Local News

Weekly Weather Summary

It was a cooler week in central Illinois and with the chances of rain this weekend, Trent Ford with the Illinois State Climatologists Office tells us what to expect next week...

 

 

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Alton to Become Cruise Ship Hub

Last week's move at Alton City Hall to sign an agreement to create a hub for riverboat cruises has the makings of a financial boom . Starting next year, American Cruise Lines will have priority docking for turnarounds on the riverfront, a five-year deal that the head of the local tourism bureau can't wait to see get started.

 

Brett Stawar, President of the Great Rivers and Routes Tourism Bureau says the economic impact to the city could be in excess of $2-million over the five-year agreement. 

 

 

11 cruises will dock in Alton next year, increasing to 23 in 2021 and 2022. The agreement gives American Cruise Lines the right to dock its ships on the Alton riverfront for five years with options to extend the agreement for additional five year terms. The agreement also calls for the cruise line “to promote tourism and retail activity in Alton.”

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Bost Says Federal Disaster Relief Will Be Coming for Flood Victims

The spring flooding across the country was unprecedented, and many Illinois residents are still cleaning up and figuring out what is next.

 

After almost five months of many rivers being above flood stage in Illinois, Illinois congressman Mike Bost says the question is not if the state will get federal disaster money, but how much does the state need.

 

 

After going above flood stage in early spring, the Mississippi River at Chester recorded its second highest crest ever on June 10th. The river finally dropped below flood stage in early August.

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First "Same-Site" Dispensaries Announced for Cannabis

THE STATE NOW HAS FIVE DISPENSARIES THAT ARE AUTHORIZED TO SELL RECREATIONAL MARIJUANA. 

 

THE SITES APPROVED ALREADY SELL MEDICAL CANNABIS BUT WILL SOON BE ABLE TO ADD POT TO THEIR PRODUCT LIST. THEY ARE LOCATED IN MUNDELEIN, JOLIET, NAPERVILLE, CANTON AND EFFINGHAM SAYS ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF FINANCIAL AND PROFESSIONAL REGULATION SPOKESPERSON CHRIS SLABY.

 

 

SLABY SAYS ALL CURRENTLY SELL MEDICAL MARIJUANA.

 

 

THE DEPARTMENT WILL CONTINUE TO REVIEW APPLICATIONS FROM CURRENT DISPENSARIES. THERE ARE 55 AROUND THE STATE.

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Illinois Lottery Reports Record Contribution to Education Funding

THE ILLINOIS LOTTERY IS ANNOUNCING A RECORD CONTRIBUTION TO STATE SCHOOLS.

 

MORE THAN 731 MILLION DOLLARS OF LOTTERY PROCEEDS WENT TO THE COMMON SCHOOL FUND THIS PAST FISCAL YEAR. SPOKESPERSON JASON SCHAUMBURG SAYS THAT’S A NEARLY TWO PERCENT INCREASE OVER THE PREVIOUS YEAR AND A GOOD REMINDER OF WHERE SOME OF YOUR GAMBLING MONEY GOES.

 

 

EACH YEAR, PART OF THE LOTTERY’S PROCEEDS GOES TO THE COMMON SCHOOL FUND.

 

 

DURING FISCAL YEAR 19…THE LOTTERY ALSO PAID 165 MILLION DOLLARS IN COMMISSIONS AND SELLING BONUSES TO RETAILERS…AND NEARLY TWO BILLION DOLLARS IN PRIZE MONEY TO LUCKY WINNERS.

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New Eligibility Guidelines for Free, Reduced School Meals

NEW ELIGIBILITY GUIDELINES ARE NOW SET FOR THIS SCHOOL YEAR’S FREE AND REDUCED-PRICE MEAL PROGRAMS.

 

SCHOOL NUTRITION PROGRAMS ARE FUNDED BY THE U-S-D-A, AND FAMILIES PARTICIPATING NEED TO MEET CERTAIN INCOME GUIDELINES SAYS STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION PRINCIPAL CONSULTANT TIM MURPHY.

 

 

MURPHY SAYS KIDS SHOULDN’T HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT THEIR NEXT MEAL.

 

 

FAMILIES NEED TO APPLY EACH YEAR FOR THE PROGRAM AND ONLY NEED TO SUBMIT ONE APPLICATION PER HOUSEHOLD IF THEIR CHILDREN ARE IN THE SAME SCHOOL DISTRICT. MURPHY SAYS STUDIES SHOW KIDS PERFORM BETTER AT SCHOOL IF THEY ARE HAVING NUTRITIOUS MEALS.

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Second State Fair Up and Running

Illinois has the distinction of having two state fairs. 

The main fair in Springfield has wrapped up and now the DuQuoin State Fair is up and running. The show goes the rest of this week and the DuQuoin State Fair Manager Josh Gross says he wants everyone coming to have a great time.

 

 

The fair runs through Labor Day.

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State Police Beefing Up Labor Day Weekend Enforcement

EXPECT TO SEE MORE POLICE OUT ON THE ROADS THIS LABOR DAY WEEKEND…LOOKING FOR DRUNK DRIVERS AND OTHER VIOLATORS.

 

THE LABOR DAY CAMPAIGN INCLUDES BEEFED UP ENFORCEMENT, ROADSIDE SAFETY CHECKS AND SPECIAL DETAILS SAYS ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION SPOKESPERSON GUY TRIDGELL.

 

 

TRIDGELL SAYS THERE’S REALLY NO EXCUSE FOR DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE WHEN THERE ARE SO MANY OPTIONS TO GET HOME SAFELY.

 

 

THE BEST ADVICE FROM I-DOT…PLAN HOW YOU’RE GOING TO GET HOME AHEAD OF TIME IF YOU’RE GOING TO BE DRINKING. 

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Animal Registrations To Be Taken Care of By Animal Control

Animal registration and rabies tags will be taken care of at the DeWitt County Animal Shelter going forward.

 

Chair of the DeWitt County Board's Public Safety committee, Lance Reece indicates October 1 any time you need to register your pet for their annual rabies vaccine, you will now go to the DeWitt County Animal Shelter on the east side of town.

 

 

While this will be a change for some, Reece hopes it will help increase registrations but also adoptions, as the County is working to allow Second Chance for Pets access to the lobby of the shelter for adoptions. 

 

 

Registrations formerly were taken care of in the treasurer's office in the DeWitt County Courthouse. Reece says a lot of neighboring counties operate their registrations like this.

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Deadliest Year for Illinois State Police

The killing of Trooper Nicholas Hopkins in East St Louis last week continued what has become the deadliest year in the nearly 100 year history of the Illinois State Police. Illinois State Trooper Jason Wilson reflected on the events of 2019 in the history of the Illinois State Police...

 

 

The death of Trooper Hopkins marks the first time in more than 30 years that an Illinois State Trooper has been shot and killed in the line of duty and the first time in ISP history that a member of the ISP SWAT team has been killed in the line of duty. 

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Clinton Police Chief Sounds Off on Cell Phones in Schools

Everyone has an opinion on the topic of technology in the hands of youth today.

 

Whether it be how young should a child be before they get their phone or how soon do we let kids get access to social media or perhaps, should kids be allowed to have cell phones in school? The latter was a topic the Chief of Police in Clinton weighed in on recently. Chief Ben Lowers believes allowing kids access to phones is not something to be rushed into.

 

 

If you are considering allowing your child to have a phone, the Chief says it is important for parents or guardians to educate themselves on their devices and constantly monitor them.

 

 

The Chief calls cell phones a "tremendous disruption on the education process." Chief Lowers didn't hold back on his opinion, calling them to be banned in schools.

 

 

The argument against banning phones in schools would be an emergency in the school building. The Chief says while that is a valid point, school classrooms all have phones in them now and Chief Lowers believes they would be more harmful in response than helpful.

 

 

Chief Lowers believes the disruption to the educational process has outweighed their usefulness for safety purposes. He does not feel schools are safer with kids having cell phones with them. 

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Blue Ridge Schools Leader Excited About CEO Program Starting

2019 is the inaugural year for the Central Illinois CEO program.

 

After several years of planning, fundraising and getting everything ready, youth across central Illinois can take business classes. Susan Wilson, Superintendent of Blue Ridge Schools says students meet before school at various locations in central Illinois.

 

 

Wilson is calling on business leaders in their district to step up and get involved. She explains you can support the youth in your community by being a host site, a mentor or contribute to the program.

 

 

Students had to apply to be in the program. Students are required to transport themselves to the sites of the class and are required to dress in business attire. Wilson indicates they are touring area businesses and learning about what is going on at these places.

 

 

In the first semester, the class as a whole comes up with a business, then individuals create their own business in the second semester. Wilson explains, the conclusion of the year results in students displaying their businesses at a fair.

 

 

Wilson also points out, there are some communities where this has been an economic driver as it gives students a glimpse of the benefits of staying home and starting a business. 

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DeWitt County Working to Stay Ahead of Minimum Wage Mandates

As DeWitt County moves ahead with the upcoming budget year plans, officials are also having to plan for the mandates coming in regards to the minimum wage increase in Illinois.

 

DeWitt County Administrator DeeDee Rentmeister says they are working to stay ahead of the mandates and make sure they meet the $15 minimum wage by the 2025 deadline. Additionally, they are going to elevate other employees pay to maintain their current differentials.

 

 

DeWitt County Board Chair David Newberg credits Rentmeister, his Board and county officials for their hard work to help them get out ahead of these mandates, stay there and maintain the tax rates and services they provide.

 

 

The upcoming budget will go on file in late October to be passed in late November and will have to be approved by December 1 for the new fiscal year. 

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Clinton Schools Up Sports Officials Pay

The cost of teachers went up officially last week and now the cost of sports officials is going up.

 

The Clinton Board of Education last week took action to increase the pay for athletic officials. Superintendent Curt Nettles indicates they took a look at how their rates compared to area schools and felt they were pretty far behind in some sports.

 

 

According to Nettles, the primary varsity sports all got raises. He indicates there are some sports where the officials may officiate both JV and varsity games. They also increased pay for the junior high school officials.

 

 

While the district was more in line for officials pay in a lot of sports, Nettles indicates there is an officials shortage and they felt they needed to be competitive with surrounding districts to get good officials to their events.

 

 

Nettles says there are some sports where Athletic Director Matt Keoppel has to find all the officials for certain sports, there are others that are assigned and there are others he works with someone who may facilitate area officials to certain events. 

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Changing Banking Information With Social Security

Social Security in the last five years has gone to direct deposit for beneficiaries and if you need to change up banking information, there is a process you need to go through.

 

Jack Myers with Social Security in Springfield walks us through the process. This can be taken care of on the world wide web at socialsecurity.gov, you can call the Social Security 800-number or visit your local office.

 

 

The biggest hurdle in the process for those changing their information will be verifying identification. If you do this online or by phone, a series of questions will have to be answered.

 

 

Once the change has been made and you are awaiting a deposit to your new bank account, Myers always recommends making sure that first deposit takes place before closing out your old account. He says this is just a precaution.

 

 

Making the change in-person is going to be much simpler as Myers points out, all you have to do is show an ID. 

 

You can get more information on this or make a change at socialsecurity.gov. 

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Sen. Rose Says Farm Progress Show Displays Illinois to World

Bringing more than a hundred thousand people over three days to the Farm Progress Show has plenty of benefits. Republican State Senator Chapin Rose says a decision made years ago to place it here gives a perfect way to show off central Illinois agriculture.

 

 

The show ends on Thursday and moves next year back to Boone, Iowa. The Show is scheduled to return to Decatur August 31st, 2021.

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Perdue Calls on Farmers to Stand With Trump

Farmers have been battered by the trade war over the last few years but USDA Secretary of Ag Sonny Purdue says he thinks that even with depressed prices and a lack of demand from overseas that farmers by and large are still standing strong with a President that they help elect. 

 

 

Purdue says farmers absolutely want a final resolution to the trade war with China and now the ball is in China’s court after they backed out of a trade deal that was 90 percent done in April.

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Final Day of Farm Progress Show

The Farm Progress Show in Decatur wraps up today and this is when those who work at the show can finally see it. Show Manager Matt Youngman says the lead up to the event is so packed and the first two days offer no time to stop and appreciate the displays. 

 

 

The show wraps up today at 4 pm. A big portion of the exhibits hit the road by the weekend for Husker Harvest Days, another outdoor farm show, in Nebraska.

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Corn Industry Pushing Ethanol Exports, USMCA Ratification

The Illinois corn industry getting the word out during this week’s Farm Progress Show in Decatur. And one of the messages involves ethanol says Ryan LeGrand with the U.S. Grains Council and Tricia Braid with the Illinois Corn Growers Association.

 

 

Both LeGrand and Braid also say getting the United States Mexico Canada Agreement ratified as soon as Congress returns from the August recess is also a priority. 

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Layoffs Not an Option for DeWitt County Amid Budget Challenges

Current DeWitt County officials say they cannot remember the last time there were layoffs locally and they plan to keep it that way.

 

Layoffs are not an option according to DeWitt County Board Chair David Newberg. This week on Regional Radio, we've explored the challenges that are coming with this current budget cycle, which are likely shrinking revenues and growing costs.

 

County Administrator DeeDee Rentmeister won't call it a hiring freeze but they are asking their departments to scale back through attrition and shifting responsibilities of various offices.

 

 

While the County may be in a position now to hire and fully staff some of their departments, Newberg says it's not a good idea to hire people that they may not be able to afford to pay in a year or two. He says their treasurer's office is an example of a few places they are doing more with less.

 

 

Both officials credit their county officials with the mindset to be a team player in this transition. They hope by this time next year, they will know more about what the ratio of costs to revenue will look like and perhaps can start to put more people in these areas of need. 

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New Law Promotes Diversity on Corporate Boards

A NEW STATE LAW PROMOTES DIVERSITY ON CORPORATE BOARDS IN ILLINOIS. 

 

THE LAW REQUIRES ALL PUBLICLY-TRADED COMPANIES HEADQUARTERED IN ILLINOIS TO SUBMIT AN ANNUAL REPORT ON HOW MANY FEMALES AND MINORITIES ARE ON THEIR BOARD. THIS WILL BENEFIT COMPANIES SAYS GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER.

 

 

REPRESENTATIVE CHRIS WELCH OF HILLSIDE SAYS THE UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS WILL THEN ANALYZE THE DATA AND ISSUE REPORTS AND A RATING SYSTEM FOR BUSINESSES ABOUT CORPORATE BOARD DIVERSITY.

 

 

THE FIRST REPORT FROM THE U OF I IS EXPECTED IN 2021.

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Governor Signs Bill Protecting Students From Sexual Abuse at School

A NEW STATE LAW AIMS TO BETTER PROTECT STUDENTS FROM SEXUAL ABUSE AT SCHOOL.

 

THE CHANGES WERE SPURRED BY A CHICAGO TRIBUNE REPORT ABOUT ABUSE AND HARASSMENT IN CHICAGO PUBLIC SCHOOLS SAYS STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION ASSISTANT COUNSEL ANGIE BRANCATO.

 

 

THE LAW CHANGES HOW STUDENTS ARE QUESTIONED AFTER MAKING A REPORT OF HARASSMENT OR ABUSE, SO THAT THEY DON’T FEEL INTIMIDATED. IT ALSO REQUIRES SCHOOLS TO REVIEW THEIR POLICIES FOR HANDLING THESE CASES AND TO REPORT WHEN A TEACHER IS CONVICTED OF CERTAIN CRIMES TO THE STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION

 

 

THE CHANGES WERE PROMPTED BY A SERIES OF REPORTS BY THE CHICAGO TRIBUNE, DETAILING THE ABUSE OF STUDENTS IN CITY PUBLIC SCHOOLS.

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University of Illinois Looking For Master Gardener Volunteers

Next week, University of Illinois Extension leaders are beginning training for volunteer master gardeners. 

 

Candice Hart with the U of I Extension says next week they begin training for their master gardener and master naturalist programs. To make it more accommodating for anyone interested, they are holding the training in the evenings in Decatur, Illinois. 

 

 

Fruits, vegetables, trees, and landscaping are among a host of topics involved in the roughly 60 hours of training. Hart says their trained volunteers then go into their communities and teach others what they have learned. 

 

 

The training is open to anyone in the State of Illinois. Visit go.illinois.edu/dmp to get registered. 

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Maroa-Forsyth Schools Summer Improvements Aimed at Bettering Education Experience

Maroa-Forsyth students are back at it for a new school year and as they get back in the swing of things, district leadership is excited about the things that took place while they were away.

 

Superintendent Dr. John Ahlemeyer says the start of their improvements was going to an online registration system. He adds they have improved their phone system, which doesn't sound that exciting but it is an improvement in security.

 

 

The technology infrastructure has been vastly improved in the district. Dr. Ahlemeyer says they struggled to find a good enough internet connection for all the demand they have in their buildings.

 

 

One thing that is very exciting for Dr. Ahlemeyer is a video board for a hall of fame they are establishing. He says it will allow those to be on display at all times for the public to check out when they enter their high school.

 

 

More security measures were put in place at the grade school and high school. Dr. Ahlemeyer says they went away from their key entry system and went to an electronic entry system.

 

The grade school gym floor was sanded and re-painted and a huge video board was added to the high school gym courtesy of local donors. 

 

Dr. Ahlemeyer points out the pre-k program has added a new playground and the parking lots at the grade school and high school were upgraded. 

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DeWitt County Revenue Likely to Shrink, Costs to Rise

The Governor's spring reforms to the minimum wage and the reforms in the fines and fees of the criminal justice system are anticipated to bring a heavy burden to DeWitt County.

 

County officials say the reforms to the criminal justice system, which will allow low-income defendants to apply for aid to have fines reduced, are making predicting revenues very difficult this year. 

 

On Regional Radio News yesterday, County administrator DeeDee Rentmeister told us fines and fees make up about 80-percent of the revenue for the County. She indicates not even local judges have much to offer in terms of what to expect with this change. DeWitt County Board Chair David Newberg says there is no history to know even a little bit about the impacts of this change. 

 

 

According to Newberg, the minimum wage hike is going to force costs to increase while the reforms of the criminal justice system are likely to bring revenues down. He adds, while many may point to the power plant as a possible source of a large chunk of the County budget, it isn't as impactful as other entities. The County sits in good standing with a five-year agreement for an assessed value of the power plant. 

 

 

County department heads have been understanding and Newberg and Rentmeister say it has helped them out but they are going to have to do more. Tomorrow on Regional Radio News we'll dive into the things the County is doing to make sure they have a balanced budget. 

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Weekly Crop Report

SOME IMPROVEMENT IN ILLINOIS CROP CONDITIONS OVER THE WEEK AS WE HEAR IN THE LATEST CROP REPORT. 

 

CROP STATISTICIAN MARK SCHLEUSENER SAYS 93 PERCENT OF SOYBEANS ARE NOW BLOOMING.

 

 

THE CORN CROP IMPROVED TO 49 PERCENT IN GOOD TO EXCELLENT CONDITION…WITH 75 PERCENT IN THE DOUGH STAGE AND 34 PERCENT IN THE DENT STAGE. 

 

 

THE PAST WEEK WAS COOLER AND WETTER THAN NORMAL, WITH AVERAGE STATEWIDE TOPSOIL MOISTURE NOW AT EIGHT PERCENT VERY SHORT, 26 PERCENT SHORT, 62 PERCENT ADEQUATE AND FOUR PERCENT SURPLUS.

 

THE THIRD CUTTING OF ALFALFA IS NOW 71 PERCENT COMPLETE.

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State Board of Education Announces Partnership With Spain for Bilingual Teachers

BILINGUAL TEACHERS FROM SPAIN WILL BE WORKING IN 19 ILLINOIS DISTRICTS THIS SCHOOL YEAR.

 

THE 138 VISITING TEACHERS ARE PART OF AN EXCHANGE PROGRAM BETWEEN ILLINOIS AND SPAIN. THEY WILL HELP STUDENTS LEARNING IN BOTH ENGLISH AND SPANISH. STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION DIRECTOR OF ENGLISH LEARNERS SAM AGUIRRE SAYS ILLINOIS TEACHERS WILL BENEFIT FROM THE PROGRAM AS WELL.

 

 

AGUIRRE SAYS STUDENTS WILL BENEFIT IN THE CLASSROOM.

 

 

BOARD OFFICIALS SAYS BILINGUAL POSITIONS MAKE UP 12 PERCENT OF TEACHER VACANCIES IN ILLINOIS.

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Sen. Barickman Concerned About Teacher Minimum Salary Law

State Senator Jason Barickman is concerned that property taxes will go up after Governor JB Pritzker signed a law last week to raise the minimum wage for teachers.

 

The new law phases in the increase over four years, starting at 32-thousand dollars in 2020, hitting 40-grand in 2023. 

 

Barickman says he wants teachers to make more money, but he suggested finding ways to increase the wage through the school funding formula.

 

 

The Bloomington Republican and others around Illinois are worried the law takes power away from locally elected school boards.

 

Pritzker says the measure will help attract teachers to the state, where there’s a shortage of teachers with certain qualifications. He adds that the salary increase will encourage college students to pursue the profession.

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Monday Rain Could Postpone Tuesday Field Demos at Farm Progress Show

Central Illinois was soaked with rain Monday leading up to the opening of Farm Progress in Decatur.

 

Show Manager for Farm Progress USA, Matt Jungmann says field demos for the first day could be postponed.

 

 

The Farm Progress Show opens Tuesday and runs Wednesday and Thursday. 

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New Law Expands Coverage for Mammograms, Other Breast Cancer Screenings

A NEW STATE LAW EXPANDS HEALTH INSURANCE COVERAGE FOR MAMMOGRAMS AND OTHER BREAST CANCER SCREENINGS. 

 

THE LAW REQUIRES BOTH PRIVATE INSURERS AND MEDICAID TO COVER DIAGNOSTIC MAMMOGRAMS, ULTRASOUNDS AND M-R-I’S WHEN PRESCRIBED BY A PHYSICIAN. THESE TESTS ARE USUALLY ORDERED WHEN DOCTORS NEED TO GET A BETTER LOOK AFTER A ROUTINE MAMMOGRAM SAYS GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER.

 

 

THE MEASURE IS SPONSORED BY SENATOR LINDA HOLMES OF AURORA.

 

 

THE LAW TAKES EFFECT JANUARY FIRST.

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Congressman Davis to Host Ag Forum with Secretary Perdue

U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis will host U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue for an Ag Policy Forum with agriculture leaders from across Illinois. 

 

The event will take place Wednesday at the Farm Progress Show - the nation's largest outdoor farm event.

 

Davis strongly supports the passage of the USMCA and views it as a good starting point to get other trade deals approved with countries like Japan and the EU. He believes the U.S. must open as many markets as possible for our farmers. He is hopeful that his colleagues across the aisle, especially those in agricultural districts like Illinois’ 13th, will pressure Democratic Leadership for a vote when Congress gets back in September. 

 

Congressman Davis will be joined by fellow-Republicans Mike Bost, Darin LaHood and John Shimkus. 

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Farmer City Dollar General to Hold Grand Opening Saturday

Dollar General's new Farmer City location will hold their grand opening Saturday.

 

The new location is at 700 East Clinton Avenue and their doors will open at 8 am. Angela Petkovic (pet-co-vich), Public Relations Coordinator, says they are doing giveaways and the first 200 customers will receive a Dollar General tote bag with complimentary product samples.

 

 

Petkovic says the Farmer City location will receive a fresh layout. She feels it will make the shopping experience much easier for Farmer City customers.

 

 

What will make the new Farmer City Dollar General appealing is the fact they will offer home goods and decor items. Petkovic says they will also have an expanded party supply section. 

 

 

All of the Farmer City employees will transfer to the new location. The new store will be a Dollar General Plus which Petkovic says means expanded square footage, roughly 8,500-square-feet. Plus expanded cooler doors and freezer space. 

 

Additionally, Dollar General currently offers produce in approximately 450 stores and announced plans to add it to 200 more stores in FY 2019. They do not currently have plans to add produce to the new Farmer City location. 

 

In 2018, it was announced the non-consumable initiative aimed at providing a new and limited assortment of home, domestics, housewares, party and occasion merchandise. By the end of the first quarter this year, NCI was available in approximately 1,100 stores with plans to include approximately 2,400 total stores by the end of FY 2019. 

 

Petkovic says there are no plans to relocate any other locations in DeWitt County. 

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DeWitt County Budgeting Process Underway

Budgeting for DeWitt County is a long, tedious process for county officials but the State of Illinois made things exponentially more difficult this past legislative cycle.

 

DeWitt County Board Chair David Newberg says County department heads and members of the board are in the heat of the budgeting cycle. He indicates the County is fortunate to have a seasoned veteran like Administrator DeeDee Rentmeister who has been at the front of this process for 25 years.

 

 

As the County enters the new budget cycle, the State of Illinois has dropped a lot of changes that are going to impact costs and bring uncertainty to revenues. Rentmeister explains budgeting this year looks a lot different than years past.

 

 

The County operates on a budget of around $6.5-million and Rentmeister points out, only a small portion of that is from property taxes.

 

 

This week on Regional Radio News, we will continue to break down what the County can do about the uncertainty surrounding their revenues, the rising costs of salaries after the minimum wage hike and the strategies they will be using to move forward to maintain their tax rate. 

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Apple n' Pork Festival Plans Coming Together

The biggest event in Clinton is just a month off and organizers say things are coming together nicely. 

 

Director of the DeWitt County Museum and CH Moore Homestead, Joey Woolridge indicates Exelon is stepping up to again support the music entertainment at the 51st Apple n' Pork Festival. An Abraham Lincoln impersonator was a big hit last year and he'll be returning this year.

 

 

The Apple n' Pork Festival was established to be a fundraiser for the CH Moore Homestead and while it continues to be that, it has grown to encompass the whole community and Woolridge loves to see the way everyone comes together that weekend.

 

 

You can visit www.chmoorehomestead.org for the latest in the Apple n' Pork happenings. Woolridge also points anyone to their very popular Apple n' Pork Facebook page as well. 

The Apple n' Pork Festival falls on September 28-29 this year. 

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Foundation for New Gym at Heyworth High School Being Poured

The foundation is being laid for the new gymnasium at Heyworth schools.

 

As the summer gets ready to turn to fall, the district battled wet soil early on in the construction process but Superintendent Lisa Taylor says things have been approved and now the foundation is being laid. 

 

 

The $8-million will also include the unit office moving to the addition. Taylor says they are adding parking to their elementary parking lot. She notes there is a lot of other maintenance items being taken care of.

 

 

The addition is expected to be completed next winter with a ribbon-cutting in the fall. Taylor says most of the rest of the work is going to be completed throughout the winter. 

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Young Hunters Have More Time to Learn in Outdoors

Young and novice hunters are going to have more time to learn the craft and have more opportunities to hunt in Illinois and elsewhere. 

 

The Governor signs a bill today to change the Apprentice Hunter License. Before, an apprentice hunting license was good for only one year. Now an apprentice can hunt for multiple seasons before getting a full-cost

license. Illinois Federation for Outdoor Resources President Scott Bryant says when young folks get to hunt more for than one year they stick with it.

 

 

 

Apprentices need to go hunting and be supervised with a fully registered hunter that is older than 21. 

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US Attorney Pledges Full Effort in Justice For Illinois State Police Trooper Hopkins

The death of an Illinois State Police SWAT member has the full attention of the US Attorney in the Southern District of Illinois. 

 

US Attorney Steve Weinhoff says the death of Nick Hopkins shows the real danger police officers put themselves in every day. And because of that, his office is ready to bring justice to his family and the officers that worked with him.

 

 

Hopkins was the third trooper killed in the line of duty this year. But the first shot and killed in nearly 30 years. Hopkins was married and had four-year-old twins and an infant daughter.

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Governor Claims No Property Tax Impacts on New Teacher Pay

As new teachers are set to see a starting pay increase next year Democrat Governor JB Pritzker says it shouldn’t increase local property taxes. 

 

Pritzker says a $500 million bump in state funding to education should cover any extra costs and his commitment to improving state funding of education can help ease the burden that has been years in the making.

 

 

The Governor says right now there are about 235,000 teachers in Illinois and about 8,000 positions would benefit from a required increase in starting pay. 

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Cases of Respiratory Illness Linked to One Patient Death

AN ILLINOIS RESIDENT WHO WAS HOSPITALIZED WITH A RESPIRATORY ILLNESS AFTER VAPING HAS DIED.

 

22 PEOPLE IN ILLINOIS, RANGING IN AGE FROM 17 TO 38, HAVE HAD SERIOUS BREATHING PROBLEMS AFTER VAPING OR USING E-CIGARETTES. ONE HAS NOW DIED, AND OFFICIALS ARE LOOKING INTO 12 OTHER POSSIBLE CASES. STATE PUBLIC HEALTH DIRECTOR DOCTOR NGOZI (en-gozi) EZIKE (eh-zee-kay) SAYS THEY ARE WORKING TO DETERMINE THE CONNECTION.

 

 

SHE SAYS IF YOU HAVE ANY OF THE FOLLOWING SYMPTOMS AFTER VAPING…YOU SHOULD SEE A DOCTOR.

 

 

NATIONWIDE…THERE HAVE BEEN ABOUT 150 CASES. EZIKE SAYS THE C-D-C HAS FOUND THAT IN SOME INSTANCES, INCLUDING ILLINOIS, PEOPLE WERE VAPING A PRODUCT WITH T-H-C.

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Weekly Weather Summary

It will a pleasant and cool weekend. With the Farm Progress Show coming up next week, Kevin Grady with the State Climatologist office tells us what we can expect...

 

 

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State Fair Attendance Up

PRELIMINARY NUMBERS SHOW ATTENDANCE AT THIS YEAR’S ILLINOIS STATE FAIR WAS UP BY 37 PERCENT.

 

CLOSE TO 509 THOUSAND PEOPLE VISITED THE FAIR LAST WEEK…UP FROM ABOUT 371 THOUSAND IN 2018. STATE FAIR SPOKESPERSON KRISTA LISSER ATTRIBUTES THE INCREASE TO SEVERAL FACTORS.

 

LISSER SAYS LOWERING THE COST OF ADMISSION DURING THE WEEK TO JUST FIVE DOLLARS ALSO REALLY HELPED, AS WELL AS A SOLID GRANDSTAND LINEUP THAT BROUGHT IN RECORD TICKET SALES AND REVENUE.

 

 

LAST YEAR…FAIR ATTENDANCE WAS A LITTLE UNDER 370 THOUSAND.

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Celebrities Planning to Attend Farm Progress Show

State and Federal officials to NASCAR racers will be on hand throughout the three days of the Farm Progress Show next week.

 

National Events Manager for Farm Progress Matt Jungmann (young-man) indicates Secretary Sonny Perdue will be among the visitors next week, along with Governor Pritzker and a couple of NASCAR drivers.

 

 

The Farm Progress Show runs Tuesday through Thursday, August 27-29. 

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DeWitt County Farm Bureau Hires New Manager

The DeWitt County Farm Bureau has announced the hiring of their new manager. 

 

Allison Reinecke will start as the organization’s new manager, effective Sept. 1.

 

Reinecke is a Wisconsin native, graduating from the University of Wisconsin-Platteville with a bachelor’s degree in agricultural business. Reinecke joined Illinois Farm Bureau’s County Manager Trainee Program in May where she trained with county Farm Bureau managers across Illinois.

 

Reinecke was previously employed as a Dairy Intern at ST Genetics, Agronomy Intern at Biddick, Inc., and Business Intern at Zimmerman Cheese, Inc.

 

In a statement Friday, Reinecke said, quote- “I am honored to be joining DeWitt County Farm Bureau (DCFB) as Manager. My passion for agriculture brought me to Illinois, and I am excited to be able to serve DCFB members and advocate for local agriculture. I look forward to being a part of DeWitt County Farm Bureau’s continued success.”

 

Manager Janell Baum-Thomas will be taking a new position at Baum Chevrolet Buick next month. 

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Warner Hospital, YMCA Partnering For Diabetes Prevention Program

Warner Hospital and Health Service and the Clinton YMCA are partnering together for a diabetes prevention course.

 

The class kicks off next Tuesday, August 27. CEO of Warner Hospital and Health Services, Paul Skowron indicates this expands on the many things the two Clinton entities are doing together.

 

 

The classes are from 10 am to 11 am at the Clinton YMCA. It is free to attend. you can get more information by calling 217-937-5275 or email events@warnerhospital.org. 

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Jewelweed, Winged Jewels Event Next Weekend at Weldon Springs State Park

Each late-August and early-September, ruby-throated hummingbirds gather in the marsh at Weldon Springs State Park to feast on the nectar of spotted jewelweed flowers before their annual migration southward.

 

Get a close-up look at this tiny winged jewel and the fascinating wildflower that helps fuel its high-energy existence on Sunday, September 1 from noon to 4 PM at the marsh, below Chautauqua Picnic Area.  Participants should feel free to come and go anytime throughout the afternoon.

 

For additional information, please contact the park office at 217-935-2644.

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DeWitt County Board Chair Anticipates Another Emotional Process Towards Wind Farm Decision

Last week, Tradewind Energy submitted a second application for their Alta Farms II wind farm in northwest DeWitt County.

 

Friday Morning on the WHOW Morning Show, DeWitt County Board Chair David Newberg weighed in on the re-submission and indicates the application hasn't been accepted yet as Regional Radio News reported Friday, because of incompletions recognized by Zoning Administrator Angie Sarver.

 

 

Chairman Newberg anticipates another emotional process that will result in a special County Board meeting. While he doesn't have a timeline of when the Board may take up a vote on the proposal, he indicates they are seeking out a new venue for the vote to take place because of likely conflicts with the school district.

 

 

Last week, Tradewind officials indicated to Regional Radio News, they were hopeful the Board would take the issue up shortly after the holiday season. 

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DeWitt County Zoning Administrator Finds Issue With Recent Tradewind Application

Last week, Tradewind Energy submitted a second application for their Alta Farms II Wind Project and at the Thursday night DeWitt County Board meeting, the Board was informed there are some issues with the application.

 

Terry Ferguson chairs the Land Use Committee and indicates Zoning Administrator Angie Sarver has found a couple of incompletions in the latest application, among them are signatures regarding the leases of the land. This was brought up at the when the full board voted down the original application earlier this year. 

 

 

According to Ferguson, there are also issues surrounding the site plans of some of the turbines, which could conflict with County ordinances. 

 

 

With legal marijuana on the horizon in Illinois, Ferguson also indicates the Land Use committee is researching ordinances regarding not only sales of pot in the County, but the tax for it as well. He notes that have to be completed by January 1. 

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Teacher Minimum Salary Now Law

GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER IS SIGNING A LAW THAT RAISES THE MINIMUM SALARY FOR TEACHERS TO 40 THOUSAND DOLLARS.

 

THE PREVIOUS MINIMUM SALARY OF NINE TO 11 THOUSAND DOLLARS WAS SET DECADES AGO AND DISCOURAGES COLLEGE STUDENTS FROM ENTERING THE PROFESSION SAYS GOVERNOR PRITZKER.

 

 

REPRESENTATIVE KATIE STUART OF EDWARDSVILLE SAYS THIS WILL HELP CONVINCE MORE PEOPLE TO ENTER THE PROFESSION AND EASE THE TEACHER SHORTAGE.

 

 

THIS NEW LAW PHASES IN THE INCREASE OVER FOUR YEARS…STARTING AT 32 THOUSAND IN THE 2020-2021 SCHOOL YEAR.

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Propane Supply at Comfortable Number Approaching Grain Drying Season

What does the propane supply look like heading into the grain drying season? That was a topic of conversation among farmers at the Illinois State Fair last week.

 

 

Dan Paneer is GROWMARK’s manager of propane operations.

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Rock Springs Nature Center Expanding Pond Thanks to Grant

Rock Springs Nature Center is taking on a couple of larger projects this summer thanks to some grants that came through.

 

Richie Wolf says the Clean Energy Foundation is funding repairs on three bridges along their bike path. He says that will leave portions of the path closed this fall.

 

 

The Department of Natural Resources is funding an expansion of their pond. Wolf says this will improve access with a couple of paths and a canoe and kayak launch site. He says that the project should be underway soon.

 

 

The grant funding was made available thanks to the State of Illinois opening those opportunities with the new budget. Both sites are very popular among their guests and Wolf says while the projects will be an inconvenience, he views them as improving the park experience. 

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Summer Concert Series Wraps Up This Weekend

It is going to be a beautiful weekend for the final summer concert on the square in Clinton.

 

Everett and Hannah Ellis will be performing on the square and City Administrator Tim Followell says there's no reason not to come out this Saturday.

 

 

The City was unable to secure an act for their first summer concert but the Forsyth Harley Davidson dealership held a concert earlier in the summer and there was another good crowd on hand for Snappers annual concert as well. 

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Look Out for Firearm Deer Permits to Go On Sale

The firearm deer permit application lotteries have all passed but if you missed the third and final cycle, there's still a chance you can purchase them in October.

 

Department of Natural Resources Conservation Police Sergeant John Williamson says the number of permits available varies by county, something that is different from a lot of other states.

 

 

Resident and non-resident archery deer permits are now available. Williamson explains the designations are because of how popular deer hunting is in Illinois.

 

 

The Illinois archery deer season runs October 1 through January 19 into next year. 

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Secretary of State Reminding Motorists to Be Careful in School Zones

SECRETARY OF STATE JESSE WHITE IS REMINDING DRIVERS TO BE CAREFUL AS CHILDREN HEAD BACK TO SCHOOL. 

 

DURING THE LAST SCHOOL YEAR…17 KIDS NATIONWIDE WERE KILLED BY MOTORISTS WHO FAILED TO STOP FOR A SCHOOL BUS. SECRETARY WHITE SAYS THE BEST THING YOU CAN DO IS BE AWARE OF YOUR SURROUNDINGS.

 

 

HE ALSO RECOMMENDS TALKING WITH YOUR KIDS ABOUT PAYING ATTENTION WHEN WALKING TO SCHOOL AND GETTING ON AND OFF THE BUS.

 

 

SECRETARY WHITE SAYS HIS OFFICE’S “TOBY TIRE” PROGRAM TEACHES KIDS ABOUT STAYING SAFE WHEN GETTING ON AND OFF THE BUS.

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Illinois Now Second State to Enact Immigrant Tenant Protection

GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER IS SIGNING A NEW LAW TO BETTER PROTECT IMMIGRANT TENANTS. 

 

THE LAW AIMS TO MAKE SURE IMMIGRANTS ARE SAFE FROM HARASSMENT BY THEIR LANDLORDS SAYS GOVERNOR PRITZKER.

 

 

LANDLORDS ALSO CANNOT THREATEN TO DISCLOSE A TENANT’S IMMIGRATION STATUS. VIOLATORS MAY FACE CIVIL PENALTIES. IT WAS SPONSORED BY SENATOR CRISTINA CASTRO OF ELGIN.

 

 

ILLINOIS IS THE SECOND STATE IN THE COUNTRY TO PASS SUCH A LAW.

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Governor Pritzker Signs Three Criminal Justice Reform Bills

THREE NEW CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM LAWS ARE NOW ON THE BOOKS. 

 

TWO OF THE BILLS SIGNED BY GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER AIM TO ENGAGE MORE PEOPLE IN ELECTIONS. INMATES AWAITING TRIAL WILL BE GIVEN A CHANCE TO REGISTER TO VOTE AND THEN CAST A BALLOT…AND THOSE ABOUT TO GET OUT OF PRISON WILL LEARN MORE ABOUT THE VOTING PROCESS.

 

 

THE THIRD NEW LAW CREATES INCENTIVES FOR INMATES SERVING LONG SENTENCES SET BEFORE 1998 TO EARN GOOD TIME CREDIT BY TAKING COLLEGE AND LIFE SKILLS COURSES .

 

 

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Davis, LaHood Adress Trade, Infrastructure

Illinois Congressmen Darin LaHood and Rodney Davis made a stop in Bloomington Tuesday to discuss trade and infrastructure with local community members.

 

LaHood says passing the U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade agreement is essential for Illinois. He says about 40 percent of the products grown, produced, or manufactured in the state are sent to Mexico and Canada.

 

 

Meanwhile, both LaHood and Davis agreed more needs to be done at the federal level to address infrastructure. Davis says many lawmakers want to increase the gas tax, but he believes other sources of revenue should be addressed.

 

 

The Central Illinois lawmakers also addressed recreational marijuana and raising the minimum wage.

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Back to School Backpack Precautions

Healthcare professionals are warning about the dangers of weighted-down backpacks. Children should never carry more than 10% of their body weight in a backpack. Too much weight can lead create abnormal stress on the body, and result in chronic problems down the road.

 

Even if the weight is right, wearing the backpack incorrectly can be just as damaging. OSF HealthCare Physical Therapist Kelly Bogowith says backpacks should be worn with both straps on the shoulders, and the bottom of the backpack should land on the low back. If your child backpack is hitting his or her buttocks, it is too low and the straps need to be adjusted.

 

 

Parents should be choosy when choosing a backpack for their kids. Backpacks should have two wide, adjustable padded shoulder straps. This help distribute the weight in the backpack and keep them from digging into the shoulders. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that every year more than 14,000 children are treated for backpack-related injuries.

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Farm Progress Show Media Day Recap

The Super Bowl of agriculture is less than a week away in Decatur, Illinois and Wednesday media members got a preview of everything to come in this show that will draw people from all over the country and world.

 

National Events Manager for Farm Progress Matt Jungmann calls this the year of the tractor. He says there are a lot of new things coming that will get people excited.

 

 

Jungmann recommends downloading the 2019 version of the Farm Progress Show app. He says it will have an updated map along with a schedule of events. Plus, if weather pops up and the show site gets shut down, the app will keep you updated.

 

 

There has been a change if you are coming into the show. Highway 48 now connects to Brush College Road at a different location so Jungmann recommends just getting near Decatur and following the signs and traffic. 

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New Ordinance Will Fine Clinton Youth for Vaping at School

It is now a fineable offense for Clinton students who are caught vaping at school.

 

The epidemic has led to several area schools addressing this by attaching a fine to students caught vaping at school and Clinton schools are going to be the latest to take this kind of action. Wednesday morning on the WHOW Morning Show, Superintendent Curt Nettles told Regional Radio News vaping has exploded among the teen population.

 

 

The Clinton City Council has taken up the issue and plans to pass an ordinance in September to make a city offense. Clinton Police Chief Ben Lowers explained Monday night this adds a layer of enforcement to the penalties at the district level.

 

 

Vaping can be in the form of nicotine going into a teen's body but also there are CBD oils they can get access. The Chief says vaping materials are the latest trend in harmful substances teens can consume.

 

 

Nettles says his staff and administration will strictly enforce this new ordinance and for athletes, the consequences could also impact them.

 

 

Teens have been hospitalized in various parts of the country from vaping. Illinois health officials have started to raise awareness surrounding this growing challenge among teens, as Illinois has seen some of its own teens hospitalized. 

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Clinton Board of Education Puts Fiscal Year 20 Budget on File

The Clinton Board of Education put their Fiscal Year '20 budget on file Tuesday night at their regular monthly meeting.

 

Superintendent Curt Nettles laid out a few of the specific details of the upcoming budget, pointing out they are still gathering information on the employee health benefits. Nettles indicates adding money as it is needed will save the district money.

 

 

According to Nettles, all their funds are healthy with good balances. He explains their education fund shows a deficit because of the low tax in the district, which compares very favorably to other areas.

 

 

Additionally, Nettles notes the budget is projected to finish in the black by roughly $300,000 and points out they think it could end up better than that. 

 

For the latest budget, Nettles mentioned the district received almost all their fourth-quarter payments and the state is now only $6,600 behind. 

 

Tuesday night at the Board of Education meeting, Stephen Oswald and John Heinlen were sworn in as new board members to replace the late Ron Conner and Cole Ritter, who resigned his post recently. 

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Ag Meteorologist Talks September Frost Chances

What are the chances for a frost during September in Illinois? 

 

 

That assessment from DTN chief agriculture meteorologist Bryce Anderson. 

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Community Action Focused on Walking With Their Customers

While yearly strategic planning may seem like a lot from the outside, the leaders of a local non-profit credit the practice to being the best they can be.

 

Community Action takes part in yearly strategic planning and Director of Agency Development, Breann Titus says it is an intense process but it is necessary to evaluate the agency from almost top to bottom. She feels it brings different perspectives together to better each area of the agency.

 

 

Coming out of strategic planning earlier this summer, Titus says they are working on coaching their customers, rather than telling them what to do. Sometimes it is very basic functions, but they want to be there to help the low-income population make progress. 

 

 

Titus explains they are hoping to develop better relationships with their customers. She calls it being a cheerleader for them.

 

 

Titus says there is not a lot different from their planning last year. She indicates though, this year they are trying to streamline some of their processes as an agency. She calls it an addition to some of their changes in years past. 

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Clinton Readies for Business Boot Camp Program

Starting in early September, DeWitt County entrepreneurs will have the chance to learn the ins-and-outs of what it takes to manage a successful business.

 

The business boot camp program is a crash course in running a successful business and Clinton City Administrator, Tim Followell told Regional Radio News Tuesday morning on the WHOW morning show this is a program focused on helping out the small business community.

 

 

The program is modeled after a program in Monticello and their Director of Community Development, Callie McFarland told Regional Radio News also on the WHOW Morning Show, it not only established new businesses in their downtown and elsewhere in the community, but it also brought new energy to their existing businesses.

 

 

The program in Clinton will operate a lot like Monticello's. At the end of the five-week course, potential business owners can apply for up to a $5,000 grant to go towards their startup. Followell explains the business awarded this grant will be asked to set up shop in the downtown area.

 

 

The program is all-encompassing for DeWitt County. While Followell says the grant opportunity is aimed to be for a downtown Clinton business, he wants anyone in DeWitt County thinking about starting their own business to be a part of this opportunity. 

 

 

You can get more information on the Clinton program by searching "Clinton Bootcamp" on Facebook and there you will find the application for the program, which is free for anyone in DeWitt County. Clinton city officials are targeting around September 5 for the first session to start. 

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Clinton to Adjust Brush Pickup Ordinance

City officials are stressing, changes coming to the brush pickup program are not going to be an end to the program.

 

Monday night at the Clinton City Council meeting, the Council put on file proposed changes to the program and Commissioner of Public Improvements, Ken Buchanan, stresses these are changes to make the program more efficient.

 

 

Come the thick of winter, the brush pickup program will be suspended as city crews are dedicating much of their time to tree removal.

 

 

Buchanan points out, during the leaf cleanup season, leaves will not be required to be bagged up, however, again asks those be at the edge of the road, not in the road itself. That season kicks off October 1. 

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Weekly Crop Report

THE CONDITION OF ILLINOIS CORN AND SOYBEANS IMPROVED A LITTLE AS WE HEAR IN THE WEEKLY CROP REPORT.

 

89 PERCENT OF SOYBEAN ACRES ARE BLOOMING SAYS STATE CROP STATISTICIAN MARK SCHLEUSENER.

 

 

THE CONDITION OF THE CORN CROP ROSE SLIGHTLY TO 42 PERCENT IN GOOD TO EXCELLENT CONDITION… WITH 12 PERCENT IN THE DENT STAGE. 

 

 

THE THIRD CUTTING OF ALFALFA HAY IS NOW 57 COMPLETE. 

 

AVERAGE STATEWIDE TOPSOIL MOISTURE CAME IN AT 11 PERCENT VERY SHORT, 40 PERCENT SHORT, 47 PERCENT ADEQUATE AND TWO PERCENT SURPLUS.

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Trying to Help the Unbanked

With one in five in Illinois banking in a “non traditional” way the state wants to make it easier for them to bank in a more traditional manner. 

 

State leaders say they are the first in the nation to sign legislation to expand access to credible banking services with “Illinois Bank On”. Comptroller Susana Mendoza says the new program will be a little like a better business bureau for unbanked customers. 

 

 

For an example the unbanked cash checks at convenience stores, and use payday loan operations. According to statistics shared by the Governor’s office, a full time worker who doesn’t use a traditional bank faces $40,000 in lifetime fees. To find a safe bank there will be a list of credible banks on the Comptrollers website.

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State Conservationist Talks 2019

The State Conservationist is ready to move on from 2019. Ivan Dozier says it’s been a challenging year for farmers on may fronts.

 

 

Dozier has served as State Conservationist since 2012. 

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Rural Ag Program Awarded $5,000 in National Contest

An Illinois woman’s photo was a second-place finisher in a national contest and because of that, a rural school district’s ag department will be getting some new educational materials.

 

The Power to Do More contest, sponsored by Corteva ("Core-TEE-vuh") Agriscience, invited people to submit unique photos and stories showing the power of farming and the growing of stronger communities for a chance of a $10,000 grand prize. 

 

Marsha Strum of Dehinda submitted a photo of the community coming together to help raise a piece of playground equipment designed to look like a barn in the small rural town of Williamsfield.

 

Strum’s daughter, Joanie Stiers, says that the photo was a perfect fit for the contest.

 

 

Stiers is the director of the Williamsfield FFA Alumni and Friends, who benefits from the second-place prize of $5,000. She said the nonprofit will put that prize into the school district for new tools and equipment for the soon-to-be-finished renovations for the ag department.

 

Stiers called it "heartwarming" how the little town of less than 600 could place so high on the national competition.

 

 

Besides the $20,000 being awarded to the top three vote-getters, Corteva is awarding $7,000 to the other finalists and the nonprofit organizations they're associated with.

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Pritzker Proud of State Fair

Governor JB Pritzker says he’s proud of the recently wrapped up Illinois State Fair and the work that went in to putting it on. The first term Democrat notes that he heard all week how much fun people were having.

 

 

The fair is finalizing attendance numbers but did report record ticket sales for the grandstand and gross revenue from the musical acts. 

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Pritzker Weighs in on Images From Sandoval Fundraiser

An Illinois State Senator is apologizing for images coming out of his political fundraiser. 

 

Martin Sandoval says that pictures at his fundraising golf outing of a person pointing what looks like a fake gun at a fake Donald Trump are “unacceptable” and he does not condone violence against the President. Democrat Governor JB Pritzker says civility is needed in politics. 

 

 

The Illinois Republican Party Chairman Tim Schneider wants Sandoval to fire the person in the photo if they are a campaign staffer or volunteer. 

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Governor Supports Planned Parenthood's Decision Turn Down Federal Money

GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER IS SUPPORTING PLANNED PARENTHOOD’S DECISION TO FORGO FEDERAL FUNDING OVER A NEW ABORTION GAG RULE. 

 

THE RULE PREVENTS CLINICS ACCEPTING TITLE 10 FAMILY PLANNING FUNDS FROM TALKING TO PATIENTS ABOUT WHERE THEY CAN GET AN ABORTION. PLANNED PARENTHOOD OFFICIALS SAY THIS IS AN ATTACK ON REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH CARE…AND GOVERNOR PRITZKER AGREES.

 

 

GOVERNOR PRITZKER STANDS WITH PLANNED PARENTHOOD.

 

 

PRITZKER SAYS THE STATE WILL ALSO ESCHEW TITLE 10 FUNDS AND WORK TO MAKE SURE WOMEN KNOW ALL THEIR REPRODUCTIVE OPTIONS.

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Blue Ridge Schools 'Ask a Board Member' Program Kicks Off Tonight

This school year at Blue Ridge school events, community members will have the opportunity to connect with Blue Ridge school board members.

 

Starting tonight (Monday) and again Tuesday night during the first days of school, the community can meet with Board members. Susan Wilson, Blue Ridge superintendent, indicates the idea came from their annual Blue Ridge Connects. The board will have two board members available to ask questions or give comments to the board in an informal way.

 

 

Wilson says this will offer community members a better way to discuss policy issues rather than turning to social media. 

 

 

Other dates in the coming weeks will be Friday at the Fall preview and then again September 19 at the Schneider School open house. There will be designated tables at these events labeled "Ask a Board Member". 

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Camp Osage Wraps Up, YMCA Staff Looks Ahead to Y-Zone

The 2019 edition of Camp Osage wrapped up last Friday and now Clinton YMCA staff will turn their attention to Y-Zone with a new school year kicking off this week.

 

Camp Director David Torbert told Regional Radio News Monday he felt camp this summer was a big success. The Y offered more programs thanks to various partnerships with DeWitt County groups.

 

 

Executive Director of the Y, Rennie Cluver says today's youth is much more diverse in their interests and he credits Torbert's ability to switch up the offerings for their youth this summer and try to find something to fit as many kids as they could.

 

 

With Camp Osage now behind Y leadership, they look ahead to Y-Zone. Y-Zone is a before and after school program, youth can participate in. Cluver says it gives kindergarten through fifth graders a safe place to go.

 

 

For information on Y-Zone, Cluver encourages a visit to their facility at 417 South Alexander Street, or call them at 217-935-8307 and ask for Courtney Williamson. You can also visit clintoncommymca.org. 

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Apple n' Pork Pigs on Parade Available for Pick Up This Week

If you're interested in dressing up a pig for the Apple n' Pork's popular Parade of Pigs, those are going to be available starting Tuesday of this week.

 

Director of the DeWitt County Museum, Joey Woolridge says they give a piece of plywood in the shape of a pig and ask individuals, groups or businesses to dress theirs up for a competition during the Apple n' Pork Festival.

 

 

The pigs can be claimed up until the 25th but Woolridge says they go fast and are likely to be gone after only a few days.

 

 

The Apple n' Pork Festival comes up September 28-29 this year. 

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Monticello City Council Updates Estimates for Recreation Facilities Development

A Piatt County community updated the estimates for plans for an undeveloped area city leaders plan to turn into recreation facilities.

 

Monticello is in great need for more recreation facilities and last week, city leadership updated the cost estimates for such development. Callie McFarland is the Director of Community Development in Monticello and explains it has been about a decade since the city received bids for the project they have planned on the community's west side.

 

 

There are about 30 acres the city purchased that has long been planned to boost the community's recreation facilities. McFarland explains they currently share facilities with the school district, but that is not nearly enough for the demand they have for, primarily, youth sports.

 

 

McFarland notes the dream is for baseball, softball, soccer and football fields along with a playground and walking trail as well.

 

 

McFarland, who is also very active with the business community, notes she has heard positive feedback from the community's businesses because they feel this would bring more people to the community, in turn, that would bring more people to their businesses. 

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Mahomet-Seymour Schools Still Needing Special Ed Teachers

With the start of school upon us, many districts in Illinois will welcome students back to their buildings without teachers to lead certain subject areas.

 

Superintendent of Mahomet-Seymour Schools, Lindsey Hall explains they are currently seeking a couple of special education teachers. She says it is a struggle to find even a good number of candidates to fill these positions.

 

 

Hall believes the teaching profession is losing the interest of young people because of the ideas teachers are no longer respected. Hall feels teachers is one of the most honorable professions in the world.

 

 

Once you get a degree, teachers have to go through a lot of hoops to get a job in Illinois. Hall says the process is very expensive and cumbersome in Illinois.

 

 

Hall points out the teacher retirement system is not appealing at all. She says it is set up so people would have to work until they are 67 and feels that is a lot to ask. 

 

 

Mahomet-Seymour indicates because of enrollment growth, earlier this month they added a kindergarten and first-grade teacher. 

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State Police Making Changes to Application Requirements

The path towards becoming an Illinois State Trooper is changing. Moving forward the ISP will accept applications from individuals who have just an associate’s degree or 60 hours of college credit. 

 

The old requirement of having a bachelor’s degree is out the door says ISP Acting Director Brendan Kelly.

 

 

Kelly says with the average cost of a bachelors’ degree at $90,000 they are losing out on a number of high quality candidates.

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State Fair Wraps Up

The Illinois State Fair has wrapped. The Grandstand set records for tickets sold and gross revenue. 

 

State Fair Manager Kevin Gordon says that even without an official tally of how many fairgoers entered the grounds he says many of the vendors have been happy. 

 

 

The state fair should be releasing offical attendance numbers in about a week.

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Governor Beefs Up Help for First Responders Struggling With Mental Health Issues

GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER IS SIGNING A HANDFUL OF NEW LAWS TO BEEF UP THE ILLINOIS STATE POLICE AND HELP FIRST RESPONDERS STRUGGLING WITH MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES. 

 

ONE NEW LAW LIFTS THE REQUIREMENT OF A BACHELOR’S DEGREE TO BECOME A STATE TROOPER. INSTEAD, APPLICANTS WILL NEED AN ASSOCIATE DEGREE OR 60 HOURS OF COLLEGE CREDIT. ACTING DIRECTOR BRENDAN KELLY SAYS THEY DON’T WANT TO EXCLUDE ANY GOOD CANDIDATES.

 

 

GOVERNOR PRITZKER SAYS ONE NEW LAW ESTABLISHES A PEER SUPPORT PROGRAM FOR FIRST RESPONDERS AND A SUICIDE PREVENTION TASK FORCE.

 

 

ADDITIONALLY, VICTIMS OF SEXUAL ASSAULT WILL BE ABLE TO ELECTRONICALLY TRACK IF THEIR RAPE KIT HAS BEEN PROCESSED.

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Department of Labor Reminding Kids Under 16 Need Permit to Work

THE ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF LABOR IS REMINDING THAT 14 AND 15 YEAR OLDS THINKING ABOUT GETTING A JOB WILL FIRST NEED A WORK PERMIT FROM THE STATE. 

 

DEPARTMENT OF LABOR DIRECTOR MICHAEL KLEINIK SAYS IT’S GREAT THAT YOUNG PEOPLE WANT TO WORK…BUT STRESSES THAT CHILD LABOR RULES REQUIRE THE PERMIT.

 

 

TEENS UNDER 16 ARE ALSO LIMITED TO A CERTAIN NUMBER OF HOURS PER WEEK DURING THE SCHOOL YEAR. TO OBTAIN A PERMIT…TEENS SHOULD GET A LETTER FROM THEIR PROSPECTIVE EMPLOYER AND SUBMIT IT TO SCHOOL ADMINISTRATION FOR APPROVAL. 

 

 

BUSINESSES WITH YOUNG WORKERS MUST HAVE THE PERMIT ON SITE OR THEY COULD BE FINED BY THE STATE. A PERMIT IS NOT REQUIRED FOR JOBS LIKE BABYSITTING, YARD WORK OR DELIVERING NEWSPAPERS.

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Weekly Weather Summary

Hit and miss storms rolled through central Illinois early in the week with a humid finish to the week. What are we store for next week? Kevin Grady from the State Climatologist Office has more...

 

 

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Maroa Resident Headed to Washington, DC Next Week for Honor Flight

A Maroa veteran will be headed to the nation's capital next week as a part of the Honor Flight. 

 

Marvin Hubble will be attending the upcoming Land of Lincoln Honor Flight August 20th along with 85 other local veterans.

 

Notable stops will be the World War II, Korean and Vietnam War memorials, as well as Arlington National Cemetery for the Changing of the Guard ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknowns. Other stops include the Lincoln Memorial, the National Air & Space Museum (Chantilly, Virginia), the US Air Force Memorial, the US Navy Plaza, and the US Marine Corps Memorial (Iwo Jima).

 

This day of honor is provided at absolutely no cost to our Veterans. 

 

The return to Springfield’s airport is planned at August 20th, 2019 at 9:30 PM and the general public, along with friends and family, are encouraged to “pack the port” to Welcome Home these local heroes. 

 

All are encouraged to wear red-white-blue patriotic colors, bring balloons, posters, etc. to show appreciation and support to these Veterans who served and sacrificed so much for our country.

They will also receive a police escort from Springfield Illinois to Clinton, with the Illinois State Police, Sangamon County Sheriffs Department, Logan County Sheriff Department, Dewitt County Sheriffs Department, Clinton Police Department, Kenney, Wapella, Clinton Fire Department and the Clinton Ambulance Service participating in the escort. 

 

The Clinton Amvets and American Legion will be also placing approximately 500 flags along the parade route from the Clinton High School to the Dollar Tree in Clinton, and the Amvets and American Legion will also be hosting a Welcome Home Ceremony for Hubble at approximately 11 pm that evening at the Dollar Tree parking lot in Clinton.

 

For more information on the Welcome Home Ceremony, or how to sign a Veteran up for the Honor Flight contact Jeff Morlock at 2178532530.

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Kids' Fishing Derby At Weldon Springs Next Saturday

Weldon Springs State Park will offer its Kids’ Fishing Derby on Saturday, August 24, 2019.  


This year’s event is sponsored by The Weldon Springs Foundation, Inc. and Boy Scout Troop 142. 

 

Registration will begin at 8:30 AM at the concession area.  The derby will run from 9 AM to 11 AM.  

 

Trophies will be awarded for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd places for number of fish caught from the bank in three age divisions: 6 and under, 7-8-9, and 10-11-12.  

 

There is no registration fee. In the case of heavy rain or lightning, the event will be cancelled.

 

For more information please call the park office at 217-935-2644.

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DeWitt County Museum Publishes Old-Fashioned Cookbook

Old fashioned recipes you can use today is the theme of a cookbook that has been put together by the DeWitt County Museum.

 

Friday morning on the WHOW Morning Show, Director Joey Woolridge told Regional Radio News they collected the best recipes from about 15 cookbooks in their collection to publish for the public.

 

 

For the most part, Woolridge points out the recipes appear as they did in the books they were taken from. However, some aspects needed adjusting because some of these were put together before the time of the digital oven thermometer and even for fire stoves.

 

 

Woolridge believes the recipes are wholesome because they were put together before the era of processed foods. The books are $5 and are available now in the museum gift shop.

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Tradewind Energy Resubmits for Alta Farms Wind Project

Thursday, Tradewind Energy submitted an application for their Alta Farms wind project in northwest DeWitt County.

 

The application is the second in DeWitt County for Tradewind Energy. The initial proposal was shot down by the DeWitt County Board this past spring and Kyle Lockhause with Tradewind says the new application cleans up some of the questions regarding their previous application.

 

 

Tradewind continues to believe there is support for the project and it will benefit the community. Lockhause says that was part of the reason for them resubmitting.

 

 

Tradewind is hopeful to be before the Regional Planning Commission later this fall and back before the DeWitt County Board shortly after the holiday season. 

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Summer Reading Club Saw Increased Attendance

The Vespasian Warner Library's Summer Reading Clubs officially ended this past Saturday.

 

Children's Librarian Paula Lopatic, indicated the Library saw an increase in attendance for all of their Summer Reading Club programs. She was impressed by the performers some of who were new and some were repeats from previous years.

 

 

Along with the Tuesday programs, Lopatic offered preschool programs on Monday mornings and programs for the older kids on Thursday afternoons. For the first time this summer, Lopatic visited the YMCA on Wednesday mornings to offer programs for Camp Osage.

 

 

The Vespasian Warner Library offered three reading clubs for everyone from preschool through teen/adult this summer.

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Unclaimed Property Auction at State Fair

The Illinois State Treasurer is holding a live auction this Saturday at the State Fair. The property set to be sold has often been left behind in bank safety deposit boxes, and the bank can’t keep those items. 

 

State Treasurer Mike Frerichs The state tries to connect a rightful owner to the property but the vault where they keep those items needs to be cleaned out every so often.

 

 

The auction is set for 11 am on Saturday. 

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St. Louis Dairy Council Offers Back to School Meal Tips

School, work and extracurricular activities have made family sit-down meals almost a thing of the past. And although the dinner table has faded away for some families, its importance has not. 

 

Jill Williams is the Nutrition Educator for the St. Louis Dairy Council. She says it gets especially hard this time of year when families are transitioning from summer to back-to-school.

 

 

The short-term benefits to family meals are lower rates of obesity in children, encourages kids to try new and healthy foods, and kids don’t typically eat junk food for a home cooked meal.

 

Williams says just as important as family meal time is dairy in your diet.

 

 

Williams is also a registered dietitian. You can email her at info@stldairycouncil.org to find out more about the St. Louis Dairy Council or visit their website, stldairycouncil.org.

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Scalise Rallies Illinois Republicans

Republican’s rallied at the State Fairgrounds on Thursday. House Minority Whip Steve Scalise spoke to the crowd about taking back state offices around Illinois. He says Illinois can take direction from the White House by standing up for what is right.

 

 

On the election from this week Republican Congressman Darin LaHood says he will run again for office. 

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Pritzker Launches $420 Million Initiative To Bring High Speed Internet To All Parts of State

GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER IS LAUNCHING “CONNECT ILLINOIS” …A 420 MILLION DOLLAR PROGRAM TO BRING HIGH-SPEED INTERNET TO ALL PARTS OF THE STATE. 

 

GOVERNOR PRITZKER SAYS THE NEW BROADBAND ADVISORY COUNCIL WILL BE PLANNING THE BROADBAND EXPANSION…FOCUSING ON THREE AREAS: EDUCATION, ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AND TELEMEDICINE.

 

 

DOWNSTATE ILLINOIS IS PARTICULARLY UNDERSERVED SAYS KARRI BUTTERFIELD WITH THE BLACK BAY GROUP IN PAYSON.

 

 

THE COUNCIL WILL ALSO WORK TO BRING IN FEDERAL MONEY FOR THE EFFORT.

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LaHood Wants Trade Battle To End

As farmers and members of the ag community gathered at the Illinois State Fair this week they had the ear of lawmakers. And many have had it with falling prices due to smaller exports markets due to trade troubles.

 

Republican Congressman Darin LaHood says the trade battle with China needs to be brought to an end.

 

 

LaHood says Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi should put the USMCA or NAFTA 2.0 on the floor for a vote.

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Illinois Policy Institute Studying Education Pensions

A new study by the Illinois Policy Institute reveals that over the last decade the amount of school funding dedicated to paying education pensions has grown significantly. 

 

According to the study, from 2010 through next year, the total amount of school funding dedicated to paying education pensions will have grown from 22-percent of school funding to 36-percent. 

 

Hillary Gowin is with the Illinois Policy Institute and she says that hard questions about education pension reform need to be asked... 

 

 

You can read the full study for yourself by going to IllinoisPolicy.org.

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Another Record Grandstand Attendance

The Illinois State Fair is a record-breaker

at the Grandstand. This week two records have been broken, the first was the lineup of Grandstand acts bringing in the highest amount of ticket revenue ever at more than $2.1 million. Now more tickets than ever have been sold for the string music acts. 

 

State Fair Manager Kevin Gordon says they felt early on that ticket sales would be good but they have been blown away by the demand this year.

 

 

 

Gordon says more research will be needed to know officially but he thinks this weekend’s concerts with 31,000 tickets sold so far might be the biggest weekend of all time at the fair. 

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DNR Encouraging State Fair Goers to Check Out Conservation World

If you are headed to the Illinois State Fair before the final day this Sunday, the Department of Natural Resources is hoping you'll stop by Conservation World.

 

DNR Conservation Police Sergeant John Williamson says Conservation World is next to the DNR office building on the fairgrounds and there's a lot of good information along with some fun activities for kids.

 

 

Conservation World is on the northwest side of the fairground near the Orr Building. 

 

The State Fair runs until Sunday, August 18. 

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Clinton Junior High School Principal Talks New Orientation Process for 2019

To get incoming sixth-grade students and new seventh and eighth grade students introduced to their new learning environment, the Principal of Clinton Junior High School is planning a full day to learn the ins-and-outs next Wednesday.

 

Clinton Junior High School Principal Josh Maxwell told Regional Radio News Thursday morning on the WHOW morning show, the first day of school, Wednesday, August 21 will be a time for their new students to learn the building and get good information about many challenges facing junior high schoolers.

 

 

Maxwell explains students will be hitting some breakout sessions to start the day learning about several aspects of being a junior high student. He notes they will also get a brief introduction to their teachers and learn the hallways and where their classes are.

 

 

Wednesday night, Maxwell and his staff hosted their annual cookout which invited the students together for grill food, chips, and cookies. This year he also opened up the building and allowed for students to get in and get supplies in their lockers or meet teachers and find their classes.

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Hartsburg-Emden Schools Summer Projects Challenged By Wet Summer

The wet start to the summer provided a pretty significant challenge for summer work at one Logan County school district.

 

Hartsburg-Emden Superintendent Terry Wisniewski explains they took on a roofing project at their junior/senior high facility this summer. The roofs of their district have been a focal point in recent years and he points out, it will give them about 75-percent of their buildings' roofs will be new within five years.

 

 

The roof work did not come without challenges. Wisniewski says because of the wet month of June, they did experience water damage in parts of the building.

 

 

Other projects this summer that Hart-Em tackled include the grade school gym being repainted, some potholes in their parking lot and drive are being filled and a classroom is being converted to a fitness center for their physical education program. Wisniewski adds the junior/senior high school gym will now be air-conditioned. 

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Ticks in Illinois Test Positive for Heartland Virus

THE STATE DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH IS CONFIRMING THE PRESENCE OF A RARE TICK-BORNE VIRUS IN ILLINOIS. 

 

THE HEARTLAND VIRUS FIRST POPPED UP LAST YEAR WHEN A PERSON IN KANKAKEE COUNTY TESTED POSITIVE, AND NOW TICKS FROM THAT AREA APPEAR TO BE CARRYING THE VIRUS. PUBLIC HEALTH’S SAMANTHA DEBOSIK (duh-boe-sick) SAYS IF YOU GET BITTEN BY A TICK…YOU SHOULD WATCH FOR THESE SYMPTOMS.

 

 

THOSE INFECTED USUALLY HAVE TO BE HOSPITALIZED BUT MOST FULLY RECOVER. DEBOSIK RECOMMENDS WEARING LIGHT-COLORED LONG CLOTHING WHEN WALKING NEAR TALL GRASSES AND SHRUBS WHERE TICKS LIKE TO HANG OUT. BUG SPRAY IS ALSO A GOOD IDEA.

 

 

IT’S TRANSMITTED THROUGH THE BITE OF AN INFECTED LONE STAR TICK.

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State Fair Grandstand Ticket Revenues Hit New Record

ILLINOIS STATE FAIR GRANDSTAND CONCERTS ARE BRINGING IN MORE MONEY THAN EVER BEFORE.

 

THE CONCERT SERIES IS PROVING TO BE A POPULAR LINEUP THIS YEAR, BRINGING IN NEARLY TWO MILLION, ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND DOLLARS SO FAR. GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER MADE THE ANNOUNCEMENT DURING TUESDAY’S SALE OF CHAMPIONS.

 

 

ONLY ABOUT ONE THOUSAND CONCERT TICKETS NEED TO BE SOLD TO BREAK THAT RECORD AS WELL. UPCOMING CONCERTS INCLUDE OLD DOMINION, SNOOP DOGG AND SHINEDOWN.

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Pelosi Rallies Illinois Democrats

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi was at the Illinois Democratic County Chairman’s Association Bruch and Governor JB Pritzker welcomed her to the stage.

 

 

Pelosi said House Democrats are 200 days into their majority and she’s proud of what they have accomplished and US Senate Leadership won’t be allowed to stand in the way.

 

 

Pelosi says those new laws include limiting dark money in campaigns and gun control legislation.

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Ag Meteorologist Talks September Weather

Corn producers starting to think about that September forecast and what impact it will have on the 2019 crop. Agriculture Meteorologist Dan Hicks is with Freese-Notis Weather. 

 

 

The latest Illinois Crop Progress and Condition report had only 42-percent of the state’s corn crop at the dough stage compared to 89-percent last year and the five year average at 76-percent. As for the state’s soybean crop, just 49-percent has reached the setting pod stage with the five year average at 79-percent.

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Weldon Homecoming Festival Saturday

Weldon residents are inviting central Illinois to be a part of their annual Homecoming festival this Saturday.

 

Alysha Brockman says they will have entertainment for kids, a car show and entertainment across a whole day of activities at the community park.

 

 

The truck and tractor pull starts at noon. Chet Walters explains they set up across the street from the community park behind the softball field. He notes they start at the 4,000-pound tractor class and finish with the turbo classes and stock gas and diesel pick-up trucks.

 

 

Brockman also adds there will be a car show. The show is from 2 pm to 5:30 pm. Cars, trucks, and motorcycles are welcome at the show.

 

 

The Weldon Festival Committee is putting the activities on. Brockman says the committee is in their second year aiming to provide fun activities for the community to participate in.

 

 

The Weldon Homecoming is this weekend, Saturday, August 17. Learn more by searching 'Weldon Festival Committee' on Facebook.

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Clinton Police Chief Talks New School Year

With a new school year right around the corner, local authorities are sending out some public safety reminders.

 

Clinton Police Chief Ben Lowers says the number one thing to remember with the new school year less than a week off for most schools, traffic around school zones is going to greatly increase. He implores anyone near these areas of the community to slow down and be patient.

 

 

Abiding by the rules surrounding school buses has been an issue in recent years and the Chief points out, any time the stop-arm comes out, all motorists in front of or behind the bus is required to stop. He says violations are treated with high regard.

 

 

The first few months of school, the weather should allow a good number of students to walk or bike to school. Chief Lowers says while it is important to preach safety on the streets and sidewalks to youth, it's also imperative for motorists to be vigilant in watching for youth on their way to school.

 

 

The various school offices will have traffic flow charts available for parents who want to know. Chief Lowers notes his staff is spending parts of this week meeting with crossing guards. 

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Camp Osage Youth Learn About Agriculture

Area kids that were at Camp Osage last Friday learned a lot about agriculture in a special activity at a local farm.

 

Jerry Toohill's farm in DeWitt County was the site for the day camp kids and he says hosting them fulfilled what the 'Acres for Kids' program would be all about. He says it was meant to be engaging for them.

 

 

Executive Director of the YMCA, Rennie Cluver explains bringing the youth to a farm may be a new experience for some who have never stepped foot on a farm before.

 

 

The 'Acres for Kids' program reaches out to area farmers to take a portion of their acreage and when it is harvested, donate a portion of that harvest to the YMCA. Toohill credits Darren Moser for the idea.

 

 

The Strong Kids Campaign is the annual fundraiser for the Clinton YMCA and Cluver says while that campaign continues to have strong support in terms of donors, the donations are not as great as they once were. He notes, while there might be several reasons for that, they need to find fresh ways to rally the community support for their organization.

 

 

The Strong Kids Campaign is an ongoing effort that seeks to raise around $100,000 for programs and scholarships for community members. You can learn more by visiting clintoncommymca.org or call 935-8307. You can also stop into their facility at 417 South Alexander Street. 

 

 

 

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Monticello City Council Passes One-Cent Business District Tax

To address deteriorating infrastructure in the downtown area, the Monticello City Council Monday night passed a one-cent sales tax as a part of an established business district.

 

Tuesday morning on the WHOW Morning Show, Director of Community Development, Callie McFarland told Regional Radio News the one-cent tax will help them address things like streets, sidewalks and infrastructure.

 

 

McFarland explains the one-cent tax only applies to a limited amount of goods. She notes those exclusions are things like groceries, anything licensed and prescriptions. Additionally, it is a tax that applies only to downtown businesses. 

 

 

The tax could also be used by businesses to address health, life safety issues and McFarland says this is another step in the continued focus of what is becoming a thriving area of Monticello.

 

 

April 1 of next year, the City will collect the first check from the revenues. McFarland predicts around $150,000 to $200,000 coming from this tax.

 

 

McFarland says the business district will be the downtown streets extending to Bridge Street and a commercial corridor to the west, plus out towards the County Market grocery store. 

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Maroa-Forsyth Schools Exploring Possibilities for Future Facilities

Maroa-Forsyth schools are exploring the future of how to proceed with what to do with their aging middle school facility.

 

A steering committee has been formed to find out what the community wants to do next in the district. Superintendent Dr. John Ahlemeyer has been very pleased with the way things have started.

 

 

The latest meeting of this steering committee put together around a dozen options. Dr. Ahlemeyer has only one preference, which would be to keep the middle school and high school near each other.

 

 

The steering committee will be hosting a trio of meetings in the coming months to narrow down what the recommendation will be to the Maroa-Forsyth Board of Education. Those begin with a meeting on

September 25 at 6:30 pm with building tours to take place at 6 pm. 

 

The next two are scheduled for October 23 and November 13 at 6:30 pm. 

Dr. Ahlemeyer directs anyone interested to visit mfschools.net for more information. 

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Speaker Pelosi to Speak in Springfield

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi is going to be speaking in Springfield on Wednesday at the Illinois Democratic County Chairs Association. 

 

A lightning rod for both parties was directly invited by US Senator Dick Durbin. He says that she’s the right person to tell Democrats what’s happening in Washington D.C.

 

 

The brunch she is speaking at is the kick-off event for Democrats for Governors Day at the Illinois State Fair.

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Treasurer Frerichs Endorses Elizabeth Warren

State Treasurer Michael Frerichs has endorsed Elizabeth Warren for President. Frerichs describes attributes that impressed him....

 

 

Frerichs also gives Warren high marks for political courage...

 

 

Warren has surged in recent days in polling in Iowa.

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Pritzker's Battle It Out At Sale of Champions

The Illinois State Fair held the Governor’s Sale of Champions last night and the Governor and First Lady had a little fun. JB and MK split their bidding when it came time to auction off the Grand Champion Steer shown by Cole Caldwell of Elmwood. 

 

As the bidding came down to the wire – MK swooped in for a big move.

 

 

And $75,000 would take it. JB said that it was a shock to him that she battled against him.

 

 

Caldwell is 13 and headed to 8th Grand in Elmwood. He says the winnings tonight will help him save for college.

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Mendoza Working to Protect Prevailing Wage

The state is embarking on a six year and $45 billion capital and the state’s Comptroller signed an executive order that will refocus an effort to enforce the state’s prevailing wage laws. Susana Mendoza says this is necessary to make sure workers are being paid what they are owed.

 

 

Mendoza says this essentially allows for state law to be enforced and if her office found that a contractor wasn’t paying the right wage then she could stop payment to them to fix the problem.

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EpiPens Getting Guaranteed Insurance Coverage

Illinois children and families who live a life thinking about an allergic reaction turning deadly have a little less to worry about today. 

 

Democrat Governor JB Pritzker signs a bill this week that requires insurance companies to cover EpiPens. The injectable life saving devices have seen prices jump of more than 400 percent over the past 10 years. That leaves the cost of a two pen injector at close to $700. Pritzker says families shouldn’t have to worry about paying for a life saving device.

 

 

Another problem facing users of Epi-Pens is the fact that they expire after a year.

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Ag Director Sullivan Highlights Positives in Agriculture

IT’S BEEN A DIFFICULT YEAR FOR FARMERS…BUT AGRICULTURE OFFICIALS AT THE STATE FAIR SAY THERE ARE A FEW BRIGHT SPOTS. 

 

THE BIGGEST SUCCESS IN 2019 SO FAR IS THE STATE’S NEW INDUSTRIAL HEMP PROGRAM. ILLINOIS AG DIRECTOR JOHN SULLIVAN SAYS THEY STARTED TAKING APPLICATIONS FROM PRODUCERS SEEKING TO GROW HEMP ON MAY FIRST…AND IN THE FIRST 24 HOURS…250 HAD SIGNED UP.

 

 

SULLIVAN SAYS THEY ALSO ARE PLEASED WITH A PROGRAM THEY STARTED, GIVING FARMERS WITH PREVENTED PLANTING ACRES AN INCENTIVE TO PLANT COVER CROPS.

 

 

ADDITIONALLY, SULLIVAN SAYS THE STATE’S INDUSTRIAL HEMP PROGRAM IS REALLY TAKING OFF, WITH MORE THAN 13-HUNDRED APPLICATIONS TURNED IN SINCE MAY FIRST TO EITHER GROW OR PRODUCE HEMP IN ILLINOIS.

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Bustos Promoting Rural Green Partnership

Western Illinois Congresswoman Cheri Bustos is pushing out a Rural Green Partnership initiative. She spoke about the issue at Illinois State Fair Ag Day…

 

 

Bustos says the plan has been endorsed by a dozen commodity groups. 

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Warrensburg-Latham Schools Adjusting Program Focused on Student Enrichment

A local school district is revamping a program they introduced last year that focuses on providing extra support for their students.

 

Warrensburg-Latham Schools last year introduced what they call 'Cardinal Time'. Superintendent Dr. Kristen Kendrick-Weikle says it is targeted for students middle school through high school to get extra help in a subject they may be struggling in or for group work.

 

 

For Dr. Kendrick-Weikle, one of the bonuses of the program was it allowed students to explore things they were interested in. She points out it didn't always fall under a curriculum interest and it was well-received. 

 

 

At the high school level, Dr. Kendrick-Weikle students who qualified academically were able to leave early but that is not going to be an option this year.

 

 

Dr. Kendrick-Weikle says they continue to tweak and adjust the program based on students feedback. She adds this is something they do weekly. 

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Weekly Crop Report

IT WAS A DRY WEEK FOR ILLINOIS FARM FIELDS AS WE HEAR IN THE WEEKLY CROP REPORT.

 

THERE WAS PLENTY OF TIME FOR FIELDWORK…WITH PRECIPITATION ABOUT A HALF INCH BELOW NORMAL. CROP STATISTICIAN MARK SCHLEUSENER SAYS 93 PERCENT OF CORN IS NOW SILKING.

 

 

80 PERCENT OF SOYBEANS ARE BLOOMING, AND 49 PERCENT ARE SETTING PODS. 39 PERCENT OF THE SOYBEAN CROP IS RATED IN GOOD TO EXCELLENT CONDITION. 

 

 

THE SECOND CUTTING OF ALFALFA HAY IS NOW 92 PERCENT COMPLETE.

 

AVERAGE STATEWIDE TOPSOIL MOISTURE DECLINED TO 20 PERCENT VERY SHORT, 42 PERCENT SHORT, 37 PERCENT ADEQUATE AND ONE PERCENT SURPLUS.

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State Fair Food Highlights

WHEN IT COMES TO FOOD…THE ILLINOIS STATE FAIR OFFERS MORE THAN CORN DOGS AND FUNNEL CAKES. 

 

NEW THIS YEAR AT THE FAIR IS “GATORS AND TATERS.” THE STAND’S JESSE EVETT SAYS THEIR SPECIALTY IS GATOR BITES, WHICH ARE FRIED UP IN A CAJUN BATTER AND SERVED WITH CHIPOTLE MAYO.

 

 

THIS IS THE FIRST YEAR FOR “GET IT WHILE IT’S HOT” AT THE STATE FAIR. THEIR SPECIALTY IS GIANT CHICKEN AND TURKEY WINGS, AS WELL AS BRISKET MAC AND CHEESE SAYS THE STAND’S LANEKA CHATTON.

 

 

THEN YOU’LL NEED DESSERT OF COURSE. WAYNE DUVALL WITH THE SUNDAE FACTORY.

 

 

THERE’S ALSO LOBSTER MAC AND CHEESE, CLAM STRIPS AND FROG LEGS. ANOTHER FUN STAND IS ISLAND NOODLES, WHICH SERVES SOBA NOODLES COOKED UP WITH LOTS OF VEGGIES IN A HUGE WOK AND TOPPED WITH TERIYAKI CHICKEN IF YOU LIKE.

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Governor Pritzker Signs Bill Expanding Medical Marijuana Program

GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER IS SIGNING LEGISLATION EXPANDING THE STATE’S MEDICAL MARIJUANA PROGRAM.

 

ONE MEASURE MAKES THE PILOT PROGRAM PERMANENT AND ADDS 11 NEW CONDITIONS LIKE CHRONIC PAIN, ANOREXIA, MIGRAINES AND AUTISM TO THE LIST OF THOSE ELIGIBLE FOR MEDICAL CANNABIS. GOVERNOR PRITZKER SAYS IT’S IMPORTANT TO PROVIDE TO RELIEF TO THOSE SUFFERING.

 

 

THE LAW MAKES THE PROGRAM PERMANENT AND LETS ADVANCED PRACTICE NURSES AND PHYSICIAN ASSISTANTS CERTIFY A PATIENT FOR MEDICAL CANNABIS USE, NOT JUST DOCTORS SAYS REPRESENTATIVE BOB MORGAN OF DEERFIELD.

 

 

A SECOND NEW LAW MAKES IT EASIER FOR STUDENTS TO GET THEIR PRESCRIBED DOSE OF MEDICAL MARIJUANA AT SCHOOL.

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Elder Abuse Task Force Established

A NEW STATE ELDER ABUSE TASK FORCE WILL LOOK INTO WAYS TO FURTHER COMBAT THE PROBLEM.

 

THE 22 MEMBER GROUP WILL REVIEW CURRENT PREVENTION EFFORTS AND WORK TOWARDS RAISING PUBLIC AWARENESS ABOUT THE ABUSE OF SENIORS. ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT ON AGING DIRECTOR PAULA BASTA SAYS UNFORTUNATELY, ELDER ABUSE HAPPENS EVERY DAY.

 

 

THE STATE RESPONDED TO MORE THAN 20 THOUSAND REPORTS OF ELDER ABUSE AND ABUSE OF THE DISABLED IN THE LAST FISCAL YEAR. IT’S TIME TO PUT A STOP TO THIS AND RAISE AWARENESS SAYS TASK FORCE MEMBER SENATOR RACHELLE CROWE OF GLEN CARBON.

 

 

ELDER ABUSE CAN INCLUDE PHYSICAL ABUSE, NEGLECT, MENTAL ABUSE AND FINANCIAL EXPLOITATION. THE TASK FORCE WILL HOLD IT’S FIRST MEETING IN THE NEXT TWO WEEKS AND ISSUE A FINAL REPORT BY JANUARY OF 2021.

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Ag Day Today at State Fair

Tuesday is Ag Day at the Illinois State Fair. What has State Ag Director John Sullivan been hearing and what will he tell farmers? 

 

 

Sullivan was appointed State Ag Director last January. 

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DeWitt County Farm Bureau Manager Announces Resignation

DeWitt County Farm Bureau Manager Janel Baum-Thomas has announced her resignation from her post.

 

She told Regional Radio Farm Broadcaster Jared White Monday afternoon she will be transitioning to a new position at Baum Chevrolet-Buick.

 

 

The DeWitt County Farm Bureau is located at 1060 Illinois-54 in Clinton, across the street from the new Casey's location. 

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Clinton Elementary School Inviting Students to Drop Supplies Off Day Before School Starts

Students who will be attending Clinton Elementary School this year are invited to bring their school supplies to the building the day before school starts.

 

Next Tuesday, August 20 the building will be open in the afternoon and Principal Sasha Young on the WHOW Morning Show Monday told Regional Radio News this will be a good opportunity for students to bring their materials to their lockers ahead of the first day of school.

 

 

In the past, students lined up outside the building with their classmates and their teacher but Young found it was stressful for students and parents of the incoming second-graders because they didn't know the teachers of the building. She feels this will also allow new students a chance to meet their teachers and get to know the building.

 

 

The first day of school for CES students will be Wednesday, August 21 and Young reminds parents and students it will be a full day of classes. 

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Warner Hospital Hosting Blood Drive Next Week

The Red Cross has been promoting the blood shortage this summer and Warner Hospital and Health Services are hosting a blood drive next week.

 

CEO Paul Skowron says Thursday, August 22 from 10 am to 2 pm, Warner Hospital will have the Red Cross at the specialty clinic for a blood drive.

 

 

Appointments are encouraged. You can contact Sarah at the hospital by calling 217-937-5258 or visit redcrossblood.org. Additionally, donors will receive an Amazon $5 gift card. 

 

The hospital's specialty clinic is located at 422 West White Street. 

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Blue Ridge Schools Excited For John Street Project To Be Complete

Better traffic flow before and after school will be the result of the much-anticipated project in front of Schneider School in Farmer City.

 

Superintendent of Blue Ridge Schools Susan Wilson says the project is going to improve the circle drive in front of the building and create a new pattern of parking for parents picking up and dropping off students.

 

 

The project is also adding new sidewalks on each side of the road and Wilson says this is going to be a great benefit to both Schneider School and the high school.

 

 

According to the school, the back-in parking they are going to be asking parents and guardians to use has been proven to be safer than pulling in. Wilson adds this is a new rule they are asking everyone to abide by and there will be early enforcement of this rule to make sure there is compliance.

 

 

The annual open house at Schneider and Blue Ridge High School will be August 20 and the first day of student attendance is set for August 21 for Blue Ridge Schools. 

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Piatt County Health Professional Weighs in on Legalized Weed

Legalized weed is coming to Illinois next year and a local health professional is weighing in on the issue.

 

Tony Kirkman of the Piatt County Mental Health Center says as this gets nearer and nearer, the message they are pushing to everyone, youth and parents is that the legalized form of marijuana can be harmful to an undeveloped brain.

 

 

Lawmakers took action in the spring legislative session raising the age of purchasing tobacco products to 21 years old and Kirkman supports that because not only is tobacco harmful to youth, but the rise in vaping is becoming a growing concern.

 

 

Kirkman has concerns e-cigarettes have been introduced too fast to society. He feels we do not know enough about the impacts of vaping on the human body, especially when it comes to teens.

 

 

The Piatt County Mental Health Center is starting a community coalition and a youth advisory board and part of their mission will be to promote what the negative impacts of marijuana can be on young people. 

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Veterans Honored at Illinois State Fair

VETERANS WERE CELEBRATED AT THE STATE FAIR SUNDAY. 

 

VETS GOT IN FREE AT THE FAIR AND SPECIAL CEREMONIES AND A PARADE WERE HELD TO HONOR THE STATE'S MORE THAN 700 THOUSAND VETERANS. GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER THANKED THE VETS FOR THEIR SERVICE AND TALKED ABOUT THE STATE'S COMMITMENT TO THEIR NEEDS.

 

 

THE GOVERNOR ALSO SAID THE STATE HAS A VETERAN'S TASK FORCE TO BETTER MEET THE NEEDS OF INJURED VETS AND NEW COLLEGE SCHOLARSHIPS FOR THOSE RETURNING FROM SERVICE. 

 

ILLINOIS EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY ACTING DIRECTOR AND RETIRED BRIGADIER GENERAL ALICIA TATE NADEAU SPOKE TO THE CROWD AND LOOKED TO THE FUTURE.

 

 

OTHER SPECIAL DAYS COMING UP AT THE FAIR INCLUDE FIRST RESPONDER DAY, AGRICULTURE DAY AND FAMILY DAY. THE FAIR RUNS THROUGH SUNDAY, AUGUST 18TH.

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City of Clinton Issues Boil Order

The City of Clinton has placed a boil order from North Emma Street at East Washington Street to Route 54 to East North back to Emma. 

 

For more information call (217) 935-3432 during regular hours.

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The Illinois State Fair Coliseum is back in business

THE ILLINOIS STATE FAIR COLISEUM, HOME TO HORSE SHOWS AND OTHER EVENTS, IS BACK IN BUSINESS.

 

THE 60 THOUSAND SQUARE FOOT, THREE STORY STRUCTURE WAS BUILT IN 1901 AND AFTER YEARS OF REPAIRS, WAS CONDEMNED IN 2016. STATE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE DEPUTY DIRECTOR WARREN GOESCH SAYS THE LATEST RENOVATION OF THE FACILITY RESTORES WHAT HE CALLS THE “CROWN JEWEL” OF THE FAIR.

 

 

AFTER EXTENSIVE RENOVATIONS…THE BUILDING IS NOW MORE A-D-A ACCESSIBLE AND HAS L-E-D LIGHTING, ENERGY EFFICIENCY WINDOWS AND LARGE CEILING FANS. THE WOOD BEAMS HAVE BEEN REPLACED AND REINFORCED WITH STEEL. ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE DIRECTOR JOHN SULLIVAN SAYS THIS IS TRULY A RETURN TO THE FACILITY’S FORMER GLORY.

 

A SECOND PHASE OF THE PROJECT WILL INCLUDING A HEATING AND COOLING SYSTEM TO MAKE IT MORE OF A YEAR-ROUND FACILITY.

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Weekly Weather Summary

This weekend will see a return of heat and humidity for much of Illinois along with chances for storms. State Climatologist Office's Kevin Grady has more...

 

 

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State Board of Education offers activity and career guides at the Illinois State Fair

THE STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION IS OFFERING FREE ACTIVITY GUIDES AT THE ILLINOIS STATE FAIR.

 

TEACHERS, PARENTS AND STUDENTS CAN STOP BY THE LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR’S TENT ON MAIN STREET AND PICK UP THE GUIDE HIGHLIGHTING POTENTIAL LEARNING OPPORTUNITIES AT THE FAIR SAYS THE BOARD’S ANGELIQUE HAMILTON.

 

 

THE GUIDE CAN BE USED BY TEACHERS AND FAMILIES…HELPING KIDS LEARN, EXPLORE AND PROBLEM SOLVE WHILE DOING COMMON FAIR ACTIVITIES SAYS THE BOARD’S ANGELIQUE HAMILTON.

 

YOU CAN GET THE GUIDE INSIDE THE LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR’S TENT ON MAIN STREET.

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High dive show back at the Illinois State Fair

THE HIGH DIVE SHOW IS BACK AT THE ILLINOIS STATE FAIR THIS YEAR. 

 

ONE OF THE MORE POPULAR ATTRACTIONS AT THE FAIR IS OFFERING FOUR SHOWS DAILY RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF THE FAIRGROUNDS. DANA KUNZE, A CHAMPION DIVER AND PRODUCER WITH WATERSHOW PRODUCTIONS DIVE TEAM SAYS IT’S GREAT TO BE BACK.

 

 

THE HIGH DIVERS HAVE BEEN GONE FOR A FEW YEARS…BUT HAVE SET UP AGAIN IN THE MIDDLE OF THE FAIRGROUNDS, READY TO WOW AUDIENCES AND MAKE THEM LAUGH. DANA KUNZE WITH WATERSHOW PRODUCTIONS EXPLAINS WHAT MAKES THE SHOW SO THRILLING.

 

 

THAT CRAZY STUFF INCLUDES DIVING FROM 25 METERS INTO THE POOL WHICH IS ONLY EIGHT METERS WIDE AND THREE METERS DEEP. THE HIGH DIVE SHOW GOES ON FOUR TIMES DAILY AT 1, 3:30, 5:30 AND 8 P.M.

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Warner Library Digitizes Civil War Archives Thanks To Grant

Thanks to a grant from the Illinois Prairie Community Foundation, the Warner Library had their civil war archives digitized.

 

Director Bobbi Perryman says the Civil War archives include first-hand accounts of the war from DeWitt County veterans. It also includes a following of a regime from DeWitt County.

 

 

You can check out the digitization of the archives at the library's website at vwarner.org. Perryman says because of these documents age and hard to read handwriting, it will be difficult to make out everything they say. 

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Local DNR Officials Say They're Seeing More Sober Operators on Clinton Lake

Knock on wood, things have been safe so far on Clinton Lake this boating season.

 

A lot of that has to do with an increase in sober operators. DNR Police Sergeant John Williamson has noticed a lot more sober operators on the lake this year and attributes that to the enforcement efforts in recent years. 

 

 

Williamson says it's been another busy year on the lake and with the start of school on the horizon, he anticipates the crowds dropping off until Labor Day. 

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Scovill Zoo Switching To Fall Hours Next Week

Monday the Decatur Scovill Zoo is transitioning to their fall hours.

 

Director Ken Frye says this means the last admission is one hour earlier. He says they usually make this transition around the start of school because they lose a lot of their volunteer help to youth going back to school.

 

 

Frye says they will continue to host their weekly and monthly specials like twilight Tuesdays and free admission Thursdays. Visit scovillzoo.org for a calendar of events and the latest happenings at the zoo. 

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One Dead in Clinton House Fire

One person has died in a house fire on Friday evening on Clinton's east side.

 

Around 6 pm, crews were called to 1125 East Jefferson Street for a fully involved fire at a two-story home. Clinton Commissioner of Public Safety Dan Ballenger says the fire started on the lower level and worked its way up, leaving one occupant dead.

 

 

By the time crews arrived at the scene, the backside of the home was completely involved and spread quickly to the roof, which Ballenger indicates made it difficult to fight.

 

 

Clinton crews used the ladder engine to contain the flames on the roof. Ballenger says roughly 60 to 70 firefighters from Clinton, Wapella, Kenney, Waynesville, Weldon, Farmer City, Heyworth, Maroa, and Hickory Point responded to the scene. The Red Cross was on scene for support for crews.

 

The Fire Marshall arrived on scene around 8 pm and crews were still on scene at the time of this story. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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USDA Declares Disaster in Illinois

THE U-S DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE IS DECLARING AN AGRICULTURE DISASTER IN ALL 102 ILLINOIS COUNTIES.

 

GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER REQUESTED THE DECLARATION LAST MONTH…CITING THE HISTORIC FLOODING THIS SPRING AND EARLY SUMMER THAT PREVENTED PLANTING AND DAMAGED CROPS.

 

 

PRITZKER SOUGHT FEDERAL HELP LAST MONTH

 

 

THE FEDERAL DESIGNATION PROVIDES MORE RESOURCES FOR AFFECTED FARMERS, INCLUDING LOW-INTEREST F-S-A LOANS.

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State Fair Underway in Springfield

THE ILLINOIS STATE FAIR IS OFFICIALLY UNDERWAY IN SPRINGFIELD.

 

THE STATE FAIR IS ABOUT HARNESS RACING, CORN DOGS, HORSESHOWS, CONCERTS, CARNIVAL RIDES AND TRACTOR PULLS. IT’S ALSO A CELEBRATION OF AGRICULTURE SAYS GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER.

 

 

TICKETS ARE STILL AVAILABLE FOR GRANDSTAND CONCERTS…AND WEEKDAY FAIR ADMISSION IS JUST FIVE DOLLARS. THE FAIR IS OFFERING NEW PROMOTIONS THIS YEAR, INCLUDING A DISCOUNT AT SOME FOOD VENDORS FROM TWO TO FIVE P-M EACH DAY. GET MORE DETAILS AT: ILLINOIS STATE FAIR DO INFO.

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State Board of Education Says New Law Should Help Get More Teachers in Classroom

THE STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION SAYS A NEW LAW WILL HELP GET MORE TEACHERS IN THE CLASSROOM.

 

THE LAW ELIMINATES THE NEED FOR TEACHERS TO TAKE A BASIC SKILLS TEST IN ORDER TO OBTAIN THEIR STATE LICENSE. THE BOARD’S EMILY FOX SAYS THERE ARE ALREADY SEVERAL MEASURES IN PLACE TO MAKE SURE SOMEONE IS WELL QUALIFIED.

 

 

FOX SAYS THE TEST WAS SEEN AS AN UNNECESSARY BARRIER THAT PREVENTED MANY SKILLED TEACHERS FROM BEGINNING THEIR CAREERS.

 

 

AT THE START OF THE LAST SCHOOL YEAR…THERE WERE MORE THAN 14-HUNDRED UNFILLED TEACHING POSITIONS IN ILLINOIS.

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Pritzker Weighs in on Blagojevich

Should President Donald Trump follow through on “strongly considering” commuting former Governor Rod Blagojevich federal prison term? 

 

Democrat Governor JB Pritzker says Trump should leave Blago in jail and focus on more important issues across the US.

 

 

Trump brought up the topic the other day. He and the jailed Governor know each other from time on the Apprentice TV program. Blagojevich has served about half of his 14 year public corruption sentence.

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College Admissions Scandal Hearing Recap

HOUSE LAWMAKERS ARE LOOKING INTO A REPORTED COLLEGE FINANCIAL AID SCAM. 

 

MEMBERS DISCUSSED WAYS TO CLOSE A LOOPHOLE THAT HAS LET WEALTHY PARENTS TRANSFER GUARDIANSHIP OF THEIR CHILD SO THE STUDENT WILL LATER DECLARE THEMSELVES FINANCIALLY INDEPENDENT AND QUALIFY FOR ASSISTANCE. REPRESENTATIVE CAROL AMMONS OF CHAMPAIGN CHAIRED THE HEARING.

 

 

STATE STUDENT ASSISTANCE COMMISSION EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR ERIC ZARNIKOW ADVISED THEY PROCEED CAUTIOUSLY.

 

 

 OTHERS CAUTIONED AGAINST CHANGES THAT WOULD MAKE IT HARDER FOR STUDENTS WHO REALLY NEED THE MONEY TO GET AID.

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College Admissions Hearing Shows University of Illinois Knows of Problem

College admissions staff and others were in front of lawmakers Thursday in Chicago answering questions as to how wealthy families were gaming the college aid system by giving up legal guardianship of their college bound kids. 

 

A report says families are going through the process to show that their kids have little to no income to pay for college. That creates a path for those students to receive higher amounts of state and federal scholarship dollars. Michele Trame, U of I’s Director of Financial Aid says that once this came to light the school started checking further into the details of each guardianship case.

 

 

U of I officials says what’s going on may be legal. That leaves the university in a tough spot to either stop it or step in because of existing state and federal law.

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University of Illinois Extension Master Gardeners Fielding Lots of Watering, Weeds Questions

Tis the season for dry gardens and the invasion of weeds everywhere. 

 

Those are the most frequent questions to the master gardeners at the University of Illinois Extension offices. Candice Hart says they also get questions about diseases surrounding the wet spring.

 

 

Yearly weeds can be annoying and Hart says there are the weeds that are around year after year. She recommends making sure you get any weeds at the roots and before they flower so they cannot drop seeds.

 

 

If you do not want to deal with weeds in a garden, you can apply mulch or grass clippings from when you mow. Additionally, disease questions crop up a lot this time of year. Those will often shift to trees but Hart says they do get the occasional question about a garden disease.

 

 

Hart says your local University of Illinois Extension office's master gardener is available to answer any gardening questions. She says a simple Google search will get you the contact information for a horticulturist near you. 

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Chamber of Commerce Visitors Center Now At Haunted House Site Ready For Re purposing

The Clinton Chamber of Commerce's Visitors Center that was for many years on the west of the community has now been moved to the site of the Chamber's Terror on Washington Street Haunted House.

 

Thursday morning on the WHOW Morning Show, Lacy Phelps with the Clinton Chamber told Regional Radio News it is now ready to be repurposed to an escape room for the haunted house season in October.

 

 

The Chamber is hoping local businesses will take advantage of sponsorship opportunities to pick themes for the escape room. Phelps notes the total space is around 20-by-20-feet.

 

 

The transfer of the Visitors Center also saves the Chamber money. Phelps explains they were using space at the Clinton Antique Mall parking lot for $500 a year. They paid $400 to have the small structure moved. 

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World's Largest Trapshooting Event Happening in Southern Illinois

The world's largest gathering of trapshooters is in southern Illinois this week for the Amateur Trapshooting Association Grand American World Trapshooting Championships.

 

DNR Sergeant John Williamson says Sparta, Illinois is the site and says if you are a trapshooting fan, this is an event you need to make the trip for.

 

 

The event wraps up Saturday, August 10. Visit shootata.com for more information. 

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Monticello Schools Addition, Renovation On Schedule So Far

While only a fraction of all the work that is scheduled to take place for Monticello schools is complete, the planned addition and renovations of the main campus are moving right along as scheduled.

 

Superintendent Dr. Vic Zimmerman indicates the work is a lot of earth moving with very little structural work started yet. He notes, it won't be long and the community will start to see the framework taking shape.

 

 

One of the top priorities for teachers and students will be air-conditioned classrooms. Dr. Zimmreman believes they will be one of the last districts in central Illinois to get air conditioning in their classrooms.

 

 

To get the whole project completed in time for the 2020-21 school year, the district will be condensing the school calendar. According to Dr. Zimmerman, they are going to shorten breaks in the 2020-21 school year, which will allow construction crews an entire three months of work next summer.

 

 

Students have some of the latest in technology already so there weren't be a huge change or update in technology but Dr. Zimmerman indicates they will update technology like phones, pagers, and projectors in classrooms during the classroom renovation phase of the project. 

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Illinois Lawmakers To Tackle Latest College Admissions Scandal

Illinois lawmakers have convened a hearing today on a new college admissions scam. It mostly involves wealthy families who legally give up guardianship of their children to make it easier for them to qualify for publicly funded scholarships. Democrat Governor JB Pritzker has harsh words for those families.

 

 

The legislative hearing is this morning in Chicago.

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Grant Will Fund Youth Science Network Through SIUE

The National Science Foundation has granted $1-million to Southern Illinois University Edwardsville for the launch of a community project that will engage middle and early high school students in environmental citizen science. The formation of a Youth Science Network is getting ready to launch in the fall and run through spring 2022. 

 

Students will get an introduction to citizen science, and use sensors to monitor human impact in four environmental content areas: air, noise, soil and the natural and built environment. Georgia Bracey, SIUE STEM research assistant professor says the project’s ultimate goal is to empower more students to see themselves as scientists, ultimately generating a more diverse and inclusive STEM workforce. 

 

 

The program is for students in the 8th and 9th grades. 

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Congressman Davis Responds to NASS Criticism

A central Illinois congressman is responding to recent criticism of the National Agricultural Statistics Service. U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis of Taylorville serves on the House Ag Committee.

 

 

The next USDA NASS acreage report is due out Aug. 12. The last one was released in late June. 

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Congressman Davis Reacts to Mass Shootings

Central Illinois Congressman Rodney Davis is advocating for more to be done at the federal level to address mass shootings in the country.

 

The latest shootings took place over the weekend in Texas and Ohio. Davis says mental health is an issue and more school districts need to apply for federal money to receive help like his district in Taylorville.

 

 

Davis says focusing only on guns as the issue won't solve the problem. He says a federal fusion center is needed for departments to better work together.

 

The mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton killed over 30 people.

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The Vault 'Couple Weeks' From Being Fully Operational

It's been a dash to the finish this summer for The Vault in Clinton.

 

Executive Director Michelle Witzke told Regional Radio News Wednesday morning on the WHOW Morning Show, their staff, volunteers and students have been hard at work getting things on the lower level finished up.

 

 

Witzke believes they are just a few weeks from everything being finished and The Vault being fully operational. The Vault is hosting a back to school event Friday, August 16, and she hopes it is ready to go by that date.

 

 

When everything is finished, Witzke explains that is going to open up a lot more of her time and energy to pour into the youth.

 

 

In addition to working on the lower level, Witzke says they have hosted a variety of programs from "Fear Factor" to yoga to art programs sponsored by the Warner Library. She says the summer has gone by quickly but they've also gotten a lot done. 

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Weldon Residents To Welcome Home Martial Arts Champion Thursday Evening

Weldon residents are invited out Thursday night to welcome home IMMAF, the International Mixed Martial Arts Federation, world champion Billie Merreighn.

 

Merreighn is the world champion in the 158-pound class.

 

Residents are encouraged to line Main Street starting at 6 pm. Organizers hope those who attend will wear red, white and blue.

 

Cake will be served at City Hall immediately after. 

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State Rep. Believes More Drivers Getting Over

A key Republican lawmaker in the bipartisan effort to boost penalties for violations of the Move Over Law is paying off. 

 

State Rep Tim Butler of Springfield believes the increased penalties and significant public discussion are making highways and for that matter, the shoulders of the highways, safer...

 

 

The bill recently signed by Governor J.B. Pritzker increased the minimum fine to $250 for a first violation of Scott's Law, and to $750 for a second violation.

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Clinton Legion Celebrating New National Standards

The Clinton American Legion Post is celebrating news from Washington that is now going to allow any veteran from any era to join their post.

 

Josh Thielen explains the previous regulation only allowed certain war era veterans to join their post but now, lawmakers have opened up the opportunity to anyone thanks to the Legion Act. He says this is huge.

 

 

There were a lot of moving parts to why this kept getting turned down at the federal level but Thielen believes the Legion finally had the backing of the right people in the capitol. He is thankful this has been passed.

 

 

According to Thielen, membership to the Clinton Legion is $31, a little lower than the area average. You don't have to be a veteran in Clinton to join. He adds you can be from outside the area and join the post. You can learn more about the Clinton Legion by finding them on Facebook. 

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Secretary of State Urging Minorities To Give Gift of Life

It is national Minority Donor Awareness week and Secretary of State Jesse White is urging people of color and everyone else to become an organ donor. 

 

White says that minority groups account for almost 60 percent of those waiting for organs but only donate 33 percent of them. 

 

Vickie Walker’s daughter, Nicky, drowned tragically before she could start her sophomore year in college. Vickie says four lives were saved because she talked to her daughter about being an organ donor…

 

 

Walker says she now has an extended family of four – the people who lives Nicky’s organs saved.

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Healthy Pigs Focus at State Fair Event For Kids

The Illinois State Fair might officially start now on Thursday with a ribbon-cutting and the Twilight Parade but for 4 H kids and livestock families, the fair is already underway. That’s why the Illinois Pork Producers Association has their Swinetist program. 

 

Jenny Jackson with the IPPA says it’s an opportunity for kids with show pigs at the fair to understand the importance of keeping healthy pigs and bio security on the farm.

 

 

The event starts tonight at 4 at the swine building on the Illinois State Fair Grounds. Kids also get a pizza dinner and biosecurity bucket to go back to the farm with.

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Apprentice Tax Credit Passed to Help Create Jobs

The state took a step towards making sure there are steady and good-paying jobs in the future. 

 

The recently signed Apprenticeship Tax Credit will give businesses $5,000 for young highly skilled workers in certified programs. It’s also designed to reward businesses who search for workers in underserved areas and State Rep. Anne Gillespie says when there are skilled and educated laborers ready to go to work business and jobs follow.

 

 

A research and development tax credit designed to support business and manufacturing was passed at the same time as the apprentice tax credit. 

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Piatt County Mental Health Center Seeking Students For Drug Free Community

The Piatt County Mental Health Center is looking for teens to be a part of a special group that is targeting drinking at the middle school level and marijuana use at the high school level.

 

Tony Kirkman says they received a five-year grant from Washington, D.C. that will create a coalition and a youth advisory board. He says with school right around the corner, they are trying to rally Monticello youth to join them.

 

 

While Monticello youth comes in under the state average for youth drinking and marijuana use, Kirkman believes being proactive only helps minimize the numbers as low as possible.

 

 

With legalized marijuana coming to Illinois, Kirkman says one of the primary goals of their coalition will be to get out ahead of that and make sure youth and teens know just because it is legal, doesn't mean it is safe to use.

 

 

Kirkman also says to look out for their booth at Monticellobration in the fall.

 

If any youth in Monticello are interested in joining their student advisory board, you can contact Kirkman at 217-762-5371 or find them on Facebook by searching Piatt County Mental Health Center or Impact Coalition. 

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Blue Ridge Schools To Start New Year With All Teaching Positions Filled

The teaching shortage is making finding educators to fill vacancies very difficult. Some districts can get people in their openings, others are struggling.

 

For Blue Ridge Schools, they will begin the year with all their teaching positions filled and Superintendent Susan Wilson told Regional Radio News Tuesday morning on the WHOW Morning Show, they have a few coaching and support staff vacancies.

 

 

According to Wilson, the teaching shortage isn't going to be solved overnight. She believes the first step is to rally youth to the idea of being a teacher and show them the benefits.

 

 

If you ask Wilson what she thinks needs to happen to streamline the process for teachers to find jobs, she will tell you a lot of the red tape needs to cut. 

 

 

Teachers are under a great deal of scrutiny from all sides of society these days and Wilson indicates that can often turn people off to wanting to enter the field.

 

 

Wilson credits the State of Illinois for being proactive in dealing with the shortage. She says the spring legislative session will make qualify for their certifications much easier.  She also points to the use of multimedia and social media platforms as avenues to promote the good things that happen in schools. 

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Another Brief Clinton City Council Meeting Highlight By Police Business

It was another brief meeting with the Clinton City Council Monday night. 

 

Chief Ben Lowers welcomed Officer Joe Krasney (pictured right) to the force. Residents may recognize Krasney who served two years with the DeWitt County Sheriff's Office. Additionally Monday night, Chief Lowers recognized Officer Sean Freytag (fry-tag) for his 20-plus years of service in Clinton and DeWitt County. 

 

 

The brief meeting was less than 15 minutes. 

 

 

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DeWitt County Historical Sightseeing

While many are familiar with the CH Moore Homestead, you may not realize all of the historical landmarks that exist around DeWitt County.

 

CH Moore Homestead Executive Director Joey Woolridge is encouraging people to get out and explore the history of DeWitt County this summer. She says a great place to start is the Looking for Lincoln wayside exhibits.

 

 

Woolridge points out other places of historical significance include Swisher Bridge in Harp Township and Prairie Passage on Center Street in Clinton.

 

 

Woolridge indicates cemeteries are also full of history. She recommends checking out McGraw Cemetery (east of Kiwanis Park), Woodlawn Cemetery, and Hayes Cemetery near Kenney.

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US 150 in Farmer City To Close August 12 for 7 to 10 Days

The Illinois Department of Transportation has announced US 150 in Farmer City will close starting Monday, August 12 for seven to ten days.

 

The closure is for the Canadian National Railway to replace its crossing near Plum Street. A detour will be posted during the closure.

 

Delays are to be expected and drivers are urged to pay attention to changing conditions and signs in work zones. As always, authorities urge motorists to refrain from using mobile devices and be alert for workers and their equipment. 

 

You can follow IDOT on Twitter for the latest by following the handle @IDOTDistrict5. You can also visit gettingaroundillinois.com for more information. 

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Pritzker on Recent Mass Shootings

As at least 31 people were killed in two mass shootings across the United States this weekend Democrat Governor JB Pritzker says that he like everyone else is grieving for those who lost their lives. Pritzker blames the shooters but says President Donald Trump creates a culture where attacking others is appropriate. 

 

 

Pritzker added that Chicago has a gun violence problem that needs to be addressed and that’s why he’s signed a number of gun control measures.

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State Fair Celebrating Completion of Coliseum Repairs

Repairs at the Illinois State Fair Coliseum are complete. 

 

Three years after the landmark beloved by horse lovers well beyond Illinois was forced to close because of structural issues, Springfield based R.D. Lawrence completed the project Friday after 20 hour a day rebuilding efforts. John Slayton with the Illinois State Fair Foundation, which has been raising money privately for overdue Fairgrounds repairs says once the State Fair is complete, more improvements are on the way...

 

 

Slayton says heating and AC will offer a lot more than fairgoer modern comfort....

 

 

In Indiana for example, their coliseum at the State Fairgrounds in Indianapolis is now home to a minor league hockey team.

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Ottawa Representative Says Progressive Income Tax Needs Public Relations Push

State Rep. Lance Yednock of Ottawa says getting a progressive income tax in Illinois will require a big public relations job so voters approve it next year.

 

 

Yednock says Illinois has to do something to get the revenue it needs and balance the budget. Currently, the Illinois Constitution of 1970 allows only a flat income tax rate, because that was viewed as taxpayer protection in a state that didn’t have an income tax before.

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New Report Finds Methamphetamine Arrests Up

THERE’S BEEN A LOT OF FOCUS ON OPIOID ABUSE IN RECENT YEARS…BUT A NEW REPORT FROM THE STATE CRIMINAL JUSTICE INFORMATION AUTHORITY SHOWS THAT METHAMPHETAMINE IS STILL A BIG CONCERN IN ILLINOIS.

 

THE REPORT FOUND THAT METHAMPHETAMINE-RELATED ARRESTS INCREASED BY 289 PERCENT FROM 2010 TO 2017, WITH ARREST RATES HIGHER IN SOUTHERN AND CENTRAL ILLINOIS. RESEARCHER LAUREN WEISNER SAYS THERE MAY BE A NUMBER OF REASONS MORE PEOPLE ARE USING METH.

 

 

WEISNER SAYS THEY ALSO FOUND THAT LESS PEOPLE ARE MAKING THEIR OWN, SINCE IT’S HARDER NOW TO GET THE INGREDIENTS. SHE SAYS MUCH OF THE METH COMING TO ILLINOIS IS FROM MEXICO.

 

 

DATA SHOWS MOST OF THE PEOPLE ARRESTED WERE WHITE MALES UNDER THE AGE OF 39. 

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Medicaid Changes Now Law

The state of Illinois claims it’s reforming and streamlining access to Medicaid. 

 

Democrat Governor JB Pritzker says over the past few years too many people have been kicked out of the system and right now there are about 95,000 people waiting to be approved for health care. Republican Senator Dave Syverson says this improves the entire system from payments to providers to make sure existing enrollees aren’t kicked out of the system each time enrolment starts. 

 

 

The administration says the state is doing all it can to speed up payments to Medicaid providers.

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Amazon Teaming Up With Red Cross

Amazon has teamed up with the American Red Cross to encourage blood donation during this urgent emergency blood shortage. Currently, the Red Cross has less than a three day supply of most blood types, with type O being the most critical of levels with less than a two-day supply.

 

Joe Zydlo (zid-lo), the external communications manager for the American Red Cross Blood Services for Missouri-Illinois region says that summer donations tend to be low.

 

 

Through August 29th, each donor of blood or platelets through the American Red Cross will receive a 5 dollar Amazon gift card by email. These gifts are thanks to a one million dollar donation provided to the Red Cross by Amazon. You can schedule an appointment in advance by using Amazon's Alexa, the Red Cross Blood Donor App or by visiting www.RedCrossBlood.org

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Clinton High School To Start School Year With All Teaching Positions Filled

Coming into the new school year, Clinton High School Principal Jerry Wayne had nine teaching positions to fill.

 

Monday morning on the WHOW Morning Show, Wayne told Regional Radio it was a challenging and stressful summer but he was able to get all the positions filled ahead of the first day of school in a few weeks.

 

 

Wayne explains they were getting creative in how they went about getting those positions filled.

 

 

The teacher shortage is starting to be felt at the university level as they are not seeing as many, if any, students go into teaching in certain subject areas. Wayne believes it is important to let youth know how important teachers are and the impact they have on the lives of their students.

 

 

There are a lot of things educators have to go through to get a teaching job and Wayne believes it has become a big challenge to become a teacher. He says they have to be very dedicated to wanting to teach to stick with everything required. 

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Clinton YMCA Shifting How They Ask For Support from Community

A shift in how people give and who they can give to has forced a DeWitt County entity to adjust how they seek out support from the community.

 

The Clinton YMCA this summer has introduced a few pay-to-participate events for the whole community to be a part of. It's a shift in how they rally support for their organization according to Executive Director, Rennie Cluver.

 

 

Events like the recent Battle at the Cove or the YMCA golf outing are geared to bring people that are unaffiliated with the YMCA out for some fun and to support their cause. Cluver says he is finding they are starting to reach people who may not have anything to do with the Y currently taking part in their events.

 

 

Cluver would like to see more appreciation shown to their donors and celebrate their accomplishments. 

 

 

The fourth annual spring triathlon is coming up August 17 at the Clinton Lake Mascoutin campground. Cluver says while this fundraiser is an adult sports fundraiser but they will put some of the funds into the Strong Kids campaign if needed. 

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DeWitt County Senior Academy Opens Strong

The first of three Senior Academy sessions in DeWitt County opened with a bang last Thursday.

 

There's still more time to be a part of these Thursday seminars in August. Diane Cusey with Community Care Systems says their first session last Thursday was well attended and those that came out got great, entertaining information. Executive Director of the DeWitt County Friendship Center, the location of the seminars, Paula Jiles says there is a great resource for seniors at the DeWitt County Courthouse. 

 

 

Cusey says there are two more programs. The next is this Thursday morning, August 8 and then again next Thursday, August 15. There will be plenty of good information for local seniors.

 

 

The academies are hosted by the DeWitt County Triad. You can get more information by calling the DeWitt County Friendship Center at 217-935-9411. 

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Social Security Warning Public About Misleading Advertising

There is a new threat to the public when it comes to Social Security.

 

No longer is someone impersonating a Social Security employee one of the biggest threats to the public, now misleading advertising is becoming very prevalent. Jack Myers with Social Security indicates businesses are charging for services that are free through them.

 

 

Myers believes the public is accustomed to paying fees for a lot of government forms or services doesn't raise a red flag when in fact, it should as there is no charge for many of the things Social Security offers.

 

 

Myers also warns of advertisers using the Social Security logo also claiming to be from Social Security. He says those are advertisers the public needs to watch out for.

 

 

Myers says if you are ever unsure, a call to your local Social Security office is a good idea, or a visit to their website, socialsecurity.gov, and as always, emphasizes making sure the domain is dot-gov. 

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Illinois Department of Public Health Warns of Hospitalizations Potentially Tied to Vaping

THE STATE DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH IS WARNING ABOUT THE DANGERS OF VAPING AFTER THREE TEENS WERE HOSPITALIZED. 

 

THE TEENS, FROM THE NORTHEASTERN PART OF THE STATE, EXPERIENCED SEVERE BREATHING PROBLEMS AFTER VAPING. PUBLIC HEALTH DIRECTOR DOCTOR NGOZI (en-gozi) EZIKE (eh-zee-kay) SAYS MANY PEOPLE INCORRECTLY ASSUME VAPING IS A SAFE ALTERNATIVE TO CIGARETTES.

 

 

THERE HAVE ALSO BEEN 11 CONFIRMED AND SEVEN SUSPECTED CASES OF SEVERE PULMONARY DISEASE AMONG TEENS IN WISCONSIN WHO REPORTED VAPING. EZIKE SAYS THEY ARE TRYING TO DETERMINE IF IT’S A SPECIFIC PRODUCT CONTRIBUTING TO THE PROBLEM.

 

 

SHE URGES LOCAL DOCTORS TO ASK PATIENTS WITH UNEXPECTED SERIOUS RESPIRATORY ILLNESS IF THEY VAPE.

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Governor Weighs in on Cullerton Charges

Another Illinois politician is facing federal corruption charges. State Senator Tom Cullerton has been accused of embezzling nearly a quarter-million dollars from a union job with the Teamsters that he never went to. Democrat Governor JB Pritzker says when he heard the news it left him upset.

 

 

Cullerton – not to be confused with State Senate President John Cullerton, is facing 39 charges. Through his attorney, he says he is innocent and will fight the charges.

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Department of Natural Resources Reminds Hunters to Scout Dove Sites Ahead of Time

THE ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES IS URGING DOVE HUNTERS TO SCOUT THEIR SITES AHEAD OF TIME. 

 

THE WET, COLD SPRING LEFT A DAMPER ON SUNFLOWER PLANTING THIS YEAR, LEAVING SOME HUNTING AREAS LESS THAN IDEAL SAYS D-N-R SPOKESPERSON RACHEL TORBERT.

 

 

IT’S A GOOD IDEA TO DO A LITTLE RESEARCH BEFORE APPLYING FOR PERMITS THIS YEAR SAYS TORBERT.

 

 

DOVE HUNTING BEGINS SEPTEMBER FIRST IN ILLINOIS.

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Logan County Fair Wraps Up This Weekend

The Logan County Fair wraps up this weekend with plenty of events still on the calendar for the 83rd edition of the annual event.

 

Mike Maske is the Logan County Fair Secretary of the Fair Association and indicates Lo Cash is going to perform Saturday at 7:30 pm and the fair wraps up with the demolition derby at 2 pm Sunday.

 

 

Get all the details about the weekend activities by visiting logancountyfairil.com. 

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County Board, Warner Hospital Approve Agreement For Food Service

With inmates now back in the DeWitt County Jail, they are going to need to eat and a local entity is going to be providing the meals once again.

 

Warner Hospital and Health Services and DeWitt County have entered into an intergovernmental agreement to provide food services to their inmates. County Board Chair David Newberg says this is good for the County and it's good for the hospital.

 

 

What is remarkable about the new contract with Warner Hospital, the County is paying less today for food than they were ten years ago in an agreement with another company.

 

 

The vote for the agreement was interesting. There were three abstentions due to various Board members affiliations with the hospital. With a nine-person quorum, the six votes of support it received allowed the measure to pass. 

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Latest Budget Cycle Underway for DeWitt County

Things are starting to kick into high gear for DeWitt County officials as the latest budget cycle begins. 

 

County Board Chair David Newberg says they are getting all department heads together to begin getting the budget for the upcoming fiscal year in place. 

 

 

Newberg says it turns into a three-month process to get everything together. The County budget year runs December 1 through November 30. 

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National Weather Service Talks Heat, Lightning Safety

July was hot and dry. August is anticipated to be similar but that doesn't mean pop up storms aren't out of the question during this time and Chris Miller with the National Weather Service says lightning-related injuries and fatalities have been on the rise in recent years.

 

 

During about week-long heatwave, Miller says they received a report of a fatality in southern Illinois. He says it is imperative people wear loose-fitting, light-colored clothing and try to do any outdoor work in the morning or evening.

 

 

Temperatures for the next week are anticipated to be in the upper-80s and lower-90s throughout Illinois. 

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Don't Forget Tree Care During Dry Spell

It's easy to watch the grass in your yard go dry or watch the flower or veggie garden start to deteriorate, but a University of Illinois Master Gardener is reminding you not to forget about tree maintenance.

 

Candice Hart with the University of Illinois Extension says caring for your trees during these dry times in the summer is very good for them as well. She says it is especially important for young trees.

 

 

Water a tree is not as simple as watering a flower or vegetable garden. Hart explains you want to water on the outer canopy of the tree, known as the drip line. She says there are some practices for watering a tree that is not as efficient.

 

 

Some trees can be in tough spots, like between a street or sidewalk. She says if you are worried about them, you can water whatever soil areas you can find but points out, those are often hand-selected trees to tolerate those kinds of conditions. 

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Representative Davis Responds to Conference Call Controversy

Central Illinois Congressman Rodney Davis is criticizing the actions of a former volunteer in the wake of controversy on a competitor's conference call. Nick Klitzing allegedly used a made-up name to get on the call, where he asked pointed questions of Democratic candidate Betsy Dirksen Londrigan.

 

In a news release from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, it accused the Davis campaign of "playing political dirty tricks." Davis says Klitzing was a volunteer that was not acting on behalf of the campaign.

 

 

On the July 17th conference call Klitzing reportedly identified himself as a reporter for the Alestle, which is the student newspaper at Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville. Klitzing is a former director of the Illinois Republican Party.

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American Farm Bureau Economist Talks USMCA During Illinois Visit

An international trade economist with American Farm Bureau hopes to see resolution with the United States Mexico Canada Agreement or USMCA later this year. Veronica Nigh says corn farmers, including those from Illinois, would be a winner under the deal.

 

 

Nigh spoke this week at the Illinois Farm Bureau’s Farm Income and Innovations Conference in Normal.

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Clinton Football Program Looking For Ninth Game

A last-minute change by an opponent on the Clinton Maroons football schedule has left the high school athletic department scrambling this fall looking for an opponent.

 

Pawnee was scheduled to be the Maroons week two opponent this football season but the school made a change at the last minute to go to eight-man football and Athletic Director Matt Koeppel says it has left him scrambling to find an opponent.

 

 

The Maroons aren't the only Central Illinois Conference team looking for a week two game. Keoppel says Decatur St. Teresa is also looking for an opponent and the two are collaborating to find opponents instead of having to resort to perhaps playing each other twice during the year.

 

 

The Maroons open their season at South Fork on August 30. If the Maroons do not find an opponent and decide to take on St. T in week two, they would not meet up with the Bulldogs again until week six, October 4 in Clinton. 

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Warrensburg-Latham Schools Remind Parents of Early Dismissal Wednesdays

This upcoming school year, Warrensburg-Latham students will be joining what is becoming a growing trend for districts in dismissing early one day a week.

 

Superintendent Dr. Kristen Kendrick-Weikle told the WHOW Morning Show Thursday morning they will be dismissing at 2 pm on Wednesday afternoons to give their staff time for professional development.

 

 

Dr. Kendrick-Weikle believes the change will provide consistency for their students and parents. Instead of worrying about what days and times there will be an early dismissal, she says this will make it easy for everyone to remember. 

 

 

A new mandate in Illinois requires schools to keep kids in the classrooms longer during the school year starting this year but Dr. Kendrick-Weikle indicates this should not impact that mandate.

 

 

Dr. Kendrick-Weikle indicates a lot of the work done on Wednesdays will be interdepartmental and collaborative work. She notes the work will be data-driven, academics and social or emotional growth of their students. 

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Substance Abuse Coalition Working To Bringing More Speakers To Community

The DeWitt County Substance Abuse Coalition has had a great deal of success finding speakers to come to the community to address substance abuse issues and they are looking to bring more people to town.

 

President of the Coalition, Jeff DeLaughter says they are targeting a couple of individuals and a couple of time frames coming up soon.

 

 

Vice President of the Coalition, Paul Skowron explains when they bring speakers to the community, it helps increase the visibility of their group. He adds, increasing their visibility has been a focus of the coalition for several months now.

 


The Substance Abuse Coalition has been active lately. They hosted a Narcan training earlier this week and there is another one scheduled for Monday at 5 pm at The Vault in Clinton. 

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Decatur-Area Employers Still Needing Workers

Decatur area employers are still in dire need of good workers.

 

Workforce Investment Solutions works with both employers and potential employees to fill a gap that continues to grow, not only in central Illinois but in the country. Special Consultant, Larry Peterson, told the WHOW Morning Show Wednesday they are hosting a large employer in the Mt. Zion area that needs workers, hoping to inform the community of what they do and what they need.

 

 

According to Peterson, there are some very good job opportunities in central Illinois to be had. He says they are hearing a lot from Caterpillar, but there are also jobs in the manufacturing, healthcare and hospitality sectors.

 

 

With national unemployment at an all-time low, Peterson says there are specialized positions in various companies that are needed. He says some of these jobs require some degree of skill, otherwise, it's a matter of being a good worker.

 

 

Workforce Investment Solutions has several programs for both employers and people seeking work. You can learn more by stopping into their Decatur office at 757 West Pershing Road or calling 217-875-8751. 

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State's Unclaimed Property Program Booming

The state’s unclaimed property program is booming. It’s administered by Treasurer Mike Frerichs. 

 

 

You can learn more about the program at “icash.illinoistreasurer.gov”.

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August To Be Warm and Dry

July will likely go down as one of the driest in history in parts of Illinois and weather experts are not predicting much of a reprieve in August.

 

As we turn the calendar over today, Chris Miller with the National Weather Service in Lincoln says August is looking like a typical summer month - hot and dry with spotty rain showers.

 

 

If there's a glimmer of hope, August brings heightened chances of tropical storms and hurricanes. Miller explains those will often push north once they make land and could have an impact on Illinois.

 

 

Looking farther ahead, Miller says the fall is showing another warm fall. Right now, things are looking dry and warm as we get to the harvest season.

 

 

vThe middle of next week is the next chance of any rainfall in central Illinois. 

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Governor Signs Law Easing Pay Gap in Illinois

A NEW STATE LAW AIMS TO MOVE ILLINOIS TOWARDS EQUAL PAY FOR WORKING WOMEN.

 

THE LAW PROHIBITS EMPLOYERS FROM ASKING JOB APPLICANTS ABOUT THEIR SALARY HISTORY. IN THE PAST, THAT'S LEFT WOMEN, AND ESPECIALLY MINORITY WOMEN WITH A LOWER PAYCHECK THAN THEIR MALE COLLEAGUES SAYS GOVERNOR PRITZKER.

 

 

IT WAS SPONSORED BY REPRESENTATIVE ANNA MOELLER OF ELGIN, WHO SAYS IT’S NEEDED TO STOP THE CYCLE OF LESS PAY FOR FEMALE EMPLOYEES THAT OFTEN BEINGS WITH THEIR FIRST JOB.

 

 

PRITZKER SAYS WOMEN IN ILLINOIS MAKES 79 CENTS FOR EVERY DOLLAR A MAN EARNS. THE NEW LAW TAKES EFFECT 60 DAYS FROM NOW.

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