Local News

Clinton Planning for Summer Concerts

The summer concert series on the Clinton Square is set to return in the summer of 2019.

 

With performances at May Days to start things out, a number of different groups host various performances on the square throughout the summer. Clinton City Administrator Tim Followell says sometimes knowing who is hosting which concert is confusing but for the past few summers, the City has hosted an up and coming performer through their Music on Main and Center platform.

 

 

The City recently renewed their contract with the DeWitt County Human Resource Center of services on the downtown square with their plants and vegetation. Followell says they do a great job keeping the square very presentable and attractive.

 

 

Traditionally, the City has tried to host two concerts featuring up and coming artists but Followell indicates unforeseen circumstances have forced the City to postpone their first scheduled concert and host just a single performer this year.

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Illinois Communities Along Route 66 Ready for Busy Month

With May upon us, the outdoor activities are kicking into high gear and an Illinois landmark is hoping to take advantage of the increased hustle and bustle.

 

Communities along the northern and southern Illinois corridor of Route 66 will be participating in all-day events to highlight the landmark and invite people into their towns. Geoff Ladd with the Route 66 Scenic Byway Association told Regional Radio New on the WHOW Morning Show Tuesday things start Saturday with the northern corridor of the historic road....

 

 

Two weeks following this weekend's event that highlights the northern corridor of Route 66, Ladd explains the southern corridor gets highlighted. 

 

 

Friday night will be a special event that will unveil the location of a rock and roll museum coming to Illinois in Joliet.

 

 

Ladd hopes a lot of folks make a day of the Route  66 events and this weekend particularly, he encourages everyone to make stops starting in Towanda and make your way up to Joliet and perhaps stay the night and make a weekend of the tour. 

 

For all the information on the events, visit illinoisroute66.org. 

 

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STEM Day At Clinton Junior High a Huge Hit

Last Friday at Clinton Junior High School was STEM day and administrators say it was a huge success. 

 

On the WHOW Morning Show Monday, Principal Josh Maxwell told Regional Radio News there was 100-percent engagement from their students. He indicates it was designed to give a preview to the science, technology, engineering and math curriculum coming to the school next year.

 

 

Each grade level participated in a different activity and sixth-grade science teacher Haley Bevans outlined what the students of each grade did during the day.

 

 

For Maxwell, students need to be introduced to STEM curriculum early because the future in the field is vast and there is a lot of great opportunities there. He believes adding a STEM curriculum will bring Clinton Junior High School in line with other districts.

 

 

While STEM day was fun for the kids, Bevans says one thing they are trying to emphasize to their students is jobs in the world of science, technology, engineering and math and help them realize the opportunities available.

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Second Chance for Pets, Local State Farm Agent Teaming Up For Fundraiser

Stop in for a quote from State Farm Agent Nate Ennis and he will donate $10 to Second Chance for Pets in DeWitt County.

 

Heather Wantland with Second Chance indicates Ennis approached them about helping them out by doing this fundraiser and believes it is going to be a great thing for their organization.

 

 

The money raised will help Second Chance to expand their feral cat spay/neuter program. Wantland says it is a great way for the community to help keep the cat population low.

 

 

Stop into Ennis' office at 315 West Johnson Street in Clinton or contact him by phone at 217-935-6669 to get your quote and make sure a donation goes back to Second Chance for Pets. 

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Central Illinois Lawmakers Estimates Governor Six Weeks Behind in Budgeting Process

Central Illinois Republican Senator Chapin Rose estimates Governor JB Pritzker is about six weeks behind in the budgeting process.

 

Lawmakers return to Springfield this week to begin the heavy lifting on the upcoming budget. Sen. Rose says first-term Governor Pritzker has been slow to name leads for his various departments and believes that is putting him behind in getting a budget proposal together.

 

 

According to Sen. Rose, Democrats are throwing out proposals that cost much more money than the state has and he believes the realization "money doesn't grow on trees" is starting to catch up to them.

 

 

While Rose predicts the Governor is behind in his budgeting process, he anticipates Illinois Democrats passing a budget by May 31. 

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Weekly Crop Report

FARMERS STILL AREN’T GETTING MUCH TIME IN THE FIELDS…BUT SOME PLANTING IS UNDERWAY AS WE HEAR IN THE WEEKLY CROP REPORT. 

 

ONLY ABOUT TWO AND A HALF DAYS WERE SUITABLE FOR FIELDWORK THIS PAST WEEK…BUT PRODUCERS MANAGED TO GET THREE PERCENT OF SOYBEANS PLANTED SAYS CROP STATISTICIAN MARK SCHLEUSENER. AS FOR CORN:

 

 

THREE PERCENT OF WINTER WHEAT IS HEADING, AND 44 PERCENT OF THE CROP IS RATED IN GOOD TO EXCELLENT CONDITION. THAT’S A DECLINE FROM THE PREVIOUS WEEK.

 

 

AVERAGE STATEWIDE TOPSOIL MOISTURE IS RATED AT TWO PERCENT SHORT, 45 PERCENT ADEQUATE AND 53 PERCENT SURPLUS.

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Illinois Lawmaker Proposes Treating Violence as Disease

Would treating violence as a disease help to end it? 

 

Democratic State Rep. La Shawn Ford says that there is always plenty of talk about ending violence but not enough time spent talking about why it happens in the first place. 

Ford says maybe a clinical approach would help.

 

 

Ford wants violence in Illinois to be looked at like treating diabetes or any other public health matter. Ford wants more attention focused on mental health issues, substance abuse and a lack of education as ways to lessen violence in the state.

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Senate Committee Discusses Ways To Pay For Capital Plan

SENATE LAWMAKERS ARE DISCUSSING HOW TO PAY FOR A MUCH-NEEDED CAPITAL BILL IN ILLINOIS. 

 

THERE’S NO QUESTION STATE ROADS AND BRIDGES NEED A LOT OF WORK…BUT THE DEBATE HAS BEEN OVER FUNDING. DURING A LEGISLATIVE HEARING…FORMER U-S TRANSPORTATION SECRETARY RAY LAHOOD RECOMMENDED RAISING THE STATE GAS TAX, AND SAID THE PUBLIC WOULD LIKELY SUPPORT THE INCREASE.

 

 

SEVERAL STAKEHOLDERS TESTIFYING AT A SENATE COMMITTEE SAY THE BEST SOLUTION IS TO RAISE THE STATE GAS TAX. THAT INCLUDES CHICAGO METROPOLITAN AGENCY FOR PLANNING EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR JOE SZABO.

 

 

THERE WAS ALSO TALK OF ATTRACTING PRIVATE MONEY TO HELP PAY FOR INFRASTRUCTURE PROJECTS…BUT MOST TESTIFYING AGREE ILLINOIS NEEDS A STEADIER REVENUE STREAM.

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I-Cash Setting Records

The state is giving away more money than ever. State Treasurer Mike Frerichs says that the I-Cash program has returned more than $200 million to rightful owners over the last 10 months. Frerichs says it’s a record.

 

 

If you want to see if you have anything of monetary value coming to you the process begins at Illinois Treasurer Dot Gov slash I Cash.

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City Budgets Doing Well

Clinton city budgets are doing well.

 

That is the message from Clinton City Administrator Tim Followell who indicates despite another negative sales tax report, the city's finances remain strong, specifically with their health insurance costs.

 

 

Followell says the city is in good shape but points out they are flatlined in their revenue stream. He says it's a good and bad thing. On one hand, it's been about a decade that it has remained the same but feels optimistic it isn't declining.

 

 

Followell says their eyes always remain on Springfield and waiting for the next piece of revenue to be cut off. Keeping city departments informed is key as there are sometimes budget purchases that have to be put off because of unexpected cuts. 

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2019 A Year of Remodels At Warner Hospital And Health Services

2019 is a year of remodels at Clinton's Warner Hospital and Health Services. 

 

CEO Paul Skowron indicates they are about to shift to phase two of their emergency room remodel, they are remodeling their pharmacy and have plans to remodel their imaging department. The emergency room remodel will allow those coming in more privacy and more space as well.

 

 

Last week on Regional Radio News, Skowron outlined a new bone scan machine approved by the hospital board. To accommodate that machine, the imaging and radiology department needs a minor remodel.

 

 

One remodel the public and patients likely aren't to see is a remodel of the pharmacy. Skowron indicates this a mandate from the government for a larger footprint for what is known as drug compounding.

 

 

According to Skowron, there will be no borrowing for these projects as they continue to report good profit margins. Additionally, the Warner Hospital Foundation has contributed to some of the projects. 

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Farmer City Receives $130,000 From Safe Routes To School Grant

Sidewalks in Farmer City will soon be very much improved thanks to the community being awarded over $100-thousand from the State of Illinois as a part of the Safe Routes to School grant.

 

Administrator in Farmer City, Sue McLaughlin tells Regional Radio News says it will bring their sidewalks to Schneider School up to ADA compliance and provide sidewalks in places where there are none.

 

 

This project will follow a renovation that is to take place in front of the high school. McLaughlin explains the project in front of the high school will create a revamped circle drive and provide better flow on school days.

 

 

McLaughlin credits their partnership with the school district to get this grant to Farmer City and benefit the kids of their community.

 

 

McLaughlin says the school project will get going this June and the Safe Routes to School project is likely to get going next spring or summer as the City has to put plans together to submit to the State.

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Mixed Jobs Report in Illinois

Jobs numbers were up for most in Illinois last month. 8 of the 14 metro areas in the state saw employment increases. Jobs are being added even as the state’s unemployment rate ticked up slightly says Sam Salustro with the Illinois Department of Employment Security. 

 

 

The largest job losses were seen across central Illinois in Bloomington-Normal, Champaign-Urbana and Springfield.

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ISP System Should Improve DNA Processing Time

GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER SAYS A NEW ILLINOIS STATE POLICE TRACKING SYSTEM SHOULD HELP CHIP AWAY AT THE BACKLOG OF D-N-A EVIDENCE THAT NEEDS TO BE PROCESSED.

 

THE LABORATORY INFORMATION MANAGEMENT SYSTEM OR “LIMS” STREAMLINES DATA COLLECTION AND RECORDING OF EVIDENCE. GOVERNOR PRITZKER SAYS IT’S THESE TYPES OF IMPROVEMENTS TO THE STATE’S FORENSIC UNIT THAT WILL HELP WITH THE CURRENT BACKLOG.

 

 

I-S-P ACTING DIRECTOR BRENDAN KELLY SAYS THE LABORATORY INFORMATION MANAGEMENT SYSTEM, OR “LIMS” MAKES IT EASIER TO TRACK THE PROCESSING AND ANALYSIS OF D-N-A SAMPLES. 

 

 

LIMS ALSO LETS LOCAL POLICE DEPARTMENTS TRACK THE D-N-A EVIDENCE FROM THEIR CASES TO SEE HOW FAR ALONG IN THE PROCESS THE SAMPLES ARE.

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Weekly Weather Summary

It was a cool week in central Illinois and more rain is expected this weekend. State climatologist office spokesperson Brian Kerschner has what's in store for next week...

 

 

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DeWitt County Board Chair on Wind Farm Decision: The Process Worked

DeWitt County Board Chair David Newberg voted in favor of a failed proposed wind farm in DeWitt County, but he is very happy with the process.

He says the process played out the way it should and while the application of Tradewind Energy for a wind farm in the northwest corner of DeWitt County failed, he says DeWitt County is "as great as it was yesterday".

 

 

As the process played out, it became apparent DeWitt County is deeply divided on the wind farm issue, and debates became contentious both at meetings and in online formats but Newberg believes 99-percent of people on each side handled themselves well and showed a lot of class.

 

 

The board's final tally was 6-5-1 but needed seven votes to pass. 

Much speculation surrounds what is next for Tradewind Energy? Do they sue the County? Do they go back to the drawing board for a new application? 

Representatives from Tradewind could not be reached for comment at the time of this story however in a statement following the Thursday night County Board meeting, it was indicated they would "reassess the situation and our options moving forward."

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Attorney General Urges Lawmakers To Protect Consumers By Alternating Energy Suppliers

ATTORNEY GENERAL KWAME RAOUL IS URGING LAWMAKERS TO PROTECT CONSUMERS FROM DECEPTIVE ALTERNATIVE RETAIL ENERGY SUPPLIERS.

THESE SUPPLIERS TRY TO ENTICE CUSTOMERS AWAY FROM THEIR CURRENT PROVIDER WITH PROMISES OF SAVING MONEY SAYS ATTORNEY GENERAL RAOUL.

HE SAYS PEOPLE OFTEN END UP PAYING MORE.

 

 

CUSTOMERS USUALLY ENDING UP PAY MORE SAYS RAOUL. HE IS PUSHING A BILL THAT MAKES SURE CONSUMERS HAVE MORE INFORMATION BEFORE THEY MAKE A DECISION TO SWITCH AND REQUIRES SUPPLIERS TO LET CUSTOMERS KNOW IF THEIR RATES ARE ABOUT TO GO UP.

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Clinton Police Chief Talks Prom Safety

It's Prom season and a local law enforcement official is promoting safety while enjoying a memorable moment in life.

 

Clinton Police Chief Ben Lowers says prom can be a time you remember for a long time but too often the night ends tragically for young people. He is promoting a good time but safe time.

 

 

The Chief will be a part of an annual after-party at Clinton High School that gives teens a place to go for some after prom fun.

 

 

The DARE program wraps up this month for the Clinton Schools and Chief Lowers leads that for the grade-schoolers. He says a lot of the principals he's promoting are things youth learn in the DARE program. 

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Clinton Police Department Participating in National Take Back Day

This Saturday is the National Take Back Initiative hosted by the Federal Drug Enforcement Agency.

 

The DEA holds the event as a way to raise awareness of collecting unused prescription drugs in your cabinets to keep those from getting into the wrong hands. Clinton Police Chief Ben Lowers indicates his department will be among those participating.

 

 

According to the Chief, they deliver hundreds of pounds of unused drugs to the DEA twice a year from those that drop off their drugs in their depository at the station.

 

 

The Clinton Police Station is at 118 West Washington Street in Clinton. You can also contact them via Facebook or by phone at 217-935-9441. 

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Blue Ridge School Board Welcomes New Members

The Blue Ridge Board of Education welcomed three new board members earlier this month following the April 2 election.

 

Superintendent Susan Wilson told Regional Radio News Thursday morning on the WHOW Morning Show they will welcome their new board members Monday night at a special meeting.

 

 

Schools are very complex as mandates and funding are very strict and Wilson says it can take a new board member about a year to get a good grasp of all the intricacies of the school board.

 

 

The challenges in education in Illinois are extensive as leadership in Springfield is transitioning and unresolved issues continue to build. Wilson believes the top challenge in Blue Ridge is the teacher shortage.

 

 

New board members have gone through a crash course with Wilson and her Board President. They go through everything from finances to the curriculum. 

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Illinois Lawmakers Continue To Hear About Sports Wagering

AT A HOUSE HEARING IN CHICAGO… LAWMAKERS DELVED FURTHER INTO THE INTRICATE WORLD OF SPORTS BETTING AND HEARD CONCERNS FROM STAKEHOLDERS.

 

STATE OFFICIALS ARE EXPRESSING THE NEED FOR MORE GAMBLING ADDICTION PROGRAMS, WHILE LOCAL OFFICIALS, LIKE WAUKEGAN MAYOR SAM CUNNINGHAM SAY THEY WANT IN ON THE ACTION AND POTENTIAL PROFITS.

 

 

ILLINOIS STATE UNIVERSITY ATHLETIC DIRECTOR LARRY LYONS SAID HE’S WORRIED ABOUT STUDENTS GAMBLING ON COLLEGE SPORTS.

 

 

GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER IS CALLING ON LAWMAKERS TO APPROVE SPORTS WAGERING IN ILLINOIS, WHICH WILL LIKELY BE A BIG TOPIC WHEN THE HOUSE AND SENATE RETURN NEXT WEEK.

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DeWitt County Board Votes Down Wind Farm Proposal

The DeWitt County Board has voted down the proposed wind farm in the northwest corner of DeWitt County. 

 

The Alta Farms II wind project proposed by Tradewind Energy needed seven votes for approval, however, the board voted 6-5-1 Thursday night at a special meeting to follow the recommendation of the Zoning Board of Appeals last month. This is how the vote played out....

 

 

As was laid out by DeWitt County Board Chair David Newberg leading up to the special meeting, each side was allowed approximately 30 minutes to address the board. Local business owner Mariah Anderson pointed out the impact the wind farm would have on the agri-business community of DeWitt County.

 

 

JaneAnn Thomas is a landowner in rural DeWitt County but does not own property within the project however supported the project. She points to the financial impact it would have on DeWitt County and called a 'no' vote "a flat squirrel on the road".

 

 

Leading up to the vote, a series of amendments to include several conditions was proposed by Terry Ferguson and ultimately approved. While Ferguson proposed the amendments and voted in support of them, he ultimately voted no for the application.

 

Board members voting against the application were Tilley, Ennis, Ferguson, Houser, and Matthews. Those voting in favor were Newberg, Redman, Wickenhauser, Reece, Pruser, and Nimmo and Ritter abstained from voting. 

 

Following the meeting, Andrea Rhoades, leader of the group Residents Against Wind Farms in DeWitt County says they were very pleased with the Board for following the recommendations of the RPC and ZBA and listening to the community.

 

 

Rhoades says they were confident going into the meeting but were nervous leading up to the vote.

 

 

Rhoades says the work of the group is not done. She feels there is still a lot of work to be done on the ordinances, which she calls out of date and not strong enough. She says other wind farms may want to come to the area and recognizes the growing possibility of solar farms coming to the area. 

 

While representatives from Tradewind Energy were unavailable for comment following the meeting, they released the following statement: 

 

"We’d like to thank the DeWitt County Board, the Regional Planning Commission, and the Zoning Board of Appeals for their time, consideration, and dedication listening to the public on this important project. Although we did not get the outcome our supporters and participating landowners wished to see, we would like to thank them for all of their hard work in developing this project. We continue to believe that the Alta Farms Wind Farm is a unique opportunity for DeWitt County to increase funding for their schools, put money into the tax base to have better infrastructure, create good paying jobs, and lower taxes. At this point, we plan to reassess the situation and our options moving forward."

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Warner Library Bi-Annual Book Sale This Weekend

The Warner Library's bi-annual book sale is this weekend.

 

Business Manager at the Warner Library Samantha Rusk indicates the sale kicks off Friday and will go through the day Saturday. She notes this the first of their two book sales for the year that goes to the Friends of the Warner Library. 

 

 

The sale is this Friday and Saturday. Friday's hours are from 9 am to 4 pm then 9 am to 3 pm on Saturday. 

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Maroa-Forsyth Schools Beginning Strategic Plan Execution

With a vision in place, Maroa-Forsyth schools are ready to embark on the plans that were laid last year.

 

Superintendent Dr. John Ahlemeyer explains their strategic plan laid the foundation for the goals the district has. He believes it is a lofty goal but wants their district to be the best.

 

 

As districts try to find ways to attract educators to their schools, the state has tried to aid the cause by working on legislation to raise teacher salaries, something many districts have already started doing. But Dr. Ahlemeyer says it is getting to a point districts have to get creative and he has ideas on how his district can do that.

 

 

Looking to update the middle school has been on the backburner for several years now in Maroa-Forsyth but Dr. Ahlemeyer indicates that is something the committee they put together has made a priority in this strategic plan and so starting to find out what the community wants will be their next step.

 

 

Dr. Ahlemeyer indicates the district is in good shape financially and says they are able to build a new middle school at a no tax rate increase. He also adds they are going to be looking to launch a district safety team later this spring and then next fall they plan to launch a finance and facilities team and a community and alumni outreach team. 

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Pritzker on Property Tax Investigation

Today it was learned that Democrat Governor JB Pritzker, his wife - MK and his brother-in-law are under a federal investigation surrounding a property tax appeal at a mansion he owns in Chicago. 

 

The first report came from WBEZ in Chicago. It’s reported the probe started in October by federal authorities and continues today. The tax appeal in question is connected to toilets being taken out at a home that Pritzker owns – it was an issue during the campaign and might be one again. The Governor met with the media today.

 

 

In light of the investigation being made public the Republican Party of Illinois says Pritzker should drop his push for a graduated income tax.

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It Still Takes Two Weeks to Plant the American Corn Crop

 Most people take for granted that the farmers can plant their crops way faster today than ever before. 

 

While it is true today's equipment can plant a single acre of corn much faster, Todd Gleason reports, it still takes about the same amount of time to plant the whole crop…

 

 

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Governor Responds To Report of Federal Probe

Former Governor Bruce Rauner tried to make political hay out of J.B. Pritzker's reduced property tax bills, tied to the removal of toilets from a Gold Coast-Chicago mansion. 

 

The issue seemed to gain little traction with voters, but there is lingering interest among federal investigators. , WBEZ Radio in Chicago has revealed that Pritzker, First Lady M.K. Pritzker and his brother-in-law are the subjects of a probe that began in October. Pritzker is confident the probe won't become a problem....

 

 

Pritzker returned more than $330,000 to Cook County tied to the pulled plumbing property tax break.

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Illinois Ag Department Honors John Block

The Illinois Department of Agriculture carries the name of former Secretary of Agriculture John Block. He’s the only former Illinois Agriculture Director to go on to become the U.S. Ag Secretary.

 

During a recent ceremony at the John R. Block Building, the former Ag Secretary was honored with a plaque bearing his likeness and listing some of his many accomplishments for agriculture. After the ceremony, Block said he was humbled by the honor…

 

 

Block served as Secretary of Agriculture under President Reagan from 1981-1985. Even when he’s not in office, Block is always thinking about U.S. agriculture….

 

 

Like many other Illinois farmers, Block’s planting season is getting off to a slow start because of wet weather…

 

 

That's former Ag Secretary John Block.

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Mushroom Season Underway

Friends are friends until they find mushrooms so goes the old adage. Its morel season in Illinois says Tim Schweizer with the State Department of Natural Resources.

 

 

And if you really love morel mushrooms, a trip to Toulon, Illinois may be worthwhile this spring. They host the Stark County Morel Mushroom Festival on May 4th.

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Wind Farm Vote Tonight

It is decision day in DeWitt County.

 

Perhaps the most polarizing issue to residents in the last decade, the DeWitt County Board will vote tonight to approve an application for a wind farm in the northwest corner of DeWitt County and members of each side have weighed in on tonight's meeting.

 

The project is being sought by Tradewind Energy and Alta Farms II project development lead, Tom Swierczewski indicates they feel good about their application and contends their proposal meets all the standards the County has set out.

 

 

Residents Against Wind Farms in DeWitt County has rallied to prevent the project from happening. Andrea Rhoades has taken the lead for those residents and says today is the culmination of their years of work to provide decision-makers with information and she indicates they feel good about the vote tonight and feels the ZBA and RPC's recommendations should not be ignored.

 

 

For Swierczewski, this is one of the most comprehensive applications he has put together and credits the county for their hard work in making their ordinances reflect a comprehensive plan for approval.

 

 

The folks against the project do not see the plans as comprehensive and say there are too many issues still surrounding Tradewind's application. Rhoades points to many issues taken up by the RPC and ZBA but specifically says the issues the turbines could cause with weather radar would be problematic.

 

 

You can hear the County Board's special meeting Thursday night, in its entirety, starting at 5 pm on all of WHOW's platforms at The Big 1520 AM/92.3 FM/106.5 FM WHOW. Online at dewittdailynews.com, the WHOW mobile app and on Amazon Alexa. 

 

Following the meeting, get live reaction from both Swierczewski and Rhoades following the Board's vote and get comprehensive coverage at dewittdailynews.com. 

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Rep. Caulkins Weighs in on Separation of Chicago From Illinois Legislation

Fight for 51 is legislation in Springfield proposed by the Illinois GOP to begin the process of separating Chicago from Illinois.

 

Republican State Representative Dan Caulkins told Regional Radio News Wednesday morning on the WHOW Morning Show this is an effort to make Chicago its own state and separate it from Illinois. The proposal is nothing new, in fact, Caulkins' predecessor, former state rep Bill Mitchell brought this idea forward less than a decade ago. Rep. Caulkins outlines what the process looks like...

 

 

Rep. Caulkins says Chicago is in real trouble financially and predicts their leadership will make a plea to Springfield to help bail them out.

 

 

Rep. Caulkins calls the financial picture in Chicago a comet that is coming and predicts it will hit Chicago first and believes it will be devastating. 

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DeWitt County Sheriff's Office Seeking White Minivan After Theft, Overnight High Speed Chase

The DeWitt County Sheriff's Office is seeking the public's help in finding a white minivan that was involved in a theft and high-speed chase overnight starting in Weldon and back to Clinton.

 

DeWitt County Sheriff Mike Walker indicates their deputy encountered the vehicle around the DeWitt area shortly after the call came in and tracked him back to Clinton where his office ended their pursuit.

 

 

Upon the vehicle entering the Clinton area, the chase ended because it became a public safety issue, though Clinton officers were able to continue to track the vehicle. The Sheriff indicates speeds of 90-100 MPH were reached during the pursuit.

 

 

The vehicle is a white Dodge Caravan with the license AM 69588. Authorities ask if you see this vehicle to contact the DeWitt County Sheriff's office at 217-935-9507. 

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Youth's Move Over Project Goes Viral

You never know when or how inspiration will strike. For 12 year old Lucy Kuelper of Rio (Rye-oh) in Western Illinois, it was on the way to school and a conversation along with love and concern for her dad, an Illinois State Trooper, that led her to create the Move Over Project that has since gone viral. 

 

 

Lucy's "Move Over for My Dad" has led to a Facebook page that now has nearly 20,000 likes and has inspired other states to take up the Move Over cause. 

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Authorities Ready For Special County Board Meeting Thursday

With a special DeWitt County Board meeting coming up to decide the fate of a proposed wind project in DeWitt County, in house security is not going to be available as the location for this meeting shifts to Clinton High School.

 

Because of that, local authorities are preparing for any possible problems that might arise. Sheriff Mike Walker is not anticipating any problems but says just in case, they will have some of their staff on site.

 

 

While he anticipates a respectful audience, Sheriff  Walker hopes cooler heads prevail as a decision comes down Thursday on what has been a polarizing topic locally the last few years.

 

 

Clinton Police will be on standby in the event of any incidents. 

 

You can hear the County Board's special meeting Thursday night, in its entirety, starting at 5 pm on all of WHOW's platforms at The Big 1520 AM/92.3 FM/106.5 FM WHOW. Online at dewittdailynews.com, the WHOW mobile app and on Amazon Alexa. 

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House Passes Bill Requiring Male African-American, Female Be on Corporate Boards of Publicly Held Companies

A BILL PENDING IN THE STATE SENATE WOULD BRING MORE DIVERSITY TO CORPORATE LEADERSHIP.

 

THE MEASURE REQUIRES PUBLICLY HELD COMPANIES IN ILLINOIS TO HAVE AT LEAST ONE WOMAN AND ONE AFRICAN AMERICAN ON THEIR CORPORATE BOARDS BY 2021. IT’S SPONSORED BY REPRESENTATIVE CHRIS WELCH OF HILLSIDE.

 

 

WELCH SAYS MANY COMPANIES ALREADY HAVE A SIMILAR POLICY AND THAT HAVING A DIVERSE BOARD LEADS TO BETTER RESULTS.

 

 

CRITICS CALL THE BILL “ANTI-BUSINESS.” IT’S PASSED THE HOUSE AND NOW FACES A VOTE IN THE SENATE.

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Governor Announces Safe Routes to School Grant

GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER IS ANNOUNCING MORE THAN FIVE MILLION DOLLARS IN GRANTS TO HELP KIDS GET TO SCHOOL A LITTLE EASIER. 

 

THE SAFE ROUTES TO SCHOOL GRANTS WILL FUND 39 PROJECTS AROUND THE STATE, IMPROVING SAFETY AND REDUCING TRAFFIC AROUND ELEMENTARY AND MIDDLE SCHOOLS SAYS GOVERNOR PRITZKER.

 

 

GOVERNOR PRITZKER INDICATES THE MONEY ALL COMES FROM THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT.

 

 

THE PROJECTS WERE SELECTED FROM 160 APPLICATIONS FOR FUNDING.

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Warner Hospital Board Approves Bone Scan Machine Purchase

The Warner Hospital Board approved a bone scan machine at their Monday meeting.

 

Warner Hospital and Health Services CEO Paul Skowron told Regional Radio News Tuesday morning on the WHOW Morning Show the bone scan machine is going to be a great addition for their staff and for the community as they are necessary for the aging community.

 

 

Skowron says this is another addition to the hospital repertoire that will allow the community to stay local for necessary services. In some case, because the hospital was missing out on the bone scan, there were some patients that were not getting part of their necessary screenings. 

 

 

Skowron indicates the Hospital Foundation contributed half the cost for the machine. 

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Clinton Schools Have New Contracts for Administration, Teachers, Support Staff

Clinton Schools administration, teachers and support staff have new agreements for compensation. 

 

Clinton Schools Superintendent Curt Nettles indicates, the teachers and district agreed to a new salary schedule earlier this spring and their new agreement increases starting salaries and a new compensation increase grid.

 

 

The increase coincides with a likely passage of a teacher minimum salary in Springfield. Nettles says the only concern he has about the legislation is Springfield stepping in and taking local control away from local school boards. He adds, the local increase also includes support staff. 

 

 

The support staff increases were approved at last Tuesday night's regular Board of Education meeting. 

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Tradewind Energy Committed to Limiting Flashing Lights if Wind Farm Plan Approved

It could be a unique aspect of any wind development project in Illinois as Tradewind officials say they are committed to limiting the time lights blink on top of any potential wind tower structures in DeWitt County.

 

Tom Swierczewski is lead project manager for Tradewind Energy for the proposed Alta Farms II wind project in DeWitt County and indicates their commitment to using the latest technology to limit the flashing red lights could be something Illinois has never seen in wind development.

 

 

According to Swierczewski, the County Board approved a change in the text amendment regarding the blinking lights. For Tradewind, it is something they agreed to as well to make the project more appealing. 

 

 

Friday morning on the WHOW Morning Show, when asked if that was official, Swierczewski told Regional Radio News, quote - "we are committed to it. If this project gets built, we will be using aircraft detection lighting of some kind."

 

You can hear the County Board's special meeting Thursday night, in its entirety, starting at 5 pm on all of WHOW's platforms at The Big 1520 AM/92.3 FM/106.5 FM WHOW. Online at dewittdailynews.com, the WHOW mobile app and on Amazon Alexa. v

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Could Weather Be Breaking Long Enough For Field Work?

Just when the weather seems to have turned for the better, mother nature drops enough rain to put planting plans on hold.

 

Chris Miller with the National Weather Service indicates the pattern of two nice days followed up with rain has been an unusual trend that has planting progress very behind and he does not foresee much progress being made in the fields as we head through the week.

 

 

Miller indicates not only are things still very wet, but soil temperatures have been slow to rise this spring and that is thanks to the extended cold. He says it is well below average for the past five to ten years.

 

 

Long term outlooks are looking at some improvements as we get through May and into the early summer months. Miller says trends are showing above normal temperatures through May and into June.

 

 

Miller indicates we are now in peak storm season and implores the public to keep an eye to the sky and an ear to the latest in the weather. He encourages a visit to weather.gov where you can find a generous amount of information on the latest trends and weather forecasts. 

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Weekly Crop Report

WET CONDITIONS KEPT MOST FARMERS OUT OF THE FIELDS AS WE HEAR IN THE WEEKLY CROP REPORT. 

 

THE STATE’S AVERAGE TOPSOIL MOISTURE IS RATED AT 45 PERCENT ADEQUATE AND 54 PERCENT SURPLUS, LEAVING ABOUT A DAY AND A HALF SUITABLE FOR FIELDWORK THIS PAST WEEK SAYS STATE CROP STATISTICIAN MARK SCHLEUSENER.

 

 

TWO PERCENT OF THE WINTER WHEAT CROP IS HEADING, WITH 55 PERCENT OF THE CROP RATED IN GOOD TO EXCELLENT CONDITION.

 

 

PASTURE CONDITIONS IMPROVED SLIGHTLY TO 52 PERCENT IN GOOD TO EXCELLENT CONDITION. AVERAGE STATEWIDE TOPSOIL MOISTURE IS RATED AT ONE PERCENT SHORT…45 PERCENT ADEQUATE AND 54 PERCENT SURPLUS.

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Governor Marks Innovation, Technology Day in Illinois

Governor J.B. Pritzker believes teaching superior technology skills and pursuing innovation is the key to drawing more jobs to Illinois. 

 

The Governor celebrated Innovation and Technology Day in Chicago. The Governor believes educating students for tomorrow's jobs is crucial as well as building innovation hubs at Illinois colleges and universities...

 

 

The Governor continues to call for expanded access to high-speed internet. 

 

He wants to see expanded partnerships between businesses and universities as well.

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Clinton Farmers Market Entering 20th Season

When the Clinton Area Farmers and Artisans Market opens for the season next month, it will be embarking on year 20 in Clinton.

 

Monday morning on the WHOW Morning Show, Elizabeth Burns with the farmers market told Regional Radio News their market kicks off May 4 on the downtown Clinton Square from 8 am to noon. She explains initially, the market started as a twice-a-month market but because of increased interest, they eventually opened every Saturday.

 

 

The items at the market will vary depending on the time of year. Burns emphasizes they are a producer-owned and artisan-owned market, so because of that, you are unlikely to find green beans or sweet corn this early.

 

 

If you are considering being a part of the farmers and artisans market this year, there is a special event coming up this Thursday at the University of Illinois Extension Office to promote the changes for vendors at farmers markets this year.

 

 

To learn more about the upcoming farmers market season, whether as a vendor or you need general information, you can contact Burns at 217-722-2496. Burns indicates to leave a voicemail and she will be in touch as soon as she is available. 

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Local Authorities Promoting Distracted Driving Awareness Week

Raising awareness surrounding distracted driving is the key to this week by local authorities.

 

Distractions behind the wheel have never been higher with all the technology available to drivers in today's world and local authorities hope to make everyone aware of the consequences distracted driving can have. Clinton Police Chief Ben Lowers indicates that is their focus this week.

 

 

Authorities across the state have been promoting Scott's Law, which mandates drivers move over for emergency vehicles on the side of the road. Chief Lowers believes distracted driving and Scott's Law goes hand in hand for motorists.

 

 

While the Scott's Law detail has come and gone, Chief Lowers indicates he is still focused on it and says his fellow officers and law enforcement leaders are becoming increasingly cognizant of the fact drivers are not following the law and are taking measures to better protect each other. 

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Clinton Chamber of Commerce Readying For May Days

The annual May Days event is right around the corner and organizers are gearing up for one of the biggest fundraisers of the year for the Clinton Chamber of Commerce.

 

Executive Director of the Clinton Chamber, Marian Brisard is sending thanks to the business community and the City of Clinton for their cooperation and support of this event that means a lot to them.

 

 

In addition to the usual carnival rides, Brisard says there's entertainment each night of the event on the square. She is excited about a race car display that will take place on the Thursday of the event.

 

 

May Days runs Thursday, May 16 through Sunday, May 19. 

 

Thursday night of the carnival will be one ticket to ride night again. Brisard also says they have pre-sale carnival tickets available for $20 for 22 tickets at the Clinton Chamber of Commerce until May 16.

Get more details about all the May Days activities by visiting clintonilchamber.com/maydays-festival. 

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Legion Commander Seeking To Help Local Veterans

If you are a local veteran, the commander of the American Legion is hoping you'll reach out to him and let him know what you need.

 

Josh Thielen is the Commander of the Clinton American Legion and is a certified Veteran Service Officer. He recently has received his certification and explains he can help local veterans through a variety of means, both financial or otherwise.

 

 

From VA benefits to education benefits, Thielen indicates there are plenty of ways they can help, and that includes spouses of veterans. He believes every veteran can benefit from his help. 

 

 

Thielen hopes veterans realize this more than just a financial assistance program. He explains they can provide emotional support for veterans that may be struggling, which is proving to be a growing trend in their community.

 

 

Thielen hopes to be approved as the Clinton Legion's Veteran Service Officer in May. To get in touch with him about more information, contact Thielen at 217-520-9823 or reach out to the Clinton American Legion on Facebook. 

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New Illinois Law Streamlines Zoning Process For Wind Farms

Gov. J.B. Pritzker predicts growth in wind-energy development after signing a law streamlining zoning rules.

 

The Democrat signed legislation Friday that allows only counties and municipalities to establish standards for developing wind farms. Townships will no longer have authority in the process.

 

Pritzker says the law will spur investment in rural areas, create jobs and pour tens of millions of dollars into the pockets of landowners and farmers and into government accounts in the form of property taxes.

 

The measure was sponsored by Chicago Democrats Rep. Ann Williams and Sen. Bill Cunningham. Cunningham says the law will end “unnecessary government regulation” in creating wind farms.

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IDOT Pushing Attention in Work Zones

Orange cone season is here on Illinois roads and highways. And the Illinois Department of Transportation is on the offensive. Their message is pretty simple, pay attention to changing conditions says IDOT’s Juan Pava. 

 

 

Last year there were 18 deaths in Illinois work zones, including one worker. On average, IDOT sees nearly 5,300 crashes per year in work zones with 1,500 of those resulting in injuries.

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Do's, Don't's of Calling 9-1-1 To Report Drunk, Reckless Driver

THE ILLINOIS STATE POLICE IS OFFERING THE DO’S AND DON’T’S OF REPORTING A RECKLESS OR DRUNK DRIVER ON THE HIGHWAY.

 

THE PUBLIC IS ALWAYS ENCOURAGED TO HELP OUT AND CALL 9-1-1 IF THEY SEE SOMEONE DRIVING DANGEROUSLY DOWN THE HIGHWAY. BUT KEY DETAILS ARE NEEDED BY EMERGENCY DISPATCHERS SAYS TROOPER MINDY CARROLL.

 

 

CARROLL SAYS IT REALLY HELPS TO CALL AS SOON AS YOU SPOT THE RECKLESS DRIVER AND TO GIVE THE LOCATION INCLUDING MILE MARKER, EXIT NUMBER, HIGHWAY AND DIRECTION IF POSSIBLE. SHE SAYS REPORTS FROM THE PUBLIC ARE A VITAL TOOL IN HELPING TO KEEP PEOPLE SAFE.

 

 

CARROLL URGES THOSE REPORTING TO BE PATIENT WHILE DISPATCHERS ARE ASKING QUESTIONS SINCE THEY ARE ALSO ENTERING THE INFORMATION INTO THEIR COMPUTERS AND FINDING THE CLOSEST TROOPER.

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Illinois schools receiving 5,000 trees from IDOT

THE ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION IS GIVING OUT FIVE THOUSAND TREES TO LOCAL SCHOOL DISTRICTS.

 

HANDING OUT SEEDLINGS TO PARTICIPATING SCHOOLS HAS BECOME A TRADITION AND IS IN HONOR OF EARTH DAY ON APRIL 22ND SAYS I-DOT SPOKESPERSON JESSIE DECKER.

 

 

THE TREES ARE PROVIDED FOR FREE TO I-DOT AS PART OF THE LIVING LANDS AND WATERS MILLION TREES PROJECT. THEY INCLUDE RED OAK…SWAMP WHITE OAK, BUR OAK, AND REDBUD VARIETIES.

 

THE EFFORT IS IN CELEBRATION OF MONDAY’S EARTH DAY AND A WAY FOR I-DOT TO HELP IMPROVE COMMUNITIES THROUGHOUT THE STATE SAYS SPOKESPERSON JESSIE DECKER.

 

PARTICIPATING SCHOOLS EITHER PLANT THE SEEDLINGS ON SCHOOL GROUNDS OR GIVE THEM TO STUDENTS TO TEACH THEM HOW IMPORTANT TREES ARE TO THE ENVIRONMENT.

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Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum opens new train and railroad exhibit next month

THE ABRAHAM LINCOLN PRESIDENTIAL LIBRARY AND MUSEUM IS HOSTING A NEW TRAIN EXHIBIT NEXT MONTH.

 

“ALL ABOARD: AMERICA’S LOVE OF RAILROADS” KICKS OFF MAY 10TH TO CELEBRATE THE 150 ANNIVERSARY OF THE FIRST TRANSCONTINENTAL RAILROAD SAYS MUSEUM SPOKESPERSON CHRIS WILLS.

 

 

THE EXHIBIT…”ALL ABOARD: AMERICA’S LOVE OF RAILROADS” BEGINS MAY 10TH AND WILL BE HOUSED ACROSS THE STREET FROM THE MUSEUM IN UNION STATION. MUSEUM SPOKESPERSON CHRIS WILLS:

 

 

ON OPENING DAY, ADMISSION WILL BE FREE AND SEVERAL CHILDREN’S ACTIVITIES ARE PLANNED. AFTER THAT, ADMISSION WILL BE INCLUDED IN THE COST OF A MUSEUM TICKET. THE EXHIBIT RUNS THROUGH THE END OF THE YEAR.

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Senate Passes Bill Aimed to Protect Hospitality Workers From Sexual Assault

A BILL THAT CLEARED THE ILLINOIS SENATE LAST WEEK AIMS TO PROTECT HOSPITALITY WORKERS FROM SEXUAL HARASSMENT AND ASSAULT. 

 

THE LEGISLATION REQUIRES HOTELS AND CASINOS TO HAVE A SEXUAL HARASSMENT POLICY IN PLACE AND A PANIC-TYPE BUTTON AVAILABLE TO WORKERS WHO FEEL THREATENED. IT’S SPONSORED BY CHICAGO SENATOR RAM VILLIVALUM.

 

 

HOTELS AND CASINOS WOULD HAVE TO PUT A COMPREHENSIVE SEXUAL HARASSMENT POLICY IN PLACE AND INSTALL PANIC BUTTONS OR WORKERS WHO FEEL THREATED UNDER THE MEASURE. NOW THAT IT’S PASSED THE SENATE, IT MOVES TO THE HOUSE WHERE IT’S SPONSORED BY REPRESENTATIVE BOB MORGAN OF DEERFIELD.

 

CITIES LIKE CHICAGO, MIAMI BEACH, SEATTLE AND NEW YORK CITY HAVE ALREADY ADOPTED SIMILAR REQUIREMENTS.

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Weekly Weather Summary

While this past week saw some snow and cooler temperatures, expect to see a return to springtime weather. State Climatologist Office Spokesperson Brian Kerscher has more...

 

 

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City of Clinton Flushing Water Mains

The City of Clinton Water Department will be flushing the water mains starting the week of April 22, 2019.

The Water Department reports discoloration in water may occur.

Questions and concerns may be directed to the City of Clinton Water Department at 935-3432.

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Community Action To Unveil Client Management App

Community Action over the summer will be releasing an app to assist with personal and community development.

Alison Rumler-Gomez, Community Action executive director, indicates that many of their clients seeking financial literacy are younger and the app will allow Community Action to stay modern.

 

 

Rumler-Gomez says a pilot version of the app will be available to staff over the summer and hopes to have a full version available by August for clients.

 

 

For more information contact Community Action at (217) 732-2159 or live chat on capcil.info.

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Let's Bring an End to Distracted Driving

Deadly car crashes are often the result of drivers being distracted. The Illinois State Police say that it’s a growing problem. Acting State Police Director Brendan Kelly says he’s seen drivers who are just not paying attention to what’s around them. 

 

 

Kelly says it can be people texting while driving or even watching movies on their cell phones. Whatever it might be he wants drivers to ditch the phones and pay attention to the road.

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Big Brothers Big Sisters Crafts at Crestwicke August 5

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Illinois (BBBSCIL) in McClean County are implementing a new take on a fundraiser this summer.

Anne McDowell with BBBSCIL indicates that Golf Fore Kids Sake in McClean County will be at the Crestwicke Country Club in Bloomington. McDowell says they are partnering with local breweries for what they are branding Crafts at Crestwicke.

 

 

McDowell indicates Golf Fore Kids Sake in Champaign County is set for June 21. To register for the event, teams, and individuals can visit bbbscil.org.
 

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Ameren Illinois Asks to Reduce Rates

Ameren Illinois residential customers could pay less for electric delivery service under a plan filed today (Thursday) with the Illinois Commerce Commission. 

Approval of the $7.22-million decrease would mean about $1.13 per month less on the typical residential customer's monthly electric delivery bill. Ameren Illinois spokesman Marcelyn Love says if approved, this would be the sixth decrease in Ameren Illinois electric delivery rates since the state's Energy Infrastructure Modernization Act (EIMA) passed in 2011.

 

 

Under the state's Energy Infrastructure Modernization Act passed in 2011, Ameren Illinois says it's customers have saved an estimated $45 million each year through avoided outages and increased service reliability. Coupled with expected lower supply costs, overall customer monthly electric bills are expected to be lower in 2020 than in 2012 and remain below the 2018 national average.

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Sheriff Walker Calls Scott's Law Detail Success

DeWitt County Sheriff Mike Walker is calling a special detail of the Scott's Law a success.

 

The Sheriff indicates his department's Tuesday detail resulted in 14 citations, seven speeding warnings, two speeding citations, and a warrant arrest. 

 

 

Sheriff Walker says the objective of the detail served several purposes. He feels it gives them the chance to make the public aware of the laws and it provides protection for not just emergency service workers but anyone pulled to the side of the road for whatever reason.

 

 

The Sheriff says as Illinois leads the nation in line of duty deaths by law enforcement, it's time for them to be proactive in enforcing the laws and sending a message to keep them safe when they are doing their jobs. 

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Congressman Davis Says Residents Should Be Proud Of The Vault During Thursday Visit

Congressman Rodney Davis paid a visit to The Vault in Clinton Thursday afternoon and toured the teen center in downtown Clinton. 

Davis says it is the epitome of a community recognizing a problem and working together to address and feels the Clinton community should be proud of the resource available.

 

 

Congressman Davis says The Vault is a great resource for bringing people together and setting an example of how people should communicate and learn tolerance and understanding.

 

 

Dozens of student leaders, Vault Board members, mentors, and organizers showed up Thursday to greet the Congressman. 

 

The Vault continues their construction efforts on the lower level with a goal of having a two-story resource for teens to hang out and find the support of all types. 

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Camp Osage Registration To Begin Soon, Special Parents Meeting Scheduled for Next Week

New Activities Coordinator at the Clinton YMCA, David Torbert is excited about what is to come for this year's summer Camp Osage.

 

Torbert indicates his goal is to find ways to allow kids to have a good time and to cater to youth with all sorts of interests. He says most of the youth will spend a lot of time at local parks and playing games but there will be a segment of camp for youth that is not as into the outdoors.

 

 

In addition to bouncing around from park to park throughout the area and Torbert adds they are also going to partner with the University of Illinois Extension for some 4-H learning experiences.

 

 

Camp Osage serves kids entering first through eighth grade. Daily rates are $35 for current Y members or $150. Non-members the rate is $50 per day or $200 a week and multiple children families receive a 10-percent discount per child. 

 

There will be a parent meeting for next Tuesday, April 30 at 6 pm at the Y. 

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County Board Chair Addresses Upcoming Special County Board Meeting

Next Thursday night's DeWitt County Board meeting to vote on the application for a wind farm in the northwest corner of DeWitt County will offer each side 30 minutes to make their final arguments and the board will follow with their decision.

 

County Board Chair David Newberg outlined his intentions to run the meeting final Thursday night indicating he has discussed the meeting structure with his fellow board members who offered no objection to the plan.

 

 

With no new testimony or evidence able to be considered at the special meeting, Newberg does not believe there is anything to be presented to the board that has not been heard or considered the last two years this process has played out.

 

 

The special meeting will be from 5 pm to 8 pm at Clinton High School. Newberg indicates there is the possibility the County Board may need more time to make their decision and if that is the case, they will have to decide a time to recess the meeting to re-adjourn. 

 

Hear everything from the special use permit on The Big 1520 AM/92.3 FM/106.5 FM WHOW, online at dewittdailynews.com, the WHOW mobile app and on Amazon Alexa. 

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The Vault Focused on Finishing Lower Level

The Vault in Clinton is focused on making significant progress on the lower level of their downtown facility to have it ready for use for the community's youth.

 

Michelle Witzke indicates there are ADA mandates they have to meet and it requires a lot of work with the concrete in the building already and they have had to keep students out while the work is going on.

 

 

Witzke has been overwhelmed by the support that seems to show up at just the right time. She says every time there is a need or an unexpected project arise, someone is there to give them a hand.

 

 

According to Witzke, while the construction has been going on and The Vault has been closed down, students are able to help and many are showing great potential with what they can do already. The students will be instrumental in the development of entertainment in the lower level when it is ready.

 

 

The lower will have programs like art therapy, art stations and a self-defense course. Witzke indicates the upper-level is designed more like a lounge space to hang out and the lower level is for the higher level activities. 

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DeWitt County Museum Welcomes Nine-Foot Tower Clock

When you visit the DeWitt County Museum this year, you'll want to be sure to check out the nine-foot tower clock just inside the front door of the CH Moore Homestead.

 

Executive Director of the CH Moore Homestead, Joey Woolridge, told Regional Radio News Wednesday morning on the WHOW Morning Show, the tower clock was on display when the museum opened for the season on April 1.

 

 

According to Woolridge, this clock was used to synchronize the watches of the locals working on the railroad. She calls it a beautiful piece of history to greet their visitors this year.

 

 

The DeWitt County Museum is now open for the season. You can stop in for a tour of the CH Moore Homestead Tuesday through Saturday from 10 am to 5 pm and then Sundays from 1 pm to 5 pm at 219 East Woodlawn Street. 

 

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Social Security Reminds Public of How Payout Dates are Determined

If you receive Social Security Benefits of any type, officials are reminding beneficiaries of how they determine when you are paid.

 

Jack Myers with Social Security indicates it is usually determined by your birthday and payments tend to be made on the second, third or fourth Wednesday of each month.

 

 

For beneficiaries, Myers says to watch the Wednesdays and not the date on the calendar. It's likely you'll get your payments on different calendar dates.

 

 

You can find payment schedules at socialsecurity-dot-gov and then search "calendar" under the tab titled "publications".

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Ameren Remind Residents to Be Prepared in Case of Severe Weather, Losing Power

Ameren Illinois wants residents to be prepared if severe weather cuts power. George Justice is the Senior Director of Operations for the utility. He says it is important for residents to prepare a storm kit.

 

 

To report a power outage, you can call 1-800-755-5000 or visit Ameren.com.

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WHOW's Platforms to Broadcast April 25 DeWitt County Board Vote on Wind Farm

WHOW’s many platforms will broadcast the DeWitt County Board’s meeting live from Clinton High School Auditorium on Thursday, April 25th starting at 5pm.

 

The meeting will be the culmination of months of deliberation regarding the proposed Tradewind Energy Alta Farms wind project in northwest DeWitt County.

 

Station officials have been told there will be 30 minutes of comments each, by those in favor of the project, and 30 minutes of comments by those against.

 

The board will then discuss the project and then take a vote on whether or not the project can move forward.

 

WHOW’s many platforms include THE BIG 1520 across Central Illinois, 92-point-3 FM in DeWitt County, 106-point-5 FM in Logan County, streamed at dewittdailynews-dot-com and on the WHOW mobile app, and on Amazon Alexa.

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Statewide Alcohol Delivery Bill Passes in Senate

MOST PEOPLE MAY SOON BE ABLE TO GET BOOZE DELIVERED WITH THEIR GROCERIES.

 

THE SENATE PASSED A BILL LAST WEEK SETTING A STATEWIDE STANDARD FOR ALCOHOL DELIVERY. IT’S SPONSORED BY SENATOR DON HARMON OF OAK PARK.

 

 

HARMON SAYS THE LEGISLATION IS A WORK IN PROGRESS AND WILL LIKELY BE AMENDED IN THE HOUSE TO LET COMMUNITIES HAVE SOME LOCAL CONTROL.

 

 

A LOT OF PEOPLE HAVE THEIR GROCERIES DELIVERED THESE DAYS…BUT IN SOME AREAS OF ILLINOIS…THEY CAN’T GET ALCOHOL DROPPED OFF AT THEIR FRONT DOOR.

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State Introduces Pot Hole Reporting Website

There are more than a few potholes on state roads but you might not have anyone to tell. That could be changing. 

 

The Senate passed a bill that would create a website for statewide reporting of potholes or other dangers on the roads. Republican Dan McConchie says there is evidence web reporting works.

 

 

Reports from the website would be funneled to local IDOT districts.

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Rain Every Few Days in Illinois This Spring

More moisture on the way for most of Illinois this week.

 

Meteorologist Eric Schmidt is with EJS Weather in Newton. 

 

 

Temperatures are expected to be slightly cooler than average for the remainder of the spring. 

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IEMA Says Stay Alert as Storms Expected This Week

THE ILLINOIS EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY IS URGING THE PUBLIC TO BE PREPARED FOR STRONG SPRING STORMS. 

 

AFTER AN UNEXPECTED APRIL SNOWSTORM…STRONG TO SEVERE STORMS ARE FORECASTED FOR SOME AREAS OF ILLINOIS OVER THE NEXT FEW DAYS. I-EMA SPOKESPERSON REBECCA CLARK SAYS IT’S IMPORTANT MAKE SURE YOU HAVE PLENTY OF WARNING.

 

 

CLARK SAYS MOST WEATHER APPS HAVE ALERTS AND THAT IT’S A GOOD IDEA TO GO UNDER YOUR PHONE’S NOTIFICATION SETTINGS AND MAKE SURE “EMERGENCY ALERTS” IS TURNED ON. 

 

 

OTHER TIPS INCLUDE SETTING UP A FAMILY COMMUNICATION PLAN TO GET AHOLD OF EACH OTHER DURING A STORM AND TO REVIEW YOUR EMERGENCY SUPPLY KIT.

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Clinton Board of Education Reshuffles

The Clinton Board of Education has reshuffled.

 

Tuesday night at the Clinton Board of Education meeting, the Board approved Dan Matthews at the new Board President, Rodney Rogers vice-president and Sondra Baker secretary. 

 

Additionally Tuesday night, Tammie Ennis was sworn into the Board of Education.

 

Pictured above from left to right: Superintendent Curt Nettles; Board Vice President Rodney Rogers; Secretary Sondra Baker; Chris Hammer; Ron Conner; Cole Ritter; Tammy Ennis (Not Pictured - Board President Dan Matthews)

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Clinton School District Goes Live With New Website, App

Need to know today's lunch menu? There's an app for that.

 

Need to find the email for your student's math teacher? There's an app for that.

 

Need to know what time the school play starts? There's an app for that.

 

Tuesday night at the Clinton Board of Education, the Board was introduced to the new website and app by district tech-guru Laura Molitoris. She indicates right at the home page you can find district news and information.

 

 

From the app, you can contact the school via email and phone call and also pull up the daily lunch menus. Molitoris indicates there is a notification system that will eventually take the place of School Reach and you can get notifications that pop up on your mobile device. Those can be customized as well.

 

 

The URL remains the same, it's cusd15.org. Molitoris says right now there are no events on the district page yet but those will be added soon. 

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Tax Returns Not As Significant in 2019

Did you get that tax return information and find sticker shock with how much less it was?

 

If that describes you, you are not alone. TS Institute's Connie Unruh says a change in the tax code also changed the deductions and not many people knew about it, so it is impacting returns this year.

 

 

Unruh indicates standard deductions changed and personal exemptions were eliminated this year, and that is throwing taxpayers for a loop recently as well. 

 

 

With the changes made and tax season in the past, Unruh indicates donations for non-profits will be more impacted because of more changes this year. It has gone as far as some tax professionals recommending a change in giving habits.

 

 

If you owed on your returns this year and it was an unexpected expense, Unruh encourages individuals and families to consider starting separate savings account for those expenses that come up out of the blue that is not part of your monthly budget and expenses. 

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Monticello Mayor Looking Forward to Working With New City Council

Monticello Mayor Larry Stoner is looking forward to the new look City Council he'll be working with very soon.

 

Mayor Stoner told Regional Radio News Tuesday Morning on the WHOW Morning Show they will have three new council members and he is optimistic they will bring forward fresh ideas and an attitude to better their community.

 

 

As the new council comes aboard, Mayor Stoner hopes they continue the many good things happening in the community. Turning approximately 30 acres of land into recreational facilities could be one of the top priorities with the new council.

 

 

The Mayor points to a streetscape project that is continuing in the community that will connect their downtown district to the west side of Highway 105. Stoner is hopeful that can be the start of some great things for their community.

 

 

Mayor Stoner indicates activities and recreation choices have changed a lot over the years as there is now sports being played all year and hopes to allow the community space and place to continue to play and develop their skills. 

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Legislation in Springfield Could Alter School Day for Monticello Students

Students in Monticello might end up with a change in the structure of their school day if legislation in Springfield is put into law.

 

Superintendent of Monticello Schools, Dr. Vic Zimmerman indicates there is a piece of legislation that would change the mandates on physical education. He says under the Rauner administration, there was more freedom on teaching PE. 

 

 

The potential change leaves Dr. Zimmerman frustrated pointing out there are only a certain amount of hours in the day for curriculum and there's a long list of mandates to try to make sure they teach.

 

 

The state's intrusion with mandates leaves many Board of Educations asking what is their role? Dr. Zimmerman indicates they lobby for local control and work to make the consequences of that action known.

 

 

Dr. Zimmerman indicates they operate on the block schedule which alternates days of the week physical education is taught to students. He says this legislation might change how they schedule their days in the future. 

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Passing A Stopped School Bus May Cost More Money

Fines may be headed higher for passing a stopped school bus. 

 

The Illinois House approved a bill to double the fine for passing a bus with its stop arm extended. The fine would increase to $300 and repeat offenders would pay more than three times that. Republican Rep. Darren Bailey says he hopes the higher fines result in stronger deterrents. 

 

 

The bill heads to the senate for action. 

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Social Security Talks Getting Number, Card for Newborns

If you are expecting a baby or are starting to think about bringing a new life into the world, you will want to think about applying for a Social Security number for your young one.

 

Jack Myers with Social Security explains you will likely want to claim them on your taxes so they will need a Social Security number. 

 

 

Myers points out, the process can be easy if you apply for it at the hospital. He explains everything will be streamlined if you get that process started while you're still at the hospital with your newborn. 

 

 

The Social Security card will then be mailed to the address given to the hospital 2-3 weeks later. If you don't apply at the hospital, you will have to visit a Social Security office to submit an application and provide additional documentation. 

 

For more information visit the Social Security website at www.socialsecurity.gov.

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IRS Warning of Dirty Dozen Tax Scams

As tax season comes to a close, IRS Agent Michael Devine wants taxpayers to remain vigilant of the Dirty Dozen tax scams...

 

 

Michael reminds taxpayers that the IRS will not call you out of the blue and that you have the right to request information from anyone who calls to try and tell you that you owe money to the IRS. 

 

Be suspicious, ask questions and don't be afraid to hang up the phone and call the IRS hotline at 1-800-829-1040. It's the fastest way to know if you someone is trying to steal your money or your tax information. 

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First Weekly Crop Report

FARMERS ARE STRUGGLING TO GET TIME IN THE FIELDS AS WE HEAR IN THE WEEKLY CROP REPORT.

 

JUST ONE POINT SEVEN DAYS WERE SUITABLE FOR FIELDWORK THIS PAST WEEK SAYS CROP STATISTICIAN MARK SCHLEUSENER.

 

 

AVERAGE STATEWIDE TOPSOIL MOISTURE CAME IN AT 44 PERCENT ADEQUATE AND 56 PERCENT SURPLUS. 

 

 

THREE PERCENT OF WINTER WHEAT HAS HEADED AND 54 PERCENT OF THE CROP IS RATED IN GOOD TO EXCELLENT CONDITION.

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Employment Scams Top List from Better Business Bureau

If you are looking for a job, especially if you are looking online, you run the risk of being scammed. 

 

That, according to the latest report from the Better Business Bureau, which reports employment scams were the most reported and riskiest scams of 2018 as logged by the BBB Scam Tracker and is based on the BBB Risk Index. 

 

The index is a unique algorithm that calculates exposure, susceptibility, and monetary loss to offer a more accurate assessment of scam risk. And there seems to be a common theme: Agency investigator Don O'Brien says Amazon was in the news a lot in 2018 with its high-profile search for a second headquarters.

 

 

The agency reminds that scammers are opportunists, and whatever is in the news or being talked about on social media, they see as an opening to imposter a recognizable and respected organization or brand. 

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DCFS Opens Training Center in Chicago

THE ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF CHILDREN AND FAMILY SERVICES IS OPENING A NEW SIMULATION CENTER IN CHICAGO TO PROVIDE HANDS ON TRAINING TO WORKERS.

 

THE CENTER HELPS EXPOSE CASEWORKERS AND INVESTIGATORS TO POTENTIAL SCENARIOS THEY MAY FACE OUT IN THE FIELD SAYS GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER.

 

 

PRITZKER TOURED THE NEW FACILITY THIS WEEK.

 

 

MORE THAN 600 D-C-F-S WORKERS HAVE ALREADY BEEN TRAINED AT A SECOND SIMULATION CENTER IN SPRINGFIELD.

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Clinton YMCA To Launch Annual Strong Kids Campaign Wednesday

The annual Strong Kids fundraising campaign will officially get underway for the Clinton YMCA this Wednesday.

 

Rennie Cluver, Executive Director of the Clinton Y told Regional Radio News Monday morning on the WHOW Morning Show, after their monthly Board meeting Wednesday, they will launch the annual campaign as board members will be sent off with their informational packets to rally financial support from the community.

 

 

The Strong Kids campaign helps the Y offset the thousands of dollars they put into the youth and adults that participate in their programming. Cluver indicates they have given over 
$100,000 in scholarships to give the community the opportunity to be a part of their programs.

 

 

Cluver appreciates the support of the community and emphasizes the importance of their overall goal at the YMCA. He explains they offer scholarships to more than just youth in the community. They have given families and seniors discounts on memberships so they can utilize their facility and services.

 

 

A new aspect to this year's Strong Kids Campaign is the Acres for Kids program started by members on the Y board. Cluver is excited about that opportunity and what it could do to grow their annual campaign. 

 

Cluver encourages anyone interested in giving that may not receive a phone call or letter in the mail to contact him at the YMCA by calling 217-935-8307 or visit them at 417 South Alexander Street. 

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New Goodwill To Offer Free Electronic Recycling

The new Goodwill store coming to Clinton is going to be a free electronic recycling location. 

 

Pat Anderson with Goodwill Industries told Regional Radio News last week the store will offer an electronic drop-off location. He notes the only thing they won't be able to take is the old, bulky tube TVs.

 

 

In addition to being a drop-off location for electronic recycling, Anderson says the store will be a typical Goodwill with a donation drop-off and plenty of merchandise.

 

 

Anderson says to anticipate a jobs fair in the near future because they will have to have employees to man their store.

 

Right now, the store in the old Walmart that will be shared with Tractor Supply Company, is still under construction. Anderson hopes for a grand opening of July or August.

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DeWitt County Friendship Center Talks Mission

Being a resource for seniors to stay active and independent, that is the mission of the DeWitt County Friendship Center.

 

Executive Director Paula Jiles explains she runs into a lot of people that seem to think the senior center is just the next step in moving to an assisted living facility. She says that is the farthest thing from the truth.

 

 

Many may not realize Community Care Systems has an office at the Friendship Center as well. Dianne Cusey is their outreach worker that provides many services from assistance with Medicare and Medicaid to referrals for home care. She says their mission is along the same lines as the Friendship Center. 

 

 

Jiles indicates she is working to come up with a calendar full of activities for local seniors all the way through the year.

 

Get more information about the Friendship Center by calling 217-935-9441 or visit their location at 410 East Main Street. You can reach Cusey with Community Care Systems by calling 935-4560. 

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Warrensburg-Latham Schools Adding Additional Social Worker

To meet the demands of their student body, Warrensburg-Latham Schools are adding support for students with emotional and social needs.

 

A trend that is becoming more prominent across the country, Warrensburg-Latham Schools are seeing an increase in students who need emotional and social support, so their Superintendent, Dr. Kristen-Kendrick Weikle indicates they have hired a second social worker to their staff.

 

 

Illinois law requires schools to have one certified social worker on staff. Dr. Kendrick-Weikle explains the difference between a social worker and a counselor....

 

 

The two social workers will serve roughly 950 students in the Macon County district. 

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Sen. Rose's Bill Passes Promoting Awareness of Scott's Law

THE ILLINOIS SENATE UNANIMOUSLY PASSED A BILL THIS WEEK TO RAISE AWARENESS ABOUT THE STATE’S MOVE-OVER LAW.

 

THE LEGISLATION REQUIRES THE SECRETARY OF STATE’S OFFICE TO INCLUDE A REMINDER ABOUT THE LAW IN REGISTRATION RENEWAL NOTICES…AND TO INCLUDE A QUESTION ABOUT IT ON THE WRITTEN DRIVER’S EXAM. IT’S SPONSORED BY SENATOR CHAPIN ROSE OF MAHOMET AND PROMPTED BY THE INCREASE IN STATE TROOPERS BEING HIT BY PASSING MOTORISTS.

 

 

THE BILL STILL NEEDS APPROVAL FROM THE HOUSE AND THE GOVERNOR TO BECOME LAW.

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The Vault, Big Brothers Big Sisters Partnering To Mentor Local High School Students

If you have wanted to mentor a high school student and take them under your wing, a couple of local non-profits are asking you to consider being a part of a pilot program locally.

 

Big Brothers Big Sisters and The Vault in Clinton are seeking adults to mentor high school students. Heather Peavler with Big Brothers Big Sisters indicates this program would bring together adults with established careers and a good foundation in place, and pair them with a high school student who is just starting to figure those things out.

 

 

Michelle Witzke with The Vault in Clinton says she sees the need for this type of program daily with the community's youth. She believes it takes a community to raise a child and she hopes this can be an added component to that.

 

 

Recruiting efforts for mentors are underway. You can contact Peavler at Big Brothers Big Sisters for more information by calling 217-935-1234 or visit bbbscil.org. 

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Dirks-Londrigan Seeks Rematch With Congressman Davis

Springfield Democrat Betsy Dirksen Londrigan lost by a razor-thin margin to Congressman Rodney Davis in the 13th Congressional District last November. Now she's back to try again. Dirksen Londrigan will continue with the key play in her 2018 playbook, with a focus on health care.

 

 

For Dirksen Londrigan, that fight includes fighting for to keep the status quo...

 

 

In the 2018 race, Dirksen Londrigan was declared the winner by CNN before late night tallies moved the verdict in Davis' favor. 

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House Passes Bill Raising Fines For Illegally Passing School Bus

FINES FOR ILLEGALLY PASSING A SCHOOL BUS IN ILLINOIS MAY BE DOUBLED.

 

HOUSE LAWMAKERS PASSED A BILL RAISING THE FINE FOR DRIVING AROUND A SCHOOL BUS WITH ITS ARM EXTENDED FROM 150 DOLLARS TO 300. REPEAT OFFENDERS WOULD PAY ONE THOUSAND DOLLARS INSTEAD OF THE CURRENT 500. REPRESENTATIVE DARREN BAILEY OF LOUISVILLE SAYS THE STIFFER PENALTIES ARE MEANT TO BE A DETERRENT.

 

 

CRITICS SAYS ENHANCED PENALTIES DON’T WORK AND WORRY THAT DRIVERS WOULDN’T KNOW ABOUT THE HIGHER FINES. THE BILL NOW MOVES TO THE SENATE.

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Illinois Names Champ in Pulled Pork

The Illinois Pork Producers Association has named a champion in pulled pork. The competition coincided with the NCAA basketball tournament.

 

 

The Pork Producers Association's Kelsey Burgener says the winner was Pauly's BBQ in Arthur. The organization will have another bracket competition next March, highlighting a different product, likely a pork tenderloin. 

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Illinois Senate Wants Presidential Tax Returns

The Illinois Senate passes a measure to try and get presidential candidates to release their tax returns. 

 

Tony Munoz sponsored the bill. It would require any Presidential or Vice Presidential candidate who wanted to be on the Illinois ballot to make their tax returns public.

 

 

There is a question on if the move is constitutional. 

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Senate Passes Bill Lowering School Age from Six to Five

THE ILLINOIS SENATE IS VOTING TO LOWER THE AGE THAT CHILDREN HAVE TO START SCHOOL. 

 

SENATOR KIMBERLY LIGHTFORD OF MAYWOOD SAYS THE STATE HAS PLACED SO MUCH EMPHASIS ON EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION…IT’S IMPORTANT THAT KIDS ARE IN SCHOOL BY AGE FIVE.

 

 

BUT CRITICS, LIKE SENATOR CHUCK WEAVER OF PEORIA, SAYS SOME JUST AREN’T READY.

 

 

UNDER THE BILL, KIDS BORN AFTER MAY 31ST OF THE SCHOOL YEAR COULD WAIT TO START UNTIL THEY ARE SIX. THE NEW AGE REQUIREMENT WOULD BE IN PLACE FOR THE 2020-2021 SCHOOL YEAR. IT NOW MOVES TO THE HOUSE.

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State Receives $15 Million Grant To Fight Opioid Abuse

THE STATE DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES IS GETTING AN INFLUX OF FEDERAL DOLLARS TO HELP FIGHT THE OPIOID CRISIS IN ILLINOIS. 

 

THE 15 MILLION DOLLAR GRANT WILL BE USED FOR SEVERAL EFFORTS IN THE BATTLE AGAINST THE HIGHLY ADDICTIVE DRUGS SAYS D-H-S SPOKESPERSON PATRICK LAUGHLIN.

 

 

LAUGHLIN SAYS THE 15 MILLION DOLLARS IN FEDERAL FUNDING WILL BE USED TO EXPAND SUBSTANCE ABUSE TREATMENT AT JAILS AND HOSPITALS, COMMUNITY OUTREACH AND MEDICATION-ASSISTED TREATMENT.

 

 

LAUGHLIN SAYS D-H-S COULD POTENTIALLY RECEIVE ANOTHER 29 MILLION NEXT YEAR.

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Clinton Chamber of Commerce Eyeing New Additions to 2019 Haunted House Season

The 2019 haunted house season is months away but organizers of the Terror on Washington Street Haunted House are hoping to bring new ideas to this year's guests.

 

Executive Director of the Clinton Chamber of Commerce, Marian Brisard Friday morning told Regional Radio News on the WHOW Morning Show their recent visit to the Haunted House Convention in St. Louis left them with ideas they are hoping to bring to Clinton this year.

 

 

According to Brisard, the Terror on Washington Street Haunted House organizers are hoping to bring some virtual reality entertainment to this year's guests. Additionally, she would like to introduce an escape room for guests while they wait.

 

 

The Terror on Washington Street Haunted House will open the second weekend of October, October 11 and 12 and run until October 31-November 2.

 

Get more information by finding the Terror on Washington Street Haunted House Facebook Page or visit clintonhauntedhouse.com. 

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Local Authorities Say Scams Still Prominent as Tax Day Nears

Do you have your taxes filed?

 

If not, answering the phone and hearing a threat from an unfamiliar voice in regard to your taxes might be nerve-racking. Local authorities indicate as tax day gets closer and closer, scam phone calls are likely to inundate your phone in the coming days. Police Chief Ben Lowers says callers posing as the IRS or Social Security seem to be most common right now.

 

 

Chief Lowers is concerned for the elderly of the community. He indicates this could a point of humiliation for them and thus they are targeted the most with these calls.

 

 

According to Chief Lowers, residents are receiving calls from scrambled numbers that show up as a local number. He indicates callers are posing as the IRS presenting pressing information requesting a large sum of money. He advises to hang up the phone and do not entertain their dialogue.

 

 

Chief Lowers indicates you may receive a call from a familiar area code on your phone, call the number back and find an unsuspecting individual on the other end of the line. He says them scrambling numbers like that makes them very difficult to track.

 

He encourages the public to remain on their toes even after April 15 comes and goes as these calls are sure to continue and evolve into the spring and summer. 

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Cerro Gordo Schools Updates Continuing As Weather Starts to Turn

A major update of the facilities at Cerro Gordo schools continues on as the spring season begins.

 

Thursday morning on the WHOW Morning Show, Superintendent Brett Robinson told Regional Radio News the construction is just over a year in and they are currently using the connecting addition they planned. Additionally, they have a new STEM lab and dining area.

 

 

Robinson indicates the renovation is about more than just updated facilities. Robinson indicates there is a large safety component for their students and staff. Additionally, technology plays a large role in the renovation as well.

 

 

The district also added an all-weather track to their outdoor football and track and field facility. Robinson indicates that is going to allow them to host a track sectional and other events at their school. 

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Contract Between Second Chance for Pets and DeWitt County Hits Snag Over Possible Liability; Second Chance Turns Over $5,000

Progress for a contract between Second Chance for Pets and DeWitt County has hit a snag after the Chair of the DeWitt County Board's Public Safety Committee, Lance Reece, discovered a potential conflict with the Animal Shelter's certification.

 

Reece explains the County's certification through the USDA could be in jeopardy if the contract is approved that lets people in without an escort.

 

 

Second Chance for Pets of DeWitt County is seeking a contract to gain access to the DeWitt County Animal Shelter to help further their efforts of adopting the relinquished and abandoned animals of the community. An incident at the shelter that has not been made public led to the non-profit being denied access to the facility after hours. 

 

Heather Wantland with Second Chance proposed to the Committee the possibility of Saturday hours for the Animal Shelter. DeWitt County Board Chair David Newberg sat in on the meeting and chimed in on discussions that have taken place in the past with DeWitt County Administrator DeeDee Rentmeister. 

 

 

Thursday morning at the Committee's meeting, Glenna Rogers with Second Chance turned over $5,300 to the County. The money has been the center of a dispute between the two entities over who should have possession of it. Rogers hopes it will be used to pave the lot at the Shelter and Reece indicated it would indeed go there.

 

 

Second Chance representatives say they want to work with the County as much as possible to provide assistance to the staff of the Shelter, who often run thing with all the responsibilities and care they have to provide. 

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DARE Program Concluding This Month

April is a big month for Clinton Police Chief Ben Lowers and the DARE program in Clinton schools.

 

Wednesday morning on the WHOW morning show, Chief Lowers indicates the program has a lot happening this month. They'll be taking a handful of students to Springfield to meet with local lawmakers and gather with other DARE students and officers.

 

 

Next week, high school students will visit the DARE students to talk about their experiences after they took the DARE course. Chief Lowers notes DARE projects are presented the week after. 

 

 

Chief Lowers indicates DARE is a program that means a lot to him. He enjoys being with the kids but also feels it is one of the many community outreach opportunities the department does to engage the youth that he hopes pays dividends down the road.

 

 

As students move through the school system, they again encounter law enforcement during Officer Mike Bennett's awareness classes he leads, they see law enforcement during their driver's education classroom curriculum, and Chief Lowers says those all provide positive interaction opportunities he hopes leads to bridging the gap between society and law enforcement. 

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Clinton American Legion Looking to Send Students to Youth Police Academy

The Clinton American Legion is looking to send students to the Youth Police Academy this year.

 

Josh Thielen, Clinton American Legion Commander, indicates that the Clinton post has only recently started sending students and they hope to continue. Thielen says the program is for 15-17-year-olds with an interest in criminal justice. Over the course of the week, students will have classroom instruction and training from the state police.

 

 

Thielen says after the program parents can expect to see a change for the better in their children. He indicates that the program pushes students to their limits and changes their perceptions about what they are capable of.

 

 

The Youth Police Academy will be from June 23-28. For more information contact Josh Thielen at (217) 520-9823.

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Monticello Superintendent Bracing For Changes from State

With a democratic majority across the board in Springfield, anything they want is likely to be pushed through over the next four years.

 

Superintendent of Monticello Schools, Dr. Vic Zimmerman indicates there are a number of proposals in Springfield that would impact schools and he is keeping a close watch over proposals that would interfere with local control.

 

Last month, the State of Illinois informed schools they would be skipping this year's Teacher Retirement System payment. Dr. Zimmerman says while that isn't ideal, it seems to be a short-term impact of a long term plan to pay down the state's backlog of pension debt.

 

 

Other proposals floating around Springfield right now center around PE requirements that would impact the school day for Monticello schools along with teacher certifications among others. Dr. Zimmerman recently shared his opinions on these various pieces of legislation. We'll have more with him next week on Regional Radio News. 

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House Approves Teacher Pay Bump

The state already is set to raise the minimum hourly wage and now a plan to raise the starting wage for teachers. 

 

The House approved a measure to bring starting teacher pay to $40,000 over the next five years. The state last set a minimum starting wage in the 1980s and it hovers around $11,000. Republican Rep. Avery Bourne says the state is offering up unfunded mandate.

 

 

Supporters in the house say it will help with a shortage of teachers. The bill heads to the Senate. Last year a similar law was vetoed by then Governor Bruce Rauner.

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More Snow Coming to Upper Midwest And Could Be More Trouble for Mississippi River

Although Illinois will stay out of the path of a midweek blizzard bearing down on portions of the Upper Midwest and Central Plains, the added snowfall in Wisconsin and Minnesota will mean more trouble for the upper Mississippi River. That according to Freese-Notis Meteorologist Dan Hicks.

 

 

Parts of northern Wisconsin, Minnesota, South Dakota, Nebraska and eastern Wyoming are going to be the areas that have the heaviest snowfall from this system. Illinois will see just rain. 

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University of Illinois Extension Promoting Cottage Food Law For Farmer's Market Season

Starting this week, University of Illinois Extension experts will be touring central Illinois promoting changes to a law that would allow folks to sell homemade items at farmer's markets as the new season approaches.

 

Typically, new season begin in early May and Caitlin Mellendorf, Health and Wellness Educator with the University of Illinois Extension indicates a law recently changed the rules surrounding homemade goods at farmer's markets that not many people know about. Her goal is to educate the public on the in's and out's of the changes and how they can benefit from it.

 

 

Mellendorf indicates they are coordinating with the Health Department for these courses. She indicates it is important for everyone wanting to sell anything at a farmer's market to be aware of the mandates surrounding that.

 

 

Mellendorf begins her tour in Monticello this Thursday from 6 pm to 8 pm, then again in Decatur, Saturday, April 20 from 9 am to 11 am and finally in Clinton on April 25 from 6 pm to 8 pm. 

 

Visit go.illinois.edu/dmp for more information or you can usually catch Mellendorf in Macon County at 217-877-6042. You can also find the University of Illinois Extension on social media on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. 

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IDOT Starts 'Drive Like You Work Here' Campaign

From start seeing orange to drive like you work here. A new road construction season brings along a new slogan to try and get folks to slow down and take it easy around construction zones. 

 

IDOT’s Guy Tridgell says it’s just another way to get people to drive safely through work zones, and if you don’t, it will cost you.

 

 

Illinois averages about 5400 work zone crashes a year. In 2018, 18 people were killed.

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Durbin Wants Federal Action on Move Over Law

Senator Dick Durbin paid tribute to the three State Troopers lost in the line of duty during a speech on the Senate Floor. He also called for Washington to help with the issue addressed by the Illinois Move Over Law, which requires drivers who move over if possible when approaching stopped emergency or police vehicle.

 

 

Durbin saluted Lucy Kuelper, the daughter of an Illinois State Trooper who created a Facebook page to raise awareness about the Illinois Move Over Law. 

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Governor Pritzker Continues Push for Graduated Income Tax

The college basketball season may be over but Governor J.B. Pritzker continues to employ a full court press in his bid to bring a graduated income tax to Illinois. 

 

In a Capitol presser, he asked lawmakers to let Illinoisans make the final call at the ballot box.

 

 

A new proposed amendment to Pritzker's income tax proposal would alter the Illinois constitution to base a person’s taxes on their income.

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New Monticello City Council Faces Decisions on Projects

The new Monticello City Council will quickly have to dive in with some important decisions as city officials hope to soon move forward on projects they've had in the works for some time.

 

Director of Community Development, Callie McFarland told Regional Radio News this morning on the WHOW morning show the city has a need for their own recreation facilities. Those dreams were put on hold to get the city's wastewater treatment plant updated but they are ready to talk about the next step now that the wastewater treatment plant project is winding down.

 

 

While the City of Monticello has its own facilities, McFarland points out they just are not substantial enough to maintain a quality of life they want to deliver to the community.

 

 

While facilities for things like little league or softball are needed, the community also wants to see more green space for kids activities and bike or running paths and things like that. McFarland indicates they are trying to consider all those things in their planning.

 

 

Additionally, this summer, McFarland indicates they have a downtown bar and restaurant that will have a new outdoor patio. Additionally, in that area, they are putting a safe-crossing that will connect their downtown to the west of Route 105. 

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The Vault, Anderson Ford Partnering For 'Drive One' Event

This Friday, plan on joining The Vault at Anderson Ford in Clinton for a Drive One For Your Community Event.

 

Michelle Witzke with The Vault Teen Center indicates Anderson Ford and the Ford Motor Company will donate $20 to the teen center for each drive up to $6,000.

 

 

This the second time the two have partnered for the event and Witzke indicates this is going into their general fund so they can keep their programs free. She says they have the money raised for their renovations.

 

 

The event is this Friday at Anderson Ford in Clinton. Visit The Vault's special link to register to drive. 

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DeWitt County Friendship Center Raises $6,300 At Annual Ham and Bean Supper

DeWitt County Friendship Center officials are celebrating a successful ham and bean fundraiser from last month.

 

Friendship Center Executive Director Paula Jiles indicates they raised $6,300 thanks to donations from local businesses and their cake auction, which was a huge hit again this year thanks to Lance Schmid.

 

 

To keep their programs free, Jiles indicates fundraisers like their ham and bean supper are vital to the organization. She says the Friendship Center isn't just for seniors, however, it gives seniors somewhere to go and socialize and stay active.

 

 

Jiles indicates the ham and bean fundraiser is their biggest fundraiser and explains they do receive tax dollars from DeWitt County, which are also vital to their operations but their fundraising efforts help offset salaries for their two-person staff.

 

 

Jiles is working on a fundraiser idea that she hopes will out-raise the ham and bean supper indicating she'll never do away with the ham and bean fundraiser because too many people look forward to it.

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Youth Engaged in Philanthropy (YEP) Program Seeking Students Outside McLean County

The Youth Engaged in Philanthropy or "YEP" is a program through the Illinois Prairie Community Foundation designed to teach high school students about the world of non-profits. 

 

It is a four-county operation for students in McLean, Livingston, Logan, and Dewitt counties to go through the entire process of helping provide funds for area philanthropic groups. Kathy Sawyer with YEP says they currently have involvement from students of all five Bloomington-Normal public schools but want students from the other three counties to get involved.

 

 

Regional Radio spoke with students already involved in YEP and they say it's more than just giving money to groups in need. Roshan Prakash is a junior at Normal Community High School and he believes the program has given him tools outside of philanthropy that he can use in the future.

 

 

If a student of a high school in Dewitt, Livingston, Logan, or McLean counties wants to get involved with YEP, they can apply for the 2019-20 school year by visiting ilprairiecrf.org or ciyep.org 

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Pritzker Ready To Work with Lightfoot

Governor JB Pritzker says he’s going to have a great relationship with the new Mayor of Chicago. 

 

The two Democrats, Pritzker and Lori Lightfoot had dinner last week and she will be in Springfield this week. 

 

 

Pritzker says that they have many common priorities to work towards.

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Boil Orders In Effect In Clinton & Waynesville

Boil orders are in effect in parts of Clinton and Waynesville.

 

In Clinton, the boil order is for residents in the 500 block of East Macon to North George.  Then north on George Street to the 700 block of East Webster.  Then east on Webster Street to Cain.  Then residents north on Cain Street to Marion.  Then west to the railroad tracks.

 

In Waynesville, the boil order is in effect for West Street from North Street to 5th Street. 

 

Both boil orders are in effect until further notice.

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DeWitt County Sheriff's Office Participating in Statewide Enforcement of Scott's Law

Get over when you see emergency vehicles on the side of the road or you will get a ticket.

 

There are no exceptions and there are no excuses according to DeWitt County Sheriff Mike Walker who indicates his office will be among many on Tuesday, April 16 to participate in statewide enforcement of Scott's Law.

 

 

The epidemic of drivers not getting over for emergency vehicles has resulted in a drastic spike already this year of officers being hit by passing cars and in several cases, fatalities have resulted. Sheriff Walker says this is a blatant disregard for authority and being distracted.

 

 

Sheriff Walker encourages motorists who are being pulled over to do their part and pull as far to the side of the shoulder as possible. While new tactics are being deployed for officers and deputies, motorists also protect themselves by practicing this advice.

 

 

The Sheriff indicates they will have specific details next Tuesday out specifically watching for motorists who do not follow Scott's Law and don't get over for emergency vehicles on the side of the road. He says Woodford County did this recently and they will use a lot of the tactics that were effective for them. 

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Clinton Police Encouraging Residents To Lock Cars

Local authorities say there is a direct correlation between the spring warm up and an increase in thefts of vehicles.

 

Clinton Police Chief Ben Lowers indicates this is the time of year that is the busiest for law enforcement and encourages residents to be respectful of their neighbors and those around you.

 

 

This is the time of the year authorities sees a spike in vehicle burglaries. Chief Lowers indicates burglaries are rarely forced entries and the biggest issue they see is a lack of vehicles being locked.

 

 

Authorities say parking in a driveway or well-lit vehicle is best. The Chief says the most important thing you can do is remove valuables or keep them out of site. He also notes those phone chargers are a popular take among youth.

 

 

Chief Lowers indicates if your vehicle is burglarized and only a minimal amount valuables were taken, he encourages a call to the police. He indicates it helps them track where activity may be taking place. 

 

 

The Chief indicates burglary to motor vehicles is a frequent occurrence in Clinton and notes they want to know of any incidents involving thefts. 

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Time Coming For Grass Seed Planting

If we can catch a break from these spring downpours, homeowners will be getting out to get their lawns prepared for spring treatments.

 

As you begin to think about your strategy this year, Master Gardener the University of Illinois Extension Office, Candice Hart says if you've always raked old, wet leaves up, you might considering mowing over those a couple of times and letting them become mulch in the ground.

 

 

If you're thinking about getting that grass seed down, Hart indicates you can get that seed down but it is too early for it to germinate but it doesn't hurt to get it down now if you would like to.

 

 

Hart has a blog she puts out for free for the public. Check that out by visiting go.illinios.edu/dmp and also check out their monthly calendar for the latest in events and seminars hosted by University of Illinois master gardeners. 

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April is National Social Security Month

April is National Social Security Month and officials are using this year to highlight the things the public can take care of online.

 

Jack Myers with Social Security feels the socialsecurity.gov website has become almost a one-stop shop with a number of things that can be accessed to save you time and get you back to the things that keep us busy.

 

 

There are a number of things to be accessed at socialsecurity.gov. Myers indicates replacement social security cards can be requested along with a set up of direct deposit benefits along with changing address or checking the status of social security benefits.

 

 

According to Myers, checking the status of a social security application can be a huge benefit for the public. He also adds social security tax forms can be grabbed at their site.

 

 

Social Security has evolved to meet the public where they are in doing a lot of their business online. Myers adds retirement benefits, spousal benefits, disability, and Medicare benefits can all be applied for at socialsecurity.gov.

 

He reminds the public the domain is dot-gov. 

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Stinkbugs Moving Out

Many Illinoisans found a new pest invading homes last fall and winter. Those brown, disc-like stinkbugs came from Asia a couple of decades ago and have made their way west, using cracks and crevices into many homes. Fredric Miller has been monitoring the pest in his role as horticulture professor at Joliet Junior College;

 

 

Miller says the brown, spotted bugs with a snout can cause major damage to fruits and vegetables but are really harmless to humans;

 

 

While green stinkbugs have caused crop damage in Illinois, Miller says the brown ones haven't yet reached a threshold where extensive control might be needed. 

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Senate Democrats Promoting Importance of Accurate Count in 2020 Census

SENATE DEMOCRATS ARE STRESSING THE NEED FOR AN ACCURATE COUNT IN THE 2020 CENSUS.

 

NEW LEGISLATION WOULD PROVIDE 25 MILLION DOLLARS IN GRANTS FOR CENSUS EDUCATION AND LOCAL OUTREACH EFFORTS SAYS SENATOR KIMBERLY LIGHTFORD OF MAYWOOD.

 

 

LIGHTFORD SAYS THERE IS A LOT AT STAKE. UNDERCOUNTING COULD LEAD TO THE LOSS OF FEDERAL FUNDING, TWO CONGRESSIONAL SEATS AND TWO ELECTORAL COLLEGE VOTES.

 

SENATOR IRIS MARTINEZ OF CHICAGO IS PUSHING A BILL THAT WOULD PROVIDE 25 MILLION DOLLARS IN GRANTS TO HELP MAKE SURE EVERYONE IS COUNTED. SHE SAYS THERE’S A LOT AT STAKE.

 

 

THE MONEY WOULD BE USED TO EDUCATE THE PUBLIC ABOUT THE IMPORTANCE OF THE CENSUS AND TO REACH HARD TO COUNT GROUPS LIKE THE HOMELESS AND MINORITIES.

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Monitoring Ag Pests Soon Underway

Planting season will soon be ramping up in Illinois and that means pest season is not far behind. 

 

State Agricultural Pest Survey Coordinator Kelly Estes says there is some great variability in tracking the pest game in Illinois and some of that has to do with weather conditions. 

 

 

Estes says pest monitoring traps are currently being sent out to cooperators throughout the state.

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Warner Hospital and Health Services Seeking Patient Transport Volunteers

Warner Hospital and Health Services are seeking community members to volunteer with admissions

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Paul Skowron, CEO of Warner Hospital and Health Services, indicates that the hospital once had a volunteer group that is no longer in existence. Skowron is looking to implement volunteers to assist with patient transport. He says he got the idea after visiting other rural hospitals.

 

 

Skowron says the ideal candidate would be someone who is either retired or semiretired and be able to push a wheelchair across the hospital. Volunteers would also need to pass a background check and health screening.

 

 

For more information contact Shannon Crawley at Warner Hospital and Health Services at (217) 935-9571.

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Weekly Weather Summary

Back and forth we go between bright sunny days and humid, wet days in central Illinois. State Climatologists office spokesperson Brian Kerschner has more on what is after a rainy Sunday....

 

 

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Illinois Department of Human Services Talks Alcohol Awareness Month

THIS IS ALCOHOL AWARENESS MONTH AND THE ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES SAYS HELP IS AVAILABLE FOR THOSE STRUGGLING WITH ADDICTION. 

 

IT’S ESTIMATED ONE IN EVERY 12 ADULTS SUFFER FROM ALCOHOL DEPENDENCE, WHICH CAN LEAD TO LONG TERM HEALTH PROBLEMS AND RECKLESS BEHAVIOR SAYS D-H-S SPOKESPERSON PATRICK LAUGHLIN. UNDERAGE DRINKING CAN AFFECT BRAIN DEVELOPMENT AS WELL.

 

IT’S IMPORTANT TO SEEK HELP SINCE ALCOHOL ABUSE CAN BE SO DANGEROUS SAYS SPOKESPERSON PATRICK LAUGHLIN.

 

 

LAUGHLIN SAYS THE BEST PLACE TO START IF YOU NEED HELP FOR ALCOHOLISM OR SOMEONE YOU KNOW IS HAVING TROUBLE IS THE STATE’S HELPLINE AT: 1-833-2 FIND HELP, AND THAT’S THE NUMBER TWO, OR VISIT: HELPLINE IL DOT ORG. THERE YOU WILL BE CONNECTED WITH LOCAL SUBSTANCE ABUSE CENTERS.

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Sen. Durbin Meets with NCGA, Offers Continued Support for E15

Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois reaffirmed his support for year-round E15 sales this week. 

 

In a meeting with National Corn Growers Association CEO Jon Doggett, Durbin, an Illinois Democrat, said he would continue to push the EPA to not delay in allowing E15 to be sold year-round. He called the policy change good for the environment and good for farmers facing financial headwinds. 

 

In October, President Trump committed the EPA to lift summer restrictions on ethanol blends up to E15. EPA must issue the rule by June 1, 2019, to ensure that E15 can be sold at retailers this summer. In the last Congress, Durbin co-sponsored the Consumer and Fuel Retailer Choice Act, a bill that would allow the sale of E15 year-round. 

 

During the meeting, Doggett and Durbin also discussed the importance of trade with Mexico and Canada, soil health efforts, and NCGA’s recent partnership with the Environmental Defense Fund to help farmers achieve economic benefits from conservation and climate practices.

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USDA Launches New Farmers.gov Features

The Department of Agriculture says changes to Farmers.gov will help producers manage their farm loans and navigate the application process for H-2A visas. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue announced the changes Wednesday. 

 

For farm loan management, the self-service website now enables producers to log in to view loan information, history, and payments.

 

Producers can access the “My Financial Information” feature by desktop computer, tablet or phone. 

Secretary Perdue launched Farmers.gov in 2018 as a portal to help farmers find the right loan programs for their business and submit loan documents to their service center.

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Scovill Zoo Opening This Weekend

Leadership at the Scovill Zoo in Decatur is ready for their opening this weekend.

 

Ken Frye, Director of the Decatur Zoo, says it's been a long winter and he excited to get guests in and the animals seem to be feeding off his feelings as well.

 

 

Frye welcomes the first few spring-like days after the long winters and indicates this year they are still in somewhat of a scramble to get everything finished but guests should only notice a few things that will be different.

 

We'll have more on that next week on Regional Radio News. 

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American Legion Auxilary Hosting Fundraiser for HOOAH Deer Hunt For Heroes

American Legion Auxilary organizers are encouraging the public to join them for a fundraiser for the HOOAH Deer Hunt for Heroes this Saturday night at the Legion Hall in Clinton.

 

Jean Rogers with the Legion Auxilary says their soup and sandwich fundraiser is by donation but they'll have a live and silent auction to help raise money for this fundraiser that is in its third year.

 

 

Jeff Gaither with HOOAH Deer Hunt for Heroes says every dollar they raise goes back into the organizations, specifically to make sure they can bring veterans to their events and make the events safe for their attendees.

 

 

The American Legion Auxilary fundraiser is Saturday at the Legion Hall at 219 North Elizabeth Street. 

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Lincoln High School Names Successor To Retiring Bagby

Earlier this year, Lincoln High School Superintendent Bob Bagby abruptly announced his retirement effective at the end of the year.

 

Last month, the Lincoln High School Board of Education named his successor. Bagby says Lexington Superintendent Dwight Stricklin will succeed him in his post.

 

 

Bagby indicates he has known Strickland for some time and feels Strickland is going to be a great hire and bring a perspective he can't provide.

 

 

Bagby indicates he had no intention of retiring not that long ago but says it was time he steps aside to enjoy the successes of his grandchildren and be there more for his family. 

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Ag Economy Barometer Drifts Lower

Farmers are expressing more concerns regarding the future as the monthly Ag Economy Barometer drifts lower. 

 

Released this week, the March survey fell to 133 down from 136 a month earlier. 


Organizers say increasing concerns about future economic conditions drove the barometer lower as the Index of Future Expectations declined to 139 in March compared to an index value of 145 in February. The current conditions measure was unchanged compared to February at 120. The Barometer surveys 400 agricultural producers monthly. 

 

A rating below 100 is negative, while a rating above 100 indicates positive sentiment regarding the agriculture industry. Producers expressed more concern regarding farmland values, as 25 percent of farmers surveyed expect farmland values to drift lower over the next 12 months. 

 

Survey results from January and March 2019 suggest that five to as much as seven percent of U.S. farms are suffering from some financial stress, using the need to carryover unpaid operating debt as an indicator of financial stress.

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State Police Warning To Watch For Motorcycles

The warm weather is bringing everyone out and that includes avid motorcycle riders.

 

Riders will take any opportunity through the winter months to get the bikes out but now that the weather appears to be making a permanent turn for the better, bikers are hitting the roadways more frequently. State Police Trooper Matt Frizzle says motorists need to double check then triple check for bikers.

 

 

For bikers, Trooper Frizzle reminds them to ride cautiously and have a sense of anticipation.

 

 

While wearing a helmet is not in Illinois law, Trooper Frizzle says that is the safest practice for bikers. He also encourages wearing bright colors when possible.

 

 

Drivers at all times should have the phones putting away or on silent so they are not a distraction. Trooper Frizzle indicates they continue to see distracted drivers of all types and hopes motorists will remain focused on the road, calling it respect for your fellow man. 

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State Champs Crowned in Archery This Weekend

State champs in archery will be crowned this weekend. 

 

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources hosts the National Archery in the Schools Program Illinois State Tournament Friday and Saturday at the Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield says IDNR’s Ed Cross.

 

 

There are three divisions—elementary school, middle school and high school. 

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Pritzker Calls For Action After Funeral for Slain Illinois State Trooper

It's a day the Northwest Illinois town of Warren won't soon forget. Governor J.B. Pritzker, friends, family and fellow members of the law enforcement community gathered to say goodbye to Illinois State Police Trooper Brooke Jones-Story. 

 

The 34-year-old was remembered with a funeral service at her old high school gym nearly a week after she was struck and killed by a semi on US 20 in Freeport. Pritzker has had a full speed ahead, polished, confident tone at press conferences since he took office, but when asked to discuss Jones-Story, he spoke from somewhere deeper in the heart...

 

 

Pritzker is determined to see improvement in compliance with the Move Over Law...

 

 

Pritzker believes the manual for new drivers should have a greater focus on the Move Over Law. Gov. Pritzker will attend the funeral of Trooper Gerald Ellis this morning in Grayslake.. .

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House Passes Bill For Schools To Teach About Consent During Sex Ed

TEENS WILL LEARN MORE ABOUT GIVING CONSENT IN THEIR SEX EDUCATION CLASSES UNDER A BILL THAT PASSED THE HOUSE THURSDAY.

 

THE LEGISLATION PROVIDES A CLEAR DEFINITION OF WHAT CONSTITUTES CONSENT FOR TEACHERS TO TALK ABOUT WITH STUDENTS. IT'S SPONSORED BY REPRESENTATIVE ANN WILLIAMS OF CHICAGO.

 

 

THE MEASURE CALLS FOR A COMPREHENSIVE DISCUSSION ABOUT WHAT IT MEANS TO GIVE CONSENT

 

 

THE BILL NOW MOVES TO THE SENATE.

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Richland Community College Clinton Center Focused on New Events, Non-Credit Courses To Increase Awareness

The Richland Community College Clinton Extension Center is focused on increasing its awareness locally.

 

Rachel Brewer says they are going to begin offering new events and non-credit courses in an effort to get more people into their building and make the community more aware of what they do.

 

 

Brewer has done some research that might appeal to students in the outlying areas of Clinton. She explains they plan to offer basic courses for math, sociology, and English.

 

 

This summer there will be a number of non-credit courses and Brewer is working to get local educators to lead those courses, have fun and engage the community.

 

 

The center is planning non-credit courses for CPR and AED certification, sewing machines, digital photography, growing herbs and gardening, food preparation and food management and they are planning for more. 

 

Brewer touts the facility's computer lab and using that as a catalyst for more technology opportunities with their Decatur campus. 

 

Get more information about the Richland Community College Clinton Extension Center by calling 217-935-6791 or visit richland.edu/clinton. 

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Warrensburg-Latham Trying Early Dismissal Every Wednesday Next Year

A central Illinois school district is going to be trying out an increasing trend on the school calendar during the upcoming school year.

 

Warrensburg-Latham Schools are going to be doing early dismissals each Wednesday next year and their Superintendent, Dr. Kristen Kendrick-Weikle that time will be a 2 pm dismissal.

 

 

According to Dr. Kendrick Weikle, each Wednesday afternoon will be a time for professional development for the district's teachers and staff.

 

 

Dr. Kendrick-Weikle points to a couple of other area schools that have taken on this model. She says they did their research before jumping into this change.

 

 

Because the state continues to tinker with requirements during the school day, it has had an unintended consequence of cutting into the needed and required professional development of teachers and Dr. Kendrick-Weikle says this is their district's way of making sure they get that professional development requirement taken care of. 

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DeWitt County Museum Gets Trademark for 'Apple and Pork Festival'

The DeWitt County Museum Association has obtained a trademark for the phrases ''Apple and Pork Festival" and "Apple n Pork Festival".

 

In a release last week, the Museum Association indicates the use of those phrases or substantially similar language on any apparel, decorative items, memorabilia, print or digital media or any other items will be restricted to those with a licensing agreement with the museum starting this year. 

Maureen Collins-Kolb indicates this an effort to make sure the festival continues on into the future. 

 

 

Collins-Kolb says the application to get a licensing agreement with the Museum is straightforward. She notes they will want to know what you intend to sell with the phrases on it.

 

 

Collins-Kolb says their primary focus is for the Apple and Pork Festival to continue to be a driver of good things for Clinton, DeWitt County, and central Illinois. She stresses they are not out to get anyone and they just want it to be a positive for the Museum. 

 

For details or questions, contact the DeWitt County Museum at 217-935-6066. 

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Warner Hospital CEO Talks Nursing Shortage

The healthcare industry in Illinois could face major challenges in the future if things are not done now to help, specifically, rural areas.

 

Warner Hospital CEO Paul Skowron indicates rural hospitals across the country face a nursing and doctor shortage. Legislation passed recently in Washington, DC to help hospitals attract and retain doctors and nurses.

 

 

According to Skowron, Warner Hospital is partnering with other area groups to help address the nursing shortage and make the industry easier and more affordable to break into.

 

 

Skowron feels the city-owned facility is a very appealing place now because they are not laying off staff and they are not making cuts but indicates he is still concerned for the future. 

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Gardeners Getting Itch To Get Into Gardens

Gardeners of all types are getting the itch to get into the garden this year and a University of Illinois master gardener has some advice on what you can be doing this time of the year.

 

Candice Hart, Master Gardener at the U of I Extension says right now is a great time to get the leftover leaves or remains of last year's plants out of the garden.

 

 

Midweek rains might make it still to wet to till this weekend but Hart indicates once it does dry up, you can get out there and get that going. She notes though, many gardeners are choosing not to till these days as it brings up new weeds and could have an impact on your soil structure.

 

 

If you are looking to get something started, Hart says getting some seeds started in pots or even totes are becoming increasingly popular. There's a variety of things you could get started at this time of the year.

 

 

If you are going to start your plants out in pots or seed pods, you'll need to keep them at a southern or western facing window so they get plenty of sunlight. While you might be tempted to water them every day, Hart indicates that isn't entirely necessary.

 

 

You can contact Hart at the U of I Extension by calling 217-935-5764. You can also visit web.extension.illinois.edu/dmp.

 

Hart recently discussed lawn care maintenance as the grass begins to turn green. We'll have more on that next week no Regional Radio News. 

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State Officials Talk Child Abuse Prevention Month

THIS IS CHILD ABUSE PREVENTION MONTH, AND OFFICIALS SAY EVERYONE HAS A ROLE TO PLAY IN KEEPING KIDS SAFE. 

 

LAWMAKERS CAN FUND INTERVENTION AND AFTER-SCHOOL PROGRAMS, PROFESSIONALS CAN REPORT SUSPECTED CASES OF ABUSE AND PARENTS CAN LEARN ABOUT THING LIKE SAFE SLEEP PRACTICES SAYS PREVENT CHILD ABUSE ILLINOIS HEAD DENISE MCCAFFREY.

 

 

GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER SAYS HE’S COMMITTED TO IMPROVING HOW THE ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF DEPARTMENT OF CHILDREN AND FAMILY SERVICES HANDLES ABUSE CASES BY HIRING MORE CASEWORKERS AND IMPROVING TECHNOLOGY.

 

 

ADVOCATES SAY THE PUBLIC CAN HELP AS WELL. IF YOU SUSPECT A CHILD IS BEING ABUSED, CALL D-C-F-S’ HOTLINE AT 1-800-25-ABUSE. MANY PROFESSIONALS ARE REQUIRED TO REPORT AS WELL.

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Pre-Season Tar Spot Checklist for Corn

Tar spot is a relatively new corn disease in the Midwest. Todd Gleason has this pre-season checklist for farmers, roughly speaking, north of Interstate 80…

 

 

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Home Alone Age Up For Changes

It’s a question that many parents wrestle with as a personal decision but they may not have known that the state has an opinion too. 

 

What is the legal age you can leave a child home alone at? State law says 14 – but that might be changing thanks to State Rep. Joe Sosnowski, he wants to see it moved to 12.

 

 

If the bill moves on from the House the Senate will take up the measure next. 

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College Savings For All

College savings accounts for all. A House bill that was approved this week would give each baby born or adopted in the state a college savings account. 

 

The state would start the process with a $50 investment. Rep. Robyn Gabel of Evanston says it might be a good way to get more parents saving and more kids going to college.

 

 

34 other states do something similar. But the plan is not without opposition. Rep. Grant Wehril wonders how the $9 million dollar a year tab would be handled by the state.

 

 

Now the Senate gets its vote on the matter.

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DeWitt County Development Council Aiming To Get In Touch With Business Community in 2019

The DeWitt County Development Council is working to get in front of the business community more this year.

 

Board President for the DCDC, David Torbert explains their Executive Director, Elizabeth Folks has worked hard in her first year with the organization and is setting a goal of getting in front of 100 business leaders in 2019.

 

 

Set up at last week's Clinton Chamber of Commerce Business Expo Folks says it was a great opportunity to introduce herself to get in front of business leaders and get a feel for what everyone is doing and how DCDC can help.

 

 

Looking ahead, Torbert explains they are working with Workforce Investment Solutions in Decatur to get employers in DeWitt County connected with workforce development and job skills enhancement for their employees or potential employees.

 

 

Also at the 2019 Business Expo, DCDC promoted their revamped USDA revolving loan fund and look forward to promoting to their upcoming Leaders Breakfast where they will talk about digital marketing with the community. 

 

Learn more about the DCDC by visiting dcdc-illinois.net or you can reach out to them on Facebook. 

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Proposal To Slow Tax and Fee Hikes

The fight over a progressive income tax is underway and Senate Republicans are trying to make it harder for income taxes to be raised in Illinois. 

 

They want a two-thirds majority to be required to pass any law that bumps up tax rates or increases fees. Republican Dan McConchie says they want to find a way to hold the line on proposed hikes to taxes and fees.

 

 

The bill looks likely to go nowhere – three-fifths of lawmakers will have to approve the proposed amendment. 

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Illinois Chamber Backs Gas Hike, Calls For End of Sales Tax

The Illinois Chamber of Commerce is standing behind an Illinois House proposal to boost funding for overdue road and bridge repairs. 

 

In a rare move, Chamber President/CEO Todd Maisch (Mysh) says the business organization wants to see registration fees for electric vehicles tripled and boost the motor fuel tax from 19 cents a gallon to 44 cents.....

 

 

Chamber officials say Representative Andre Thapedi's proposed fuel tax increase will provide an additional 2 billion dollars a year for transportation needs. Meanwhile, Maisch says the legislation woudl eliminate what he calls a tax on a tax....

 

 

The current sales tax on fuel sits at 5 percent. The legislation calls for a hike on the fuel tax of 15 cents a gallon starting July 1st with the other 10 cents, replacing the sales tax,being phased in over five years.

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Flooding Worries To Hang Around For Much of Spring in Illinois

Flooding worries will stick around at least through the end of May in Illinois. And rain chances will also be optimal for much of the spring says Dave Kristovich with the Illinois State Climatologist’s office.

 

 

Flood warnings continue for the Mississippi River throughout Illinois. 

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College Applications For Past Felons Could Change

Colleges’ may not be able to ask about criminal history in the application process. 

 

A bill at the Statehouse would bar university admissions from inquiring about a person’s criminal history. Police Chiefs on several college campuses say that will hurt safety efforts. 


Supporters of House Bill 217 say there is no evidence that asking those questions keeps schools any safer and may keep students with a record from applying. 

 

Schools in Illinois say now when a perspective student indicates they have a felony conviction it starts a case by case process to determine if that student should be accepted. 

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Buchannon Defeats Crang, Bartuch for Streets Commissioner; Edmunds Defeats Former Mayor for Finance Commissioner; Farmer City Mayor Wins By 14 Votes

Kenny Buchanan has defeated incumbent Nan Crang for Commissioner of Streets and Public Improvements and former Clinton Mayor Carolyn Peters could not overcome incumbent Tom Edmunds for Finance Commissioner on the Clinton City Council in the April 2 election Tuesday night.

 

Meanwhile, Farmer City Mayor Scott Testory held off Larry Woliung by a mere 14 votes in a 232-218 final.

 

Edmunds receives over two-thirds of the vote with a commanding 499-237 victory over the former Mayor. 

 

Buchanan received 60-percent of the vote to oust incumbent Crang who received only 30-percent of the vote for a 449-232 tally. John Bartuch received only 65 votes. 

 

The alderman race for the Monticello City Council, the only contested race for the Council, was won by Tom Reed by only six-votes over Michael Koon, 80-74. Elaine Yoon received 31 votes.

 

Other notable uncontested races in DeWitt County, Chris Hammer, Tammie Ennis, Ron Conner, and Rodney Rogers were elected to four-year terms on the Clinton Board of Education. Sondra Baker was elected to an un-expired two-year term.

 

On the Blue Ridge Board of Education, Chelsie Leffelman, Carlos Burton, and Dale Shneman were voted to four-year terms.

 

Voter turnout for the City Council races in Clinton was at only 17-percent. In Farmer City, voter turnout was nearly 39-percent. 

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Sen. Rose: Illinois Democrats Unleashing Pent Up Frustration on Illinois

A local lawmaker is joining his fellow GOP lawmakers in their criticism of Illinois Democrats.

 

State Senator Chapin Rose believes Illinois Democrats in Springfield had gotten used to majorities in every branch of government and then Governor Bruce Rauner broke up that dominance. He says now they are quote -"unleashing pent up frustration on Illinois."

 

 

Like a few other states in the union, Illinois is now considering a partial birth abortion and Sen. Rose calls the proposal 'haunting'. He believes a majority of people do not like the idea of a partial birth abortion.

 

 

With Democrats controlling Springfield, Sen. Rose says there are several proposals that would impact gun-owners rights and even the shooting sports of central and downstate Illinois. He indicates it is his goal to forge relationships with his colleagues across the aisle and try to show them the impacts of the legislation they are supporting. 

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Boil Order in Clinton Lifted

The boil order issued yesterday morning in Clinton has been lifted.  

 

City officials sent the notice shortly after 2 pm Tuesday afternoon. The impacted area was from Jefferson at Madison to White then over to railroad tracks then back to Jefferson. 

 

Call City Hall at 935-3842 with questions.  

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Clinton City Council Seats Among Contested Races in Today's Election

Three candidates are vying for Commissioner of Streets and Public Improvements and two are seeking the seat of Finance Commissioner on the Clinton City Council.

 

Those will be among a number of races locally for today's election in central Illinois.

 

Incumbent Tom Edmunds is seeking to retain his seat as Finance Commissioner, being challenged by former Mayor Carolyn Peters.

 

John Bartuch and Ken Buchannon are seeking to unseat incumbent Nan Crang for the post of Commissioner of Streets and Public Improvements.

 

Mayor Roger Cyrulik, Commissioner of Public Safety Dan Ballenger and Commissioner of Property John Wise are all running unopposed on the Council.

 

Farmer City Mayor Scott Testory is being challenged today by J. Willard McKinley and Larry Woliung.

 

Council members Ben Burden and Shelley Friedrich are running unopposed.

 

The Clinton Board of Education has an unopposed race tonight as Rodney Rodgers, Chris Hammer, Tammie Ennis, and Ron Conner will occupy four, four-year terms. John Blythe will be stepping aside from the Board.

 

Sondra Baker is running unopposed for an unexpired two-year term on the Clinton Board of Education. 

 

In Monticello, a four-year term on the City Council is being contested between Tom Reed, Elaine Yoon, and Mike Koon. 

 

In the Argenta-Oreana school district, Todd Armstrong, Rory Tipsword, Maria Lightner, and Jeff Schroetlin are being challenged for four seats on the Board of Education by Justin Jacob Phillips. 

 

Get the latest in election results tonight by tuning in to 92.3 FM WHOW in DeWitt County, 106.5 FM WHOW in Logan County, 95.9 FM WEZC and online at dewittdailynews.com then after the races go final, get the results at dewittdailynews.com. 

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Local Vets Headed To Washington DC For Honor Flight

Four local veterans will be headed to Washington, DC early Tuesday morning to be a part of the first Honor Flight of the season.

 

Jeff Morlock helps coordinate the trips for local veterans and indicates their first trip is going to send four local veterans to Washington, DC to see all the memorials and landmarks.

 

 

The DeWitt County organizers always try to make the trip special for the veterans and Morlock says this year is no different. They'll have a police escort from the airport to the Dollar Tree in Clinton tonight when they return home. Additionally, Morlock is encouraging anyone with a heart for veterans to come out to the airport this evening to be a part of the welcome home.

 

 

The Honor Flight allows veterans to take a trip to Washington, DC for free. The organization does fundraising for future trips during their flights by collecting donations from those in attendance. 

 

Morlock indicates they leave Springfield at 3:30 am and arrive home between 10 pm and 11 pm. You can visit landoflincolnhonorflight.org or contact him at 217-853-2530 and he can help you or a loved one get on the waiting list to visit the capitol. 

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State Board of Elections Offering Assistance on Election Day

The Illinois State Board of Elections says it will be ready to assist voters in Tuesday’s consolidated election.

 

Board officials announced Monday that specialists will be available by phone from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. in Chicago and 5:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. in Springfield. They will be able to offer assistance or respond to complaints.

 

Voters who need to check their registration status may visit the state board’s registration lookup page.

 

Officials say they remain concerned about cybersecurity and misinformation via social media. Any suspect posts or text messages should be reports to the state board.

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April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month

National Child Abuse Prevention Month is underway with child welfare advocates calling for Illinoisans to get involved in ensuring the welfare of kids in peril. 

 

The issue of child abuse is getting significant attention these days as Marc Smith has become the latest leader trying to right the ship at the Department of Children and Family Services. Smith was recently picked by Governor J.B. Pritzker to become the 15th leader at the agency since 2003.

 

 A recent Office of Inspector General report has revealed that in the past two years, 98 children involved with DCFS have died. Safe Families For Children Downstate Director Ryan Mobley says there are some positive developments in the fight against child abuse.

 

 

He notes DCFS can't do it alone....

 

 

The recent interim director at DCFS said the agency needs to reduce caseloads and and lawmakers like Senator Andy Manar have called for the agency to refocus more of its effort on helping children in peril. 

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City Commissioner Again Takes Exception With Social Media Posts

Death. Taxes. Issues with social media.

 

Monday night at the Clinton City Council meeting, Commissioner John Wise again put social media on blast as he encountered a post that discussed the new water meter system.

 

Wise's disgust was centered around the public's impatience with the new system the City has turned to to better monitor water usage.

 

 

Wise implored the public to contact the folks at City Hall with any questions or concerns about the new system. He says a lot of people in their office know what is going on and can provide knowledgeable answers.

 

 

Wise indicates there was a complaint about the new system not working properly. 

Other business from the Monday night council meeting....

 

>>The Council approved a two-year contract with the DeWitt County Human Resource Center for Maintenance work at a total cost of $88,625.

 

>>The Council approved the annual spring tree planting for $4,000.

 

>>A facade agreement was approved with Kyle Koons at 500 & 501 West Side Square for $44,736.

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LeRoy Fire Department Receives Grant For Training Facility

For the second straight year, the LeRoy Fire Department has been named a recipient of America's  Farmers Grow Communities grant in partnership with Monsanto.

 

David Fulton with the LeRoy Fire Department indicates the department received $2,500 to go towards a training facility in LeRoy. He thanks farmer Austin O'Neall for nominating them for the grant again in 2019.

 

 

According to Fulton, the department is working to build a training facility made from shipping containers. He says it's a work in progress currently but they look forward to the possibilities it will provide.

 

 

Celebrating its 10th year, America’s Farmers Grow Communities partners with farmers to support nonprofit organizations strengthening rural communities. The program offers farmers the chance to direct a $2,500 donation to a nonprofit of their choice. It has awarded more than $33 million to over 8,000 nonprofits across rural America. 

 

To learn more about America’s Farmers Grow Communities program, visit www.AmericasFarmers.com or follow on Facebook at facebook.com/AmericasFarmers.

 

Photo below: (L to R): David Fulton, LeRoy Firefighter; Jeff Whitesell, LeRoy Fire Chief; Austin O'Neall, O'Neall Scholl Farms.

 

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Local Authorities Asking Local Residents To Be Considerate As Weather Begins To Warm Up

This is the time of year local authorities begin to see an increase in noise complaints and disputes among neighbors. 

 

With that in mind, Clinton Police Chief Ben Lowers is asking local residents to be mindful of your neighbors as you enjoy the change in season.

 

 

Residents will be getting out with their animals for more walks and the Chief reminds Clinton residents there is a city ordinance to keep your pets on a leash. Additionally, he implores those out with pets to clean up after them if they take care of their business while you're on a walk or at the park. 

 

 

As residents get out for spring clean up in the yards and gardens, Chief Lowers reminds residents there is a no burn ordinance in town and asks everyone to utilize the yard waste facility or set their brush out on the curbside for city crews to get when they make their monthly rounds.

 

 

This time of year also brings more calls regarding car burglaries. Later this week on Regional Radio News we'll have more details on what authorities see this time of year surrounding that. 

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DeWitt County Museum Reviewing 2018 Guest Trends

DeWitt County Museum leaders recently took the time to look at their guest book from 2018 and found some interesting trends. 

 

Executive Director Joey Woolridge indicates the guest book in 2018 suggested younger people have taken up an interest in the DeWitt County landmark and she is very encouraged by that.

 

 

Woolridge is somewhat perplexed as to the sudden interest in the museum and local history by younger people. That did not stop her from asking some of the guests what brought them to the homestead.

 

 

Woolridge believes the museum is a driver of local revenue. She points out they have discovered the CH Moore Homestead is a destination for so many of their yearly visitors.

 

 

According to Woolridge, there was a study done on the impact of local history and it's contributions to the local economy.

 

 

Woolridge points to the Apple and Pork Festival the two-day period as a huge impact on the local economy but feels the Homestead and Museum certainly is a driver of the local economy the rest of the year as well. 

 

She says a lot of their guests stay for about an hour or hour-and-a-half and many of those ask where to eat or what else they should see. 

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City of Clinton Issues Boil Order

A boil order is in effect in Clinton.  

 

The area is from Jefferson at Madison to White then over to railroad tracks then back to Jefferson. 

 

Call City Hall at 935-3842 with questions.  

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Lincoln High School Superintendent Talks Cuts to Teacher Retirement System

Late last month, the Teacher Retirement System of Illinois, or TRS, sent out a memo the State of Illinois would again be cutting back it's contribution this year.

 

Bob Bagby is the Superintendent of Lincoln Community High School and he is fearful the TRS fund may run out of money. He points out, the likely spin from the State will be the over-payment of teachers in Illinois as the problem.

 

 

Bagby believes TRS will eventually fix itself. He explains the requirements have changed over time and because of that, there will be a gap where teachers won't be taking a pension or they will be taking a reduced pension.

 

 

While it isn't a popular opinion, Bagby would be in favor of local districts funding their own teacher retirement systems. He feels local districts are already more responsible with money than Springfield but he also says he'd be willing to pay an extra tax to make that happen. 

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'Seasonality' Causing Increase in Gas Prices

How high will they go? That’s the question consumers are asking as gas prices at the pump are now averaging $2.83 a gallon in Illinois, up 10-cents from a week ago and 37-cents higher than a month ago.

 

Harry Cooney is with GROWMARK’s manager of energy customer risk management. 

 

 

Diesel fuel is averaging $2.91 a gallon in Illinois, the same as a week ago and only four cents higher compared to a month ago. 

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