It's one down, one to go for the Illinois General Assembly in striking a stopgap budget deal.
In a strong statement of compromise, the Illinois House has voted 105-4 for the budget plan, sending the Senate the final pieces of a budget deal that would increase funding for schools by more than $500 million and keep the state operating for six months.
The Senate has already voted on pieces of the stopgap spending bill. House Minority Leader Jim Durkin summed up the feelings of lawmakers and voters.
House Speaker Michael Madigan says the key to the deal.... the absence of Governor Rauner's turnaround agenda.
The partial budget plan locks in money for prisons, universities and social services.
As the Illinois General Assembly continues to hash out a budget, a local entity that has announced their closure now may reconsider that stance.
A likely passage of a stopgap budget has allowed the DeWitt County Human Resource Center to re-evaluate their decision of closure.
HRC will suspend services starting Friday morning as planned, however, in a release Thursday afternoon, leaders of the organization say they will explore all options to reinstate services in the near future.
HRC officials expect to release more information in the coming days.
Regional Radio News will continue to follow this story.
The Illinois legislature is hashing out details for a budget that will fully fund education for the entire year and a temporary budget for human services.
According to State Representative Bill Mitchell the bill will end proration for Illinois schools, which he hears from school leaders is something they want. He points out it also funds Illinois colleges.
Rep. Mitchell expects an active veto session in November as lawmakers will work towards a long-term agreement on the budget.
Lawmakers are expected to pass the budget any time this afternoon and Governor Rauner is set to speak on it soon thereafter.
There was a last minute speed bump, in the form of a last minute amendment from House Democrats that would provide $10 million for help for minority teaching needs. There's word House Speaker Madigan has had that amendment removed.
A budget proposal that is making it's way through the Illinois General Assembly today (Thursday) would fund education for a year and take social service agencies to the end of the current calendar year.
State Senator Chapin Rose (right) says the bill was worked out with bi-partisan support and calls it a "fair deal."
Sen. Rose says having a budget in place will allow lawmakers to begin to make progress on a grand bargain and begin to payoff the billions owed.
Sen. Rose says this agreement is fair for all schools and students in Illinois and doesn't bail out Chicago Public Schools.
The General Assembly is expected to pass the bill today.
A HOUSE LEGISLATIVE COMMITTEE IS QUICKLY APPROVING COMPONENTS OF THE STOPGAP STATE BUDGET COMPROMISE.
THE TENTATIVE DEAL INCLUDES MORE MONEY FOR “K” THROUGH EDUCATION…AND AN ADDITIONAL 250 MILLION IN FUNDING FOR SCHOOLS WITH MANY LOW INCOME STUDENTS…ESPECIALLY CHICAGO. IT ALSO LETS CHICAGO RAISE PROPERTY TAXES TO PAY FOR CITY SCHOOL PENSIONS.
THERE’S ALSO ONE BILLION DOLLARS FOR COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES AND MORE MONEY FOR HUMAN SERVICE PROGRAMS. THE FULL HOUSE IS EXPECTED TO VOTE ON THE FULL PACKAGE TODAY AND SEND THE BILLS OVER TO THE SENATE FOR APPROVAL.
A non-profit group in DeWitt County that operates on around a $100-thousand budget would be in serious jeopardy if the Clinton Exelon Power Station were to close.
Sue Calvert is the director of the Samaritan Room and Angel Tree program in DeWitt County and she indicates around $100-thousand is invested into the community through group on an annual basis, with much of that support and their volunteers coming from Exelon.
Calvert estimates 20% of their children on their lists each year are adopted by Exelon employees. She says if the plant closes it would be devastating to the community, but also to Angel Tree.
Not only is the money invested by Exelon a big boost for Angel Tree, but Calvert says several members of their board are Exelon employees. She says their contributions are so significant to the operations of the group.
Calvert indicates the Angel Tree and Samaritan Room programs likely wouldn't go away all at once but they would have to reduce the amount of giving they are able to do and without the resources they once had access to, it is not out of the question Angel Tree and Samaratin Room would go away.
According to Calvert, Angel Tree does their biggest fundraiser during the month of November when they host a pancake breakfast, otherwise, most of their donations come from corporate sponsorships.
For information on getting involved with the Samaritan Room and Angel Tree projects in DeWitt County, you can email Calvert at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As reported earlier this week on Regional Radio News, one local organization has started thinking about the future due to the uncertainty of the Clinton Exelon situation.
According to Norman Emery, with the DeWitt County Habitat for Humanity chapter, their focus has always been on serving the community through building homes. Emery indicates they recently completed another home for a Clinton family.
Emery indicates Habitat has started to take on a program that is gaining national ground among Habitat chapters. He explains it is about beautifying communities through smaller upgrades to homes of low income residents.
Emery indicates they might also look at wheelchair ramps for those in need in the community. He says while that doesn't necessarily fit their focus it is a community need so they are not ruling it out.
To learn more about Habitat for Humanity in DeWitt County, visit their Facebook page by searching HabitatDeWitt, one word, on Facebook.
Emery says that is the best place for information and updates on what is happening in the organization.
Illinois lawmakers are expected to vote on a stopgap spending deal that would ensure schools open in August and would fund state services for the next six months.
After days of negotiations, lawmakers said Wednesday that Democratic leaders and Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner had crafted a plan expected to be brought up for votes on the House and Senate floors Thursday, one day before the current fiscal year ends.
The plan would bring certainty to schools and relief to cash-strapped colleges and social service providers. But it also means the state will enter a second fiscal year without a full spending plan in place, setting up a high-stakes November election that will influence budget discussions in January.
The DeWitt County Board approved a measure to move forward with an intergovernmental agreement with Piatt County to share an assessor.
According to Vice-Chair of the DeWitt County Board, Camille Redman, Piatt County has been seeking out an assessor with no luck in finding one and approached the DeWitt County Board in an effort to partner with them.
According to Dave Newberg, this saves both Piatt and DeWitt County money and with the future financial crunch the County likely faces, this could be a new way of conducting county business.
One intergovernmental agreement the County could seek out would be a way to subsidize services when the DeWitt County Friendship Center lost their PATH Outreach worker.
The County board indicated last week they would seek out a way to provide that service for the County's senior citizens.
There's one less potential Illinois House seat up for grabs.
Decatur Democrat Sue Scherer will now run unopposed for re-election after Republican Cindy Deadrick Wolfer suspended her campaign in the 96th District. Deadrick Wolfer said it was a "Difficult Decision".
She thanked volunteers, family and friends but said "the effort is just not enough in this politically challenging time.''
Some positive reports came from the final budget for Clinton schools as the fiscal year comes to a close this week.
According to Superintendent Curt Nettles, the district ended up very close to where they thought they would on expenditures. He notes the big amendment to the budget was the addition of the cost for the district technology.
Most districts budget conservatively on a yearly basis and Clinton schools are no different. According to Nettles, they ended up with more revenue from the state then they had anticipated.
Nettles indicates the district anticipates a few million-dollars to be in there reserves to end the year.
AS LAWMAKERS RETURN TO SPRINGFIELD AND VARIOUS BUDGET BILLS ARE PROPOSED…HIGHER EDUCATION LEADERS WANT TO MAKE SURE THEIR SCHOOLS AREN’T LEFT OUT IN THE PROCESS.
THE BUDGET DEADLOCK HAS HAD DEVASTATING EFFECTS ON THE UNIVERSITY AND COLLEGE SYSTEM SAYS ILLINOIS STATE UNIVERSITY PRESIDENT LARRY DIETZ. HE NOTES THAT THIS SHOULD BE A TIME WHEN THEY ARE TOUTING THEIR PROGRAMS, GRADUATION RATES AND CAMPUS ACTIVITIES.
HIGHER ED RECEIVED SOME EMERGENCY FUNDING BACK IN APRIL BUT OFFICIALS SAY IT’S NOWHERE NEAR WHAT THEY USUALLY RECEIVE FROM THE STATE.
July 1 is coming and it’s another deadline to pass a state budget. Governor Bruce Rauner has sounded optimistic at times that something can get done.
That would even include a stop gap funding plan.
But according to Rauner a budget he’s willing to sign won’t include what he calls a bailout of the Chicago Public Schools. He’s kept up the pressure on CPS and says he won’t take on the responsibility of fixing their financial mess.
The House and Senate are due back in session today.
Senator Ted Cruz may have left the Presidential race but he is still making waves on Capitol Hill. He presided over a Senate hearing where he accused the Obama administration of under-emphasizing the "threat of radical Islam".
Senator Dick Durbin says the hearing boosted anti-Muslim rhetoric and bigotry in the United States and he questioned the logic of the hearing after the Senate defeated legislation designed to keep guns out of the hands of terrorists.
Durbin credited former President George W Bush with stating that the religion of Islam wasn't the enemy as the nation witnessed the horrors of 9/11.
Collecting unemployment won’t be as easy anymore but the changes are designed to benefit the individual looking for work.
The Illinois Department of Employment Security is going to require anyone filing a new claim for benefits to fully register for the state’s employment services and send along a resume that can be shared electronically.
IDES Director Jeff Mays says that the change is to get more people connected to a data base of hundreds of thousands of jobs.
If you’re looking for work or want a new job – anyone can use the job bank. Find it at Illinois job link DOT com.
Could a funding bill for social service agencies in Illinois be enough for the DeWitt County Human Resource Center?
A local lawmaker thinks so.
Last week, HRC in DeWitt County announced their closure, citing a lack of funding from the state. According to State Representative Bill Mitchell, a bill sits on the desk of the Governor to fund social service agencies in Illinois.
Rep. Mitchell says there's little he can say that would make folks at HRC feel better because they have gone above and beyond what they could do to keep their doors open.
Rep. Mitchell says the problem with the state of Illinois is they have no priorities and wants to see the General Assembly start to set some priorities.
The annual DeWitt County 4-H fair opens this weekend.
Youth Educator with the University of Illinois Extension office in DeWitt County, Sherry Fulton, indicates things open up this Saturday with the horse show, which is one of the bigger shows in the area.
The following weekend will be the livestock show and general project shows. Fulton says there are guidelines that must be followed for those showing livestock this year.
Saturday July 9 is likely the busiest day of the fair for DeWitt County and Fulton says the weekend comes to a culmination Sunday evening with the awards ceremony.
Hear live coverage from the DeWitt County 4-H Fair this Saturday morning as the WHOW Fair Tour will broadcast from the Horse Show from 10 to 11 am.
Then tune in to the fair the following Saturday, July 9, also from 10 to 11 am and then Sunday July 10, from 7 to 8 pm for a broadcast during the awards ceremony.
Hear it all on The Big 1520 AM/92.3 FM WHOW and online at dewittdailynews.com.
THE CLOCK IS TICKING AS THE NEW FISCAL YEAR NEARS...BUT GOVERNOR BRUCE RAUNER SAYS THEY ARE CLOSE TO AN AGREEMENT ON A SHORT TERM SOLUTION.
GOVERNOR BRUCE RAUNER IS CALLING FOR QUICK PASSAGE OF A STOPGAP BUDGET TO GET THE STATE THROUGH THE END OF THE CALENDAR YEAR, MONEY FOR THE FULL SCHOOL YEAR. IF THAT DOESN’T HAPPEN SOON, RAUNER SAYS THERE MAY BE TOUGH CONSEQUENCES.
THE HOUSE AND SENATE ARE SCHEDULED TO BE IN SESSION ON WEDNESDAY AND THE GOVERNOR SAYS HE’S ASKED TO MEET WITH THE LEGISLATIVE LEADERS TO HOPEFULLY FINALIZE A DEAL ON THE TEMPORARY AND EDUCATION BUDGETS.
With each passing week of the legislative overtime session that a bill in Springfield to support nuclear energy in Illinois goes without passage, the likelihood of the Clinton Power Plant closure becomes more and more real.
While the odds of a closure continue to rise, so too does the worry from local non-profits. Norman Emery from Habitat for Humanity of DeWitt County says the Exelon situation is something their board is keeping tabs on.
Emery recognizes the closure of the plant would impact all non-profits and would leave all of them even more reliant on local support from other areas. For Habitat, Exelon annually provides them with around $5-thousand and up in financial support.
While it is a possibility, Emery is hesitant to say Habitat for Humanity in DeWitt County would go away completely if the generosity of Exelon dries up. He feels Habitat instead would take on a different form.
Emery says partnering with a larger Habitat for Humanity chapter is also a possibility, though he hopes to keep Habitat local with their own identity. He fears they may not have as much control if they partnered with a bigger chapter.
Last week, the DeWitt County Human Resource Center announced they will cease to provide services to their clients starting July 1.
One service they will continue to provide for a limited time is their Encore Thrift Store. According to Executive Director of HRC, Lynn Scovill, the thrift store remains open however, has stopped accepting donations.
Scovill says while Encore gives their clients a safe working environment and a place to earn some money, she indicates the store is not a huge money-maker for the agency.
Scovill also notes, Encore was also a way for their clients to become prepared for community employment.
With HRC closing their doors for the final time on June 30, administrators remain committed to finding alternative sources of programming for their clients.
Hard bargaining is ahead in Springfield before a budget is in place in Springfield and a political expert says a recent tour of downstate Illinois communities is politically motivated by Governor Bruce Rauner.
Dr. Kent Redfield is a political expert at the University of Illinois-Springfield and says the Governor's tour of downstate Illinois communities after an agreement deadline came and went for the budget might make coming to an agreement more difficult.
The Governor's speaking tour in recent weeks could be a sign of where Republicans feel they have an advantage in the November elections.
Dr. Redfield says the speaking tour is making the possibility of a grand bargain more difficult because of the lack of trust among lawmakers combined with the fact now a two-thirds majority is needed to anything done.
Dr. Redfield says a lot of the areas the Governor visited earlier in the month could be an indicator of what areas of the state Republicans will target during the upcoming election.
Fans of the 1985 Chicago Bears Super Bowl Champs and classic rock get the best of both worlds on the opening night of the Illinois State Fair.
Three iconic members of Buddy Ryan's legendary 46 defense that claimed the Bears only Super Bowl trophy will be on hand for the opening night of the fair August 11th. But don't look for them to sign footballs.
State Fair Manager Kevin Gordon says you'll find them on a stage.
The show will be free. The Chicago Six will also perform at Taste of Chicago July 11th.
Governor Bruce Rauner lends his signature to legislation designed to bring Illinois in line with tougher federal standards for state-issued identification cards.
The bill was crafted to ensure Illinois complies with the REAL ID Act and it will help residents avoid security problems at airports and federal buildings. Federal officials recently gave Illinois a two year extension to comply with the Real ID act.
Secretary of State Jesse White also recently revealed residents would no longer receive a license instantly at driver's license facilities.
The licenses are now produced at a central location with additional background checks.
It's been a long time in the works and it is finally able to be viewed by the public.
The Miller Park Zoo's flamingo exhibit is open to the public and Superintendent of the Miller Park Zoo, Jay Tetzloff says he is absolutely ecstatic to display the first step of their master plan to the community.
The zoo will start at around 20 flamingos and Tetzloff says they could handle up to 30.
The zoo has started to incorporate more of the pink from the flamingos in their color scheme for logos and other things. Tetzloff says they are planning on big crowds this summer following a record-breaking year last fiscal year.
At approximately 4:22 p.m. on June 23, 2016 Clinton Police received a report of the theft of a vehicle from the 300 block of North Jackson Street.
The victim reported having parked the vehicle at an apartment complex for a short time before returning to discover the vehicle missing. Clinton Police initiated an investigation and summoned the assistance of area law enforcement agencies in locating the stolen vehicle.
At approximately 6:15 p.m. a Dewitt County Sheriff’s Deputy spotted the vehicle traveling in the area of Washington Street and Illinois Route 54 on the east side of Clinton. Upon activating emergency lights in an attempt to initiate a traffic stop on the stolen vehicle, the driver fled from the deputy at a high rate of speed until crashing into a cornfield at the intersection of East Main Street and Magill Street.
The occupants of the vehicle then fled the crash on foot and a subsequent search ensued. Three juvenile suspects were identified and later located.
A 14 year old juvenile was taken into custody and held on preliminary charges of theft of a vehicle, possession of a stolen vehicle, aggravated fleeing from a police officer and multiple traffic related offenses.
Assisting in the response and investigation was the Dewitt County Sheriff’s Department, Macon County Sheriff’s Department K9 Unit, Illinois Department of Natural Resources Law Enforcement, Clinton Fire Department and Dewitt County EMS.
All suspects are innocent until proven guilty by a court of law.
Children with Autism are the target audience for a special showing of the new Dory movie at the Clintonia Eagle Theater.
General Manager Byron Conner says this is something they try to do as much as they can. They will show the new Finding Dory movie this Saturday morning with the brightness of the screen turned down and the sound of the movie lowered as well.
The showing is at 10 am Saturday morning at the Clintonia Eagle Theater in Clinton, located at 13 Kelly Court.
Yesterday, abrupt and impactful news came to the DeWitt County Friendship Center that services through PATH would no longer be provided.
DeWitt County Friendship Center Executive Director Sissy Leggett went before the DeWitt County Board to essentially plead for action from the County to in some way help them subsidize the services lost.
According to Leggett, the Friendship Center is looking at ways to keep the position of senior outreach worker in their office space. Leggett says the options all require funding from the State of Illinois.
DeWitt County Board Chair David Newberg and Vice-Chair Camille Redman had totally sympathy on the situation at hand but noted the County has their hands tied with the combination of the State's disasterous affairs and the evolving Exelon situation.
Newberg says these types of services are available in a lot of places and indicated the Board would start to seek out what options were available. Redman concluded the discussion telling Leggett, quote-"we'll do what we can."
At the last census, around 25% of DeWitt County's population were senior citizens and Leggett estimates hundreds of residents across the county rely on the services provided by their outreach worker.
She calls the loss of the PATH senior services "devastating".
NEW GUN LEGISLATION IN THE ILLINOIS HOUSE AIMS TO CURB TRAGEDIES LIKE THE RECENT MASS SHOOTINGS IN ORLANDO.
THE MEASURE…SPONSORED BY REPRESENTATIVE ED SULLIVAN OF MUNDELEIN…ADDS SUSPECTED TERRORISTS TO THE LIST OF PEOPLE WHO CAN HAVE THEIR FOID CARD REVOKED…AND LETS THE STATE POLICE NOTIFY THE F-B-I IF SOMEONE ON THE TERROR WATCH LIST APPLIES FOR A FOID CARD.
GREG HARRIS OF CHICAGO SAYS THIS IS JUST A FIRST STEP IN IMPROVING PUBLIC SAFETY.
THE BILL ALSO REQUIRES MORE POLICE TRAINING ON FOID CARDS, CONCEALED CARRY AND FIREARM INVESTIGATIONS.
THE BILL HAS BIPARTISAN SUPPORT AND THE ILLINOIS STATE RIFLE ASSOCIATION HAS SAID IT’S OK WITH THE BILL
Richland Community College has named their next President.
Dr. Cristobal Valdez has been appointed President after the Richland Community College Board of Trustees listened to feedback from the community and from Richland faculty, staff, and students.
A native of Montana, Valdez has served as president of Central Wyoming College since July 2014 and prior to that was president of Edison Community College in Ohio. He and his wife have four children, the eldest in college, the rest in middle and high school.
Dr. Valdez’ has a sound track record of fundraising during time at Central Wyoming College and at Edison Community College in Ohio. He has historically been very involved in the communities he serves, and on a regional and national level.
Dr. Valdez began his college education at University of Montana, where he earned his Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in social work. He earned his Master of Social Work (MSW) at Eastern Washington University in Cheney, Washington, and he completed an Ed.D. in Community College Leadership from Oregon State University in Corvallis, Oregon.
He was one of two finalists for the position of president at Richland, filling the shoes of Gayle Saunders, who retired on February 29.
A United Way of Illinois survey of state human service providers offers a blunt assessment of the impact of the state budget standoff.
The survey of 429 member agencies with contracts with the state shows nearly two-thirds have cut programs, leaving almost one million people without services. Illinois owes an average of $525,000 to those recipients.
Over half of agencies surveyed report they'll have to stop serving clients if the stalemate continues another six months.
The areas hardest hit were substance abuse services, childhood education and mental health treatment.
Another DeWitt County resource has announced an end to their services due to the lack of the state budget.
PATH Senior Services, which provides various forms of assistance to local seniors, will end their services effective immediately in DeWitt, McLean and Livingston Counties. According to Executive Director of PATH, Karen Zangerle, this cut is going to impact a number of vital services for seniors. Because of this, PATH Senior Services at the DeWitt County Friendship Center will cease.
Like many organizations, the last year has been a real struggle to keep services intact. Zangerle indicates federal funds have gone away as well because of the state's incompetence.
Seniors who need assistance can contact the Illinois Department on Aging Senior Help Line at 800-252-8966.
They can contact the Medicare help line at 800-633-4227.
For Medicaid, Medicare Savings program information and SNAP help, contact the Logan County Department of Human Services at 217-735-2306.
June is National Dairy month and local dairy advocates are touting the benefits of regular dairy products in your daily lives.
Monica Nyman with the St. Louis District Dairy Council says there's lot of benefits to maintaining a healthy amount of dairy in your daily diet. She calls dairy "irreplaceable" for essential nutrients in our diets.
There are dietary guidelines that are released each year and Nyman says the American public is not getting enough dairy each day.
Milk is most commonly associated with breakfast time but Nyman indicates there's a number of ways to incorporate more dairy into your diet after the morning hours, and it will provide you with energy as well.
Calcium, Vitamin D, and protein are among the many nutrients available in dairy and Nyman says you'd have to eat a lot of other foods that offer that much to get what your body needs daily.
Senator Dick Durbin is paying a return trip to his old stomping grounds, the US House.
Durbin (D-IL) today joined Congressman John Lewis of Georgia in support of a sit-in on the floor of the House of Representatives to protest Congressional Republicans’ unwillingness to proceed with gun violence/control legislation.
Abraham Lincoln and the limited number of photographs of him will be the topic of a local photographer Thursday evening at the Warner Library.
Mark Woods will be hosting a special session at the Warner Library in Clinton Thursday night at 6:30 about Abraham Lincoln and the limited photographs of him. Woods explains Lincoln himself, once he became President, understood the importance of photographs of himself.
Woods has his own collection of Lincoln photographs and will have those on display and will tell specific stories of a few of the photographs he has among a book of all known Lincoln photos.
The program starts at 6:30 pm Thursday night in the Revere Ware Room at the Warner Library.
The idea was put out by Board of Education member Rodney Rodgers and that is to provide graduating seniors with the opportunity to acquire their CDL.
People with a CDL are in high demand and School Board President John Blythe says part of the goal of schools is to prepare students to enter the workforce, and this could be another step in that direction.
Superintendent Curt Nettles says an arrangement of the type proposed is not common. He says a route that could be pursued would be to partner with Richland Community College, who has a CDL offering.
Nettles indicates a potential agreement with any partner would make a lot of sense because the district has students each year that graduate and quickly join the workforce.
House Speaker Michael Madigan calls off another session of the House so that the bipartisan working groups of legislators can meet.
Madigan's office reports the groups will meet three times this week, as they hope to pave the way to a long awaited state budget.
Madigan said "Governor Rauner has been supportive of these groups’ efforts, and I agree with his recent comments that until there is a compromise budget, lawmakers should not be brought back to Springfield."
WITH ONLY ABOUT A WEEK LEFT IN THE FISCAL YEAR…GOVERNOR BRUCE RAUNER IS URGING THE LEGISLATURE TO COME BACK TO TOWN AND PASS A TEMPORARY BUDGET.
THE GOVERNOR IS CALLING FOR LAWMAKERS TO APPROVE MONEY FOR SCHOOLS AND A SHORT TERM BUDGET TO KEEP THE STATE RUNNING DURING THE NEARLY YEAR-LONG BUDGET IMPASSE. IF THEY DON’T…HE SAYS THERE MAY BE DIRE CONSEQUENCES.
GOVERNOR RAUNER SAYS IF LAWMAKERS DON’T PASS EDUCATION FUNDING AND A STOPGAP BUDGET BY THE END OF THE MONTH…THERE’S A RISK THAT SCHOOLS MAY NOT OPEN IN THE FALL, ROAD PROJECTS WILL BE HALTED AND VITAL PROGRAMS WILL BE SHUT DOWN.
MEANWHILE, LEGISLATIVE WORKING GROUPS ARE REPORTEDLY TACKLING THE GOVERNOR’S REFORM AGENDA. RAUNER URGES THEM TO KEEP AT IT AND ULTIMATELY COME WITH A COMPREHENSIVE DEAL.
It’s looking like the Independent Map Amendment will be on the November ballot in Illinois.
Supporters gathered about double the number of required signatures, and next up is a court challenge by opponents, followed by a voter information campaign, according to independent map amendment chair Dennis Fitzsimons;
Legal precedent indicates the court will approve putting the amendment on the ballot. If approved in November, it will form an independent commission to draw state legislative districts with the goal of making as many as possible competitive. Right now, the districts are drawn by the legislature, putting as many incumbents as possible in ‘safe’ districts.
FitzSimons says a similar initiative in California in 2008 has brought big changes to that state;
A decade ago, California was facing similar gridlock and budget problems that we are facing now in Illinois. Since the passage of a fair map amendment, California has turned things around and now runs budget surpluses.
For more information on the Independant Map Amendment you can go online to Map-Amendment-dot-org.
A local entity officially cannot carry on after a long battle to try to overcome the woes of the State of Illinois.
DeWitt County's Human Resource Center has announced they will close their doors and end their services June 30. Executive Director Lynn Scovill (right) emphasizes they are committed finding alternative programs for their clients.
According to Scovill, the Center has received money through court orders and consent decrees, and that has allowed them to barely remain open but they are owed nearly 150-thousand dollars in grant payments, and that has been the biggest loss.
Scovill indicates HRC has been extremely outgoing in being transparent with their clients about what is happening so as to not give them the wrong idea. She says at this point it's all about making sure the clients needs are met.
With the closure, the Human Resource Center will lose their license. Scovill says there's a short time HRC could be saved, but once certain things fall into place as they begin to prepare for the end of the organization, the likelihood the organization could reopen becomes less and less.
Scovill says HRC's services impact almost all aspects of life in DeWitt County. She says they have sat down with law enforcement and the hospital locally.
Scoville indicates HRC chose June 30 as their closure date because that is when their fiscal year ends and to continue past that point would bring more costs associated with the new fiscal year and would costs the organization cannot afford.
Navy Veteran Jim Rich and his son, Larry made the trip to Washington, DC as a part of the Honor Flight.
Tuesday during his trip, Jim said the day started around 6:30 am when the group left Springfield. He says the experience was one to remember.
Jim's son Larry served as his Guardian on the trip and says it was honor to be able to take his father to Washington, DC and says it was something special to be among so many veterans who served the country.
Jim encourages any veteran who has yet to make the trip to Washington DC to do so.
Veteran or Guardian Applications may be obtained at www.LandofLincolnHonorFlight.org or by contacting John Dust at HonorFlightGuy@aol.com or phone 309-339-0227.
Locally, you can contact Jeff Morelock at 217-853-2530.
A DeWitt County program aimed at keeping local youth fed during the summer months is continuing on despite the budget woes from the State of Illinois.
The summer lunch program sponsored by DeWitt County's Write Stuff for Kids and the University of Illinois Extension office is back again this summer. According to Sherry Fulton, Youth Educator at the University of Illinois Extension office, the summer lunch program provides lunch each day of the week for area youth in need.
The program is funded through a grant but Fulton indicates the summer lunch program is facing it's share of challenges because of the state budget crisis. She notes though, there's plenty of groups and entities across the County that have stepped up to see the program continue this summer.
Fulton indicates with the uncertainty of the future for funding anything in Illinois leaves the future of the summer lunch program up in the air at this point.
The program runs each day from 11:30 am to 1:30 pm at the Webster Apartment community center. Fulton parents will need to register their kids. They can do that at the community center or by contacting Fulton at the University of Illinois Extension office at 217-935-5764.
Fulton indicates Show Bus is also providing transportation for anyone needing transportation to the location.
According to a political expert in Springfield, the best case scenario for the State of Illinois to end the budget stalemate is a short term budget that Governor Bruce Rauner has proposed.
Dr. Kent Redfield (right), Political Expert at the University of Illinois-Springfield says that budget would include a spending plan for Illinois schools and a temporary spending plan.
Dr. Redfield warns the longer this budget stalemate goes, the more in debt Illinois becomes.
The state is paying salaries of state employees and other payments are being made through consent decrees but Dr. Redfield points out, the state is without money to buy every day items like paper or ink for printers.
Governor Bruce Rauner is putting an early end to speculation about his political future.
In a meeting with the Chicago Tribune editorial board, he told them he will run again. Tribune columnist Rick Pearson reports on Twitter that Rauner maintained he said that before, but Pearson doesn't recall any previous announcement.
Rauner never held a political office until he was elected Governor in 2014.
Politico calls him "one of the best political handicappers in the business." Charlie Cook, editor of the Cook Political Report and National Journal columnist says the 2016 election cycle has been, in his words, "one of the weirdest damn years ever."
Cook provides some rationale behind the phenomenon that has catapulted Donald Trump toward the Republican nomination for U-S President. He says present and past Republican congressional leaders can take most of the credit -- or blame.
Cook says Trump's negatives amount to more than Clinton's, which could mean her coattails resulting in a new U-S Senate evenly split between Democrats and Republicans. As far as the makeup of the new U-S House of Representatives, Cook predicts it will be even more dysfunctional than it already is.
Cook spoke to a recent American Farm Bureau conference says even if Clinton gets elected, look out; 12 years of one party in the White House will be hard to continue beyond 2020.
He adds more than 25 Democratic U.S. Senate seats will be up for reelection just two years from now, versus about eight for the Republicans.
The Clinton City Council Monday night approved a proposed name change for the Dr. John Warner Hospital.
Speaking before the City Council Monday night, CEO of the city-owned facility, Paul Skowron (right) indicated they are losing a major demographic in Clinton to larger facilities who have recently rebranded in the surrounding area.
Skowron explains the process of the name change has been in the works for roughly a year and a lot took place behind the scenes. He indicates he received support from his Board, the DJWH Foundation and John Warner IV.
In addition, the hospital board will change their vision, which according to Skowron says that is in direct correlation to the challenge of attracting the younger patients of the community.
Skowron believes the name change, a change in the image and the change in the vision will help them in their goal of growth. He says this should help attract more service-providers to their facility.
Without objection or discussion, the hospital name change was approved unanimously to Warner Hospital and Health Services.
The Clinton Public Works Department is in the midst in major road work, more than has been seen in recent years in Clinton.
Once that wraps up, likely later this week, City crews will begin to prepare for their regular round of summer maintenance. Steve Lobb, Public Works Director for the City of Clinton explains that will complete more work than they've ever done in a summer season.
Cut 1: summermain1 :64 CUE: single season
Work across the community will be all over the place. Lobb explains they try to assess areas of the most need and address those. He calls that an ongoing process.
Cut 2: summermain2 :42 CUE: address that
Some residents may wonder about the brush pick up cycle from City crews. According to Lobb, the brush pick up cycle still falls on the third week of the month.
Community park improvements have been a growing theme in Clinton lately and last week was another example of that when the Clinton Rotary Club in partnership with the City of Clinton finished two phases of a three phase upgrade to their park on South Quincy Street.
Bryce Lynch, a member of the Clinton Rotary Club was one of the leaders in the effort. He explains Rotary Park was in a state of disrepair, the organization recognized something needed to be done, so they set out to fix the problem.
The pickle ball courts (right) and new playground equipment (above) are just the first two phases of a three phase project fo the Rotary Club. Rotary President Greg Taylor says the final phase would be an eight-foot wide bike path around the park.
The City fronted some money for the upgrades to the park for the Rotary Club. According to Tim Followell, the City does things like that often with the understanding the groups will pay the money back over time and because the volunteers they receive from those groups are irreplaceable.
The Rotary Club is actively seeking out funding opportunities for their final phase.
The head of the National Governors Association says the federal government can take some of the blame for budget problems facing Illinois and some other states.
Governor Gary Herbert (HUR-burt), a Republican from Utah, says mandates from the federal government are, in his words, costing states tons of money....
Herbert recently addressed an American Farm Bureau conference and cited federal government costs related to health care and transportation as the biggest examples causing budget fits for Illinois and other some states.
The Institute of Government and Public Affairs at the University of Illinois is a non-partisan think tank that evaluates policy recommendations. One area they have looked at is preparing for climate change in the state.
Dr. Don Fullerton says they take the predictions made by climate scientists and evaluate the cost/benefit impact of mitigation proposals.
We already know our climate is changing. Since 1950 average precipitation is up by 20%., mostly during heavier rainfall events from March through June. Hot and dry weather is becoming more common in July and August. Fullerton says part of the job of the institute is to inform the public about current and future climate impact so an informed public can weigh in on policy initiatives.
Everything from improved, heat tolerant crops to flood control, water storage for future irrigation and alternative energy sources are evaluated.
For information on policy analysis regarding climate change, the institute publishes their research online. Just do a web search for Illinois Institute of Government and Public Affairs.
THE ILLINOIS STATE MUSEUM IN SPRINGFIELD WILL REOPEN TO THE PUBLIC NEXT MONTH.
THE MUSEUM WAS CLOSED LAST FALL TO HELP SAVE MONEY DURING THE STATE BUDGET CRISIS, BUT WILL BE BACK IN BUSINESS STARTING SATURDAY, JULY 2ND SAYS ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES SPOKESPERSON TIM SCHWEIZER.
THE MUSEUM WILL CHARGE A FIVE DOLLAR ADMISSION FEE TO ADULTS. THOSE 18 AND UNDER, SENIORS AND VETERANS ARE FREE. THE DICKSON MOUNDS MUSEUM IN FULTON COUNTY AND THE RESEARCH AND COLLECTIONS CENTER IN SPRINGFIELD WILL ALSO OPEN NEXT MONTH.
AGAIN, CHILDREN 18 AND UNDER, AS WELL AS SENIORS AND VETERANS WILL GET IN FREE OF CHARGE.
There's palpable buzz surrounding the recent upgrades at Rotary Park in Clinton.
Rotary President Greg Taylor says two of three phases at the park were completed earlier this week. He feels the community is going to really enjoy what they've done.
Taylor says Rotary is seeking funding opportunities for the final phase of the park, which would be a walking and bike path around the park.
Rotarians at the park Friday raved about the quick response from the community to enjoy the upgrades. The pickle ball courts (right) and new playground equipment are being praised by community members as a huge hit.
Learn more about the future of Rotary Park and more about the upgrades to come Monday on Regional Radio News.
A local non-profit is adjusting an annual event to include a new partner this year.
DeWitt County DOVE's annual Garden Walk event will now include the DeWitt County Museum and their June Quilt Show. Megan Neville with DOVE says they have one garden to display this year and that will include a trip to the DeWitt County Museum, followed by their high tea after.
Neville indicates the funds from the Garden Walk stay in DeWitt County and go to the various expenses the center has along with the many programs DOVE supports across the community.
The event starts at 10 am with the garden tours. The high tea is from 11 am to 2 pm at the Clinton Presbyterian Church.
Tickets are $15 ahead of the event and $20 at the CH Moore Homestead or at the garden at 68 Somerset Drive.
The Piatt County Relay for Life is this Saturday and the public is welcomed to come out.
Crystal Sewell with the American Cancer Society explains in Piatt County they do a lot of family friendly activities from music to different games and inflatables.
Sewell indicates there will be a lot of traditional parts of the Relay For Life for Piatt County. She explains the luminaria ceremony is a time they recognize cancer survivors, those who have passed on and those are currently in the middle of their battle.
There will be themed laps for the Piatt County event this year.
The expected heat for this weekend has forced organizers to relocate the event. It will shift to the Bement City Park. The event is from 11 am to 11 pm.
There's some good economic news from the Department of Employment Security.
The jobless rate fell from 6.6 percent in April to 6.4 percent last month, the first decline since late 2015. Employment security officials aren't exactly breaking out the party hats though.
They say the jobless rate fell for the first time in seven months because the size of the state's workforce declined. Job gains were seen in both the professional and business services and financial activities sectors.
Meanwhile jobs in the education realm, health services arena and government cut the most jobs.
The state still can’t get caught up to the rest of the nation when it comes to job growth.
The Illinois Department of Employment Security says that the state’s jobless rate dropped from last month but it still trails the nation. Employment Security Analyst Evelina Loescher says that the state found job growth in just a few sectors.
The states unemployment rate is 6.4 percent, two tenths of a percent better than last month but the nation’s rate is 4.7 percent.
According to a political expert in Springfield, the legislation that would help keep Exelon power plants in Illinois open still has a chance, but it faces an uphill battle.
Dr. Kent Redfield, political science expert at the University of Illinois Springfield says the legislation will definitely get caught up in the political games played.
According to Dr. Redfield, the market for energy is a big question right now. He explains all the forms of energy would like a friendly climate to operate and there is clearly an advantage with nuclear power.
Dr. Redfield points out there is a little motivation at play as well. While the legislation faces a two-thirds majority vote, lawmakers have to be motivated because they don't want to be accused of losing those jobs.
Dr. Redfield says this is going to take getting the entire general assembly on board along with the governor.
GOVERNOR BRUCE RAUNER SAYS MANY STATE AGENCIES ARE ON THE VERGE OF CRISIS WITHOUT A BUDGET IN PLACE.
THE GOVERNOR IS REITERATING HIS CALL FOR PASSAGE OF EDUCATION FUNDING AND A SHORT TERM OPERATIONS BUDGET. FAILING TO DO THAT WILL HAVE SEVERE CONSEQUENCES SAYS ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION SECRETARY RANDY BLANKENHORN.
GOVERNOR RAUNER SAYS THERE WILL BE DIRE CONSEQUENCES IF A STOPGAP BUDGET ISN’T APPROVED BY LAWMAKERS THIS MONTH. HE SAYS GOVERNMENT AGENCIES ARE IN DESPERATE NEED OF THE FUNDING.
THE GOVERNOR IS ALSO URGING LAWMAKERS TO APPROVE EDUCATION FUNDING FOR THE UPCOMING SCHOOL YEAR.
U.S. Senator Dick Durbin has teamed up with Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy for a filibuster of the Senate.
The stall tactic is part of Durbin's push for immediate action on legislation to stop the rising tide of gun violence.
Durbin is also concerned about the high murder rate in urban areas of Chicago and other cities. He notes 40% of the crime guns that were confiscated after these homicides and killings in the most violent neighborhoods in Chicago came from gun shows in northern Indiana.
Several areas of Clinton are underway getting much needed improvements thanks to the foresight of the community.
Picture Right: View of construction from Washington Street
According to Public Works Director Steve Lobb, city crews will be hard at work the next week or two repaving a stretches of community streets. Lobb indicates that process started earlier this week and will likely stretch into next week.
The community street work will not only be repaving community streets but work will include new handicap accessible ramps. Lobb says while that is a huge benefit to the community, it will make the cost exponentially more expensive.
Lobb says the repaving of these streets is thanks to the patience of the community and the vision they had nearly 20 years ago when Illini Drive was completed.
Lobb indicates the street work done this year will be too expensive to allow more next year but he anticipated the accounts could be rebuilt to allow for improvements at an every-other-year pace.
Picture below: Construction from DeWitt County Building facing Clinton First Christian Church
Between the woes of the State of Illinois and the potential closure of the Exelon Clinton Nuclear Power Station, a local non-profit is entering territory that has them very concerned.
DeWitt County DOVE has faced a challenging couple of years thanks to the incompetence of the Illinois legislature and now the growing concern one of the biggest contributors to the County may leave. Megan Neville with DeWitt County DOVE says Exelon has been a huge supporter of their organization in various ways.
Making up for the potential loss of donation dollars from Exelon would be difficult for DOVE and Neville indicates that threatens programs that are aimed at prevention of domestic abuse in the community.
The Clinton community has treated DOVE well. Neville says the support from local entities, businesses and churches has allowed DOVE to keep their doors open locally. She notes, other agencies in Illinois cannot say the same.
According to Neville, the impacts of a lack of funding would trickle down into the community from a loss of programs to a loss of workers at DOVE, then on to services not being available for abuse victims.
Neville says there's growing frustration within the organization because there are federal dollars that are designated for them, however, those are hung up at the state level, so they have yet to see those funds.
A local representative is outraged over the cancellation of the second straight session of the Illinois House of Representatives.
Representative Bill Mitchell says he is receiving calls from concerned parents over there not being a funding bill in place for schools fo this upcoming school year. He calls it an outrage a second week of meetings is canceled.
Speaker Madigan has said working groups will continue to meet in an attempt to come up with a budget. The working groups are also working towards compromise on business reforms the governor has proposed.
Over the past week or so, we have the start of a weather market as hot weather has been the rule, and most areas have seen normal to a little below normal precipitation. Dan Hicks of Freese-Notis weather has the statistics.
Hicks says the current hot pattern will hold in place at least through the rest of June and possibly through the entire summer.
Some areas have seen some good rainfall totals, for example Monday night areas around Streator Illinois reported four inches in a single downpour… but for the most part showers have been light and intermittent which is causing some concern in the grain trade.
The turnout of over 500 to an inaugural concert on Mr. Lincoln Square is being declared a success.
Tim Followell is the Clinton City Administrator and explains the first time around they felt like everything went very well despite the heat on Saturday. He says Lauren Alaina was a terrific act for those in attendance.
The Clinton Athetic Booster Club was out at the site selling pork chop and ribeye sandwiches. Athletic Booster Club President Brian Ennis says they appreciated the opportunity, however, it wasn't about the dollars and cents for them, they just wanted to do something for the community.
Jean Rogers runs Big R Concessions and is a member of the Celebrate Clinton Association. She explains the sales proceeds from their stand at the concert will be turned over to Celebrate Clinton for their 4th of July festivities on the square, including the fireworks display.
Brushville will be the next concert on July 30 on the square followed by another concert sponsored by the Clinton Chamber of Commerce in August, and the City will sponsor another concert in September.
Followell says the City will soon be in the evaluation period to find out what went well and what they need to improve.
Time is running out for groups interested in participating in the Clinton Chamber of Commerce's annual Golf Outing.
Executive Director Marian Brisard explains they have extended the deadline to get in on the event is Wednesday of this week. She says June 28 is the date of this year's event at the Clinton Country Club.
There will be several different giveaways and raffles going on throughout the day from various businesses. According to Brisard, there's a lot of networking opportunities for those that come out.
To get all registration information, contact the Clinton Chamber of Commerce at 217-935-3364 or check out their Facebook page or visit clintonilchamber.com.
Again the event is Tuesday, June 28 with registration and lunch starting at 11:30 am and a shotgun start at 1 pm.
AS THE SUMMER SWIMMING SEASON HEATS UP, THE ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH HAS SOME TIPS TO KEEP FAMILIES SAFE.
EVERY DAY, TWO CHILDREN IN THE U-S UNDER THE AGE OF 14 DIE FROM DROWNING. THAT’S WHY IT’S SO IMPORTANT TO MAKE SURE YOU CHILD HAS A LIFE JACKET OUT ON THE WATER AND A LIFEGUARD IS PRESENT AT YOUR LOCAL PUBLIC POOL SAYS PUBLIC HEALTH SPOKESPERSON MELANEY ARNOLD.
ARNOLD ADDS BACTERIAL CONTAMINATION IS ALSO A CONCERN.
YOU CAN ALSO SEARCH FOR “ILLINOIS BEACH GUARD” FOR PUBLIC HEALTH’S LISTING OF ILLINOIS BEACHES THAT ARE UNDER ADVISORY FOR HIGH BACTERIA LEVELS.
ARNOLD SAYS YOU SHOULD STAY OUT OF THE POOL IF YOU DIARRHEA. KIDS SHOULD BE TAKEN TO THE BATHROOM FREQUENTLY FOR POTTY BREAKS AND URGED NOT TO SWALLOW THE WATER.
The Illinois House won't be meeting tomorrow in Springfield. For the second straight week, House Speaker Michael Madigan has canceled a planned session for Wednesday.
A Madigan statement indicates legislative "working groups" are still meeting to discuss a solution to the yearlong budget stalemate. Madigan says both House and Senate members will meet again today for bipartisan talks on business friendly reforms sought by Governor Bruce Rauner.
Democrats say a multibillion-dollar deficit is most important and should be controlled first with spending cuts and a tax increase.
The Illinois State Board of Elections voted Monday to move an effort to reform legislative redistricting one more step closer to Illinois voters.
The board officially validated hundreds of thousands of signatures on petitions for the so-called Independent Map Amendment. It would take legislative redistricting out of the hands of the Illinois General Assembly and into the those of an independent, non-partisan commission.
Illinois Farm Bureau Vice President David Erickson serves on the board of the Independent Maps Amendment coalition.
Opponents have filed a lawsuit claiming the measure is unconstitutional. The Farm Bureau's Erickson says he and other Independent Maps board members believe it stands a good chance of holding up in court.
Construction continues at what will be the new location of the Clinton Save-A-Lot at Washington and Monroe Streets. Walls have begun going up on the 16,000 square foot structure, which is just east of their existing location. All pictures courtesy of owner Dave Jackson:
The Warner Public Library in Clinton has been preparing for the closure of the Exelon Nuclear Power Station for two years now.
Director of the Clinton Library, Joan Rhoades explains they were anticipating this 2026 closure, not a closure a decade earlier. She explains they are using their strategic planning process to prepare for life without the power plant tax dollars.
Around 40-percent of the library's budget, which totals a little less than a million dollars per year, comes from Exelon tax dollars. Rhoades says the library has been able to expand their opportunities thanks to the dollars generated by Exelon.
Coming soon, library leaders will be asking their patrons and those in the community to take part in a survey they will have available. The survey will seek to gather information about what services are most important to individuals or families, what hours of operation would be best and other questions.
Rhoades says that survey will be available soon and those interested in participating can check in at the library at 310 North Quincy Street.
The summer travel season is upon us as families travel near and far for their summer vacations.
As you make your way to you destinations for a good time, local authorities are providing residents with annual reminders about safe practices as you are away. Clinton Police Chief Ben Lowers says it's best practice to have someone keep an eye out for your house.
Chief Lowers says while it's fun to share the photos and memories you're creating on social media, he asks for travelers to be cautious in doing that. He explains that can be a dead giveaway your home is sitting vacant.
While you are on vacation, the Clinton Police Department offers a home check-in service. Chief Lowers explains each officer will drive by your home twice on their shift and give your house an extra set of eyes to make sure everything checks out.
Other things the Chief recommends includes if you have mail delivered, make arrangements to have that stopped until you return home. Also, have any newspaper services paused until you get back.
Chief Lowers notes, piling up newspapers and mail can be an indicator of a vacant home.
U.S. Senator Dick Durbin has weighed in on the mass shooting in Orlando, Florida, releasing a statement over the weekend.
“This morning’s mass shooting was the worst in American history. 50 people were massacred and dozens more injured when a heavily armed man opened fire on innocent people. My thoughts and deepest condolences are with the victims and their loved ones, and I stand in solidarity with the LGBT community in Orlando and across America. These mass shootings follow an increasingly tragic script: the public is heartbroken and outraged, first responders and law enforcement do their grim duty, and Congress proposes a slew of policy proposals and argues over whether any of them could have prevented the last tragedy. But when the debates end and nothing has changed, Congress makes itself complicit in the next killing. We have the power to act, and we must. The bottom line is that we allow dangerous people to buy guns in America and that has got to change. In the coming days, Congress must take a stand against hate, terrorism, and this horrific gun violence.”
Former Governor Pat Quinn has been making enough public noise that some wonder if he wants to run for Governor again?
This weekend he went back to his history of calling for reform of public bodies. Quinn is pushing petitions to pass a referendum in Chicago to keep the Mayor limited to two-terms.
Quinn is also seeking the creating of a city wide elected consumer advocate. The if the measure would make it onto the November ballot that could keep Rahm Emanuel from running for a third term in 2019.
The former Governor needs 53,000 valid signatures. Chicago has a history of long serving mayors; the Daley’s served for 21 and 22 years.
A judge has ruled three Illinois children placed in state custody in 2014 after a doctor pointed out their mother was a parent of three other children who drowned in Clinton Lake more than a decade earlier will remain in foster care.
According to reports, Department of Children and Family Services spokeswoman Veronica Resa said Friday that Amanda and Leo Ware were found by Cook County Circuit Judge Demetrios Kottaras to be unable to care for the children.
Amanda Ware, then known as Amanda Hamm, was convicted of child endangerment and served five years in prison for watching then-boyfriend Maurice LaGrone Jr. drown her three children from previous relationships in 2003 in Clinton Lake, south of Bloomington.
Prosecutors said LaGrone, who is serving a life sentence, wanted to kill the children because they interfered with the couple's relationship.
A pair of non-profit groups in DeWitt County are teaming up for a day of fun this weekend.
The DeWitt County Riding Club is joining forces with MS Talks, sponsoring a horse show at the grounds just east of Lane on Route 10. Chuck Lewis with the Riding Club says various classes of horses will be on display in various pleasure classes.
The event features 50/50 and cash drawings and Lewis says Mama D's Smokehouse will be serving up food at the grounds.
At 3 pm, the running drill team riders will have a horse back flag presentation and again all the proceeds to go to MS Talks of DeWitt County, which assists those diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and coping with their transition in health as the disease progresses.
Gov. Bruce Rauner has vetoed a bill to provide about $3.9 billion for higher education, mental health treatment and other programs during Illinois' nearly yearlong budget stalemate.
In a letter to lawmakers Friday, the Republican says Illinois needs "real solutions" to its financial problems. He says without a balanced budget the legislation is "just an unfunded, empty promise" or "a check written from an over-drawn bank account."
Rauner's veto was expected. But Democrats who approved the measure said the money is needed to keep colleges and universities and social service agencies operating.
They could now try to override the veto.
Rauner and Democrats who control the Legislature have been deadlocked on a budget for the fiscal year that ends this month, and for next year.
While the state of Illinois continues to limp along without an operating budget, July first looms near.
July first is the start of the new state fiscal year and not only will we be without an operating budget, but we have not passed a capital budget. That means that road construction projects, and other infrastructure projects that have been planned, and contracts approved cannot move forward, according to Don Scheafer, of the Midwest Truckers Assoc.
Construction firms are waiting to begin work on July first, but lack of a budget means everything grinds to a halt. Contractors lose income, workers get laid off and downward economic spiral continues without a capitol budget.
Delays in construction and repair projects mean the cost goes up as infrastructure further deteriorates.
Moody's Investors Service will review the credit worthiness of seven Illinois universities after downgrading the state's credit to two levels above "junk" status this week.
Moody's announced Friday that "reviews for downgrade" will proceed on the University of Illinois, Illinois State University, Southern Illinois University, Northern Illinois University, Governors State University, Northeastern Illinois University and Eastern Illinois University.
The reviews will examine the schools' vulnerability to the state budget stalemate and the ability of each to operate with no state funding or reduced assistance. Experts will look at liquidity, the soundness of contingency plans and near-term debt service commitments.
The U of I, ISU and SIU all have credit ratings better than the state's Baa1-negative - the nation's worst.
S&P Global Ratings lowered Illinois' rating this week, as did Moody's.
This election year, we have heard a lot of anti-trade talk. Now that we know the candidates in November will be Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, the outlook for approving new trade agreements, like the Trans Pacific Partnership, are dimming.
Tom Sleight, president of the US Grains Council hopes the anti-trade rhetoric will die down after the election.
Even Hillary Clinton, who as Sec of State helped put together the TPP says she is having second thoughts…And Donald Trump threatens to ‘tear up’ all trade agreements, which he actually would not have authority to do without congressional action.
Even if the anti-trade talk dies down after the election, it looks like a lame duck session of congress might be the only opportunity to pass new trade deals for the foreseeable future.
Congressman Darin LaHood is offering a harsh critique of likely GOP nominee Donald Trump.
LaHood is disappointed in Trump's comments questioning the objectivity of a judge of Mexican descent who is ruling on a case involving Trump University. However, he isn't dropping his support for Trump at the moment.
LaHood also disagrees with Trump's comments on Muslims, women and Americans with disabilities. He wants Trump to act more Presidential, refocus on the economy.
ILLINOIS ATTORNEY GENERAL LISA MADIGAN’S OFFICE IS WARNING BROADWAY ENTHUSIASTS NOT TO PURCHASE WHAT’S CALLED “SPECULATIVE TICKETS.”
AS POPULAR HITS LIKE HAMILTON AND ALADDIN COME TO CHICAGO…ATTORNEY GENERAL SPOKESPERSON ANNIE THOMPSON SAYS YOU NEED TO AVOID WEBSITES SELLING THESE PRESALE TICKETS.
THOMPSON SAYS WEBSITES SELL THE OFTEN MARKED-UP TICKETS WITHOUT ACTUALLY POSSESSING THEM YET.
THOMPSON SAYS YOU MIGHT ALSO FIND THE SEATS AREN’T VERY GOOD OR THAT THE TICKETS ARE COUNTERFEIT. SHE SAYS A TELLTALE SIGN IS THAT THE SPECULATIVE TICKETS ARE AVAILABLE BEFORE THE TICKETS OFFICIALLY GO ON SALE.
EX-OFFENDERS TRYING TO GET THEIR LIVES BACK ON TRACK CAN FIND A LITTLE EXTRA HELP AT THE ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTION’S SUMMIT OF HOPE EXPOS.
SUMMIT OF HOPE FEATURES SEVERAL RESOURCES FOR THOSE RECENTLY RELEASED TO HELP EASE THEM BACK INTO THE COMMUNITY. THAT INCLUDES GETTING A STATE I-D, MENTAL HEALTH SERVICE AND JOB TRAINING SAYS THE DEPARTMENT’S MARCUS KING.
WHEN AN OFFENDER GETS OUT OF PRISON, THEY OFTEN FACE SEVERAL HURDLES. THE SUMMIT OF HOPE BRINGS TOGETHER VALUABLE RESOURCES TO MAKE RE-ENTRY A LITTLE EASIER SAYS GOVERNOR BRUCE RAUNER.
THE LATEST SUMMIT OF HOPE WAS HELD IN SPRINGFIELD BUT SEVERAL ARE HELD AROUND THE STATE. THE NEXT ONE IS PLANNED FOR AUGUST 23RD IN SOUTH BARRINGTON.
This weekend's concert featuring up and coming country recording artist Lauren Alaina should provide the community with new opportunities.
That's how Clinton Police Chief Ben Lowers sees it. He explains while the presence of alcohol will warrant increased patrols, but he says other communities have put on events like this without incidents.
Given the devastating news Clinton has received in recent weeks with the future of the power plant, he feels this should be an opportunity for area residents to get out and have a good time.
In preparation for Saturday, the Chief explains portions of the square will begin to be blocked off Friday evening, and then on Saturday at 2 pm, the entire square will be closed down and they will begin to work to get patrons cleared out.
Chief Lowers indicates those wishing to partake of the beer available on the square will be limited to the square. He says a tippling ordinance has been lifted for tomorrow's event.
It is supposed to be very hot Saturday and Chief Lowers says a lot of their attention will be focused on making sure everyone that comes out will be safe. He notes this is an opportunity for the community of Clinton to be showcased.
Chief Lowers says it's exciting when an even brings out crowds to the downtown Clinton Square.
An invitation to the Governor to tour a Chicago Public School after he referred to some of them as crumbling prisons is being decried as a political stunt by the Illinois Republican Party.
This a day after the Governor dodged a direct question about what schools he was talking about. Rauner says that he’s been in dozens of CPS schools and they often bring tears to his eyes. But recently pressed to name just one school that resembled a crumbling prison he didn’t name a single school.
Rauner went on to say that some are fine while others are not.
Moody's Investor Service this morning downgraded Illinois' bond rating due to the General Assembly and the Governor not coming up with a state budget for the new fiscal year starting July First.
Governor Bruce Rauner's Press Secretary Catherine Kelly released a state this morning saying that the Administration warned the super majority in the Illinois Legislature that there would be consequences, and that the ratings downgrade underscores the need for structural changes to repair the years of unbalanced budgets and deficit spending by Democrats. Kelly's statement also blamed Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan for the downgrade.
A new direction for the community kicks off Saturday night when the City of Clinton welcomes up and coming country recording artist, Lauren Alaina, to the downtown Clinton Square.
Tim Followell is the City Adminsitrator for Clinton and explains this is aimed to be a community event to promote the City and the non-profit groups in it.
For the beer garden, Followell explains the city will essentially use a wristband system. Those in attendance can get access to the beer garden for free, which will be on the square, and all alcoholic beverages will be limited to being consumed and contained the square.
Followell admits this will be a learning experience for the City and it's officials. He explains this is new territory for them but they are hoping for a good turnout and for the crowds to have a positive experience in Clinton.
The square is expected to be shut down at 2 pm for the equipment of the different groups to get set up and to get tests for the equipment in in time for the crowds to arrive and the concerts to begin.
Followell is hopeful it will a good weekend all around for the community.
With almost two full weeks of summer under the belts of local youth, a local entity is well entrenched in their summer programming.
The Clinton YMCA's Camp Osage is their summer program that seeks to give area youth an outlet for safe fun and recreation during the summer months. Rennie Cluver is the Clinton YMCA Executive Director and explains the kids can participate in a number of activities on a daily basis geared towards their interests.
Camp Osage is essentially an all day opportunity for youth. Cluver explains it's flexible to the point they will help parents who may not work the usual 8 am to 5 pm shift.
Cluver indicates youth do not have to attend Camp Osage each day of the week, in fact they can come only on certain days or even last minute throughout the summer. They just ask you register your child with the YMCA.
The Y has various rates for daily or weekly Camp Osage attendance. To learn more, contact the YMCA at 935-8307 or stop in to their location at 417 South Alexander Street in Clinton.
Gov. Bruce Rauner will not call lawmakers into special session, despite more criticism of House Speaker Mike Madigan.
Gov. Rauner made that announcement in a midday press conference on Wednesday, a day when the House cancelled a plan session.
Rauner says a special session would be a waste of time as he says Madigan has made it clear he does not want to vote on any bills now.
Rauner went on to accuse Madigan of undermining budget negotiations involving rank and file lawmakers.
Meanwhile, Madigan released a statement. "While Governor Rauner continues his campaign-style tour, laden with personal attacks against those with whom he says he wants to work cooperatively, we remain committed to finding a solution to the state budget crisis, including a temporary budget to ensure schools open on time."
The Senate handily approves Senator Dick Durbin's amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act that is designed to protect the Pentagon's medical research program.
Sen. Durbin moved against changes sought by Arizona Senator John McCain that Durbin says would lead to red tape. He says the funding for medical research is crucial with veterans suffering many life threatening or altering ailments at a much greater rate than the civillian population.
Durbin says Senator McCain’s proposal would have blocked Defense Department officials from researching the medical needs of military families and veterans and subjected doctors and scientists to the level of scrutiny currently reserved for complex weapons systems.
A local lawmakers is legislators to get back to work in Springfield, and while they're at it, to get something worked out to keep two Exelon nuclear facilities in Illinois open.
State Representative Bill Mitchell calls it imperative lawmakers come together to get something done in Springfield to keep 700 jobs in DeWitt County. He says this fight is not over.
The Representative is challenging Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan to come to Clinton and DeWitt County and defend her stance where she calls the legislation for Exelon and bailout and did not support it.
Rep. Mitchell says there is bipartisan support on this measure and he's hoping lawmakers will come together on an agreement soon.
An event that made a return to DeWitt County in 2015 after a brief hiatus will return a little earlier than one year later.
Steve Lobb and his wife Dana were instrumental in resurrecting the Tour DeWitt Bicycle ride across DeWitt County. Lobb says the tour in it's current form is a fundraiser for the local group, the Childrens Advocacy Centers.
Tour DeWitt is a total community effort. Lobb explains several community groups help with what they call their "rest stops" which are just places along their four routes to provide riders with water and any other needs they may have.
Lobb says while it's a lot of fun for their volunteers and those that participate, Lobb says his passion for children that encounter undue hardship are his motivation for this event.
This year's Tour DeWitt is June 25 to start at the United Methodist Church in Clinton.
Pre-registration for this year's event is Friday. All those who pre-register will receive an event t-shirt. Lobb says if you don't pre-register, they will still allow you to participate, but they cannot guarantee t-shirt at that time.
For more information about the event, visit the Tour DeWitt Facebookpage.
To get registration information, visit tourdewitt.weebly.com.
Governor Rauner says he’s not anti-union. In Ottawa Monday, Rauner said that’s the spin from the other side. He denied being in favor of so-called “right to work” status.
Gov. Rauner also called on people who want schools to open in the fall to put pressure right back on the legislature to pass a school funding bill and partial state budget that would be good for six months.
Many Democrats say it’s Governor Rauner’s job to present a balanced budget. They say he shouldn’t just expect the legislature to pass one.
In Ottawa Monday, the governor says he’s tried.
The event with Rauner was supposed to be at City Hall. But the large crowd of protesters prompted him to move it to the downtown courthouse. Rauner says he respects protesters, but he wanted to have an uninterrupted conversation about the state’s troubles.
The continuous session of the Illinois House is still ongoing but they won’t be in session at the State House this week.
The members of the General Assembly on the House side were expected to reconvene for on Wednesday but Speaker Mike Madigan’s office released a statement that both Democratic and Republican members in working groups need to be able to continue without interruption.
Because of that change, the House will not be in session on June 8. The statement also notes that the Speaker is hopeful the progress those groups are making will continue.
Senator Mark Kirk is distancing himself from the presumptive GOP candidate for President.
Senator Mark Kirk has had a change of heart and announced that he won't support Donald Trump's candidacy after Trump recently said a judge of Mexican descent couldn't be objective in a lawsuit involving Trump University because Trump wants to build a wall between the U.S. and Mexico.
Kirk questioned Trump's temperament when it comes to handling the the role of Commander in Chief and taking charge of the nation's nuclear weapons. Kirk says he factored in the most recent Trump flap along with past attacks on Hispanics, women and the disabled in deciding to drop support for Trump.
The criticism of the disabled hits home with Kirk with lingering disabilities tied to his stroke. Democrats question why Kirk didn't make the decision sooner as Kirk prepares for a November faceoff against Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth.
With the Illinois General Assembly on a short break after failed attempts to negotiate a budget, a local lawmaker says it's time the state get back to work and get things figured out.
Rank and file lawmakers all over Illinois have made calls in the last year to remain in Springfield until a budget is in place and now State Representative Bill Mitchell (right) is calling on his colleagues to get to Springfield and get to work.
A budget passed by Illinois House Democrats two week ago weighed in at approximately $40 billion in spending with only $33 billion in estimated revenue.
Rep. Mitchell calls the Democrats budget unbalanced and unconstitutional and adds it was $7 billion out-of-balance and would require a 47% tax hike to pay for all the additional spending.
Democrats in the Illinois Senate refused to pass such a massively unbalanced budget and the General Assembly adjourned on May 31 without any approved budget for Fiscal Year 2017, which beings July 1.
Most entities around the Exelon Clinton Nuclear Power Station can say with certainty how the closure of the plant will effect, however, one that cannot is the City of Clinton.
Commissioner of Finance on the Clinton City Coucnil, Tom Edmunds (right) explains there's two aspects that will directly impact Clinton and it is inconclusive how much they will impact the community. The first is the financial side.
According to Edmunds, the other part of the City of Clinton that would be impacted would be the fire department. He explains while the Clinton Fire Protection District does not include the Exelon facility, the City is part of an agreement with Exelon for backup fire protection.
Edmunds explains unlike entities like the Warner Public Library or the Clinton School District, the City of Clinton does not receive any property taxes from Exelon.
Construction continues on the new Clinton Save-A-Lot at Washington and Monroe Streets, just east of the present store. Owner Dave Jackson told Regional Radio News at the site, that north and west wall footings are being dug this week.
Jackson added digging on the north wall was held up by getting access to the adjacent railroad property, but that happened Monday and blocks could go up this week.
Jackson is hoping to open the new location of the Clinton Save-A-Lot in October.
Jackson says the construction timetable is on target.
The new Clinton Save-A-Lot building is using over 80 percent local contractors on the project.
You can see pictures of what the new Clinton Save-A-Lot will look like, by clicking their icon at dewittdailynews-dot-com.
While the official summer season is not here yet, one local entity is in the midst of an annual event to keep local seniors cool during the summer months.
The DeWitt County Friendship Center's annual fan drive seeks to give qualifying seniors with a fan through the summer months to keep themselves and their homes cool. Executive Director Sissy Leggett explains they are currently accepting and distributing those fans to seniors in the community.
According to Leggett, the summer months can be very difficult for seniors locally, as many are on a fixed income and often times cannot afford to run the air conditioning in their homes during the brutally hot days of summer.
The Friendship Center is currently accepting box fans to distribute to area seniors and those who are disabled. Leggett indicates they distribute roughly 50 fans per year.
Fans can be dropped off at the Friendship Center at 410 East Main Street in Clinton. Monetary donations for the fans are also accepted and can be dropped off at the Friendship Center as well.
Volunteers are needed this week for a clean up effort at Clinton Lake.
Department of Natural Resources Conservation Police are leading the effort of cleaning up parts of Clinton Lake this week. According to CPO John Williamson, portions of the Clinton Lake are in a great deal of need for cleaning up.
While trash receptacles are not always immediately available at Clinton Lake, Williamson encourages those fishing or hiking or boating to carry anything you came with back out with you. He says it's a simple way to keep the area clean.
Those interested in volunteering are asked to contact the Weldon Springs State Park Office, which is where the DNR office for DeWitt County is located. You can contact them at 935-6757.
Again the cleanup is Wednesday from 9 am to 1 pm and lunch will be provided for all volunteers.
A local zoo leader recently volunteered his thoughts on a recent incident in Cincinnati, Ohio that tragically saw the death of a gorilla in an attempt to save the life of a 4-year old child.
Ken Frye is the Director of the Scovill Zoo in Decatur and says the incident that day in Cincinnati was very tragic. He says that decision shoot the gorilla was likely difficult, but it ultimately was the right decision.
Frye recognizes that decision is difficult because of the status of the gorilla in the wild but he says their zoo along and countless others will always error on the side of the human life.
Frye indicates they have had incidents where their guests have been able to enter an area they are not supposed to be. He indicates they have taken measures to make their exhibits more secure in those circumstances.
Exelon Corporation is pulling the plug on two nuclear power plants in the months to come. The company will close its plant in Clinton in June of next year. Then in June 2018, they will close the Quad Cities nuclear plant.
The company pushed hard during the spring legislative session
for legislation that would have helped keep both facilities open. That push gained little ground as lawmakers and Governor Rauner were stuck in the mud in efforts to reach a budget deal.
Congressman Rodney Davis (R-Taylorville) is still hopeful the closure can be averted, if lawmakers act.
Exelon reports the plants have lost $800 million over the past seven years.
Weldon Springs State Park will offer a Kids’ Fishing Derby on Saturday, June 18, 2016 to celebrate Free Fishing Days.
This year’s event will be sponsored by The Weldon Springs Foundation, Inc. and Boy Scout Troop 142. Registration will begin at 8:30 AM at the concession area.. The derby will run from 9 AM to 11 AM.
Trophies will be awarded for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd places for number of fish caught from the bank in three age divisions: 6 and under, 7-8-9, and 10-11-12. There is no registration fee.
Free Fishing Days is an opportunity for those who want to give fishing a try, or those who haven’t fished for a while, to experience the fun of one of our most popular forms of outdoor recreation. Young people and adults alike can discover the joys of fishing and develop an appreciation for our lakes, rivers and streams and the wildlife in and around them.
Illinois and non-resident anglers can fish without purchasing annual fishing licenses, salmon stamps or inland trout stamps during the four-day Free Fishing Days promotion June 17-20, 2016.
No experience is needed and volunteers will be on hand to assist participants. In the case of heavy rain or lightning, the event will be cancelled.
For more information, call the park office at 217-935-2644.
The University of Illinois may have to seek further drastic measures after lawmakers and Governor Rauner couldn't come to terms on a budget. U of I President Timothy Killeen says the university system may have to take drastic steps to deal with the cash shortage.
In a mass email, Killeen said all options are on the table if a budget deal isn't reached soon. Those options include layoffs, cuts in academic programs, closing units and even cutting a health care program that provides critical care to underserved Chicago residents. Treasurer Michael Frerichs raised concerns recently during U of I Lobby Day.
Frerichs served as the chairman of the Higher Education committee during his time int he Illinois Senate. Killeen wrote that he is gravely concerned about the potential impact on students, faculty, staff and the three U of I campuses if adequate funding doesn't arrive from the state soon.
Sally Rutledge-Ott, the regional director of the U.S. Women’s Chamber of Commerce, wants women who own businesses and those who want to start businesses to get it together. She’s arranged the Central Illinois Women’s Economic Summit.
The summit is at Celebrations 150 north of Utica on Friday, June 10. She’s asking people to register by June 7. Rutledge-Ott says women often have different priorities than men and they need to build their business plans around those priorities.
Women are a majority of the workforce and almost a third of all business owners. The regional director of the U.S. Women’s Chamber of Commerce thinks women ought to be more assertive in business.
Sally Rutledge-Ott has put together a summit to be held in LaSalle County next month to talk about.
She’s asking people to register by June 7 for the event Friday, June 10 at Celebrations 150 north of Utica.
Honey bee health remains an important issue in the agriculture industry. Honeybee hive numbers have stabilized over the past year and Monsanto Honey Bee Health specialist Jerry Hayes says a certain parasite can be found in the honeybee population.
A new product was introduced to help combat the varroa mite which accounts for 80 percent of honeybee deaths during the past several years.
With research being done by Monsanto and other agricultural organizations, progress is being made to combat honeybee
The process of retiring the Exelon Clinton Nuclear Power Plant will begin as soon as next week when around 100 workers will be laid off.
Thursday afternoon, local leaders joined state lawmakers representing Clinton and DeWitt County in reacting to the announcement by Exelon they retire the plant early.
In DeWitt County, perhaps no entity benefits more directly from the plant than the Clinton School District and Superintendent Curt Nettles indicates around $8-million of their budget comes from Exelon's taxes. Nettles says what compounds the problem is Clinton schools would then become reliant on the unreliable general state aid from Springfield.
Clinton Mayor Roger Cyrulik says it's uncertain the immediate impacts the closure of the power plant would be on the community. He says this will be one more thing the city will have to deal with when budgeting, just like every other entity.
Mad is how DeWitt County Board Chair David Newberg described his emotions Thursday morning when the announcement was made. He feels DeWitt County has been singled out.
Dan Ballenger is the Commissioner of Public Health and Safety on the Clinton City Council. He explains Clinton will see a reduction in patrols as a result of the Exelon closure.
Via Facebook Wednesday, the Clinton Chamber released the following statement:
"The Clinton Chamber of Commerce will continue supporting the efforts to keep Clinton Power Station open. We would urge our lawmakers to realize the seriousness of this issue and the devastating impact of the possible premature closure of CPS. Please pass this bill."
The budget crisis in Illinois has officially hit DeWitt County's economic development agency hard.
Thursday afternoon, it was announced the DeWitt County Development Council has laid off staff and Executive Director Ruth Stauffer says she continues to work to bring financial stability to the agency.
As of right now, with no funding, Stauffer has officially become a volunteer but is optimistic DCDC will find the funds necessary to get themselves back up and running.
Stauffer says while things appear gloomy for the area, Clinton and DeWitt County will get through this as they have many challenges in the past.
Despite the announcement by Exelon Thursday morning they would begin the process to retire their Clinton and Quad Cities facilities early, local lawmakers are not giving up the fight to keep the plants open.
State Representative Bill Mitchell and State Senator Chapin Rose were on the Clinton Square Thursday afternoon, joined by local leaders, to discuss the future of the legislation that is in Springfield. Sen. Rose says the overtime session is giving them continued opportunity to get something passed.
Rep. Mitchell echoed the Senators thoughts in that the legislature continues to work on the bill. He explains many lawmakers are working hard to keep the two plants in Clinton and the Quad Cities open.
Rep. Mitchell indicates the legislature can move major pieces of legislation in a short period of time and the legislature continues to be motivated.
Sen. Rose called his mood at the press conference 'incredulous'. He says people were screaming almost ten years ago when rates increased for electricity but the legislature didn't act quickly enough.
Sen. Rose points out consumers across the state are in for a rate increase, no matter the scenario. He explains lawmakers are working to keep Illinois families from being left "high and dry".
Exelon Corporation today announced it will move forward to shut down the Clinton and Quad Cities nuclear plants, given the lack of progress on Illinois energy legislation.
The Clinton Power Station in Clinton, Ill., will close on June 1, 2017.
Quad Cities and Clinton have lost a combined $800 million in the past seven years, despite being two of Exelon’s best-performing plants.
While the Illinois legislative session has not ended, the path forward for consideration of the Next Generation Energy Plan legislation is not clear. As a result, Exelon has begun taking necessary steps to shut down the two nuclear plants.
That includes making permanent shutdown notifications to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission within 30 days, terminating capital investment projects required for long-term operation of Clinton and Quad Cities, which will impact more than 200 workers, immediately taking one-time charges of $150 million to $200 million for 2016, and accelerating approximately $2 billion in depreciation and amortization through the announced shutdown dates and cancelling fuel purchases and outage planning, which will impact more than 1,000 outage workers.
Exelon has and will continue to brief the Governor’s office, legislative leaders, the Illinois Commerce Commission, Illinois Environmental Protection Agency, Illinois Power Agency, other relevant state agencies, and host community leaders, on developments as it executes the shutdown plan.
Retiring the plants will have a significant economic and environmental impact on the region. The Clinton and Quad Cities plants support approximately 4,200 direct and indirect jobs and produce more than $1.2 billion in economic activity annually. A state report found that closing the plants would increase wholesale energy costs for the region by $439 million to $645 million annually. The report also found that keeping the plants open would avoid $10 billion in economic damages associated with higher carbon emissions over 10 years.
A budget year has come and gone and there's no budget in place from the last fiscal year and the current fiscal year is without a spending plan.
State Senator Chapin Rose says all this proves the democrats of Illinois, who have a super-majority in both chambers, cannot govern.
According to Sen. Rose, democrats pride themselves on being the 'compassionate party' and the party that will take care of people, but he says, when it boils down to it, they don't know how to do that.
Sen. Rose says the democratic party ran the State for 12 years and now there's dissension in the party.
According to Sen. Rose, the legislature is going to work on a bridge budget that the Governor proposed yesterday. He believes this could have been taken care of already but is hoping cooler heads prevail.
The Senator says there was a plan for bridge funding through the end of the year to allow lawmakers to negotiate a permanent solution and that fell through.
Lawmakers moved to ease the burden or fears of reporting of sexual assault in Illinois.
Rep. Emily McCasey, a Democrat from Lockport, says this may allow for more of them to be reported.
An approved bill will require first responders and 911 operators to go through victim sensitivity training. In addition, victims’ will also be allowed to wait up to 5 years to give consent to have police test any evidence collected during a sex assault investigation.
The state legislature wrapped up its spring session on Tuesday without coming to a budget agreement with Governor Rauner. Since it takes a supermajority to pass a budget after June first, it now appears unlikely an agreement will be reached until after the November elections.
It is not only the annual operating budget that is in limbo, but the plan to fund the pension deficit, and the infrastructure deficit, which Dr. Martin Luby, infrastructure funding expert at DePaul Univ. and a visiting consultant with Univ. of Illinois Institute of Govt. and Public affairs, says is short by about 18 billion dollars.
That’s a lot of new revenue the state needs to fund infrastructure, but Dr Luby says every day we wait, the cost goes up sharply.
Luby says any new taxes to fund infrastructure should be dedicated funds the state cannot divert for other uses. Failure to fund infrastructure, says Luby, will hurt business growth and retention, eating into the state’s tax base and, in the long run, cost more in lost tax revenue than properly maintain our infrastructure in the first place.
Governor Bruce Rauner isn't sulking in Springfield over yesterday's failed bid to pass a stopgap budget.
He was on a whirlwind five city tour including a stop in Mahomet, trying to build support for a six month spending plan. He says his rivals aren't in touch with the needs of the state's southern sector.
He was joined by outspoken Vienna High School Superintendent/Principal Josh Stafford.
Rauner started the day at Alton and stopped in Quincy and Pekin.
Ending the cycle of poverty in a person's life or in a community starts with the proper training in managing money.
That training is what Community Action of Central Illinois is focused on with their clients.
A shift in the mission of the organization in the last couple of years has introduced several programs designed for people who struggle financially to get out of poverty by properly managin their money through the Financial Peace University.
That's Community Action's Nancy Cunningham, who leads the program.
Community Action Executive Director Alison Rumler-Gomez explains Dave Ramsey put the program together and many of the lessons are lessons he learned when he fell on hard times.
Before enrolling clients into the Financial Peace University course, Katie Alexander explains they start you out with an eight-week course called Jobs For Life. She indicates this prepares individuals with skills necessary to build a resume, get a job, and maintain employment.
The Jobs for Life and Financial Peace University courses are just a few of the ways Community Action has shifted their focus in battling poverty locally. Rumler-Gomez explains instead of taking an approach of being the go to for the consequences of poverty, they wanted to get out in front of the problem, which is where the shift in mission came from.
The Jobs for Life training starts up again in August. To get more information about the Jobs for Life training, Financial Peace University, or other programs offered by Community Action, such as the Head Start pre-school and early childhood education classes, contact their corporate office in Lincoln at 217-732-2159.
If you're an educator in Illinois, you're invited to Warrensburg-Latham High School later this summer for a professional development opportunity.
Superintendent Dr. Kristen Kendrick-Weikle explains there will be multiple facets to the two-day seminar. She believes it will be a great opportunity for any educator in any part of the area.
The seminars will have topical sessions that include technology, grading and mastering a subject, along with ways for teachers to spend more time with students. Dr. Kendrick-Weikle calls the topics creative and innovative.
Dr. Kendrick-Weikle says every district in the area has educators doing great things and wants them to be able to display those things for other educators in Illinois.
The professional development institute is August 8 and 9. To get more information about registration, supporting the event, or to get more information, visit dewittdailynews.com today.
CORN PLANTING IN ILLINOIS IS INCHING CLOSER TO COMPLETION AS WE HEAR IN THE WEEKLY CROP REPORT.
94 PERCENT OF CORN HAS BEEN PLANTED…AND 87 PERCENT EMERGED. 71 PERCENT OF THE CROP IS RATED IN GOOD TO EXCELLENT CONDITION. STATE CROP STATISTICIAN MARK SCHLEUSENER SAYS SOME GOOD PROGRESS WAS MADE WITH SOYBEAN PLANTING…WHICH IS NOW 72 PERCENT COMPLETE.
94 PERCENT OF CORN HAS NOW BEEN PLANTED, WITH 87 PERCENT EMERGED.
EIGHT PERCENT OF SORGHUM AND 95 PERCENT OF OATS HAVE BEEN PLANTED, AND THE FIRST CUTTING OF ALFALFA IS A LITTLE MORE THAN HALFWAY DONE.
AVERAGE STATEWIDE TOPSOIL MOISTURE STANDS AT ONE PERCENT VERY SHORT, FIVE PERCENT SHORT, 73 PERCENT ADEQUATE AND 21 PERCENT SURPLUS.
Another budget deadline and another year without a spending plan. They didn’t even hold the clocks back or wait till midnight to declare they had failed again.
Lawmakers couldn’t find a path towards a balanced budget or turn around agenda items. That leaves the state headed towards another summer of waiting.
Governor Bruce Rauner says the blame rests on the ruling party in the House and Senate.
Gov. Rauner has moved ahead a stop gap spending plan. Something Republicans balked at just days ago when Democrats suggested just such a measure.
The House says they will remain in continuous session until a budget is approved.
Gov. Rauner and his budget team released a stop gap spending plan early on Tuesday. It was a reversal for the Republicans who had balked at such an idea after the same thing was floated by Democrats earlier this week.
It was the infighting between Senate and House Democrats that blocked passage of a state budget during the last hours of the spring legislative session Tuesday night.
As the midnight adjournment deadline neared, the Senate voted down Speaker Mike Madigan’s state budget plan with only 17 yes votes. Then House Democrats helped defeated the Senate Democrats bill that would have funded grade schools and high schools, giving Chicago Public Schools about $475 million more and increasing elementary and secondary education statewide by $900 million. House Republican Leader Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs) encouraged a no vote on the bill in the House, so members could continue working on the budget impasse.
Only 24 House members voted in favor of the measure with 92 voting against it.