"I'm a fan of RG3," Jones told NFL Network in November 2014.

The Redskins closed the 2015 season in Dallas on Sunday and Griffin made sure to say "Hi" to Cowboys coach Jason Garrett after Washington's 34-23 win.

Blackhawks Beat Penguins

 width=Artemi Panarin beat Marc-Andre Fleury 3:47 into overtime to lift the Chicago Blackhawks to a 3-2 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Tuesday night.

Panarin finished with two goals, including the winner off a feed from Patrick Kane as Chicago fended off resilient Pittsburgh, which rallied from a 2-0 deficit in the third period behind goals from Sidney Crosby and Kris Letang.

Jonathan Toews got his 14th goal of the season for Chicago. Kane finished with two assists to boost his point total to an NHL-best 59. Corey Crawford made 34 saves for the Blackhawks, who have won four straight.

Crosby scored his 12th of the season and sixth in six games to start Pittsburgh's comeback. Letang added his fourth with a shot from the point with 2:50 to play to force overtime. Fleury stopped 27 shots in the first game of a home-and-home with the defending Stanley Cup champions.

Butler Leads Bulls Past Bucks

 width=Jimmy Butler had 32 points and a season-high 10 assists to lead the streaking Chicago Bulls to a 117-106 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks on Tuesday night.

Pau Gasol scored 26 points with 11 rebounds, and Taj Gibson added 11 points and 14 boards as the Bulls led the entire way in their season-best fifth straight win.

Butler was coming off a record-breaking performance Sunday, when he scored 40 of his 42 points in the second half of a 115-113 victory at Toronto to surpass Michael Jordan's team mark for points in a half. This time, Butler had 20 points in the first half on 8-of-11 shooting.

Khris Middleton scored 26 for Milwaukee, and Michael Carter-Williams finished with 20 points and 12 assists.

PBL Overcomes Monticello

Jonny Walder made two free throws with Paxton-Buckley-Loda trailing by one with 15 seconds left, lifting PBL past Monticello, 58-57 on Tuesday night in non-conference boys basketball action.

 width=The Sages overcame a nine point deficit early in the second half and led most of the fourth quartere, however, a late rally by PBL was enough for them to escape Monticello.

Zach Fisher led the way for Monticello with 13 points. Isiah Florey added 11 and Calvin Fisher and Sutten Winterbotton had ten points apiece.

Noah Freemon also had five points and five assists.

Walder led PBL with 16 and Andrew Zenner added 15 points.

The Sages drop to 7-2 overall while PBL improves to 11-2.

Tune in Friday night on 95.9 FM WEZC and online at dewittdailynews.com for Sages basketball action as Monticello opens Okaw Valley Conference play against Rantoul starting at 7:30.

Boys basketball scores from Tuesday:

Argenta-Oreana 63
Central A&M 49

St. Joseph-Ogden 64
Decatur St. Teresa 47

Altamont 52
Shelbyville 56

Springfield Calvary 44

Tuscola 75
CGB 35

Governor Adds 11 Counties To Disaster Declaration

Eleven more Illinois counties have been added by the governor to the disaster declaration after the recent flooding, bringing the total number to 23. The declaration makes a variety of state resources available, according to the governor’s office, like sandbags, pumps, trucks, inmate crews and other resources to ensure public safety. During a stop in Iroquois County, which was declared a disaster area Tuesday, Governor Bruce Rauner said the declarations are just the beginning of the recovery

[audio:1061680337-Rauner3.mp3] [/audio]

In another county declared a disaster Tuesday, Sangamon County Administrator Brian McFadden says federal assistance could be available to buy out properties prone to floods, which has been done in previous floods that got federal assistance.

[audio:1061681939-McFadden.mp3] [/audio]

The governor’s office says if the state meets certain criteria through the federal government the state could be get a federal disaster declaration from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The other additional counties are Cass, Cumberland, Lawrence, Marion, Menard, Moultrie, Pike, Richland and Vermilion.

Ag Invest Program Revamped

A loan program that partners the State of Illinois Treasurer’s office and private banks is getting a refreshed look in 2016.

The state’s Ag Invest Program seeks to provide farmers with below market rate loans to invest in farming operations or start up new ones. New for this year is an increase in loan amounts to $400,000 per farmer and $800,000 per operation with below market options for interest rates. Treasurer Mike Frerichs says that they are striving to make real world improvements to the program.

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Frerichs says the relationship with banks means that farmers don’t need to work through a government office to use the program.

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The changes went into effect on January 1 and since 2008 Ag Invest has loaned out more than $1 billion dollars.

Auditor General Says Comptroller's Late Fund Transfers Total $1.6-Billion

Chronically delayed fund transfers made by Illinois’ Comptroller total $1.6 billion for the previous fiscal year.

That’s according to one of the final audits from Auditor General William Holland. In the fiscal officer responsibilities audit released just before the new year Holland says the Comptroller did not make all statutorily mandated transfers between state funds within established timeframes, going as long as 459 days after a mandated transfer date.

The report says Comptroller officials blame the late payments on cash management decisions and prioritization due to the lack of available cash in the State Treasury -- problems that have been repeated since 2009. The Auditor’s office recognized the lack of funds but recommended the Comptroller continue to make transfers as timely as possible.

Previous budget years have been criticized for not being balanced and now more than six months into the current fiscal year without a budget in place the state is spending more than it’s bringing in because of court orders and consent decrees.

Governor Rauner Does Not Want Taxpayers Bailing Out Chicago Without Reforms

Illinois taxpayers won’t be on the hook to bail out the city of Chicago unless the Windy City ponies up support for the governor’s reform items.

That’s the message from Governor Bruce Rauner. The governor said Monday that Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has inherited a mess, but -- along with the Cook County government -- hasn’t taken on structural reforms. Rauner said he’ll work with the city to solve problems but won’t provide hundreds of millions of dollars in state assistance without support from city leaders for reforms.

[audio:1061680336-Rauner1.mp3] [/audio]

According to social media accounts Mayor Emanuel said Tuesday children of Chicago are not part of the political game in Springfield.

In response, Rauner Deputy Chief of Staff for Communications Mike Schrimpf said Emanuel is quote “playing the tired political game of blaming others for his unwillingness to fix Chicago’s finances after more than four years in office.”

The governor said Chicago has been financially mismanaged for years and the public schools are headed for disaster within the next 9 months.

Governor Remaining Strong, Against New Revenues Without Reforms

Illinois’ governor reiterated his stance that he won't put new significant taxes on Illinois families without structural reforms.

During a press conference this week touting a task force report on government consolidation and unfunded mandates Governor Bruce Rauner said he’s not a fan of taxes but will support new revenue only if there are political and economic reforms enacted. Not having reforms while raising taxes, the governor said, is a bad idea.

[audio:1061680336-Rauner2.mp3] [/audio]

Last month, in front of the City Club of Chicago, Speaker Michael Madigan said the state should reinstate the income tax for individuals back to where it was before the beginning of last year.as a quote “good place to begin.” The current rate is 3.75 percent for individuals after sunsetting from 5 percent at the beginning of 2015. The next scheduled drop is to 3.25 percent in 2025.

Illinois Chamber Praises New Laws, Say Challenges Still Linger

The Illinois Chamber of Commerce is praising eight laws that take effect this month it says will help improve the business climate ... but the state isn’t out of the woods yet.

hamber President and CEO Todd Maisch (MY-shh) says one of the most important measures was the reform to the unemployment insurance, saying every employer has to pay unemployment insurance taxes and any savings there means savings to consumers.

Another measure the Chamber applauds is an environmental streamlining bill that allows for quicker clean act permits for certain businesses. Maisch says the eight measures provide incremental improvements to Illinois’ reputation among the business community, but there’s still a lot of structural reforms in the new year his members say must happen quote “now or never”.

[audio:1061680335-Maisch.mp3] [/audio]

Regardless of the continued budget impasse, now more than six months old, Maisch says the Chamber is still optimistic for the new year and says though it won’t be a spectacular year for the economy, reforms to help businesses could make it a good year.

Other laws the Chamber praised includes veterans preference for private employers and amendments to the Equal Pay Act and the Private Employment Agency Act.

State Climotologist Looks Back at 2015 Weather




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[audio:1061680331-2015wx2.mp3] [/audio]


Monticello School's Leader Says Property Tax Freeze Would Not Impact Them Greatly

 width=There's still no budget in place for the State of Illinois, which means area school leaders still are unsure of the future of what their revenues may look like beyond this year.

The tax-freeze legislation has been among about a half a dozen issues concerning local school leaders while lawmakers hash out a budget in Springfield. Monticello Schools Superintendent Dr Vic Zimmerman says the idea of a tax freeze is great but he says the impacts are not.

[audio:1041621512-1516monticellofreeze1.mp3] [/audio]

Even if a property tax freeze were to go into effect, Dr. Zimmerman says that would not greatly impact Monticello Schools because most of their budget comes from the Corporate Personal Property Replacement Tax, or CPPRT. He says because of that revenue, they've built up a nice reserve.

[audio:1041621518-1516monticellofreeze2.mp3] [/audio]

Dr. Zimmerman indicates he does not have any insight as to what will ultimately come of the legislation since much of the negotiation process is playing out behind closed doors.

Ole Miss Pair Opt For NFL Draft

While the news comes as no surprise, it's official now. Ole Miss wide receiver Laquon Treadwell is foregoing his final year of eligibility to enter the NFL Draft.

"After sitting down with my family, we have decided it is time for me to take the next step in my career and enter the 2016 NFL draft," said Treadwell in a statement.


Treadwell, a native of the Chicago-area, caught 82 passes for 1,153 yards and 11 touchdowns for Ole Miss this season. In his three seasons, he caught 202 passes for 2,393 yards and 21 touchdowns.

He basically re-wrote the school record book during his time in Oxford, and finishes as the school's all-time leader in receptions, as well as yards in a season (this year's 1,153), most receiving yards per game (68.4) during his career and a whole host of others.

Joining Treadwell in foregoing his senior season is star left tackle Laremy Tunsil. Tunsil is the third Ole Miss junior to declare for the draft.

"After weighing the decision with my family, I will forgo my senior season and enter the 2016 NFL Draft," Tunsil said in a statement released by Ole Miss.

Tunsil suffered a broken leg in the Peach Bowl last year and then missed the first seven games of the 2015 season because of NCAA infractions.

Despite those setbacks, Tunsil declaring for the draft comes as no surprise as he is a projected top-5 pick and ranked No. 2 on the CBS Sports NFL Draft prospect rankings. Tunsil is considered the most NFL-ready offensive lineman entering the draft and plays the premium position of left tackle.

Coaches Tab Oklahoma As New No. 1; Kansas in Coaches Poll

 width=Oklahoma is the new No. 1 team in the country according to the coaches poll, edging No. 2 Kansas by a slim 781-769 vote margin. The Sooners received 20 first-place votes against Kansas' 11. Michigan State, who dropped from No. 1 to No. 5, received the lingering final first-place vote. Kansas is expected to be named the No. 1 team in the Associated Press poll, which will be released later on Monday.

Maryland and Virginia rounded out the top-five at Nos. 3 and 4 respectively, followed by the Spartans, Arizona at No. 6, North Carolina at No. 7, Kentucky at No. 8, Providence at No. 9 and Duke at No. 10.

Two new teams also entered the poll this week. Iowa jumped from not receiving any votes last week to No. 23 this week following its wins over both Michigan State at No. 18 Purdue. New No. 24 Connecticut also entered the poll. The two teams replaced Utah and Cincinnati, each of whom lost last week.

 width=>>AP Gives No.1 To Kansas

Monday's release of the AP Top 25 has the Kansas Jayhawks at the top for the first time this season, followed by the Oklahoma Sooners. Michigan State split the week -- losing at Iowa last Tuesday, then winning at Minnesota on Saturday -- so it falls from the top spot to No. 5.

The two other undefeated teams left in college hoops, SMU and South Carolina, are respectively 15th and 22nd in this week's poll.

Providence bumped up five spots to No. 8.

Kansas Win Over Oklahoma in Triple Overtime Instant Classic

 width=Perry Ellis had 27 points and grabbed 13 rebounds for the Kansas Jayhawks (13-1, 2-0 Big 12), who had chances to win in regulation and the first two overtimes, instead it took three to walk away with a 109-106 win over the second ranked Oklahoma Sooners Monday night. Wayne Selden Jr. added 21 points and Devonte Graham had 20, including the go-ahead free throw in the final extra session.

Buddy Hield had a career-high 46 points for Oklahoma (12-1, 1-1), but he made two crucial turnovers in the final extra session, then missed a potential tying 3 at the buzzer.

ordan Woodard hit six 3-pointers and had 27 points for the Sooners, who were trying to extend their best start in 28 years. Ryan Spangler finished with 14 points and 18 rebounds.

It was a fitting conclusion for the first 1 vs. 2 matchup in two years, and the first pitting teams from the same conference since Ohio State and Michigan State of the Big Ten met on Feb. 25, 2007.

Heat Edge Pacers in Overtime

Chris Bosh scored 31 points and grabbed 11 rebounds, Dwyane Wade had 27 including a layup that beat the buzzer and forced overtime, and the Heat erased an 18-point third-quarter deficit to beat the Pacers 103-100 on Monday night.

 width=It was the worst-shooting game of the season for Miami, which connected on 38 percent of its tries and won anyway.

Goran Dragic added 13 for Miami, which matched a season best with its third straight win.

Paul George scored 32 points on 12-for-29 shooting for Indiana, but his 3-pointer from the right corner bounced off the rim on the game's final play. Monta Ellis had 17 points, Ian Mahinmi finished with 13 and Rodney Stuckey scored 12 for the Pacers.

Indiana led by 18 in the third before the Heat roared back, an 18-3 run setting the tone. The Heat took their first lead with 3:11 left in regulation on a free throw by Bosh, after Vogel was hit with a technical by referee Zach Zarba.

After Stuckey made one of two free throws with 2.7 seconds left in regulation for a two-point lead, the Heat gave the ball to Wade. His left-handed layup beat the buzzer and sent the game to overtime.

George Hill (food poisoning) was out, so CJ Miles - who has started 23 of his 29 appearances this season anyway - was back in the Indiana starting lineup. Miles left late in the first quarter with a sore right shoulder, and Glenn Robinson III started the second half in his place.

The Pacers are in Orlando on Wednesday.

Bears, Rams, Colts, NFL Notes

Matt Forte's time in Chicago might be over. Forte, drafted by the Bears in the second round of the 2008 draft, is scheduled to become a free agent this offseason. Given that the team has two promising younger runners in Jeremy Langford and Ka'Deem Carey, the Bears might be willing to let the 30-year-old Forte walk.

 width=On Monday, when it came time to clean out his locker, Forte left behind one item: A shirt that shirt says "Workhorse." And really, that's not the worst way to describe his career in Chicago. Forte leads the league in yards from scrimmage since his rookie year in 2008, per the Chicago Tribune.

At the same time, that word might be the very reason why the Bears part ways with Forte. Over the years, Forte's carried the ball more than 2,000 times. Throw in nearly 500 catches, and he's hovering around 2,500 career touches. That kind of wear and tear often catches up to running backs, though Forte insisted that he's still capable of carrying the load.

Forte said via the Chicago Sun-Times quote- "Everybody's acting like it's a going-away party, like a funeral or something. No decisions have been made."

>>Colts Extend Pagano, Retain Grigson

 width=Colts coach Chuck Pagano said that he was going to "fight his ass off" to keep his coaching job and apparently, that's exactly what he did on Monday. The Colts have announced that Pagano has agreed to a four-year extension to stay with the team.

The Colts will also be retaining general manager Ryan Grigson. The team didn't formally announce an extension for Grigson, but Jim Irsay did confirm that he got one during Monday night's press conference.

The Colts owner said that Grigson's future would be "contractually tied" to Pagano and both men are now signed through 2019.

Pagano's fate was up in the air all day on Monday. The Colts coach met with owner Jim Irsay for several hours and it appeared that Irsay wanted to sleep on things after the meeting because at around 5 p.m. ET, the Colts announced that there would be no decision made on Pagano's future.

The team obviously reversed course though because they made the announcement that Pagano had agreed to an extension at 9:40 p.m. ET. Pagano's four-year contract that he signed in January 2012 was set to expire at the end of the 2015 league year.

In four years with the Colts, Pagano has gone to the playoffs three times and won three AFC South titles. Pagano is 40-24 overall since 2012.

>>Rams Among Three Teams To File To Go To LA

 width=The San Diego Chargers quit dipping their toe in the baby pool and took a plunge into the deep end Monday night, officially filing papers with the NFL for relocation to Los Angeles.

The Raiders and Rams also filed relocation papers on Monday.

In a statement released, the Chargers said it was "sad to have reached this point" and in a video posted by the team, Dean Spanos called it the "single most difficult decision I've ever made."

The NFL says the applications will be reviewed and there will be a meeting in New York. No timetable for a decision was set but franchise relocation requires 24 of 32 teams approval.

Making matters potentially awkward, Spanos said the Chargers will stay in San Diego if the owners don't approve the team's relocation.

"Well we're back here and we'll be here for the next year for sure," Spanos said. "We'll look at all the possibilities with the city and see what our alternatives could be."

Any team that does relocate will be subject to a $550 million relocation fee per NFL.com.

>>Giants Part Ways With Coughlin

 width=Tom Coughlin is out as Giants coach, league sources tell CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora.

Coughlin has informed his coaching staff he is not returning, with multiple reports indicating Coughlin is "stepping down," a largely semantics-based notion, although Coughlin did leave the Giants before they could fire him.

He said in a statement Monday quote- "It has been an honor and a privilege to serve as head coach of the New York Football Giants. This is a not a sad occasion for me. I have spent 15 years with this organization as an assistant and head coach and was fortunate to be part of three Super Bowl winning teams. A Lombardi Trophy every five years is an achievement in which we all take great pride."

Coughlin is apparently not retiring but rather just leaving the Giants, making the idea of his future as a coach moving forward very interesting.

Senators Outlast Blues in Overtime

Bobby Ryan scored twice, including the game-winner at 2:33 overtime, to help the Senators rally from a two-goal deficit to earn a 3-2 victory over the St. Louis Blues on Monday night.

 width=Assisted by Mark Stone and Chris Wideman, Ryan fell down in the offensive zone, got up, got the puck back, had a give-and-go exchange with Stone and then faked out Elliott for the goal.

Mike Hoffman scored his 19th of the season and Andrew Hammond made 36 saves for the Senators, who had lost three straight and been shut out in back-to-back games against Chicago and New Jersey.

Troy Brouwer and Kevin Shattenkirk scored for St. Louis, while Brian Elliott made 29 saves. The Blues have lost three straight and four of five and now head West for a three-game road trip against Colorado, Anaheim and Los Angeles.

The Blues scored first, with 5:44 left in the first period, when Brouwer got past defenseman Patrick Wiercioch and beat Hammond glove side for his seventh goal of the season and first in 10 games.

Shattenkirk made it 2-0 with a power-play goal at 7:42 into the second period, aided by a screen from David Backes in front.

The Senators got a power-play goal from Hoffman, his 19th, with 1:14 remaining in the period. The goal came on a slap shot from the left circle that Elliott got a piece of but couldn't stop.

Ryan tied it 5:01 into the third period with a power-play goal just 4 seconds after St. Louis' Jay Bouwmeester was called for tripping. It was Ryan's 200th career goal.

DeWitt County Officials & Businesses Donate New Red Cross Van

 width=The DeWitt County American Red Cross Response Team officially has a new van.

Officials with DeWitt County and the City of Clinton officially turned over a new cargo van to local Red Cross Tuesday morning. County Board Chair Dave Newberg explains the van was purchased through the help of several local businesses. He says the county's part in the effort was to include the vehicle on their fleet insurance policy to make sure the group is not without a vehicle in the future.

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Leslie Cyrulik is the Co-Captain of the local Red Cross team. She is very grateful to the businesses that made the van a reality, and says the new van will increase the team's ability to quickly respond to DeWitt County fires and disasters.

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According to Cyrulik, house fires are the primary reason the local Response Team is called out. She explains the services provided by the Red Cross on the scene of those events.

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The new Red Cross van was made possible by contributions from DeWitt County, the City of Clinton, Exelon, Clinton Landfill, Marco NPK, Douglas Dodge, and the graphics were donated by K&K Graphics. The van will be stored at the DeWitt County building, and is available to Red Cross volunteers at any time.

State Representative Pays Visit To DeWitt County Human Resource Center

 width=Tuesday afternoon, State Representative Bill Mitchell (right) made his way through Clinton in a mini tour of his district.

The Representative was touting a bill he is proposing this week in the Illinois Legislature. The bill serves to purposes. The first is to push the General Assembly to balance their budgets every year and ccording to Rep. Mitchell, once the House and Senate have agreed on a budget, the Auditor General must approve the budget as balanced.

[audio:1051622509-1615mitchellbill1.mp3] [/audio]

The second part of the bill is to withhold checks for General Assembly. Rep. Mitchell calls the bill is drastic but he feels after the way the state has governed this year, it is necessary.

[audio:1051622513-1615mitchellbill2.mp3] [/audio]

Leaders of the DeWitt County Human Resource Center were on hand Tuesday to describe to the Rep. Mitchell the impacts the lack of a state budget have had on their operation, but also their clients.

Executive Director of the DeWitt County Human Resource Center, Lynn Scovill says the ramifications have been drastic and will only get worse the longer the budget stalemate goes on.

Get more details later this week on Regional Radio News.

Rep. Mitchell was also at Richland Community College and the Piatt County Nursing Home Tuesday.

Clinton Maroons Fall to LeRoy

The Clinton Maroons fell to the LeRoy Panthers by a score of 55 to 73 on Tuesday night. The Maroons were led by the Stephan York Country Financial Maroons Player of the Game Jr. Peyton McCubbin with 17 points. Sr. Tanner White also chipped in wtih 12 points, and Sr. Jacob Overton added 9 points. Maroons were 7 of 12 for free throws.


The LeRoy Panthers were led by Matt Chastain with 40 points, with Noah Perry and Brett Egan both adding 13 points each. 


With the loss, the Maroons fall to 5 and 9 on the season.


Tune in Friday, January 15th at 7:30p as the Maroons take on Central A&M. You can hear the game live on The Big 1520 AM/92.3 FM WHOW and online at dewittdailynews.com.

House, Senate Cost Taxpayers $45-Million

The House and Senate cost Illinois taxpayers $45 million last year. That’s according to a couple of final audits from the state’s previous Auditor General.
Illinois Auditor General William Holland retired December 31 but before the end of the year issued reports indicating the Senate cost taxpayers $19.6 million. That’s nearly $300,000 more than the year before but $1.5 million more than 2013. Increased costs were found in expenses of legislative leadership for both the offices of the President and minority leader.

The House cost $25 million in 2015, which was about $300,000 more than 2014 but about $60,000 less than in 2013. Among various increased costs were expenses of committees, printing, and both the offices of the Speaker and minority leader.

The report says there were 486 employees in the House, which is about level with 2014, but about a dozen more than the year before. The Senate had 344 employees in 2015, 15 more than in 2013.

Meanwhile the most recent data available by the Legislative Audit Commission about the Auditor’s office, which is audited by an independent accounting firm, there were around 100 employees and a budget of $30 million in 2013, $4 million more than in 2012.

After receiving the constitutional approval from both chambers of the General Assembly, former Democratic House legislator Frank Mautino is the next Auditor General.

Gov. Rauner Vetoes More Than 3x As Many Bills As Gov. Quinn

Though they didn’t put a plan on the books on how to spend taxpayers’ money in the current fiscal year, Illinois lawmakers did introduce thousands of bills and passed scores of measures onto the governor’s desk. However the current Republican governor used his veto pen more than the previous chief executive on bills passed by majority Democrats in the General Assembly.

 width=More than 200 measures passed by each chamber of the General Assembly were signed by Governor Bruce Rauner in 2015, which is about level with previous years under Democrat Pat Quinn, but the number of Rauner vetoes are sharply higher from the year before under Quinn, partly because of budget bills Rauner vetoed saying they were not balanced.

In a compliance audit of the Senate, Auditor General William Holland says 33 bills were vetoed, or amenditorially vetoed, in 2015. That’s more than three times the number of bills former Democrat Governor Pat Quinn vetoed in 2014 and 2013 combined. The House had a similar record -- 32 bills were vetoed by Rauner in 2015, nearly triple the total in both 2014 and 2013 under Quinn.

All together, members of the House introduced 4,322 bills last year, which was almost double that of 2014 but only 600 more than the year before.

The Senate introduced nearly 2,200 bills last year, more than double the year before but less than in 2013.

Lawmakers are back in full session January 13th.

Congressman Davis Concerned About Flood's Long Term Impact on Agriculture

 width=Rivers are starting to recede and for residents whose only inconvenience has been closed highways, their lives are on the fast track to normal.

Central Illinois Congressman Rodney Davis (Republican, Taylorville) is concerned about what could me a more lingering concern, the impact on agriculture.

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There are concerns Illinois might not qualify for federal disaster funds. Davis leading a charge in Congress to change the funding formula.

Rauner Tours State Flooding Situation

 width=Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner cut short his holiday vacation to get a closer look at the state's flood damage during a three day tour.

The state has been locked in a budget stalemate, working without a spending plan since July. Rauner doesn't believe that will hurt the flood relief effort.

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Rauner has deployed National Guard resources to help, including helicopter air support.

Logan County Alliance CEO, Former Chamber Director Resigns

 width=The leader of the newly formed Logan County Alliance and the former Director of the Logan County Chamber of Commerce has resigned her position.

In a release Tuesday afternoon, Hake's final day at her position will be January 29th.

Per the release, the Alliance says quote-"We are saddened to see Andi leave. She has proven her dedication to serving the community and to the organization. She has been a strong leader and guided the board and staff through a year of transition and learning.

"Her commitment to the Alliance’s success is obvious and we were better off for having Andi as our leader this past year. The entire board wishes Andi nothing but success in her new endeavors and is appreciative of her willingness to continue to serve the organization as we need."

Hake said quote-"It has been my honor to serve as the executive director of the Chamber of Commerce for seven years and President and CEO of the Alliance for the last year. Over the years, I set many goals for myself in these roles and I have met and/or exceeded all of them during my tenure. I know it is the right time for the Alliance and for me to make this change."

The Alliance Board of Directors plans to conduct an executive search to fill the position.

Clinton BOE President Says One Cent Sales Tax Guarantees Support

 width=A proposal by the Clinton Board of Education to take a sales tax increase to referendum has the support of the Clinton Board of Education President.

John Blythe leads the elected Board and says any time you can guarantee support without having to raise other taxes is a good thing. He explains the funds received from the tax go towards facilities in the district.

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According to Blythe, the additional tax will not fall on just those that reside in the County. He explains the tax is designed to utilize the dollars spent from those who pass through the community taking advantage of the services from offered here.

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Blythe points out the one-cent tax is in place in counties across the area and doesn't believe it will create a hardship for residents.

2016 To Be Start of $3-Million Investment in Community Roads

Looking ahead to 2016, the Clinton City Council will begin work on streets that will set the tone for many years of upkeep in the community.

To understand the project, you must first understand the funding sources. City Administrator Tim Followell indicates there was the approval of a non-home rule sales tax many years ago that was promised to go towards the community's infrastructure. Those funds paired with a recent tax on landlines has allowed the community to build up enough funds to get the ball rolling.

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The plan starts this summer with the resurfacing of Washington Street. According to Followell, the resurfacing starts what is ultimately a $3-million investment into the road infrastructure of the community.

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Followell says once the City is able to get itself onto a once every seventh year cycle of upkeep for their roads, it should make their infrastructure second to none in the area.

These improvement plans come on the heels of an announcement by the City to also set in motion plans to upgrade the community's many parks.

Crawford Gets League-Best Sixth Shutout as Blackhawks Blank Senators

 width=Corey Crawford made 26 saves in his NHL-leading sixth shutout this season to lead the Chicago Blackhawks past the Ottawa Senators 3-0 on Sunday night for their third straight win.

Duncan Keith and Artem Anisimov scored for Chicago, which also got an empty-net goal from Andrew Desjardins with 48 seconds left.

Crawford wasn't tested consistently, but he was sharp when needed in earning his 18th career shutout in his 300th game.

Ottawa's Craig Anderson stopped 27 shots, but the Senators lost their third straight and fifth in their last six.

The Blackhawks, who have won six of eight, avenged a 4-3 overtime loss at Ottawa on Dec. 3.

Jimmy Butler Goes Off As Bulls Beat Raptors

 width=Jimmy Butler broke Michael Jordan's team record for points in a half, scoring 40 of his 42 after the break to lead the Chicago Bulls over the Toronto Raptors 115-113 on Sunday.

Jordan had 39, also in the second half, in a game against Milwaukee in 1989. Butler shot 14 of 19 in the final two quarters after a 1-for-4 start in the Bulls' fourth straight win.

Pau Gasol had his 17th double-double of the season with 19 points and 13 rebounds as Chicago beat Toronto for the second time in a week and a seventh consecutive time overall.

DeMar DeRozan led the way for the Raptors with 24 points and Kyle Lowry had his fifth double-double of the season with 22 points and 10 assists, while Luis Scola also had 22 points for Toronto.

Vikings Wrap Up NFC North in Win Over Packers; Bears, Rams Lose in Finale

Adrian Peterson ran for a touchdown, cornerback Captain Munnerlyn returned a fumble 55 yards for a score and the Vikings claimed their first division title since 2009 with a 20-13 victory Sunday night over the Green Bay Packers.

 width=The Vikings will host the wild-card Seattle Seahawks in a playoff game next Sunday. The Packers (10-6) will travel to Washington to play the NFC East champion Redskins, also on Sunday.

Packers kicker Mason Crosby forced a fumble on Cordarrelle Patterson's potentially field-flipping 70-yard kickoff return with 5:21 left. But the Packers' next drive ended with Rodgers being intercepted in the end zone by Xavier Rhodes.

Peterson ran for 67 yards on 19 carries.

Teddy Bridgewater was just 10 of 19 for 99 yards, and the passing game was rendered largely ineffective. But the defense stifled Green Bay's dysfunctional offense at nearly every turn until the frantic fourth quarter.

Everson Griffen had two sacks, and the Vikings held on at the end after being left out of breath defending the Packers' late no-huddle attack.

Aaron Rodgers finished 28 of 44 for 291 yards with a touchdown and an interception. Running back Eddie Lacy had a strong start, but finished with just 34 yards on 13 carries.

Peterson and the Vikings rushed right past them to take the NFC North.

 width=>>Lions Beat Bears in Season Finale

Matthew Stafford threw for 298 yards and three touchdowns, Calvin Johnson had 137 yards receiving, and the Lions beat the Chicago Bears 24-20 in what could be coach Jim Caldwell's final game on Sunday.

Detroit (7-9) avoided a last-place finish in the NFC North with its sixth win in eight games. Whether the Lions bring back Caldwell for a third season remains to be seen.

He led them to a rare playoff appearance last year, but a 1-7 start put his future in doubt.

Caldwell survived a midseason purge that saw offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi get fired and ownership drop the ax on president Tom Lewand and general manager Martin Mayhew the following week.

The Lions intercepted Jay Cutler three times.

>>49ers Beat Rams in OT in Season Finale

 width=Phil Dawson kicked a 23-yard field goal 11:33 into overtime for his fourth of the game, and the 49ers held off the St. Louis Rams 19-16 on Sunday in Tomsula's finale.

Dawson came through after Greg Zuerlein's 48-yard field goal attempt was blocked by Dontae Johnson, giving San Francisco the ball back with 4:49 to play.

Blaine Gabbert passed for 354 yards and a 33-yard touchdown to Anquan Boldin for the 49ers (5-11), who avoided their worst finish since going 4-12 in 2005.

DeJuan Harris had eight catches for 86 yards and Boldin five for 71.

Case Keenum went 22 of 37 for 231 yards as St. Louis had its three-game winning streak snapped as the Rams tried for four consecutive victories for the first time since seven straight in 2003.

Jim Tomsula praised his players for delivering a win at season's end, then lost his job shortly after.

Illini Comeback At Ohio State Falls Short; Illinois State Wins; Bradley Crushed

 width=Marc Loving scored 27 points, including two late free throws, to lead Ohio State to a 75-73 win over Illinois on Sunday.

The Buckeyes (10-5, 2-0 Big Ten) have won six straight.

Loving scored six straight points to carry Ohio State from a 61-59 deficit to a 65-61 lead with 2:21 to play thanks to a dunk, a 3-pointer and a foul shot.

OSU held a five-point lead when Michael Finke's tip-in made it 70-67 with 23.3 seconds left. Jae-Sean Tate's slam with 12.6 seconds left made 72-67 before Jalen Coleman-Lands hit a trey to pull Illinois (8-7, 0-2) within 72-70.

A pair of Loving free throws upped the score to 74-70 but Malcolm Hill hit another 3-pointer with 2.3 seconds left. Loving made one of two foul shots and a desperation shot from midcourt by Hill at the buzzer missed.

Hill, Kendrick Nunn, Coleman-Lands and Finke all had 14 points.

>>Illinois State 2-0 in MVC After Win at Drake

 width=DeVaughn Akoon-Purcell scored a career-high 28 and Illinois State rallied to beat Drake 67-62 on Sunday.

Akoon-Purcell scored 12 points and Paris Lee seven when the Redbirds (8-7, 2-0 Missouri Valley) outscored the Bulldogs 21-6 over the first 10 minutes of the second half to lead by three.

After that, the lead changed hands six times and the game tied five times before Tony Wills' 3-pointer with 1:22 put Illinois State in front 63-60. Lee made four free throws from there while the Bulldogs (5-9, 0-2) missed a pair of 3-pointers in the final 30 seconds.

Drake led 32-22 at halftime as the Redbirds shot just 26.5 percent before intermission.

Lee had 15 points and Deontae Hawkins 12 for the Redbirds, who shot 61 percent in the second half.

Drake's Reed Timmer scored 16 points and had Graham Woodward 15.

Illinois State is 2-0 in the MVC for the first time since 2008-09.

>>Wichita State Crushes Bradley

 width=Markis McDuffie scored 14 points, Fred Van Vleet added 13 and Wichita State used a balanced attack to roll over Bradley 85-58 on Sunday.

Wichita State (8-5, 2-0 Missouri Valley) had seven players score between six and 14 points and the Shockers shot over 55 percent (27 of 49) as a team.

Bradley (2-13, 0-2) was led by Dwayne Lautier-Ogunleye with nine points. The Braves committed 23 turnovers and made 6 of 22 beyond the arc.

The Shockers made a 12-0 run over 5:04 in the first half to build a 48-24 lead at intermission.

Bradley didn't score for nearly four minutes to start the second half, turning it over four times in the span, and Wichita State's lead hit the 30-point mark with 9:47 left on a layup by Eric Hamilton.

Clinton Police Holiday Weekend Report











4-H Fair Camp Registration Opens Today

 width=It's one of the biggest events of the year in the Illinois 4-H calendar.

4-H camp and registration for this summer's camp season opens today (Monday). According to Sherry Fulton, with the University of Illinois Extension Office of DeWitt County, space is sure to go fast and encourages anyone who wants a specific week at camp, to register as soon as possible.

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Fulton says 4-H camp offers participants to have a good time doing things that are normally not available to them either at school or at their leisure. Additionally, she feels it gives kids a chance to get away from technology and enjoy nature and their friends.

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Fulton explains the week of camp targets kids doing activities that require no competition and it's all about having fun.

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Click here for all information about 4-H Summer camp and a link to the registration page. 

DeWitt County Sheriff's Holiday Weekend Report

Jail Population: 19

Paper Services: 2

Warrants: 0

Kristina Bell, 31, Decatur was issued Citations and Arrested for Operating Uninsured Vehicle, Only One Red Taillight and Driving While License Suspended. Bell posted the necessary bond and was released.

Julie Harless, 51, Decatur was issued a Citation for Speeding 26-34 MPH Over Posted Limit (82 MPH in a 55 MPH Zone). Harless was issued a Notice to Appear and was released.

Virgil Foreman, 46, Decatur was issued a Citation for Speeding 74 MPH in a 55 MPH Zone. Foreman was issued a Promise to Comply and was released.

Keith Rebbe, 51, DeLand was issued a Citation for Speeding 80 MPH in a 55 MPH Zone. Rebbe was issued a Promise to Comply and was released.

Tony Wallace, 64, Decatur was issued a Citation for Speeding 82 MPH in a 55 MPH Zone. Wallace was issued a Promise to Comply and was released.

Alexander Puzauskas, 25, Bloomington was issued Citations for Operating Uninsured Vehicle and Speeding 70 MPH in a 55 MPH Zone. Puzauskas was issued a Notice to Appear and was released.

Keturah Tracy, 46, Bloomington was issued a Citation for Speeding 26-34 MPH Over Posted Limit (72 MPH in a 45 MPH Zone). Tracy was issued a Notice to Appear and was released.

Michelle Lindsey, 24, Belleville was issued a Citation for Speeding 76 MPH in a 55 MPH Zone. Lindsey was issued a Promise to Comply and was released.

Joshua Kaufman, 33, Jacksonville was issued a Citation for Speeding 74 MPH in a 55 MPH Zone. Kaufman was issued a Promise to Comply and was released.

Andrew Blickensderfer, 23, Bloomington was issued a Citation for Speeding 81 MPH in a 65 MPH Zone. Blickensderfer was issued a Promise to Comply and was released.

Leslie Klocek Pencak, 54, Waukegen was issued a Citation for Speeding 66 MPH in a 45 MPH Zone. Klocek Pencak was issued a Promise to Comply and was released.

Kelly Berry, 42, Maroa was issued a Citation for Speeding 76 MPH in a 55 MPH Zone. Berry was issued a Promise to Comply and was released.

Nicholas Dilley, 20, Oconee was issued a Citation for Speeding 26-34 MPH Over Posted Limit (82 MPH in a 55 MPH Zone). Dilley was issued a Notice to Appear and was released.

Jordan Kemp, 21, Clinton was issued a Citation for Speeding 78 MPH in a 55 MPH Zone. Kemp was issued a Promise to Comply and was released.

Maria Taylor, 24, Leroy was issued a Citation for Speeding 81 MPH in a 65 MPH Zone. Taylor was issued a Promise to Comply and was released.

Malissa Long, 26, Clinton was issued a Citation for Speeding 79 MPH in a 55 MPH Zone. Long was issued a Promise to Comply and was released.

Anestasia Brown, 36, Oreana was issued a Citation for Speeding 76 MPH in a 55 MPH Zone. Brown was issued a Promise to Comply and was released.

William Beaulieu, 20, Decatur was issued Citations for Expired Registration and Operating Uninsured Vehicle. Beaulieu was issued a Notice to Appear and was released.

Anthony Burris, 21, Normal was issued Citations for Speeding 79 MPH in a 55 MPH Zone and Operating Uninsured Vehicle. Burris was issued a Notice to Appear and was released.

Michael Dahn. 38, Decatur was issued a Citation for Speeding 80 MPH in a 55 MPH Zone. Dahn was issued a Promise to Comply and was released.

Allison Wilson, 49, Joliet was issued a Citation for Speeding 75 MPH in a 55 MPH Zone. Wilson was issued a Promise to Comply and was released.

Jason Timerman, 41, Warrensburg was issued Citations for Expired Registration 7/2015 and Speeding 74 MPH in a 55 MPH Zone. Timerman was issued a Notice to Appear and was released.

Steven Stricklan , 44, Weldon was issued a Citation for Speeding 80 MPH in a 55 MPH Zone. Stricklan was issued a Promise to Comply and was released.

Mark Yoder, 59, Strawn was issued a Citation for Speeding 76 MPH in a 55 MPH Zone. Yoder was issued a Promise to Comply and was released.

Kalon Shoemaker, 24, Clinton was issued a Citation for Speeding 77 MPH in a 55 MPH Zone. Shoemaker was issued a Promise to Comply and was released.



Clinton City Council Praises Leaders For Works During Recent Rains, Flooding

Area leaders are breathing a sigh of relief after last week's heavy rains and flooding in DeWitt County left the city without significant damage.

Indications are around three to six inches of rain fell during rains last week right after the Christmas holiday and several parts of Clinton and DeWitt County received more rain than waterways and roads could tolerate. Clinton Public Works Department Director Steve Lobb says the Clinton Streets that were flood quickly subsided.

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The neighborhood behind Cedar Square in Clinton was at the greatest risk to get rain water that would flood up to a structure. Mayor Roger Cyrulik says sandbags that were made available for residents in that part of the City never got used, and was thankful were never needed.

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Commissioner Dan Ballenger says the reservoir on the northeast side of the city is designed to hold water, however, when it overflows, it goes under the railroad tracks, which results in the water seeping into the city and the flood plain.

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DeWitt County was fortunate to be spared from events that have left many without homes and even caused fatalities in other parts of the state.

UPDATED: Clinton Lady Maroons Fall to El Paso-Gridley

 width=The Clinton Lady Maroons fell to the El Paso-Gridley Lady Titans by a score of 76-34 on Monday night. The Lady Maroons were led by the Stephan York Country Financial Maroons Player of the Game senior Faythe Newberry with 13 points.

The Lady Titans were led by Shelby Fulk with 22 points.

With the loss the Lady Maroons drop to 7-7 overall.

Tune in January 14, as the Lady Maroons take on Tuscola. You can hear the game live on The Big 1520 AM/92.3 FM WHOW and online at dewittdailynews.com.

Scores in the CIC from Monday:

Mattoon 59, Sullivan 30
Tuscola 66, Urbana Uni-High 20

Toews Overtime Goal Lifts Blackhawks

Jonathan Toews (Taves) scored a power-play goal at 3:29 of overtime, Patrick Kane extended his NHL points lead with a goal and two assists and the Chicago Blackhawks beat the Colorado Avalanche 4-3 on Thursday night.

Artem Anisimov and Andrew Desjardins (Day-Jarsh-Nay) also scored for Chicago, which snapped a four-game losing streak to Colorado. Scott Darling, meanwhile, filled in for starter Corey Crawford and had 26 saves.

Colorado erased a 3-1 deficit as Erik Johnson tied the game with less than 5 minutes remaining in regulation.

Toews then answered on a man advantage after the Avalanche were called for too many players on the ice.

Carl Soderberg and Cody McLeod scored for Colorado. Semyon Varlamov had 39 saves for Colorado and suffered his first loss in nine consecutive decisions against Chicago.

Dubnyk Leads Wild Past Blues

Erik Haula broke a third-period tie, Devan Dubnyk made 33 saves and the Minnesota Wild beat the St. Louis Blues 3-1 Thursday night.

Nino Niederreiter and Thomas Vanek also scored to help the Wild start a four-game trip with just their sixth road win of the season.

Vladimir Tarasenko, the Blues' leading scorer, sat with a stomach ailment. St. Louis had won seven of its previous eight home games against Minnesota.

Haula scored his third goal of the season and first since Nov. 10, a span of 18 games. He converted from a bad angle on the right side, slipping the puck past Jake Allen with 8:32 left in the third period for a 2-1 lead.

Vanek added an empty net goal with 1:37 left.

Dubnyk won his second start in a row. He made 29 saves in a 3-1 win over Detroit on Monday night.

Niederreiter tied the game by jumping on the rebound of a shot by Justin Fontaine late in the second period. Allen made a kick save, but the puck went right to Niederreiter, who tallied his eighth goal of the season.

Defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk gave the Blues a 1-0 lead earlier in the period with a power-play goal. Shattenkirk took a cross-ice pass from Alexander Steen, skated into the faceoff circle, and drilled a hard wrist shot into the upper-right hand corner past Dubnyk. Shattenkirk has seven goals and 16 assists in his last 24 games.

Clemson Rolls Oklahoma, Headed To National Title Game

Clemson, a team once known for such inexplicable stumbles that a derisive term was coined for it, is headed to the national championship game with a still-perfect record after a 37-17 smackdown of Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl on Thursday.

Deshaun Watson certainly lived up to the hype of being a Heisman finalist, accounting for 332 yards and earning the offensive MVP award.

He got off to a slow start passing, but came back to complete 16-of-31 for 187 yards, including a 35-yard touchdown pass to Hunter Renfrow that gave Clemson some breathing room late in the third quarter. Watson carried the running load in the early going, finishing with 145 yards on 24 carries and scoring the Tigers' first touchdown on a 5-yard run.

Clemson piled up 550 yards in the game, sealing the victory on Wayne Gallman's 4-yard touchdown run with 10:48 remaining. He finished with 150 yards on 26 carries.

Alabama Blasts Michigan State To Head To National Title Game

Jake Coker was terrific on the big stage and the Alabama defense overpowered Michigan State's offense as the Crimson Tide completely dominated the Spartans in a 38-0 route in the Cotton Bowl, punching the Tide's ticket to the National Title game, where they will meet Clemson.

Coker finished 25 of 30 for 286 yards and two touchdowns, both to Calvin Ridley.

Ridley hauled in eight passes for 138 yards.

Leading 10-0 late in the first half, the Spartans had a chance to get on the board, but a Connor Cook pass for Michigan State was picked by Cyrus Jones, ending the last real threat the Spartans would pose to the 'Bama defense.

The Tide opened the second half with a 10 play, 82 yard drive capped by a sensational 6-yard catch by Ridley.

The catch, originally ruled incomplete, was reversed after being review. From there, it was all Tide.

Alabama racked up 449 yards of total offense on one of the country's top defensive units.

Heisman winner Derrick Henry carried the ball 20 times for 75 yards and two touchdowns.

Cook had a forgetable day for the Spartans, finishing 19 of 39 for 210 yards and two interceptions.

Jones also had a 57 yard punt return for a TD for Alabama.

The national championship game is Monday, January 11.

Packers Take on Minnesota With NFC North on Line

Just because the Minnesota Vikings and Green Bay Packers have clinched playoff spots and can't earn a first-round bye doesn't mean they won't be desperately trying to finish the regular season with a victory.

The Vikings badly want to win the NFC North and end the four-year reign of the Packers, who may be as interested in showing everyone they can be a legitimate threat in the playoffs by putting forth a strong all-around performance.

They've rarely had one in recent weeks but did put one together six weeks ago to beat Minnesota, a team which would love to make Sunday night's matchup the time to finally end its victory drought in Green Bay.

This game closes the NFL regular season, and all the others that take place earlier don't really mean much to the Packers or Vikings. Bottom line, the winner claims the division crown and the No. 3 seed in the NFC playoffs. The loser will be the No. 5 seed unless Seattle defeats Arizona on Sunday and Minnesota loses to fall to No. 6, forcing a trip back to Lambeau next week to begin the playoffs.

Bears Close Season Hosting Detroit

The Detroit Lions will seek to wrap up their losing campaign on a positive note by matching their longest win streak against their NFC North rivals on Sunday at Soldier Field.

Detroit has already switched team presidents with Rod Wood taking over for a fired Tom Lewand in November and the franchise is seeking a new general manager to replace Martin Mayhew. When that GM is hired, he's expected to decide Caldwell's fate with the Lions.

Detroit finished 11-5 and reached the playoffs in his initial season but couldn't overcome a 1-7 start in this one. Caldwell might have aided his chances by winning five of the past seven games, including each of the past two, but the Lions (6-9) will finish with a losing record for the 13th time in 15 years.

Chicago (6-9) wasn't consistent enough in coach John Fox's first season to seriously challenge for a playoff berth, and the Bears have some tough decisions to make while also seeking to fill holes in their roster in the offseason. Top running back Matt Forte and leading receiver Alshon Jeffery are among those who have expiring contracts.

Jeffery, limited to nine games by injuries, won't play in this one because of an ailing hamstring. Nose tackle and second-round draft pick Eddie Goldman is out with an injured right ankle.

The Bears also might have to see if offensive coordinator Adam Gase or defensive coordinator Vic Fangio are candidates for head coaching jobs. Gase's hiring appeared to play a role in an improved Jay Cutler, and the quarterback has a career-best 92.8 rating while throwing eight interceptions in 14 games, his lowest rate.

The Lions' Matthew Stafford had a season-high 405 yards and four touchdowns to outduel Cutler (353 yards, 1 TD) in a 37-34 overtime win Oct. 18. That was Detroit's lone victory in its horrendous start.

Rams Finish Season in San Francisco

Two of the worst offenses in the NFL are experiencing contrasting finishes to the season.

The St. Louis Rams have finally found a rhythm and will seek their fourth straight victory when they visit the inept San Francisco 49ers on Sunday.

St. Louis (7-8) averaged 10.8 points during a five-game losing streak that stretched into Week 13, plummeting to second-to-last in the NFL in scoring ahead of only San Francisco. However, the Rams have shown offensive potential during a three-game winning streak, including last week's 23-17 upset of division rival Seattle that snapped a four-game skid on the road.

St. Louis has scored more than 20 points in three consecutive games for the first time this season, drawing a chance to finish with a .500 record for the first time since 2006. The Rams can also win four straight for the first time since posting seven consecutive victories in 2003.

The 49ers (4-11) remain the lowest-scoring offense in the NFL at 14.6 points per game, two spots below St. Louis (17.6). San Francisco is also tied for the fewest touchdowns (23) and ranks second-to-last with 240 first downs, only ahead of St. Louis' 220. The only two teams to average fewer than 300 yards are the 49ers (293.5) and Rams (293.3).

San Francisco has lost three games in a row and five of six.

Providence Beats Butler

Kris Dunn struggled with foul trouble in the first half before flirting with another triple-double, Rodney Bullock scored a career-high 25 points and No. 12 Providence rallied to beat No. 9 Butler 81-73 in the Big East opener for both teams.

The junior guard and preseason favorite as conference player of the year had 20 points, nine assists and seven rebounds as he chased his second triple double of the month. The Friars (13-1) have won seven straight and are off to their best start in 27 years.

Ben Bentil added 19 points and made the 3 that broke a 47-43 lead with 13:48 left, a lead the Friars didn't give up the rest of the way.

Butler was led by Kelan Martin with 20 points and Roosevelt Jones, who had 19 points, six rebounds and four assists. The Bulldogs had won their previous eight.

Bucks Beat Pacers

Kris Middleton scored 33 points, and the Bucks beat the weary Indiana Pacers 120-116 on Thursday night.

Greg Monroe added 23 points for Milwaukee, which shot 58 percent (45 for 77) from the field. Jabari Parker, Giannis Antetokounmpo and reserve Jerryd Bayless had 14 points apiece.

The Bucks grabbed a 111-95 lead on Michael Carter-Williams' jumper with 4:41 left, but the Pacers scored 19 of the next 25 points to close to 117-114 on Paul George's two foul shots with 1:16 remaining. Solomon Hill's dunk trimmed the Bucks' lead to two with 7.7 seconds left, but Middleton hit two free throws to help Milwaukee stop a three-game losing streak.

George led the Pacers with 31 points. George Hill added 15 points and six rebounds.

All five Bucks starters scored in double figures, combining for 95 of Milwaukee's 120 points.

The Pacers host Detroit on Saturday.

New Law Requires Daycare Workers To Show Proof of Tdap, MMR Vaccines



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Unemployment Up Across Central Illinois

The unemployment rate significantly jumped across central Illinois in November.

Unemployment in DeWitt County jumped from 5.1-percent in October to 6.1% in November. It was the areas biggest gain.

Champaign County had a 5.7% November unemployment rate, up from 5.1% in October.

Unemployment in Logan County was 6-percent, up from October's 5.2%. Unemployment was also 6-percent in Livingston County.

Piatt County unemployment in November came in at 5.5%.

In McLean County, November unemployment was 5.3%.

Macon County has a 7.6% unemployment rate, the areas highest.

Moultrie County has a 5.1% unemployment rate and unemployment in Sangamon County is 5.8-percent.

Unemployment at a state level is 5.8% compared to the 4.8 national average.

State Department of Employment Security, Ron Payne, says the increase in unemployment rates across the state are actually due to more people seeking work. He says there is concern about the lack of job growth over the past year.

State Rep. Says Funds Sweeps Don't Address Structurual Issues

Borrowing or sweeping from special funds is not a solution to the state’s fiscal problems, it’s a smokescreen. That’s according to one state Representative who says it’s time for lawmakers to face the state’s fiscal realities and avoid the practice of taking money from hundreds of Illinois’ special funds.

Highwood Democratic State Representative Scott Drury says the special funds are meant for specific purposes and have been raided by state government in the past to make up for any shortfall, something he says doesn’t address the structural problems.

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Drury says it’s time for lawmakers to come together and resolve the nearly six-month-old budget impasse.

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Drury says politicians avoid the realities of budget cuts, new revenue or both. Drury has said for months that if Illinois wants to use special funds they should rework how the funds are managed and not use stopgap measure to balance the state’s budget by borrowing from the segregated money.

Top Stories of 2015: Counting Down 5 to Number 1

On this New Year's Day, we're taking a look back at the top five stories from 2015, as indicated from statistics gathered by dewittdailynews.com.

Story 5: School Board Member Hopes to Give Back

One of the newest members to the Clinton Board of Education was seated in April and wants to be a voice for teachers and students.

Long time principal at Clinton High School, Ron Connor ran unopposed in last spring's School Board election and was seated on the Board in April. Connor says it means a great deal to represent the teachers and students he served for so many years.

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Being a former educator, Connor says he's well versed on the issues of testing. He says the tests are taking away from teachers doing their jobs and doing them well. He feels there's too much of it in the classrooms today.

He adds the power plant has to be one of the top issues facing the Board of Education. He feels their presence in the community is of the upmost importance.

Connor has been working as an advocate for education in Springfield, and he hopes to see Springfield begin to eliminate some of the unfunded mandates they burden schools with. He says so much more money and time would be available for education if that were to happen.

Story 4: EPA Addresses Odors At Clinton Trucking Facility

State Representative Bill Mitchell (R-Forsyth) announced in mid-June the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) was taking action to address odor complaints at a trucking facility on the west side of Clinton.

Ongoing odor complaints had been linked to two outdoor lagoons used to hold washwater and biosolids washed out of trucks. According to the IEPA, one of the problems detected at the facility is that the solids in the lagoons had not been breaking down as fast as they should, due to a lack of oxygen in the material. To address this, the IEPA worked with the company to apply various odor treatments to the lagoons, including the recent installation of aerators to help break down the material quicker, thereby reducing the odors.

The enclosed separation tank is designed to separate out all the solids before the washwater is pumped into the lagoons, an action the IEPA believes will eliminate most of the odor problem as the cleaner separated washwater replaces the material already in the lagoons.

Story 3: Multiple Arrests Made in Connection to Burglaries at CHS

The Clinton Police Department’s investigation into multiple incidents of vandalism and burglary to the Clinton High School football field’s concession stand has yielded multiple arrests of area juveniles from April of last year.

The investigations stem from reports of vandalism and burglary to the concession stand on April 2nd, April 24th and April 25th where suspects forced entry into the concession stand and stole large amounts of consumables.

On Monday April 27th, Clinton Police took custody of two juveniles, a third was taken into custody on Wednesday April 29th and a fourth on Thursday April 30th.

Two of the juveniles were released to their parents and two detained at a juvenile correctional facility.

Story 2: DeWitt County Board Member Files Suit Against County, Sheriff's Office

A DeWitt County Board Member filed a lawsuit in US District Court Central District of Illinois Springfield Division in February for almost $1-million in damages.

The suit filed by Terry Hoffman sites DeWitt County, DeWitt County Sheriff Jered Shoffner, three of his deputies and Teresa Barnett, DeWitt County's EMA Director as defendants.

According to the 20-page document, Hoffman alleges he was falsely arrested and imprisoned as a result of a December 2012 incident at the DeWitt County Courthouse with Barnett. The suit also claims his arrest as motive of "suppression of Hoffman's right to speech in opposing hazardous waste being placed in the landfill".

Hoffman's suit also sites nearly $25-thousand dollars in attorney's fees as a part of the charges. He claims he is entitled to restitution.

In addition, he is suing for $850-thousand as compensatory damages from "unreasonable searches and seizures" and "suffered loss of reputation, mental anguish from imprisonment and the threat of additional imprisonment".

Hoffman was acquitted of charges of battery on May 21, 2014.

>>Clinton Business Owner Dies in Motorcycle Accident

A Clinton Business owner is died following a motorcycle accident in Logan County.

54-year old Allen Thomas passed away August 24 at approximately 9 pm in a single motorcycle accident. The accident took place at Hickox Drive and Woodlawn Road in Lincoln.

Thomas owned Thomas Automotive in Clinton.

Visit dewittdailynews.com for the 6-10 stories in 2015.

Flood Crest Expected Friday

The Mississippi river south of St Louis is experiencing major flooding following the recent record rainfall in parts of Illinois and Missouri. In fact, the crest in Randolph and Jackson counties may equal or even exceed the record crest we saw in the big flood of 1993.

Rene’ Poshe (Po – shay) with the US Army Corp of engineers St Louis District say the corps is closely watching the levee system and working with local and state authorities to deal with any potential issues. Poshe says this flood developed very rapidly.

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The crest is expected hit Randolph and Jackson counties on New Year’s Day, and some levees may be overtopped. This flood is unusual not only that it happened so quickly, but major flooding in December is very unusual… in fact, a major flood like this has not previously occurred in midwinter.

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Since the flood of 1993, Poshe says levees have been improved. In fact, after the massive failures of the system around New Orleans during hurricane Katrina in 2005, the corps has seen an increase in funding nationwide for flood control and levee maintenance.

Meanwhile, many farmers and others living behind the levees are evacuating homes, securing livestock, and moving stored grain to local elevators as a precaution against the levees overtopping.

Corn Belt Energy Says Power Completely Restored Following Ice, Wind

 width=Officials with Corn Belt Energy in Bloomington informed Regional Radio News on Friday afternoon, that crews have restored power to all members in the Corn Belt Energy service territory after a winter storm earlier this week producing high winds, ice, sleet and flooding left thousands of Corn Belt Energy members without power.

The storm caused extensive damage within Corn Belt Energy’s service territory including several substations, over 100 broken poles, many broken cross arms, downed lines, and numerous trees in the lines. A substantial amount of the damage was located in flooded areas and private right-of-ways making restoration times prolonged, according to Corn Belt's President and Chief Executive Officer Don Taylor.

Taylor added that they thanked their members for their patience, and appreciated the assistance of township commissioners and law enforcement for providing information and traffic management.

Taylor also thanked the Association of Illinois Electric Cooperatives for activating the Illinois Electric Cooperative Emergency Work Plan and helping Corn Belt Energy in bringing in crews from sister
cooperatives to assist in the restoration process. The emergency work plan is designed to expeditiously provide personnel, equipment and materials to cooperatives in Illinois that needs assistance during
an emergency.

Co-op's that provided crews to Corn Belt Energy included Adams Electric Cooperative, Clay Electric Co-operative, Clinton County Electric Cooperative, Coles-Moultrie Electric Cooperative, Eastern Illini
Electric Cooperative, EnerStar Electric Cooperative, Jo-Carroll Energy, and Menard Electric Cooperative, the City of Geneseo and the City of Princeton.

Members should contact Corn Belt at 1-800-879-0339 to report power outages, partial power, and downed lines or poles.


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