Local News

Mt. Pulaski Schools Starting Major Addition

Earlier this month, a Logan County school district began the process towards the addition of their buildings.

 

First-year Superintendent Fred Lamkey has been on the job in Mt. Pulaski just four weeks and takes the lead of a district that has broken ground on a major renovation. He explains the aging building they occupy has a lot of concerns which adds an addition to the newest part of their facility.

 

 

While Lamkey has only been on the job for less than a month, he has kept himself informed on the happenings of the work. Accepting the job in December of last year allowed him to attend board meetings and construction meetings. 

 

 

Keeping students safe is perhaps one of the top concerns of school leaders anymore and Lamkey says that is something they are looking at very closely with this construction project. He explains they are working with the Logan County Sheriff's Department and Mt. Pulaski police to make sure they are doing everything they can do keep their students safe.

 

 

The project will impact only the junior and senior high school campus but Lamkey says there is going to be a lot of things that will be impacted during the upcoming year.

 

 

New classrooms in the addition will have the latest and greatest in technology but Lamkey is very excited about linked conference rooms that will be between each classroom. He says this will allow for project areas or even one-on-one work.

 

He also points out, the new library will have a college library feel with comfortable seating and an open atmosphere. He says these are just a few examples of how education is evolving and Mt. Pulaski joining the evolution. 

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Scott's Law Extended

GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER IS SIGNING LEGISLATION TO BOLSTER THE STATE’S “MOVE OVER” LAW. 

 

THE LEGISLATION INCREASES THE PENALTIES FOR NOT SLOWING DOWN AND MOVING OVER WHEN YOU SEE A VEHICLE WITH FLASHING LIGHTS STOPPED ON THE SIDE OF THE ROAD. THERE WILL ALSO BE HIGHER FINES FOR HIGHWAY CONSTRUCTION ZONE VIOLATIONS SAYS GOVERNOR PRITZKER.

 

 

STATE POLICE DIRECTOR BRENDAN KELLY SAYS ANOTHER LAW CREATES A SPECIAL TASK FORCE TO COME UP WITH OTHER WAYS TO KEEP FIRST RESPONDERS SAFE.

 

 

 22 STATIONARY ILLINOIS STATE POLICE SQUAD CARS HAVE BEEN STRUCK BY MOTORISTS WHO DIDN’T MOVE OVER THIS YEAR. TWO TROOPERS DIED AS A RESULT.

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State Receives Extension to Submit Federal Disaster Aid Requests

THE STATE IS GETTING AN EXTENSION TO APPLY FOR FEDERAL DISASTER RELIEF IN SEVERAL AREAS HIT HARD BY FLOODING.

 

THE ORIGINAL DEADLINE WAS AUGUST SECOND, BUT WITH FLOODING STILL A PROBLEM IN SOME COMMUNITIES, OFFICIALS NEED MORE TIME TO ASSESS THE DAMAGE. THE STATE NOW HAS UNTIL SEPTEMBER THIRD TO REQUEST FEDERAL ASSISTANCE SAYS GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER.

 

 

PRITZKER SAYS IT’S A TIME-CONSUMING PROCESS THAT NEEDS TO BE DONE RIGHT.

 

 

GOVERNOR PRITZKER HAS DECLARED 36 ILLINOIS COUNTIES TO BE STATE DISASTER AREAS. THE STATE NOW HAS UNTIL SEPTEMBER THIRD TO COMPILE ALL THE DATA NEEDED TO MAKE A STRONG CASE FOR FEDERAL ASSISTANCE.

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Clinton Announces August Concert Lineup

New country bands Everette and Hannah Ellis will highlight the late-summer concert lineup on the downtown Clinton square in August.

 

City Administrator Tim Followell says they will officially announce the duo later this week and indicates Everette has performed in DeWitt County before and he's hoping the strong following Hannah Ellis has will bring a good crowd to Clinton.

 

 

In recent years, the city has been able to nail down performers with some notoriety with their name, such as an appearance on various network competitions, but Followell says they haven't been offered those types of performers recently.

 

 

While the city did not hold the first of their usual two concerts on the square this summer, the Coziahr Harley Davidson dealership in Forsyth held a concert in June and Brushville performed for their annual appearance this last weekend.

 

 

The concert is on Saturday, August 24. Followell says to follow their Music on Main and Center Facebook page for the details to officially be announced, as early as later this week. 

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Piatt County Mental Health Center Finds Teen Drinking Down in DeWitt County

The Piatt County Mental Health Center received a grant to address the epidemic of teen drinking in DeWitt County and five years later, statistics are showing improvements.

 

Tuesday morning on the WHOW Morning Show, Tony Kirkman with the Piatt County Mental Health Center says DeWitt County was showing a higher than the state average of underage drinking among youth and so they received a grant from the State of Illinois to address the problem.

 

 

Kirkman indicates the success of the grant and the coalition they formed was huge. He explains throughout the grant, they were able to expand their base of students to survey and feels their efforts paid off.

 

 

The goal from the grant was to decrease the underage drinking rate by only 2 or 2.5 percent but Kirkman points out, the rate decreased by 5-percent. 

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Warner Hospital Projects On Schedule

Warner Hospital and Health Services administration is keeping tabs on several projects within their facility as the summer rolls along.

 

CEO Paul Skowron indicates phase one of their emergency renovation is done and now they are looking towards expansion in phase two. He explains they still have to get approval on the design from the state but anticipates the project getting going in the fall and then a completion timeline of the spring.

 

 

A recently announced project that is under a time crunch is the transfer of the hospital pharmacy. Skowron indicates they will have to await approval from the state later next month before they can begin to move forward on that process.

 

 

According to Skowron, they are pushing their bone density scan machine. He explains they renovated the whole area to make it more comfortable for their patients and encourages anyone who needs a sports injury image or for women for their bone density procedures.

 

 

Some hospital staff will soon be moving off-campus. Skowron says their billing department will soon be moving to the Clinton Plaza where they will be housed. Right now, the hold up is waiting on the installation of fiber connecting the hospital to the remote location.

 

 

Between all the projects and improvements happening at the city-owned facility, Skowron estimates roughly a million dollars of investment into their facility. 

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Weekly Crop Report

AFTER A LATE START, ILLINOIS CROPS ARE MOVING RIGHT ALONG AS WE HEAR IN THE WEEKLY CROP REPORT. 

 

59 PERCENT OF CORN IS SILKING AND 16 PERCENT IS IN THE DOUGH STAGE. 

 

 

CROP STATISTICIAN MARK SCHLEUSENER HAS AN UPDATE ON SOYBEANS.

 

 

98 PERCENT OF WINTER WHEAT HAS BEEN HARVESTED AND THE SECOND CUTTING OF ALFALFA HAY IS 76 PERCENT COMPLETE. 

 

AVERAGE STATEWIDE TOPSOIL MOISTURE DROPPED TO SIX PERCENT VERY SHORT, 34 PERCENT SHORT, 57 PERCENT ADEQUATE AND THREE PERCENT SURPLUS.

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Pritzker Continues Push For Impeachment, Path of Least Resistance

Governor J.B. Pritzker isn't shy with his opinions or politics. That's especially the case with President Trump and his feelings on questions about the 2016 Election....

 

 

Meanwhile Pritzker isn't getting involved in the horse race that is the crowded Democratic race for the Presidential nomination....

 

 

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Governor Pritzker Signs Law to Provide Relief From High Interest Consumer Debt

GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER IS SIGNING A NEW LAW TO GIVE MILLIONS OF ILLINOISANS RELIEF FROM HIGH INTEREST RATES ON THEIR DEBT. 

 

THE CONSUMER FAIRNESS ACT LOWERS POST-JUDGMENT INTEREST RATES ON CONSUMER DEBT…AND REDUCES THE AMOUNT OF TIME THE DEBT CAN BE COLLECTED. GOVERNOR PRITZKER SAYS THEY WANT TO HELP PEOPLE STRUGGLING TO PAY OFF WHAT THEY OWE.

 

 

THIS NEW LAW LOWERS THE POST-JUDGEMENT INTEREST RATES ON CONSUMER DEBT UNDER 25 THOUSAND DOLLARS FROM NINE TO FIVE PERCENT. THIS WILL HELP PEOPLE STRUGGLING TO PAY OFF THEIR BALANCE SAYS REPRESENTATIVE WILL GUZZARDI OF CHICAGO.

 

 

ACCORDING TO THE HEARTLAND ALLIANCE…ONE IN THREE ILLINOISANS ARE IN THE DEBT COLLECTION PROCESS.

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Clinton American Legion Celebrating 100 Years in August

The American Legion is celebrating 100 years of existence this year and the Clinton Legion chartered their chapter the same year in 1919 and they too will be celebrating 100 years.

 

Josh Thielen with the Clinton Legion indicates they are wanting to celebrate the accomplishment but also highlight the last 20 years, which he calls a rebuilding of their post.

 

 

Thielen says about 20 years ago, the Legion was in a stagnant spot with limited membership and participation. He credits a local trio for recognizing things needed to change and rebuilt the post.

 

 

August 17 will be a special day for the Legion to celebrate. Thielen explains they will recognize members that have been instrumental in the development of their post and guest speakers about the various levels of the American Legion.

 

 

The event will be open to the public and free to attend. Thielen hopes the community will come out and learn more about the Clinton Legion. You can find the American Legion on Facebook for more information. 

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Clinton Athletic Director Reminds Parents of Important Dates in August

Parents of athletes in the Clinton school district will want to put a couple of important dates on their calendar.

 

Athletic Director Matt Koeppel told Regional Radio News Monday morning on the WHOW Morning Show, August 7 is their district-wide coaches meeting and then a meeting with parents.

 

 

Earlier that same morning, incoming freshman, juniors and first-year athletes will need to make sure they attend the baseline testing with Clinton athletic trainers. Koeppel says this is now encompassing all athletes and even band members.

 

 

Freshman baseline testing is at 8 am with juniors and first-year participants at 10 am. 

Koeppel indicates all fall sports start August 12 this year. 

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Early Week Rain Chances The Best Chance for Foreseeable Future

Rain chances Monday are probably the best chances we have for rain for some time.

 

Chris Miller at the National Weather Service in Lincoln says after a very wet spring and start to summer, Mother Nature did an about-face and now, depending on where you are in Illinois, things are turning very dry, very fast.

 

 

Right after the Fourth of July, Miller says the jetstream shifted and started to keep the rain to the north. Depending on where you live in Illinois, this month could go down as one of the driest in history.

 

 

On top of being incredibly dry, Miller says July saw a heatwave, the likes of which, we haven't seen in quite some time either. 

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ALMH Senior Life Solutions Program Targeting Mental Health Services for Rural Seniors

Seniors and mental health are rarely linked in today's society that has taken up the torch to help those battling mental illness but that is exactly what Logan County program is doing.

 

The Senior Life Solutions program through Abraham Lincoln Memorial Hospital and program coordinator Bobby Leebold wants rural seniors to know they are there for them and want to help them.

 

 

The senior population is rarely connected to things like depression or anxiety and Leebold says those challenges are just part of aging for them. He emphasizes these are not normal nor are they OK.

 

 

Leebold indicates it can be hard to diagnose these mental illnesses in seniors as they will come in with health issues that can't be diagnosed. Just like other people in society, seniors turn to typical vices like drugs, alcohol and opioids. 

 

 

If seniors are not sure what they are experiencing may be depression or anxiety or some sort of mental illness, Leebold implores them to contact their primary care physician first.

 

 

Leebold says the program, which launched in March, has gotten a great response so far. To learn more you can visit almh.org or call 217-605-5750. 

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Heyworth School Board Re-Focuses Goals

It was a nearly four open work session but a McLean County school district worked through their current goals and set up a plan going forward.

 

Lisa Taylor is the Superintendent of Heyworth Schools says the work session provided a vision for the future for their staff set up by the Board of Education. She adds, with new board members, it was a good opportunity for them to put their imprint on the future.

 

 

Heyworth has some lofty goals and those are highlighted by offering their students the chance to achieve their associate's degree before they finish high school. Taylor says they want to meet students where they are and give them opportunities in things they are interested in.

 

 

Taylor says the goal of students being able to achieve their associate's before they leave Heyworth High School is very lofty and it also impacts their staff. She indicates their staff has embraced the opportunities and thanks to the education levels of the staff, they can make a lot of these opportunities possible. 

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New Illinois Law Requires Products Sold in Illinois Containing Sesame Seed Be Labeled

A NEW STATE LAW AIMS TO FURTHER PROTECT THE PUBLIC FROM FOOD ALLERGIES.

 

THE LAW REQUIRES PRODUCTS WITH SESAME THAT ARE SOLD IN ILLINOIS BE LABELED AS SUCH. REPRESENTATIVE JOHNATHAN CARROLL OF NORTHBROOK SPONSORED THE BILL ON THE HOUSE FLOOR.

 

 

THERE IS ALSO A PUSH UNDERWAY REQUIRING THE LABELING AT THE FEDERAL LEVEL AND TO ADD SESAME TO THE F-D-A’S OFFICIAL LIST OF COMMON FOOD ALLERGIES.

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Illinois-Based Group Rewarding Food Disruptors

Inventors of a new post-harvest wash for fresh vegetables and a kitchen appliance that provides fresh lettuce came away winners of a national competition known as the Food Disruption Challenge. The Chicago-based Institute of Food Technologists sponsored the contest. Judges picked Austin-based En Solucion (en-SO-lew-see-own) and its new fresh vegetable wash for the top prize. Kenton Harmer is the company's C-E-O;

 

 

The challenge's "People's Choice" award went to Evansville, Indiana-based Heliponix (HE-lah-pohn-icks). Company C-E-O Scott Massey (MASS-ee) says they plan to target northeast Illinois later this year to sell the company's GroPod. It's a hydroponic-vegetable and fruit-growing kitchen appliance;

 

 

It was the second year for the I-F-T contest. The two food-sector companies received $30-thousand dollars in prize money. 

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USDA Announces MFP Payments, Local Rates; Sign-up Begins Monday

The sign-up period begins Monday for the next round of trade aid payments to farmers. The Department of Agriculture Thursday announced details of the Market Facilitation Program payments as part of a $16 billion trade aid package. USDA will begin mailing payments to producers in late August.

County payment rates range from $15 to $150 per acre, depending on the impact of “unjustified trade retaliation” in that county. Most payments for Corn Belt states average between $60 and $80 an acre. Meanwhile, producers who filed a prevented planting claim and planted an FSA-certified cover crop, with the potential to be harvested, qualify for a $15 per acre payment. Acres that were never planted in 2019 are not eligible.

 

Local county payment rates include:

DeWitt    $82
Logan    $76
Macon    $81
McLean    $82
Piatt    $87

 

Dairy producers will receive a per hundredweight payment on production history. Hog producers will receive a payment based on the number of live hogs owned on a day selected by the producer between April 1 and May 15, 2019.

For more information, visit farmers.gov/mfp or contact your local FSA office.

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DeWitt County Payment from AREA Disposal Up Nearly 30-Percent

Revenue from AREA Disposal to DeWitt County was up about 30-percent from the second quarter this year.

Chairperson of the DeWitt County Land Use Committee, Terry Ferguson, revealed the revenue spike to the County Board last Thursday night at the DeWitt County Board meeting. It totaled over $300,000.

The County renegotiated a host agreement with AREA after a falling out thanks to the County Board at the time, which violated the previous agreement, resulting in a lawsuit by AREA. County Board Chair David Newberg says he isn't sure what the reason for the spike in the revenue was from the landfill but suspects it could be because of the amount of tonnage at the landfill. 

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Know The Laws Around Phones in the Car

WITH TOUGHER TEXTING LAWS IN PLACE…THE ILLINOIS STATE POLICE SAYS IT’S IMPORTANT TO KNOW WHAT YOU CAN AND CAN’T DO WITH YOUR PHONE WHILE DRIVING. 

WHEN TALKING ON THE PHONE, YOU MUST BE COMPLETELY HANDS FREE, NOT JUST HOLDING THE PHONE AND HAVING IT ON SPEAKER SAYS SERGEANT JOEY WATSON. WHAT ABOUT USING YOUR PHONE FOR DIRECTIONS?

HE REMINDS THAT YOU NEED TO BE CONNECTED VIA BLUETOOTH WHEN TALKING ON THE PHONE.

STUCK IN TRAFFIC AND PULL OUT YOUR CELL PHONE TO PASS THE TIME? THAT’S A TICKET. HAVE A LONG DRIVE AND DECIDE TO WATCH NETFLIX OR YOUTUBE ALONG THE WAY…THAT’S A DEFINITE NO SAYS WATSON. AND TEXTING AT A STOPLIGHT…ALSO A NO.

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Congressman Davis Announces 'Open Government' Nights, Open Office Hours

US Congressman Rodney Davis will be making several appearances around his district in the coming weeks.

 

This Monday night, July 29, the Taylorville Republican and Republican State Representative Dan Caulkins will field questions from the public in a moderated question and answer session from 6 pm to 7:30 pm at Richland Community College's Shilling Community Education Center.

 

Additionally, Davis will be in Godrey, Carrollton, and Rochester meeting with constituents. Davis will be in Godfrey Tuesday, July 30 at the Village Hall from 11 am to 12:30 pm. Tuesday, August 6, he will be at the Greene County Courthouse in Carrollton from 11:30 am to 1 pm.

 

Finally, Monday August 12, he will stop at Rochester Village Hall from 2:30 pm to 4 pm.

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DeWitt County Board Approves State Mandate for Public Defender's Salary

The DeWitt County Board has approved a mandate from the State of Illinois for salary for its public defender.

 

State's Attorney Dan Markwell explains if a county employs a public defender, they have to pay that person 90-percent the salary of the state's attorney. Last Thursday night at the DeWitt County Board meeting, the County approved that mandate.

 

 

The increase is only the second in twelve years for full-time employees. 

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Mike Walker Dewitt County Sheriff theft/burglary report

On Thursday, July 25 the DeWitt County Sheriff’s Office took a theft/burglary report from a resident located at 12345 Middle Creek Road in rural Clinton, Illinois.  Over thirty (30) items were stolen during this burglary including multiple ATV’s, Scooters, tools and other miscellaneous items. 

 

At approximately 3:25 A.M. Friday, July 26, 2019, DeWitt County Sheriff’s Office received a call from a neighbor of the Middle Creek Road address advising that there was a burglary in progress at the same residence in which the earlier theft had occurred. The caller who was watching the burglary on their home security system was able to give a description of the vehicle being used in the burglary.  DeWitt County Sheriff’s Deputies who were patrolling in the area responded and located the suspect vehicle and performed a traffic stop the suspect vehicle.  Investigation subsequent to the stop revealed that the suspects had stolen a motorcycle from the Middle Creek Road location.

 

The following individuals were taken into custody and charged with Burglary, Richard J. Memmott 33, Nicole D. Moore 32, Ashley E. Barry 29 all of Clinton and Robert N. Moore 27 of Kenney.  All suspects remain lodged at the DeWitt County Jail.

 

Subsequent to the arrest of the above mentioned individual the DeWitt County Sheriff’s Office with the Assistance of the Illinois State Police Task Force 6 executed search warrants at a property located on Airport Road in rural Clinton.  As a result of the search warrant all items taken during the Middle Creek Road burglary were located and identified by the owner of the property.  Also located on the property was numerous other items suspected to have been stolen. We encourage anyone who may have information pertaining to this case to contact the DeWitt County Sheriff’s Office at 217-935-3196 or DeWitt County Crime Stoppers at 217-935-9438.

 

This case remains under investigation.  All individuals are presumed innocent until proven guilty.     


Mike Walker
DeWitt County Sheriff
217-935-9507 
 

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USDA Announces MFP Payment Details

Area farmers should see some additional MFP payments soon.

 

The Department of Agriculture Thursday released payment information under the Market Facilitation Program. The payments are intended to help farmers in the wake of the trade dispute with China.

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue spoke about the promise that President Donald Trump made to the American farmers…

 

 

USDA’s Chief Economist, Dr. Rob Johannson, then began the economic breakdown of how the agency developed county-by-county payment rates…

 

 

Some other factors that went into deciding payment rates included retaliatory tariffs as well as planting damages from a wet and cold spring.

 

The minimum payment rate that was announced is $15/per acre in some areas and the maximum in areas is $150/per acre.

 

USDA Undersecretary Bill Northey says farmers can sign up Monday, with payments starting next month...

 

 

For more information about the MFP payments, head to farmers.gov/mfp.

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DeWitt County Payment from AREA Disposal Up Nearly 30-Percent

Revenue from AREA Disposal to DeWitt County was up about 30-percent from the second quarter this year.

 

Chairperson of the DeWitt County Land Use Committee, Terry Ferguson, revealed the revenue spike to the County Board last Thursday night at the DeWitt County Board meeting. It totaled over $300,000.

 

 

The County renegotiated a host agreement with AREA after a falling out thanks to the County Board at the time, which violated the previous agreement, resulting in a lawsuit by AREA. County Board Chair David Newberg says he isn't sure what the reason for the spike in the revenue was from the landfill but suspects it could be because of the amount of tonnage at the landfill. 

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DNR Citations Now A Little More

If you get hit with a ticket or citation from the Department of Natural Resources, it's going to cost you a little more.

 

DNR Sergeant John Williamson says their fees went up with everyone else's July 1 but points out, their fees fall in line with other states.

 

 

Williamson adds, like other agencies, only a portion of the revenue they generate from fines and fees ends up back to DNR.

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Clinton Fire Department Continues To Plug Away At Training Facility

The Clinton Fire Department continues to plug away at their training facility on Cain Street that will ultimately be a three-story training center for its staff.

 

Clinton City Commissioner of Public Safety, Dan Ballenger says right now they have nearly two levels complete with windows, doors and a set of stairs inside.

 

 

The facility is made up of old shipping containers that are no longer used. The city has purchased enough containers to stack up for a three-story structure.

 

 

The first two levels of the facility can be used and in fact, Ballenger notes they have started using those for some exercises.

 

 

When the structure is completed, Ballenger hopes to host area departments in Clinton for training events. 

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Secretary of State Awards More Than $5-Million in Literacy Grants

SECRETARY OF STATE JESSE WHITE’S OFFICE IS AWARDING MORE THAN FIVE MILLION DOLLARS IN ADULT LITERACY GRANTS. 

 

THE MONEY WILL FUND 113 LOCAL LITERACY PROJECTS AROUND THE STATE, HELPING THOUSANDS OF ADULTS BECOME BETTER READERS AND WRITERS SAYS SECRETARY WHITE.

 

 

SECRETARY WHITE SAYS AN ESTIMATED TWO POINT ONE MILLION PEOPLE CURRENTLY NEED ADULT LITERACY OR ENGLISH-SPEAKING INSTRUCTION IN ILLINOIS.

 

 

THE GRANT MONEY IS GOING TO 113 LOCAL LITERACY PROJECTS STATEWIDE.

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State Representative Views 'Chicago 51' As Symbolic Move

Although momentum continues for Chicago to become the 51st state, State Rep. Dan Swanson believes it’s nothing more than symbolic in nature and will never happen despite strong efforts by some downstate lawmakers.

 

In addition to his work in the statehouse, Swanson actively farms in Alpha in Western Illinois.

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Durbin Worries About Potential for Zero Refugees Next Year

Senator Dick Durbin has had a lot to say about President Trump's stances on immigration. Now he's expressing concern about what the New Year might bring.....

 

 

Durbin referred to President Franklin Roosevelt turning away passengers of the SS St. Louis. 800 passengers were forced to return to Germany. About a fourth of them died in the holocaust. Durbin says America rebounded with a number of great refugee stories since...

 

 

Durbin maintains Trump policies have made the border less safe since he took office.

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New State Budget Means More Funding for Cerro Gordo Schools

The new state budget means more funding for a Piatt County school district.

 

Earlier this summer, Illinois Governor JB Pritzker said his budget was a win for Illinois education and Superintendent of Cerro Gordo schools, Brett Robinson indicates that is the case for his district, which should see an increase in funding thanks to the new budget.

 

 

According to Robinson, they receive about 65-percent of their funds from local revenues and about a third of their budget from the state. Cerro Gordo's neighbor to the north, Monticello, receives most of their funds from the Corporate Personal Property Replacement Tax, but he notes that is not a revenue they get. 

 

 

While local dollars are stable and reliable, Robinson says he would prefer to see things return to what the Illinois constitution calls for, which is almost a 50/50 share in funding.

 

 

As the new school year gets closer, Robinson says they are eager to introduce their renovated facilities to their junior and senior high school students. 

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DeWitt County Triad's Senior Academy Starts August 1

The DeWitt County Triad's annual Senior Academy opens next Thursday, August 1 at the DeWitt County Friendship Center.

 

Topics for the annual academy will include anything from power of attorney to senior fitness to scams. DeWitt County Sheriff Mike Walker told Regional Radio News Thursday morning on the WHOW Morning Show seniors are still a target of scams and continue to be victimized.

 

 

The DeWitt County Friendship Center is the host of this year's sessions and Executive Director Paula Jiles says there will be a lot of good information for seniors to take in the first three Thursday mornings in August. Dianne Cusey with Community Care Systems says the information is presented in a very entertaining format.

 

 

The Senior Academy is August 1,8, and 15 from 9:30 am and 11:30 am. Organizers ask if you plan to attend, RSVP to the Friendship Center by calling 217-935-411. 

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DeWitt County Substance Abuse Coalition Leadership Encouraged By Recent Conference

Leaders within the DeWitt County Substance Abuse Coalition recently made a presentation at a special conference in Springfield and received some encouragement.

 

Vice President of the Coalition, Paul Skowron explains the coalition realigned a few years ago and since that time, they have felt as though they are not progressing as quickly as they had hoped. After hearing from groups well established in their communities, they left encouraged about where they are.

 

 

Skowron's message to his peers simply highlighted the way they are using community partnerships to reach people. He explains they are focused on prevention and education while maintaining their relationship with treatment centers.

 

 

For Skowron, the biggest takeaway from his time in Springfield was to have the right people in the room. He feels they have done a good job of this by collaborating with DeWitt County's neighbor to the east, Piatt County.

 

 

The leadership of the coalition is looking for more community members to join their coalition. They believe those in the community are more aware of what is happening to their family, friends, and neighbors.

 

You can learn more about the DeWitt County Substance Abuse Coalition by finding them on Facebook or attend their meetings on the third Tuesday of each month at 10 am at The Vault in Clinton. 

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Representative Calls for New SIU Funding Study

Citing "disappointing results of the funding distribution study" examining funding disparities between the two SIU campuses, State Representative Katie Stuart of Edwardsville is calling for a new study. 

 

In a statement from her office, Stuart claims the consulting firm that performed the study did not find a fair funding formula and passed the responsibility back to the SIU Board of Trustees. That study was done by a firm hired by the SIU System Board, so now Stuart says she is calling for an unbiased study in order to reach a solution that is fair for SIUE.

 

 

About a year ago, Stuart introduced legislation that would have ensured even distribution of state funding between the Edwardsville and Carbondale campuses. That legislation failed.

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Illinois Community College Board Awarded $4-Million in Federal Grants

MORE APPRENTICESHIP PROGRAMS WILL BE AVAILABLE AT SOME ILLINOIS COMMUNITY COLLEGES THANKS TO A FOUR MILLION DOLLAR FEDERAL GRANT. 

 

THE MONEY WILL HELP MORE THAN 16-HUNDRED STUDENTS PARTICIPATE IN APPRENTICESHIP PROGRAMS, FOCUSING ON INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY SAYS STATE COMMUNITY COLLEGE BOARD SPOKESPERSON MATT BERRY.

 

 

BERRY SAYS THE GRANT WILL SUPPORT APPRENTICESHIP PROGRAMS IN INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY FOR MORE THAN 16-HUNDRED STUDENTS.

 

 

THE APPRENTICESHIPS WILL BE RUN OUT OF 10 COMMUNITY COLLEGES IN ILLINOIS INCLUDING CITY COLLEGES OF CHICAGO…LINCOLN LAND COMMUNITY COLLEGE AND REND LAKE COLLEGE.

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Farmer City Fair Wraps Up, Results Available at dewittdailynews.com Fair Results Page

Heat and humidity set in on the Farmer City DeWitt County Fair last week but events and activities were well attended as always.

 

First Vice President of the Farmer City Fair Lance Speaker wasn't sure if it was the hottest fair he's been a part of but notes the heat and humidity seem to be a regular attendee of the festivities.

 

 

The races and fair pageants took place last week and Speaker says they had good turnouts and good shows for all their events.

 

 

The Farmer City Fair results are up and available at dewittdailynews.com by clicking on the 'Fair Results' icon. 

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Congressman Davis Weighs in on Mueller Hearing

Regardless of what is revealed today in Washington D.C. as a part of the Robert Mueller hearings, a federal lawmaker doesn't see anyone's mind getting changed.

 

Congressman Rodney Davis weighed in on the Mueller hearings happening today (Wednesday and says it's a different atmosphere around the capitol.

 

 

Congressman Davis does not anticipate anyone's opinions being swayed by anything said or revealed in today's hearing. He is sticking to his prediction that we are headed towards an impeachment process.

 

 

He questions how Speaker Nancy Pelosi will hold her party together if she does not cater to the far left calling for impeachment.

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Exelon Hosts Record Number of Scouts This Past Weekend

A record number of scouts were in Clinton and DeWitt County this past weekend for the annual merit badge fair hosted by Clinton Exelon Nuclear Power Station.

 

Troop Leader Ed Cicenas says they hosted 225 scouts from as far away as Las Vegas and as near as Indiana. The scouts learned a variety of new skills thanks to numerous community volunteers who gave their time to teach these youths.

 

 

According to Cicenas, between everyone that it takes to put the event on plus the kids and parents, roughly 450 people make up the entirety of the event, which is a boost to the local economy.

 

 

Scouts pick out a skill or topic of interest to them take on. Cicenas indicates once their scoutmaster signs off, they sign up for a class at the merit badge fair and in some circumstances, they leave with their badge, but others can take time. 

 

 

Cicenas says the event has grown into a community event since its inception, with the boys and girls working with the local John Deere dealership in Clinton on Farm Mechanics; drafting, welding, chemistry and programming at the high school, railroading at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church and C&P printing at the YMCA. 

 

Additionally, the fair uses nearly every open space Exelon has to hold classes, using four on-site buildings and 19 classrooms along with the cafeteria and other spaces. 

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ALMH Offering Youth Mental Health First Aid

If you work or interact with youth in Logan County on a regular basis, you are encouraged to join the Abraham Lincoln Memorial Hospital next week for a mental health first aid training.

 

Angela Stoltzenburg with ALMH compares it to CPR training. She says you will come away with a better idea of how to deal with mental health, emotional health and teens battling substance abuse disorders.

 

 

The target age is dealing with youth around 12-18 years old. Stoltzenburg says it is an all-day training with a licensed social worker and an ALMH nurse. She stresses this is training for adults who work with teens.

 

 

Mental health awareness has become increasingly talked about topic in recent years and Stoltzenburg believes this training is a great way to help anyone around you that may be struggling in any way.

 

 

The training is Wednesday, July 31 at Abraham Lincoln Memorial Hospital in Lincoln from 8 am to 4:30 pm and space is limited. You can register by calling 217-757-2493 or emailing mbhtraining@mhsil.com. 

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Heyworth Schools Introducing Unique Classroom Look

21st-century classrooms look vastly different than even ten years ago but a local school district is taking their classroom environments to the next level.

 

Superintendent of Heyworth Schools Lisa Taylor says they are introducing a small handful of new classroom looks this year. She calls it a flexible learning environment.

 

 

Naysayers may call this too over-the-top for the millennial generation but Taylor says today's work environments require collaborative work and teamwork and this is laying the foundation for them to become familiar with that environment.

 

 

Taylor believes there is yet to be a district in Illinois that will take all their classrooms to this style. She adds it was important they improve more than just their athletic facilities with the upgrades they are taking on this summer. 

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Wednesday is Speed Awareness Day

WEDNESDAY IS SPEED AWARENESS DAY IN ILLINOIS…A DAY TO REMIND THE PUBLIC ABOUT THE DANGERS OF DRIVING TOO FAST. 

 

42 PERCENT OF TRAFFIC FATALITIES IN ILLINOIS WERE CAUSED BY SPEED IN 2017. LOU JOGMEN WITH THE ILLINOIS ASSOCIATION OF CHIEFS OF POLICE SAYS IGNORING THE SPEED LIMIT HAS BECOME ALL TOO COMMON.

 

 

ILLINOIS STATE POLICE LIEUTENANT COLONEL DAVID BYRD SAYS DRIVING AT HIGH RATES OF SPEED UPS THE CHANCES OF BEING SERIOUSLY INJURED OR KILLED IN A CRASH.

 

 

OFFICIALS SAYS THERE IS ANOTHER REASON TO SLOW DOWN… SPEEDING ON THE HIGHWAY CAN LOWER FUEL EFFICIENCY BY THIRTY THREE PERCENT.

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Mississippi River Now Under Control

The Mississippi River is now much tamer. 

 

The river is back in its banks and should stay that way for the foreseeable future says John Haase with the National Weather Service in the Quad Cities.

 

 

Barge traffic resumed on the Mississippi in late June. 

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Congressman Davis Hopes To Make Headway in Doctor, Nurse Shortage

Congressman Rodney Davis met with hospital and healthcare leaders this week in Springfield to discuss the nationwide doctor and nurse shortage. 

 

The Association of American Medical Colleges estimates that we will face a shortage of somewhere between 40,000 to 120,000 physicians and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) predicts a shortage of 150,000 Licensed Practical Nurses (LPN) by 2030. Davis says America isn't doing enough to produce the next generation of doctors and nurses...

 

 

Davis also believes hospitals can help themselves...

 

 

Davis is pursuing multiple pieces of legislation to deal with the shortage.

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Governor Pritzker Signs Two New Laws To Protect Immigrant Youth

GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER SAYS TWO NEW LAWS WILL HELP PROTECT IMMIGRANT CHILDREN IN ILLINOIS.

 

THE FIRST LAW MAKES SURE PARENTS WHO ARE BEING HELD UP CAN CHOOSE SOMEONE TO WATCH OVER THEIR KIDS FOR UP TO TWO YEARS SAYS GOVERNOR PRITZKER.

 

 

REPRESENTATIVE JENNIFER GONG-GERSHOWITZ SAYS IT’S IMPORTANT FOR MOMS AND DADS TO BE ABLE TO CHOOSE WHO WATCHES OVER THEIR KIDS.

 

 

THE SECOND LAW LETS FAMILY, JUVENILE AND PROBATE COURTS GRANT PETITIONS TO ABUSED AND NEGLECTED IMMIGRANT CHILDREN FOR SPECIAL VISAS.

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Clinton Police Using New Tactics To Enforce City Code Violations

Often, enforcing driving violations are the most visible activity of local law enforcement, but they are also charged with enforcing city ordinances surrounding upkeep of homes and properties.

 

With that in mind, the Clinton Police Department is taking a new direction to get more compliance from residents. Police Chief Ben Lowers indicates there is also a new method of prosecution of violations.

 

 

The Chief explains they often reach out to the property owners to make initial contact and give the owners ample time to remedy the situation. If after a grace period, the situation has not been addressed, violators do receive a citation and could end up in court.

 

 

The summer months are a very busy time for Chief Lowers and his department. He indicates the usual tall grass and weeds are common compliance issues but they are also hoping to inform property owners the laws surrounding abandoned vehicles on the property.

 

 

Chief Lowers reminds residents of grass and weeds over eight inches high and excess garbage and junk in yards will likely result in an officer knocking on your door asking to get things cleaned up. He says it is important to his staff to make sure they make face-to-face contact. 

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DNR Breaks Down Lake Decatur Asian Carp Project

An unexpected issue cropped up in Decatur this summer and now the Department of Natural Resources has been called in to mitigate.
 

The invasion of the Asian Carp has threatened Lake Decatur. DNR Sergeant John Williamson indicates the Asian Carp has become a huge problem in the midwest in recent years and their presence in Lake Decatur is not welcome. He says they can ruin an eco-system in a hurry.

 

 

According to Williamson, they are going to use nets to trap the fish but then they will need to filter out the native species in the lake. 

 

 

Williamson explains these fish were being farmed in Arkansas and flooding allowed them to expand to the Mississippi River. He calls it a catastrophe that has resulted in agencies spending millions of dollars to keep them out.

 

 

Williamson says he does know the original reasoning for these fish being brought to America from Asia but they were never intended to overtake the waterways of the midwest, which they have in just 26 years. 

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Cerro Gordo Schools Ready To Move Into Renovated Facilities

Renovations and a connecting addition will put all the students of Cerro Gordo Junior and Senior High School under one roof come the first day of school next month.

 

On the WHOW Morning Show Monday morning, Superintendent Brett Robinson told Regional Radio News, it has been over a two-year process but nearly 18 months after breaking ground, they are ready to offer their students new and updated facilities come the first day of school.

 

 

A STEAM lab will highlight the upgrades made to the classroom updates. Robinson says they're also adding a science lab with their classrooms all under one roof with updated technology.

 

 

The Jr/Sr High campus will now have two air-conditioned gyms and a new junior high school gym as well. Robinson indicates that will open up the possibilities for their district. Additionally, he points out they have increased the number of parking spaces they have available. 

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Weekly Crop Report

IT WAS A HOT WEEK FOR ILLINOIS CROPS AND WINTER WHEAT HARVESTING IS ALMOST COMPLETE AS WE HEAR IN THE WEEKLY CROP REPORT. 

 

94 PERCENT OF WINTER WHEAT IS NOW OUT OF THE GROUND, A LITTLE BEHIND THE AVERAGE PACE. 30 PERCENT OF SOYBEANS ARE BLOOMING, AND TWO PERCENT ARE SETTING PODS SAYS CROP STATISTICIAN BRAD SUMMA.

 

43 PERCENT OF CORN AND 45 PERCENT OF SOYBEANS ARE RATED IN GOOD TO EXCELLENT CONDITION. 

 

 

THE SECOND CUTTING OF ALFALFA IS ABOUT HALFWAY DONE…AND AVERAGE STATEWIDE TOPSOIL MOISTURE NOW STANDS AT ONE PERCENT VERY SHORT, 19 PERCENT SHORT, 68 PERCENT ADEQUATE AND 12 PERCENT SURPLUS.

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Water Saving Tips

American Illinois Water has some tips for saving water during the hot summer months. Spokeswoman Karen Cotton says you can get some help from the weather.

 

 

Some other water saving tips are to turn the tap off when brushing your teeth and only washing clothes when you can fill the whole washing machine. If your water bill is running high, check for leaky faucets or runny toilets. If a few drops of food coloring in the tank of a toilet end up in the bowl, there’s a leak.

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New Firefighter Basic Operations Course Being Offered Online

A NEW BASIC OPERATIONS COURSE PROVIDES A MORE FLEXIBLE OPPORTUNITY FOR FIREFIGHTERS TO TRAIN AND EARN CERTIFICATION. 

 

THE BLENDED PILOT COURSE COMBINES WEEKDAY ONLINE LEARNING WITH WEEKEND HANDS ON TRAINING SAYS ILLINOIS STATE FIRE MARSHAL OFFICE SPOKESPERSON J-C FULTZ.

 

 

FULTZ SAYS THIS WILL BE ESPECIALLY HELPFUL TO VOLUNTEER FIREFIGHTERS WHO HAVE A FULL-TIME JOB.

 

 

THE COURSE IS FREE THANKS TO A GRANT FROM THE FIRE MARSHAL’S OFFICE. MORE INFORMATION IS AVAILABLE ON THE ILLINOIS FIRE SERVICE INSTITUTE’S WEBSITE.

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Grain and Feed Association of Illinois Preaches Grain Bin Safety

The Grain and Feed Association of Illinois continues to push out a safety message. The organization’s Jeff Adkisson.

 

 

Adkisson says there were two fatalities at a commercial grain facility out in Ohio last week. 

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Employers Must Provide Important Health, Safety Information To Workers

THE ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT LABOR IS REMINDING EMPLOYERS THEY NEED TO HAVE HEALTH AND SAFETY INFORMATION POSTED IN THE WORKPLACE. 

 

THE DEPARTMENT AND FEDERAL GOVERNMENT HAVE A POSTER THAT MUST BE VISIBLE, LISTING EMPLOYEE RIGHTS AND EMPLOYER RESPONSIBILITIES SAYS ILLINOIS OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND HEALTH ADMINISTRATION DIRECTOR BEN NOVEN.

 

 

NOVEN SAYS WORKERS HAVE THE RIGHT TO SEE ANY CITATIONS AGAINST THEIR EMPLOYER AND TO ASK THE STATE TO DO AN INSPECTION IF THEY THINK THEIR WORKING CONDITIONS ARE UNSAFE.

 

 

NOVEN SAYS POSTER IS ONE OF THE FIRST THINGS THEY CHECK FOR DURING AN INSPECTION.

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DeWitt County 4-H Fairgrounds Hope To Be Host of DeWitt, Macon and Piatt County 4-H Shows

Combining all the 4-H shows between DeWitt, Macon and Piatt Counties could be on the horizon and it could all take place in Clinton.

 

Doug Harlan is the unit Director for the University of Illinois Extension office in DeWitt, Macon and Piatt Counties and indicates combining the livestock shows and the success of the decision has them thinking about combining all the fairs in the future.

 

 

To make space to host all three counties' 4-H projects, Harlan says they will need to improve facilities. He notes they have added barn space for their livestock shows and they have plans for a new home-ec building.

 

 

Harlan says he doesn't know when all this will happen or how they plan to get there. 

 

To contribute to the projects planned at the DeWitt County fairgrounds, you can contact the University of Illinois Extension Office or the DeWitt County Farm Bureau. 

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Blue Ridge Superintendent Applauds New Education Budget

Governor JB Pritzker's budget continues to commit to maintaining funding levels for Illinois schools and a DeWitt County school leader says it is nice to see the Governor's commitment to education.

 

Susan Wilson is the Superintendent of Blue Ridge schools and believes school funding is a stable situation after years and years of turmoil and uncertainty.

 

 

Wilson is optimistic the funding situation will be able to maintain itself and she believes there is evidence the two sides in Springfield are working together.

 

 

The new school year budget started on July 1. 

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Social Security Offers Resources for Teachers

With a new school year right around the corner, Social Security has made resources available for educators in hopes of educating youth about the purpose of the organization. 

 

For teachers interested in educating their students about Social Security, Jack Myers explains their website offers everything from lesson plans to quizzes to aid teachers.

 

 

Myers believes it is important to educate students who are preparing to enter the workforce about Social Security. He says it's never too early to let students know they need to plan for retirement.

 

 

The Social Security educator toolkit is available at www.socialsecurity.gov/thirdparty/educators.html.

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Heat Wave To Give Way to Mild, Seasonable Temperatures

The excruciating heat of late last week will give way to more seasonable temperatures in Illinois.

Eric Snodgrass, Chief Atmospheric Scientist with Nutrien Ag Solutions, says the cooldown will come with some much-needed rain in central Illinois.

 

 

As we get closer to August, Snodgrass predicts a more summer-like pattern with above-average temperatures and hit-and-miss rainfall.

 

 

Snodgrass says potential August heat will be welcome and should allow the crop a strong finish despite early-season concerns. 

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Clinton Fire Department Upgrading Lighting on Fire Engines

The Clinton Fire Department will be retrieving one of the engines in their fleet this coming week as it is currently being upgraded with new lights. 

 

Commissioner of Public Safety on the Clinton City Council, Danny Ballenger, indicates it will make them more visible and with a frequent number of their calls coming from the highway, they wanted to be more visible.

 

 

Ballenger is hopeful to update one of their other engines later this year, if not, he says it can wait until next year. 

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Social Security Working to Reduce Confusion About Industry Jargon

The Plain Writing Act was established in 2010, requiring federal agencies to clean up language used in their industries so "the public can understand and use". Social security is no exception to this act, with their "F.R.A's" and "D.R.C.'s". Jack Myers with Social Security says even though they try to explain in simple terms, acronyms will still slip in.

 

 

If someone is speaking with a rep from Social Security and they hear a term that's unfamiliar, Myers says there is a website set up to explain all the acronyms used by Social Security.

 

 

The glossary with social security terms can be found at social-security.gov/agency/glossary.

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Sen. Rose Weighs in on Confederate Railroad Concert Controversy

Rock band Confederate Railroad had quite an eventful week earlier this month after having their DuQuoin State Fair concert canceled by Governor JB Pritzker and then finding a gig through a local Harley Davidson dealer.

 

State Senator Chapin Rose weighed in on the issue and says this could ruin the DuQuoin State Fair through the distraction it is going to cause.

 

 

Senator Rose does not like the direction things are heading when the government is getting involved in speech and religious debates.

 

 

Pritzker called the band's logo, which features the stars and bars of the Confederate flag, symbols of racism, white nationalists, and the alt-right. 

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Goodwill CEO Resigns

Amid controversy, Goodwill CEO Sharon Durbin has resigned.

 

Earlier this week, after announcing layoffs to their disabled workforce, Senator Andy Manar called for a review of all state contracts with Goodwill.

 

After coming under scrutiny from Manar and the public, Durbin reinstated the program and yesterday resigned after 13 years.

 

Goodwill just opened a new location in Clinton last Friday, an event which Durbin and other executives from Goodwill were in attendance for. 

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Jobs Up, Unemployment Down Last Month

JOBS WERE UP AND UNEMPLOYMENT WAS DOWN LAST MONTH IN ILLINOIS.

 

THE STATE JOBLESS RATE FOR JUNE CAME IN AT FOUR POINT THREE PERCENT. THAT’S DOWN FROM FOUR POINT FOUR PERCENT IN MAY. ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF EMPLOYMENT SECURITY SPOKESPERSON SAM SALUSTRO SAYS PAYROLLS INCREASED BY MORE THAN 11 THOUSAND.

 

 

THE AREAS WITH THE MOST GROWTH OVER THE PAST COUPLE OF MONTHS INCLUDE LEISURE AND HOSPITALITY AND PROFESSIONAL AND BUSINESS SERVICES.

 

 

THE UNEMPLOYMENT RATE DROPPED A TENTH OF A PERCENTAGE POINT TO FOUR POINT THREE PERCENT LAST MONTH. THE NATIONAL JOBLESS RATE CAME IN AT THREE POINT SEVEN PERCENT.

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Frerichs Announces State Fair Auction

The renewed tradition of the Treasurer's Unclaimed Property Auction will continue at next month's Illinois State Fair. Treasurer Michael Frerichs believes the items on the block should impress...

 

 

Frerichs says there will be great opportunities to look over the items....

 

 

The items will also be available for preview at the Thompson Center on August 5th from 10:30 until 2.

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Aerial Project Looks At Condition of Crop in Corn Belt

492 pictures covering 157,000 corn acres in five states. That was the focus of a U.S. Corn Crop Project led by AgMarket.Net earlier this month. The firm’s Bill Biedermann. 

 

 

For farmers that have a good looking crop, Biedermann says “they should have a good marketing opportunity.” 

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DeWitt County Board Approves Animal Control Officer

The DeWitt County Board has approved Cheryl Avery as animal control officer.

 

At the Thursday night Board meeting, the Board approved Avery's recommendation by the Public Safety Committee. Committee Chair Lance Reece indicates Avery's appointment is retroactive to June 1.

 

 

One of the first action's Avery has taken on is to reach out to the recently opened Tractor Supply company for support. Reece (pictured right) indicates they are willing to donate damaged bags of dog food to the shelter and also display the cats that are available for adoption.

 

 

Avery's area of enforcement expanded Thursday night thanks to the Board's approval of an intergovernmental agreement with Wapella for animal control services. 

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Sen. Rose Focused on Opportunities For Champaign to Bloomington to Decatur

Huge opportunities for cooperation between Champaign, Bloomington and Decatur and all the areas in between are what a local lawmaker is focused on this summer.

 

Thursday morning on the WHOW Morning Show, State Senator Chapin Rose says there is a lot of potential for the triangular area of central Illinois that Clinton and DeWitt County falls right in the heart of. He says during his downtime as a lawmaker, he's been trying to get the ball rolling on what could be great potential for central Illinois.

 

 

According to Sen. Rose, he held a meeting earlier this week to get things going and came away feeling very positive about the possibilities. He notes ag-tech could be just one area that offers huge potential.

 

 

State Farm, Caterpillar and the University of Illinois Police Training Academy are just some of the areas that Sen. Rose says have the grounds for real potential and growth in central Illinois.

 

 

Sen. Rose feels the days of communities looking out for themselves are over and we have to start shifting our thinking to working together to better the whole region.

 

 

The Senator is focused on getting the right people in the room and developing a plan with quote - "some intentionality behind it."

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Sen. Andy Manar Calls For Review of Goodwill After Decision to Cut Pay From Disabled Workers

The executives of Clinton's recently opened Goodwill are under fire for a decision to pull paychecks from disabled workers. 

 

State Senator Andy Manar is calling for a full review of state contracts and funding awarded to Land of Lincoln Goodwill following the nonprofit’s decision to pull paychecks from disabled workers.

 

The nonprofit recently told dozens of workers with disabilities that they would be laid off due to the state’s increase in the minimum wage even though the one dollar per hour increase doesn’t take effect for five months and it is exempt by the U.S. Department of Labor from paying these employees the minimum wage.

 

In a statement Wednesday, Manar said quote - "An organization that eliminates opportunity for the most vulnerable people in the state while simultaneously driving up executive compensation should be ashamed of itself. Blaming a minimum wage increase that hasn’t even gone into effect and that does not apply to these workers after receiving an increase in taxpayer funding is unacceptable.”

 

The Bunker Hill Democrat points to a report that indicates the executive director of the Land of Lincoln Goodwill is currently making $164,000. Further tax records show that Land of Lincoln Goodwill raised executive compensation for two positions during the height of the budget impasse by $86,155 over 3 years. 

 

Land of Lincoln Goodwill currently receives nearly $400,000 in taxpayer-funded contracts and was slated to receive a 3.5 percent funding increase under the state’s new budget. 


Manar sent a letter to the Illinois Department of Human Services, the Department of Central Management Services and Governor JB Pritzker Wednesday asking for a review of all contracts with the nonprofit.

 

Meanwhile, Sharon Durbin, President, and CEO of the Land of Lincoln Goodwill released a statement saying quote - "  Our recent decision regarding the Voc Rehab program and the resulting harm it might have caused falls short of living up to our mission and we apologize for this error in judgment. We are reversing the decision to realign our Voc Rehab program and those participants affected will return to their part-time skills training program with pay."

 

Durbin apologized to their constituents, clients, and donors and says they will be working with lawmakers to make sure anyone willing to work can earn a living wage. 

 

Sen. Manar and officials from Goodwill were unavailable for comment at the time of this story

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Lincoln's Oasis Senior Center Encouraging Community To Cool Off At Their Facility

The Lincoln Oasis Senior Center is inviting community members to cool off at their facility on the community's west side during the hottest stretch of the summer. 

 

Nancy Cunningham says anyone is invited to cool off while there is an excessive heat warning in effect. She says their doors are open weekdays from 9 am to 4 pm.

 

 

Cunningham reminds Logan County seniors they have a variety of free programs for them to enjoy if they choose to come in.

 

 

The Oasis Senior Center is located at 2810 Woodlawn Road in Lincoln. You can get more information by visiting oasisseniorcenter.com or by calling 217-732-6132. 

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Summer Pool Safety

AS TEMPERATURES SOAR…THE ILLINOIS STATE FIRE MARSHALL’S OFFICE IS REMINDING FAMILIES ABOUT POOL SAFETY. 

 

DROWNING IS THE LEADING CAUSE OF DEATH FOR CHILDREN AGES ONE TO FOUR NATIONWIDE…AND SIX KIDS UNDER 15 DIED FROM DROWNING LAST SUMMER IN ILLINOIS. FIRE MARSHALL SPOKESPERSON J-C FULTZ HAS THESE SAFETY TIPS.

 

 

FULTZ ALSO SAYS A FOUR-SIDED FENCE WITH A SELF-CLOSING, SELF-LATCHING GATE SHOULD BE AROUND ALL POOLS AND SPAS AND POOL TOYS AND FLOATS SHOULD BE PUT AWAY AFTER SWIMMING.

 

 

SIX CHILDREN UNDER THE AGE OF 15 DROWNED LAST SUMMER IN ILLINOIS.

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IDOT Ready For Possible Pavement Blowouts During Heat Wave

OFFICIALS SAYS THE ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION IS READY FOR POTENTIAL PAVEMENT BLOWOUTS DURING THE CURRENT HEAT WAVE. 

 

WHEN IT’S THIS HOT…MOTORISTS SHOULD BE ON THE LOOKOUT FOR ANY BUCKLING IN THE ROAD SAYS I-DOT SPOKESPERSON GUY TRIDGELL.

 

 

TRIDGELL SAYS CREWS ARE ON STANDBY WITH NEEDED MATERIALS TO FIX ANY TROUBLE SPOTS. 

 

 

YOU CAN REPORT PAVEMENT BLOWOUTS BY CALLING I-DOT OR 9-1-1.

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DeWitt County Friendship Center Hosting Open House Saturday

Join the DeWitt County Friendship Center for an open house this Saturday in Clinton.

 

Leadership of the Clinton facility hopes the public will come out and check out what they have to offer to seniors in the area. Executive Director Paula Jiles indicates they will have some of the activities they offer for the public to participate in.

 

 

The DeWitt County Friendship Center aims to be a resource for seniors to maintain their independence. Jiles hopes the open house will help highlight the mission of the Friendship Center.

 

 

Jiles says the atmosphere of the Friendship Center on a regular day is one with lots of socialization and laughter and seniors of the community enjoying themselves.

 

 

With temperatures expected to be in the mid-90s all weekend and an excessive heat warning in effect, the Friendship Center also serves as a cooling center and the public can learn more about the center while also cooling off. 

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DeWitt County Substance Abuse Coalition Offering Free Narcan Training's

Put July 29 and August 5 on the calendar to be a part of a free training on Narcan.

 

The DeWitt County Substance Abuse Coalition will be offering the training at The Vault in Clinton on back-to-back Monday evenings for those interested. Wednesday morning on the WHOW Morning Show, Paul Skowron, Vice President of the coalition told Regional Radio News the training will be offered by Joe Trotter from the Champaign County Health Department.

 

 

President of the Coalition, Jeff DeLaughter says after the training, those that attend will be equipped with a Narcan kit to take with them. He adds they wanted to offer two nights so as many could attend as were interested.

 

 

For more information, you can contact DeLaughter at 217-413-0901 or you can get more information by finding the Coalition Facebook page. 

 

Again the dates are July 29 and August 5 at 7 pm at The Vault in Clinton. 

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Not Too Late To Join Warner Library's Summer Reading Club

If your child's summer has been busy this summer, it is not too late to join the Vespasian Warner Public Library's summer reading club.

 

Paula Lopatic, children's librarian, indicates so far they have had approximately 350 students participate in the current installment of the summer reading club. Some of the programs for this year have included Bubba the alligator and the Heartland Mini Hoofs.

 

 

Lopatic says they have a couple of programs left for the summer with the last Thursday program on July 18 at 2:15 pm. There are two remaining Tuesday morning programs: July 23 will be the Hanson Family and July 30 is the Children's Museum Star Lab.

 

 

The reading will end on August 10. Lopatic notes there is plenty of time to complete a reading log and turn it in for prizes.

 

 

In addition to the kindergarten through the junior high reading club, there are clubs for preschool and teens/adults. All of the reading clubs run through August 10 and are still accepting signups.

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Heat Wave Coming Later in Week Lasting to Weekend

It took a while for much of Illinois to thaw out from last winter’s deep freeze, but we’re now into the “dog days” of summer. Air temperatures will be in the mid to upper 90’s for Wednesday through Saturday throughout most of the state with dew points in the low to mid 70’s says DTN chief agriculture meteorologist Bryce Anderson.

 

 

As for what impact this heat wave will have on the Illinois corn and soybean crop, Anderson says it’s a tough question to answer.

 

 

It was just 166 days ago, January 31st, that Illinois hit its record low temperature, -38-degrees recorded in the northwest Illinois town of Mount Carroll. 

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UPDATED: City Crews To Begin Oil and Chip Process Next Wednesday

City crews will be out beginning the oil and chip process next week.

 

Commissioner of Streets and Public Improvements, Ken Buchanan updated the Clinton City Council Monday night. A map of the targeted areas is below.

 

Lobb has reached out to Regional Radio News today indicating work will begin Wednesday. 

 

 

You may have noticed some fire hydrants in the community have been painted. Commissioners John Wise and Dan Ballenger give an update on the situation.

 

 

In total, the Council met for a little more than five minutes. 

 

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So Far, Safe Summer on Clinton Lake

So far, so good on Clinton Lake this summer.

 

DNR Conservation Police Sergeant John Williamson told Regional Radio News Tuesday morning on the WHOW Morning Show, there was a near-drowning on the Lake on the Fourth of July but thanks to people near him, everything turned out just fine.

 

 

When it comes to dealing with intoxicated operators on the lake, Williamson says DNR officials become a tow service for those that cannot continue operating their watercraft.

 

 

After the wet spring, things have dried out but Williamson says the lake water levels are still pretty high despite the recent dry stretch.

 

 

Williamson says the Fourth of July weekend was very busy with boaters from Thursday through Sunday. 

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Write Stuff For Kids Gearing Up For New School Year

Write Stuff for Kids of DeWitt County will be setting young school kids up with school supplies next month.

 

Monday morning on the WHOW Morning Show, Edith Brady-Lunny and Kathleen Frick told Regional Radio News that process is underway. Frick says applications for this year's distribution are underway. Brady-Lunny adds they are accepting donations at Bryce Starkey Edward Jones agent on the north side of the Clinton Square. 

 

 

Brady-Lunny says as the new school year approaches, they could really use donations of backpacks. She says they are sometimes more costly and bulky to purchase.

 

 

Write Stuff is not just limited to school children in Clinton. Brady-Lunny says they have been distributing supplies to students in Farmer City and DeLand-Weldon. Frick notes, in Clinton, those applications can be found online or at the DeWitt County Housing Authority. 

 

 

Distribution this year is set for Saturday, August 10 from 8 am to noon at Clinton Junior High School. For more information, you can reach out to Frick on Facebook via the group's Facebook page. Or you can call her at 217-935-9637. 

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Clinton Board of Education Announces Vacancy

Just because the Clinton Board of Education has canceled their July Board meeting does not mean there is no business to take care of.

 

Due to the passing of member Ron Conner, the BOE is seeking interested residents to fill his position on the board by August. 

 

Superintendent Curt Nettles sent the notice out Monday. The appointee will serve until the April 2021 election when the seat will be up for election.

 

Interested parties cannot be from Clintonia Township, as there are already three board members residing in Clintonia, the max allowed under state law.

 

Interested parties can submit their intent for consideration to Superintendent Curt Nettles by mail or email, to cnettles@cusd15.org.

 

Candidates must be 18 years old, lived in the district for a year and be a registered voter.

 

Submissions must be in by 4 pm July 30.

 

To submit your consideration by mail, the address is 1210 US Highway 54 in Clinton, zip code 61727. 

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Heyworth Schools Construction Project Rolling on This Summer

The much-anticipated construction project in Heyworth is rolling on through the hot summer days.

 

Superintendent Lisa Taylor says it's been very busy since ground was broken earlier this year and things are moving right along. Right now it's all foundational work and she points out things are starting to be impacted by the wet spring.

 

 

The main construction is the addition of a new athletic gymnasium. Taylor says there will be improvements made to classrooms but for now, they are keeping to their schedule and do not anticipate construction having much impact on that.

 

 

The new gymnasium is going to have a view of their new weight room, allowing more options for their classes. Additionally, Taylor says they will double the size of the capacity in their gym, which is going to give them the opportunity to host tournaments and other events. 

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Weekly Crop Report

CROPS AND PRODUCERS CONTINUE TO PLAY CATCH-UP AS HEAR IN THE WEEKLY CROP REPORT.

 

96 PERCENT OF SOYBEANS ARE NOW IN THE GROUND…WITH 91 PERCENT EMERGED AND 12 PERCENT BLOOMING SAYS CROP STATISTICIAN MARK SCHLEUSENER. THE CROP IMPROVED TO 41 PERCENT IN GOOD TO EXCELLENT CONDITION. TURNING TO CORN…

 

 

SCHLEUSENER GIVES AN UPDATE ON SOYBEANS:

 

 

90 PERCENT OF WINTER WHEAT HAS BEEN HARVESTED AND THE SECOND CUTTING OF ALFALFA IS NOW 39 PERCENT COMPLETE. 

 

AVERAGE STATEWIDE TOPSOIL MOISTURE DECLINED TO ONE PERCENT VERY SHORT, 18 PERCENT SHORT, 72 PERCENT ADEQUATE AND NINE PERCENT SURPLUS.

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Bustos Continues To Push For Ag Disaster Declaration for Illinois

Western Illinois Congresswoman Cheri Bustos continues to urge the USDA to issue a statewide agricultural disaster declaration. She says farmers are being hit with a double whammy—a late planting season caused by a wet spring plus ongoing trade issues. Bustos first reached out to US Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue last month.

 

 

Bustos serves on the U.S. House Ag Committee. She has held discussions with farmers across her district this spring and summer, including Whiteside County, Henry County, Mercer County and Rock Island County. During those conversations, Bustos says farmers have expressed to her that conditions are the worst they have ever seen. 

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Clinton Police Chief Talks Motorcycles, Bicycles Safety

The summer weather means more outdoor activity and perhaps none take more advantage of the opportunity to be out than motorcyclists and bicyclists.

 

Clinton Police Chief Ben Lowers points out nearly all motorcycle/car crashes are the fault of the vehicle operator. He says always be on alert.

 

 

Bicycle awareness brings on a more serious tone as kids are most often seen on bicycles. Chief Lowers says regardless of who is on a bike, we need to be aware of cyclists. 

 

 

For cyclists, helmets are a must for both bicyclists and motorcyclists. Chief Lowers also implores the evening cyclist to make sure you have reflectors so you can see and reminds them of the rules regarding driving on roads where there may be traffic.

 

 

Chief Lowers indicates they collect quite a few stolen or abandoned bicycles during the summer months. He encourages young people especially, to lock up their bikes if they are going to leave them out for an extended period of time. He says they have their impound full of recovered bikes and they auction them off once a year at Clinton Auto Auction.

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Monticello Schools Not Anticipating Much Changing With New State Budget

The new state budget and the touted benefits for schools should not have much of an impact on a Piatt County school district. 

 

That is what Dr. Vic Zimmerman, Superintendent of Monticello Schools says in light of the recently passed budget in Springfield claims of benefits to Illinois public schools. Like most districts, he says they do spend very conservatively. 

 

 

Local revenues are over 80-percent of the Monticello budget. Dr. Zimmerman says most of that revenue is split between the Corporate Personal Property Replacement Tax, or CPPRT, and their property taxes, leaving not much reliance on state or federal funding. 

 

 

Even though the new budget is not going to greatly impact his district, Dr. Zimmerman calls the increase great for education in Illinois.

 

 

The CPPRT revenue goes up and down depending on the year and Dr. Zimmerman says the increased April revenues caused that fund to increase which helped them finish the year on a positive note to the tune $800,000.

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State Board of Education Inviting Teachers To Be 2020 Census Ambassadors

THE STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION IS ENCOURAGING TEACHERS TO DISCUSS THE IMPORTANCE OF THE 2020 CENSUS WITH STUDENTS AND INVITES THEM TO BECOME CENSUS AMBASSADORS.

 

THE BOARD OF ED IS LOOKING FOR TEACHERS WHO REALLY WANT TO PROMOTE THE IMPORTANCE OF THE UPCOMING CENSUS AS AN AMBASSADOR. PRINCIPAL CONSULTANT LIZ HILER (high-

ler) EXPLAINS WHAT BEING THAT ENTAILS.

 

 

 

ADDITIONALLY, TEACHERS ARE ENCOURAGED TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF FREE LESSON PLANS.

 

 

TEACHERS MUST APPLY BY JULY 31ST. HILER SAYS CURRICULUM IDEAS AND CLASSROOM ACTIVITIES ARE AVAILABLE TO ALL TEACHERS ONLINE AT CENSUS DOT GOV FORWARD SLASH SCHOOLS.

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2019 DeWitt County Fair Emphasizes Fun

The 2019 DeWitt County Fair was held this weekend with an emphasis on fun.

 

Lindsey Burden, DeWitt County 4-H Program Coordinator, indicates something new at the fair this year was a multitude of activities for the exhibitors to participate in while awaiting adjudication. She says the activities were open to the public to participate in also.

 


Doug Harlan, DeWitt, Macon, and Piatt Counties Extension Director, indicates this was the first year adult former 4-H members were allowed to exhibit projects. The 4-H members voted on their favorite adult projects.

 

 

The fair wraps up Monday with the Beef Show at 8 am followed by the annual DeWitt County 4-H Foundation auction at 7 pm.

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Weekly Weather Summary

A prolonged period of warm and dry weather is here. How long will it last? Brian Kerschner with the Illinois State Climatologists Office tells us...

 

 

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USDA Extends Crop Reporting Deadline for Flood Impacted States

The Department of Agriculture Wednesday extended the deadline for farmers to report spring-seeded crops. 

USDA says the new deadline, July 22, applies to producers in states impacted by flooding. 
USDA undersecretary Bill Northey says the deadline extension is part of the agencies effort to "increase program flexibility and reduce overall regulatory burden for producers" going through a challenging time. 

Farmers not in the selected states must file reports or be added to a county register by the original July 15 deadline. 

The new deadline applies to producers in Illinois, Arkansas, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, Minnesota, North Dakota, Ohio, Tennessee and Wisconsin for reporting spring-seeded crops  to USDA’s Farm Service Agency county offices and crop insurance agents.

Filing a timely crop acreage report is important for maintaining eligibility for USDA conservation, disaster assistance, safety net, crop insurance and farm loan programs. 
Producers filing reports with FSA county offices are encouraged to set up an appointment before visiting the office.

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Lincoln's Abraham Lincoln Memorial Hospital Offering Teen Fitness Court Training

Lincoln teens are invited out to the Abraham Lincoln Memorial Hospital fitness court Tuesday evening for training to help others use the court effectively. 

Angela Stoltzenberg with ALMH explains teens will learn about the courts seven stations and the variations of how to effectively use each one. The completion of the training will give teens the tools to promote and help anyone wanting to use the facility.

Again, the training is for teens ages 14-19 and the training starts at 6 pm. Anyone interested can meet at the court at 235 8th Street, at the former hospital location. 

You can learn more about the court and other happenings at ALMH by searching "ALMH Community Health Collaborative" on Facebook. 

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Summer Is Prime Time For Grill Fires

SUMMER IS PRIME TIME FOR GRILL FIRES. THE ILLINOIS STATE FIRE MARSHAL’S OFFICE HAS SOME SAFETY TIPS.

JULY IS THE PEAK MONTH FOR GRILL RELATED FIRES…WITH GAS GRILLS CONTRIBUTING TO MORE FIRES THAN CHARCOAL GRILLS. STATE FIRE MARSHAL SPOKESPERSON J-C FULTZ SAYS THERE ARE PRECAUTIONS YOU CAN TAKE TO PROTECT YOURSELF.

FULTZ SAYS KIDS AND PETS SHOULD BE KEPT AT LEAST THREE FEET FROM THE GRILL AND IF USING CHARCOAL…THE COALS SHOULD BE FULLY COOLED BEFORE DISPOSING OF THEM IN A METAL CONTAINER.

FULTZ SAYS IF YOU SMELL GAS WHILE GRILLING, YOU SHOULD IMMEDIATELY GET AWAY FROM THE GRILL AND CALL THE FIRE DEPARTMENT.

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Clinton Chamber of Commerce Celebrates Successful Golf Outing

June 26, 21 area businesses and non-profits converged on the Clinton Country Club for the annual Clinton Chamber of Commerce golf outing.

 

Marian Brisard says the event was a big success. Friday morning on the WHOW Morning Show she unveiled the winners of the annual event.

 

 

While many Chamber sponsored events offer opportunities for networking among local businesses and leaders, Brisard feels the golf outing may be the premier event as it is the most casual of all their events.

 

 

Brisard says the funds raised from the golf outing helps them maintain their operations like giving back to the community through donations to non-profits and other investments in the community.

 

She also notes at the golf outing, the held their drawing for the annual gun raffle and the winner was Steve Coppenbarger. 

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Goodwill in Clinton Opens Friday Morning

Goodwill in Clinton opened their doors for the first time at 9 am on Friday morning establishing their latest location in central Illinois.

 

Sharon Durbin is the President and CEO of the Land of Lincoln Goodwill Industries and says Clinton was the right location for them.

 

 

According to Durbin, Goodwill offers many programs that invest in the community. She says from youth to adults, they have several programs that help residents be successful.

 

 

Durbin says there will be designated days when their career coach will be in Clinton. She anticipates that person will be available in a few more weeks.

 

Check out the new Goodwill location on the west side of the community next to the new Tractor Supply Monday through Saturday from 9 am to 9 pm and Sundays from 11 am to 7 pm.

 

 

 

 

 

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DeWitt County 4-H Fairgrounds Looking to Add Handicap Restroom

The DeWitt County 4-H is seeking donations to aid in renovating the fairground restrooms.

 

Dan Enos with the DeWitt County 4-H indicates they are planning to add a handicap restroom to the facilities and will be an estimated $60,000 project. He says currently there is no date set to begin.

 

 

Enos says donations from the public are much needed for the project. Those wishing to make a donation should contact the DeWitt County Farm Bureau or the DeWitt County University of Illinois Extension Office.

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United Way Talks Community Support and Adding More Groups To Their Umbrella

 Earlier this week on Regional Radio News, we outlined ten DeWitt County organizations that received support from the United Way of Decatur and Mid-Illinois.

 

Ryan Huffer with the United Way says it's easy to become part of their umbrella of support. He explains they recently broadened the requirements for who they can support and feels it's worth a call to them to find out if you might qualify.

 

 

Applying for the investment opportunity through the United Way is a lot like grant writing. Huffer explains they want to know things like what is an organization's budget, how do they impact whoever they are serving and how does that impact compare to someone who may not be in their program.

 

 

Huffer explains they serve DeWitt, Macon and Piatt Counties among others in central Illinois and seek to support non-profits and make their communities as strong as possible.

 

 

Huffer says they chose community investment intentionally because they view their role as investing in the community. He adds they also hold their non-profits accountable by checking in with them periodically to find out if the investment is paying dividends. 

 

To get more information on the United Way of Decatur and Mid-Illinois, you can visit uwdecatur.org or contact them at 217-422-8537. 

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State Ag Pest Coordinator Gives Update

Activity starting to pick up for the State Agriculture Pest Survey Coordinator. Kelly Estes provides an update from her office in Champaign.

 

 

Estes staff includes six interns this summer.

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Entire Illinois Congressional Delegation Working to Bring Military Jets to Springfield

It's been more than a decade since the last F-16 Falcon Fighter Jet left the runways at Springfield's Abraham Lincoln Capital Airport. Members of the U.S. House and Senate from Illinois believe its time for military jets to return. Congressman Darin LaHood says the bi-partisan effort comes at a time when the Air Force is looking for more spots for aircraft....

 

 

LaHood says bringing aircraft back is a borderline turnkey effort...

 

 

The Springfield based 183rd Air National Guard fighter wing lost its jets after the Base Realignment and Closure Commission made a recommendation to transfer the jets last decade. 

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United Riders Association Raising Money For Logan County Special Olympics Saturday

Join the United Riders Association for a special fundraiser this Saturday in Logan County to raise money for the Logan County Special Olympics. 

 

The two groups are teaming up to raise money to help the Special Olympics expand on their flag football team. Event Coordinator Rick Hennessey says they started the car and bike show last year to supplement the loss of the popular Polar Plunge in Lincoln.

 

 

The Cruisin' For A Cause event is the latest event the United Riders Association has taken up for the Special Olympics. He says the show will consist of cars, bikes, and jeeps.

 

 

The Oasis Senior Center in Lincoln on Woodlawn Road is the site of this year's event. Hennessy says the event is from 11 am to 3 pm with free activities for kids as well.

 

 

Hennessy points anyone wanting more information to visit the event's Facebook page by searching Cruisin' For A Cause. You can also learn more about the United Riders Association by finding them on Facebook as well. 

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2019 DeWitt County 4-H Fair This Weekend

The 2019 DeWitt County 4-H Fair will run July 12-15 at the 4-H Fairgrounds in Clinton.

 

Lindsey Burden, DeWitt County 4-H Extension Coordinator, indicates Friday evening will see tractor driving, archery, and the Ag Olympics. Saturday will have the general project judging all day along with the poultry, goat, and master showmanship shows. The public will have an opportunity Saturday afternoon to find out more about the fair.

 

 

Burden says on Sunday they will have the beef, rabbit, and sheep shows along with with a continuation of the general project judging. Sunday evening is the annual 4-H Fair Association Pork Chop dinner at 5:30 pm followed by the awards program. Monday morning is the swine show and Monday evening is the auction.

 

 

Hear live coverage from the fair Saturday morning from 9 am to noon, and the awards show on Sunday evening from 7 pm to 8 pm, on The Big 1520 AM/92.3 FM/106.5 FM WHOW, online at dewittdailynews.com, on the WHOW app, and on Amazon Alexa.

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January Through June Wettest on Record

THE FIRST SIX MONTHS OF 2019 WERE THE WETTEST IN ILLINOIS HISTORY. 

 

ILLINOIS WEATHER DATA GOES BACK TO 1895…AND A NEW RECORD WAS SET THIS YEAR SAYS BRIAN KERSCHNER WITH THE STATE CLIMATOLOGIST’S OFFICE.

 

 

THAT BEATS THE AVERAGE BY MORE THAN EIGHT INCHES SAYS  KERSCHNER.

 

 

THE WETTEST PART OF THE STATE? COBDEN, ILLINOIS IN FAR SOUTHERN UNION COUNTY RECEIVED MORE THAN 44 INCHES OF RAIN DURING THE FIRST SIX MONTHS OF THE YEAR.

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Pritzker Doesn't Hold Back on Scrapped Confederate Railroad Concert

There's a continued uproar on social media over the state's decision to yank the Confederate Railroad from the concert lineup of the DuQuoin State Fair August 27th. Governor J.B. Pritzker offered his first comments on the subject Wednesday and he didn't feel the need to be delicate on the topic....

 

 

Some call it a double standard that rapper Snoop Dog will perform at the Springfield based State Fair despite an album cover with the feet of a cadaver with a toe tag labeled “Trump.” Pritzker calls that comparing apples and oranges....

 

 

The state is paying the Confederate Railroad the full $7500 contract they would have received if they performed. Nearby Marion's Harley Davidson dealer now plans to host the band September 5th. 

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Clinton High School Feeling Effects of Teacher Shortage

A local school is feeling the effects of the statewide teacher shortage.

 

Clinton High School Principal Jerry Wayne notes he currently has three openings that he is trying to fill before the start of the school year.

 

 

Wayne indicates that if positions are not filled he would need to find a long term substitute teacher, which is facing a shortage as well.

 

 

Wayne argues that it is not only political reasons behind the statewide teacher shortage, but it has to do with the rigors of teaching as a profession.

 

 

Wayne says to stop the shortage, the public needs to recognize what teachers do and encourage youth to take up teaching as a profession.

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Clinton Police Chief: Keep Watch Over Elderly, Pets During Extreme Heat

The hottest day of the summer to date is likely today (Wednesday) and as we hit the dog days of summer, local authorities are reminding residents to keep a close watch on your elderly neighbors and pets.

 

Clinton Police Chief Ben Lowers says the elderly can be especially susceptible to the extreme heat if they live alone and don't have air conditioning.

 

 

Chief Lowers also advocates for those outdoor pets that will be subjected to the heat of the summer. Among many suggestions, Lowers says to make sure have shade to rest in and plenty of cold water that is changed out frequently.

 

 

Additionally, while leaving kids in the car on a hot day is against the law, the Chief reminds pet owners it is equally stressful on animals. 

 

 

Chief Lowers points out the police still get complaints about dogs running at large. He continues to remind the public to keep dogs in enclosed, fenced in areas and when taking them out, to keep them leashed, as those are city ordinances and a citation can be written under some circumstances. 

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July Marks 29th Anniversary of Americans with Disabilities Act

With millions of Americans dealing with disabilities, Social Security can help with disability benefits.

 

Jack Myers with Social Security indicates that they have strict criteria for their disability benefits. To qualify for benefits, individuals must have a condition that is expected to last for at least a year or result in death prior to a year.

 

 

Myers notes nobody is getting rich off of disability benefits. Benefits are supposed to help families survive but are not enough to fully replace wages.

 

 

Myers reminds that Social Security offers special assistance for veterans who are wounded or disabled during active duty to help expedite their application.

 

 

For more information on Social Security disability visit www.socialsecurity.gov/disability.

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Department of Labor Urging Employers To Have Plan Addressing Workplace Violence

THE ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF LABOR IS URGING EMPLOYERS TO HAVE A PLAN IN PLACE TO ADDRESS WORKPLACE VIOLENCE. 

 

WORKPLACE VIOLENCE HAS BECOME A GROWING CONCERN SAYS ILLINOIS OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND HEALTH ADMINISTRATION DIRECTOR BEN NOVEN. THE FIRST STEP IS UNDERSTANDING WHAT THAT INCLUDES.

 

 

NOVEN SAYS THE BEST THING EMPLOYERS CAN DO IS ESTABLISH A ZERO-TOLERANCE POLICY TOWARDS VIOLENCE AT WORK. 

 

 

SURVEILLANCE CAMERAS, KEY OR BADGE ENTRY AND PROPER LIGHTING IS ALSO ADVISED. EMPLOYEES SHOULD BE URGED TO REPORT POTENTIALLY DANGEROUS BEHAVIOR TO THEIR SUPERVISOR.

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Blue Ridge Schools Focused on Shifting Teachers Time Focused on Professional Development

In trying to find the balance of having teachers take advantage of needed professional development opportunities but also in front of their students consistently, a DeWitt County school district is trying some new things. 

 

Susan Wilson is the Superintendent of the Blue Ridge district and says they found their teachers were out of the classroom so much and felt it was providing inconsistencies to their students.

 

 

Because a before and after school training requires paying teachers extra, Wilson says the trade-off is not having to bring in subs to cover their classroom time. This implementation started last year and Wilson feels it has gone really well to date. 

 

 

Professional development in the district has started to be taken care in-house thanks to the hiring of a curriculum coordinator. Wilson adds partnerships with other districts have started to become a popular form of professional development.

 

 

Traditional professional development seminars are still an option as well. Wilson says they still send teachers to various conferences throughout the state bringing back great ideas for their various campuses. 

 

 

Wilson believes the approach they have been using has had real benefits for their students by providing continuity they need. 

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United Way Makes Bi-Annual Investment in Community Non-Profits

The United Way of Decatur and Mid-Illinois recently wrapped up their bi-annual community investment process in DeWitt County.

 

Ryan Huffer with the United Way says this is a process that brings various people from different sectors of the community together to hear from non-profits about what their organizations do, how an investment from United Way would impact them and then decides how to distribute a set amount o funding.

 

 

Roughly $106,000 was invested in DeWitt County non-profits this cycle and Tuesday morning on the WHOW Morning Show, Huffer told Regional Radio News four groups received 100-percent of the funding they requested. He feels that is a tremendous number for a central Illinois community.

 

 

According to Huffer, there's a number of programs in DeWitt County doing good things that are worthy investments by the United Way.

 

 

Huffer indicates their fundraising campaign in DeWitt County mainly takes place in the fall and then their community investment process happens in the spring every other year. He indicates there can be some tough decisions their community volunteers have after all their non-profits present.

 

To get more information on the United Way of Decatur and Mid-Illinois and their bi-annual campaign, you can visit uwdecatur.org or contact them at 217-422-8537. 

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Clinton High School Principal Calls London Trip A Great Experience

Around a dozen Clinton High School students, last month made the trip across the pond to tour and explore London. 

 

Clinton High School Principal Jerry Wayne calls the trip a great experience for the kids that were able to take advantage of the opportunity. He says they saw all the sites you would typically associate with the area.

 

 

According to Wayne, tips his cap to the students and the way they conducted themselves. He felt they represented Clinton at the highest level.

 

 

About three years ago, Wayne explains his English teachers brought forward the idea of visiting England to connect what is being taught in the classroom to the real world. From there, they received the nod of approval from the Board of Education and then moved forward to fundraise for the trip. 

 

 

Wayne anticipates in another three years having this opportunity again. He indicates that will have to be up to the Board of Education but they intend on showcasing their experience to the Board in August. 

 

Photos of the students trip courtesy of Clinton High School's Twitter account:

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Expect More Wet Weather Throughout July

Are you sick of the wet weather? Don't anticipate much of a change.

 

Chris Miller of the National Weather Service in Lincoln says the rainy pattern is going to continue as move through July. He explains the entirety of the corn belt could be looking at a pretty wet July. 

 

 

All is not lost, however. Miller points to later this month when things to turn around and become more typical of summer with hot and dry conditions.

 

 

Farmers might be curious to know that Miller is seeing the possibility of above normal temperatures come the harvest season. While that is the forecast, for now, he is not sure it will hold as that is hurricane season and that could shake things up.

 

 

The recent heat and dry weather have helped dry out a lot of the fields of Illinois. While some planting was behind this year, Miller says the later summer forecast of warmer and drier weather may be just what farmers will need leading up to the harvest season. 

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Weekly Crop Report

SOYBEAN PLANTING IS WRAPPING UP AS WE HEAR IN THE WEEKLY CROP REPORT.

 

93 PERCENT OF SOYBEAN ACRES HAVE BEEN PLANTED…COMPARED TO 99 PERCENT NORMALLY SAYS CROP STATISTICIAN MARK SCHLEUSENER.

 

 

95 OF CORN HAS EMERGED AND FOUR PERCENT IS SILKING. 

 

 

74 PERCENT OF WINTER WHEAT HAS BEEN HARVESTED. AVERAGE STATEWIDE TOPSOIL MOISTURE DECLINED TO SIX PERCENT SHORT, 66 PERCENT ADEQUATE AND 28 PERCENT SURPLUS.

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OSF and Illinois Farm Bureau promoting mental health tool for farmers

OSF Health Care in conjunction with the Illinois Farm Bureau promoting a tool for farmers that targets stress, anxiety and depression. It’s called the OSF SilverCloud and it’s available through an app and website says Knox County farmer Matt Goedeke (go-deck-ee).

 

 

Anyone who lives in a region with an OSF HealthCare facility can access this digital tool by computer, tablet or smartphone. There is no requirement to be an OSF patient. More information is available at “osf.silvercloudhealth.com/signup.”

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IHSA Looking For More Officials

You may love them or hate them depending on the day, but referees and officials are critical to keeping high school sporting events going across Illinois and the country. The IHSA is continuing to look to get the younger generations into officiating throughout the state.

 

 

Sam Knox is the Assistant Executive Director.

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IFB farm income & innovations conference scheduled for later this month

The 2019 Illinois Farm Bureau Farm Income and Innovations Conference set for later this month. IFB senior economist Mike Doherty says there is plenty of information on the docket.

 

 

The conference is July 31st at the Marriott Hotel & Conference Center in Normal. More information is available at “ilfb.org/FIIC”. 

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Changes To Tobacco Buying Underway

Maybe lost in the mix at the start of the month was the increase of taxes on cigarettes and the change that you now need to be 21 to buy them. 

 

The changes were approved by a bi-partisan group of lawmakers and signed by Democrat Governor JB Pritzker. Supporters of the changes hope it gets people to quit smoking or to never start. The State’s Doctor – the Director of the Illinois Department of Public Health – Ngozi Ezike says barriers to smoking prove a good return on investment. 

 

 

Illinois is one of more than 20 states that’s bumped the age to use tobacco to 21.

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House lawmakers hold hearing on the removal of more than 200 books from a downstate prison library

A HOUSE COMMITTEE IS DISCUSSING THE REMOVAL OF MORE THAN 200 BOOKS FROM A DOWNSTATE STATE PRISON LIBRARY.

 

THE BOOKS WERE TAKEN OUT OF THE DANVILLE CORRECTIONAL CENTER’S EDUCATION JUSTICE PROJECT COLLECTION…USED BY INMATES TAKING COLLEGE COURSES. THE PROGRAM DIRECTOR…REBECCA GINSBURG WITH THE UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS SAYS THE BOOKS ARE A VITAL PART OF THE CURRICULUM.

 

 

PROGRAM COORDINATORS SAYS THE BOOKS ARE AN IMPORTANT PART OF THE CURRICULUM…AND ARE BEING REMOVED OR DENIED ARBITRARILY. JEFFREYS SAYS MOST HAVE SINCE BEEN RETURNED AND THAT POLICIES ARE BEING REWRITTEN.

 

 

JEFFREYS SAYS THE DEPARTMENT IS COMMITTED TO OFFERING EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES TO INMATES IN HOPES OF GETTING THEM ON A BETTER PATH ONCE RELEASED.

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DeWitt County Sheriff Talks Upgrades to Reporting System

The DeWitt County Sheriff's Office is among several DeWitt and Piatt County entities joining forces to update the reporting system they use.

 

The system won't be ready for use for approximately 18 more months but the Sheriff says this is something they are desperately in need of.


 

One of the benefits of the new system will be a lot of information sharing between all the entities involved in the purchase process. The Sheriff says this will not only benefit them but everyone involved.

 

The total cost of the system is roughly $291,000 and Sheriff Walker explains that will be able to be divided up to each participating entity. The implementation of this new system will gradually be installed, which is a bonus according to the Sheriff.

 

 

Sheriff Walker calls the new system much easier to use. The current system is very cumbersome but the new system will streamline all the information they will need in one place. 

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Monticello Schools Project Underway

The Monticello School district has for roughly a decade been seeking community support to update their facilities and construction of an approved project is underway. 

 

Dr. Vic Zimmerman says they broke ground shortly after the school year concluded and he looks forward to progress this summer.

 

 

According to Dr. Zimmerman, the project will force them to be flexible as the addition and remodeling going on during the upcoming school year but he says there likely won't be an issue they can't handle.

 

 

This coming school year, there will be four portable classrooms in use and Dr. Zimmerman indicates classes will likely be shuffling in and out of those throughout the year as various classrooms get renovated.

 

 

Dr. Zimmerman also indicates upgrades to the classrooms include AC, new lighting or paint.

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Social Security Highlighting Online Application Possibilities

If you need to apply for anything in the Social Security world, it is likely you can do it online.

 

While online applications aren't for everyone, Jack Myers with Social Security says that is becoming an increasing avenue for many of their beneficiaries and in fact, they have started to recommend it.

 

 

Myers stresses it will never be a requirement for anyone to apply for benefits online but it is likely the most convenient and easiest option for you.

 

 

Additionally, the application for a financial assistance program geared towards seniors is also available at the Social Security website. Myers says the Extra Help application is available online and is unique because a person can file on behalf of someone else.

 

 

For many of these applications, Myers points out you'll need to have a My Social Security account set up. That will be a handy tool down the road so he encourages having that set up when you start the application process. 

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Defending The Gas Tax

On a weekend when people are hitting the roads and filling tanks the anger and grumbling continues about the motor fuel tax jumping 19 cents. Democrat Governor JB Pritzker has heard it but he says after decades of not raising revenue to fix roads the state has so much to repair and rebuild.

 

 

Pritzker says drivers are going to save money in the long run on car repairs and getting to places faster when roads are repaired or built.

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Weekly Weather Summary

July started off with stormy and summer weather, and the trend will continue this weekend into next week. State Climatologist Office's Brian Kerschner has more...

 

 

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New Rebuild Illinois program includes money for higher education construction and maintenance projects

GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER SAYS HIGHER EDUCATION IN ILLINOIS WILL RECEIVE A MUCH-NEEDED PICK-ME-UP UNDER THE NEW “REBUILD ILLINOIS” PROGRAM.

 

THE PROGRAM INCLUDES MONEY FOR EVERYTHING FROM A NEW PARKING LOT AT MORTON COLLEGE TO A NEW QUANTUM PHYSICS FACILITY AT THE UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS IN URBANA/CHAMPAIGN SAYS GOVERNOR PRITZKER. ADDITIONALLY:

 

 

NEARLY THREE BILLION DOLLARS IN FUNDING WILL COVER DEFERRED MAINTENANCE NEEDS…NEW BUILDINGS AND OTHER COMMUNITY COLLEGE AND UNIVERSITY PROJECTS. GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER SAYS THIS IS AN IMPORTANT INVESTMENT.

 

 

MAJOR PROJECTS INCLUDE A QUANTUM PHYSICS FACILITY AT THE UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS AT CHAMPAIGN-URBANA, A NEW HEALTH SCIENCES BUILDING AT SOUTHERN ILLINOIS UNIVERSITY EDWARDSVILLE AND NEW SCIENCE BUILDINGS AT WESTERN AND EASTERN ILLINOIS UNIVERSITIES.

 

THE GOVERNOR SAYS MAKING THESE INVESTMENTS IN HIGHER EDUCATION WILL HELP KEEP MORE STUDENTS IN ILLINOIS FOR COLLEGE.

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Governor JB Pritzker urges the public not to text and drive

AS THE LONG HOLIDAY WEEKEND CONTINUES, GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER IS ASKING THE PUBLIC NOT TO TEXT AND DRIVE.

 

GOVERNOR PRITZKER SAYS DISTRACTED HAS BECOME A HUGH PROBLEMS…AND URGES EVERYONE TO PUT DOWN THEIR PHONES WHEN THEY’RE BEHIND THE WHEEL.

 

 

GOVERNOR PRITZKER SAYS DISTRACTED DRIVING KILLS MORE PEOPLE THAN DRUNK DRIVING IN ILLINOIS…AND IS A BIG CONCERN.

 

 

TEXTING WHILE DRIVING IS NOW A MOVING VIOLATION WITH A FINE OF 75 DOLLARS FOR FIRST TIME OFFENDERS. REPEAT OFFENDERS FACE FINES OF 150 BUCKS. IF YOU RACK UP THREE MOVING VIOLATIONS IN A YEAR, YOUR LICENSE COULD BE SUSPENDED.

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Clinton Schools Superintendent Calls College Aid Application Requirement Overreach

Last month Illinois lawmakers approved legislation requiring graduating seniors to apply for aid to college before they would receive their diploma.

 

Clinton Schools Superintendent Curt Nettles weighed in on the legislation and called overreach. Uncertain if it is the FAFSA forms parents fill out, Nettles says if it is, that is a difficult form to navigate. 

 

 

Nettles wishes lawmakers would allow local control to navigate issues like these and numerous other legislators have intervened on. 

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National Weather Service Urges Public To Stay Smart During Summer Heat

The National Weather Service is reminding the public to be cautious about the summer weather.

 

Chris Miller, National Weather Service meteorologist, reminds to not leave pets or kids in the car even for short periods of time. Temperatures inside cars can reach upwards of 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

 

 

Miller indicates that with temperatures in the 80s, humidity and direct sunlight can cause it to feel much warmer. He advises keeping an eye on the elderly and young children as they are the most susceptible to heat.

 

 

Miller says current projections do not show many 90 degree days the rest of the summer.

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Clinton School District Online Registration Opens July 16

The Clinton Community Unit School District 15 will open online registration for the 2019-2020 school year on July 16. Registration is available on the district website at www.cusd15.org.

 

Registration at Lincoln, Douglas, Clinton Elementary, the Junior High, and High School buildings will be held on Thursday, August 8 from 9am-1pm and 4pm-7pm.

 

In order to be accepted for registration in the Clinton school district, kindergarten students must reach their fifth birthday on or before September 1, 2019.

 

Wednesday, August 21, 2019, will be the first full day of school for kindergarten through fifth grade, sixth grade, freshmen, and students new to the district. Thursday, August 22, will be the first full day for all students.

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Goodwill To Open in One Week

Goodwill of Clinton is set to open their doors at 9 am on Friday, July 12.

 

The grand opening will be ushered in by a ribbon cutting ceremony and Pat Anderson, with Goodwill Industries says the store is coming together nicely and the finishing touches are being done with a week to spare.

 

 

According to Anderson, the Clinton store will mirror many of their stores across the state in that they will offer a drop off location and electronic recycling and the proceeds go back into some of their programming they offer.

 

 

Hear live coverage from the Goodwill grand opening on Friday, July 12 from 9 am to noon on The Big 1520 AM/92.3 FM/106.5 FM WHOW, on 95.9 FM WEZC and on at dewittdailynews.com. 

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DeWitt County Horse Show This Weekend

This weekend opens the DeWitt County 4-H fair with the horse show.

 

Lindsey Burden with the University of Illinois Extension office says Saturday of the horse show is more of the competitive side of things while Sunday is more of the fun parts of the show.

 

 

Burden says youth are broken into three classes and while it can be a long day at the fairgrounds, it ends up being a good time for everyone.

 

 

The kids that participate are enrolled in 4-H and participate in several workshops throughout the year.

 

Burden is looking forward to being a part of the weekend of activities for the first time in her role as 4-H Extension Coordinator. 

 

Hear live coverage from the horse show Saturday morning from 10 am to 11 am on The Big 1520 AM/92.3 FM/106.5 FM WHOW and online at dewittdailynews.com. 

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2019 Blue Ridge Football Team Co-Oping With Normal Calvary Christian Academy

To help boost numbers in football, this upcoming season the Blue Ridge Knights will be co-oping with Normal Calvary Christian Academy.

 

Superintendent Susan Wilson explains this expands the co-op already in place with DeLand-Weldon. While the number of kids coming to play won't be significant, it will be enough to expand opportunities for their student-athletes.

 

 

Wilson indicates the rebuilding of their program has been quite a process. The program was shut down around five years ago and then brought back but since they brought the program back, the numbers have gradually increased.

 

 

Blue Ridge opens their 2019 campaign at home hosting Martinsville with games at home against Toledo-Cumberland, Decatur LSA, Cerro Gordo Bement and Argenta-Oreana for senior night. Their road matchups include Oblong, Oakland, ALAH, and Arcola. 

 

The 2019 season opens August 30. 

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More Opposition to Gas Tax

Western Illinois State Representative Dan Swanson is critical of Governor J.B Pritzker regarding the Governor's recent comments on gas prices. 

 

In a discussion with the media earlier this week as the new 19 cents per gallon tax became the law, Governor Pritzker stated that Illinois residents would save money in the long run on gas prices because the infrastructure bill will create safer, more reliable road conditions. Swanson takes issue with that.

 

 

The motor fuel tax in Illinois increased by 19 Cents on Monday, July 1st.

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Timeshare Exit Business Warning

While many people who have entered into timeshare agreements over the years have said they love them, there are plenty others trying to get out of contracts they say don't offer what is promised. As a result, the timeshare exit industry popped up several years ago, but the Better Business Bureau warns some of these companies may not deliver the results they promise.

 

Getting out of a timeshare can be difficult, but it is possible. Sometimes, you can even do it yourself. But one tactic some timeshare exit companies use that is an outright lie, according to Better Business Bureau investigator Don O'Brien, is claiming the contracts will automatically be passed down to your children when you die.

 

 

O'Brien says you should beware of making upfront payments for the work if you decide to go with one of these companies and pay with a credit card so you can dispute the charge if you are not satisfied with the results. 

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Nancy Pelosi Coming to Springfield

The Illinois Democratic County Chairs Brunch at Springfield's Crowne Plaza has drawn some big names in recent years. Now they add another with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi booked to serve as keynote speaker next month. Current presidential contenders like Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and South Bend Mayor Pete Butigieg have addressed the crowd on Democrat Day during the State Fair in recent years, but with a flooded field of candidates, County Chairs President Kristina Zahorik (Za-haw-rick) thought the change would be good.

 

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Zahorik says the event continues to grow...

 

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Other past speakers include then future President Obama, former New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, and Minnesota Senator Al Franken before his fall from grace. 

 

Tickets go on sale July 15 at the Democratic County Chairs website www.ILDCCA.org. 

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Clinton Fourth of July Fireworks Set For Friday

The Celebrate Clinton Association's downtown festivities will be capped off by fireworks that will be put up for display tomorrow night. 

 

Ruth Lowers explains hosting the fireworks display the day after their celebration on the square gives everyone a chance to recover and for them to check out other displays in central Illinois.

 

 

Fireworks will get underway between 9 and 9:15 pm and it will be a 30-minute display. Celebrate Clinton has taken over the duties of raising money and coordination for the annual display in recent years. 

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Secretary of State Urging For Safe Fourth of July

WITH THE FOURTH OF JULY WEEKEND UPON US…SECRETARY OF STATE JESSE WHITE IS URGING THE PUBLIC NOT TO DRINK AND DRIVE. 

 

BETWEEN PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION…SOBER FRIENDS…AND RIDESHARING SERVICES, THERE IS NO EXCUSE TO DRIVE DRUNK SYS SECRETARY WHITE.

 

 

WHITE SAYS PEOPLE CELEBRATING THE HOLIDAY SHOULD PLAN AHEAD TO MAKE SURE THEY GET HOME SAFELY.

 

 

WHITE ALSO REMINDS DRIVERS TO BUCKLE UP AND NOT TEXT AND DRIVE.

 

TWO OUT OF THE FOUR TRAFFIC FATALITIES LAST YEAR OVER THE FOURTH OF JULY INVOLVED ALCOHOL.

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Boating Safety

AS MANY PEOPLE HEAD TO THE LAKE FOR THE 4TH OF JULY HOLIDAY…THE ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES OFFERS SOME SAFE BOATING TIPS. 

 

THERE HAVE ALREADY BEEN SEVERAL BOATING DEATHS THIS SUMMER IN ILLINOIS…AND THAT’S WHY IT’S SO IMPORTANT TO TAKE BOATING SAFETY SERIOUSLY SAYS D-N-R SPOKESPERSON RACHEL TORBERT.

 

 

STATE LAW REQUIRES KIDS UNDER 13 TO WEAR A LIFE JACKET WHILE ABOARD ANY BOAT LESS THAN 26 FEET LONG..AND EVERYONE MUST WEAR A LIFE JACKET WHILE JET SKIING.ADDITIONALLY, TORBERT REMINDS THAT D-U-I LAWS APPLY TO BOAT OPERATORS AS WELL.

 


TORBERT SAYS STATE CONSERVATION POLICE WILL BE ON LAKES AND RIVERS LOOKING FOR VIOLATORS ALL SUMMER.

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Clinton YMCA, Monticello Inching Closer to Starting Campaign To Establish Y

The Executive Director of the Clinton YMCA believes once a Y is established in Monticello it will take off.

 

However, as the process crosses over the year mark, Rennie Cluver says the Clinton Y continues to make sure they are doing it right and all their bases are covered.

 

 

According to Cluver, the next step is to have a company come in and tell them what they need to achieve through a fundraising campaign, along with what the possibilities are for a facility. 

 

 

A YMCA in Monticello would put all the risk on the table for the Clinton Y, Cluver indicates that is why they are being cautious. Additionally, they don't want to establish a branch in Monticello and then have to shut it down because it is unsustainable.

 

 

Partnerships with a local hospital and YMCA has been a trend for the organization across the country and even locally there are examples of those types of partnerships. Cluver indicates a part of their feasibility study will be what is possible for them.

 

 

Cluver believes a Monticello YMCA is going to happen it is just a matter of how big. He says there are big dreams in Monticello however, where they are is finding out what they can afford and expand from there. 

 

 

Cluver anticipates a capital campaign being announced very soon as the Board nails down final plans for a Monticello YMCA. 

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Grilling, Food Safety Tips

You've likely been out grilling for weeks now but a food safety expert is promoting grill safety this Fourth of July.

 

Whether you're cooking for a family of four or four generations, Caitlin Mellendorf with the University of Illinois Extension Office has several tips for us this holiday weekend. First and foremost, make sure you are washing your hands frequently when handling food of any type.

 

 

Your menu this year might include brats, burgers, chicken or ribs and Mellendorf encourages making sure the grilling surface gets raked off between the meats you set on it. Additionally, it's a good idea to establish cooking zones of the grill if you choose to cook everything at the same time.

 

 

To prevent food-borne illnesses, Mellendorf says it is imperative to make sure all the meats get cooked to their USDA recommended temperatures.

 

 

Foodsafety.gov is the website Mellendorf recommends for more information on cooking safety tips and for temperatures for all the various meats you may be preparing this Fourth of July holiday, but also all through the summer. 

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Celebrate Clinton Hosting Ninth Annual Fourth of July Celebration

The Fourth of July Celebration in Clinton is set for its ninth year on the Clinton Square this Thursday.

 

The Celebrate Clinton Association has hosted the annual event and Ruth Lowers says it's a day of fun for kids and adults with plenty of entertainment.

 

 

The day begins at 8 am with a breakfast served by the Clinton Police and Fire departments. Clinton Police Chief Ben Lowers says the breakfast serving can become a light-hearted competition between the two groups.

 

 

Lowers says there's plenty of fun stuff for kids this Thursday. From a watermelon eating contest to bike and trike decorating contest and a kids tractor pull competition, there's something happening almost all day to keep the young ones engaged.

 

 

Later in the afternoon, there will be a dunk tank with various local celebrities partaking. Chief Lowers will be getting into the tank and is always a crowd favorite.

 

 

Get more information about the Celebrate Clinton Fourth of July activities by visiting their Facebook page. 

 

Lowers notes the week of the Fourth is a busy week for the department and encourages the community to celebrate safely.

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Keep An Eye To The Sky This Fourth of July

Keep an eye to the sky this Fourth of July.

 

That is the message from Chris Miller at the National Weather Service in Lincoln who indicates we could be in for some early fireworks as conditions seem to indicate mother nature may fire up a thunderstorm or two this Thursday.

 

 

Miller says there's been a spike in lightning injuries and fatalities near or in water. He says that is something to be very conscious about this holiday week.

 

 

Illinois has been on a run of rainless Independence Days and Miller adds it's typically been hot on the 'Fourth' as well.

 

 

Miller says to anticipate more rain fronts to settle over Illinois in the month of June and provide more above average rainfall for this time of year. 

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Excitement Building For New Gaming Opportunities

EXCITEMENT IS BUILDING FOR ILLINOIS COMMUNITIES THAT WILL ENJOY NEW GAMING OPPORTUNITIES UNDER THE STATE’S “REBUILD ILLINOIS” PROGRAM.

 

THE PROGRAM, WHICH WILL HELP WITH ROAD REPAIRS, CONSTRUCTION PROJECTS AND MORE IS BEING PARTIALLY FUNDED BY EXPANSION OF GAMBLING IN ILLINOIS. THAT INCLUDES SIX NEW LAND-BASED CASINOS. ONE WILL BE AT WALKER’S BLUFF IN CARTERVILLE, WHICH SENATOR DALE FOWLER SAYS WILL BE A BIG BOON FOR THE AREA.

 

 

ONE WILL BE LOCATED IN ROCKFORD…WHICH LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR JULIANA STRATTON SAYS WILL PUT PEOPLE TO WORK.

 

 

ADDITIONALLY, WAUKEGAN, DANVILLE, CHICAGO, SOUTH SUBURBS AND WALKER’S BLUFF IN WILLIAMSON COUNTY WILL BE GETTING CASINOS. VIDEO GAMING WILL ALSO BE EXPANDED.

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Department of Public Health Says Tobacco 21 Law Will Reduce Number of Smokers

STATE PUBLIC HEALTH OFFICIALS SAY THE NEW “TOBACCO 21” LAW WILL REDUCE MEDICAL COSTS AND KEEP MORE KIDS FROM SMOKING. 

 

AS OF JULY FIRST, YOU MUST BE 21 YEARS OLD TO BUY CIGARETTES, CHEWING TOBACCO, E-CIGS AND VAPES. ILLINOIS PUBLIC HEALTH DIRECTOR DOCTOR NGOZI (en-gozi) EZIKE (eh-zee-kay) SAYS THIS SHOULD HELP LOWER THE NUMBER OF NEW SMOKERS.

 

 

EZIKE SAYS THE LAW WILL HELP KEEP CIGARETTES OUT OF HIGH SCHOOLS, SINCE MOST OF THOSE GIVING THEM TO MINORS ARE UNDER 21.

 

 

EZIKE SAYS SMOKING AT AN EARLY AGE INCREASES THE RISK OF LUNG CANCER. 16 STATES NOW HAVE TOBACCO 21 LAWS.

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Weekly Crop Report

CORN PLANTING IS STILL NOT COMPLETE AS WE HEAR IN THE WEEKLY CROP REPORT.

 

95 OF CORN HAS BEEN PLANTED…COMPARED TO 100 PERCENT NORMALLY SAYS CROP STATISTICIAN MARK SCHLEUSENER.

 

 

87 PERCENT OF SOYBEANS HAVE BEEN PLANTED AND 78 PERCENT EMERGED. 

 

 

47 PERCENT OF WINTER WHEAT HAS BEEN HARVESTED AND THE FIRST CUTTING OF ALFALFA IS NOW 86 COMPLETE. 

 

AVERAGE STATEWIDE TOPSOIL MOISTURE DECLINED A BIT TO ONE PERCENT SHORT, 53 PERCENT ADEQUATE AND 46 PERCENT SURPLUS.

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Scovill Zoo Train Extension Open

The much-anticipated train extension at the Scovill Zoo is complete.

 

Tuesday morning on the WHOW Morning Show, Director Ken Frye told Regional Radio News the extension opened last week and now takes its regular route around the zoo but now extends to Lake Decatur and up to the Children's Museum.

 

 

With a new extension, you can get on at the Museum or in the zoo. Frye says you can buy a train ride with your admission to the zoo. The extension almost doubled its length. 

 

 

Frye reminds those wanting to check out the zoo on the Fourth of July, it is free admission as part of their free admission Thursday promotion during the summer and they are offering free carousel rides. 

Get more information by visiting scovillzoo.com. 

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City Leaders Praise Saturday's Tour DeWitt

It wasn't a record turnout, however, nearly 200 bikers turned out to take part in the annual Tour DeWitt.

 

Monday night at the Clinton City Council meeting, council members took notice of the job done by Steve Lobb and Councilman John Wise praised the work of Lobb and his crew for another successful event that raises money for the Child Protection Network.

 

 

Lobb says, however, it is a community effort to make the day happen. He thanked volunteers like Wise and City Administrator Tim Followell for the time they dedicated on Saturday.

 

 

Monday night the Council approved the appointment of Clarence Blessing to the Fire and Police Commission and approved the purchase of a 55-gallon drum for the Zoning Department at a cost of just over $26-hundred. 

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Pritzker Says Gas Hike Shouldn't Have Been As Jarring

The Illinois gas tax doubled today in a bid to help with infrastructure needs. 

 

The news has set off a social media storm with many border area residents saying they'll go to neighboring states to buy their gas. Governor J.B. Pritzker says the increase should have been small but not only was the tax not increased in nearly three decades, there was never a reaction to inflation....

 

 

Pritzker says some Illinoisans who will pay the tax most frequently have fewer complaints...

 

 

The per gallon tax increased today from 19 to 38 cents. The Illinois Policy Institute estimates inflation adjustments will increase the tax by a penny each year. 

 

Pritzker adds it will be possible to save money driving around Illinois when driving is safer and easier.

 

 

Pritzker also highlighted savings to families once his progressive income tax could possibly become law.

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Be Safe With Fireworks

With the Fourth comes fireworks and many people won’t leave the displays to the experts. The State Fire Marshalls’ office says one type of firework legal in Illinois are sparklers … but even those present plenty of danger if they are not used safely.

 

 

That’s JC Fultz. The list of prohibited fireworks includes Roman candles, paper lanterns propelled skyward with a lit flame inside and bottle rockets.

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Clinton Schools Superintendent Weighs in on State Budget

The State of Illinois passed a budget earlier this year that commits to making payments to Illinois Schools and a DeWitt County school leader is weighing in.

 

Superintendent of Clinton School Curt Nettles says it has been a struggle in recent years but the new evidence-based funding model has been praised by school leaders and it appears Governor JB Pritzker and his administration are committed to sticking with that model.

 

 

Nettles believes funding for schools will come down to if Illinois gets the revenue they are projected to receive. If revenues do not match the projections, schools are then at the mercy of lawmakers. 

 

 

Nettles says while the state is still very behind on bills to schools, he credits the comptroller for keeping up on the payments to districts. He says as they enter a new fiscal year, they will get their last check from the State of Illinois however, it will not be on time and Nettles says it is tough to budget when they don't know when those funds come in.

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June Temperatures Normal But Very Wet

Depending on where you live in Illinois, June may have seemed very wet and cool but that isn't exactly how it shaped up.

 

Chris Miller with the National Weather Service says the start of June was certainly wet and cool as rain fell across the area for several days in a row. 

 

 

But thanks to the final two weeks of June, which were hot and dry, Miller says that changed the trends they saw in June and it became more typical for summertime. While it was a wet month, temperatures only came in a few degrees below normal. 

 

 

The hottest day of the month was actually this past weekend when temperatures in some areas reached the lower 90s. 

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DeWitt County Sheriff K-9 Unit's New Ride A Look Into Re-Branded Sheriff's Cars

If you've seen Sgt. Morgan and K-9 Drax with the DeWitt County Sheriff's Office out this summer, you've likely noticed their new ride and new decals.

 

DeWitt County Sheriff Mike Walker says the new ride was becoming necessary for the pair as the old Chevy Tahoe was starting to age out. Additionally, Sheriff Walker points out you might notice the fresh decals.

 

 

The Sheriff says the Ford model police vehicles are becoming very trendy in the law enforcement world. As has been a trend for the last decade, the four-door sedans have become obsolete for police as they need more room for all the equipment they have to carry anymore.

 

 

The Sheriff indicates the department budgeted for two new vehicles in their fleet this year and they are awaiting the second one's arrival. The Sheriff hopes to have that in their possession sometime later this summer or early fall. 

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Summer Project Season in Full Swing in Monticello

The summer construction season is in full swing and in Monticello, there are a couple of projects underway.

 

Director of Community Development, Callie McFarland says the big project is their streetscape improvement that will connect their downtown district to the west side of the community.

 

 

According to McFarland, there's also street rehab taking place in parts of the community. She indicates it is to some of their more traveled roads in town.

 

 

As the summer rolls along, there is a portion of land near their downtown the city is looking to develop. McFarland says their goal is to have the development mirror their downtown with commercial, retail and residential development.

 

 

McFarland says there is some interest with developers in that property adjacent to downtown and says it could be later this summer when requests for proposal go out and bids come back. 

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DOVE Offering Assistance Through Max/Dax Program

An assistance program in Macon and DeWitt Counties offers assistance for various needs.

 

Rev. Shane Hartman with the Macon County Assitance Exchange (Max) and DeWitt County Assistance Exchange (Dax) Programs, indicates it is a privately funded emergency assistance program that offers assistance with water bills, power bills, prescriptions, glasses, and clothing vouchers. There are no income guidelines for the program.

 

 

Rev. Hartman says they do not give out cash or currency only vouchers. The vouchers are available for use at many local businesses throughout Macon County.

 

 

The Dax program offers emergency assistance to DeWitt County residents similar to Max. Not all of the different types of assistance are available through Dax due to less funding.


 

 

In the past fiscal year, Max assisted 855 families with over $89,000.

 

For more information on Max or Dax visit the Dove office in Clinton at 803 W. Leander St. or call (217) 935-6619.

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