More progress has been made in the past week than the previous 18 months combined on legislation to keep nuclear energy viable in Illinois, and gives Clinton's nuclear power station the opportunity to stay open long term.
State Representative Bill Mitchell says Illinois Governor giving the nod of support for the legislation earlier Wednesday is a big key in things moving forward.
Among the changes Governor Rauner has asked for is a ten-year bill rather than six. State Senator Chapin Rose says that could be a victory for Clinton if the bill passes.
According to Sen. Rose, a demand block was a huge hold up in the bill moving forward. He explains the demand block would only allow certain everyday activities to take place during blocks of the day.
Rep. Mitchell says while this is good news, he says this still has a ways to go to get through the General Assembly. Both lawmakers say right now, it's about getting the votes to get the bill passed.
Sen. Rose indicates this bill right now is very different from what was drafted just last week. He says it has so many moving parts.
Both lawmakers say this is significant progress but will await to see if the votes can be rallied this afternoon for a vote soon.
The new Clinton Save A Lot location is officially open as officials cut the ribbon on the new building of Washington Street Wednesday morning.
Store owner Dave Jackson says this has been a long time in the making and had many to thank Wednesday morning before the store opened it's doors for the first time to the public.
According to Jackson, the new store was almost completely built by local contractors. Jackson credits Dave Waters of Waters Construction with putting together a great team to get the work done.
Clinton Mayor Roger Cyrulik says Clinton is lucky to have store owner like Dave Jackson and a store like Clinton Save A Lot and congratulates him on the new store opening.
Clinton City Administrator Tim Followell outlines the challenges the new store faced in getting put up on it's new location. Followell explains everything from removing the soil from a former coal plant to the Ameren utilities getting moved were just a few of the challenges the project faced.
Jackson indicates the Clinton Save A Lot store will be one of the chain's largest locations that spans 1400 locations and over 40 states.
The new facility will be 40-percent larger than the former location.
Those are just some of the attributes DeWitt County Sheriff Jered Shofner gives to his new Chief Deputy, Rob Spickard, who was promoted to the position earlier this month.
Pictured right: Spickard Left with Sheriff Shofner Right
Sheriff Shofner says Spickard has the trust of his coworkers and is a steady force in the office.
According to Sheriff Shofner, Spickard enters the Chief Deputy position at a time when the department is very thin staffed, which means he will take on a lot more responsibility.
Sheriff Shofner says Spickard's background is impressive. He was a medic in the National Guard and is a fourth generation law enforcement officer. Additionally, Spickard has extensive training that makes him qualified.
In 2011, the Food Safety Modernization Act was passed by congress. The bill, designed to modernize and improve the nation’s food safety rules will not be fully implemented until 2020, but the phase in for food producers begins next year. The bill, which now has 500 pages of detailed regulations includes updated rules for everyone from restaurants to imports to farmers markets.
U of I extension is planning a rollout of meetings and seminars to explain the new rules to impacted producers. Leading the way for extension on the Food Safety Modernization Act is Extension Educator Laurie George from Mt Vernon. She is on track to be the first person in Illinois to be a certified trainer of other educators who will in turn lead seminars on the FSMA.
George discussed if the 500 pages of rules will be another regulatory burden on food producers, or a real improvement in food safety.
What are some examples of practices that specialty growers will have to evaluate?
The new rules will start kicking in next year for the largest commercial producers, most smaller specialty crop producers like those in Illinois will have to comply with new standards by 2020. For more information contact the U of I extension website or office.
During lame duck sessions of government there often are times when legislation that otherwise wouldn’t get passed winds up finding enough votes.
But now a few lawmakers want to pass a law to stop that from happening when it comes to tax increases. Democrat Rep. Jack Franks says that passing important tax increases shouldn’t be done at the end of someone’s time in office.
Franks is a lame duck lawmaker and his bill is filed as a constitutional amendment and would require a three-fifths majority of lawmakers to agree to pass a lame duck tax hike.
A new study confirms a previous study by the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC), which found that consumers will pay more in electric bills with the slated closure of nuclear power plants in Clinton and Cordova.
It is important to note that this new study was commissioned by consumers – not the power companies.
According to the study released by economists at The Brattle Group, a global consulting firm, residential customers would see their electric bills hiked to the tune of $115 million annually, while businesses would see their bills spike $249 million annually without these plants in operation. That’s an increase of $3.1 billion over the next 10 years.
State Sen. Chapin Rose (R-Mahomet), who represents Clinton, says this is further proof the Legislature must pass the Future Energy Jobs legislation, Senate Bill 2814.
In a statement released late Tuesday, Sen. Rose said quote - “This study clearly makes the case for what we’ve been saying for months, that doing nothing and allowing these plants to close will result in pain across the state,” Rose said. “This is simple first-year economics, lowering supply without decreasing demand means prices will go up. This new study confirms the results of the previous independent ICC work that concluded it’s cheaper for consumers if these nuclear plants stay open than if they close. Obviously, my area would be devastated by the loss of jobs with Clinton closing, but people outside of Clinton need to look at the bigger picture. Everyone’s power bills will go up if we do nothing and allow these plants to close.”
Rose added quote - “This new independent analysis now confirms and quantifies these concerns. Illinois needs to plan for a future that protects our local jobs and protects our reliable, cheap energy supply. It is time to act. Failure to act will have serious consequences.”
The Brattle Group study comes on the heels of a Midcontinent Independent Survey Operator (MISO) survey that found “a potential generational shortfall as soon as mid-2018” if the two plants closed.
This study is in line with information presented at two different meetings held by the University of Illinois this fall, one in Chicago and one in Urbana. Experts there acknowledged the potential for serious market price fluctuations with the plant closures if the legislature fails to act.
At the Chicago hearing, MISO staff also noted that new transmission lines would ultimately have to be considered to be built over several years at serious costs to ratepayers to rebalance the lost supply.
Organizers attribute a very unseasonably warm Tuesday to a great turn out for the 2016 Peoria Farm Show at the Peoria Civic Center.
Organizer of the thirteenth year event, Jerry Tibbs, says the show has evolved from around a dozen tractors on display and has become a huge show in downtown Peoria.
Tibbs says the Peoria Farm Show's November event allows for more farmers and tractor-collectors to get involved and stay out of the usual elements of the summer, which is when a lot of other shows take place.
Taylor Houston, a CSM for Stone Seed at the Peoria Farm Show, says they are giving away buckets to those that come out. She says it has been a huge hit and realizes every farmer can never have too many five gallon buckets.
The Peoria Farm Show runs Wednesday and Thursday this week as well from 9 am to 4 pm.
Listen to live coverage from the Peoria Farm Show during the WHOW noon farm show then from 1 pm to 2 pm.
The concession area at Weldon Springs State Park that has been a restaurant at various times in the last several years will have a new tennant next year.
Site Superintendent Charlie Montgomery could not release specific details but does indicate next year they anticipate having the building reopened, it is the area designated for the concession just off the lake.
Montgomery indicates the concession is just the latest development in what is happening at the Springs.
Despite not having volunteers from the AmeriCorp organization, local volunteers have stepped up in recent months to help restore the trail around the lake. He says it's an exciting time for Weldon Springs Recreation Area.
It's been a long time in the works, but officials in Monticello are excited for the next step in getting a new water treatment facility in the community.
Monticello Mayor Larry Stoner says this has been a project the city has known about for some time. He explains the city is essentially in need of a new water treatment facility, as theirs is extremely dated.
Mayor Stoner says the city previously had gone out for bid for the project but the bids were very high. Just recently, the Mayor indicates a grant opportunity became available that is going to make the project not only affordable, but soon a reality.
In a short time as Mayor of Monticello, Stoner's previous role was as a Council member. He indicates this has been a project a long time in the works and admits, there was a time he thought he might never see it to it's completion.
The city will be taking advantage of a rural development loan and the Mayor says the interest rate is very low, so it is worth taking advantage of.
Mayor Stoner explains the current facility and infrastructure has been fixed and pieced together as needed, but feels it will be a big boost to the community to get a new, updated facility going as soon as this coming spring.
The CME is looking at St Louis as an additional delivery point for CBOT contracts.
Jeff Adkisson of the Grain and Feed Assoc of Illinois says his board will be looking at the impact of adding St Louis. He says it looks like a positive move, but it all depends on the discount, or basis versus Chicago that is set for St Louis.
Joe Camp of Agrivisor agrees with Adkisson in that adding St Louis could be a long term positive especially for Southern Illinois once the basis rate becomes established.
Right now, Pekin is the southernmost delivery point in Illinois.
FIELDWORK IS WRAPPING UP AS WE HEAR IN THE FINAL WEEKLY CROP REPORT OF THE SEASON.
TEMPERATURES WERE ABOUT AVERAGE AND RAINFALL WAS BELOW NORMAL…AVERAGE STATEWIDE TOPSOIL MOISTURE AT ONE PERCENT VERY SHORT, EIGHT PERCENT SHORT, 82 PERCENT ADEQUATE AND NINE PERCENT SURPLUS. CROP STATISTICIAN MARK SCHLEUSENER GIVES US AN UPDATE ON THE WHEAT CROP.
95 PERCENT OF SORGHUM HAS BEEN HARVESTED…COMPARED TO 100 PERCENT COMPLETED AT THIS TIME LAST YEAR. 67 PERCENT OF PASTURE FIELDS ARE RATED IN GOOD TO EXCELLENT CONDITION.
AVERAGE STATEWIDE TOPSOIL MOISTURE NOW STANDS AT ONE PERCENT VERY SHORT, EIGHT PERCENT SHORT, 82 PERCENT ADEQUATE AND NINE PERCENT SURPLUS.
If helping children going through a tough time is something that hits close to home for you, a local organization is hoping you'll consider giving them a hand this Christmas season.
Children that receive services through the Children's Advocacy Center have been abused in some way and in most cases are removed from their home, leaving them with basic, every day needs. Executive Director Judy Brucker indicates, their fundraising arm, the Child Protection Network, has again in 2016 put out their Blue Kids Trees in hopes of getting support from their serving communities.
Brucker says this is a creative way for the agency to fill a need for the community and the youth they serve.
The Blue Kids Trees are located in Clinton at the Chamber of Commerce and at Warner Hospital.
Brucker says it's not too late to get a tree in your business for the holiday season. To get the process started, just contact her at 309-888-5656.
Updates is the name of the game for the DeWitt County Building in the coming weeks and months.
Starting with the County Building itself, administrators within the County plan add wireless internet access for their visitors. DeWitt County Board Chair David Newberg says the only Wi-Fi available is a closed network for the EMA office.
In line with technology in the County Building, the DeWitt County Sheriff's Department is planning a digitization of their records. According to Newberg, there are piles and piles of documents that have to be kept and this will help keep things organized.
The cost for wireless throughout the County Building is just under $5-thousand.
For the digitization of the records for the Sheriff's office is $6-thousand.
The holiday season can bring on a lot of sources of stress, and maybe none bigger than the financial stress we feel to provide a great Christmas for those closest to us.
For one local organization, they are hoping to help people get a handle on their finances so that can be one less source of stress for the holiday season. Alison Rumler-Gomez is the Executive Director of Community Action and indicates they want to help give people a hand-up with their finances through their programming.
Rumer-Gomez says tough times can be a very trying time, especially during the holidays. Families need to make tough decisions while also desiring to provide a great Christmas for their families. She notes, sometimes it's thoughtful gifts that can be the most memorable.
In trying to help people get themselves back on better footing financially, Rumler-Gomez says they see firsthand the emotional change in the relationship between people and their money.
Getting good, sound principals in place is something some people might want to put off until after the Christmas holiday, but Rumler-Gomez says there's always going to be something that forces you to put off getting started in that journey.
Programs through Community Action are free but there is some income-eligibility requirements.
Rumler-Gomez says they most often times are able to reach people through their Head Start programming or LIHEAP energy assistance program.
To get more information about the Financial Literacy programming through Community Action, contact their Lincoln office at 217-732-2159.
THE UNEMPLOYMENT RATE FELL IN 13 OUT OF 14 ILLINOIS METRO AREAS IN OCTOBER.
THE ONLY AREA THAT DIDN’T SEE A DECREASE IN THE JOBLESS RATE COMPARED TO ONE YEAR AGO IS CHICAGO AND NEARBY SUBURBS LIKE ARLINGTON HEIGHTS AND NAPERVILLE.
STATE DEPARTMENT OF EMPLOYMENT SECURITY SPOKESPERSON BOB GOUGH SAYS THERE WAS AN INCREASE JOBS FROM OCTOBER OF 2015 TO OCTOBER OF 2016.
THE AREA THAT SAW AN INCREASE IN THE JOBLESS RATE COMPARED TO ONE YEAR AGO WAS CHICAGO SAYS STATE DEPARTMENT OF EMPLOYMENT SECURITY SPOKESPERSON BOB GOUGH.
GOUGH SAYS NEARLY 31 THOUSAND JOBS WERE ADDED OVER THE YEAR. THE MOST JOB GROWTH WAS IN RETAIL TRADE, EDUCATION AND HEALTH SERVICES, LEISURE AND HOSPITALITY AND GOVERNMENT SECTORS. 12 AREAS SAW A LOSS IN MANUFACTURING JOBS.
Are you dreaming of a White Christmas already? Now that weather conditions have returned to what he calls "mostly normal," State Climatologist Jim Angel thinks chances are fair some parts of Illinois could be blanketed in white at this time next month;
The Clinton Save A Lot will be closed for a few days early next week as staff transitions to their new location.
Owner Dave Jackson tells Regional Radio News the store off Center Street in Clinton will close it's doors for the last time Sunday afternoon at 2 pm. When Save A Lot in Clinton reopens, they will be at their new location off Washington Street.
Jackson indicates he's most excited about getting the new store open and providing a better shopping experience for the customers of Save A Lot.
Again, Clinton Save A Lot off Center Street will close it's doors on that location for the final time Sunday afternoon at 2 pm and then re-open Wednesday morning at 8 am following a ribbon cutting ceremony.
A safe refuge for teens and pre-teens is the goal of a Clinton mom who is working to transform a former downtown business.
Michelle Witzke says she has been wanting to give Clinton teens and pre-teens a place where they can go to have fun, find help for a variety of life's challenges, and simply be there for students in the community. When it came time to take action, Witzke says the response was overwhelming.
With the challenges facing the Clinton community, Witzke says it has become very apparent she needs to do something, so she is working to take the former Indecent Exposure location and make it a place for youth. She is going to call it 'The Vault'.
'The Vault' would focus on three areas, social, academic and spiritual wellness. For Witzke, involving the youth in the design and construction of the building would give them a sense of ownership.
Realizing a place like this would cost money and the youth of community could not sustain it financially, Witzke plans to allow the community access to the building for different events.
Witzke says she has support and excitement within the community for this idea. She says school leaders, religious leaders and law enforcement are behind it and hope to see it thrive.
Witzke notes, they have started a social media campaign using the hashtag-"OpenThaVault".
Hear more about The Vault on WHOW Monday morning, when Witzke joins us at 9 am.
A holiday event in Monticello this weekend coincides with Small Business Saturday.
Monticello mayor Larry Stoner indicates there are many events in Monticello this weekend to coincide with Small Business Saturday. The Reds of Christmas, a popular wine sampling event, is taking place Friday along with a pop up event featuring many local businesses.
Small Business Saturday, the day after Black Friday, is aimed at promoting small and local businesses in the community. Mayor Stoner reminds that Monticello has many local businesses that patrons can visit.
The Reds of Christmas is Friday, November 25, from 5:30-8:30pm in the historic downtown Monticello. Tickets are $20 the day of the event.
SECRETARY OF STATE JESSE WHITE’S OFFICE WILL BE LOOKING FOR DRIVER’S ABUSING DISABILITY PARKING SPACES THROUGH THE HOLIDAY SEASON.
STINGS WILL BE HELD AT SHOPPING MALLS THROUGHOUT THE STATE DURING THE HOLIDAYS…AND FINES GIVEN TO THOSE ILLEGALLY PARKED IN SPOTS RESERVED FOR PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES. SECRETARY WHITE SAYS EFFORTS LIKE THIS HAVE LOWERED THE NUMBER OF INCIDENTS.
THE FINE FOR PARKING IN AN ACCESSIBLE SPACE WITHOUT THE CORRECT PLACARD OR DISABILITY LICENSE PLATES IS 350 DOLLARS, AND THE FINE FOR MISUSING A PLACARD IS UP TO 600 HUNDRED DOLLARS AND POSSIBLE LICENSE SUSPENSION.
THE EFFORT BEGINS BLACK FRIDAY AT MALLS IN BLOOMINGTON AND SPRINGFIELD AMONG OTHER PLACES AND WILL CONTINUE THROUGH THE HOLIDAYS.
Medicare open enrollment for Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage is in full swing and time is quickly approaching to get enrolled or modify those healthcare plans.
Local officials at the DeWitt County Friendship Center are reminding local seniors to contact Rebecca Wheat at the Friendship Center. Sissy Leggett, Executive Director of the Friendship Center says Wheat has been very busy, so it is best to get those appointments set up now to review your coverage.
With the open enrollment period comes the vulnerability to scams and Leggett indicates Wheat and others can help seniors decipher if a phone call or mailing is a scam.
Leggett explains there are several indicators a senior might be the target of a scam. She says agencies like the IRS, Social Security and other government agencies will not call you.
Leggett points to the DeWitt County Sheriff's office fraud prevention hotline as a great resource to utilize. She explains the best thing to do for a phone call the does not seem like it is legitimate is to hang up.
Wheat is in Farmer City on the first and third Wednesdays of each month. The first Wednesday she is in Farmer City from 8:30 am to noon, then the third Wednesday she's there 1:30 pm top 4 pm.
She is also in Weldon one day a month for a couple hours.
To reach Wheat on any questions involving the open enrollment period, contact her at 217-935-4560.
To reach the DeWitt County Friendship Center, call 217-935-9411.
With the holiday season among us, the DeWitt County Museum has many holiday events beginning this weekend.
Museum director Joey Woolridge indicates that Friday is the opening night of the candlelight tours and the museum will be paid a special visit by Santa Claus.
Also beginning Friday night, is the annual museum candlelight tours. Woolridge reminds that the candlelight tours are held every Friday night through December. The museum is illuminated by candles and is decorated soley by volunteers.
Woolridge indicates that a new ticket event, Holiday at the Homestead, will take place December 4. Woolridge promises an "afternoon of holiday cheer" with many artifacts on display, along with unlimited access to the rooms of the mansion.
Santa Night on Friday, November 25 from 5-7pm, is free and open to the public with photos to purchase at the carriage barn. Woolridge advises guest to wear warm clothes in the carriage barn. Candlelight tours begin the same night and are held every Friday night through December from 5-8pm and is $5 for adults, $2 for ages 12-18 with ages 11 and under free. Holiday at the Homestead will be held Sunday, December 4, and is $15 dollars a ticket.
THE ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH HAS SOME REMINDERS FOR SAFELY COOKING YOUR THANKSGIVING TURKEY.
YOU DON’T WANT THE HOLIDAYS MARRED BY FOODBORNE ILLNESS…SO IT’S BEST TO START WITH SAFELY THAWING OUT YOUR TURKEY SAYS PUBLIC HEALTH SPOKESPERSON MELANEY ARNOLD.
ARNOLD SAYS THE TURKEY SHOULD BE COOKED TO AN INTERNAL TEMPERATURE OF 165 DEGREES…AND RECOMMENDS BAKING STUFFING IN A PAN…NOT INSIDE THE BIRD. LEFTOVERS SHOULD BE REFRIGERATED WITHIN TWO HOURS AND EATEN WITH THREE TO FOUR DAYS.
IF YOU DO STUFF YOUR TURKEY…THE STUFFING SHOULD ALSO REACH 165 DEGREES TO HELP PREVENT FOODBORNE ILLNESSES.
ATTORNEY GENERAL LISA MADIGAN’S OFFICE IS RELEASING ITS ANNUAL SAFE SHOPPING GUIDE TO HELP CONSUMERS AVOID PRODUCTS THAT MAY HAVE BEEN RECALLED.
JUST THIS YEAR THERE HAVE BEEN 84 RECALLS OF CHILDREN’S PRODUCTS BY THE U-S CONSUMER PRODUCT SAFETY COMMISSION. ATTORNEY GENERAL MADIGAN SAYS THE GUIDE ALERTS PARENTS TO THESE ITEMS ONLINE…ON THE SECONDHAND MARKET…OR IN THEIR HOME.
MADIGAN SAYS THE GUIDE HELPS FAMILIES STAY AWAY FROM THESE ITEMS WHETHER THEY ARE ONLINE, IN SECONDHAND STORES…OR IN YOUR OWN HOME.
CHECK OUT THE GUIDE ONLINE AT: ILLINOIS ATTORNEY GENERAL DOT GOV.
The Wednesday night before Thanksgiving is the busiest night of the year for bars in central Illinois.
With college students returning for perhaps the first time and families getting together, bar owners always anticipate huge crowds the night before the festive holiday. Police Chief Ben Lowers hopes everyone involved takes getting home safely seriously.
The Thanksgiving holiday is also one of the most traveled and Chief Lowers emphasizes taking a number of precautions. He says whether you're traveling home from school or traveling with family, always have a charged cell phone, jumper cables and a winter travel kit available.
If you're traveling a long ways, the Chief encourages getting your vehicle a once-over from a local mechanic.
With the Black Friday shopping frenzy around the corner, Chief Lowers also has tips for the public on safety during a stressful and busy day. Stat tuned to Regional Radio News in the coming days for tips on that.
Preparing Thanksgiving dinner brings together lots of different foods and local food preparation experts have some reminders as you get set to spend a significant amount of time in the kitchen this week.
Caitlin Huth is a Health and Wellness Educator with the University of Illinois Extension Office and says when you are bringing together lots of different foods, the keys are to keep your utensils and surfaces clean and then keep those foods separated.
Leftovers can be a big point of emphasis as thanksgiving food has a short expiration date. Huth says to preserve those leftovers longer, you can freeze them.
Before figuring out if you want those leftovers put in the refrigerator or freezer, Huth says it is very important to get those things off the table into cooler temperatures quickly. She says, after eating, you do not want to leave those foods, especially warm foods, out too long.
Getting those meats and other foods cooked to preferred temperatures is very important.
Huth encourages frequent hand washing while preparing Thanksgiving dinner as well.
Getting people home safely the night before Thanksgiving is the goal of a Lincoln group tonight.
Healthy Communities Partnership's Safe Ride program provides a free ride home to individuals who have had too much to drink at local businesses that serve alcohol and tonight, the program ramps up for another busy night on the eve of Thanksgiving, a holiday that has a local history of being a time for celebrating with friends who have returned home for the holiday,
To receive a free ride home within the city limits tonight, individuals can ask their bartender for a Safe Ride ticket and they will receive a free taxi ride home.
In 2016, the number of local DUI offenses has dropped compared to years past. According to the Logan County Probation Office, only 61 individuals have been charged with DUI so far this year compared to a total of 99 in 2015. Healthy Communities Partnership wants to keep it that way and continues to work to eliminate drunk driving in Lincoln.
Healthy Communities Partnership is a collaborative organization comprised of community agencies and private individuals striving to create the healthiest community in America.
It is supported by the Abraham Lincoln Memorial Hospital Foundation. For more information or for updates, “like” Healthy Communities Partnership on Facebook or call 217-605-5008.
One of the latest trends in Thanksgiving Day preparations is deep frying the festive bird.
With that trend comes some concerns from local fire officials. Clinton Fire Chief David Dallas says a couple things to be aware of when deep frying a turkey is to make sure the bird is completely thawed and to make sure the deep fryer doesn't have too much oil.
Chief Dallas also encourages making sure the deep fryer is on a stable and flat surface. He notes deep fryers can tip easily if they are on an unstable surface.
With Clinton students attending their final day of classes before the Thanksgiving holiday, many parents will likely be headed to work Wednesday to finish out a shortened work week.
With that in mind, the Clinton YMCA will have Y-Zone Extreme, which they traditionally reserve for days where students are not in class, but parents are still at work. Executive Director Rennie Cluver says it's a 12 hour session for kids with a wide variety of interests.
Cluver indicates the 'Y' used to offer Y-Zone Extreme the Friday after Thanksgiving as well, but they found only a small handful of youth would come out. He notes, Y-Zone Extreme is a great environment for parents to know their children are in a good, safe place for the day.
To get more details or to get your children registered for Y-Zone Extreme for this Wednesday, contact the Clinton YMCA at 217-935-8307 or stop in at 417 South Alexander Street in Clinton.
Lawmakers were in session for one day last week, and one local lawmaker wants to be in session through the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.
After the General Assembly adjourned to after the Thanksgiving holiday, Sen. Chapin Rose gives many reasons for need to stay in session through the holiday, one being the lack of participation from the House.
Sen. Rose indicates there will be repercussions if a budget is not passed by the end of the year. He wants lawmakers to work together to get something accomplished before the next term starts.
Sen. Rose hopes a budget can be reached so other important issues can be addressed, and not further prolonged. One being, the nuclear power legislation in Illinois.
A leaning power pole on the west end of the new Clinton Save A Lot location was a major concern for local first responders this weekend.
At approximately 5 AM Saturday morning, Clinton Fire crews were called to Monroe Street in Clinton because of a power pole on the west side of the new Save A Lot building.
The pole was leaning heavily towards the building, and while it was not knocked over, local crews indicate it was a major concern for several reasons.
First, the particular pole contained three transformers with mineral oil, which is flammable. Because it was over new store, there was concern it could lead to hazardous materials to be released, adding to the concern of high voltage lines in the vicinity.
Authorities indicate it could have caused problems with live wires on top of rail system if collapsed, and could have electrocuted someone down the line unaware of issue.
Clinton Fire officials notified Ameran as they stood by. They indicate the pole had broke at base with the wires holding it up for support.
At 8 am Ameren arrived, the utilities were turned off and the pole was secured, though it is still leaning.
Clinton Fire officials indicate the situation played out positively, with no injuries and the pole remained intact, but it could have been much worse.
The Clinton Board of Education's levy for 2017-18 is down nearly a quarter-million dollars.
According to Superintendent Curt Nettles, the levy is down over $200-thousand but Nettles says that isn't a large amount for a district of Clinton's size but they will have to tighten their belts a little.
Nettles says finding ways to cut back $200-thousand is not a difficult challenge as the increased technology in the district will help save on several costs. He also notes it will not effect staffing.
According to Nettles, the lower EAV doesn't necessarily mean anything about the future of the plant but the district has been looking at ways to scale back because of the uncertainty of the plant's future.
The new Clinton Save-A-Lot location at 205 East Washington will open to the public for the first time, on Wednesday, November 30th at 7:30 in the morning.
Owner Dave Jackson says opening this new location, has been 5 years in the making.
Jackson says construction started on the new building in April.
Jackson is working on an honor guard to raise the Stars and Stripes on his new flagpole that morning.
It's a big deal for the long-time Clinton businessman, as the discussions began some 5 years ago on expanding his present building, then morphing into the possibility of building new.
Jackson is proud of the high percentage of local contractors and financing that the new Clinton Save-A-Lot building had.
Again, the grand opening and ribbon cutting for the new location of Clinton Save-A-Lot, will be Wednesday, November 30th at 7:30 in the morning. WHOW and WEZC will broadcast live from the event from 7:30 til 10:30 that morning.
IT’S “GET SMART ABOUT ANTIBIOTICS WEEK” AND THE ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH IS REMINDING YOU DON’T ALWAYS NEED ANTIBIOTICS WHEN YOU’RE SICK.
THE CAMPAIGN STRESSES THAT THE MISUSE OF ANTIBIOTICS CAN LEAD TO THE CREATION OF MEDICATION-RESISTANT BACTERIA SAYS PUBLIC HEALTH SPOKESPERSON MELANEY ARNOLD.
ARNOLD REMINDS THAT ANTIBIOTICS WILL NOT CURE VIRAL INFECTIONS SUCH AS THE COMMON COLD OR THE FLU. SHE SAYS YOU SHOULD ONLY TAKE ANTIBIOTICS THAT ARE PRESCRIBED FOR YOU AND NOT SAVE THEM FOR THE NEXT TIME YOU ARE SICK.
EACH YEAR IN THE U-S…AT LEAST TWO MILLION PEOPLE ARE INFECTED WITH ANTIBIOTIC-RESISTANT BACTERIA AND AT LEAST 23 THOUSAND DIE FROM THESE INFECTIONS.
The Miller Park Zoo in Bloomington was expecting a boost in attendance that was supposed to be record setting thank to the introduction of a new exhibit.
But that was before a record setting year came along.
Now Zoo officials are not sure what to expect but Superintendent Jay Tetzloff says October another record-setter and he's just glad the community continues to come out and support them.
The Zoo Spooctacular was a record setter and despite some challenges Tetzloff saw for the day, the crowds were upbeat and positive. He says it's exciting the way the community is responding.
When the new flamingo exhibit was planned, the zoo planned for a spike in their attendance but after a record setting year prior to the unveiling, Tetzloff says he's been pleasantly surprised by the community response.
Tetzloff says the weather has been a huge boost to the attendance this fall and says as things start to cool down, they anticipate a slight slow down in the attendance.
The first weekend of December, the Zoo will stay open a little later Friday and Saturday for their Wild Lights event. Learn more about that next week on Regional Radio News.
Jobs numbers around the state are getting slightly better. But the numbers are still a mix bag.
The unemployment rate is up but a small number of jobs have been created. The state’s unemployment rate is 5.6 percent up a tenth of percent from last month. Illinois Department of Employment Security’s Bob Gough.
The U-S House Agriculture Committee concluded a round of hearings examining the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, also known as "SNAP."
What once was known as the "food stamp" program traditionally has been bundled with crop insurance, conservation and other programs targeted at farmers.
Illinois farm and commodity organizations want to know if this makes sense in the future, and the next input session is scheduled for Tuesday in Normal. Rich Guebert farms near Ellis Grove and attended the first of three statewide farm bill sessions;
Guebert serves as president of the Illinois Farm Bureau, one of the groups sponsoring the farm bill member input sessions. Again, the next one takes place Tuesday at 10:30 a-m at the Marriott in downtown Normal.
The final statewide session will occur Tuesday, November 29th in Sycamore. You can go to FarmWeekNow-dot-com for more information and to register.
The Rauner administration is wasting little time reacting to the Illinois Labor Relations Board's decision that talks with AFSCME are at an impasse. As the state’s largest union held demonstrations around the state. He is moving ahead to implement a state employee merit pay plan and to extend the work week to 40 hours before overtime is paid.
The first development of the merit pay plan will be bonuses for workers with infrequent absences. Workers, who missed less than five percent of their assigned work days from July of last year through June 30th of this year, will be eligible for a $1,000 bonus. Vacation, personal and sick days aren't factored into the number of assigned days.
AFSCME plans a court fight. AFSCME is calling on Gov. Bruce Rauner to return to the bargaining table rather than impose his contract terms.
Meanwhile, the Governor's budget director is offering more unflattering numbers when it comes to Illinois' economic fortunes. Numbers show the state will be seven billion dollars in the red by the end of the fiscal year June 30th and the state will have a $13 billion dollar backlog of unpaid bills.
Downtown Springfield and locations across Illinois probably haven't seen this many green shirts since St. Patrick's Day. AFSCME's green shirted members raised their voices in protest against Governor Rauner's plan to impose his terms for a new labor deal for the 38,000 workers covered by the union.
Local 997 President Nicole Power was among protesters who turned out at the Department of Revenue's headquarters, the Willard Ice Building.
Workers protested at 120 sites in all. Governor Rauner plans to impose his terms for AFSCME's next contract after the Illinois Labor Relations Board declared talks between Rauner and the workers union were at an impasse. AFSCME plans to fight the impasse declaration in court.
Wednesday in the Illinois General Assembly, much anticipated legislation dealing with Nuclear energy in Illinois that could keep Exelon Power Station in Clinton open, moved forward.
For months all we've heard about the nuclear energy bill is that is being worked on and progress is incremental, but Wednesday, positive news came from Springfield. State Senator Chapin Rose indicates the bill is headed to the full House.
The Senator says the legislation moving forward is a good thing but he notes there is a long ways to go. Sen. Rose anticipates several amendments being made to the bill.
Sen. Rose points out the budget discussions, or lack their of, at the Capitol could be a hold up in the legislation passing.
Sen. Rose indicates the budget talks are holding up everything in Springfield and the General Assembly isn't expected back until after Thanksgiving.
Tuesday night at the Clinton Board of Education meeting, the Board approved the immediate resignation of Nancy Stokowski from the Board.
Superintendent Curt Nettles says the resignation comes in accordance with the upcoming election and to make the seat available for anyone that might like to run. He says it will be tough loss for the Board as Stokowski is an excellent member.
With the resignation of Stokowski from the Board, the seat now needs to be filled until the term of the position is filled leading up to the election. Nettles says anyone interested should contact him.
As of right now, any person in any district can apply for the vacancy on the board and can run for the position as well. According to Nettles, up to three from a district can be on the board and right now no district has no more than two.
Nettles indicates he hopes to have an appointment made by the upcoming December board meeting.
The weather outside is most certainly not frightful and it is most certainly not beginning to feel a lot like Christmas, but one local organization is hoping their event this weekend will get you into the Christmas spirit anyways.
The Kenney Festival of Trees is this weekend and Darla Cutright says the Kenney Heritage Association has another terrific event with better than 50 trees ready for you to check out at the Kenney Community Center.
Cutright indicates the Festival of Trees was essentially an event they started to display the renovations to the community center in the 90s and now it has turned into a big event one weekend a year.
The Festival of Trees features a lot of unique decorations and collections that get displayed. Cutright says businesses can promote themselves through their trees.
The Festival of Trees at the Kenney Community Center opens Friday at 3 pm, and goes to 8 pm.
Saturday the festival runs all day, from 10 am to 8 pm.
GOVERNOR BRUCE RAUNER IS AGAIN URGING DEMOCRATIC LEADERS TO ACCEPT SOME OF HIS PROPOSED REFORMS AND PASS A BALANCED BUDGET.
HOUSE SPEAKER MIKE MADIGAN SAYS ISSUES LIKE TERM LIMITS AND WORKER’S COMPENSATION REFORM SHOULD BE KEPT SEPARATE FROM BUDGET NEGOTIATIONS. BUT GOVERNOR RAUNER SAYS CREATING JOBS AND IMPROVING THE ECONOMIC CLIMATE IN ILLINOIS IS A VITAL PART OF DIGGING THE STATE OUT OF ITS CURRENT FISCAL MESS.
GOVERNOR RAUNER SAYS IT’S TIME TO GET TO WORK AND PASS HIS REFORMS THAT HAVE BIPARTISAN SUPPORT.
RAUNER SAYS THE STATE HASN’T HAD A BALANCED BUDGET IN AT LEAST 30 YEARS. A REPORT FROM HIS BUDGET OFFICE FINDS THAT THE STATE WILL BE MORE THAN FIVE BILLION DOLLARS IN THE RED BY THE END OF THE FISCAL YEAR IF THINGS DON’T CHANGE.
Springfield based US Senator Dick Durbin won't be swapping Capitol Hill for the Statehouse anytime soon.
On Wednesday, Durbin was elected to another term as the number two Democrat in the Senate and Durbin says that's where he will stay, stating more firmly than ever he has no intention of running against Bruce Rauner for Governor in 2018. Durbin recently rejected talk of making a run for the state's chief executive job.
Durbin says the election of Republican Donald Trump as President helped him reject talk of a run for state office.
Clinton Schools Superintendent Curt Nettles presented the Clinton Board of Education with a brief overview of the school report card Tuesday night at the regular Board of Education meeting and his message was do not judge a district solely on the annual information.
He says whether the data is excellent or leaves a lot to be desired, the information does not give a full presentation of every district in Illinois.
A positive portion of the report card was the fact Clinton school teachers were present 99-percent of the time. He notes however, there are major flaws in that figure.
Nettles also notes test scores are not going to be glamorous as the PARCC tests were just rolled out a few school years ago, and says it will take students a few rounds of testing to get up to the new standards set.
In other news from the Tuesday night school board meeting:
>>The Board accepted the immediate resignation of board member Nancy Stokowski.
>>The Board approved the tentative levy for 2017-18.
>>The Board approved the resignation of head coaches Randy Anderson and John Hayden. Hayden's from the football program and Anderson's from the girls track program.
>>The Board also named Rachel Anderson-Lyons and Leann Sosamon as co-head coaches of the girls track program.
Remember the state is still operating without a full and complete budget? The issue seemed to fade into the background over the past few months but now that lawmakers are back in Springfield for a fall veto session the lack of a spending plan is again front and center.
House Speaker Mike Madigan says that after a meeting between all four leaders and Governor Bruce Rauner they are going to get a new group together to talk about budgeting.
You may remember that working groups of both Democrats and Republicans have been meeting for months about the issue. The decision to put together a new group has left Republican leaders scratching their heads. Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno.
Leaders on the Republican side say they will not accept another stop gap spending plan.
Heaters across the area are most likely fired up as cooler weather makes its way to central Illinois.
With that in mind, Ameren officials realize families will be spending more time inside cooking and keeping warm, which means natural gas leak concerns can begin to spike. Paula Heinkel with Ameren Illinois says nearly one million homes in Illinois receive natural gas in some capacity and notes it can be a concern.
Heinkel says in the event of a natural gas leak, you want to get out of your home or apartment as quickly as possible. She instructs to contact Ameren once you are outside.
With heat likely on in most homes by now, Heinkel encourages getting those units checked and get anything that might be stored near them to another location.
If you smell natural gas, contact Ameren at 800-755-5000.
A newly redesigned Illinois license plate is ready to make its debut in the New Year. Secretary of State Jesse White is announcing a cost-efficient, process to replace aging license plates. Spokesman Henry Haupt.
Haupt talks about the bold new design.
Even if plates are in good shape, they typically need to be replaced after ten years because they lose reflectivity, making it harder for law enforcement to quickly and accurately identify vehicles.
With the month of November starting out unseasonably warm, it's still not too late to get those gardens prepped for the winter months and the local University of Illinois Extension office has some tips for gardeners of all levels as we approach the cold days of winter.
Candace Miller, Master Gardener at the U of I Extension office, says if you haven’t already, now is the time to get those flowers or vegetables out that have died or stopped producing.
When deciding on whether to till your garden when everything is out, Miller indicates it comes down to personal preference. She says it can help if you have organic matter to add to the garden for the winter.
Thanks to the extended warm weather this year, a lot of flowers and plants produced a lot later. She says it is possible some plants were producing late into October, which is not always normal.
Miller says if gardeners have any questions, contacting your local Extension office, as each one has a master gardener on staff.
Area school administrators have taken the last few weeks to analyze data from the annual school report card and Monticello Schools say theirs looks very positive.
Superintendent Dr. Vic Zimmerman indicates the school report card is a snapshot of the district and feels Monticello had a good year given all the things the report card covers.
Dr. Zimmerman feels the report card does fall short in a few areas. He says their assessments of the districts can sometimes not include different variables, like if a test was taken electronically or with paper and pencil.
According to Dr. Zimmerman, there is a lot of data available on the report card and he says his door is always open to answer questions about anything in them.
Dr. Zimmerman also points out, the report card could better define teacher attendance. Dr. Zimmerman some district consider teachers out for professional development as absent days but Monticello does not. He says that is a specific figure that might be worth a call to your local superintendent.
THE FALL VETO SESSION BEGINS TOMORROW IN SPRINGFIELD AND REPUBLICAN LEADERS ARE URGING THE DEMOCRATS TO KEEP THE FOCUS ON THE STATE BUDGET.
AFTER A MEETING WITH GOVERNOR BRUCE RAUNER…HOUSE MINORITY LEADER JIM DURKIN SAID THEY NEED TO WORK ON THE STATE’S MOST PRESSING ISSUE…COMING UP WITH A FULL BUDGET SOLUTION.
GOVERNOR RAUNER HAD PLANNED FOR THIS TO BE A FULL LEADERS MEETING BUT HOUSE SPEAKER MIKE MADIGAN SAID HE HAD A CONFLICT AND COULDN’T ATTEND. SENATE MINORITY LEADER CHRISTINE RADOGNO CRITICIZED THE DEMOCRATS FOR NOT JOINING AND SAID IT’S TIME TO GET TO WORK.
THE FALL SESSION IS DESIGNED FOR LAWMAKERS TO ATTEMPT TO OVERRIDE VETOES AND TWEAK BILLS…BUT OFTEN ENDS UP BEING MORE ABOUT BIG ISSUES THAT WEREN’T RESOLVED DURING THE SPRING.
THE STATE IS CURRENTLY OPERATING UNDER A TEMPORARY BUDGET THAT IS SET TO EXPIRE ON DECEMBER 31ST.
An annual program aimed at helping underprivileged children in DeWitt County receive Christmas gifts will send out their annual wish lists this week.
DeWitt County Angel Tree aims to give youth in DeWitt County who may not receive any Christmas gifts a good Christmas. Director Sue Calvert says their annual trees are going out this week at churches and businesses locally.
Of the better than 400 kids in the program, Calvert says only about half get adopted. She explains the community always steps up but the organization also purchases toys to bridge the gap for those kids that go without getting adopted.
Those wanting to help the Angel Tree Program in others ways this holiday season can do so Sunday morning when they host their pancake breakfast. Calvert indicates this is their biggest and only fundraiser of the year and bring together several community groups to make it happen.
The pancake breakfast is this Sunday morning at the Clinton United Methodist Church.
The Angel Tree wish lists will be at various churches and businesses for about a month.
Businesses to find a wish list are First National Bank, Country Junction and Flower Corner.
The Clinton Chamber of Commerce's annual Terror on Washington Street Haunted House was once again a huge success.
Executive Director of the Clinton Chamber, Marian Brisard indicates the October season was busy and brought in 45-hundred from all over central Illinois.
The Clinton Chamber will welcome groups from all over central Illinois as volunteers and Brisard explains for their efforts on a given night, they will get a portion of the proceeds.
Brisard thanks the City of Clinton for allowing them to close down portions of the streets around the haunted house and also to the Clinton Police Department and DeWitt County Sheriff's department for the security they provided.
If you're looking to help a local agency that provides various services to abused children, the annual Blue Kids trees for the Children's Advocacy Centers are a great way to provide help.
Each holiday season, the CAC puts out their Blue Kids trees, that have an ornament with an item or two that could be used to help the agency throughout the year. CAC Executive Director Judy Brucker indicates the items they receive goes towards children and families in need.
According to Brucker, simple things like pillows, towels and wash clothes are a big need. They are noticing simple things are needed.
To learn more about having a Children's Advocacy Center Blue Kids Tree in your office or business htis holiday season, contact the CAC at 309-888-5656.
The Democratic members of the Four Tops say thanks but no thanks to Governor Rauner's request for a meeting with the legislative leaders.
Rauner wanted to meet today, on the eve of the start of the fall veto session.
House Speaker Michael Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton both said Sunday that they would not attend the meeting, but did not rule out a future meeting with the Republican governor to talk about the ongoing budget impasse.
A documentary highlighting the heroin and opioid epidemic in our community will be shown at Clinton's Presbyterian Church Sunday morning.
Clinton's Presbyterian Church will show the documentary at 10:30 am and following will be a forum to discuss the documentary and what we can do locally. Clinton Police Chief Ben Lowers hopes the turnout for this showing is similar to one at Clinton's First Christian Church in October.
Chief Lowers indicates the documentary is going through a series of private, free showings but says it should be released to the public via YouTube once those are done.
The showing at Clinton's Presbyterian Church will show it at 10:30 am Sunday morning with a panel discussion to follow.
GOV. RAUNER IS ENCOURAGING THE PUBLIC TO SERVE THOSE WHO HAVE SERVED ONE DAY IN NOVEMBER THIS YEAR.
THE IDEA OF THE “SERVING THOSE WHO HAVE SERVED” EFFORT IS TO MATCH VOLUNTEERS WITH VETERANS ORGANIZATIONS AND PROGRAMS THAT COULD USE SOME HELP. STATE DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS’ AFFAIRS ASSISTANT DIRECTOR HARRY SAWYER SAYS THAT INCLUDES VOLUNTEERING AT ILLINOIS VETERAN’S HOMES.
FOR STARTERS…GOVERNOR RAUNER SAYS THEY WANT TO HEAR FROM VETERANS GROUPS ABOUT WHAT VOLUNTEER NEEDS THEY HAVE AS PART OF THE “SERVING THOSE WHO HAVE SERVED” PROGRAM.
GROUPS CAN ENTER THEIR INFORMATION ONLINE AT ILLINOIS DOT GOV SLASH VETERANS. THE GOVERNOR URGES ILLINOISANS TO SEARCH THOSE VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES AND PLAN ON DONATING SOME OF THEIR TIME IN NOVEMBER.
Statewide temperature and precipitation have been above average for the month of November. The weekend will be cooler and the following week will be a little warmer. State Climatologist Jim Angel has more....
THE FIREARM DEER HUNTING SEASON BEGINS NEXT WEEKEND IN ILLINOIS, AND THE STATE DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES IS URGING HUNTERS TO MAKE SAFETY A PRIORITY.
THERE WERE 25 HUNTING ACCIDENTS IN ILLINOIS LAST YEAR…AND 15 INVOLVED TREE STANDS SAYS I-D-N-R SPOKESPERSON TIM SCHWEIZER.
SO FAR THIS YEAR THERE HAVE BEEN 10 HUNTING ACCIDENTS IN ILLINOIS…MOST INVOLVING PEOPLE FALLING OUT OF TREE STANDS SAYS I-D-N-R SPOKESPERSON TIM SCHWEIZER.
SCHWEIZER SAYS HUNTERS SHOULD USE A FALL ARREST SAFETY HARNESS WHEN THEY’RE IN A TREE STAND. NATIONALLY…80 PERCENT OF REPORTED TREE STAND INCIDENTS INVOLVE HUNTERS WHO WERE NOT WEARING THIS KIND OF HARNESS.
THE FIREARM SEASON RUNS NOVEMBER 18TH THROUGH THE 20TH AND THEN AGAIN FROM DECEMBER FIRST THROUGH THE FOURTH. HUNTERS MUST REGISTER THEIR HARVEST ONLINE OR BY CALLING 1-8-6-6-IL-CHECK.
If the well being of dogs, cats and other household animals are on your radar, a local organization is hoping to get you involved in their efforts.
Second Chance for Pets in DeWitt County is in need of volunteers from fostering pets until they find a permanent home to adopting and other efforts. Heather Wantland with Second Chance for Pets notes they are especially in need of folks to take in their pets temporarily.
Wantland indicates the organization needs an immediate home for a mother-daughter set of small dogs who were relinquished recently. She says they would do best together as they are very attached. She adds they cannot officially be adopted, so they could be a longer term project.
According to Wantland, Second Chance also offers financial assistance to pet owners for things like vaccines or dog food if owners find themselves in hard times.
This Saturday, Second Chance for Pets will have a booth set up at the Copper and Brass Room for their "Jingle & Mingle" event.
Wantland encourages anyone who would like more information about the organization to stop in and see them. They will have information available as well as a few of their pets up for adoption.
To get a hold of Second Chance for Pets, contact them by calling 217-935-3488.
The target for the new Save A Lot location is looking like it will be hit for a grand opening.
Store owner Dave Jackson indicates the exterior is all but complete, pending signage in the next week. He indicates all the work has shifted to the interior and is moving right along.
Jackson targets after the Thanksgiving holiday to get the store open. He says that could be a challenge as folks do their Thanksgiving grocery shopping, otherwise, other products will start getting moved.
The new parking lot, which was completed a couple weeks ago, will offer plenty of parking and Jackson indicates their new entry way will have much more space for those coming and going.
Jackson says the new store will be more accommodating for his employees. They will have more space for their meat department, produce department and many more.
Jackson says they will meet the time line of having the store open in the fall of 2016 and again is targeting to have a grand opening after the Thanksgiving holiday.
Clinton Police Chief Ben Lowers is singing the praises of the Man in Recovery and called it a huge success.
The Chief calls the story of Tim Ryan both powerful and inspirational. He says Ryan's presentation was something he was looking forward to as much as anything.
Chief Lowers thanks the 708 Mental Health Board for their support to bring Ryan to the community. He says the DeWitt County Substance Abuse Coalition has also been instrumental in some of the things happening locally to help combat this issue and Chief Lowers says they are continuing to build momentum.
The Chief says Ryan in between his presentations at the junior high and high school last week was able to help several students with personal battles they face and indicates his charity, The Man in Recovery, works to place people in rehab facilities all over the country.
DeWitt County voter turnout for election 2016 was over 60-percent.
DeWitt County Clerk Dana Smith says Tuesday was busy but the turnout was exceptional. She indicates, despite other areas where Presidential races tend to bring out more voters, DeWitt County tends to be around the 60-percent threshold regularly.
Smith says their office closed down Tuesday and only handled election business. She indicates that went very well the first time around.
With only a couple dozen absentee ballots out, the ones that do get returned will not have any bearing on the outcomes of the contested referendums in DeWitt County.
Despite very few contested races locally, Smith says speculates it was likely the presidential race that brought more voters out.
With Veterans Day approaching, Social Security wants to remind families of wounded warriors and veterans of the benefits available.
Socials Security has a program that allows veterans the opportunity to get their claims to the front of the line. Jack Myers with Social Security in Springfield indicates veterans who were injured on or after October first of 2001 can qualify for an expedited processing on their disability claims.
Myers reminds veterans Social Security disability benefits are different from VA disability benefits. He explains they require a separate application.
For those seeking more information about the disability program, visit www.socialsecurity.gov/woundedwarriors.
The Clinton Am Vets recently received a fresh parking lot at their location on Monroe Street.
According to Darrell Tucker, Publicity Coordinator for the Am Vets Post 14 in Clinton, the paving was a complete shock and indicates it was left over black top from the group paving the parking lot for the new Save A Lot location.
According to Tucker, the pavers for the new Save A Lot location used the excess to pave their lot and he says it's going to go a long ways in allowing more members to be able to get access to their building.
Tucker indicates the extension on the building will double the size of it and allow them more space for their gatherings.
He says their veterans can use the building for other functions as well.
With the school year already underway, so is the DeWitt County 4-H Robotics Club.
Sherry Fulton from the University of Illinois Extension reminds those that are interested in robotics to check out the club Thursday night at the Extension office.
Fulton says that the club will meet once a month and because it is a club potential members will need to sign up to participate. Sign up can take place anytime, but since the club is in its early stages now is the perfect time to sign up.
Fulton contends that the club is a result of an increase in education of STEM, which stands for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. The career opportunities for STEM is endless and will be increasing in years to come.
The next meeting for the DeWitt County 4-H Robotics Club is Thursday, November 10. Those interested need to call the extension office to sign up at (217) 935-5764. There is an annual 4-H program fee to participate, with financial aid available to those in need.
The 2016 election is in the books for DeWitt County and with limited contested races, here's how things shook out.
The office of Circuit Clerk will welcome Republican Michelle Van Valey, after a confontational primary.
Republican State's Attorney Dan Markwell and Coroner Randy Rice retained their positions along with Gloria Wills as County Treasurer for a two year term.
The DeWitt County Board will welcome Lance Reece and Leah Redman in District A. Incumbent Cole Ritter retains his post as all three were unopposed.
In District C, Republican County Board Chair David Newberg along with newcomers Jay Wickenhauser (Republican) and Scott Nimmo (Democrat) were uncontested.
Sixth Circuit Judge Karle Koritz, Appellate Court Judge James Knecht, and Circuit Court Judge Heidi Ladd were unopposed and retain their positions.
The referendum for electric aggregation for unincorporated areas of DeWitt County, passed with 1455 yes to 1233 no. The Clinton Fire Protection proposition failed by 712 no to 410 yes.
Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump swept DeWitt County with 5,072 votes. Democrat Hillary Clinton came in second with 1,907. Libertarian Gary Johnson had 429 votes and Green Party candidate Jill Stein had 61 votes.
The seemingly never ending fall clean up battle is underway in central Illinois, which means Clinton City Streets Crews are out for the annual fall clean up efforts.
Crews will scour the city little by little each week until almost all areas are clear of leaves. Before the Clinton City Council Monday night, Steve Lobb, Public Works Director for the City of Clinton encourages residents to leave their leaves out at the curb and they will get to them.
Lobb indicates they break the city down into five zones and will hit each zone in a week.
Lobb indicates last year's clean up never took more than a week to get through the entire town.
He notes they have a couple extra staffers hired for the month as they will soon be decorating for the Christmas season.
ATTORNEY GENERAL LISA MADIGAN’S OFFICE IS SENDING OUT NEARLY 200 TEAMS TO HELP MONITOR THE GENERAL ELECTION.
THE TEAMS OF ASSISTANT ATTORNEYS GENERAL AND INVESTIGATORS WILL BE ON THE LOOKOUT FOR ANY PROBLEMS SAYS ATTORNEY GENERAL MADIGAN. VOTERS CAN ALSO CALL IN AND REPORT ANY ISSUES.
MADIGAN SAYS THAT CAN INCLUDE POLLING PLACES NOT OPENING ON TIME AND ELECTION JUDGES THAT DON’T SEEM TO BE ABLE TO DO THEIR JOB.
MADIGAN REMINDS MAIL-IN-BALLOTS MUST BE POSTMARKED BY ELECTION DAY AND THAT IF YOU NEVER RECEIVED AN ABSENTEE BALLOT AS REQUESTED, YOU CAN STILL VOTE IN PERSON. VISIT: ILLINOIS ATTORNEY GENERAL DOT GOV FOR MORE INFORMATION ON YOUR VOTING RIGHTS AND REPORTING ELECTION DAY PROBLEMS.
The Clinton Chamber of Commerce Monday revealed the Grand Marshall for the Christmas Parade later this month.
Jesse Owens of Clinton wil be the Grand Marshall for this year's Clinton Christmas Parade and Executive Director of the Clinton Chamber, Marian Brisard says Owens wears many hats in the community and gives without seeking anything in return.
According to Brisard, Grand Marshall nominations come in and are chosen by the Clinton Chamber Board of Directors. A commander of the Clinton Am Vets, the two work closely as the Am Vets is very active in several Chamber functions.
The Clinton Chamber of Commerce Christmas Parade will be November 26 in Clinton.
For more information, visit clintonilchamber.com. Also find the Chamber of Facebook and Twitter.
A commercial drivers license program has been in the research phase Clinton Schools Superintendent Curt Nettles for several months and now it is looking like a program could be starting up in Clinton as soon as next semester.
Nettles indicates Richland Community College is the likely partner for that. He indicates this will likely be an after school or even summer program for initial students.
According to Nettles, the program could evolve to the point where students take courses during the school day. He says they have several programs in place like that already.
Once students pass the coursework, they get their permit and then have six months to go take the test to get their license. Nettles explains getting students experience behind the wheel is something the district likely cannot provide.
The state does not put requirements on permit holders to obtain a certain amount of hours behind the wheel but Nettles says there are some trucking companies that might.
He wants Clinton High School students who want to do this to be as prepared as possible.
BEFORE YOU BAG ALL YOUR LEAVES AND PLACE THEM AT THE CURB…A HORTICULTURE EXPERT AT THE UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS EXTENSION OFFICE RECOMMENDS USING THEM AS MULCH.
CLEANING UP LEAVES CAN BE A NUISANCE, BUT U OF I EXTENSION EDUCATOR RHONDA FERREE (fuh-ree) SUGGESTS USING THEM TO IMPROVE THE SOIL IN YOUR FLOWER BEDS AND VEGETABLE GARDENS. SHE SAYS THEY SHOULD BE SHREDDED.
FERREE SAYS THEY ARE FULL OF NUTRIENTS THAT CAN HELP THE SOIL.
FERREE SAYS LEAVES CONTAIN PLENTY OF NUTRIENTS AND MAKE A GREAT ADDITION TO YOUR COMPOST. YOU CAN ALSO TILL THEM INTO YOUR SOIL THIS FALL TO IMPROVE AERATION AND DRAINAGE.
In this presidential election, you probably have noticed the campaign have been heavy on personality, but light on specific policy. This is especially true with policy impacting agriculture and rural America.
Except for trade and immigration, most issues have gotten little attention, but both candidates, and the political parties, have policy platforms. Cody Lyon, political affairs specialist at the American Farm Bureau Federation, has been compiling that information.
Lyon says all that information is now posted on a new blogsite.
Election16.FB.org is the site for a little more in depth information on agricultural policy and Tuesday’s election.
The Clinton Fire Protection District is proposing a raise in the cap for their tax levy.
Chip Atten with the Clinton Fire Protection District Board indicates this is not a tax levy increase proposal, but rather a raise in the cap of the tax. He says the current 0.125% rate is being levied currently, which is the current cap. They are seeking to raise the ceiling to 0.4%.
Atten indicates the Clinton Fire Protection District covers around 70 square miles including the Exelon Power Station, Lane, DeWitt and Clinton Lake.
Atten indicates the dollars levied from taxes go towards training, HazMat response equipment, fire prevention education and other first responder necessities for the service area.
Atten stresses the increase in the levy cap will not effect the current tax rate in place now.
Providing opportunities to hunt to those that otherwise may not get it is the goal of local Department of Natural Resources officials the last few weeks.
Last weekend at Clinton Lake was the youth pheasant hunt and this weekend will be the annual handicap deer hunt. DNR Conservation Officer John Williamson indicates it allows handicap hunters an opportunity to help keep the deer population down in a highly populated area.
Williamson notes the handicap deer hunt used to be a local event but then DNR began promoting it more and online registration really allowed it to expand.
Williamson says DNR has special blinds for the hunters to use if they are in wheelchairs.
Williamson notes this weekend's hunt is full with a waiting list already in place but those interested in participating next year and getting into that drawing can visit illinois.dnr.gov.
There are no more tickets to buy for the 2016 baseball season, now Cubs fans' attention is now directed at keepsakes from the long awaited championship season.
At Dick's Sporting Goods in Springfield, a couple of dozen fans were lined up Black Friday style looking to get their hands on the first Cubs World Championship items available. Just like watching the Cubs is a family affair, Jason Dorwerth of Springfield wasn't just buying for himself.
Dick's launched an intense ad blitz to promote their large buy Cubs World Champions shirts, hats and collectibles.
Governor Bruce Rauner has announced tomorrow will be proclaimed World Champion Chicago Cubs Day across Illinois in celebration of the Cubs’ historic World Series win over the Cleveland Indians.
In a statement, Rauner says “The Cubs winning the World Series is bigger than baseball. It is especially meaningful for the generations of Cubs fans who have stood by this team, through thick and thin, for the last 108 years”.
Rauner noted he's a North Sider who was born a few blocks from Wrigley Field, and I remember watching the Cubs every summer on Channel 9 (WGN).
The hunting season is in full swing across the state and local Department of Natural Resources authorities are reminding hunters of some safety measures and regulation items if they haven't been out or as they return to their posts.
John Williamson, DNR Conservation Officer says hunting on private property can sometimes be a contentious issue. He encourages anyone who has hunted on private property in the past to re-confirm their permission with the landowner before they return to their spot.
For hunting on public property, Williamson encourages hunters to know the rules and regulations of the areas they are headed. He says a quick visit to illinois.dnr.gov is a good way to find out what they can and cannot do at a certain site.
Williamson indicates getting harvest information to DNR at the end of the year is very important. He says the state having that information allows them to tap into more federal resources.
For all things DNR like regulations at state parks, hunting season, licensing and much more, visit illinois.dnr.gov.
Less than a week before the election, candidates might focus on the undecided vote in close races.
In 2016, many Illinoisans haven't just decided on their favorite candidates, they've already voted. State Board of Elections records show 12 percent of Illinois' record 8 million registered voters have already cast ballots.
Early voting in person, voting by mail and voters using grace period registration are key factors.
Most of the one million Illinoisans who have already cast ballots voted in person. Four years ago, nearly 16 percent of registered voters voted early.
Every college student is faced with finding a job in their field after graduation. While many graduates continue to struggle finding good jobs, those students who major in Agriculture often get multiple job offers. This is especially true for Ag Education Majors.
Speaking recently at the National FFA Convention in Indianapolis, Ellen Thompson, with the National Teach Ag Campaign, says every year hundreds of Ag teaching positions go unfilled due to a shortage of qualified teachers.
Nationwide, there are nearly 12,000 Ag teaching positions, and annually there are about 1,000 openings due to retirement and teachers changing careers, but Colleges with Ag Education programs only graduate about 700 new teachers per year to fill those 1,000 positions.
Ag teachers leave the profession for other opportunities at a higher rate than most teachers due to higher paying opportunities in agri-business for people with degrees in agriculture.
School report cards were released earlier this week and the leader of the Clinton School district is reacting to the data.
Superintendent Curt Nettles indicates with a report that contains so much data, there is a lot to digest. He notes there are several areas of the report card that he thought were positive and some things that came up that were of concern.
Test scores are an often scrutinized aspect of the report cards and Nettles says like almost every district in the state, test scores, specifically the PARCC test scores, are still rather low. He attributes that to the test being around only two years.
Nettles says for parents or community members curious about the report card that are going to check it out, he encourages a thorough look at it. He says there is a lot of information to digest and is making himself available to guide anyone through the information that might have questions.
For Clinton's report card for 2016, you can visit IllinoisReportCard.com and search Clinton.
The leaf cleanup season is off to a late start in central Illinois and local authorities are reminding residents of community regulations as we await the arrival of the city-wide clean up efforts.
Clinton Police Chief Ben Lowers indicates there is a city ordinance in place that bans the burning of leaves in the community. He encourages residents in Clinton to take advantage of the yard waste facility on the city's southeast side.
The Public Works Department in Clinton annually takes on a city-wide cleanup program during the heavy fall leaf clean up season. That program has yet to start but Chief Lowers says another option for getting rid of leaves is to wait on them.
Keep it to Regional Radio News and DeWittDailyNews.com for the very latest on the fall cleanup program in Clinton and when the streets department plans to get that underway.
Chief Lowers reminds residents there is still some farm machinery out as the harvest continues to wrap up. He says when taking rural roads to give yourself a few extra minutes and to be mindful of farmers out with their heavy equipment.
LAST MONTH WAS THE SEVENTH WARMEST OCTOBER ON RECORD IN ILLINOIS.
OCTOBER WAS ONE FOR THE RECORD BOOKS SAYS STATE CLIMATOLOGIST JIM ANGEL…AS THE STATEWIDE AVERAGE TEMPERATURE CAME IN AT 59 POINT EIGHT DEGREES. THAT’S NEARLY FIVE AND A HALF DEGREES ABOVE NORMAL…AND IT LOOKS LIKE WE MAY BE IN FOR MORE OF THE SAME THIS MONTH.
STATEWIDE AVERAGE RAINFALL FOR OCTOBER WAS TWO POINT THREE EIGHT INCHES. THAT’S NEARLY AN INCH BELOW NORMAL. AREAS OF NORTHERN ILLINOIS AND ALONG THE INTERSTATE 70 CORRIDOR RECEIVED THE MOST RAIN LAST MONTH.
THE UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS’ FLASH INDEX HIT A FOUR YEAR LOW IN OCTOBER.
THE FLASH INDEX MEASURES ECONOMIC GROWTH IN THE STATE…AND CAME IN AT 104 POINT THREE LAST MONTH. THAT’S SLIGHTLY DOWN FROM SEPTEMBER AND THE LOWEST LEVEL SINCE NOVEMBER OF 2012 SAYS U OF I ECONOMIST J. FRED GIERTZ.
GIERTZ SAYS WHILE THE STATE ECONOMY IS STILL GROWING…IT’S RECOVERING AT A SLOW RATE.
ANY FIGURE ABOVE 100 INDICATES GROWTH IN THE ECONOMY…AND THE FLASH INDEX IS COMPOSED OF INDIVIDUAL INCOME, SALES AND CORPORATE TAX RECEIPTS.
OPEN ENROLLMENT IS NOW UNDERWAY ON THE STATE’S HEALTH INSURANCE MARKETPLACE.
FIVE INSURERS ARE OFFERING A TOTAL OF 331 DIFFERENT PLANS FOR 2017 SO GET COVERED ILLINOIS’ BRIAN GORMAN RECOMMENDS TAKING YOUR TIME AND REALLY EXPLORING YOUR OPTIONS.
GORMAN ALSO HAS THIS ADVICE:
GORMAN SAYS YOU CAN GET FREE, IN-PERSON ASSISTANCE BY GOING TO THE WEBSITE: GET COVERED ILLINOIS DOT GOV. THAT’S WHERE YOU WILL ALSO BE ABLE TO COMPARE THE VARIOUS PLANS AND ENROLL BY DECEMBER 15TH IN ORDER FOR COVERAGE TO BEGIN JANUARY FIRST.
Close to 30 years in the community is about how long Mike Walker has been serving in the DeWitt County Sheriff's office.
For Walker, who is set to retire this week, the journey in to law enforcement service was familiar as his father was in law enforcement and encouraged him to avoid it but Walker says it was something he was interested in and when he came to Clinton, that would be his last stop.
Walker says the biggest changes he's seen in his 30 years in law enforcement is how at the start it was a competitive field to get in to, but now agencies struggle to find good personnel.
Sheriff Jered Shofner and Walker have been working together for many years. He calls Walker his 'right hand man'.
Walker says he doesn't envy the situation of the leadership in place having to figure out how maintain services without the power plant and the shortfalls from the State of Illinois.
THE LATEST ILLINOIS SCHOOL REPORT CARD IS OUT…GIVING PARENTS A SNAPSHOT OF HOW THEIR CHILD’S SCHOOL IS FARING.
THE ONLINE REPORT CARD INCLUDES DETAILED INFORMATION INCLUDING ATTENDANCE RATES, COLLEGE READINESS, TEACHER SALARIES AND STUDENT POPULATION FOR THE 2015-2016 SCHOOL YEAR. THE STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION’S JOHN BARKER SAYS THE REPORT CARD WEBSITE IS NOW MOBILE FRIENDLY.
BARKER SAYS THEY ALSO TRACK THE NUMBER OF EIGHTH GRADERS TAKING AND PASSING ALGEBRA ONE.
BARKER SAYS THE WEBSITE IS EASY TO NAVIGATE AND IS NOW MOBILE FRIENDLY. YOU CAN SEARCH BY PARTICULAR SCHOOL AND EVEN COMPARE DIFFERENT SCHOOLS. THE WEB ADDRESS IS: ILLINOIS REPORT CARD DOT COM.
When you vote next Tuesday, the first item on the ballot will be the so called ‘Safe Roads Amendment’. The amendment will appear in lengthy legal language. If approved, it will stop the practice in Springfield of sweeping dedicated road construction funds for other uses.
Over the past 13 years, over 6.5 Billion dollars, 500 million a year, have been taken from the road fund and put into the general fund.
Todd Maisch (M-eye-sch) is President of the Illinois Chamber of commerce.
The road funds come from dedicated taxes on gasoline and diesel, plus registration and license fees on vehicles. It is a regressive tax in that everyone pays the same, regardless of income, so diverting the money hurts those can afford it the least.
Because of the fund diversion, the USDOT says nearly three fourths of Illinois roads are substandard, the worst in the nation.
Maisch says a broad coalition of business, labor, agriculture and groups from both sides of the aisle support a ‘YES’ vote on the safe roads amendment.
Todd Maisch of the Illinois Chamber of Commerce. Again, the ‘Safe Roads Amendment’ will be the first item on your ballot next Tuesday
A new Navy ship is headed towards the water bearing the name of the state.
The USS Illinois is a Virginia class submarine that was commissioned with help of the First Lady and a number of Navy dignitaries. Lt. Commander Preston Gilman, the ships Executive Officer says that sub is on the cutting edge of naval technology.
The Illinois is the 13th Virginia Class sub in the Navy fleet. The sub has a crew of about 130 and is 377 feet long and can dive to depths of 800 feet. The first Navy ship named Illinois was a battleship built in 1901.
Comptroller Leslie Munger is responding to criticism from opponent Susana Mendoza when it comes to Munger's office cutting paychecks that include bonuses.
Governor Rauner awarded bonuses to merit comp employees who hadn't had seen raises in sometime. While Mendoza criticized her for cutting the checks with the bonuses included, Munger said her lack of options was clear.
Munger continues to avoid expressing support or opposition to Donald Trump