Local News

Spring Turkey Season Permit Applications Deadline Coming Up

If you are a spring turkey hunter, the lottery for permits is underway.

 

The first lottery wraps up December 1 and the second lottery begins December 3. DNR Spokesperson Rachel Torbert indicates there are also still archery deer and fall turkey permits still available.

 

 

Torbert indicates the Public Hunting Areas report gives the public details on public lands available to hunt. Torbert says all the details are available on their website.

 

 

Visit dnr.illinois.gov for the Public Hunting Areas report or turkey hunting permits. 

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ALMH Recognized with Performance Leadership Award

Abraham Lincoln Memorial Hospital announced it has been recognized by The Chartis Center of Rural Health and the National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health for overall excellence in both Outcomes and Patient Perspective categories. Based on the results of the Hospital Strength INDEX from iVantage Health Analytics, the Performance Leadership Awards reflect top quartile performance among all rural hospitals in the United States in either Quality, Outcomes or Patient Perspective.

 

The Hospital Strength INDEX is the industry's most comprehensive and objective assessment of rural hospital performance. Leveraging data from publicly available data sources, the INDEX aggregates data from 50 rural-relevant metrics across eight pillars of performance.

 

Abraham Lincoln Memorial Hospital is a 25-bed critical access hospital located at 200 Stahlhut Drive in Lincoln, Illinois. ALMH is an affiliate of Memorial Health System. For more information, visit www.ALMH.org.

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Clinton IGA Honoring Retiring Owner

Earlier this month it was announced Clinton IGA will be sold to Kirby Foods in December.

 

At that time, Owner Mike Chapman will retire and the store is hosting an open house the community is invited out for. Marketing Manager Jenni Overbey says they want to send their long-time boss out the right way.

 

 

Chapman has owned the Clinton IGA since 1994 and Overbey says Chapman has stepped up time after time to support the community.

 

From 10 am to noon on Saturday, stop by the Clinton IGA store on Van Buren Street to congratulate Chapman. 

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DeWitt County Museum Kicking Off Christmas Season Tonight

The candlelight tour season is here at the DeWitt County Museum.

 

Director Joey Woolridge says their event tonight kicks off the holiday season with pictures with Santa in their carriage barn and tours of the mansion. She says it is a Christmas tradition for many families that are starting to span a couple of generations. 

 

 

Each Friday until the Friday before Christmas, the Museum is decorated in candlelight. Woolridge enjoys this event because it gives its guests a different feel for the mansion.

 

 

Once the candlelight tours wrap up, the Museum closes down at the start of the new year preparing for the new year.

 

Candlelight tours are from 5 pm to 8 pm and begin tonight and last until December 20. Get more information by finding the CH Moore Homestead Facebook page or visit chmoorehomestead.org. 

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Heyworth Schools Re-Examing District Goals

Heyworth Schools met with their community over the summer to find out some things that were important to them and now they are acting on what they heard.

 

Superintendent Lisa Taylor says they are working on updating district goals. She explains they wanted to know how the community felt about their progress, if the district was meeting the needs of the community and where else they could address.

 

According to Taylor, they are implementing a communication plan to tell the community more about their facilities and classroom initiatives. She indicates the community told them they want to make sure the community is getting the quality education they deserve.

 

Taylor says about three years ago when she first started, she indicates their district goals were reviewed but she did not feel comfortable making changes before becoming familiar with the district. Now she is ready to take a deep dive and wanted to emphasize involving their staff and community. 

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Community Action Implementing Economic Development Into Furthering Mission

Implementing economic development into helping lift area residents out of poverty is a new challenge being taken on by a central Illinois non-profit.

 

Alison Rumler-Gomez is the Executive Director of Community Action and indicates she has been doing a lot of traveling lately to get her certification in economic development. As she navigates that process, she has learned opportunities in the workforce are shifting.

 

 

As rural America struggles to advance and provide job opportunities for its citizens, Rumler-Gomez indicates their mission of lifting people out of poverty is dependent on having jobs to show them and help get them into. 

 

 

Having a group like Community Action that has services for the elderly and services for young families in poverty also makes a community appealing. She indicates to further economic development in their organization, they are reaching out to the private sector but also local schools, local government and she notes they've even had success in reaching out to faith-based organizations and partnering with them. 

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A New Tax Coming To Illinois

Another new tax is coming to Illinois drivers. On the first of the year parking garage or lot operations are going to be collecting a new tax to fund vertical infrastructure projects. The Illinois Department of Revenue says everyone – those who operate parking facilities and drivers ought to be ready for the new taxes.

 

That’s Illinois Department of Revenue’s Sam Salustro.

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Tips for choosing a Christmas tree

A HORTICULTURIST AT THE UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS EXTENSION HAS SOME TIPS FOR PICKING OUT AND CARING FOR YOUR CHRISTMAS TREE. 

 

YOU’RE LOOKING FOR THE FRESHEST TREE POSSIBLE SAYS THE EXTENSION’S RICHARD HENTSCHEL. CUTTING YOUR OWN TREE IS ALWAYS FUN BUT THOSE SOLD IN A LOT ARE ALSO A GOOD OPTION. IF YOU’RE BUYING A TREE THAT’S ALREADY BEEN CUT, IT’S HELPFUL TO GIVE IT A SHAKE.

 

 

THE EXTENSION’S RICHARD HENTSCHEL SAYS CUTTING YOUR OWN TREE ENSURES IT’S FRESH, ESPECIALLY SINCE IT’S BEEN SUCH A COOL, DAMP FALL. FOR PRECUT TREES: GIVING IT A GOOD SHAKE TO SEE HOW MANY NEEDLES FALL OFF IS A HELPFUL INDICATOR. WHEN YOU GET HOME:

 

 

MANY LOTS WILL MAKE A FRESH CUT AT THE BASE FOR YOU, OR YOU CAN DO THAT AT HOME. HENTSCHEL SAYS IT’S A GOOD IDEA TO PUT THE TREE IN A BUCKET OF ROOM TEMPERATURE WATER FOR A FEW HOURS BEFORE YOU BRING IT INDOORS TO GIVE IT A BIG DRINK. TREES WILL NEED CONSTANT WATERING ESPECIALLY AT FIRST TO ENSURE THEY LAST THROUGH THE HOLIDAYS.

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Clinton Police Chief Discusses Black Friday Shopping

If you're headed out to shop for the annual shopping craze on Black Friday, local authorities have a few safety reminders.

 

Clinton Police Chief Ben Lowers says it is best to shop in groups and be aware of your surroundings. A lot of people will out and anyone is susceptible to distractions and losing track of where you may be.

 

 

When you get in a busy parking lot, the Chief recommends having your keys ready to go so you're not fumbling through your purse or having to set bags with expensive valuables down leaving them susceptible to theaves.

 

 

If you need to make trips to your vehicle outside the shopping center of your choice, Chief Lowers says it is best to try to put those as out of sight as possible. It might even be a good idea to cover those up with a dark blanket.

 

 

When you head out, the Chief recommends using debits or checks and limit the amounts of cash you carry. He also recommends limiting the number of items in a purse or wallet to make it easier to get the essentials out.

 

The Chief wishes everyone a Happy Thanksgiving and happy holidays. 

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Abraham Lincoln Memorial Hospital Working To Teach Youth About Healthy Foods, Choices

The Abraham Lincoln Memorial Hospital Health Collaborative is reaching out to students in their areas to teach them about healthy food choices and healthy habits.

 

Angela Stoltzenburg is the Director of the Collaborative and indicates the CATCH program uses acronyms to introduce their community's youth to a healthy lifestyle. She adds it is a nationwide program. 

 

 

According to Stoltzenburg, they want kids to know the differences between healthy foods and foods they should try to stay away from. She explains they teach youth how often they should be eating healthy foods.

 

 

The program also teaches the kids about exercise. Stoltzenburg explains they work with the schools to implement programs where kids are active for a longer period.

 

 

Recently, the program has partnered with District 27 to moving their cafeterias from frozen and processed foods to foods made from scratch. Stoltzenburg adds they are using local foods to make this happen as well. She feels the focus of overall health is important because it helps the community. 

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Secretary of State Jesse White's Office announce annual disability placard sting at Illinois shopping malls

SECRETARY OF STATE JESSE WHITE’S OFFICE SAYS A STATEWIDE STING TO CATCH DRIVERS ABUSING DISABILITY PARKING KICKS OFF ON BLACK FRIDAY. 

 

THIS IS THE 13TH YEAR FOR THE STING, WHICH TARGETS PEOPLE PARKING ILLEGALLY IN DISABILITY SPOTS AT SEVERAL ILLINOIS SHOPPING MALLS. BILL BOGDAN IS THE SECRETARY OF STATE DISABILITY LIAISON.

 

 

WHETHER YOU ARE PARKING IN A DESIGNATED DISABILITY SPOT WITHOUT PROPER AUTHORIZATION OR BORROWING A FAMILY MEMBER’S PLACARD TO GET A GOOD SPOT, VIOLATORS FACE FINES IN THE HUNDREDS OF DOLLARS.

 

 

SECRETARY OF STATE DISABILITY LIAISON BILL BOGDAN SAYS THE STINGS WILL BE HELD AT SHOPPING MALLS IN SEVERAL ILLINOIS TOWNS INCLUDING AURORA, BLOOMINGTON, CARBONDALE, PEORIA, CHICAGO, SCHAUMBURG, SPRINGFIELD AND MORE.

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ISP offers winter weather driving advice

Winter weather can be unpredictable as much of Illinois has experienced this year. With an unpredictable winter ahead, the Illinois State Police want you to be ready in case you get caught in the snow this winter. Trooper Jason Wilson of the Illinois State Police says you should be prepared with supplies...

 

 

Other tips for your winter safety kit, rock salt, sand or kitty litter in your trunk, extra windshield washer fluid, and a flashlight.

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Secretary of State Jesse White urges those celebrating "Blackout Wednesday" not to drink and drive

SECRETARY OF STATE JESSE WHITE IS URGING THE PUBLIC TO PLAN AHEAD IF THEY ARE CELEBRATING ON BLACKOUT WEDNESDAY.

 

THE NIGHT BEFORE THANKSGIVING HAS BECOME QUITE THE TIME TO PARTY…AND SECRETARY WHITE WANTS TO MAKE SURE THAT DOESN’T INCLUDE DRINKING AND DRIVING

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STATE AND LOCAL POLICE HAVE INCREASED PATROLS THROUGH THE THANKSGIVING HOLIDAY, LOOKING FOR SPEEDERS, DRUNK DRIVERS AND MORE.

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Social Security Talks Disability and Workers Comp Impacts on Benefits

Can certain disability payments or workers' compensation impact your Social Security disability benefits?

 

It all depends on the scenario but Jack Myers with Social Security says it is best to double-check and make sure. He points out there some benefits that will reduce your benefits.

 

 

The difference between workers' comp benefits and a public disability benefit are important to know. Myers breaks it down and notes you need to be careful and make sure you know how the various benefits will impact your Social Security.

 

 

Myers points out a major factor in determining your Social Security benefits are based on taxes. He explains if Social Security taxes were deducted, the public disability benefit will not affect your Social Security. 

 

 

According to Myers, public disability benefits that do not impact your Social Security benefits are Veterans Administration (VA) benefits and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Additionally, it is important to report receipt of any changes to Workers' Compensation and public disability benefits if you are receiving Social Security disability.

 

To learn more about this topic, look for the Social Security publication, "How Workers' Compensation and Other Disability Payments May Affect Your Benefits" at socialsecurity.gov.

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Black Friday Shopping Tips from The BBB

Christmas is less than a month away and you may be searching for the perfect gift. Many will take their search online hoping to find the best deals, while others will opt for a gift card. Better Business Bureau investigator Don O’Brien says you really need to do your research no matter which way you turn.

 

With "Black Friday" this week, he says you should watch out for the deals that are "too good to pass up."

 

 

O’Brien says when buying gifts, it’s important to obtain and keep receipts for all purchases in case the recipient needs to return an item. Many stores will provide gift receipts upon request, which allow returns but don’t show the recipient how much you paid for an item.

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Warrensburg-Latham Schools Leader Talks New Designations

The grades are out for local schools.

 

Last month the State Board allowed Illinois school districts to release the data in their school report cards, furthermore, the results of their testing and the designations based on those test scores. While the designations are based on the testing scores, Warrensburg-Latham Schools Superintendent Dr. Kristen Kendrick-Weikle says the report card encompasses several data points.

 

 

The designation considers things as specific as attendance. Dr. Kendrick-Weikle explains the report card also tracks how schools are doing on testing with a goal of all districts meeting or exceeding their targets by 2032. 

 

 

The report also tracks student growth. Dr. Kendrick-Weikle indicates next year, their high school students will be judged for college or career readiness. She points out, there are opportunities for students in this area but they've never been asked to keep track of those.

 

 

Dr. Kendrick-Weikle is very in tune with the student growth part of the report card. She feels it can be a very good thing to consider how students have progressed as each one is different with a different background.

 

 

To streamline information within the school district, tracking programs districts use will have to be updated to aid in providing the state with the information they are requiring. Dr. Kendrick-Weikle anticipates those updates being made ahead of next year. 

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Acres For Kids Update

Thinking outside the box was the theme for a new type of fundraiser for the Clinton YMCA.

 

The Y partnered with area farmers to donate an acre or more of ground and used donated seed to donate back to the Clinton YMCA after the harvest. Darren Moser is on the YMCA Board and says the idea was to tap into the agricultural roots of the area.

 

 

The first year of the program ended up very good considering the wild year it was. Moser hopes they can double things next year as they begin to gain momentum.

 

 

The Acres For Kids helps the YMCA's Strong Kids Campaign that raises money that goes back into the community through scholarships for kids to participate in programming to help low-income families afford YMCA memberships. 

 

Get more information about the Acres For Kids Program or the Y's Strong Kids Campaign by calling Rennie Cluver at the Y at 217-935-8307. 

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Maroa-Forsyth Schools To Implement E-Learning Days

Districts across central Illinois vary on their plans for e-learning opportunities when students are unable to be in the classroom.

 

Some are passing on the opportunity while others are embracing it. Dr. John Ahlemeyer at Maroa-Forsyth Schools says his district has implemented an e-learning policy. He indicates the thought is learning is already taking place outside the classroom setting and they are going to embrace that.

 

 

According to Dr. Ahlemeyer, there were several hoops to jump through before they could implement the policy but they will be ready to implement their policy starting January 1, 2020.

 

 

The younger a student gets, the bigger the challenge becomes to create an effective at-home learning experience. Dr. Ahlemeyer explains they will reinforce lessons already in place.

 

 

If students do not get their take homework done during an e-learning day, it will be treated as an absence from school, however, just like when a student is absent, they will still be able to make it up. 

 

For Dr. Ahlemeyer, learning is already happening in front of electronic devices as it is so he believes they should be receiving credit for it. Additionally, e-learning days eliminate the need to amend their calendars in the event snow or weather days keep them from attending school. 

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University of Illinois Extension Expert Talks Thanksgiving Food Safety

Make sure you get that festive bird to the proper core temperature and keep your surfaces clean as you prepare your Thanksgiving dinner.

 

That is the message from the University of Illinois Extension's Caitlin Mellendorf. She is a nutrition expert and explains there are three different spots you want to check when cooking your turkey.

 

 

Mellendorf says it is very important to have food safety on the mind when preparing your food. While food poisoning is not much of a concern during Thanksgiving, she says to keep those hands washed as we are in the cold and flu season.

 

 

Pressure cooker and quick cook appliances are becoming increasingly popular in the kitchen these days and Mellendorf says those can be a great resource for preparing dishes if you have limited oven space in your home.

 

 

While there are many ways to prepare a turkey, Mellendorf says it is important you not serve that bird until it has reached the proper temperature according to USDA standards.

 

The USDA's turkey hotline will be available through Thanksgiving Day. The USDA's Meat and Poultry Hotline number is 888-MPHOTLINE(888-674-5463) or you can go online to AsKaren.gov

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Weekly Crop Report

THE FALL HARVEST IS WRAPPING UP AS WE HEAR IN THE LAST WEEKLY CROP REPORT OF THE SEASON. 

 

TEMPERATURES AND RAINFALL WERE BELOW NORMAL THIS PAST WEEK…WITH FOUR DAYS SUITABLE FOR FIELDWORK. CROP STATISTICIAN MARK SCHLEUSENER SAYS FARMERS STILL HAVE A LITTLE WORK TO DO IN THE FIELDS.

 

 

5 PERCENT OF SOYBEANS HAVE NOW BEEN HARVESTED, A LITTLE BEHIND THE FIVE-YEAR AVERAGE.

 

 

91 PERCENT OF WINTER WHEAT ACRES HAVE EMERGED, WITH 45 PERCENT IN GOOD TO EXCELLENT CONDITION. AVERAGE STATEWIDE TOPSOIL MOISTURE IS RATED AS THREE PERCENT SHORT, 83 PERCENT ADEQUATE AND 14 PERCENT SURPLUS.

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Grain and Feed Association of Illinois Talks Propane

Members of the Grain and Feed Association of Illinois continue to talk propane shortage and the item will likely get more attention when the group convenes for its annual convention in February.

 

 

GFAI executive director Jeff Adkisson says other topics include training employees and weather risk and its impact on production agriculture. The convention is Feb. 16-18 at the Crowne Plaza in Springfield.

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Governor Pritzker Veto's Jet Tax Forgiveness

A veto from the desk of Democrat Governor JB Pritzker for a $50 million tax forgiveness bill for companies that work on private jets. 

 

The Governor had made it clear that if the General Assembly approved a bill to forgive the past-due taxes he would oppose it. Pritzker said a few weeks back that it wasn’t right to forgive a tax bill from those businesses.

 

 

It’s expected that the veto will be overturned. It passed with unanimous fashion in the House and the Senate recorded just one no vote.

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Clinton YMCA Looking Forward to Impacts Renovation Could Provide

The Clinton YMCA installed new equipment in their wellness center last month and now they look ahead to the new year when they will embark on a renovation of their main entryway.

 

Executive Director Rennie Cluver indicates they plan to turn their main entrance into a lounge-like area for people to gather and socialize. 

 

 

As a part of the renovation, the Y is planning to add a youth gathering area. Cluver explains they have a good amount of kids that come into the Y to work out or play basketball in the gym and they want to have a place for them to hang out after they're done.

 

 

Cluver indicates he is pretty excited to see the project get started. That is expected to begin around the first of the year. He hopes it will get the community excited about the things happening at the Y and bring in new memberships.

 

 

The new equipment in the wellness center has been very well received by its members. Cluver indicates some of their machines are furnished with smaller weight increments, electronic timers, and counters. 

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Clinton Elementary Principal Emotionally Defends Students Over State Designation

It was an emotional week in Clinton Schools last week and last Tuesday night emotions spilled into the Clinton Board of Education meeting. 

 

Last month, the State Board of Education released yearly designations for Illinois school buildings and Clinton Elementary School received an "underperforming" designation and principal Sasha Young took exception to the small portion of the overall picture.

 

 

After the loss of a student in her building, Young emotionally testified to the work of their teachers in the face of that tragedy and says she is proud of the way they came together. 

 

 

The designation of underperforming was defended by Superintendent Curt Nettles, who points out the test scores of their special needs students did not do not meet the standards set by the state and pointed out they take the same test as all other students. Young points out they have students showing incredible growth.

 

 

Young says they know their deficits, their needs and they are working on those. She is confident they will continue to get better and outpace the state average. She also points out they are going to work with their special needs students to make sure they score better next year. 

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Chief Lowers Reminding to Be Safe on Roadways This Thanksgiving

Local authorities are reminding travelers to stay safe during the Thanksgiving holiday.

 

Clinton Police Chief Ben Lowers indicates the week of Thanksgiving will see an increase across the nation in traffic with college students and family members returning home. Lowers says this increase in traffic could be dangerous when mixed in with snow and ice.

 

 

Chief Lowers says the night before Thanksgiving is a popular night for parties among college students. Lowers reminds if your plans include alcohol, celebrate responsibly.

 

 

Lowers says to make sure someone knows where you are going when you celebrate.

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Scovill Zoo Looking Ahead to Winter

After a very good year, the Scovill Zoo is turning its attention to the winter months to make improvements and get ready for the new year ahead.

The Decatur entity is led by Ken Frye and he indicates his staff is taking time to recognize another good year. They welcomed over 100,000 visitors to the zoo and he considers that a successful year.

 

 

While patrons are not admitted to the zoo during the winter months, the zoo is busy making improvements. Frye says they have several things on the agenda this winter.

 

 

According to Frye, the zoo will be adding to their aviary. He says it will be a trial run to see how the response it gets but he feels it will be a good visitor experience. Additionally, they have some smaller improvements to their animal exhibits.

 

 

As for the animals during the winter months, Frye indicates many animals have an indoor habitat they go to. Some animals have the choice of an indoor habitat or staying outside. And others can tolerate all sorts of conditions so they will stay out all winter.

 

 

Frye says they have added a few birds to their collection guests will see next year.

 

Keep up with the latest from the Scovill Zoo by following them on Facebook. 

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Weekly Weather Summary

Things warmed up just a bit this week. As we head towards Thanksgiving weekend, what is the holiday forecast looking like? State Climatologist Trent Ford tells us more....

 

 

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State Police Talk Tired Driving

Studies indicate that driving tired can be as dangerous as driving drunk and anyone who has nodded off behind the wheel understands the danger. 

 

Trooper Jason Wilson with the Illinois State Police says that there are things you can do when you feel tired behind the wheel but the most important thing is to pull over and get some rest...

 

 

And, unfortunately, your favorite cup of coffee is also not going to help you stay awake on your drive, Trooper Wilson says a cup of coffee takes up to an hour to affect the body. The only way to help tired driving is to get off the road and get some rest.

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Starved Rock Murderer Paroled

The Illinois Prisoner Review board in Springfield voted nine to four on Thursday to grant 80-year-old Chester Weger parole after nearly 60 years in prison. 

 

Weger was convicted in one of three murders at Starved Rock State Park that happened in 1960. The three women killed were Mildred Lindquist, Lillian Oetting, and Francis Murphy. LaSalle County State’s Attorney Karen Donnelly opposed the decision.

 

 

Weger has maintained that a confession he gave was coerced and that he’s innocent. Despite being against the parole, Donnelly hopes that Weger is able to become a productive member of society.

Weger will stay behind bars for at least the next three months while undergoing a sexually violent person evaluation.

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Project Blue Life Gives Civilians Insight to Tense Shooter Situations

If you’ve ever wanted to know what it’s like to be in a police officer’s shoes when it comes to a tense confrontation, with Project Blue Life, you have that opportunity. 

 

The Illinois Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) have put together the program to simulate shooting scenarios via video simulators, safe weapons and experienced instructors. President of the FOP, Chris Southwood says he hopes those that partake in the simulator will think twice before passing judgment on either side when these situations arise.

 

 

The FOP was founded in 1915 and is the largest organization of sworn law enforcement officers in the United States representing other officers.

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DeWitt County 4-H Members Receive 4-H Awards

DeWitt, Macon and Piatt County 4-H held its awards celebration October 26 at the 4-H Memorial Camp in Allerton Park. 4-H awards recognize members who excel in their 4-H year based on their involvement with projects, programs, other community activities, and events, and participation in4-H. Several Dewitt County 4-H members were recognized for their accomplishments in record keeping, club leadership, personal leadership and length of membership.

 

Adults were also recognized for their dedication to Dewitt County 4-H. Length of service and leader of the year awards were given to deserving individuals who have demonstrated an exceptional commitment to 4-H.

 

Ethan Aughenbaugh, Town & County 4-H Club Excellence in Project Mastery, Outstanding Records

 

Morgan Drozs, Jimtown 4-H Club Excellence in Personal Growth, Outstanding Records, Outstanding Treasurer, I Dare You Leadership Award

 

Lindsey Holtman, Lucky Whirlwinds 4-H Club Excellence in Leadership, Outstanding Records

 

Adara Meyen, Town & Country 4-H Club Excellence in Community Service, Outstanding
Records, Outstanding President, Diamond Experience Award

 

Anton Meyen, Town & Country 4-H Club Excellence in Communications, Outstanding
Records, State Electricity Award, Gold Experience Award

 

Alex Smith, Salt Creek Clovers 4-H Club Outstanding President Award

 

Briauna Hemphill, Lucky Whirlwinds 4-H Club Outstanding Vice-President Award, Outstanding
Records, Silver Experience Award

 

Amerie Hemphill, Lucky Whirlwinds 4-H Club Outstanding Secretary Award, Outstanding
Records, Silver Experience Award

 

Rachel Major, Lucky Whirlwinds 4-H Club Outstanding Scrapbook Award, Outstanding
Records, Top Ten First Year Member, Silver Experience Award

 

Katie Cunningham, Lucky Whirlwinds 4-H Club Top Ten First Year Member

 

Preston Howell, Salt Creek Clovers 4-H Club Top Ten First Year Member, Outstanding Records

 

Justeen Meier, Helping Hands 4-H Club Top Ten First Year Member, Outstanding Records

 

Lexi Merriman, Rebel Riders 4-H Club Top Ten First Year Member, Outstanding Records

 

Tayanna Meyen, Town & Country 4-H Club Top Ten First Year Member, Outstanding
Records, Silver Experience Award

 

Peyton Mills, Lucky Whirlwinds 4-H Club Top Ten First Year Member, Outstanding
Records, Bronze Experience Award

 

Alicia Trimble, Salt Creek Clovers 4-H Club Top Ten First Year Member

 

Preston Wikoff, Town & Country 4-H Club Outstanding Second Year Member, Outstanding Records

 

Cooper Nichols, Lucky Whirlwinds 4-H Club Bronze Experience Award, Outstanding Records

 

Elizabeth Maier, Lucky Whirlwinds 4-H Club Silver Experience Award, Outstanding Records

 

Callia Meyen, Town & Country 4-H Club Silver Experience Award, Outstanding Records

 

Alyssa Murphy, Clever Clovers 4-H Club Silver Experience Award, Outstanding Records

 

Wyatt Willis, Rebel Riders Silver Experience Award

 

Aiden Soliday, Helping Hands 4-H Club I Dare You Leadership Award, Outstanding Records

 

Jake Franklin, Town & Country 4-H Club Outstanding Records

 

Josie Franklin, Town & Country 4-H Club Outstanding Records

 

Luke Franklin, Town & Country 4-H Club Outstanding Records

 

Davis Howell, Salt Creek Clovers 4-H Club Outstanding Records

 

Natalie Rhodes, Lucky Whirlwinds 4-H Club Outstanding Records

 

Nolan Rhodes, Lucky Whirlwinds 4-H Club Outstanding Records

 

Abby Van Zee, Lucky Whirlwinds 4-H Club Outstanding Records

 

Sherry Young, Salt Creek Clovers Dewitt County Leader of the Year

 

Margaret Schmid, Jimtown 4-H Club Dewitt County 20 Year Leader Award

 

Sara Paige Tarr, Rebel Riders Dewitt County 10 Year 4-H member

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Weldon Springs Foundation Sets Winter Meeting

The Weldon Springs Foundation winter meeting will be held on Friday, December 6th, 2019, at the Clinton United Methodist Church parlor.  

 

The social will begin at 6:00 p.m., organizers ask you to bring a plate of treats to share, followed by the meeting at 6:30.  

 

2020 membership dues are due. Individual membership is $10, family membership is $20, and business membership is $35. If you cannot attend the meeting to get that membership renewed or to become a member, you can mail it to Weldon Springs Foundation; P.O. Box 323; Clinton IL.

 

All are welcome.

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Rep. Davis, Rep. Brady Hosting Open Government Night Monday

If you'd like to hear from Congressman Rodney Davis or State Representative Dan Brady, Monday night in Bloomington you'll have the opportunity.

The event is at Heartland Community College's Astroth Community Education Center from 6 pm to 7: 30 pm and the two lawmakers will talk about the issues important to their constituents.

 

Doors open at 5 pm and there is no registration required.

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State Police Looking For More Troopers

THE DEADLINE TO APPLY TO BE AN ILLINOIS STATE TROOPER IS BEING EXTENDED, IN HOPES OF ATTRACTING MORE RECRUITS. 

 

APPLICATIONS ARE NOW DUE BY JANUARY 31ST FOR THE NEXT CADET CLASS THAT’S TENTATIVELY SCHEDULED FOR AUGUST. MASTER SERGEANT HECTOR ALEJANDRE SAYS IT’S TRULY A GREAT CAREER.

 

ALEJANDRE SAYS JOINING THE STATE POLICE MAKES FOR A GREAT CAREER WITH PLENTY OF OPPORTUNITIES.

 

 

NEW THIS TIME AROUND…THOSE APPLYING IN JANUARY DO NOT NEED TO HAVE A BACHELOR’S DEGREE. THEY CAN HAVE AN ASSOCIATE’S DEGREE OR 60 CREDIT HOURS AND STILL MEET I-S-P REQUIREMENTS. APPLICANTS WILL ALSO HAVE TO PASS AN EXAM, FITNESS TEST AND BACKGROUND CHECK. APPLY ONLINE AT ILLINOIS TROOPER DOT COM.

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Department of Public Health Reminding Public Sometimes Antibiotics Aren't The Answer

THE ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH IS REMINDING THAT ANTIBIOTICS AREN’T ALWAYS THE ANSWER WHEN YOU’RE SICK. 

 

YOU START FEELING CRUMMY AND HEAD TO THE DOCTOR FOR SOME ANTIBIOTICS. BUT THEY AREN’T USUALLY APPROPRIATE WHEN YOU HAVE A COLD, THE FLU OR A SORE THROAT SINCE THOSE ILLNESSES ARE CAUSED BY VIRUSES SAYS PUBLIC HEALTH DIRECTOR DOCTOR NGOZI EZIKE.

 

 

ABOUT 30 PERCENT OF ANTIBIOTICS PRESCRIBED AREN’T REALLY NEEDED SAYS EZIKE…AND THAT’S CAUSING A SERIOUS PROBLEM.

 

 

EZIKE SAYS ANTIBIOTICS ARE TYPICALLY USED TO TREAT STREP THROAT AND URINARY TRACT INFECTIONS, AND SOMETIMES BRONCHITIS AND EAR AND SINUS INFECTIONS.

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Mt. Pulaski Courthouse Hosting Christmas on Vinegar Hill Event

The beautiful and historic Mt. Pulaski Courthouse will host visitors this Saturday for their 31st annual Christmas on Vinegar Hill event.

 

The Courthouse has been decorated for Christmas all month long but Rachel Torbert at the Department of Natural Resources says from 8 am to 4 pm Saturday, visitors will be treated to the decorations and hot cider, coffee, and cookies.

 

 

Get more information by finding the event on Facebook. 

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County Board Extends Building Lease with PSI

Paramedic Services of Illinois, provider of emergency medical care for most of DeWitt County, had the lease for their location on Revere Road extended for three more years.

 

DeWitt County Board Chair David Newberg indicates the lease agreement is for $1500 a month. He says their facility is top-notch and they do a very good job of caring for it.

 

 

Newberg calls PSI a very good community partner and credits their willingness to provide the community with educational opportunities and support various causes on top of the service they provide to the area.

 

 

The ambulance tax-rate was bumped Thursday night at the DeWitt County Board meeting. Newberg explains they nearly doubled their rate from four-and-a-half cents to eight-and-a-half cents, however, that is well below their 25-cent max levy. 

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Shotgun Deer Season Ushered In With Arrests in Piatt County

The DNR Director recently called the shotgun deer season the Super Bowl for DNR and the new season was ushered in with arrests in Piatt County.

 

Last week, there were reports of hunters on a property without permission and on that same property today (Friday) DNR Conservation Police Sergeant John Williamson says they made an arrest of different individuals hunting without permission.

 

 

Williamson indicates hunting without permission will be one of their top complaints this time of the year, especially with so many people out. 

 

 

Williamson implores hunters to be careful if they are using tree stands and make sure those stands are still secure and to use their harnasses. He anticipates calls this weekend over unsecured bodies in stands that have fallen. 

 

Additionally, he says know what you are shooting at and make sure you know what is beyond it. 

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DeWitt County Discusses Costs Associated With Upcoming ZBA Hearings On Wind Farm

Confusion over how to pay for the upcoming hearings for the proposed Alta Farms II wind farm before the Zoning Board of Appeals was discussed Thursday night at the DeWitt County Board meeting.

 

The discrepancy was over costs the County would incur. According to Finance Committee Chair Camille Redman, the costs of the hearings were covered by the fees of the Tradewind application. Board member Dan Matthews questioned why that wasn't the case again this time around.

 

 

There's also confusion because the County enters a new budget year. According to County Administrator DeeDee Rentmeister, they used the same budgeting figures as the hearings from earlier this year.

 

 

Land Use Chair Terry Ferguson says another wrinkle in the whole issue is the fact they did not have to pay the school for its use. But this time around they did not have enough dates available for use and so the County is going to be using The Abigail.

 

 

In the end, the Board just cleared up the budgeting behind the costs of the hearings and removed the motion altogether. 

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Bement Schools Decline Option for E-Learning Days

Schools across Illinois are deciding in recent months whether to pursue e-learning days when the weather keeps students from being in the classroom.

 

As school leaders decide what is best for their districts, the results of those decisions are varied across the area. Bement Schools recently decided e-learning days weren't what they felt was best for them and their Superintendent Dr. Sheila Greenwood says connectivity in their area is an issue for some of their students.

 

 

Districts have declined e-learning opportunities because of the lack of face-to-face attention from an educator. Dr. Greenwood indicates the prospect of not having to make up a snow day isn't enough of an incentive for them.

 

 

While access for their students would be a challenge in some places, Dr. Greenwood believes the restrictions that come with such a measure would be too for them as well.

 

 

According to Dr. Greenwood, Bement schools are over 50-percent low-income ratio because of that, they have found it difficult to implement other measures. She points out an e-learning policy would put those students at a huge disadvantage. 

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Congressman Davis Seeking Solutions for Rural Broadband Expansion

A topic gaining momentum in government is the expansion of rural broadband access.

 

The Illinois Department of Agriculture and many others are exploring the best ways to make sure people in rural areas have reliable and fast internet connectivity. Congressman Rodney Davis is among a group now joining the cause. He says his goal is to make sure dollars appropriated towards broadband expansion are being used appropriately.

 

 

According to Davis, this is something the government cannot fix on its own. While they can distribute money, it has to be something taken to the finish by local governments and their companies.

 

 

According to a letter from Davis and his colleagues to Congress, this year, USDA began accepting applications for the first round of ReConnect grant and loan awards. 

 

In this first application cycle, we saw approximately a three to one ratio in funding sought to funds available. Given the demand for this program, they are urging Senate and House Appropriators to include robust funding for a rural broadband loan and grant programs in the final Fiscal Year 2020 Appropriations package. 

 

They believe support for programs such as ReConnect and the 2018 Farm Bill broadband loan and grant program is critical to address the ‘digital divide’ and ensure that our rural communities have equal access to opportunity.

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Fifth Person Dies From Vaping

THE STATE DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH IS CONFIRMING A FIFTH VAPING-RELATED DEATH IN ILLINOIS. 

 

FIVE HAVE NOW DIED AFTER SUFFERING SEVERE LUNG INJURY CONNECTED TO VAPING. PUBLIC HEALTH DIRECTOR DOCTOR NGOZI (en-gozi) EZIKE (eh-zee-kay) SAYS 187 PEOPLE HAVE NOW BECOME ILL…WITH ANOTHER 40 CASES CURRENTLY UNDER INVESTIGATION.

 

 

EZIKE (eh-zee-kay) SAYS MOST HAVE SIMILAR SYMPTOMS.

 

 

IN MORE THAN 80 PERCENT OF THE CASES IN ILLINOIS…PATIENTS SAID THEY USED A VAPING PRODUCT CONTAINING T-H-C. PEOPLE AT HIGHEST RISK APPEAR TO BE THOSE USING BLACK MARKET PRODUCTS, INCLUDING ONE LABELED AS “DANK VAPES.”

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Durbin Sends Letter Trump on Vaping

After reports that President Donald Trump is reversing course on a planned e-cigarette flavor ban, Illinois’ senior U.S. Senator is responding.

 

In September, the Trump administration announced it would soon ban most flavored e-cigarettes as vaping among young people continued to rise. The New York Times reports that now two months later, under pressure from his political advisers about the potential pushback from his supporters, Trump has not moved forward with any action on vaping, while saying he still wants to study the issue.

 

Senator Dick Durbin says he sent a letter to Trump this week, telling the president he has broken his promise to address the nation's youth vaping epidemic.

 

 

In Illinois, the Department of Public Health reported last week a fourth person died after experiencing a lung injury associated with vaping. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says over two-thousand people have been sickened by vaping related illnesses.

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Task Force Six Arrests Ten on Drug Charges

On Tuesday, November 18th, 2019, as the result of a Task Force 6 (TF6) investigation, the Task
Force has arrested 10 individuals for Manufacture/Delivery of Cocaine and Methamphetamines
(ICE) and Conspiracy to Manufacture/Delivery of Cocaine and Methamphetamines within
DeWitt County and the City of Clinton. 

 

Some of these individual’s cases are related and some are independent cases. Over the course of these investigations, Task Force 6 has seized over 2 pounds of Methamphetamines (ICE) and several ounces of cocaine. Task Force 6 has also seized 6 vehicles related to the delivery of the narcotics and over $3000.00 in narcotics related proceeds. All individuals were processed at DeWitt County Correctional Facility and Bond hearings are pending.

 

No other information will be released at this time. 

 

TF6 is a multi-agency enforcement unit specializing in narcotics enforcement. TF6 is composed of officers from the Clinton Police Department, DeWitt County Sheriff’s Office, McLean County Sheriff’s Office, Piatt County Sheriff’s Office, Illinois State University Police Department, and the Illinois State Police.

 

The public is reminded that charges are merely accusations and criminal defendants are
presumed innocent unless proven guilty. 

 

Persons having information regarding illegal drugs are encouraged to contact the TF6 tip line at (309)452-9961 No further details will be released by TF6. 

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Abraham Lincoln Memorial Hospital Foundation In Midst of Annual Fundraising

A Logan County healthcare organization is in the midst of its annual fundraising season and is reaching out to the community for help.

 

The Abraham Lincoln Memorial Hospital Foundation began its annual mail campaign earlier this month and Sarah Helm with the Foundation says contributions not only help local healthcare but also can honor healthcare providers.

 

 

According to Helm, donations go towards purchases of medical equipment for the Lincoln facility. Additionally, they help local students pursue clinical degrees. Helm adds they support the ALMH Health Collaborative.

 

 

The campaign concludes in early December with a special event. According to Helm, their tree lighting ceremony and soup supper event are very well attended and supported by the Lincoln and Logan County area.

 

 

To make a contribution to the Foundation fundraiser or RSVP for their December 3 event, visit almh.org/foundation. 

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State Board of Education Taking Emergency Action on "Isolation Rooms"

THE ILLINOIS STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION IS TAKING EMERGENCY ACTION TO END THE USE OF “ISOLATION ROOMS.”

 

PRO-PUBLICA ILLINOIS AND THE CHICAGO TRIBUNE FOUND THAT THERE HAVE BEEN THOUSANDS OF INCIDENTS OF KIDS BEING HELD IN “QUIET ROOMS.” SCHOOLS ARE ALLOWED TO DO THIS IF THE CHILD POSES A THREAT TO THEMSELVES OR OTHERS…BUT IN SOME OF THESE CASES, STUDENTS WERE LOCKED UP FOR SPILLING MILK OR REFUSING TO DO CLASSWORK. GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER SAYS HE IS APPALLED.

 

 

GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER SAYS THIS IS UNACCEPTABLE.

 

 

THE BOARD OF ED IS FILING EMERGENCY RULES TO STOP THE PRACTICE AND TO REQUIRE SCHOOLS TO REPORT PROBLEMS WITHIN 48 HOURS OF A STUDENT BEING PUT IN TIME-OUTS OR HAVING TO BE PHYSICALLY RESTRAINED TO THE STATE.

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Firearm Deer Season Kicks Off Friday

FIREARM DEER HUNTING SEASON KICKS OFF FRIDAY IN ILLINOIS.

 

THIS IS A FAVORITE TIME OF YEAR FOR MANY HUNTERS SAYS STATE DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES SPOKESPERSON RACHEL TORBERT.

 

 

HUNTERS MUST REPORT THEIR HARVEST BY 10 P-M OF THE DAY THE DEER WAS TAKEN. THEY CAN DO THAT ON D-N-R’S WEBSITE OR BY CALLING: 1-866-IL-CHECK.

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Durbin Angry About Vape Ban Take Back

The move to ban flavored vaping products is running out of steam. 

 

In Illinois, lawmakers didn’t act this fall and now the President is walking back from a position he took in September. It seems Donald Trump is reconsidering his promise to act “within weeks” to ban vape flavors. That’s bothering US Senator Dick Durbin who’s been a vocal anti-smoking advocate for years. He says the President is selling out a generation for political gain.

 

 

At the statehouse the possibility of a flavored vape ban could be brought back up in the spring session.

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$300-Million Headed to Farmers

Farmers in Illinois are getting their second round of payments from the federal government to help alleviate the financial pain caused by the trade war with China. The checks from the Market Facilitation Program are arriving this week for many farmers. Bill Graff, the State Executive Officer with the Farm Service Agency, says they will process almost 70,000 payments this week.

 

 

For now farmers have received 75 percent of the total payout of the program. The payment of the final 25 percent would come next year and will have to be approved by the Trump administration.

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DeWitt County Regional Planning Commission Again Passes No Recommendation Regarding Wind Farm Proposal

The DeWitt County Regional Planning Commission again will send no recommendation to the Zoning Board of Appeals regarding the Alta Farms II wind project proposal for a second time.

 

The commission heard about the updated proposal from Tradewind representatives Tuesday night and after a couple of hours of testimony, they voted 3-2-2 for no recommendation to the ZBA. Andrea Rhoades says this is a big win for those opposed to the project, as they believe this application is less complete than the first proposal by Tradewind.

 

 

Kyle Lockhause with Tradewind Energy says this being the second time through for their latest application, they expected the outcome they got.

 

 

RPC Board Chair Dave Steward thanks the audience for their respect towards everyone and for being mindful of the restraints set forward prior to the meeting. 

 

The Zoning Board of Appeals will begin their hearings on January 7 and will last through January 29.

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Clinton Schools Superintendent Addresses Loss of Elementary Student, Defends District

Tragedy again struck Clinton schools last week after the loss of an elementary student and the leader of Clinton schools offered up his condolences.

 

Wednesday morning on the WHOW Morning Show, Superintendent Curt Nettles told Regional Radio News while it has been tough on students and staff at CES, it is even more heartbreaking for the young girl's family.

 

 

Unfortunately, ten-year-old Rosie Osorio is the second Clinton student to lose her life in as many years and in recent days, the district has come under fire about how to handle the scenario surrounding her passing, especially on social media. Nettles recognizes his staff has seen those things and addressed that Wednesday....

 

 

Nettles calls the district ready to deal with any issues surrounding their students. He indicates they have books of policies in place. 

 

 

According to Nettles, during the school day, his staff is watchful and proactive in getting involved when they need to. 

 

 

Nettles stresses they address any concerns brought to them and utilize resources within the Clinton Police Department, school counselors, and social workers. He points out, many concerns that are brought to their staff have happened outside the school walls and it spills over into the school day. 

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Pritzker Pushes Away Ideas of One Possible Pension Fix

This week the Governor signed a pension reform plan for downstate fire and police pensions.

 

As a small step was taken to steady those funds what about the one that funds retirements for state employees? Some argue that there should be a possible constitutional amendment to end the three percent increase that retirees get every year. Democrat JB Pritzker says that’s just not going to happen when you look long and hard at the political lift needed and then0 a court challenge.

 

 

Pritzker says there is no silver bullet and there will be a group of things to reduce the state’s pension liability.

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Pork Donations Headed To Food Banks Around State

Pork Producers and others in agriculture around the state are busy this month continuing the Pork Power Program, a way to donate ground pork to local food banks.

 

Matt Frizzo with Borgic Farms says after a decade of giving, almost 200 tons of pork has been donated with the help of farmers around Illinois.

 

 

The way the food bank figures that up, its three-point eight million servings.

 

This fall more than 50,000 pounds of ground pork will be donated to food banks state wide. The Illinois Pork Producers, Illinois Soybean Association and the Illinois Corn Marketing board all participate in the program.

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Expert Says Planning is Key When Considering Farm Succession

How do we keep a family farm in the family? Answering that question is part of Dr. Ron Hanson’s mission. He says there are many factors in play when considering farm succession, but it’s all about planning.

 

 

Hanson grew up on a farm in Illinois farm and spent over 40-years as a professor at the University of Nebraska.

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Angling Starts for Senate President

There is going to be a change atop the Illinois Senate. Democrat Senate President John Cullerton says he is retiring from office in January and now the scramble begins for who will replace him in the leadership position.

 

A former member of the Illinois Senate and current Treasurer Mike Frerichs says he knows the maneuvering has already begun to find the next Senate President.

 

 

The current Senate Majority Leader is Kimberly Lightford and she has told reporters that she will be among those seeking the President’s post.

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Ameren Warning of Utility Scams

It’s National Utility Scam Awareness Week and Ameren Illinois educating the public on how to avoid becoming a victim. The utility’s Arleen Williams says residents should watch or listen for one main red flag of most utility scams.

 

 

Williams says scammers often tell victims to pay what they owe through pre-paid cards. If you believe you are talking to a utility scammer, hang up and call Ameren at 1-800-755-5000 to check the status of your account.

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Confidence In Potential China Deal Mixed At Best

As expected, the ongoing trade war with China was one of the predominant talking points among those in attendance at last week's 76th annual National Association of Farm Broadcasting Convention in Kansas City.  NAFB Farm Broadcaster Jared White notes many experts showed a wide range of confidence, or lack there-of, in a China resolution coming soon....

 

 

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Clinton High School Principal Sounds Off on Public Perception of District Passion

The emotional reaction to tragic events can create a social media firestorm of accusations and speculation. Administrators in Clinton schools have been dealing with such things this week in light of a Clinton Elementary student who tragically passed away late last week.

 

Tuesday night at the Clinton Board of Education meeting, high school principal Jerry Wayne says he'll never apologize for wanting to do what is best for his students.

 

 

According to Wayne, his students were selected to be a part of a training opportunity that will help them to recognize and help their peers who are in need of help. He says it was made possible at the suggestion of one of the high school teachers.

 

 

Wayne points out mental health has been a focus of staff across the district for some time. He is unapologetic to anyone who has no knowledge of the things happening in the buildings of the schools.

 

 

Changing the culture in the schools has been a focus for a few years now and Wayne says it all centers around building relationships with the students. He feels this year has been a "tipping point".

 

 

Wayne feels there has been a complete shift in the approach they are taking and believes it will result in gains that will allow them to build on the educational side of things. 

 

Each building principal gave updates of the things happening in their buildings Wednesday night before the Board of Education. 

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Lincoln Police Department Seeking Information Regarding Recent Car Burglaries

The epidemic of fall car burglaries is not limited to just Clinton.

 

The Lincoln Police Department the last several weeks has responded to numerous car burglaries.

 

On October 24 alone, the department responded to six burglaries spanning from Peoria Street to College Street to 11th Street and Water Street. 

 

On November 3, two more burglaries were reported on Pekin Street and Gillette Street. The following day, they were summoned to Centennial Courts for a report of a car burglary.

 

Tuesday morning, the Department announced several reports near Wyatt Street, Decatur Street, Pulaski Street, and Tremont Street.

 

Anyone with information is encouraged to contact the Lincoln Police Department at 217-732-2151. 

 

Authorities remind residents to keep vehicles locked, valuables out of sight, and report anything suspicious. 

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City of Clinton Waiting To Put in Place Legal Pot Rules

In anticipation of the January 1 legalization of marijuana in Illinois, local communities are frantically working to set in place their regulations.

 

DeWitt County is working to get their regulations in place but on the other side of the street, Clinton City officials are waiting things out. Tuesday morning on the WHOW Morning Show, Clinton City Administrator Tim Followell told Regional Radio News, the zone Clinton and DeWitt County falls under is paired with Bloomington.

 

The first licenses are going to be awarded to medical dealers and the only medical dispensary in the local zone is in Bloomington. Followell indicates they are likely going to be awarded the only license for the area.

 

 

Part of the City's wait-and-see approach is due to the State of Illinois not having all its regulations set. Followell says they have been waiting on those to be finalized. He also points out part of the latest decisions by other entities is a deadline set by the State but he does not foresee sales happening by January 1.

 

 

Followell feels the City has plenty of time before it will be a possibility a shop could be set up in the community and so they are simply waiting on the direction of lawmakers on how to proceed.

 

 

The County is hoping to begin discussing the regulations they will put in place for areas of the County however, they will not be able to set regulations for Clinton. The County had a deadline to meet to set the tax rate for sales of recreational marijuana in unincorporated areas of the County. 

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Dispute Over Fire Training Facility Continues At City Council Meeting

An ongoing dispute over safety measures at the unconventional fire training facility on Cain Street drew criticism at the Monday night Clinton City Council meeting.

 

The multi-story facility is constructed of old shipping containers stacked one-on-top of the other. Seth Reddington says he has witnessed several safety violations throughout its use.

 

 

Reddington called out Commissioner Dan Ballenger for his role in an incident where he was not tied off welding in the air. He calls Ballenger out of control.

 

 

Reddington pointed to the last meeting when the Council rejected bids for a fence to surround the facility. He questioned why a fence wasn't put up around it, to begin with. 

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Hopes of Monticello YMCA Remain Strong

Despite concerns in the mid-summer, leadership working towards establishing a YMCA in Monticello are feeling better about the possibility of a long-running vision becoming a reality.

 

The dream would have to be made possible if the Clinton Y is willing to establish a branch in Monticello and Executive Director Rennie  Cluver told Regional Radio News Monday morning on the WHOW Morning Show there is still excitement surrounding the continued exploration of a YMCA in the Piatt County community.

 

 

According to Cluver, once the committees have decided everything they want in their facility, they will get an assessment of the cost and from there, they start fundraising.

 

 

There was a point earlier this summer that Cluver was in a spot that he thought perhaps a Monticello YMCA would not happen. He indicates after talking with people who help YMCAs all over the country, he came away with a renewed sense of optimism.

 

 

Cluver says the group Donor by Design reinforced the original plans of the group. He indicates perhaps his rush is not having exact details of their plans available but points out they still have several steps they need to go through before they are ready to present plans, layout costs and call for support. 

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Rep. Caulkins Talks Pension Consolidation Legislation

Last week, legislation passed in the Illinois House that consolidates the fire and police pension funds in the State of Illinois.

 

State Rep. Dan Caulkins says the bill started as a good thing bu then too many people started getting their hands in on the decision-making process. He indicates the purpose of the bill is to make sure the pensions end up getting a better rate of return on their investments.

 

 

Each community's pension money will go into one account and each city will retain their balances but Rep. Caulkins questions when other communities run out of money, do they dip into other healthy funds?

 

 

According to Rep. Caulkins, nothing about the bill reforms the pension crisis facing the State of Illinois. He also points out this is not property tax relief for communities.

 

 

Rep. Caulkins wonders why the State needs three years to implement this. He has been told by area leaders they could liquidate their pension funds and send a check within thirty days. 

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Weekly Crop Report

ILLINOIS FARMERS CONTINUE TO INCH TOWARDS THE FINISH LINE AS WE HEAR IN THE WEEKLY CROP REPORT. 

 

TEMPERATURES WERE NEARLY 15 DEGREES BELOW NORMAL THIS PAST WEEK, AND PRECIPITATION WAS ALSO DOWN DESPITE MONDAY’S SNOWFALL SAYS CROP STATISTICIAN MARK SCHLEUSENER.

 

 

80 PERCENT OF CORN AND 92 PERCENT OF SOYBEANS HAVE BEEN HARVESTED. 

 

 

99 PERCENT OF WINTER WHEAT HAS BEEN PLANTED WITH 85 PERCENT EMERGED.

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The Vault Hosting Youth For Support Through Tragic Loss

Tragedy struck the Clinton community again Friday night when an adolescent youth passed away.

 

10-year old Rosie Osario was a student in at Clinton Elementary School and was declared dead Friday night after being found unresponsive. 

 

The Vault in Clinton will open their doors to the youth of the community this afternoon from 3:30 pm to 5:30 pm.

 

Community leaders, pastors, and mentors will be available to talk or pray as needed. The Vault is also offering note cards to write letters of support to the Osario family. Comfort dogs from Paw Print Ministries will be available as well.

 

The Osario family is encouraging supporters to wear olive green in honor of Rosie. 

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Clinton's Neighborhood Care Center Raising Funds to Supplement Loss of Salvation Army Bellringers

The loss of Clinton Walmart is still being felt for a community non-profit.

 

The Neighborhood Care Center in Clinton for several years was the caretaker of the money that was raised by the bellringers for the Salvation Army at the Clinton Walmart during the Christmas season. The loss of Walmart meant the loss of those dollars coming into the community to support those in need.

 

Cody Monkman is the Director of the Neighborhood Care Center and says while the loss was devastating, it was almost a blessing in disguise. He indicates last year he set out to try to raise money privately and found out any money he raised, 100-percent of those dollars stayed local.

 

 

According to Monkman, the funds they raised last year ran out last month. Monkman and Laura Conheady with the Neighborhood Care Center have started to fundraise to make sure they can make it through the next year. Conheady says it has been tough on the community to not be able to help.

 

 

The Neighborhood Care Center is a faith-based organization and Monkman says it is a multi-faceted group that tries to support the community through several ministries.

 

 

The two say they don't have a target for funds raised but will accept whatever the community is willing to provide to help their neighbors in need. If you'd like to donate, send your donation to 100 North Jackson Street in Clinton.

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Community Group Nearly Ready to Approach Maroa-Forsyth School Board With Facilities Recommendation

A nearly year long process is about to wrap up for a community group charged with helping determing what the community wants to see for the future of Maroa-Forsyth Schools facilities.

 

The district is dealing with a dated middle school and with several options on the table, last week the community and district took a step towards having a recommendation for the Board of Education. Dr. John Ahlemeyer says after a series of meetings with the community, the best scoring option was building a new middle school in Maroa and adding on to the high school to have joining facilities.

 

 

According to Dr. Ahlemeyer, their community leadership team is going to launch a survey that community members are encouraged to participate in online. He says based on those results, it will help guide the group in what they recommend to the Board of Education in hopes of getting a referendum on the ballot in March.

 

 

The other two options considered by the community this past week simply built a new middle school at their existing site or build a new middle school in Forsyth. No matter the results of the community survey, Dr. Ahlemeyer believes the district is going to have a great option going forward.

 

Residents can take the survey by visiting mfschools.net. 

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Illinois Could See Wet Winter

Forecasters are uncertain if the long term winter outlook will be warmer or colder than normal but one trend they're seeing is things could be wet.

 

Chris Geelhart at the National Weather Service in Lincoln says their prediction center is showing a large portion of the upper midwest being on the wet side as we get deep into the winter months. 

 

 

According to Geelhart, it is difficult to predict how much snow we might end up getting. He says as individual systems develop, that's when snowfall amounts tend to become more clear. If you're hoping for a white Christmas, it's still too soon to tell.

 

 

As for predicting if things will be colder or warmer, Geelhart indicates their models aren't showing anything trending towards one way or the other.

 

 

As for the spring, Geelhart indicates the early prediction is showing warmer than normal but still wet. 

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Commission To Take Up Ethics Reforms

Lawmakers left the fall veto session with little action on ethics reform. 

 

That leaves Republican lawmakers frustrated as they wanted quick action on a number of bills they proposed. But they are left wanting for the next few months as big reforms have been left for later. In the place of new laws is a commission to study the problem and recommend changes. Democrat Governor JB Pritzker says this isn’t a problem that is going to be wallpapered over by yet another commission.

 

 

Pritzker says the work was too important that it couldn’t be accomplished in three days.

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Weekly Weather Summary

After a significant snow to kick the week off, temperatures should moderate as we head into the weekend and the new week. State Climatologist Trent Ford tells us more....

 

 

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University of Illinois Extension Offering Diabetes Prevention Online Course

Look out for information on a diabetes online class through the University of Illinois Extension.

 

Health and Wellness Expert Caitlin Mellendorf says this will be somewhat of a follow-up class they had for pre-diabetes. She says it will coincide with November being Diabetes Prevention Month.

 

 

The course, titled "Eating to Reduce the Risk of Diabetes", aims to provide a refresher surrounding the food and nutrition of diabetes care and management. Mellendorf feels it can also be informative for those close to someone who may be battling diabetes.

 

 

Mellendorf says the course will address things like carbs and diabetes, meal planning, and how to apply information daily.

 

The course is available now and will be available through the end of December. Get more information by visiting go.illinois.ed/diabetesclass. 

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October Unemployment Remains Historically Low

THE ILLINOIS UNEMPLOYMENT RATE IS HOLDING STEADY AT HISTORIC LEVELS. 

OCTOBER WAS ANOTHER GOOD MONTH SAYS STATE DEPARTMENT OF EMPLOYMENT SECURITY SPOKESPERSON REBECCA CISCO.

 

 

THE LARGEST JOB GAINS LAST MONTH WERE SEEN IN LEISURE AND HOSPITALITY, PROFESSIONAL AND BUSINESS SERVICES AND GOVERNMENT.

 

 

THE NATIONAL UNEMPLOYMENT RATE FOR OCTOBER CAME IN AT THREE POINT SIX PERCENT.

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Congressman Davis Not Optimistic USMCA Will Pass Before Next Year's Election

The debate in the ag community surrounding the passage of the USMCA centers around if it will happen before next November's presidential election.

 

The ratification of the USMCA is hung up in the House as Speaker Nancy Pelosi decides when, or if, the agreement will be called for a vote. While some say it could get called at some point, Congressman Rodney Davis is not one and says he isn't optimistic this thing will get done before next November's presidential election.

 

 

Congressman Davis believes USMCA will be a big win for American jobs and says there are portions of the agreement Democrats have been calling for over the years and now they have a chance to implement those reforms.

 

 

The Taylorville Republican is imploring farmers to contact their members of Congress and demand Pelosi bring it to the House floor for a vote. 

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Police: 10 Year Old Clinton Girl Found Dead Friday

A ten year old Clinton girl was found unresponsive Friday and was later declared dead, Clinton Police told Regional Radio News.

 

At approximately 9:45 pm Friday, emergency responders were called to the 500 block of East Macon Street for a report of an unresponsive girl.  

 

Coroner Randy Rice declared the child dead at Warner Hospital.

 

An investigation is being conducted by the DeWitt County Coroner's Office, Clinton Police Department and the Illinois State Police.

 

School officials have been notified and measures are being taken to aid staff and students.

 

Authorities say no other information will be released at this time. 

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Clinton Police Chief: Lock Your Vehicles

It's not often when the cold of fall and winter rings in that there is a spike in car invasions but that is what local authorities are finding.

 

Clinton Police Chief Ben Lowers indicates recently they've received calls of invasions to unlocked vehicles. He says it's not often they get a string of calls this time of the year.

 

 

Other tips from the Chief include parking in a well-lit area if possible, remove any valuables from the vehicle, and keep things from being visible from the outside. 

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Sen. Rose Addresses Vaping Measures

Teens vaping, deaths caused by vaping and the impacts of this new phenomenon are all part of pieces of legislation in Springfield lawmakers will likely take up at some point in the coming year. 

 

A central Illinois lawmaker believes the media has created a hysteria around this and turned made it difficult to figure out what the right public health decision should be.

 

 

That's State Senator Chapin Rose. Illinois has banned the sales of flavored vapes towards youth but Sen. Rose points out the hypocrisy of implementing a ban of vape products altogether when you can drink flavored alcohols and soon you'll be able to consume all sorts of varieties of marijuana.

 

 

According to the Senator, he hasn't seen medical evidence from either side of the argument. He feels that information would be very helpful in coming up with a policy around this growing craze. 

 

 

If flavor bans come forward in the legislature, Sen. Rose says he will vote against that measure because adults should be able to make their own decisions on a product that is legal.

Sen. Rose also predicts the coming legalization of recreational marijuana shocking the public with the results. 

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Propane Shortage Prompts Emergency Declaration

A PROPANE SHORTAGE IS PROMPTING A REGIONAL EMERGENCY DECLARATION THAT COVERS SEVEN STATES, INCLUDING ILLINOIS. 

 

STATE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE DIRECTOR JOHN SULLIVAN SAYS THE SHORTAGE IS MORE OF A DELIVERY PROBLEM…SO THIS DECLARATION EASES TRUCKING REGULATIONS.

 

 

SULLIVAN SAYS PROPANE JUST ISN’T GETTING TO ILLINOIS QUICKLY ENOUGH RIGHT NOW, BUT THAT THIS DECLARATION SHOULD HELP.

 

 

OTHER STATES AFFECTED BY THE EMERGENCY INCLUDE IOWA, MISSOURI AND WISCONSIN.

 

SUPPLIES ARE RUNNING LOW HERE IN PART DUE TO EARLY COLD TEMPERATURES AND FARMERS NEEDING MORE PROPANE TO DRY WET GRAIN.

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Lawmakers Take First Steps in Addressing Ethics Reforms

ILLINOIS LAWMAKERS ARE TAKING THE FIRST STEPS TOWARDS ENACTING ETHICS REFORMS.

 

THE HOUSE AND SENATE PASSED A BILL TIGHTENING REGULATIONS ON LOBBYISTS, AS WELL AS A RESOLUTION CREATING A TASK FORCE TO COME UP WITH OTHER REFORMS. A REPORT FROM THAT GROUP WILL BE DUE BY MARCH 31ST SAYS REPRESENTATIVE GREG HARRIS OF CHICAGO.

 

 

REPUBLICAN REPRESENTATIVE GRANT WEHRLI OF NAPERVILLE CRITICIZED DEMOCRATIC COLLEAGES FOR NOT DOING MORE.

 

 

GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER SAYS THERE IS STILL MUCH WORK TO DO IN RESTORING INTEGRITY THAT WILL CONTINUE DURING THE SPRING SESSION.

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Governor Praises Passage of Police, Fire Pension Consolidation

GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER IS APPLAUDING PASSAGE OF PENSION CONSOLIDATION LEGISLATION. 

 

THE CONSOLIDATION OF ILLINOIS’ 649 SEPARATE DOWNSTATE AND SUBURBAN POLICE AND FIRE PENSION SYSTEMS INTO JUST TWO HAS BEEN A LONG TIME COMING. IT WILL ALSO BE A WELCOME RELIEF TO MUNICIPALITIES SAYS GOVERNOR PRITZKER.

 

 

THE GOVERNOR SAYS COMBINING THE LOCAL SYSTEMS WILL HELP GENERATE GREATER INVESTMENT RETURNS AND REDUCE ADMINISTRATIVE COSTS.

 

 

IT’S ESTIMATED THAT BY CONSOLIDATING THE PENSION SYSTEMS…INVESTMENT RETURNS WILL INCREASE BY 800 MILLION TO TWO POINT FIVE BILLION DOLLARS OVER THE NEXT FIVE YEARS.

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4th Vaping Related Death in Illinois

THE ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH IS REPORTING A FOURTH DEATH FROM VAPING RELATED LUNG INJURY. 

 

179 PEOPLE SO FAR HAVE SUFFERED LUNG INJURY AFTER VAPING…WITH FOUR NOW DEAD AND ANOTHER 41 POSSIBLE CASES UNDER INVESTIGATION. PUBLIC HEALTH DIRECTOR DOCTOR NGOZI (en-gozi) EZIKE (eh-zee-kay) SAYS 80 PERCENT OF PATIENTS REPORT VAPING T-H-C.

 

 

DR EZIKE SAYS VAPERS NEED TO WATCH FOR SYMPTOMS LIKE SHORTNESS OF BREATH, CHEST PAIN, NAUSEA, VOMITING AND DIARRHEA.

 

 

RESEARCHERS HAVE ALSO FOUND THAT VITAMIN E ACETATE MAY BE LINKED. THOSE AFFECTED IN ILLINOIS RANGE IN AGE FROM 13 TO 75 YEARS OLD BUT THE AVERAGE AGE IS 22.

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Peace Meal Seeing Spike in Enrollment

With wintery weather descending upon us in central Illinois, a non-profit aimed at keeping seniors fed is seeing a spike in those participating.

 

Peace Meal is a daily senior meal service with congregate sites and delivery. Thursday Morning on the WHOW Morning Show, Shelly Tolley, Peace Meal Coordinator, says this is the time of year they start to see more seniors opting in to the program as the weather begins to turn and restricts their ability to get out.

 

 

Peace Meal serves seniors all over central Illinois. Tolley indicates they have a vast service area and do meal delivery for shut-ins and have congregate sites in several counties.

 

 

As the winter doldrums arrive, Tolley says this can be a very challenging time for area seniors. She says many choose to stay in so they don't risk hurting themselves when conditions are not good. But also for those shut-ins, this is a tough time because they may not get as much human interaction as they would normally.

 

 

While we often hear about checking on seniors in the heat of the summer, Tolley says sometimes a senior's furnace can go out or not work properly. She says winter can be a tough time for seniors in their homes as well.

 

To get information on Peace Meal, contact them at 217-345-1800. Tolley encourages family members of a senior who believes their loved one may benefit from their program to contact them as well and they will reach out to them and get them introduced to the program. 

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Blue Ridge Names New Superintendent

Dr. Hillary Stanifer has been named the Superintendent of Blue Ridge Schools and the Board of Education is expected to approve her at their board meeting next Wednesday.

 

Dr. Stanifer is in her third year as curriculum coordinator in the district and will take over the position July 1, 2020, for retiring Superintendent Susan Wilson. 

 

Dr. Stanifer previously served ten years as assistant principal and principal of Liberty Middle School in Edwardsville, IL and taught mathematics at both the high school and middle school levels. Just before coming to Blue Ridge, she was Assistant Principal at Garden Hills in Champaign for one year. 

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Write Stuff for Kids Hosting Trivia Fundraiser Saturday

Enjoy a fun night of trivia, light food and drinks and support the youth of the community this Saturday in Clinton.

 

Write Stuff for Kids is hosting a trivia fundraiser at The Abigail Saturday night for their recently formed scholarship. Edith Brady-Lunny says competition gets underway at 6 pm.

 

 

Helen Michelassi came up with the questions and feels she has a good variety of topics for their competitors. She says it was quite an undertaking to come up with all those questions but feels there is a good variety of topics and questions. 

 

 

Write Stuff began a scholarship last year and Brady-Lunny says this allows them to help kids that are pursuing education past high school. She notes, the fundraiser helps them supplement the scholarship for a student who is attending Richland Community College.

 

 

The cost is $20 per person for Saturday's trivia fundraiser at the Abigail in Clinton. The trivia competition starts at 6 pm. Get more information by visiting the Write Stuff for Kids Facebook page or visiting writestuffforkids.com. 

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Warner Hospital In Holding Pattern For Planned Improvements

Warner Hospital and Health Services are playing a waiting game to get their planned improvements started within the facility.

 

The city-owned facility is planning to move their billing department to 70 Clinton Plaza, behind KFC but CEO Paul Skowron indicates they are waiting for fiber to be installed there so they can have internet connectivity.

 

 

Improvements to the emergency room and relocation of the pharmacy are a few of the plans the hospital is waiting on for approval from the State of Illinois. Skowron says once they get the 'thumbs up', they'll get those going.

 

 

The pharmacy project has had a new development recently. In recent interviews on Regional Radio News, Skowron has indicated that the project had a completion date requirement of the end of the year but the requirement has been modified.

 

 

The drive of the hospital has undergone a recent redo as well. Skowron indicates their circle drive and an area near family medicine will be taken care of. It will be touch-ups of some work that was done earlier. 

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University of Illinois Study Names Chicago Most Corrupt City in America

Chicago is the most corrupt city in America and Illinois ranks as the 3rd most corrupt state in the nation, according to a University of Illinois study conducted early this year. Now, the cost of that corruption is coming to light. Amy Corte is with the Illinois Policy Institute has been crunching the numbers…

 

 

Only New York and California ranked higher than Illinois in the most corrupt state list.

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Rep. Brady Responds to Pension Consolidation Passage

The Illinois House Wednesday gave approval to legislation consolidating the 649 existing local police and fire pension funds:

 

The bill is intended to boost the financial security of the largely-underfunded pension systems. Currently, each one is a separate fund with its own board of trustees and its own administrative staff, including investment managers. By consolidating them into two funds, supporters say the funds could generate upwards of $1 billion a year in additional earnings because they would have the flexibility to diversify their investments and to invest in more kinds of instruments. Consolidation would also greatly reduce the funds’ combined administrative costs, potentially saving local taxpayers millions of dollars per year.

 

The Illinois Municipal League also supports the pension consolidation plan contained in Senate Bill 1300. The legislation was approved by the House of Representatives by a vote of 96-14-3. State Representative Dan Brady of Normal voted in favor of the legislation and explained his yes vote following the debate.

 

 

According to most recently available estimates, Illinois’ 649 downstate and suburban police and fire pension funds are underfunded by a whopping $11 billion.

 

The idea for consolidation came from the Governor’s bipartisan Pension Consolidation Feasibility Task Force that met eight times throughout the last year and issued a report in October recommending that downstate police and fire pension system assets be consolidated to achieve higher investment returns and lower the cost of managing the funds.

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House Passes Consolidation of Local Police, Fire Pensions

A CONSOLIDATION BILL FOR MUNICIPAL FIRE AND POLICE PENSIONS CLEARED THE HOUSE WEDNESDAY.

 

THE MEASURE MOVES THE STATE’S 649 SEPARATE POLICE AND FIRE PENSION SYSTEMS INTO JUST TWO…ONE FOR POLICE AND ONE FOR FIRE. REPRESENTATIVE JAY HOFFMAN OF BELLEVILLE SAYS THIS WILL REALLY HELP TO PROP UP THE LARGELY UNDERFUNDED PENSIONS.

 

 

REPRESENTATIVE ROBYN GABEL SAYS THIS WILL BE A RELIEF TO LOCAL GOVERNMENTS STRUGGLING TO FUND PENSIONS.

 

 

IT’S ESTIMATED CONSOLIDATING LOCAL PENSIONS WILL GENERATE 820 MILLION TO TWO AND A HALF BILLION DOLLARS IN ENHANCED RETURNS OVER THE NEXT FIVE YEARS. THE BILL NOW MOVES TO THE SENATE.

 

HOFFMAN SAYS THIS WILL ALSO GREATLY REDUCE ADMINISTRATIVE COSTS…SINCE EACH PENSION SYSTEM HAS THEIR OWN BOARD. THE BILL NOW MOVES TO THE SENATE.

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Chicago Mayor Says Casino Would Help All

Republicans are keeping the pressure up for lawmakers to tackle ethics reforms in the final days of the fall veto session. But for now Democrats seem fine to wait out the veto session and tackle the issue in the spring. 

 

Republican Senator Dan McConchie says there is plenty of low hanging fruit to fix when it comes to reforms. McConchie wants a loophole closed that allows for someone to work for the State Board of Elections while running or being an officer for political action committee

 

 

Republican efforts also include banning lawmakers from lobbying and filing of economic interest forms.

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Census Could Impact Community Action

The State of Illinois has invested millions of dollars into making sure everyone in the state participates in the 2020 census. While millions of dollars are unavailable to a central Illinois non-profit, one is taking the census just as seriously. 

 

Community Action has grant funding and other sources of revenue that depend on getting an accurate count of residents locally. Wednesday Morning on the WHOW Morning Show, Executive Director Alison Rumler-Gomez explained funding is divided up based on the percent of the population in certain areas.

 

 

To make sure seniors and low-income residents get their information in for the census, Rumler-Gomez says they are planning some outreach measures.

 

 

Funding getting cut would mean one thing - a reduction in services. Rumler-Gomez says Community Action could, and would, certainly reach out and seek more private funding to help supplement any losses of revenue.

 

 

According to Rumler-Gomez, around 80-percent of Community Action's funding comes from state and federal dollars. Any decrease in that would increase their reliance on fundraising and private partnerships. 

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Clinton Chamber's Haunted House Numbers Down in 2019

Crummy weather on scare nights and a lot of rainwater causing the cancellation of one event evening were determining factors in numbers being down during the 2019 haunted house season for the Clinton Chamber of Commerce's Terror on Washington Street Haunted House.

 

Executive Director Marian Brisard says it was just an off-year thanks to nights that were downright cold and others that were wet. Mid-month, the house was forced to close because rainwater flooded the basement.

 

 

Despite down numbers this year, new features were well received by their guests. Brisard indicates they welcomed the new escape room and a virtual reality haunted house.

 

 

Brisard is not concerned about the future of the Haunted House after a down year. She says it is a staple of the community and haunted house goers. Additionally, it helps so many groups and clubs throughout central Illinois who provide volunteers throughout the season. 

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Cold Blast, Snow Sets Records in Central Illinois

Record snow fell in Lincoln and Springfield, meanwhile Lincoln, Springfield, and Peoria experienced record cold this week.

 

Snowfall amounts of 2.5-inches were recorded in Lincoln Monday - breaking the record of 2-inches from 1995. 

 

Monday in Springfield, 4.7-inches of snow fell shattering the 2013 record of seven-tenths of an inch of snow.

 

Also Monday, Lincoln, Springfield, and Peoria set records for low-temperatures. 13-degrees in Peoria and Springfield tied the 1995 low temperature. Lincoln's 13-degrees tied their record low from 1913.

 

As for Tuesday, the 18-degrees in Peoria tied the previous high temperature from 1911.

 

18-degrees Tuesday was the new record for Lincoln, breaking 27-degrees from 1995. 

 

In Springfield, Tuesday's 18-degree high came in one-degree cooler than 1911.

 

Low temperatures Tuesday were new records in all three places. 

 

In Peoria, 5-degrees broke the 1986 record of 9-degrees. Lincoln's 4-degree low broke the 1910 record of 10-degrees. And in Peoria, 5-degrees broke the 1986 and 1995 records of 12-degrees. 

 

Temperatures are expected to remain cool through the weekend but the National Weather Service told Regional Radio News last week, the second half of November is showing above-normal temperatures.

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DeWitt County 4-H Partnering with CES for STEM Day November 15

This Friday, local fifth graders will have the opportunity to experiment and experience what STEM has to offer.

 

Lindsey Burden, DeWitt County 4-H Extension Coordinator, says they are partnering with Farm Bureau to get students at CES excited about Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. Burden indicates they will have virtual reality, sumo wresting robots, and food science projects.

 

 

Burden notes the opportunity to introduce the public to STEM helps to reduce the stigma of 4-H's agricultural background. She hopes some students will be interested in STEM as a result and will want to enroll in 4-H.

 

 

The STEM Day will be November 15 for fifth-grade students at Clinton Elementary School.

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Weekly Crop Report

FARMERS CONTINUE TO INCH CLOSER TO THE END OF HARVEST SEASON AS WE HEAR IN THE WEEKLY CROP REPORT.

 

LESS THAN FIVE DAYS WERE SUITABLE FOR FIELDWORK THIS PAST WEEK, BUT THERE WAS SOME HARVEST PROGRESS SAYS CROP STATISTICIAN MARK SCHLEUSENER.

 

 

87 PERCENT OF SOYBEAN HAVE NOW BEEN HARVESTED… 93 PERCENT OF WHEAT HAS BEEN PLANTED AND 75 PERCENT HAS EMERGED. 

 

 

AVERAGE STATEWIDE TOPSOIL MOISTURE IS RATED AS SIX PERCENT SHORT, 72 PERCENT ADEQUATE AND 22 PERCENT SURPLUS.

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Rep. Brady Rolls Out Ethics Reforms Legislation

At a Capitol press conference today, State Representative Dan Brady of Normal and members of the House Republican Caucus outlined new legislation to reform state ethics laws and to ensure state legislators will be held accountable for their actions. 

 

Brady says a growing number of investigations and indictments for corruption involving state legislators in recent months highlight the need to take action during this final week of the fall veto session. He is a chief co-sponsor of House Bill 3947 that will ban lawmakers from performing paid lobbying work with local government units while they are in office. 

 

 

The Republican also brought forward an ethics proposal that Democrat leadership blocked from floor action and the need for “fair maps” legislation.

 

 

In October, Rep. Luis Arroyo became the third state legislator this year to be indicted or implicated in a federal corruption investigation. 

 

In just the past few months, State Senator Tom Cullerton was indicted on 45 counts of embezzlement and State Senator Martin Sandoval was revealed to be under investigation in a widespread federal corruption probe that has ensnared a number of local government bodies and businesses.

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Local Food Banks Set To Double Donations

A donation to your food bank this month might turn into double the amount. 

 

Wells Fargo is matching the first $1 million donated to food banks around the country through December. Each dollar donated will be matched one to one until the money runs - out or a food bank winds up with $25,000 in donations. Ashley Earnest with the Central Illinois Food Bank says turning one dollar into two will have a big impact.

 

 

Donations can be made to your local food bank or through the Feeding America website.

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Ag Meteorologist Talks November Cold

What’s causing this cold air this week in Illinois with some parts of the state already seeing sub-zero windchills in November?

 

Freese-Notis meteorologist Dan Hicks with an answer……

 

 

The first day of winter isn’t until Dec. 21.

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Illinois Department of Ag To Host Hemp Summit in Springfield

THE ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE IS HOSTING A HEMP SUMMIT NEXT MONTH TO ANSWER QUESTIONS AND ADDRESS CONCERNS ABOUT THIS NEW INDUSTRY.

 

THE DEPARTMENT’S BUREAU CHIEF FOR MEDICINAL PLANTS JEFF COX SAYS THE SUMMIT WILL GIVE FARMERS AN OPPORTUNITY TO DISCUSS THE INAUGURAL HEMP GROWING SEASON AND MORE.

 

 

ATTENDEES WILL ALSO HEAR FROM HEMP PROCESSORS AND A PRESENTATION ON MARKET DYNAMICS. 

 

 

REGISTRATION IS 25 DOLLARS AND INCLUDES LUNCH. VISIT THE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE’S WEBSITE FOR MORE INFORMATION.

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Senate Approves Bill Making Daylight Savings Time Permanent

THE STATE SENATE IS VOTING TO MAKE DAYLIGHT SAVINGS TIME PERMANENT IN ILLINOIS.

 

THE IDEA WAS PRESENTED TO SENATOR ANDY MANAR OF BUNKER HILL BY HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS IN HIS DISTRICT. HE SAYS THEY WANTED TO OPEN A DISCUSSION ON THE SUBJECT.

 

 

SENATOR LINDA HOLMES OF AURORA VOTED AGAINST THE MEASURE.

 

 

THE BILL CALLS FOR ILLINOISANS TO SET THEIR CLOCKS FORWARD AN HOUR ON MARCH EIGHTH AND LEAVE THEM THERE. BUT THAT’S ONLY IF THERE IS A CHANGE IN FEDERAL LAW OR CONGRESS GRANTS THE STATE A WAIVER FROM THE CURRENT PRACTICE.

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Warner Library Offering Second Medicare Program for Seniors

Central Illinois seniors are invited to a repeat program at Warner Library later this week about the basics of Medicare.

 

It's the open enrollment period for Medicare Part D but there's a lot more to the overall program and Business Manager at the library, Samantha Rusk indicates this was a program that had a lot of good information and was well received the first time they offered it.

 

 

The free program is this Thursday, November 14 at 1 pm at the library at 310 North Quincy Street in Clinton.

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Congressman Davis Updates on Latest in Impeachment Process

Impeachment proceedings will get underway later this week in Washington, D.C. in the continued saga to oust President Donald Trump.

 

Tuesday Morning on the WHOW Morning Show, US Congressman Rodney Davis maintains this is a bad idea that is going to tear the country apart. He calls it a disastrous process and believes Democrats are setting a terrible precedent.

 

 

Political pundits have suggested Republicans should push the issue and support impeachment to make Democrats cast their votes and use that in the election process next year. Davis believes though, that is a bad idea.

 

 

Congressman Davis calls the process a sham. He says Democrats have rejected all the witnesses republicans wanted to bring forward. 

 

 

Hearings are expected to begin later this week. Davis says he is disappointed this process will carry into next year and put on hold things like the USMCA and other measures that need to be voted on. 

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Clinton City Treasurer Fearful of Pension Shift Proposal in Springfield

Yesterday on Regional Radio News, we outlined the positive things happening at the local level surrounding the pensions in Clinton.

 

City leaders will be shifting tax dollars geared towards the hospital and will be dedicating those to the fire pension fund. City Treasurer Clint Lichtenwalter indicates the city does a good job keeping both their fire and police pension funds well kept but legislation in Springfield could change that.

 

 

Lichtenwalter's prediction is the state pushing better investment returns by consolidating the funds. However, he explains the costs of the proposal are going to be very difficult to rebound from.

 

 

Lichtenwalter predicts the proposal would increase the required contributions because of the loss of investment return for a while plus the costs of the selling and buying assets. Lichtenwalter predicts the bill being called for a vote in the veto session. Police and fire authorities are urging lawmakers to push this to the spring legislative season but he fears it may get pushed through before anyone has any time to completely understand the impacts of this on their community. 

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Heyworth Schools Implement E-Learning Days

The latest trend in education is the idea of an at-home learning day when inclement weather strikes.

 

Known commonly as e-learning days, Heyworth schools recently decided to implement such a policy into their student handbook. Superintendent Lisa Taylor says they received a great deal of feedback from their community about how to make this a good policy for everyone.

 

 

According to Taylor, the benefit for students at all levels was one of the bigger discussions. They realize they need to consider the burden this could put on parents but e-learning days will only be used when necessary.

 

 

Last month, Clinton schools were one of the few in central Illinois to decline the option to implement an e-learning day. Several other districts continue to explore and implement a policy into their school code for use during days when students cannot gather.

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Trucking Industry Looking for Fine Tuning of Illinois Recreation Marijuana Law

The trucking industry will be watching the final three days of the fall veto session closely. Specifically, they are hopeful of some clean-up language for Illinois’ new recreational marijuana law, which goes into effect Jan. 1. Don Schaefer is with the Mid-West Truckers Association.

 

 

The final three days of the fall veto session are Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday this week.

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Pritzker on Veterans Day

On this Veterans Day, the Governor of Illinois was at perhaps the most recognizable monument for veterans in the state, Soldier Field.

 

The Democrat says there is no mistaking the sacrifice that vets made while serving in the armed forces but it was just the start of their service to county and community.

 

 

650,000 vets call Illinois home and Pritzker says we must strive to preserve a democracy that was kept secure by veterans past and present.

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Social Security Reminding Veterans of Wounded Warriors Benefits

As we recognize our veterans and those who have served our country and remember those who have given the ultimate sacrifice, Social Security is reminding wounded warriors of the benefits they can receive.

 

Jack Myers with Social Security says veterans will receive expedited attention to their disability claims. He indicates the location where the injury took place while on active duty is not relevant in the claims process but it did have to happen in a certain time frame.

 

 

Myers indicates veterans who have a VA compensation rating of 100-percent permanent and total can get an expedited claim. He explains these gestures are their simple way of saying thank you to veterans.

 

 

When thinking about social security and its benefits later in life, veterans will also want to make sure their military service time is going toward their earnings records. Myers says veterans who served prior to 1968 need to show proof of their service time to receive bonus credits towards their earnings records.

 

 

For veterans or wounded warriors that would like information on the expedition of their disability claims, visit socialsecurity.gov/woundedwarriors. You can also find your nearest Social Security office and contact a representative over the phone or by stopping in.

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The Vault Welcoming Det. Richard Wistocki To Talk Cyber Security For Teens

Cybersecurity is a hot topic across all demographics in today's world and Tuesday night in Clinton, cybersecurity expert Det. Richard Wistocki is going to be speaking to teens and parents about the dangers of the world wide web in today's world.

 

Det. Wistocki is an expert in the field of cybersecurity as it relates to youth and from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm on Tuesday, he'll bring his vast knowledge to The Vault in Clinton. Det. Wistocki says there's a lot to keep track of but things start with parents keeping close tabs on their kids.

 

 

Det. Wistocki says the first mistakes parents make is saying "my child would never..." He points out there are age restrictions for social media and kids are getting on those sites posing as young adults as old as 19.

 

 

If parents are going to give their kids a cell phone, he encourages not allowing them to keep it in their bedrooms at night. Det. Wistocki says that is when youth are most likely to be targeted by predators.

 

 

Det. Wistocki indicates child predators often are classmates of their victims and the other majority are people that target youths on gaming networks or social networks. 

 

The Detective trains police officers, parents, and youth all over the country. He'll be in Clinton at The Vault from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm on Tuesday. 

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City of Clinton Shifting Tax Dollars from Hospital to Fire Pension Fund

The City of Clinton is going to do some maneuvering of tax dollars from one local entity to another.

 

The financial health of the city-owned Warner Hospital and Health Services is giving city leadership the option to shift funds from the hospital to the fire pension fund. City Treasurer Clint Lichtenwalter explains there's an incentive to getting that fire pension fund built up.

 

 

While communities across central Illinois struggle maintaining the pension funds for their police and firefighters, Clinton has been one of the leaders in keeping those balances well funded over the years.

 

 

The State of Illinois is pushing changes to the pension system for police and fire that could devastate communities like Clinton. We'll hear more from Licthenwalter on those changes and what that could mean for the City of Clinton tomorrow on Regional Radio News.

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National Weather Service Says Second Half of November Should Be Warmer Than Normal

If you can withstand the cold of the latter part of last week and the early part of this week, the second half of November is looking to be a bit warmer than normal.

 

That's according to Chris Geelhart at the National Weather Service in Lincoln. The start of the month has been on the colder side but he points out temperatures should moderate going into the latter part of the month.

 

 

As for the rest of the winter, Geelhart indicates there isn't anything to suggest one trend over another. He indicates it could be a bit wetter than normal.

 

 

As scientists in Lincoln try to predict the weather in the days and weeks ahead, Geelhart indicates they actually turn their focus to what is happening in towards the Equator and even parts of Asia. 

 

 

Geelhart says it is still too soon to predict a white Christmas and it's also too early to tell what snowfall amounts might look like for the rest of the winter. 

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Ameren Using Goats to Remove Invasive Vegetation

Ameren Illinois is experimenting with an environmental-friendly way to remove invasive vegetation in difficult-to-reach areas across its service territory. Dave Schenck with Ameren says the company is piloting the use of 50 goats along a steep and rocky plot of land in Hillview, Illinois.

 

 

Tree trimmers with chainsaws could be called in to clear the area but much of the terrain is in a ravine, making walking conditions difficult at times. Schenck says the vegetation management is done for reliability as well as safety.

 

 

The goats can remove approximately an acre's worth of vegetation in a week.

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Winter Weather Advisory In Effect for Monday; Up to 2 Inches of Snow Expected

From the National Weather Service in Lincoln:

 

WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY IN EFFECT FROM 6 AM TO 2 PM CST
MONDAY...

* WHAT...Snow expected. Total snow accumulations of up to two
  inches.

* WHERE...Portions of central and west central Illinois.

* WHEN...From 6 AM to 2 PM CST Monday.

* IMPACTS...Plan on slippery road conditions as temperatures fall
  Monday morning.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

Slow down and use caution while traveling.

The latest road conditions for Illinois can be obtained on the
Internet at www.gettingaroundillinois.com.

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Clinton Christmas Parade Entries Due Monday

If you're wanting to participate in the 2019 Clinton Chamber of Commerce Christmas parade, your entry forms are due Monday.

 

Friday morning on the WHOW Morning Show, Executive Director Marian Brisard told Regional Radio News this year's parade is November 30 on the square. She's hoping for 50-plus entries this year.

 

 

Brisard indicates the registration form is available at the clintonilchamber.com website and there's plenty of other ways to get those forms into them ahead of the Veteran's Day deadline.

 

 

The Chamber office is closed for the Veteran's Day holiday Monday.

 

The annual Christmas parade is Saturday, November 30 at 2 pm. Get more information by visiting clintonilchamber.com/christmas-parade. 

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DeWitt County Friendship Center Still Pushing Towards Purchasing Van

The DeWitt County Friendship Center keeps the community's seniors active through daily activities and several trips out of town per month but they rely on partnerships with other entities for transportation.

 

Friendship Center Executive Director Paula Jiles indicates they are currently saving money to purchase their own van and have about $7,000 saved.

 

 

Tonight, the community is welcomed out for the Friendship Center's chili and vegetable soup. Jiles indicates the funds raised from that will continue to build up their fund for their van.

 

 

Jiles indicates they do have to-go boxes for tonight's chili and vegetable soup fundraiser that is from 5 pm to 7 pm at the Friendship Center at 410 East Main Street in Clinton. 

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Local Hunting Statistics

The deer and turkey hunting seasons are in full swing and DNR has some updated local figures for central Illinois.

 

DNR Spokesperson Rachel Torbert indicates numbers in DeWitt County and surrounding areas are steady with where we were last year at this time.

 

 

As always, safety needs to be the top priority for hunters who will be headed out this fall and winter. Torbert reminds hunters to check those tree stands, let someone know where you'll be and have a phone on you, of course, leaving it on the silence feature.

 

 

Firearm deer season is November 22-24 and then December 5-8 and the muzzle-loader season is December 13-15.

 

For any information on the upcoming seasons and safety information, visit dnr.illinois.gov. 

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House Republicans Want Reforms

Is there time for ethics reform in the final three days of fall veto session? 

 

House Republicans think so. They are preparing a number of bills to be called sooner rather than later. Among the new bills would be one to force full disclosure of conflicts of interest and another would ban General Assembly members, spouses, and immediate live in family from paid lobbying work with governmental units. Republican Rep. Tim Butler says much can be done even in a short amount of time to address recent ethical lapses.

 

 

The Governor wants to get something done too. But it remain to be seen just how many bills can be passed in three days.

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Great War Encampment Coming to Springfield

The Illinois State Military Museum is prepared for its’ Great War Encampment. This weekend in honor of Armistice Day and Veterans Day reenactors will be spread out around the grounds of Camp Lincoln in Springfield to showcase the Great War. Bill Lear with the State Military Museum says this will be one of the best ever.

 

 

The story of the First World War runs all day Saturday at the Illinois State Military Museum.

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Clinton City Council Puts Annual Levy on File

The annual levy for the Clinton City will be voted on later this month but ahead of that vote, the Council needed to put it on file for public review.

 

Clinton City Treasurer Clint Lichtenwalter says this year's levy is looking very strong. He indicates property values continue their upward trajectory and the tax levy is going to minimally go up two very good things.

 

 

After the housing market took a hit, the EAV declined but Lichtenwalter says things are starting to pick back up. He calls the ebb and flow of the EAV in recent years minimally impactful because of the lack of growth in Clinton.

 

 

Lichtenwalter calls the tax rate very steady in the last several years. He says this year's increase is up as opposed the last several years when the rate has dropped.

 

 

The Council will approve the annual levy at their next meeting, November 18. 

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Social Security Adds New Features to MySocialSecurity Accounts

If you're going to be doing business through your mysocialsecurity portal at the Social Security website, plan to have a few more options next time you visit.

 

Thursday morning on the WHOW Morning Show, Jack Myers with Social Security indicated to Regional Radio News, they've updated their retirement estimator feature. He indicates the feature itself is well known to the public but now you can do a little more.

 

 

Opting out of mailers is a part of the new features at your mysocialsecurity account. Myers indicates going paperless has been an effort by Social Security in recent years and by using your mysocialsecurity account to access some of those mailers, you'll receive that information sooner.

 

 

According to Myers, your mysocialsecurity account will allow you to access to the representative payee program portal and take care of several pieces of business. It will now automatically allow you access to that portal through your my socialsecurityaccount.

 

 

Check out all these new features and plenty more by visiting socialsecurity.gov and clicking on the mysocialsecurity tab.

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Second Chance For Pets, Two Doors Down Brewery Partnering for Saturday Fundraiser

Come out for some locally brewed beer and support Second Chance for Pets of DeWitt County in the process.

 

Two Doors Down Brewery in downtown Clinton and Second Chance for Pets are teaming up for a Saturday night of fun. Heather Wantland with Second Chance for Pets says there will be celebrity bartenders, a food truck and silent auction from 5 pm to 9 pm.

 

 

This will be a new type of event for the DeWitt County group aimed at matching displaced pets to new homes. Wantland hopes not only will it raise some money for their group but she hopes they can get their name out there more than it already is.

 

 

Funds raised will help the group maintain the veterinary for their animals. Wantland says they also try to help people in tough situations afford the care for their pets as often as possible. She indicates the cost of care continues to go up and that is their biggest need right now.

 

 

Wantland indicates there will be a food truck set up on the street outside Two Doors Down. Things get started at 5 pm and go to 9 pm. Celebrity bartenders include Marian Brisard from the Clinton Chamber of Commerce, Greg and Mariah Anderson from Triple-M Farms, DeAnne Cooley from Four Paws Salon, Dustin Peterson from Peterson Insurance, School Board President Dan Matthews and former Clinton Schools teacher Dave Harding. 

 

Learn more about Second Chance for Pets and Saturday's event by finding them on Facebook. 

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State Police Director Sounds Off on Disregard for Scott's Law

THE DIRECTOR OF THE ILLINOIS STATE POLICE SAYS TOO MANY DRIVERS STILL AREN’T GETTING THE MESSAGE ABOUT SCOTT’S LAW. 

 

THERE’S BEEN A RASH OF I-S-P SQUAD CARS HIT BY PASSING MOTORISTS THIS YEAR…CLAIMING THE LIVES OF TWO TROOPERS. DIRECTOR BRENDAN KELLY EXPLAINS THE LAW.

 

 

KELLY SAYS TROOPERS HAVE REALLY BEEN CRACKING DOWN ON SCOTT’S LAW VIOLATORS THIS YEAR…WRITING EIGHT TIMES AS MANY TICKETS AS LAST YEAR.

 

 

AN INCREASE IN MOTORISTS HITTING SQUAD CARS ON THE SIDE OF THE ROAD HAS LED TO THE DEATH OF TWO TROOPERS SO FAR THIS YEAR.

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Pritzker Looking For More Disclosures From Lobbyists

The Governor wants further ethics reforms at the state house in the wake of three separate scandals this summer and fall. Democrat JB Pritzker says that as the legislature comes back for the final three days of fall veto session they should take up new rules concerning lobbyists and their connection to lawmakers.

 

 

Pritzker notes that lobbyists that work on issues in the city of Chicago have to disclose how much they are being paid. Right now lobbyists don’t have to disclose that information for working on issues at the state house.

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Mt. Pulaski Schools Organizing Mandated Threat Assessment Team

The State of Illinois has passed down another mandate to Illinois schools, this time centered around preventing school violence.

 

Mt. Pulaski Schools Superintendent Fred Lamkey says the State is asking them to collaborate locally to reach students who may be struggling and get them help before they snowball to turning to violence.

 

 

According to Lamkey, building relationships with students is one of the best things they can do for them to set them up for success. Educators will go through extensive training as a part of this measure and he indicates that will only help them in their efforts to reach students and build those relationships.

 

 

In the past, mandates have come down as a reactionary measure to safety issues in school but Lamkey feels this is a good mandate because it is being proactive in addressing the needs of their students.

 

 

In Mt. Pulaski, no additional staff would be required, instead, Lamkey indicates they'll further utilize existing support staff. Costs of mandates can often hamper districts but he says the training of their staff is likely the extent of the costs of his district but notes other districts' costs could vary depending on how in-depth they want to get with their plans. 

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The Vault Pleased Community Response to Call for Mentors for Youth

The Clinton community has answered the call from The Vault for more adults to mentor youth.

 

As the teen community center continues to gain momentum, the leadership called on the community to step up and be mentors for the kids that come into their downtown facility. Executive Director Tammy Wilson indicates it has been great to see their mentors begin to forge relationships with the youth.

 

 

Adults of all ages have stepped up and Wilson indicates you're never too old to make a difference with the kids they have in. While the response has been great, they can always use more help. 

 

 

Wilson encourages anyone who has a heart for youth to step up. You contact The Vault by visiting thevaultclinton.org, call 217-934-4003 or email thevaultclinton@gmail.com.

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How To Use Leaves To Help Yard, Gardens

If blowing and raking leaves into piles to have your a city service pick up or have them taken out to a local landfill is too much of a hassle, a local University of Illinois horticulture expert has a few tips on how to deal with the fallen leaves.

 

Master Gardner Candice Hart at the University of Illinois Extension office says leaves can make a great compost starter. As you get those gardens cleaned up, she recommends mixing those remains with some leaves.

 

 

If composting isn't your thing and you just want to mow over those leaves, that is an option too. Hart indicates those mulched up leaves can provide good nutrients for your lawn.

 

 

If you'd like to start a compost pile this winter and need more tips getting it going, visit extension.illinois.edu for materials and publications or find your local University of Illinois Extension Office and contact their master gardener.

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Senate Wants to Address Ethics Again

It seems that the Illinois Senate won’t be standing pat on possible reforms to ethics. 

 

enate President John Cullerton understands that the public could be losing faith in lawmakers after a year when a Senator is indicted on federal charges, another’s home and offices were raided by the FBI and a member of the House resigned his seat after being arrested on federal

bribery charges.

 

 

The Illinois Senate has three more days of work in the second session of the fall veto session.

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Next Phase of Fairground Improvements Underway

MORE IMPROVEMENTS ARE BEING MADE TO THE ILLINOIS STATE FAIRGROUNDS IN SPRINGFIELD. 

 

THERE’S ALREADY BEEN REPAIRS TO SOME OF THE BARNS AND THE COLISEUM GOT A MAJOR MAKE OVER. STATE FAIR SPOKESPERSON KRISTA LISSER SAYS NOW THEY’RE WORKING ON RESURFACING FAIRGROUND ROADS.

 

 

500 THOUSAND DOLLARS IN ROAD RESURFACING IS UNDERWAY ON THE FAIRGROUNDS, SMOOTHING OUT THE BUMPS AND BOOSTING THE LOOK OF THE AREA SAYS STATE FAIR SPOKESPERSON KRISTA LISSER.

 

 

IT’S ANTICIPATED THE WORK WILL BE DONE BEFORE THANKSGIVING. 

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Department of of Affairs Director Talks Homelessness

For many people, the visible image of military veteran homelessness is a man by a busy highway holding a sign that asks for help.

 

You probably don’t think of women veterans facing homelessness. Newly confirmed Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs Director Linda Chapa LaVia says many women veterans do. They manage the problem differently, often outside of social support programs.

 

 

Veteran homelessness is one of the problems Chapa LaVia wants to work on. Gov. Pritzker appointed her to head the Dept. of Veterans Affairs in February; the Illinois Senate confirmed her last week. 

 

For issues related to homelessness, veterans can call 1-877-424-3838.

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Cooler Days, Dry Conditions To Finish Out Harvest

Chilly temperatures should prevail over Illinois through the next ten days, but the weather pattern should be dry—aiding a late harvest.

 

 

Those words from DTN Chief Agriculture Meteorologist Bryce Anderson during a Tuesday morning visit with the RFD Radio Network.

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Clinton City Council Says 'No Thanks' To Fence Bids for Fire Training Site

A small portion of community members have been critical of the Clinton fire department's training facility on Cain Street (pictured right) and Monday night the Clinton City Council rejected bids for a fence around the site.

 

The security of the area was a topic in a recent letter to the editor to the Clinton Journal and Monday night the Council rejected a fencing bid in hopes of using local manpower to save money. 

 

The bids came in over $65,000 and City Administrator Tim Followell says that was the lowest bid they could get for what they wanted in a secure perimeter.

 

 

The City received just one bid for the project. Commissioner John Wise wondered if the City taking on the project internally would be an option. Followell indicates city crews are capable of taking on the project themselves however, there may not be enough manpower to do it. 

 

 

The Council rejected the bid and decided to revisit next year to use city manpower. 

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Sen. Rose Weighs in on College Pay Debate

If Illinois Democrats get their way, Illinois will become the second state in the United States to allow college athletes to get payments for use of their names and likenesses. 

 

California this fall passed a similar law and in the recent veto session in Springfield, lawmakers took up the issue as well and Governor JB Pritzker has said he'll sign it upon reaching his desk. Senator Chapin Rose, who says he falls on the side of the athletes in most cases, does not believe this is something to be rushed into.

 

 

The idea sounds good in theory but Sen. Rose believes there could be lots of unintended consequences. Men's basketball and football are the biggest revenue generators and he points out the distribution of money could leave schools unable to afford some programs.

 

 

Among a few issues with the measure the Senator expressed was why the legislature has decided to take this up during the veto session which is a time to refine or reject existing measures, not create new ones. 

 

The NCAA has indicated they would look into paying athletes for the use of their names and likenesses. 

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Clinton Water Rates Middle of Road for Surveyed Central Illinois Communities

Survey says: Clinton water rates are middle of the road.

 

A recent survey of Illinois communities shows Clinton water rates are almost middle of the road. Monday night at the Clinton City Council meeting, Commissioner of Public Property John Wise points out the voices complaining about water rates are simply misinformed.

 

 

According to Wise, the highest cost for water in Illinois actually is in DeWitt County. Wise points out residents in the Village of DeWitt pay over $100 a month for water.

 

 

Wise says it is nice to have an independent report to show the community their efforts to keep water rates as low as they can are in fact effective. 

 

Also at the Monday night Council meeting...

 

>>The Council recognized three of the initial ten students in the Central Illinois CEO program.

 

>>The Council put on file the annual levy.

 

>>The Council rejected bids for a fence around the fire training facility on Cain Street, opting to wait and seek out materials and use local manpower to save money. 

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Weekly Crop Report

PRODUCERS MADE SLIGHT PROGRESS THIS PAST WEEK AS WE HEAR IN THE WEEKLY CROP REPORT. 

 

ONLY ABOUT TWO DAYS WERE SUITABLE FOR FIELDWORK…PREVENTING FARMERS FROM MAKING ANY BIG HEADWAY SAYS CROP STATISTICIAN MARK SCHLEUSENER.

 

 

77 PERCENT OF SOYBEANS HAVE BEEN HARVESTED.

 

 

83 PERCENT OF WINTER WHEAT HAS BEEN PLANTED. 

 

AVERAGE STATEWIDE TOPSOIL MOISTURE INCREASED TO ONE PERCENT VERY SHORT, FIVE PERCENT SHORT, 65 PERCENT ADEQUATE AND 29 PERCENT SURPLUS.

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Three More Troopers Struck in Four Days on Roadway

AFTER THREE MORE TROOPERS WERE STRUCK BY PASSING MOTORISTS IN FOUR DAYS…THE ILLINOIS STATE POLICE IS AGAIN REMINDING THE PUBLIC ABOUT THE STATE’S “MOVE OVER” LAW. 

 

26 STATE POLICE SQUAD CARS HAVE BEEN HIT THIS YEAR BY DRIVER’S NOT PAYING ATTENTION, NOT SLOWING DOWN AND NOT MOVING OVER. TROOPER MINDY CARROLL SAYS SOME JUST AREN’T GETTING IT, BUT NOT FOR LACK OF TRYING.

 

 

SOME AREN’T GETTING THE MESSAGE SAYS CARROLL.

 

 

THE MOVE OVER LAW, ALSO KNOWN AS “SCOTT’S LAW,” REQUIRES DRIVERS TO SLOW DOWN AND SWITCH LANES WHEN THEY SEE A VEHICLE WITH FLASHING LIGHTS ON THE SIDE OF THE ROAD. TWO TROOPERS HAVE DIED THIS YEAR AS A RESULT OF SCOTT’S LAW VIOLATIONS.

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Private Jet Companies Tax Breaks in Spotlight

Do private jet facilities deserve a tax break dating back to 2014 worth $50 million? 

 

The Illinois House thinks so and voted in veto session to approve a retroactive tax break to aid companies that update and repair private jets. An East Alton area lawmaker says a business in her district benefits and has added workers and improved facilities because of it. Democrat Governor JB Pritzker disagrees.

 

 

There are 14 private jet facilities that would get the break. The taxes are owed after a state law in 2014 ended all permanent tax breaks.

 

Those facilities didn’t collect or pay sales tax from that point on and it’s estimated that the total amount of unpaid taxes is close to $50 million.

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Property Rights Key for Broadband Expansion

The second part of the fall veto session is coming in a few weeks and as the first three days passed the Illinois Farm Bureau says for now it doesn’t seem to be a period where much that was done will impact agriculture.

 

Mark Gebhards, Executive Director of Governmental Affairs with the IFB, says one key issue right now is the planned expansion of broadband. According to Gebhards they are working closely with telecommunications companies to make sure that property rights can be kept as internet speeds improve.

 

 

There is a broadband expansion working group that is preparing a report on the best way to move forward. The IFB is a part of the group.

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Pork Producers Looking For Young Leaders

The Illinois Pork Producers are looking for new members of a leadership class that will help them grow new leaders for the agriculture industry. IPPA Executive Director Jennifer Tirey says that they are looking for anyone with a connection to the pork industry.

 

 

The class will start in 2020, but the application deadline to apply for the no-cost program is November 15th. All the details are on Illinois pork dot com.

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Illinois Policy Institute Weighs in on Income Tax System

We are just under one year away from the vote on whether or not to change the State of Illinois income tax system from a Flat Tax to a Progressive Tax as proposed by Governor J.B Pritzker. 

 

Adam Schuester from the Illinois Policy Institute is among those advocating against Governor Pritzker's plan by arguing that a Flat Tax holds Illinois politicians to the promise not to raise income taxes while the Progressive Tax Plan cannot offer such guarantees...

 

 

The vote on the Income Tax plan in the state of Illinois is November 3rd, the same day as the General Presidential Election.

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Late October Rains Made Month Wetter Than Average

A little summer. Some fall. And a taste of winter highlighted the month of October from a weather perspective.

 

Chris Geelhart from the National Weather Service in Lincoln indicates October started with record highs in some places in Illinois with a good taste of fall weather in the middle and then record snowfall on the final day of the month.

 

 

Thanks to some late rains from the remnants of a tropical storm, the month ended up wetter than normal. Geelhart indicates there was also a day of rain ahead of the snow that fell for Halloween.

 

 

Farmers were concerned about being frosts and freezes beating them to the completion of the harvest, there weren't any of those types of nights until later in the month.

 

Geelhart calls the snowfall in the range of two-to-five inches was very rare for October, as most areas records were just traces of snow. 

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DeWitt County Community Care Advocate Update

The Medicare Part D open enrollment period is going on in full force and the DeWitt County Community Care Systems Advocate is meeting with local seniors almost exclusively until the period ends December 7.

 

In the mornings, Dianne Cusey hosts open office hours for walk-in help but her afternoons are by appointment only. If you live in outlining communities to Clinton, she makes frequent stops in some of these places.

 

Cusey makes three stops in Farmer City per month at the Sunshine Center on East Clinton Avenue. Those visits are the first Wednesday of each month from 1:30 pm to 4 pm. Then the third Wednesday of the month from 8:30 am to noon. 

 

Additionally, Cusey visits Farmer City on the second Monday of each month from 2 pm to 4 pm. Those dates are November 11 and December 9.

 

If you're in Weldon, Cusey is at Village Hall at the Peace Meal site from 11 am to 12:30 pm on the third Thursday of each month. City Hall in Weldon is at 480 Maple Street. 

 

For the open enrollment period, Cusey has arranged a visit to the Kenney Community Center on the last Wednesday of November from 8:30 am to 9:30 am. That date is November 27, the day before Thanksgiving.

 

Locally, Cusey will also make stops to the various DeWitt County Housing Authority locations. At Nixon Manor, Cusey will be available on November 7 and December 5 from 2 pm to 4 pm.

 

Then on November 14 and December 12, she will be at DeWitt Manor from 2 pm to 4 pm. 

 

Each of her visits will take place in those locations' community room. 

 

November 21, Cusey will be at the MacArthur Apartments Community Room from 2 pm to 4 pm. 

 

Friendship Center Executive Director Paula Jiles indicates to Regional Radio News Cusey's schedule for appointments is at capacity and predictably there is a high demand to meet with her during walk-in hours, Jiles is asking seniors who are seeking walk-in meetings to be patient when they come to the Friendship Center. 

 

Jiles reminds callers that Cusey has a separate phone line from the Friendship Center, and her direct line is 217-935-4560. Cusey returns messages as quickly as possible. 

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Clinton Schools Superintendent Defends Updated Report Card for Elementary School

The latest designations were released earlier this week by the Illinois State Board of Education and by first glance you might think something is up at Clinton Elementary School.

 

According to Superintendent Curt Nettles, that could not be farther from the truth. He calls their designation as 'underperforming' a misnomer because they have one area they are struggling in and are showing growth in primary areas.

 

 

Otherwise, Nettles says the district is doing well. He says the system is about measuring growth and that is what they are looking for. 

 

 

The standards have evolved in recent years and the State has replaced their testing that was formerly known as PARCC. Nettles explains because of all the changes at once, it is hard to measure growth over a shorter period. 

 

 

Nettles indicates, while the special education students of the district predictably struggle with the same assessment of the rest of their peers, the State tries to sell districts the testing is only a snapshot of their overall performance. However, he questions why the state gives designations off the test scores if that is the case. 

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As State Budge Picture Brightens, So Does State Funded Non-Profits

It's not just school districts who are finding state funding to be more reliable in the last year, so too are non-profits that rely on the government for money.

 

Jennifer Tolladay with DeWitt County DOVE says the state's improved financial picture has meant more dedication to their group to help support victims of domestic violence. She says that has resulted in better response to victims of the community. 

 

 

Because funding is helping improve their staffing, the improved staffing is resulting in better response to the victims of the community. Tolladay says instead of victims giving up on help because they can't get help, they're able to help more people.

 

 

During the tough times when funding was thin, Tolladay says law enforcement in DeWitt County was very proactive in helping her respond to emergencies. She calls them "super supportive". 

 

To learn more about DeWitt County DOVE or receive help, contact them at 217-935-6619 or call their 24/7 hotline at 217-935-6672. 

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University of Illinois Extension Nutrition Expert Discusses Fall Recipes

If you're struggling to find something festive to use that lingering produce for, a nutrition expert at the University of Illinois Extension has a few suggestions.

 

Caitlin Mellendorf says right now squash is a very popular item this time of year. Spaghetti squash is a great way to cut out carbohydrates from your diet. 

 

 

According to Mellenderf, a squash can make a great soup as the soup season starts to creep in. She says there is research that the colors of fall foods are very good for your overall health.

 

 

As Thanksgiving approaches, sweet potatoes will start to be highlighted in the grocery ads. Mellendorf says there are new varieties of apples cropping up and you can incorporate those into your meals and snacks.

 

 

Mellendorf has a blog for healthy eating recipes at extension.illinois.edu/dmp. You can also find the DeWitt, Macon and Piatt County Extension office on youtube for videos of various recipes and other helpful tips from their staff. 

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Turn Those Clocks Back, Check Smoke Alarm Batteries

THE ILLINOIS STATE FIRE MARSHAL’S OFFICE IS REMINDING TO “CHANGE YOUR CLOCK, CHECK YOUR BATTERIES” THIS WEEKEND.

 

AS YOU “FALL BACK” WHEN DAYLIGHT SAVINGS ENDS…FIRE MARSHAL SPOKESPERSON J-C FULTZ SAYS IT’S ALSO A GOOD IDEA TO CHANGE THE BATTERIES IN YOUR SMOKE ALARM. IF YOU HAVE THE 10 YEAR SEALED ALARM VERSION, GO AHEAD AND PUSH THE TEST BUTTON TO MAKE SURE IT’S WORKING.

 

 

FULTZ SAYS FOR OLDER MODELS, GO AHEAD AND CHANGE THE BATTERIES, OR GET A NEW, 10 YEAR ALARM.

 

 

ILLINOIS LAW ALSO REQUIRES THAT 10-YEAR SMOKE ALARMS BE INSTALLED IN ALL HOMES BUILT BEFORE 1988 OR THAT DON’T HAVE HARDWIRING BY 2023.

 

THE NATIONAL FIRE PROTECTION ASSOCIATION SAYS THAT ABOUT THREE OUT OF EVERY FIVE FIRE DEATHS OCCUR IN HOMES THAT EITHER DON’T HAVE A SMOKE DETECTOR OR HAVE ONE THAT DOESN’T WORK.

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Nixon Bridge That Collapsed in October Shut Down, Plans To Repair in Place

Last month, a bridge in Nixon Township partially collapsed during the harvest season and the DeWitt County Highway engineer says plans are in place to repair that bridge.

 

Mark Mathon says the bridge is on Airport Road and fractured part of the bridge.

 

 

The bridge was already scheduled for repair in the spring. Mathon says repairs could now start sooner. Mathon says the fracture of the structure won't impact the planned work. 

 

 

Mathon implores the public to be aware of the traffic control signs in that area of the county. 

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Weldon Springs Ready for Winter Maintenance Season

While the weather sometimes isn't ideal, Weldon Springs organizers say this is the time of the year they can get the most accomplished.

 

Superintendent of the park, Charlie Montgomery, says they get trail work done and get repairs done to their equipment.

 

 

Unfortunately, the public continues to litter when they go to the park and Montgomery says that's their big focus in clean up efforts.

 

 

The Boy Scouts continue their work on the Black Locust area of the park and improving that. Montgomery says they've made a lot of progress the last several years and looks forward to helping them continue to get that site back to its once great prominence. 

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Christmas Parade Grand Marshal Humbled By Recognition

Earlier this week Jeff Morlock was named the Clinton Chamber of Commerce Christmas Parade Grand Marshal and says he is humbled by the opportunity.

 

Morlock's work with the veterans is what sets him apart when deciding on the Grand Marshal. He says a couple of veterans were among the 18 that nominated him.

 

 

Morlock says he was shocked when he found out and was surprised as well that 18 nomination letters were submitted for him.

 

 

Morlock has helped get numerous veterans in the community connected to the Honor Flight, which an all-expenses-paid one-day trip to Washington, D.C. to see all the memorials. 

 

He's also helped coordinate a special return home ceremony with escorts from first responder agencies across central Illinois and DeWitt County. 

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Governor Angry Over Recent Corruption Scandals

GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER SAYS HE’S ANGRY OVER RECENT CORRUPTION SCANDALS IN THE ILLINOIS LEGISLATURE.

 

A FEW STATE LAWMAKERS AND LOCAL OFFICIALS HAVE BEEN UNDER INVESTIGATION AND ARRESTS HAVE BEEN MADE IN SOME CASES. GOVERNOR PRITZKER STRONGLY CRITICIZES THEIR ABUSE OF POWER.

 

 

GOVERNOR PRITZKER SAYS THE RECENT INVESTIGATIONS INTO A FEW STATE LAWMAKERS AND LOCAL OFFICIALS HAVE LEFT HIM ANGRY AND DISGUSTED.

 

 

THE GOVERNOR SAYS HE’S GLAD CORRUPT OFFICIALS ARE BEING CAUGHT. A NUMBER OF ETHICS REFORM PROPOSALS HAVE EMERGED THIS WEEK IN LIGHT OF THE LATEST CORRUPTION INVESTIGATIONS.

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Ameren Supply Rates Dropping

Lower bills are on the way for Ameren Illinois electric customers. The change comes due to a decrease in the price of wholesale electricity which is purchased for Ameren Illinois customers through a competitive procurement.

 

Utility spokesman Marcelyn Love says the supply costs are passed along to customers on a dollar-for-dollar basis with no mark-up or profit.

 

 

The new lower rate, effective in October, is listed as the "Basic Generation Services" charge on energy bills. A typical residential customer who uses 10,000 killowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity per year will see an annual savings of about $22, according to Love.

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Run For Life 5K/10K This Weekend

Run for Life will be hosting their much-anticipated 5K/10K this Saturday at Weldon Springs. 

 

The group is focused on preventing teen suicide and their Director Michael Moore says their activities for the weekend kick off tonight at the Abigail in Clinton. There will be food and drinks and a silent auction. You can also get registered for the Saturday race tonight. 

 

 

Moore is excited about the Saturday of the event. Besides the great scenery of Weldon Springs for the race, there will be food, drinks, and entertainment. Registration will start at 8 am with the race getting going at 9 am. 

 

 

Moore says registrations the day of the race are welcome. He encourages anyone who may not want to race but wants to see what the event is about to come out and find out more about their cause and the things they're doing. You can get more information about the Saturday event by visiting  Facebook and searching 'Run For Life Clinton, IL'. 

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Heyworth Schools Facilities Addition Moving Along As Winter Looms

The first signs of winter were seen in central Illinois Thursday with snow in the area.

 

As winter looms, the addition at Heyworth Junior/Senior high school continues with the goal of enclosing what will be a new gymnasium. Superintendent Lisa Taylor indicates so far though, there's been a lot of work done inside the building as part of the addition. 

 

 

Part of the update of the facility is going to be centered around security. Taylor says they are going to a digital entry system and a digital surveillance system.

 

 

Classrooms in the school building will be updated with new furniture. Taylor says right now they are sampling furniture to narrow down to what they will ultimately decide on. She says they are learning about what works and getting feedback from teachers and students. 

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