How the City of Clinton is ahead in their latest tax report is a mystery to local leaders, but the fact of the matter is, that's what the numbers would indicate.
At the latest City Council meeting, Finance Commissioner Tom Edmunds reported sales taxes are ahead and City Administrator Tim Followell says everyone at City Hall is not sure how that is but they are not going to argue with it.
Followell credits the community for continuing to shop locally despite not having the shopping center of a Walmart for almost two years. He points out this time last year's numbers were reflecting the loss of Walmart.
Followell believes the state of the economy could also be a factor in recent positive tax reports that are filed each month.
The DeWitt County Substance Abuse Coalition is going to be welcoming back a speaker that presented to area youth and their parents last year.
Det. Rich Wistocki from the Chicago area is a leading expert in the world of youth and the pitfalls they can experience as it relates to technology. He will be returning to the speak to area youth and their parents. Doc Allen from the Coalition indicates he spoke to youth last November and was a huge hit.
Det. Wistocki will address youth and parents April 1 from 6:30 om to 8:30 pm at The Vault in Clinton.
The state is taking additional steps to identify anyone in Illinois sick with Coronavirus and help stop and spread of the disease.
Today the Governor, the Mayor of Chicago and statewide health officials outlined a coordinated effort to combat it. By the first week of March, the state will be able to test for the virus in three locations in Illinois. But as testing ramps up Pritzker says the best thing to do is what you’d do when trying to avoid a cold or flu.
Illinois was the first state to be able to test for the virus and voluntary testing will begin at select hospitals around the state in order to track possible infections.
A comprehensive history of country music in Illinois is the theme of a documentary that will air this Monday by Illinois Public Media.
Director Sarah Edwards and Producer DJ Roach stopped by the WHOW studios this week to discuss the upcoming documentary to be aired on the WILL network of stations around Illinois. Edwards calls it a "101 of country music" in Illinois.
According to Roach, Illinois has quite the story to tell in terms of its history with country music. He says at first he was not sure there was a big enough story but as they began to research he says there was a lot he learned.
The documentary airs this Monday, March 2 at 7 pm on most WILL-TV networks. It will also be re-aired Friday, March 6 at 7:30 pm. Visit will.illinois.edu/illinoiscountry for more on this documentary.
It’s National FFA Week. In Illinois, thousands of members of the FFA took part in school activities that focused on ag education and the impact that agriculture has the Illinois economy. Republican State Rep. Darren Bailey took time on the statehouse floor to recognize the work of the FFA.
More members of the FFA will be at the State Capitol on Tuesday during Ag Legislative Day, hundreds of students in blue jackets fan out around the capitol handing out baskets full of Illinois agriculture products.
Another midweek snow is about to follow up by a weekend warmup in central Illinois.
While the midweek storm was not what forecasters thought it might be, it left several central Illinois schools unable to allow kids to come to class. Chris Miller at the National Weather Service says the snow accumulation was not as significant as they thought it would be but Wednesday winds cause blowing and drifting snow in rural parts of the area.
Miller indicates the month of February has epitomized the wild winter we've experienced from the first weekend in February for the Super Bowl and it has stayed that way almost the whole month.
The pattern of a cold midweek with some precipitation and then a warm-up over the weekend will continue as we hit the first of March this weekend with Sunday temperatures expected in the 60s.
Rainfall totals in the early part of next week could see an inch or more in central Illinois with the highest totals in southern Illinois where they could see up to five inches of rain and that will impact rivers that have or on the verge of flooding.
Are red-light cameras headed to the graveyard? The House voted this week 84-4 to ban red-light cameras in non-home rule communities. The bill won’t ban the cameras in places like Chicago.
The bills’ sponsor, Republican Rep. David Mc Sweeny, a long time opponent of red light cameras, says they are aimed at picking the pockets low-income residents. Some opponents to the bill said all red-light cameras should be banned, home rule or no home rule. Mc Sweeney says he agrees, but until one of those bills can make it to the floor for a vote, this step is the right one.
If the bill becomes law it would eliminate 100 red light cameras in the state.
The President has offered up another budget from the Oval Office but Republican Reps say that not all of the President’s spending plans mirror their own. Congressman Rodney Davis says that he isn’t in support of Trump's move to drastically cut funding for public broadcasting. Trump wants PBS and NPR to get $30 million next year and nothing by 2023.
Last year Trump proposed the same thing and congress came through with more than $400 million in funding.
Clinton school teachers received a pleasant surprise Thursday morning when the Clinton Community Education Foundation presented around a dozen-plus teacher with grants as a part of their annual classroom grant program.
The district was able to welcome author Patricia Polacco a few years ago and this fall, Margaret Peterson-Haddix will be in Clinton to talk with elementary students. Christina Soberalski received a $1,000 grant as a part of a special project for the author visit along with three other teacher grants that will get books to read as a part of her visit totaling an additional $1,500.
Jon Olichwier (oh-lick-wire) teachers junior high school emotional behavior disorder students and will use $500 from the CCEF to purchase sensory materials and help his students focus. He says it means a lot to have funds to continue to improve his students academically and emotionally.
Abbey Youngberg's CES class will receive social-emotional learning materials. She teaches second through fifth-grade students with emotional disabilities and indicates her class will benefit from the CCEF's contribution.
Clinton Junior High School students in Kelbey McMath's class will be helping restore gravestones at Woodlawn Cemetary in Clinton. He wants to incorporate local history and community service in his social studies class.
Clinton Elementary School students in Elizabeth Riley's third-grade special education classroom will use funds from the CCEF to write their books and then have them bound. Riley explains it helps students develop creative writing skills and also learning about the process of writing a book.
Timmi Turney's third-grade class will be receiving more books to help her students advance in their reading levels. She indicates some students need to get their reading skills to the appropriate level and additional resources, mainly books, will allow them to do that.
Clinton Academy will receive a new refrigerator thanks to funding from the CCEF for a new program introduced by their Director Katy Arnold. She explains their new foods lab course gives the students hands-on learning to develop basic skills.
Later this year, if you catch artwork displayed at the elementary buildings in Clinton, it's likely they will be on new stands thanks to the CCEF. Art teacher Stephanie Zmia (zuh-mia) says the closing of Miller Container in Clinton left a void in materials to display her students' artwork but this will allow them to continue to show off the things they've done.
This year's contributions to Clinton teachers from the CCEF is $8,357. The Foundation's Barbara Gullone indicates the last few years they are getting more applications for requests for money. This year they awarded 15 grants from 19 applications.
Other grants awarded Thursday as a part of the CCEF Teacher Grant presentations:
>>CJHS teacher Savannah Reigler's ag/mechanics class will purchase tape measures with $75
>>Kristin Wilson's CES classroom received $997 for exercise materials for their 'Mighty Maroons Mileage Club Year Two: The Year of the Postcard Passport' program
>>Automotive students at Clinton High School will benefit from a grant to Wayne Snearly's automotive class to continue to build up their shop materials
>>Physics students at Clinton High School have been using drones in Roger Baldwin's class and a $1,000 grant will allow them more materials to develop their 'Maroon and Gold Flight Team' as a part
of the STEM initiative
>>Kris Hoke at Lincoln Elementary School received a $200 grant to further a small room for students to be active called Maintain Active Path plan.
(Megan Callahan receives a teacher grant for Teal Walker)
Come out to the Abagail in Clinton this Saturday and enjoy some Italian beef and pulled pork and support a local group's efforts to build up veterans in our communities.
The Clinton Legion Auxiliary is hosting a dinner fundraiser with a live and silent auction to raise money for HOOAH Deer Hunt for Heroes. Jean Rogers with the Auxiliary says they will have information available at the event if you'd like to learn more about their outings for veterans.
Owner of the Abagail, Lance Schmidt was able to attend the last two fundraisers for the HOOAH Deer Hunt for Heroes as he was the auctioneer and felt so moved by their efforts he wanted to step up and do more so he arranged for the local car dealers to donate a vehicle as a part of this auction.
HOOAH Deer Hunt for Heroes provides veterans from all parts of the state and midwest a place to come and enjoy the outdoors with other veterans. Rogers believes the beauty of what they do is get veterans connected and allow them an outlet to talk about their experiences and hopefully that reduces the suicide rate among veterans who have returned home from active duty.
According to Rogers, their fundraiser has continued to grow, to the point they are moving to a bigger venue at The Abagail. She the first year they raised $2,000 and last year they were able to present them with $7,600.
The event is this Saturday evening from 5 pm to 9 pm. Dinner is by donation only and there will be a variety of live and silent auction items to bid on.
Get more information about HOOAH Deer Hunt for Heroes by finding them on Facebook.
The DeWitt/Logan Retired Teachers Association is offering its annual scholarships this year and the deadline to apply is right around the corner.
Nancy Stokowski indicates they have two $500 scholarships available. One is for teachers currently in undergrad schooling and the other for teachers who would like to pursue advanced education.
Stokowski says if teachers have already started the education towards their advanced degree, they will still help them. She indicates it is as simple as a teacher providing proof of their coursework and submitting that to the Association for reimbursement.
Applicants need to provide transcripts and there is a short essay. Stokowski reminds applicants to make sure they fill out the entirety of the application as that has been something they have come across in recent years.
Again, scholarships are for $500 and you can visit illinoismualphadeltakapp.weebly.com for the application forms. Those are due by April 1.
Mt. Pulaski Schools recently surveyed their community for input into their upcoming strategic planning process.
Superintendent Fred Lamkey indicates about 50 community members with a variety of backgrounds and found out what is important to them as it relates to the community's school.
For Lamkey, part of this process for him was to sit back and listen and learn more about the district. He points out, in his first year, he wanted to simply be a participant in the process.
According to Lamkey, once the notes from the Illinois State Board of Education, they will form building leadership teams and they will formulate building plans. He says they will then form a district leadership team and they will develop a district plan.
Lamkey calls the relationship with the community a "real fine marriage" because while the district wants to follow the community's suggestions as closely as possible, they also have to adhere to regulations set by the State of Illinois. He points out though, the community's expectations give them a focus and an idea of where to spend their time.
The Illinois Sheriffs’ Association said this week that some violent felons who had faced deportation are instead being released into local communities after their prison terms end as a result of a policy change by Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s administration.
Sheriffs Mike Downey of Kankakee County and Tony Childress of Livingston County, representing the statewide law enforcement group, told reporters at the state Capitol that they were not given a reason for the policy switch, which Downey said is akin to giving the ex-inmates a “head start to evade federal law.”
State Representative Dan Caulkins (R-Decatur) called it “shocking” to find out what is taking place and that the Governor is putting citizens of the state at serious risk.
Downey said Corrections officials announced late last month that they were canceling a process under which criminals living in the country illegally were transferred to Pontiac Correctional Center. That’s where, since October 2016, Kankakee County sheriff’s deputies picked them up and detained them under contract with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
The Illinois Sheriffs’ Association said Tuesday that some violent felons who had faced deportation are instead being released into local communities after their prison terms end as a result of a policy change by Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s administration.
State Senator Chapin Rose chimed in on the situation Wednesday saying these aren't people that are not eligible for deportation, they are people that should be deported.
In the past, there was a handoff of these offenders to Immigrations and Customs Enforcement officials but now Sen. Rose is outraged because these people could be walking the streets of Illinois communities.
Sheriff Mike Downey of Kankakee County said Corrections officials announced late last month that they were canceling a process under which criminals living in the country illegally, their sentences expired, were transferred to Pontiac Correctional Center. That’s where, since October 2016, Kankakee County sheriff’s deputies picked them up and detained them under contract with ICE.
Of 223 immigrants transferred from Pontiac to ICE detention in 2019, Downey said 11 were convicted of murder or attempted murder, more than four dozen of predatory criminal sexual assault or abuse, including crimes involving children, and 33 were convicted of a crime involving a weapon.
Robert Guadian, director of the Chicago field office for ICE’s Enforcement and Removal Operations, said in a statement that Illinois “put politics ahead of public safety” when it severed communication between Corrections and ICE. He put the average total of affected inmates higher.
Illinois Farm Bureau President Richard Guebert Jr. testified during Wednesday’s U.S. House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee hearing. The hearing was held to discuss U.S.-China trade and competition.
In his testimony, Guebert explained the importance of trade to Illinois farmers, the impacts of the trade war and reasons for optimism.
In 2016, Illinois farmers exported $2.3 billion worth of soybeans almost exclusively to China. In the last four years, that number has steadily declined. In 2019, roughly $800 million of soybeans were exported from Illinois.
The Illinois Department of Natural Resources gearing up for countless recreational opportunities throughout the state this coming spring.
IDNR director Colleen Callahan says you can find more on the many recreational opportunities in Illinois by visiting "dnr.illinois.gov."
The leader of Clinton's Warner Hospital and Health Services remains minimally concerned about the coronavirus making an impact on DeWitt County residents but still has his concerns about the virus for other reasons.
CEO Paul Skowron told Regional Radio News Wednesday on the WHOW Morning Show, the coronavirus coming to Clinton and DeWitt County is not of grave concern for him at this time. He feels because the area doesn't have major gathering places, the likelihood of it spreading locally is small.
While the virus making it's way to central Illinois is not of great concern to him so far, there are other concerns for the hospital's leader. According to Skowron, the availability of basic supplies are something he is keeping an eye on.
To be proactive in dealing with any potential shortages, Skowron and his staff are trying to order supplies to not only have a surplus in the event of a shortage but also because of the possibility of supplies coming from China being contaminated.
Skowron credits national and world health organizations for their proactivity in educating the public about this outbreak and taking appropriate measures to keep the public safe.
The DeWitt County Board is considering changes in its zoning office in the future.
DeWitt County Board Chair David Newberg says the idea came from a recent chat he had with his colleague in Christian County, where they have combined their zoning administrator position and animal control position. He says the logistics wouldn't work for something like that in DeWitt County but it got him to thinking about how to make County government more efficient.
Zoning administrator Angie Sarver will retire at the end of the month and Newberg says the Board has decided to appoint an interim zoning administrator. DeeDee Rentmeister, who is the County's Administrator, will again take on the interim role. Something, as Newberg points out, she has done before.
Former Zoning Administrator, Mike Bradford, will step in as the interim field inspector. Newberg explains Bradford will only be required for a limit time during the week and is only offering his services for a short time while the County sorts out the Zoning office's future.
The County has 60 days to decide their course of action for the zoning office's future. Newberg says when you consider consolidation like this, you have to make sure there is a seamless offering of services within the County Building.
Making sure federal tax dollars get back into the local communities they come from for infrastructure improvements is the goal of Congressman Rodney Davis in 2020.
The Congressman is the lead Republican on the Highways and Transits Subcommittee in Congress and wants to focus on getting motor fuel tax dollars back to the communities they come from to help improve the nationwide crisis of crumbling infrastructure.
According to Congressman Davis, the gas tax hike from last summer allowed Illinois to diversify its infrastructure portfolio. He feels the State of Illinois did its job last year and now it is time for the Federal Government to step up and do theirs.
Many question if Illinois gas tax dollars will return to the communities they come from but Congressman Davis points out there was a Constitutional amendment a few years ago mandating the State of Illinois send those dollars back to the communities they originated from and not send them to other parts of the state budget.
A bankruptcy filing by national Boy Scouts organization isn’t impacting local units.
W.D. Boyce Council Scout Executive Lee Shaw says the local organization, which covers LaSalle and thirteen other Central Illinois counties, is its own entity financially.
The national group’s decision to file for bankruptcy comes amid a slew of sex abuse lawsuits – which some have said is an admission of guilt.
Shaw says the W.D. Boyce Council will continue moving forward with its program.
The council and local units are locally funded.
After giving testimony and advice to a federal lawmaker and state lawmaker a county clerk says the Automatic Voter Registration system should have more ways to check to see if the information they receive is correct.
Sangamon County Clerk Don Gray says an actual vote is backed up on paper so why not voter registrations.
The AVR program is still up and running. Grey says as far as he can tell it is no longer registering people to vote who aren’t.
When Illinois citizens vote for the President in November, whoever wins the state will take all 20 electoral votes. But a proposal in the Illinois House would like to change that.
Republican Rep. Tim Butler says he thinks that voters would like to see their choice more reflected in handing out Electoral College votes. Butler’s proposal says the candidate that wins a congressional district would be awarded one electoral vote and the overall winner of the state would take the two votes tied to the US Senators.
Currently, Maine and Nebraska split electoral votes. Butler’s bill has been sitting with little action and has no Democratic sponsors.
The coronavirus has been declared a global health emergency but that isn't impacting local travelers according to a central Illinois travel agency.
Tim Davis with Direct Travel says they have sent hundreds of travelers to various parts of the globe and so far the coronavirus is not deterring their customers from their plans.
Davis and Direct Travel are looking forward to an upcoming trip in August to Italy. Tuesday morning on the WHOW Morning show, he told Regional Radio News the coronavirus has not altered the plans for that trip to this point.
For anyone that signs up for this trip, Davis says if the trip gets canceled because of the coronavirus, they will be reimbursed their costs. He is hopeful in the next few months, more will be learned about this virus and measures can be taken to keep it from spreading.
Davis says travel agents will always keep the health and well-being of their customers as their highest priority when guiding them in travel decisions.
With the state mandating school districts to have student acceleration plans in place, many districts are working on or revamping theirs.
Curt Nettles, superintendent of Clinton school district, indicates Clinton schools have a basic acceleration plan similar to other school districts which provide them the ability to move a student up a grade level or early entry into kindergarten. Nettles says acceleration is a case by case basis and feels there are advantages to such a plan.
Nettles favors acceleration on a smaller level than grade skipping. He says he would like to see a more individualized approach to education to where if a student has mastered a concept then they are introduced to the next one.
Clinton teachers are currently trying to keep students engaged who may have mastered a concept already but Nettles points out, school districts, in general, are trying to break away from traditional schooling to best fit the needs of students today.
Nettles predicts the high schools of the future will have different approaches to education and opportunities for students than it currently does.
After spring-like weather over the weekend, much of Illinois is now bracing for winter weather. Zach Uttech is with the National Weather Service of the Quad Cities.
Winter storm watches have been issued for most parts of Illinois Monday night through Wednesday morning.
NEW LEGISLATION WOULD GIVE LOW INCOME PET OWNERS MORE HOUSING OPTIONS.
THE BILL LETS PEOPLE LIVING IN STATE SUBSIDIZED HOUSING KEEP A CAT OR A DOG, REGARDLESS OF THE ANIMAL’S SIZE, WEIGHT OR BREED. SENATOR LINDA HOLMES OF AURORA SAYS TOO MANY FAMILIES ARE HAVING TO GIVE UP THEIR BELOVED PETS WHEN THEY MOVE.
MOVING TO HOUSING THAT DOESN’T ALLOW PETS OR ONLY CERTAIN SIZES AND BREEDS OF DOGS AND CATS IS ONE OF THE TOP REASONS PEOPLE SURRENDER THEIR ANIMALS SAYS SHOSHANA MOSTOLLER WITH THE BELLEVILLE HUMANE SOCIETY.
HOLMES SAYS THERE IS CURRENTLY A SHORTAGE OF PET-FRIENDLY HOUSING IN ILLINOIS…AND THAT STUDIES SHOW TENANTS WITH PETS TEND TO STAY LONGER AND DON’T HAVE ANY MORE DAMAGE THEN THOSE WITHOUT DOGS OR CATS.
Congressman Rodney Davis held a Congressional listening session on the state’s problem with the Automatic Voter Registration Program Monday.
The Republican Congressman has been vocal about the problems with AVR. Two new state agencies that are part of AVR have yet to begin to register people to vote. Davis says hearing that the Illinois Department of Employment Security and Department of Professional Regulation are lagging the new state law is major disappointment.
The Illinois Department of Natural Resources has been slow in the rollout of the program, referring a few hundred people to the Department of Elections for registrations. A problem is that IDNR doesn’t have the capability to electronically capture a signature during voter registration.
Central Illinois residents will remember last summer when Clinton and Decatur St. Teresa High Schools were scrambling for early season opponents thanks to the rise in popularity of 8-man football.
Now a Piatt County district is on the ropes looking for a game and is leaving no stone unturned. Monticello Athletic Director Dan Sheehan indicates Champaign St. Thomas More recently decided to go to 8-man football leaving three Illini Prairie Conference schools in a bind scrambling for a ninth football opponent.
According to Sheehan, it's not an easy situation for schools who make the decision that is best for them ultimately hurt the opponents on their schedule. He says right now they are reaching far and wide for an opponent.
Sheehan is not limiting his search to Illinois schools. He has feelers out right now in Wisconsin, Kentucky, Indiana, and Iowa and says it would not be ideal to simply take a forfeit for their open week.
Monticello's 2020 football schedule opens with home games against Olympia and IVC. The Sages will play five home games next season.
DeWitt and Piatt County organizations are teaming up to teach youth about gardening.
Led by the Farmer City Library, the 'Little Roots' gardening program will engage organizations in DeWitt and Piatt County to teach kids about gardening. Director of the Farmer City Library, Amy Johnson says the program will center around Earth Day in April.
According to Johnson, the whole family is invited to participate and then take care of them during the growing season. She feels it will change the look of the front of their library.
DeWitt County 4-H was instrumental in bringing the program to the library. For anyone that may not have the ability to garden at home, Johnson feels it would be ideal for them.
Johnson says area residents should be soon receiving informational materials if they have not already. You can contact the Farmer City Library for more information by calling 309-928-9532 or by emailing email@example.com.
You can also get information by calling the University of Illinois Extension office in DeWitt County at 217-935-5764 or in Piatt County at 217-762-2191.
The City of Clinton is being more proactive about the census this time around.
City Administrator Tim Followell stresses the importance of filling out the census after a population loss was reported in the 2010 census. The City believes there was a counting error and wants to prevent that from happening again.
Followell notes tax money that comes to the city from the state level is based on population data. He points out the 'use tax' and motor fuel tax are two that come to mind that could have future implications based on accurate counts.
Money generated from the use tax is estimated to be $120 per person. While it may not seem like much, it adds up and Followell explains if you don't fill out the census, you can expect to have a visit from a census taker and asks residents to please answer their questions.
The City is among many entities exhausting a great number of resources to make sure everyone knows about the census. You can find more information on the census online at www.clintonillinois.com or visit the City of Clinton Facebook page.
If you are a parent in the Bement School district, the administration is inviting you to an informational meeting regarding vaping.
Superintendent Dr. Sheila Greenwood calls the vaping epidemic one of the worst public social health crises in American right now. Contrary to the word of the companies that make these materials, she believes they are targeting young people and so a meeting on February 26 will allow parents and community members to get a better grasp of what is at risk.
Vaping has become an increasingly bigger problem year-after-year for central Illinois school leaders, to the point many have integrated rules regarding city ordinances and fines to help curb the issue. Dr. Greenwood believes her district has made a lot of progress in curbing the issue thanks to simply raising awareness.
Dr. Greenwood believes giving their students the tools and information to make intelligent decisions goes a long way for a lot of students.
That meeting is this Wednesday night, February 26 from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm. Visit bement.k12.il.us for more information.
Saving for your future is the theme of this week as it is 'America Saves Week'.
Social Security is one of the many agencies leading the charge to help raise awareness about saving money and securing your financial future. Jack Myers indicates the Ameican Savings Education Council and America Saves coordinates the efforts that seeks to promote good savings behavior.
This week organizers are hoping individuals and families will assess their savings status and think about reviewing their plan for retirement.
No matter where you're at in life, it is never too late to start saving. Myers believes the mentality of working until you die isn't a great strategy.
Social Security has lots of tools available online to help individuals and families start the process of saving or even take the next step in their journey. Visit americasavesweek.org, socialsecurity.gov/panners/retire or socialsecurity.gov/people for numerous resources and literature.
ILLINOIS SENATORS ARE DISCUSSING THE PROS AND CONS OF 5-G TECHNOLOGY.
SUPPORTERS SAY 5-G INFRASTRUCTURE WILL ADD JOBS, ATTRACT BUSINESSES AND DRASTICALLY SPEED UP DATA TRANSFERS. BETH COOLEY WITH A GROUP REPRESENTING THE WIRELESS COMMUNICATIONS INDUSTRIES SAYS STUDIES HAVE SHOW THAT 5-G CAN HELP SAVE LIVES.
SENATOR SUZY GLOWIAK HILTON OF WESTERN SPRINGS SAYS RESIDENTS IN HER DISTRICT ARE CONCERNED ABOUT 5-G AND ARE CALLING FOR FURTHER STUDY OF THE TECHNOLOGY.
The newly free Rod Blagojevich spent about 20 minutes talking to reporters and an assembled crowd outside his house yesterday.
He railed against his long prison term and harsh conditions that he was kept in while in federal custody. Blagojevich says the current criminal justice system is rigged, racist and corrupt. He says now that he’s out he is going to fight to fix the system.
Blagojevich says that no one in the history of the United States has done more to reform the criminal justice system than President Donald Trump and his son in law Jared Kushner.
STATE LEADERS ARE HONORING BLACK HISTORY MONTH IN ILLINOIS.
OFFICIALS ARE CELEBRATING THE WORK OF LOCAL AFRICAN AMERICAN COACHES, VOLUNTEERS, MENTORS, SCHOOL PRINCIPALS AND MORE. GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER SAYS ILLINOIS HAS TIES TO THE CELEBRATORY MONTH.
AMONG THOSE CELEBRATING THE ACHIEVEMENTS OF AFRICAN AMERICANS ARE SECRETARY OF STATE JESSE WHITE, GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER AND COMPTROLLER SUSANA MENDOZA.
OFFICIALS ARE HOLDING CEREMONIES RECOGNIZING LOCAL BLACK ILLINOISANS WHO HAVE GIVEN TO THEIR COMMUNITY, MENTORED KIDS AND MORE.
Area fire departments are celebrating another successful Daytona 500 fundraiser at the Clinton Eagles lodge from this past week.
Clinton Fire Chief Jeff Hoke explains the annual event raised around $37,000. The Eagles host the annual event every year that involves community members from all over DeWitt County.
The money will be split between the Clinton, Kenney and Wapella Fire Departments. According to Chief Hoke, the Daytona Fundraiser is another source of revenue for their training facility on Cain Street.
Hoke thanks The Eagles and everyone that participates in the annual fundraiser to make it the success it is. He also thanks the community for continuing to support their efforts at the facility on Cain Street.
Farmer City will begin renovations to the city pool this spring.
Sue McLaughlin, Farmer City Administrator, indicates the pool needs new gutters and a new lining. She notes they will also add a new slide, a splash feature, and shade umbrellas.
McLaughlin says the renovations will be completed later this year and will be good for Farmer City considering a large number of visitors from out of town.
GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER WANTS TO MAKE SURE ALL “COLLEGE ILLINOIS” ACCOUNT HOLDERS GET THEIR TUITION MONEY.
THE COLLEGE ILLINOIS PROGRAM ISN’T ACCEPTING ANY NEW CONTRACTS BECAUSE OF CONCERNS THERE WON’T BE ENOUGH MONEY TO FULFILL EXISTING COMMITMENTS. BUT IN HIS BUDGET PLAN, GOVERNOR PRITZKER PROPOSED DEDICATING 27 MILLION DOLLARS FOR THAT PURPOSE. HE SAYS IT’S A START.
COLLEGE ILLINOIS HAS A MORE THAN 300 MILLION DOLLAR DEFICIT SO THE GOVERNOR SAYS THIS FUNDING WILL HAVE TO CONTINUE EACH YEAR TO HELP MAKE THAT UP.
THE PROGRAM LET FAMILIES PRE-PAY THEIR CHILD’S FUTURE COLLEGE TUITION TO HELP AVOID BIG COST INCREASES LATER, BUT THE PROGRAM SUFFERED AS TUITION INCREASES OUTPACED INVESTMENT RETURNS.
THE MEASURE IS SPONSORED BY REPRESENTATIVE JENNIFER GONG-GERSHOWITZ OF GLENVIEW WHO SAYS ONE-THIRD OF MEDICATIONS GO UNUSED, AND OFTEN END UP IN THE HANDS OF ADDICTS OR ARE FLUSHED DOWN THE TOILET AND HARM THE ENVIRONMENT. SHE SAYS THE ILLINOIS DRUG TAKE BACK ACT WILL CHANGE THAT.
THE BILL CALLS ON DRUG MANUFACTURERS TO FUND A COLLECTION EFFORT ACROSS THE STATE, AND TO EDUCATE THE PUBLIC ABOUT WHY MEDICATIONS NEED TO BE DISPOSED OF PROPERLY.
SEVERAL LOCAL COMMUNITIES, INCLUDING CLINTON, CURRENTLY OFFER DRUG TAKE BACK PROGRAMS THRU LOCAL LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCIES.
Address constituents is a January theme for leaders like the President and the Governor and a local school leader decided to take on that same theme last month.
Superintendent of Warrensburg-Latham Schools Dr. Kristen Kendrick-Weikle created a video update of the state of the schools and pushed it out on social media for her communities to see. She updated the community on what the district is doing in terms of social and emotional learning.
The challenge of not having kids that feel like they have perseverance or grit was also a part of Dr. Kendrick-Weikle's address and outlining a plan for kids at school and what parents cand do at home.
Dr. Kendrick-Weikle indicates for community members that are interested in portions of the things she discussed in her State of the School, they can find a lot of that information on the district's website and if they have questions, she welcomes input and questions.
A long-sought and hoped-for improvements to the intersection of Illinois Route 32 and Bruce-Findlay Road, near Sullivan.
The intersection has often been the site of traffic accidents over the years that included the loss of life. The last fatal crash occurred in September of 2019. Two lives were lost. State Senator Chapin Rose discussed the improvements Wednesday.
While an agreement exists to make the intersection a four-way stop, no time table has been announced to add stop signs to the intersection’s north-south approach.
The Illinois Farm Bureau offering a reaction to Governor J.B. Pritzker’s budget address. Kevin Semlow is the organization’s director of state legislation.
The state’s fiscal year runs July 1 to June 30th.
Republican lawmakers continue to push back against the Governor’s plan to hold back about a billion and a half dollars in possible state spending this upcoming fiscal year. The Governor wants the reserve to come as he waits to see if voters approve his push for a graduated income tax.
Republican Rep. Avery Bourne says school funding shouldn’t be tied to getting voters to approve a tax increase on some residents.
Bourne says this will force schools to come up with final budgets before they know how much revenue they will have to spend. She wants to see a budget that meets the minimum funding level and doesn’t depend on a change to the income tax formula. She says that can be done with natural growth in tax revenues.
March 18 at 6:30 pm at Clinton High School is the date for a vote on the special use permit for the Alta Farms II Wind Farm special use permit application for a wind farm in the northwest corner of DeWitt County.
Board Chair David Newberg made the executive decision Thursday night at the DeWitt County Board meeting. Clinton High School is available March 18, April 1 and April 8 and Newberg felt getting the vote done as soon as possible was the best course of action.
The date hinges on County Board members receiving transcripts from the Zoning Board of Appeals month-long hearings by March 4, so they have two weeks to review. The timeline is aggressive and State's Attorney Dan Markwell says if they don't come by that date, the meeting cannot be held March 18.
It has been two weeks since the ZBA hearings wrapped up and Newberg wants to make sure a meeting date is set if the transcripts are acquired by March 4.
The meeting will be held again at the Clinton High School auditorium.
Also at the Thursday night Clinton Board of Education meeting:
>>The Board approved roadwork for County Highway 1 for $34,000.
>>The Board approved updating server storage at the County Courthouse
>>County Clerk Dana Smith's office is seeking to upgrade the software and hardware for the voter registration system through a grant and that was approved Thursday for just short of $27,000 or no more than the portion reimbursed by the grant.
>>The Board approved DeeDee Rentmeister as the interim zoning administrator and Mike Bradford as the temporary zoning field inspector.
Perhaps you have received a knock on your door for the Clinton Fire Department's annual community canvasing fundraising campaign?
The effort is two for the department. Fire Chief Jeff Hoke says the department will canvas the community to make sure every home has operating and up-to-date smoke detectors and if residents are so inclined, they will ask for a donation to help fund the continued work on their training facility on Cain Street.
The Clinton Fire Department has used the training facility as the focus of most of their fundraising in the last few years. Chief Hoke says it will be a great asset to them but also surrounding communities for training.
Chief Hoke estimates the training facility is about 75-percent complete. Additionally, the Fire Department is coming off a very successful annual Daytona fundraiser at The Eagles over the weekend. We'll have more on that this weekend on Regional Radio News.
Illinois State Climatologist Trent Ford has plenty of information to track as the spring flooding season draws near.
Ford is now in his six month at Illinois State Climatologist.
Gov. JB Pritzker proposed a $40.7 billion state budget during his annual budget address Wednesday afternoon.
He dressed it up by dangling the prospect of a $1.4 billion revenue boost if voters approve a radical income-tax overhaul this fall. State Rep. Dan Brady is concerned about the idea of assuming there is money that is not there yet.
Illinois voters will vote on a progressive income tax system in November that would overhaul the current tax structure.
After a year of major overhauls and new taxes by Illinois Democrats, a local lawmaker is critical of the idea of more taxes for Illinois residents.
State Sen. Chapin Rose says there was a lot to like about the Governor's budget address but is concerned if there will ever be enough money for Illinois Democrats.
Illinois residents will vote on a progressive tax system in November that would overhaul the current income tax system in Illinois.
Just because the Governor is a Democrat that doesn’t mean his budget address arrives with full support from others in his party.
State Senator Heather Steans says she has shared priorities with the Governor, including rate increases for Medicaid providers. But she wants to see funding of the new education funding formula to continue to be directed to where it’s currently going.
The constitutional amendment that Steans is talking about is the possible November approval by voters of a graduated income tax. Pritzker touted it during the speech as a way of increasing educational spending.
With crucial elections happening in all corners of the country, central Illinois Congressman Rodney Davis has introduced federal legislation to make sure military members and their family's voices are heard.
Congressman Davis this month introduced the Counting All Military Votes Act corrects an issue allowing a military family member's absentee ballot to be sent with the same urgency as a military member.
Davis says the bill has bipartisan support and notes, impeachment held up its passage and with elections coming up, he looks forward to its passage and sending it on to the Senate, then to the President's desk.
Illinois Governor JB Pritzker addressed the Illinois General Assembly for the second time this year for this annual budget address.
The Governor Wednesday addressed resuming contributions to the State's rainy day fund and the pension system. Governor Pritzker wants to commit to $100-million in contributions to the rainy day fund in the next 16 months.
Not only does the Governor want to make full contributions to the pension system, but he also wants to "go above-and-beyond" the full payment. He says the passage of a progressive income tax system would allow them to do this.
The Governor used his address Wednesday to promote a November vote on the progressive income tax system in Illinois. Governor Pritzker believes this would shift the burden of shoring up Illinois' fiscal mess.
Governor Pritzker spent a good amount of his address focusing on Illinois' young people and investing back in them. MAP grant funding, student mental health investments, and additional staff for DCFS were some of the Governor's targets with his budget address. He discussed his plans to make what he called historic investments into K-12 education.
Additional revenues for 2020 will come from gambling expansion and marijuana sales. The Governor predicts marijuana sales will result in $46-million in revenue.
Governor Pritzker says the Fiscal Year '21 budget will save $225-million in taxpayer money and believes it will make Illinois and Illinoisans stronger.
The Governor discussed creating a school violence prevention tip line. He also is committed to working with Chicago officials to bring a casino to the city.
School leaders across the country are becoming increasingly aware of students' inability to deal with adversity and local school leaders are starting to weigh in on this phenomenon.
Warrensburg-Latham Schools leader Dr. Kristen Kendrick-Weikle recently began a series of social media discussion groups surrounding this and Wednesday on the WHOW Morning Show, Superintendent of Clinton Schools Curt Nettles offered his thoughts on the situation. He believes it stems from the mentality of everyone gets a trophy.
Many school leaders believe children should learn to deal with the adversity that comes with failure. Like many, Nettles says these should be small failures but recognizes it can be a fine balance of stepping in to fix mistakes and letting them fail.
Eliminating irrecoverable failure has to be removed from the equation in a lot of learning environments for kids according to Nettles. He believes kids need to have the opportunity to fail but then try again to master what they are working towards.
Nettles believes kids need to be brave enough to try new things, fail and then try again learning from their misfortune.
Fresh out of prison former Governor Rod Blagojevich held a press conference outside of his home today. It was a circus atmosphere with people holding signs and walking around in blago masks.
Blagojevich appeared in front of microphones with a now very grey head of hair – far from the way he used to appear in public. Blagojevich wasn’t contrite for the crimes he was convicted of.
Blagojevich says his future now is to fight for others who have been sentenced to overly harsh prison sentences.
Clemency for Rod Blagojevich. President Donald Trump commuted the prison sentence for the former Governor. Trump said on an airport tarmac that he felt Blago’s sentence was too harsh and it was time for his children to see him more.
Blagojevich was originally scheduled to serve 14 years in prison. The 63-year-old former Governor was being held in a federal penitentiary in Colorado. His actual release date from prison is still unknown but it’s expected to happen fairly quickly.
If you have been thinking about taking up a new hobby but need some advice before getting started, a Clinton entity is hosting what is becoming a trendy event around the country.
How-to events are growing in popularity and Clinton's Warner Library is hosting a 'how-to' event Saturday, March 7 from 1 pm to 3 pm. Library Business Manager Samantha Rusk says they'll have local experts on things beekeeping, building a family tree or even playing the ukulele.
There will be 20-plus stations set and up Rusk says if you spend 10 minutes at these stations, you'll walk away with the basics for developing a new skill or a hobby. Rusk says local business leaders and hobbyists will walk you through a variety of new skills.
The event is free and will offer refreshments at the library with door prizes throughout the two-hour event.
You can get a full schedule by stopping by the library at 310 North Quincy Street in Clinton or calling 217-935-5174.
Former Governor Rod Blagojevich is already out of prison. The ex-gov was released from his Colorado confinement last night and flew home from Denver to Chicago.
The reaction to his release has been strong on both sides of the isle in Springfield. Republicans are upset and Democrats are too. Senate President Don Harmon says Blagojevich should have served out his entire prison sentence.
Blagojevich is planning a press conference today to make some of his first public statements after leaving prison.
Republicans are ready to work with the Governor again on a balanced budget.
House GOP Leader Jim Durkin says he wants to hear the Governor’s budget plans that again realize both Republican and Democrat priorities. Durkin says that the budget passed last year is proving to not only be balanced but one that is running a surplus. As budget-making begins in the next few weeks he wants the Governor to focus on the amount of tax revenue the state currently has and not to look forward to a possible influx of cash from a graduated income tax.
The Governor gives his budget address today at noon at the statehouse.
Today Governor JB Pritzker will lay out his spending plans today at noon.
It’s time for his annual budget address and Pritzker says the budget-making process is an ongoing one to find the most efficient way to spend tax dollars. Pritzker did ask agency heads to identify possible cuts to six percent of spending if needed. Pritzker isn’t expected to layout a sharply reduced budget today but he says it’s always good to prepare if a cut to state spending is needed.
The Governor will make his budget address today at noon. Hear his address on The Big 1520 AM, 92.3 FM/106.5 FM WHOW, online at dewittdailynews.com, at the WHOW mobile app and at Amazon Alexa.
State lawmakers are reacting to the President commuting the sentence of former Governor Rod Blagojevich. House Minority Leader Jim Durkin says he strongly disagrees with the move and there are more deserving people to released from federal prison than the ex-Governor.
Durkin says as Blago is being released the pressure is on at the State House to stop the kind of corruption and back room dealing that sent him to prison.
When the Clinton City Council convenes in for the first time in March, playground equipment for a Clinton Park will be on the agenda for approval.
Monday morning on the WHOW Morning Show, City Administrator Tim Followell reminded residents Downey Park's playground recently fell under disrepair earlier this year and had to be taken off.
The new park equipment will have taller, enclosed slides and rubber chips surrounding it. Followell says residents in the community will greatly enjoy what they have planned.
The equipment is big enough to hold 60 kids at a time and Followell says it will be purchased brand new for just over $61-thousand.
Monday night at the Clinton City Council meeting, Followell put a call for local first responders to join them in a community build day since the park is home to the first responders memorial at the corner of West South Street and Southeast Park Street. He is targeting the summer as when they host the community build day.
Mahomet-Seymour schools recently revealed their acceleration plan to parents.
Dr. Lindsey Hall, Mahomet-Seymour Superintendent, indicates as a result of legislation made effective in the summer of 2018, school districts in Illinois were required to have programs set in place for acceleration. Dr. Hall says they introduced the acceleration plan to interested parents at a recent meeting.
Dr. Hall notes acceleration is handled on a case by case basis as each student has different needs. There are many things to take into consideration when determining if acceleration is right for the student.
According to Dr. Hall, meeting students where they are at is not just an academic effort. She says schools are now asked to intervene with students in matters of social, emotional and mental wellness and those efforts also take differ on a case-by-case basis.
A very important date for ag producers is looming, but a meeting tonight (TUE) in Clinton is set to provide some insight for local producers. Jared White has more...
OUT (Optional): Once again, that free outlook meeting takes place tonight at 6:30p at the Richland Education Center in Clinton.
Get out and get counted is the message from area leaders as the latest US Census approaches this spring.
Monday night at the Clinton City Council meeting, City Administrator Tim Followell says it is very important for everyone to participate in this census. He believes Clinton, Illinois was under-counted in the last census and there's a lot at stake this time around.
The Bloomington area received a grant to continue the push for raising awareness. Followell indicates while that doesn't mean dollars for Clinton, they do receive information brochures and flyers. Additionally, there are several local entities making sure residents are aware of the census and have access to getting themselves counted.
Groups like Community Action and the City of Farmer City have been proactive in making people aware of the census and promoting the impacts it has on them. While locally there are federal dollars at stake in this census for governments and non-profits, the State of Illinois is also facing losing Congressional representation if counts come in low.
This week is all about grain bin safety and the dangers they present to farmers. State Representative Dan Brady is the sponsor of House Resolution 621, which declares February 16th through the 22nd Grain Bin Safety Week in Illinois.
Brady says farmworkers risk their lives when they enter large grain bins.
According to researchers at Purdue University, more than 900 cases of grain engulfment have been reported with a fatality rate of 62 percent in the past 50 years.
The renovations to the Clinton YMCA's entryway are currently on schedule.
The Youth and Adult Sports Director David Torbert indicates the drywall is up and is now ready to get shaped to the new lobby layout. Torbert notes they are not adding on to the lobby, they are just making more use of the space. He thanks Waters Construction for the work they have done so far.
Torbert says the project is being fully funded through endowment funds. The project is set to be completed by the end of March and is currently running according to schedule.
Torbert indicates for the time being they are using the 24 access door as the main entry into the building. The front desk is currently in the community room. Torbert thanks all of the staff and patrons for helping to make the transition smooth.
The main lobby is set to reopen at the end of March.
The Illinois beef industry takes center stage later this week. Illinois Beef Expo 2020 is Thursday through Sunday at the state fairgrounds in Springfield.
The Illinois Livestock Development Group's Nic Anderson says you can find a complete schedule at "illinoisbeefexpo.com".
Most, if not all in the Ag industry, would agree that 2019 was a rough year. In fact, for many, 2018 and 2017 weren’t much better. However, according to a variety of surveys and polls, many in farm country are feeling more positive about the road the Ag industry is on in 2020. But one economist says he’s not looking at 2020, but well beyond.
Nathan Kauffman economist for the Federal Reserve says it’s not the next 12 months that have the lion share of his focus…
Kauffman says if the farm economy as a whole does not see some changes for the positive between now and 2025, stress and pressures will continue to build, requiring a much larger correction. So, what happens if things don’t turn around in the next five years? Kauffman had one word; consolidation…
And Kauffman anticipates if the farm economy does not turn around in the coming years, it will continue be the mid-sized farm that feels the greatest pressure.
No injuries were reported in a Monday afternoon garbage truck rollover in Clinton.
The accident occurred around 4 pm Monday at US 51/US 54 intersection.
While responders being on the scene, a Clinton Fire engine was clipped by a vehicle at US 51 and Kleemann Drive. Units were dispatched for that accident and no injuries were reported in that incident.
Units from the DeWitt County Sheriff's Office, Clinton Police, Clinton Fire Department, and DeWitt County EMS officials were all on scene.
Crews were on the scene until just before 7 pm.
Clinton Elementary School students are in the middle of the annual DARE program led by Clinton Police Chief Ben Lowers and School Resource Officer Mike Bennett.
According to Chief Lowers, the first few weeks of the program are an introduction to their topics and then they move right into heavy topics like the impacts of drinking and drugs on young people.
The DARE program broaches some heavy subjects like drinking and drugs and bullying and the Chief indicates while one might think it might be tough to talk to students about those subjects, he says the kids are very open and willing to even talk about their situations.
While the program teaches the students great life lessons about drugs, alcohol, bullying, and relationships, the Chief continues to tout its benefits of exposing the youth to positive interactions with uniformed police officers.
As the kids get into junior high and high school, they will then be introduced to Officer Bennett's self-awareness course. Chief Lowers says the first DARE class Bennett led has been taking his self-awareness class at the junior high level this semester.
While the City of Clinton and County of DeWitt transition to a new emergency alert system for residents, Farmer City is maintaining its partnership with Code Red.
Code Red was the former system Clinton and DeWitt County emergency officials used for mass notifications and Farmer City Administrator Sue McLaughlin says Farmer City's partnership with Code Red is independent of those two entities.
McLaughlin explains Farmer City has a good working relationship with the DeWitt County EMA office but feels the Code Red system meets the needs of their community.
You can get more registered for the Code Red system in Farmer City by visiting cityoffarmercity.org and follow the link at the top of their page. McLaughlin says registration is easy and options for alerts are customizable as well.
A Maroa-Forsyth art teacher's work is on display at the Decatur Area Arts Council's location in downtown Decatur.
Michelle Sendy's work was revealed in the Council's main gallery at a special event earlier this month. The exhibit, called "In Flux" offers many different perspectives and Executive Director Jerry Johnson their unveiling also featured work of some her students.
According to Sendy, she had enough art for an exhibit but created some pieces especially for the gallery. She was excited to receive the DAAC's call back in the fall.
Sendy's lobbying to allow her student's work to be on display the opening night of her gallery unveiling was a good opportunity for them to see her work and to get the community involved.
You can check out Sendy's work at the Decatur Area Arts Council's main gallery Monday through Friday from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm, then Saturdays from 10 am to 2 pm.
SUPPORTERS OF COLLEGE STUDENT ATHLETE LEGISLATION ARE URGING THE SENATE TO GET IT PASSED NEXT WEEK.
THE BILL LETS COLLEGE ATHLETES BE PAID FOR THEIR NAME OR LIKENESS AND ALLOW THEM TO SIGN ENDORSEMENT DEALS. IT’S SPONSORED BY SENATOR CHRIS WELCH OF HILLSIDE.
MILWAUKEE BUCKS GUARD STERLING BROWN IS BACKING THE MEASURE…WHICH LETS COLLEGE ATHLETES SIGN ENDORSEMENT DEALS AND EARN MONEY FROM USE OF THEIR NAME OF IMAGE. HE SAYS IT’S ESPECIALLY GOOD FOR STUDENTS WHO MIGHT NOT MAKE IT TO THE PROS.
THE MEASURE HAS CLEARED THE HOUSE BUT STILL NEEDS TO BE PASSED BY THE SENATE. GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER HAS SAID HE WILL SIGN IT INTO LAW.
More people seem to understand that it’s the law says you need to move over for stopped vehicles on the side of the road. That goes for a broken down car, first responders on an accident or a police officer handling a traffic stop.
Last year three Illinois State Police Troopers were killed by vehicle traffic and following those tragic accidents the ISP and others stepped up enforcement of the “move over law”. ISP Director Brendan Kelly says the public is slowly getting the message but more needs to be done to get bad habits to change.
Kelly says there has been a greater than 700 percent increase in the number of move over violations written this year compared to last year.
The state says there are 40,000 people incarcerated in Illinois prisons and another 20,000 in jails. Lt Governor Juliana Stratton says as she and the Pritzker administration work on criminal justice reforms they want to help lower those populations by eliminating cash bail.
Stratton says she’s talked to people sitting in jail for no other reason than they can’t raise the money to get out before awaiting a trial.
Opponents want to know that public safety won’t be put at risk if cash bail is eliminated and want to know that people will still show up for court to face charges.
Schools are annually audited by the State of Illinois and Clinton Schools received high marks in their annual audit.
Superintendent Curt Nettles says the audit turned up some good suggestions but more importantly their financial profile received a perfect four-point-oh. Nettles believes that it is worth recognizing.
According to Nettles, the district can reach out to their auditors throughout the year with any questions that arise. He says it is a good working relationship.
The audit is available for public inspection at the unit office.
Ahead of a budget address next week Governor JB Pritzker is touting his efforts to save hundreds of millions of dollars. The Democrat says he’s identified a number of efficiencies for the next fiscal year that will save the state $225 million and more than $750 million over three years. One of Pritzker’s idea is to merge two government agencies.
Pritzker specifically says that the Department of Revenue will generate $15 million in savings by improving audits and the Office of Management and Budget worked to better prioritize the payment of long-overdue medical bills, saving the state $15 million in interest penalties this past year and more than $25 million next year.
Hear the Governor's budget address Wednesday at noon on The Big 1520 AM/92.3 FM/106.5 FM WHOW, online at dewittdailynews.com, at the WHOW mobile app and at Amazon Alexa.
While most of the school districts in the area are going green by going off the grid and connecting to solar power, one district is taking extra strives to provide services that keep the air clean.
District 210 in the small village of Williamsfield is one of seven school districts that are part of the Central Illinois Bus-to-Grid Initiative. The initiative is seeking grant money from a settlement between the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency and Edwards power plant, totaling $8.6 million, to purchase electric buses and get off of buses that use diesel fuel.
District 210 Superintendent, Tim Farquer, says there are three prongs to the initiative.
The other school districts that are part of the initiative are the Farmington, Elmwood, Dunlap, Hollis, North Pekin, and Marquette Heights as well as one municipality — the City of Pekin.
The bill to allow college students to profit off their likeness and sign endorsement deals is waiting to be voted on in the Illinois Senate. Democrat Chris Welch says the bill passed by an overwhelming margin and now it’s time for the Senate to do their job and pass the bill on to the Governor.
The Student Athlete Endorsement Act Welch says is a matter of fairness.
Valentine's Day ended up being the coldest day of the year so far but things should turn rather quickly in Illinois. State Climatologist Trent Ford has the details.....
Students at Clinton High School who are seeking out scholarship opportunities are encouraged to review a database of all available scholarships.
Principle Jerry Wayne indicates the decision was made a few years to take all the scholarship information online. He says with how much students and parents rely on instant information, they felt that would be a great way to allow everyone access.
Visit the URL - chsguidancedept.weebly.com/scholarships.html for the latest in scholarship information.
When the Monticello Sages boys basketball team walks off the floor after tomorrow night's contest at Robert and Dorothy Miller Gymnasium, it will be the last time they do so before moving into the Arthur 'Buzz' Sievers Center next winter.
Superintendent Dr. Vic Zimmerman says it will certainly be the end of a great era of sports and activities in the gym.
'Buzz' as folks around Monticello affectionately refer to Sievers as, was honored by the recognition of having the gym named after him, although never seeking out the attention as Dr. Zimmerman points out, 'Buzz' does everything for the district because of his passion for the community and the kids.
The new Arthur 'Buzz' Sievers Center will feature a nice, new hardwood floor with the Monticello 'M' in the middle and Sages graphics around the gym. Dr. Zimmerman says the trends of floors have been fluid the last several years but now it seems the trend is a solid, single color so they will follow that trend.
Hear Saturday's finale at Miller Gym on 95.9 FM WEZC and online at dewittdailynews.com when Monticello's boy's basketball team hosts Decatur St. Teresa for senior night. Game time is 6 pm.
Congressman Rodney Davis says the aftermath of the impeachment of President Donald Trump will have both short-term and long-term impacts on Washington, D.C.
Thursday morning on the WHOW Morning Show, Congressman Davis says his biggest takeaway is the fact Democrats opened up the opportunity for partisan impeachments in the future.
In the short term, Congressman Davis believes Democrats missed an opportunity to utilize their opportunity with the majority in the House because they were focused on impeaching the President for three years.
According to Davis, the success of President Trump is being shown in the status of the economy and the overall happiness of Americans.
Davis hopes with the impeachment trials behind the country, lawmakers can move forward on several bipartisan pieces of legislation, some proposed by Davis.
The Illinois State Police say that they have ramped up efforts to revoke FOID cards and collect firearms from Illinois citizens who have committed criminal activity that would invalidate them from owning a fire arm in Illinois.
The ISP is doing this after it was learned that a mass shooter who should have had his card revoked and his firearms reposed, killed five people in Aurora last year. ISP Director Brendan Kelly says they are actively working details where FOID cards are revoked and firearms are turned over or given to lawful recipients.
Kelly says it’s just not ISP conducting the revocations, law enforcement from around the state are helping out.
STATE LAWMAKERS ARE DISCUSSING CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORMS…SUCH AS ENDING CASH BAIL IN ILLINOIS.
AT A HEARING IN CHICAGO, LEGISLATORS HEARD FROM SEVERAL PEOPLE ABOUT HOW TO IMPROVE THE JUSTICE SYSTEM. LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR JULIANA STRATTON IS PUSHING TO ELIMINATE CASH BOND.
DUPAGE COUNTY STATE’S ATTORNEY ROBERT BERLIN SAYS THERE ARE CONCERNS ABOUT LETTING PEOPLE OFF WITHOUT A CASH BOND IN PLACE.
BERLIN AND OTHER STATE’S ATTORNEYS SAY THERE SHOULD STILL BE BAIL FOR SERIOUS FELONY CRIMES AND BOTH THE DEFENDANT AND THE STATE SHOULD BE ABLE TO IMMEDIATELY APPEAL A JUDGE’S DECISION.
The Illinois Department of Agriculture set to usher in another Illinois Products Expo.
The department’s Erin Cleary says the 2020 event is March 7 and 8 at the Orr Building on the Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield.
US Senator Dick Durbin says veterans and other students are being harmed by a Trump Administration rule that will protect for profit universities and cost students their educational investment. Durbin says students at for profit universities are at times mislead that the GI Bill will cover the entire cost of their education; find that credits don’t always transfer and are misled about job prospects after graduation.
Durbin says a vote is coming to overturn the Department of Education’s Borrower Defense Rule. A rule that he says makes it all but impossible for former students to hold for profit colleges accountable for misleading educational claims. Durbin says he hopes that Republicans in the Senate will listen to veterans groups about the real cost of defrauding them.
Durbin says borrowers are supposed to be able to use an existing law to fight to get their money back but the new rule by the Administration goes against what Congress intended.
Both of Illinois Senators are standing up against the President having powers to declare war against Iran. Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth both voted in support of a measure that makes it clear only Congress can declare war or authorize specific hostilities against a country.
Duckworth says weeks ago when the President Trump allowed for an attack on Iran he overstepped his authority to wage war.
The 55 – 45 vote comes as the President is likely to veto the bill.
A teen center in Clinton is inviting the youth of DeWitt County and surrounding communities to join them at their center in downtown Clinton.
Tammy Wilson, executive director for the Vault, indicates they are wanting students from surrounding communities to visit the Vault. She says with a lack of similar programming in the area, other students could benefit from the Vault.
Wilson notes they currently have a few students from Maroa-Forsyth attending and encourages more to check out the Vault. Students at the Vault recently filmed a video highlighting all of the services the Vault offers to students. Wilson says they hope to get the video shown in Maroa-Forsyth, Deland-Weldon, and Heyworth schools.
To learn more about the Vault, visit their Facebook page, www.thevaultclinton.org, or call (217) 934-4003, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Clinton high school seniors have the opportunity to apply for various scholarships administered by the Clinton Community Education Foundation.
CCEF board member Russell Long indicates they administer four different scholarships students can apply for: the Vincent Beggs Scholarship, James Adcock Teacher Scholarship, Gerald Ryan Scholarship, and the Excelon Clinton Power Station Scholarship.
Board member Kim Toohill notes each scholarship has specific characteristics that they are looking for in applicants. They are not just seeking students with the highest grades. Toohill says the application process consists of filling out an application, submitting a letter of recommendation, participating in an interview, and in the case of the Beggs scholarship submitting a video essay.
Applications for the scholarships are due on March 6. For the application forms visit www.ccef15.org or contact the Clinton High School Guidance Office.
A Western Illinois state lawmaker has booked a series of meetings over a single day to discuss rising farmland assessments. Recently, many farmers across Illinois were surprised to find their assessments rising...
State Representative Swanson will hold three meetings on Farm Assessments over a single day, March 2nd, in Knox, Bureau and Henry County.
The Secretary of State says that the AVR program is fixed and only people that should be allowed to be registered to vote will be. But the problems with non-citizens being registered and early registrations being sent for 16 year olds has shaken some of the trust in the election system says Sangamon County Clerk Don Gray. He says problems with AVR, the debacle with the Iowa Caucus all comes at time when more confidence needs to be instilled in the electoral system.
Early voting is underway in Illinois and the in person primary is on March 17th
A first of its kind event is coming to the Clinton community on Friday.
Mike Lovett indicates he is hosting a murder mystery dinner theater at The Abagail in Clinton. Lovett says he was inspired by dinner theater shows on the East Coast and decided to try it in central Illinois.
Lovett had tremendous support from the community so far. Love It Once More, Ophelia's, Clintonia Eagle Theatre, Coffee Corner, and the YMCA have all sponsored prizes to be given out at the end of the night. He wanted to create a collaborative effort among local businesses.
Eight actors from the community involved in the show. The dinner is worked into the plot of the show, and Lovett points out the show is very interactive with the audience.
Lovett indicates the show is soldout and believes it is due to the small business aspect of the event. He indicates watch the Abagail's Facebook page for details about future murder mystery dinners.
More snow is on the way in central Illinois and local authorities are weighing in to make sure everyone makes it through safely.
Rain and snow will usher in snowfall that will result in several inches of accumulation by the morning hours Thursday and Clinton Police Chief Ben Lowers reminds the public to use extreme caution if any travel is necessary, but advises staying home if travel is not necessary.
Whether it is this current weather event or future events, Chief Lowers implores the public to not use the DeWitt County dispatch center as an avenue for finding out road conditions. He points the public to gettingaroundillinois.com for the latest in road conditions reports.
Once the snow leaves the area, the first significant freeze of the winter will settle in on central Illinois for a short while as temperatures drop into the single digits and even below zero. Chief Lowers reminds pet owners to get any outdoor animals inside.
The Chief hopes the public will keep an eye on those elderly neighbors, friends and family members who may be shut in during these times and make sure they have heat sources that are reliable and plenty of water as well.
Students who want to pursue an engineering career in southern DeWitt and Logan Counties or Macon Counties are invited to apply for a scholarship from the Central Illinois Chapter of the Illinois Society of Professional Engineers.
The Society's Willard Sudduth explains they are looking for the best of the best. He indicates candidates should be accepted into an engineering college or junior college with an ACT score of at least 28 or an SAT equivalent.
Applicants must reside within Macon, Moultrie, Piatt, Shelby and the southern parts of DeWitt and Logan Counties. Sudduth says the northern portion of their chapter cuts off in those counties.
Students interested in applying for this scholarship for $1,500 should submit a brief resume. Sudduth indicates this should include their school activities, any leadership roles in those clubs or groups, along with any awards as well as a transcript with their ACT or SAT scores and a one-page composition expressing their interest in engineering.
AS VALENTINE’S DAY APPROACHES, ILLINOIS ATTORNEY GENERAL KWAME RAOUL’S OFFICE IS WARNING THE PUBLIC ABOUT ROMANCE RELATED SCAMS.
CON ARTISTS HAVE BEEN KNOWN TO TARGET PEOPLE THROUGH DATING WEBSITES, APPS AND SOCIAL MEDIA, PURPORTING TO NEED MONEY SO THEY CAN TRAVEL TO SEE THE VICTIM. ATTORNEY GENERAL SPOKESPERSON ANNIE THOMPSON HAS THIS ADVICE.
SHE URGES PEOPLE TO CONFIRM THE IDENTITY OF THE PERSON THEY ARE SPEAKING TO ONLINE.
THOMPSON SAYS A FEW OTHER ONLINE AND PHONE SCAMS ARE ALSO CIRCULATING, WHERE THE CALLER POSES AS SOMEONE FROM THE ILLINOIS STATE POLICE, A UTILITY COMPANY OR THE SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION, SEEKING YOUR PERSONAL INFORMATION.
The Farmer City Library is calling on women in the Farmer City area to participate in a six-week Fitbit activity thanks to a grant from the National Network of Libraries of Medicine.
Farmer City Library Director Amy Johnson told Regional Radio News Tuesday morning on the WHOW Morning Show the Fitbit grant will allow 20 women in the Farmer City area to receive a Fitbit as a part of this grant and then take part in a six-week program surrounding monitoring health through the Fitbit.
The program gets underway next Monday and women in Farmer City can register now. According to Johnson, the first session introduces participants on how to use the Fitbit, sync it with your phone and then how to track your information.
The goal is to give women in Farmer City an incentive to stay active. Johnson explains throughout the six weeks, they get together at the Library to discuss how they are doing and she hopes it becomes a good networking opportunity and support network.
To get more information about the program, visit the Farmer City Public Library Facebook page. You can also contact the Library at 309-928-9532.
Applications are now being accepted for the annual ALMH Foundation Farmer's Market season in Lincoln.
Tuesday morning on the WHOW Morning Show, ALMH Foundation Spokesperson Angela Stoltzenburg indicated to Regional Radio News anyone interested in being a part of the market must be a producer of the products they would sell.
The ALMH Foundation is seeking vendors with variety. Stoltzenburg says they do not want to overload their market with vendors selling the same things. As the new season approaches, she indicates they are especially interested in healthy, prepared food vendors.
Vendors have plenty of time and options when it comes to applying and attending the ALMH Foundation Farmers Market. Stoltzenburg explains vendors can attend every market, come once a month and there is no hard deadline for applications to be completed.
Visit managemymarket.com to get an application filled out. Stoltzenburg also points anyone interested to the ALMH website, thealmhmarket.org and follow the links to becoming a vendor.
The Christian County Coroner has released information regarding a death investigation. On Monday morning, at 10:44 AM, Christian County 9-1-1 received a call from rural Morrisonville in reference to a male subject trapped in a grain bin. At the time of the call, only the victim’s hand was visible to the caller.
Responders to the scene worked to shovel corn from the bin and eventually a hole was cut in it in order to locate and free the male subject. Emergency personnel from Morrisonville Police, Morrisonville Fire, Morrisonville Ambulance, Taylorville Police, Taylorville Fire, Dunn’s Ambulance, and Christian County Sheriff’s office all responded and assisted at the scene.
The male was pronounced deceased on the scene.
Coroner Amy Calvert-Winans has identified the male as 61-year-old David L. Lowis of Taylorville. An autopsy is scheduled for Tuesday in Bloomington. The investigation is being handled by the Christian County Sheriff’s Office and the Christian County Coroner’s Office.
The 5 Essentials Survey is being distributed to Illinois school families this month and a Champaign County district is asking their families to take it.
The 5 Essentials Survey allows parents of students in the Mahomet-Seymour district to weigh in on the things happening in the school system and Superintendent Dr. Lindsey Hall indicates this an online survey that helps the district get a sense of how the community feels about the learning environment in their buildings.
For parents, they will be surveyed about the buildings in which they have a student. Dr. Hall explains parents who have a student at the high school will not be surveyed about what is happening at the lower levels.
The state mandates the survey on districts and Dr. Hall points out, not only do parents have the opportunities to weigh in but students and teachers take it as well. This is the final week for the survey to be taken.
For Mahomet-Seymour Schools, they take the data and analyze it to use in their annual school improvement plans. Dr. Hall points out they take the data they receive very seriously to improve what they are doing in their buildings.
Dr. Hall indicates the results will be posted on the school report after they have been compiled and released to the districts. The 5 Essentials Survey is a great way to help make a tangible change in the district.
12 ILLINOIS SITES ARE BEING ADDED TO THE NATIONAL REGISTER OF HISTORIC PLACES.
THE SITES ARE LOCATED AROUND THE STATE AND INCLUDE A REPLICA OF THE LEANING TOWER OF PISA IN NILES, A STONE WINE CELLAR IN HANCOCK COUNTY AND A FEW HISTORIC DISTRICTS. AMY HATHAWAY WITH THE ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES SAYS THE ROLLO CONGREGATIONAL UNITED CHURCH OF CHRIST NEAR EARLVILLE IS ALSO NOW IN THE REGISTER.
HATHAWAY SAYS THERE’S ALSO THE CHICAGO MUNICIPAL TUBERCULOSIS SANITARIUM DISTRICT IN CHICAGO WHICH WAS BUILT BETWEEN 1911 AND 1915. IT WAS ONE OF THE LARGEST FACILITIES IN THE U-S TO TREAT T-B.
ALSO ADDED: THE PARIS HIGH SCHOOL AND GYMNASIUM, THE ALTON GAS AND ELECTRIC POWERHOUSE AND THE FORUM IN CHICAGO.
If you're interested in what is happening within the DeWitt County Soil and Water Conservation District, you'll want to be sure to reserve your spot for their annual meeting next week.
The SWCDs annual meeting is Friday, February 21 at 8 am at the Abigail in Clinton but reservations for the annual meeting are due Frida. Darren Moser with NRCS indicates the meeting is a good opportunity to catch up on the latest programs with the SWCD and what is ahead.
This year's guest speaker is Paul Jasa who is from the University of Nebraska Extension and is an engineering expert. Moser indicates he has met and worked with Jasa and says he is doing great to work to inform guests on.
The event is open to the public and is asked to make reservations by this Friday. You can do that by calling the DeWitt County Soil and Water Conservation District at 217-935-2181, EXT. 3. Registration begins at 7:30 am on Friday, February 21 and breakfast will be served at 8 am.
The project list at Warner Hospital and Health Services continues to move along as the facility seeks to become more modern and accommodating their customers.
CEO Paul Skowron says their admin team continues to await the installation of a phone system at the 70 Clinton Plaza location and the pharmacy relocation project should also be underway in the next month.
Skowron says the old pharmacy will become a temporary relocation of the lab, during which time the current lab will be renovated and modernized.
The hospital's renovation of the lab is phase one. According to Skowron, phase two will gut the lab and modernize it with new cabinets and flooring. He wants to send the message the facility is state of the art.
Once phase one of the series of projects is complete, they plan to begin phase two completed by the end of the year. Skowron says right now they do not have a purpose for what happens with what will be the old pharmacy once it has been completely vacated.
Parents in school districts in Illinois are being asked to take the 'Five Essentials Survey' and a DeWitt County district is particularly interested in the community's feedback because it will eventually help them in a strategic planning process.
Superintendent of Blue Ridge Schools, Susan Wilson indicates the survey will give the community a great opportunity to weigh in on what is happening in the district. Additionally, the survey also gets the perspective of some of its students.
While the survey is open to parents of the district, the results are later put into the annual school report card information. Wilson feels the survey is worth the time to complete.
Wilson indicates parents in the district should have received several correspondences about the survey. She indicates they only have about 12-percent participation at this point and need at least 20-percent participation to see the results.
After a significant snowfall last week, the National Weather Service says the more mild temperatures will hang around.
Chris Miller with the National Weather Service in Lincoln indicates starting this week, temperatures should moderate and even on some days, become a little above normal.
According to Miller, when things do not get very cold, the weather patterns become variable but things are going to be a little wet the rest of the month with a lot of rain and snow mix.
For the winter things have been pretty warm as a whole. Last week on Regional Radio News, Miller noted the polar vortex did not move like they thought it would and that has left the midwest in a bit of a warmer pattern. He points out we have not seen any temperatures below zero to this point.
According to Miller, they are keeping an eye on the spring months and if this stretch of above-normal precipitation will continue.
You can follow the National Weather Service on Facebook and Twitter for the latest in local forecasts. You can find direct links to those feeds by visiting weather.gov/lincoln.
There's hope that the burned down airport hangar in Monmouth will be rebuilt sooner than originally believed. Demolition of the old hangar at the "oldest continuously operating airport in Illinois" is done and the timeline for a replacement was projected at 18 to 24 months.
However, Lew Steinbrecher ("stine-breck-er"), the City Administrator for the Maple City, says that work may get started as soon as this fall.
The cause of the October fire has still never been officially determined.
The Governor continues to push the idea that Illinois should be the first state to vote in a primary for President. JB Pritzker says the diversity of Illinois would lend its self to better selecting who should represent the country in a national election. But he says even with the Illinois primary in March there is still plenty of opportunities for citizens to play a role in selecting the Democrat nominee.
Illinois, Arizona, Florida and Ohio vote on March 17th.
LAST YEAR’S MURDER OF A ONE-AND-A-HALF-YEAR-OLD ILLINOIS BOY IS PROMPTING CALLS FOR A NEW LEGISLATIVE TASK FORCE ON DOMESTIC VIOLENCE.
LITTLE COLTON MICHAEL MILLER OF JOLIET WAS SHOT LAST SEPTEMBER BY HIS FATHER. COLTON’S MOTHER WAS SEVERELY BEATEN BY HER ESTRANGED HUSBAND AT THE TIME AS WELL. NOW, REPRESENTATIVE DAVID WELTER OF MORRIS WANTS LAWMAKERS TO TAKE ACTION.
REPRESENTATIVE DAVID WELTER SAYS THE PROPOSED GROUP WOULD LOOK AT CURRENT DOMESTIC VIOLENCE LAWS AND SEE WHERE CHANGES NEED TO BE MADE. THE TASK FORCE WOULD ALSO:
WELTER SAYS THE TASK FORCE WOULD LOOK AT EXISTING LAWS AND IDENTIFY ANY GAPS THAT NEED TO BE FILLED, AS WELL AS EXAMINE SPECIAL CONDITIONS FOR BAIL AND TREATMENT OPTIONS FOR VICTIMS AND OFFENDERS.
SECRETARY OF STATE JESSE WHITE SAYS ILLINOIS’ AUTOMATIC VOTER REGISTRATION SYSTEM IS STILL A GOOD PROGRAM, DESPITE A FEW RECENT GLITCHES.
SECRETARY WHITE SAYS HE’S ANGRY A COMPUTER PROBLEM LED TO MORE THAN 500 NON-CITIZENS BEING REGISTERED TO VOTE AND APOLOGIZED TO THE PUBLIC. HE SAYS THEY FIXED THE ERROR THE DAY IT WAS DISCOVERED AND THAT HE HAS FAITH IN THE PROGRAM.
SECRETARY WHITE SAYS PROBLEMS WITH THE SYSTEM THAT LED TO MORE THAN 500 NON-CITIZENS BEING ADDED TO THE ILLINOIS VOTER ROLLS HAVE BEEN FIXED.
REPRESENTATIVE TIM BUTLER OF SPRINGFIELD THANKED WHITE FOR HIS OFFICE’S QUICK ACTION BUT SAYS THIS NEEDS TO BE CAREFULLY WATCHED SINCE EVERY VOTE COUNTS.
SOME LAWMAKERS ARE PUSHING TO SUSPEND AUTOMATIC VOTER REGISTRATION UNTIL IT CAN BE ASSURED MISTAKES WON’T HAPPEN AGAIN.
February has gotten off to a warmer and wetter than normal start. That trend will continue for the next couple weeks says State Climatologist Trent Ford.
The DeWitt County Zoning Board of Appeals Thursday night concluded weeks of testimony by rejecting the Alta Farms II Wind Project application.
The ZBA did not waiver from their decision on the last application despite what Tradewind officials characterized as a more complete application this time around. The application focused heavily on the impact of the turbines on weather radar but Andra Rhoades with the group DeWitt County Residents Against Wind Turbines says the gesture by Tradewind to turn off the turbines for weather notices is nice but not enough.
Rhoades says after the latest rejection of the project application from the ZBA, the decision for the DeWitt County Board should be an easy one.
In a statement from Tradewind Energy Thursday night, Tom Sweirczewski said quote - " We appreciate the time and dedication the Zoning Board of Appeals committed to the Alta Farms II application over several weeks of hearings. We remain confident in the application, which clearly meets or exceeds all of DeWitt County’s ordinance requirements and details a first-rate wind farm that will be an asset to the entire community. We look forward to the next step in the approval process and to bringing this project and its many community benefits to fruition.”
The DeWitt County Regional Planning Commission has twice made no recommendation on the project.
The County Board has not set a date for their meeting to decide on the project's future. The Board meets February 20 and will likely set a date then.
Area high school seniors have the opportunity for a paid internship through Caterpillar.
CHS principal Jerry Wayne indicates he recently learned of a new internship offered by Caterpillar for high school seniors. Students would begin the internship over the summer and would continue into the school year. At the end of the internship, students would be offered a position at Caterpillar.
Caterpillar is offering 20 internships to several area high schools. Waynes notes there are several requirements for the program including GPA, attendance, and being on track for graduation.
Wayne says this program could help motivate students who don't like school. He thinks the internship could get students to realize that the decisions they make can impact options in the future.
For more information contact Clinton High School at (217) 935-8337.
The Vault in Clinton will host local and regional talent as part of a community concert tonight.
Executive Director Tammy Wilson indicates the event is the Vault's first community concert. Live music is set for 8 pm and doors will open at 7 pm with local artists on display. Food and nonalcoholic beverages will also be available for sale.
The two bands performing will be From Within from Clinton and Ope! Sorry from Decatur. Wilson anticipates a large turnout for the concert with it being one of two large fundraising events this month
The cover charge is $5 dollars and doors will open at 7 pm. For more information call (217) 934-4003 or visit thevaultclinton.org.
Schools from Macon and Piatt County have formed a Regional Safety Committee.
Dr. Kristen Kendrick-Weikle, superintendent of Warrensburg-Latham Schools, indicates the Regional Safety Committee is facilitated by the Macon County Emergency Management Agency. The schools involved have discussed consistency among safety routines and have an agreement to send staff in cases of emergencies.
Dr. Kendrick-Weikle notes the next step in the planning process is working with their partner schools Argenta-Oreana, Maroa-Forsyth, and Sangamon Valley to determine which areas they prefer to have trained in.
Dr. Kendrick-Weikle says Warrensburg-Latham schools will host reunification drills in the summer to fine-tune the plans discussed so far by the Regional Safety Committee. She feels all of the participating schools' safety plans have benefited from these discussions.
Dr. Kendrick-Weikle says parents can be reassured that the safety of students is of the utmost concern for the school districts.
You will need to rescan your television by March 13 if you want to continue to receive over-the-air programming from your antenna on three area stations. There will be a handful of stations in various markets nationwide impacted by this. The reason is to make room for new 5G and other mobile broadband services.
If you need assistance, the FCC has posted an instructional video showing you how, and information about the rescan process. Chair of the Incentive Auction Task Force at the FCC Jean Kiddoo says this will only affect you if you get television via the antenna.
Because TV stations in the same area are changing frequencies at different times, it is a good habit to periodically rescan your TV. This may also help you discover new stations, which occasionally go on-air. You can find more information at www.fcc.gov/TVrescan, or by calling 1-800-CALLFCC, and pressing “6”.
SENATE DEMOCRATS ARE PUTTING TOGETHER A SPECIAL COMMITTEE TO LOOK AT WAYS TO IMPROVE PUBLIC SAFETY IN ILLINOIS.
MEMBERS, LIKE SENATOR CELINA VILLANUEVA OF CHICAGO, SAY FOR STARTERS, THEY WANT TO ADDRESS DISPARITIES WITHIN THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM.
THE COMMITTEE PLANS TO ADDRESS CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORMS AND MAKING ILLINOIS A SAFER PLACE TO LIVE. THAT INCLUDES EXPANDED MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES, MORE EDUCATION AND JOB TRAINING FOR INMATES, RACIAL DISPARITIES AND FAMILIES SAYS SENATOR LAURA FINE OF GLENVIEW.
GROUP MEMBERS SAY WHILE THEY CAN’T PASS THOUSANDS OF BILLS THIS YEAR TO ADDRESS ALL OF THESE CONCERNS…THEY CAN BEGIN TO CHIP AWAY AT WHAT THEY CALL AN OPPRESSIVE SYSTEM.
THE ILLINOIS LEGISLATIVE INSPECTOR GENERALS SAY HER OFFICE NEEDS MORE AUTONOMY TO INVESTIGATE ALLEGATIONS OF MISCONDUCT IN THE HOUSE AND SENATE.
CURRENT INSPECTOR GENERAL CAROL POPE SAYS SHE HAS TO GET APPROVAL FROM THE LEGISLATIVE ETHICS COMMISSION TO PROCEED WITH CASES, NOTING HER OFFICE IS SUPPOSED TO BE INDEPENDENT.
SHE SAYS THAT PROCESS ALSO POSES A BREACH OF CONFIDENTIALITY.
POPE ALSO SAYS SHE SHOULDN’T HAVE TO GET APPROVAL FROM THE L-E-C TO ISSUE SUBPOENAS. HER COMMENTS WERE MADE DURING THIS WEEK’S HEARING OF A COMMISSION ON GOVERNMENT ETHICS REFORM.
Should the state of Illinois be the first in the nation to vote in a presidential primary? Governor JB Pritzker says that it’s something worth considering. He says Illinois certainly should think about voting first because our state better represents the make up the United States.
Pritzker’s not alone in wanting to explore pushing up the states primary date. The Illinois GOP came out this week in support of the idea of moving up the primary.
THE STATE IS LAUNCHING 50 MILLION DOLLARS IN GRANTS TO HELP IMPROVE ACCESS TO HIGH-SPEED INTERNET ACROSS ILLINOIS.
INTERNET PROVIDERS, NON-PROFITS, LOCAL GOVERNMENTS AND MORE CAN NOW APPLY FOR THE GRANTS. GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER SAYS THE EFFORT BIGGER THAN MAKING SURE YOU CAN GET ON FACEBOOK.
THE IDEA IS TO HELP FUND EFFORTS BY INTERNET PROVIDERS, LOCAL GOVERNMENTS AND RURAL COOPERATIVES TO BRING BETTER SERVICE TO ALL CORNERS OF THE STATE SAYS LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR JULIANA STRATTON.
THIS IS JUST THE FIRST ROUND OF GRANTS. THE “REBUILD ILLINOIS” CAPITAL PROGRAM INCLUDES A TOTAL OF 420 MILLION DOLLARS FOR BROADBAND EXPANSION.
A couple of great milestones for Western Illinois University and their agriculture footprint. The school’s Ag Mech Club is hosting its 50th Annual Farm Expo this weekend at Western Hall in Macomb and this also marks the 100th year for WIU’s School of Agriculture. Something to be proud of says junior Rob Janssen.
The Farm Expo is Saturday and Sunday.
2020 GOT OFF TO A WARM AND WET START IN ILLINOIS.
JANUARY’S AVERAGE TEMPERATURE WAS 31 POINT FOUR DEGREES, MAKING LAST MONTH THE 17TH WARMEST JANUARY ON RECORD IN ILLINOIS SAYS STATE CLIMATOLOGIST TRENT FORD.
JANUARY WAS ALSO THE NINTH WETTEST ON RECORD, BUT FORD SAYS MOST OF THAT CAME OVER JUST A FEW DAYS.
THE STATEWIDE AVERAGE PRECIPITATION TOTAL IN JANUARY WAS FOUR POINT FOUR INCHES.
THIS IS EARTHQUAKE PREPAREDNESS MONTH AND THE STATE EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY REMINDS THAT THE POSSIBILITY IS VERY REAL IN ILLINOIS.
RECORDS INDICATE THAT ILLINOIS HAS EXPERIENCED SOME OF THE LARGEST EARTHQUAKES EVER MEASURED IN NORTH AMERICA, AND THE STATE IS HOME TO BOTH THE NEW MADRID AND WABASH VALLEY SEISMIC ZONES. I-EMA SPOKESPERSON REBECCA CLARK SAYS THAT’S WHY IT’S IMPORTANT YOU KNOW WHAT TO DO IF THE GROUND STARTS SHAKING.
TWO LARGE FAULT LINES…THE NEW MADRID AND WABASH VALLEY SEISMIC ZONES BOTH STRETCH INTO ILLINOIS, SO YOU NEED TO BE PREPARED SAYS I-EMA SPOKESPERSON REBECCA CLARK. SHE SAYS THERE ARE STEPS YOU CAN TAKE AT HOME TO HELP PREVENT INJURY AND PROPERTY DAMAGE IF THE EARTH STARTS SHAKING.
I-EMA URGES FAMILIES, BUSINESSES AND SCHOOLS TO REGISTER FOR THE NATIONAL ANNUAL EARTHQUAKE DRILL, THE GREAT AMERICAN SHAKEOUT. IT WILL BE HELD OCTOBER 15TH. SIGN UP AT: SHAKEOUT DOT ORG.
The Clinton Chamber of Commerce is switching gears with their annual spring raffle.
Chamber Executive Director Marian Brisard indicates the Chamber is putting to rest the gun raffle and replacing it with a meat raffle. The raffle offers up a cash prize or a set amount of meat thanks to Toohill Seed and Beef.
The raffle is a fundraiser for the Chamber of Commerce. Brisard thanks Toohill Seed and Beef for their cooperation in this event. She hopes the change will get a good response from the community.
To get a raffle ticket, you can contact the Chamber of Commerce at 217-935-3364, visit clintonilchamber.com or stop into their office on the Clinton square.
School leaders in central Illinois are fairly certain there will be a greater focus on issues that will impact school districts in this new legislative season.
Bement Schools Superintendent Dr. Sheila Greenwood anticipates a property tax freeze proposal of some sort to gain momentum and find its way to the Governor's desk. She points out there would be immediate tax relief if lawmakers ever held up their end of a bargain to fund 51-percent of education in Illinois.
Dr. Greenwood joins her colleagues that this legislation will happen this year and there are a lot of moving parts to how a property tax freeze would impact schools. She hopes lawmakers will allow districts local control to deal with the fallout.
The Governor in his State of the State address hinted at property tax relief as one of his priorities in this upcoming legislative year.
Social Security is not going to call you to discuss issues surrounding issues with your information.
The message cannot be stated enough as the public continues to fall victim to scams from people posing as Social Security representatives. The agency is now taking a proactive approach to educating the public according to Jack Myers with Social Security in Springfield.
According to Myers, scammers are now infiltrating your email inbox posing as someone from Social Security and even the Office of the Inspector General. Just like Social Security is not going to call you, they are not going to email you either.
When you encounter one of these correspondences, Myers encourages everyone to not engage these people and if you're so inclined, report the incident to the Office of the Inspector General at the social security website.
If there may be an issue with your Social Security account, the agency will always mail you a letter. Myers indicates there will never be a threat or an exchange offered for information or money.
The Ag Economy Barometer rises to 167 in January, which is a 17-point jump from December. Virtually all of the rise in this month’s barometer was attributable to a sharp rise in optimism about future conditions in agriculture says Michael Langemeier with Purdue University’s Center for Commercial Agriculture.
This month’s Ag Economy Barometer survey, which is based on responses from a nationwide survey of 400 agriculture producers, was conducted from January 13-17.
Illinois American Water says it has awarded more than $222,000 in grants for 66 community projects since 2009. Company spokeswoman Karen Cotton says some of the more than 100 Illinois communities the company serves have received no grants to date. So she’s encouraging anyone with a project that affects water quality and conservation to apply.
The deadline to apply is the end of next month. The company has awarded money for runoff reducing gardens, erosion controls, rain barrels, medication collections, invasive plant removal, and environmental education.
The first $50 million in rural broadband funding is being released by the state of Illinois. The money comes on a matching basis to expand access to high-speed internet to places where there might not be any access. Democrat Governor JB Pritzker says in today’s age bringing high-speed data to communities is similar to bringing electricity to rural residents 100 years ago.
In all $420 million dollars will be spent to increase coverage of high-speed internet in Illinois. Pritzker says plenty of attention will be given to rural areas but notes that in parts of the west and south sides of Chicago there’s no access to high-speed internet.
JANUARY’S AVERAGE TEMPERATURE WAS 31 POINT FOUR DEGREES, MAKING LAST MONTH THE 17TH WARMEST JANUARY ON RECORD IN ILLINOIS SAYS STATE CLIMATOLOGIST TRENT FORD.
JANUARY WAS ALSO THE NINTH WETTEST ON RECORD, BUT FORD SAYS MOST OF THAT CAME OVER JUST A FEW DAYS.
THE STATEWIDE AVERAGE PRECIPITATION TOTAL IN JANUARY WAS FOUR POINT FOUR INCHES.
Rock Springs Nature Center recently was the recipient of a land acquisition grant which allowed them to purchase land to the south of Fort Daniel.
Richie Wolf, Rock Springs Nature Center Executive Director, indicates they were able to purchase the land through a $1 million grant from the Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation.
Wolf says they purchased 180 acres of land and is attached to the south of the 200 acres Fort Daniel. He notes the land was attractive to Rock Springs due to a large creek that runs through the property and into Lake Decatur.
Wolf indicates there will be a three year period of converting the land from growing corn and soybeans to back to prairie and other native grasses. He hopes to have it restored quickly for wildlife to inhabit.
Wolf notes over time they will be able to help keep Lake Decatur a source of clean drinking water through maintaining the large creek in the property.
EARLY VOTING BEGINS THIS WEEK IN ILLINOIS.
THE PRIMARY ISN’T UNTIL MARCH 17TH…BUT YOU CAN GO AHEAD AND CAST YOUR BALLOT STARTING THURSDAY SAYS STATE BOARD OF ELECTIONS SPOKESPERSON MATT DIETRICH.
YOU CAN CAST YOUR BALLOT FOR THE MARCH PRIMARY STARTING THURSDAY, AT EITHER SPECIFIED EARLY VOTING LOCATIONS OR YOUR LOCAL COUNTY CLERK’S OFFICE. ILLINOIS STATE BOARD OF ELECTIONS SPOKESPERSON MATT DIETRICH SAYS MANY PEOPLE OPT TO GET VOTING DONE AHEAD OF TIME.
MAIL-IN BALLOTS WILL BE SENT OUT BEGINNING THURSDAY. TO FIND YOUR LOCAL POLLING PLACE OR TO REGISTER TO VOTE, VISIT: ELECTIONS DOT IL DOT GOV.
How did a search warrant for Speaker of the House Mike Madigan’s office get released under FOIA if the case was supposed to be filed under seal and the search warrant was not to be disclosed? The warrant is tied to a sexual misconduct allegation against former State Rep. Jack Franks. Franks is no longer a state lawmaker and the allegations were filed against him in 2018. Madigan says he rightfully responded to the FOIA because lawyers disagree if the warrant needed to be released and his interest was to protect the identity of the victim.
The Sangamon County State’s Attorney disagrees with the Speaker's office over the release of the details in the search warrant. Madigan says he’s the one who called the Sangamon County State’s Attorney after the initial complaint was leveled against Frank’s in 2018. Franks now the McHenry County Board Chairman and denies any wrongdoing.
What would a property tax freeze look like if it was to pass in Springfield?
That is one of the many questions being asked by Clinton City Administrator Tim Followell who questions if lawmakers in Springfield understand the logistics of their idea. He notes, depending on how they want to tackle the issue will determine how much of an impact it has.
Throw in the wrench that each community levees differently and Followell says it will be interesting to find out what their plans are for how they want to go about freezing rates. He believes the ultimate goal is to impact pensions.
However the State decides to proceed with the legislation, it will most likely going to impact all layers of government. While details on this idea are scarce right now, Followell believes there is more happening behind closed doors.
Followell believes you don't have to look any further than the issues the rushed legislation to legalize recreational marijuana as an example of legislation being messed up by being rushed.
AARP and the Warner Library are again teaming up to offering free tax filing assistance to DeWitt County residents.
Business Manager at the Library Samantha Rusk tells Regional Radio News AARP has teamed up with RSVP senior volunteer group in DeWitt County to offer free tax filing help. Rusk says there are income guidelines for this help but they are making available to everyone in DeWitt County.
Tax filings can be taken care of Thursday afternoons or Saturday mornings at the library in Clinton. Rusk indicates you do need to make an appointment and recommends doing so as soon as possible as they will quickly fill up.
Rusk indicates tax filing help is for those filing as a single or jointly with their spouse. She explains there are still availabilities in the next few weeks but anticipates available times going fast.
Farm taxes and business taxes are not included in this help. To make an appointment and get time available for help, contact the library at 217-935-5174. Rusk says to make sure you bring your ID, Social Security card and if possible, last year's taxes.
A Piatt County school district receives over half of their revenues from property taxes and so last week when the Governor addressed a measure to freeze property taxes in his State of the State address, it certainly caught the attention of school leaders throughout Illinois.
Monticello Schools Superintendent Dr. Vic Zimmerman indicates property tax reforms have long been on the radar of school leaders in Illinois as the idea of freezing them has been floated around for several years in Springfield. He points out because they rely so heavily on local property taxes, they are carefully watching what Springfield does with any such measure.
While Governor JB Pritzker did not address pensions, school leaders are growing fearful the pension crisis in Illinois could lead Springfield to shift the pension burden onto local districts. Dr. Zimmerman says the crisis is not easing and something needs to be done.
For the last few years, districts have struggled to find and keep good teachers because of a shortage. Dr. Zimmerman indicates this was something that could have been prevented almost a decade ago.
Dr. Zimmerman explains the progressive income tax vote later this year could be tied to property tax reforms. He believes all superintendents have an eye on these issues right now.
Local experts are weighing in on how to best protect yourself from scams as the number of local victims continues to rise.
Tony Harris with DeWitt County TRIAD says the DeWitt County Sheriff's Fraud Prevention hotline can be a great resource for anyone who thinks they may have been scammed or someone unsure of if they are being targeted and doesn't want to become a victim.
If you've fallen victim to a scam, Harris says the chances of recovering what you've lost are very slim. In some cases, money lost could be recovered but he indicates those circumstances are few and far between.
According to Connie Unruh, also with TRIAD, indicates if you have been scammed, reporting it very swiftly is important. She indicates with gift card scams, not all is lost if you report the scam promptly.
Unruh indicates any offer that sounds good to be true, it probably is. She adds, do not give out personal information like your social security number and reminds the public entities like the IRS and Social Security are not going to call you.
The DeWitt County Sheriff's Fraud Prevention Hotline is 217-935-9507.
THIS IS NATIONAL BURN AWARENESS WEEK AND THE ILLINOIS STATE FIRE MARSHAL’S OFFICE HAS SOME TIPS FOR STAYING SAFE.
ABOUT 400 THOUSAND PEOPLE RECEIVE MEDICAL CARE FOR BURNS EACH YEAR IN THE U-S, AND ONE-THIRD OF ALL BURN INJURIES OCCUR IN CHILDREN UNDER THE AGE OF 15. FIRE MARSHAL SPOKESPERSON J-C FULTZ SAYS CONTACT BURNS ARE THE MOST COMMON.
HE SAYS TOUCHING A HOT SURFACE IS THE BIGGEST DANGER.
FULTZ SAYS THE GOOD NEWS IS THAT NEARLY 97 PERCENT OF THOSE WHO SUFFER BURN INJURIES SURVIVE.
THE ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE IS REMINDING TAXPAYERS TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE EARNED INCOME TAX CREDIT WHEN THEY FILE THIS YEAR.
THE CREDIT IS FOR LOW TO MIDDLE INCOME TAXPAYERS…THAT COULD NET THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS. DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE SPOKESPERSON SAM SALUSTRO SAYS YOU FIRST NEED TO CHECK IF YOU’RE ELIGIBLE.
SALUSTRO SAYS IT’S DESIGNED FOR LOW TO MID INCOME TAXPAYERS.
IF YOU QUALIFY FOR THE EARNED INCOME TAX CREDIT ON YOUR FEDERAL RETURN, YOU WILL AUTOMATICALLY QUALIFY FOR THE STATE CREDIT. VISIT IRS DOT GOV TO TRY THAT CALCULATOR.
RECREATIONAL MARIJUANA SALES TOPPED 39 MILLION DOLLARS LAST MONTH IN ILLINOIS.
ADULT USE CANNABIS BECAME LEGAL IN ILLINOIS ON JANUARY FIRST, WITH LONG LINES AND SHORTAGES AT MANY DISPENSARIES. THE GOVERNOR’S SENIOR ADVISOR FOR CANNABIS CONTROL TOI (toy) HUTCHINSON SAYS, MORE THAN EIGHT MILLION OF THE 39 MILLION TOTAL SALES CAME FROM PEOPLE LIVING OUT OF STATE.
IN ALL…ABOUT 972 THOUSAND CANNABIS ITEMS WERE SOLD LAST MONTH.
A PORTION OF SALES WILL GO BACK INTO COMMUNITIES THAT SUFFERED UNDER THE WAR ON DRUGS. HUTCHINSON SAYS THE STATE WILL START ACCEPTING APPLICATION FOR CANNABIS INFUSER, CRAFT GROWER AND TRANSPORTER LICENSES ON FEBRUARY 14TH.
If you took off the sweatshirts and opened a window or two at home, you weren't alone in Illinois as Super Bowl Sunday temperatures were record-breakers in parts of the state.
Chris Miller with the National Weather Service in Lincoln indicates at their office in Lincoln, it was the warmest February 2 in over 100 years. Temperatures in Lincoln weren't the only areas of Illinois with record highs....
The large area of warm air encompassed almost the entirety of the midwest according to Miller. He notes those, things are going to take a pretty sharp turn this week as we can expect mid-week snowfall of several inches.
This time last year, central Illinois was enthralled in record cold temperatures that forced almost a complete stoppage of movement last year and Miller indicates the prediction was more of the same this year but that quickly changed when the polar vortex strengthened in northern Canada.
According to Miller, this winter has been wet but there has not been much significant snowfall this year. He also notes this winter has not seen any sub-zero temperatures either, something that is very rare for this part of the world.
It's several weeks away but Clinton Chamber of Commerce officials are taking registrations for this year's annual business expo at Clinton High School.
Executive Director Marian Brisard indicates the date of this year's event is changing. Traditionally the community gathers at the high school on the Wednesday of spring break for students but this year will be Thursday of spring break.
Registration forms have gone out to businesses that participated last year and if you are interested in participating this year, contact the Chamber of Commerce. Brisard is planning on having plenty for the community to do at this year's expo.
Brisard and the business expo committee is kicking around ideas for new things like having the high school art class having displays or Second Chance for Pets.
This year's event is Thursday, March 26 from 4 pm to 7 pm at the high school. You can get registration information by calling the Clinton Chamber at 217-935-3364 or visit clintonilchamber.com.
School leaders are finding kids are struggling to handle adversity that comes their way.
That's according to Superintendent of Warrensburg-Latham Schools, Dr. Kristen Kendrick-Weikle who indicates students are becoming almost dependent on constant positive feedback and she feels it is indicating the lack of resiliency and grit.
To raise awareness around the issue, Dr. Kendrick-Weikle is offering a book study for district parents. She indicates it takes parents through the K-12 years and even college and into their professional careers.
Dr. Kendrick-Weikle doesn't believe parents are setting out to create kids who have never faced adversity, but almost every parent can be guilty of doing that in one way or another. She feels it is perfectly fine for a child to have small failures they need to work through.
Dr. Kendrick-Weikle says parents eliminating any obstacles in front of their kids creates a child who doesn't know how to react to these small challenges. She points out this is not a problem exclusive to Warrensburg-Latham students, but students across the area and the country.
February is Heart Health Month and a local nutrition expert is offering up some programs to help us eat healthily.
Caitlin Mellendorf is a nutrition expert at the University of Illinois Extension office and says February they are offering courses that will give folks healthy recipes to eat healthily and support positive heart health.
Heart health will include how to have good fatty foods in our diet, getting enough fiber in our diets and avoiding sodium. According to Mellendorf, added sugars in meals can often be found in foods that are not good for us and so she wants to encourage reducing added sugars through these classes.
Classes started last week but more offered in Clinton and Piatt County starting this week. Mellendorf says folks have plenty of opportunities to be a part of these.
You can visit go.illinois.edu/dmp for registration information or contact the DeWitt County Extension office at 217-935-5764 or the Piatt County office at 217-762-2191.
Chrissy Willoughby of Clinton has been named the January 2020 Colleague of the Month at Abraham Lincoln Memorial Hospital. Willoughby has worked at the nonprofit hospital in Lincoln as a physical therapist for seven years.
Willoughby earned her Bachelor of Science degree in biology from Millikin University and a Bachelor of Science degree in physical therapy from Northwestern University. She has worked as a physical therapist for 30 years.
Willoughby was nominated by an anonymous colleague, who was thankful for Willoughby’s work ethic and contribution to the team.
Abraham Lincoln Memorial Hospital is a 25-bed critical access hospital at 200 Stahlhut Drive in Lincoln and is an affiliate of Memorial Health System. For more information, visit ALMH.org.
Mt. Pulaski community members can now see substantial progress as the addition to the school district's main campus continues heading into the cold days of winter.
Superintendent Fred Lamkey recently updated the progress of their addition...
Next year, Lamkey indicates the calendar will be impacted as the construction begins to impact the learning environment.
Lamkey has indicated in the past, the construction project will create a better flow for their buildings and do a better job of ensuring their students' safety.